Is anyone really shocked?
In an interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News, Trump defended the military presence on the border, saying, ‘We have to have a wall of people.’ Karl, Devin Dwyer and Meghan Keneally recap the interview, which took place ahead of a rally in Florida where Trump was campaigning for Gov. Rick Scott, and it’s not just Trump’s performance that’s getting attention this time. Jay Rosen’s take: “This is a level of malpractice by @ABC News that is simply staggering. Just pumping into the national debate lie after lie, fantasia after fantasia, completely unchecked. No summary or excerpt can do it justice. You have to read.” And Daniel Dale thinks, “The ‘lie vs. false claim’ vocabulary debate is relevant, but what's much more important is that Trump's dishonesty is challenged at all. Media outlets keep printing quotes as ridiculous as this while adding no context or correction whatsoever.”
Meanwhile, Gerry Doyle offers “a very serious high-five to cnn for using the word ‘racist’ in its headline. sometimes objective facts are uncomfortable and ugly.” That’s Stephen Collinson’s piece for CNN, Trump shocks with racist new ad days before midterms, or as Amanda Katz says, “Good morning and welcome to midterms month.” Joe Sudbay points out, “Wait. Is anyone really shocked? It's the core of his presidency and the GOP's main message in 2018.”
Axios’s Jonathan Swan highlights the fact that, in the “Axios on HBO” interview with Jim VandeHei, Trump says supporters demand his red-hot rhetoric. “‘It’s my only form of fighting back,’ the most powerful man in the world said,” notes Katie Rogers. Stephanie Baker adds, “This is really scary: Basically Trump says he doesn't care if his enemy of the people rhetoric results in a reporter getting shot.”
For “The mother of all Trump Fact Checks Via @peterbakernyt @ylindaqiu,” Michael Tackett refers you to the new piece by Peter Baker and Linda Qiu of The New York Times, which takes us Inside What Even an Ally Calls Trump’s ‘Reality Distortion Field.’ Tweets Eric Lipton, “A MILESTONE IN AMERICAN HISTORY DOCUMENTED HERE: A unparalleled litany of misleading statements and falsehoods, courtesy of the President of the United States.” Give it a read “If you think the truth still matters,” as Helienne Lindvall tweets.
More on the midterms
In that ABC News interview, Trump told Karl he’s feeling optimistic about the midterms. According to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll of likely voters in battleground congressional districts, Democrats are in prime position to take the House, but the battleground district poll shows wild cards remain. Scott Clement and Dan Balz of The Washington Post take a look at the numbers, and Michael Del Moro notes a “Key point in this new WaPo poll of 69 battleground districts: Democrats hold the greater risk of falling short on turnout because their support is strongest among nonwhites, independents, and young people—all groups with historically low turnout.”
Some scoop from Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur, Iowa GOP Lawmaker Steve King Vows to Win Re-Election Despite the Party’s Rebuke over his embrace of white nationalists and racist rhetoric. In an interview with Kapur, King revealed that he got a supportive phone call from Ted Cruz.
At The New York Times, Elizabeth Dias writes about the young evangelicals who told her about the relationship between their faith and their politics. Lydia DePillis calls that piece, ‘God Is Going to Have to Forgive Me’: Young Evangelicals Speak Out, a “Beautiful, diverse portrait of young evangelicals -- both those who think the church has lost its way, and those who believe in it as fervently as ever.”
Josie Duffy says her New York Times op-ed, How to Punish Voters, is “me, in the @nytimes today, on the prosecution of black voters for minor technical infractions.” Ari Berman tweets, “Must-read @jduffyrice on new suppression tactic: ‘prosecutors have increasingly brought criminal charges against black voters & community activists for small technical infractions.’ Insane case in GA of black grandmother prosecuted for helping someone vote.” Or as Justin Ling puts it, “This is, in a word, fucking bonkers.” OK, so maybe two words.
The bogeymanization of Soros
A couple of outlets have been tracing the spread of conspiracy theories about George Soros as they moved from the radical fringes to mainstream politics. At USA Today, Brad Heath, Matt Wynn and Jessica Guynn explain how a lie about George Soros multiplied online. Tweets Bobby Caina Calvan, “Good stuff from the @USATODAY investigative team led by @amy_pyle. This is how social media can turn ‘a breeze’ of falsehoods ‘into a hurricane’ of lies.”
