Silicon Valley is not your friend
“Yet another big investigative piece on @facebook from @nytimes; damning and documented,” tweets Damien Cave. The latest blockbuster investigation by Gabriel Dance, Michael LaForgia and Nicholas Confessore of The New York Times shows that, As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants (28,000+ shares). Among other things, “The carefree way data is shared among companies here is jarring. It’s so haphazard businesses don’t even seem to know what user data they do and don’t have. Terrific piece by @gabrieldance @laforgia_ @nickconfessore,” tweets Adam Satariano.
But Kara Swisher reminds us, “As I noted in my latest column, Silicon Valley is not your friend.” It’s not even your “friend” like all those old high school people you can’t remember or don’t really like but you’re friends on Facebook, and by the way, Bing knows about them. As the piece reveals, “Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.” Tweets David McCabe, “The drip-drip-drip on Facebook is now one of those fancy rain shower heads.”
If you need a faster way to be alarmed about what’s happening with your data, Confessore, LaForgia and Dance have also put together a quick-read 5 Takeaways From Our Investigation. For a taste, on Twitter, Confessore highlights, “#2: Maybe you thought Cambridge Analytica was bad. But companies like Amazon and Microsoft got way more user data -- with way less disclosure. By privacy lights CA was a piker.”
In other news, Tim Carman calls “set and match” to David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, who’s been doing a lot of digging into Trump Foundation doings, and here’s why: Trump agrees to shut down his charity amid allegations he used it for personal and political benefit (233,000+ shares), as Farenthold reports. Tweets Dan Zak, ‘’A shocking pattern of illegality,’ exposed in full by The Washington Post, now officially kaput. Trump treated his charity as a checkbook for gifts that bolstered his interests.”
The foundation’s biggest gift went to renovating a fountain outside Trump’s Plaza Hotel (how charitable!). “And its smallest-ever gift, $7 to the Boy Scouts in 1989, appeared to pay for his son’s annual Boy Scout dues,” tweets Farenthold. — about which Charlie Gasparino says, “if true this is sleaze on steroids.”
Meanwhile, would you look at that. On CNN last night, Chris Cuomo produced a letter of intent for the Trump Tower Moscow project signed by Trump (82,000+ shares), despite Giuliani’s insistence on Sunday that the document was never signed, reports Kate Sullivan. And “This is my shocked face,” says Steve Chapman.
The judge brings the pain
Things didn’t go as planned for Michael Flynn and his lawyers in court yesterday. Carol Leonnig and Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post have the recap of the events in their report, ‘I’m not hiding my disgust or my disdain’: Veteran judge upends hopes of Trump allies as he spotlights Flynn’s misdeeds. Tweets Leonnig, “It was pins and needles in Sullivan's court yesterday. The judge made Michael Flynn chose -- was he tricked or guilty? After Flynn said guilty 10x, the judge called Flynn a traitor for his crimes. I felt any second Flynn would be cuffed and taken to jail.” Adds Greg Moran, “I've been to a lot of court hearings, and more than a few where a judge is clearly angry about someone's conduct. Never seen a judge bring the pain like this hearing today. And that order after the hearing in the last graf…”
Sharon LaFraniere and Adam Goldman of The New York Times choose the same quote for their headline, ‘Not Hiding My Disgust’: Judge Rebukes Flynn, Then Delays Sentencing. As they write, “For Mr. Flynn, who once led supporters of Mr. Trump’s campaign in chants of ‘lock her up’ against Hillary Clinton, more uncertainty lies ahead.”
The logjam breaks
Here’s a word you don’t hear much around these parts anymore: bipartisanship. Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times has the report as the Senate Passes a Bipartisan Criminal Justice Bill (23,000+ shares) that approved the most substantial changes in a generation to federal prison and sentencing laws. Douglas Blackmon points out that “The cynical tragedy here is that these reforms were all on the table for years—but Republicans refused to support them solely because they were coming from the Obama administration. It’s good to see the logjam break, but @GOP tactics were deplorable.”
For a behind-the-scenes look, read Jeremy Diamond and Alex Rogers’ piece for CNN, which explains How Kushner, Congress and a Kardashian drove the criminal justice overhaul. (With a headline like that — “CLICK,” tweets Lauren Dezenski). “There is so much great detail in this story,” says Ali Weinberg.
