An explosive convergence of race, religion and ideological beliefs
What really happened in Washington, D.C., over the weekend? OK, to be fair, that could refer to anything, but we’re talking about the now-viral moment of a group of MAGA-hat wearing teenage boys confronting a Native American Vietnam veteran after the March for Life rally.
At Reason, Robby Soave’s take is that The Media Wildly Mischaracterized That Video of Covington Catholic Students Confronting a Native American Veteran (287,000+ shares). Scott Simon says, “This is a much deeper look into video of the incident, and deserves to be read and considered. Did people jump to condemn without thinking?” But Matt Bors says, “This post re-writing the explanation for the MAGA kids taunting a Native American isn't the silver bullet people sharing it seem to think it is.” Adds Tim Steller, “Here’s a @reason take on the #CovingtonCatholic kids. I’m perplexed — the teens were going nuts, should’ve been restrained by an adult from engaging with the crazy Black Hebrew Israelites, which brought #NathanPhillips in. This is premature absolution IMO.”
Either way, as Nick Gillespie tweets, “Hard to believe a Twitter weekend that started by talking about #BabyHitler and fizzled @buzzfeed story abt @potus ends with ideological shouting match over school kids vs. native American protestor.” Definitely peak Twitter weekend.
In Fuller Picture Emerges of Viral Video Between Native American Man and Catholic Students (61,000+ shares), Sarah Mervosh and Emily Rueb of The New York Times write that “an explosive convergence of race, religion and ideological beliefs — against a national backdrop of political tension — set the stage for the viral moment.”
Alex Johnson of NBC News has more from Nick Sandman, the young man in the D.C. march video, who denounced ‘outright lies’ about him (117,000+ shares). The Covington Catholic High School junior issued a statement through a public relations firm saying, “I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”
Of course, today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the good news is, Thanks To A Private Grant, Martin Luther King Jr. National Park Reopens For Holiday, reports Bill Chappell of NPR. Tweets Liz Langley, “Happy #MLKDay! Nice to hear that Martin Luther King Jr. Park is able to open today thanks to funding by real leaders in honor of a real leader.”
In a piece for TIME magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen explains why The MLK Speech We Need Today Is Not the One We Remember Most, tweeting, “Why do we remember Martin Luther King, Jr., for ‘I Have a Dream’ but not ‘Beyond Vietnam’? The latter is a powerful, insightful, disturbing, and still relevant speech about the USA as the world's ‘greatest purveyor of violence.’”
And at the Boston Globe, Jenee Osterheldt writes that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t a colorblind dreamer. She tweets, “On #MLKDay it’s important to remember Dr. King not as America’s racial Easter Bunny or colorblind dreamer but as a political philosopher, public thinker and radical. At Harvard, there’s a class for that.”
BuzzFeed News and its long weekend
And now, on to another case of, what’s the real story here? Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post go Inside the Mueller team’s decision to dispute BuzzFeed’s explosive story on Trump and Cohen, or what Karen Tumulty calls, “A scoop-filled look at how the special counsel came to issue an unprecedented public statement about its work.” Steve Inskeep notes, “Something like this is recounted in ‘All the President’s Men.’ Woodward and Bernstein correctly report what a witness said, but mistakenly report he said it to a grand jury. In Buzzfeed’s case of course we don’t yet know which parts are right or wrong.”
For “A look at BuzzFeed News and its long weekend,” Patrick LaForge links to Jim Rutenberg’s Mediator column for The New York Times, BuzzFeed News in Limbo Land. Jonathan Mahler says it’s a “Great analysis of the Buzzfeed bombshell and what is says about reporting in the age of Trump,” while Joshua Benton tweets, “When a @nytimes reporter gets something wrong and conservatives try to use it as a cudgel against all NYT reporting, that’s really dumb! Just as it is when a @BuzzFeedNews reporter gets something wrong and gleeful NYT people try to do the same.”
Rick Gladstone describes it as “A short history of the pressure for Trump scoops in the instant-media age, and what happens if the reporting is vulnerable to challenge: ‘It’s a very, very, very high wire, with a load of rusty razor blades underneath it.’” But BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel says, “this ‘internet time’ comment feels unfair and a bit sneering to me. seems 2 suggest some kind of hair trigger 2 publish as if they didnt wait for a response or something. quibble with the particulars of the story but nothing about this strikes me as rushed.”
On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter interviewed BuzzFeed News’ Ben Smith and Anthony Cormier, who say they are confident in their disputed reporting.