And at The New York Times, Kenneth Vogel, Scott Shane and Patrick Kingsley take a look at How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream. As Vogel tweets, “NEW: A loose alliance of far-right figures in the US & Europe have been working for years to vilify @GeorgeSoros, but their attacks were mostly confined to the fringe of American politics. Then came DONALD TRUMP.” Ed White calls it a “Good piece on the bogeymanization of Soros by radical righties.” But Joel Mathis wonders, “Can you really say that Soros conspiracy theories were ‘fringe’ when the Speaker of the House was uttering them on TV all the way back in 2004?”
Cognitive dissonance on display
In a Deseret News exclusive, Jesse Hyde and photojournalist Ravell Call went to Moscow to meet with U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. The resulting profile is The last statesman: Can Jon Huntsman Jr. keep the art of diplomacy alive in the time of President Trump? Among other things, Huntsman reveals that he has stage 1 melanoma and that, after the Helsinki summit, Pence and Bolton called him to ask if he was going to resign. Daniel Drezner points out, “It is possible to both admire Jon Huntsman and still be amazed at some of the cognitive dissonance on display in this article.”
Please read this
Michael Slackman links to Robert F. Worth’s New York Times Magazine cover story, with photos by Lynsey Addario, which looks at How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate - and the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World. Lydia DePillis says, “This is journalism in its highest form: Both a calm, authoritative explanation of a complex and long-running struggle, and a visual scream for someone, SOMEONE, to put a stop to it.”
Meanwhile, Lori Hinnant and Bram Janssen report on an Associated Press investigation into the global lost: 56,800 migrants dead and missing in 4 years. Tweets Courtney Subramanian, “A growing toll: 56,800 migrants dead and missing in 4 years...almost double the number found in the world’s only official attempt to try to count them by IOM.”
The Google #WomensWalkout
As more than 1,500 Google employees at company offices around the world plan to walk out today to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment and its workplace culture, Google is struggling to contain the growing internal backlash, write Kate Conger, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Katie Benner of The New York Times. One incident they highlight is Google co-founder Sergey Brin trying to remember the name of a woman he had recently met who had impressed him. Co-founder Larry Page eventually reminded him that the woman’s name was Gloria Steinem.
BREAKING (and extraordinary)
Emma Graham-Harrison is referring to the news that Leave campaigner Arron Banks has been referred to the National Crime Agency following an investigation into Brexit campaign funding. Peter Walker and Jim Waterson have the details at The Guardian. Tweets George Monbiot, “About time too. The key question is - if they did commit criminal offences, what then? If the referendum result was achieved by criminal means, it should surely be declared invalid.” Which is why Jonathan Haynes asks, “Why are we still doing Brexit?”
To mark the release of “Beautiful Boy,” Timothée Chalamet and Harry Styles talked politics, social media and modern manhood at i-D. That piece is Timothée Chalamet in conversation with Harry Styles, and Ilana Kaplan wonders, “are they trying to kill us??!!” Because, as Maria Sherman notes, “everything harry styles says and does is a direct attempt to murder me sorry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!” But also, it’s actually a really thoughtful interview. As Douglas Greenwood notes, “I've always been cynical of this interview format, but not only does it make perfect sense here, it genuinely feels like one of the most fascinating and worthwhile Q&As about REAL STUFF I've read in forever.” Hedy Phillips admits, “I am 100% crying on my train right now. I love this,” while Rebekah Entralgo thinks it’s “Too early to be this [redacted].” But seriously, says Amanda Hess, “stop taking our jobs.”
A few more
People are on edge. For example, a scientist in Antarctica allegedly stabbed a colleague for spoiling the endings of books. Michael Schaub has that story at the Los Angeles Times, and like Becca Worby, we’re “Really curious about which books.” Best description of the situation, courtesy of Peter Lewis, “In cold blood.”
John Ryan says, “This is a terrifying read. And zero relation to Halloween.” As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post report, Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming.
In more uplifting Halloween news, The Little Girl Obsessed With Michelle Obama’s Portrait Dressed As Her For Halloween, and David Mack has the story and the pictures at BuzzFeed News.
Giants legend Willie McCovey has died. Steve Kroner and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle have the obituary for the Hall of Fame first baseman who spent 19 of his 22 major-league seasons with the Giants and became one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
New, from Nicole Hong, Bradley Hope and Aruna Viswanatha of The Wall Street Journal, The DOJ plans to announce multiple charges, including against two ex-Goldman bankers, in relation to the 1MDB Malaysian wealth fund scandal.
The New York Times Tops 4 Million Mark in Total Subscribers, and Jaclyn Peiser has the details. Tweets Eileen Murphy, “Twice as many subscribers to @nytimes than at the peak of print. Thriving not failing!”