A gift to Russia and Turkey
Trump is Considering Full Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Syria, report Eric Schmitt, Helene Cooper and Mark Landler of The New York Times, and Noga Tarnopolsky calls it “A gift to Russia and Turkey. There's no other way to describe this. Catastrophic for the Kurds. Not good news for Israel.” Schmitt, Cooper and Landler note, “Pentagon officials were still trying to talk the president out of the decision early Wednesday morning.” Nahal Toosi finds an answer to the question, “Why suddenly this Syria news?? ‘One Defense Department official suggested that Mr. Trump also wants to divert attention away from the series of legal challenges confronting him over the recent days…’”
Missy Ryan is following the story at The Washington Post, Trump administration plans to pull U.S. troops from Syria immediately, defense official says. “First it was we’re keeping troops in Syria until Iran leaves. Now it’s we’re pulling them out pronto. Syria policy whiplash,” tweets Paul Sonne. Andrew deGrandpre reminds us, “An enduring U.S. military presence in Syria was supposed to provide a check on Iran. What's to come of that plan?”
Introducing Gobshite News
“Well. I have a lot of thoughts about this,” says Emily Sullivan. New from Jason Schwartz of POLITICO, Ousted NPR news chief, ex-Fox News execs team up on new site, and...“Wait, what?” tweets Chris Krewson. “Awesome, can't wait... ‘One was ousted from NPR amid allegations of sexual harassment. The other left Fox News shortly after writing a column widely panned as racist and anti-gay. Now they've been recruited to help launch a digital news startup…’” highlights Joshua Holland. Jason Linkins has a branding suggestion: “Introducing Gobshite News and the two gobshites behind Gobshite News.” As Elise Hu says, “I don’t have the coping mechanisms for it.”
Remarkable, important reporting
“Please take your time to read and view this project. Local with national importance. And extraordinary teamwork from @PeteJamison, @whitneyshefte, @achungphoto, @jacrump; @chrisalcantara; @dataKater; @LyndseyLayton; @JordanMelendrez; @Julie_Vit.” Mike Semel links to the new piece by Peter Jamison and team at The Washington Post, African American heroin users are dying rapidly in an opioid epidemic nobody talks about. Tweets Wesley Lowery, “I’ve shared this piece a few times today, but am going to share it again -- this is really remarkable, important reporting.”
The Financial Times has named George Soros its Person of the Year (39,000+ shares). In her profile of Soros, Roula Khalaf writes that the “choice of Person of the Year is usually a reflection of their achievements. In the case of Mr Soros this year, his selection is also about the values he represents.” Tweets Carole Cadwalladr, “Bravo @FT. This is a brave, bold choice that sticks two fingers up at the likes of @arron_banks & @nigel_farage. A curtain of authoritarianism is falling across Europe. Stand up for liberal democracy - like Soros - or stand against it.”
All kinds of fantastic
“This is one of the best sports pieces written this year,” says Kevin Clark. At The Athletic, Robert Powell writes about The Passion of Mike Piazza: How the midlife crisis of a baseball Hall-of-Famer led to the demise of a 100-year-old Italian soccer club. Adds Tim Britton, “This candid story on Mike Piazza's disastrous ownership of an Italian soccer club is all kinds of fantastic.” And here’s one more endorsement, from David Aldridge, “I know next to nothing about soccer, and less about Italian League soccer. But I know journalism, and pieces like this one by @robertandrewp on @mikepiazza31 and his ill-fated ownership of @Reggiana1919_EN is why I joined @TheAthleticDC.”
Taylor Lorenz of The Atlantic found out that Instagram Stars Are Posting Fake Sponsored Content, and “i am cackling,” says Josh Petri. “Oh my god. Of COURSE. Can’t believe I didn’t see this coming,” admits Rachel Rodriguez. To be fair, “pretending your authentic opinions are actually inauthentic opinions paid for by someone else is next-level,” as Evan McMorris-Santoro tweets. “Anyway if you haven’t read @TaylorLorenz’s guide to yon hellscape yet, have at it.” offers Adam Weinstein. As Benjy Sarlin says, “We’re living through an amazing time in history (brought to you by Carl’s Jr).”
RIP Penny Marshall
Toast her memory with a milk and Pepsi. We’ve learned that Penny Marshall, who played feisty Laverne in ‘Laverne & Shirley’ before directing movies, died on Monday at 75 (712,000+ shares). Dennis McLellan has Marshall’s obituary for the Los Angeles Times, noting, “With ‘Big,’ Marshall made history as the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million.”
Mike Barnes writes The Hollywood Reporter obit, Penny Marshall, ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Turned Director, Dies at 75 (234,000+ shares), and as Matthew Belloni says, “This one hurts.” Tweets Susannah L. Bodman, “Laverne & Shirley was one of those great sitcoms I watched growing up, & I enjoyed many of the films Penny Marshall directed. In character or as herself, she was strong, funny & feisty—things a girl growing up in the 2nd wave of feminism could look up to.”
For a reminder of just how funny and feisty she truly was, re-read Tad Friend’s New Yorker pieces Charmed Life and The Old Gang, conversations with Marshall at her Upper West Side home in 2012 and 2014.