Any day now
Mark Getzfred links to “More evolution of the timeline,” which Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt of The New York Times explore in their piece, Giuliani Says Talks for Trump Tower in Moscow Lasted Through 2016 Election (23,000+ shares). Giuliani made those comments on NBC News’s Meet the Press. Tweets Natasha Bertrand, “🚨Giuliani is doubling down on his claim that the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations lasted until Nov 2016. If true, Trump was secretly trying to strike a multimillion $ deal with Moscow even after FBI warned him of the counterintel threat posed by Russia.” And as Joshua Holland points out, “If current trends persist, they're going to close on the Moscow Trump Tower deal any day now…”
Another New York Times piece by Haberman, along with Russ Buettner, explains how, In Business and Governing, Trump Seeks Victory in Chaos. On Twitter, Haberman shares, “The president, told we were quoting his former associates - O'Donnell, Res and Schwartz - called us to push back.”
Did someone say something about “pushing back”? New from Joe Palazzolo, Michael Siconolfi and Michael Rothfeld of The Wall Street Journal, Cohen Threatened CNBC That Trump Would Sue After 2014 Poll Disappointment. “‘Stupid poll should be canceled—no credibility,’ Trump tweeted in 2014, after the IT firm his attorney hired to rig the poll failed to win it for him,” Josh Nathan-Kazis highlights. Grant Stern notes, “Not only did Trump's henchman Cohen pay for a poll rigging operation, but @LibertyU pumped him in the CNBC poll and he complained bitterly when he wasn't in the top 25 for obvious reasons, like multiple bankruptcies and not doing anything special.”
For an analysis of where we are now, turn to The Washington Post, where Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey write about Trump two years in: The dealmaker who can’t seem to make a deal (15,000+ shares). Daniel Froomkin’s review: “This story by @PhilipRucker and @jdawsey1 about how ‘Trump is grappling with the reality that he cannot fix it alone’ is very balanced — and I say that with disgust because balance is wildly inappropriate here and the authors know better.”
Meanwhile, The Post’s fact-checking team of Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly tally up the score: President Trump made 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years (14,000+ shares). If it seems like the pace is picking up, that’s because it is: “The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. But he hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year, almost triple the pace.”
The word ‘obscene’ comes to mind
Moving on, James Ball says, “It entertains me greatly how much this annual Oxfam story annoys nerd twitter. Their principle objection to the analysis is also pretty much Oxfam’s main point: half the world owns virtually nothing.” He links to the report by Larry Elliott of The Guardian, World’s 26 richest people own as much as poorest 50%, says Oxfam (36,000+ shares). For Uki Goni, “The word ‘obscene’ comes to mind…” Tweets Anand Giridharadas, “Stunning new data: The world’s 2,200 billionaires grew 12 percent wealthier in 2018. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the world got 11 percent poorer. Don’t be Pinkered into everything’s-getting-better complacency. The few are monopolizing progress.”
What evil really looks like
Hannes Grassegger of BuzzFeed News has The Unbelievable Story Of The Plot Against George Soros, and you really need to read this one. Adam Weinstein calls it a “Good weekend meditation on what evil really looks like.” As Sheera Frenkel says, “This story is so so good. Months ago, I found myself wondering how George Soros had found himself at the heart of so many conspiracies. Turns out the answer is two American Jews, working to get right-wing populists elected world wide.” Adds Gady Epstein, “This is a remarkable @BuzzFeed story on extremely nasty, cynical nativist politics and anti-Semitism in the US and abroad. I learned a lot from it.”
As Ben Moss says, “It's going to get bad before it gets worse.” For a “Depressingly good” analysis, James Kirkup links to the latest from John Harris at The Guardian, England’s rebel spirit is rising – and it wants a no-deal Brexit. Iain Macwhirter says it’s a “Sobering warning about the emotional power of ‘no dealism’ from one of the few Guardian journalists who makes a point of getting out of the metropolitan bubble.” In other words, “Fine, but deeply alarming,” tweets Ian Black.
Kamala Harris Joins Democratic Presidential Field, as Astead Herndon reports at The New York Times. He gives us the full rundown on Twitter: “Harris will travel to SC Friday -- not Iowa -- to headline gathering of AKA's in Columbia, a nod to how she sees her nomination path. Will also have a kickoff rally in Oakland on Sunday and take Qs from reporters today in Washington. Campaign HQ in Bmore.”
James McAuley shares, “An unreal dinner in Paris last night with @danbalz -- we were talking, and then the guy at the table next to us handed us a cell phone with @realDonaldTrump on the other end of the line. Like, actually. Dan wrote about it here.” That piece is ‘Would you like to speak to the president?’ by Dan Balz of The Washington Post. As Joe Kernen says, “Paris really is a movable feast.”
Also at The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Sean Sullivan write that Senate Republicans have all but surrendered to Trump on the wall despite the shutdown’s toll.
New from Carol Lee and Courtney Kube of NBC News, Report finds another undisclosed North Korea missile site, says there are 19 more.
Twitter also went wild yesterday over the controversial no-call that cost the Saints the NFC championship game, and as Dan Cancian reports at Newsweek, head coach Sean Payton admits that his team might never get over it.
And then there’s this: Fox & Friends Apologizes for Accidental Graphic Saying Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Dead, as Ken Meyer reports at Mediaite.