Otherwise reasonable people
Well, we’re not done with this yet. Even more video has emerged of the MAGA-hat-wearing teens at the March for Life rally, and Laura Wagner of Deadspin advises, Don’t Doubt What You Saw With Your Own Eyes (34,000+ shares). Wagner calls the reaction to the piece by Reason’s Robby Soave (she calls him “a professional contrarian”) and the statement by the PR firm “as depressing as it was predictable.” Tweets Alex Leo, “Folks, do not let soft-brained, easily manipulated pundits who care more about being seen as fair and balanced by nutjobs who will never give them that courtesy than about telling the truth. Thank you @laurawags for being the actual voice of reason here.” Writes Wagner, “One lesson of the past two days is that you will see what you want to see here, if you are determined to do so; that does not mean that there is anything to be seen but what is there.” See?
We’re also learning a bit more about that PR firm, Louisville-based RunSwitch PR, thanks to the reporting by Grace Schneider of the Courier Journal, who notes, “Scott Jennings, a conservative political commentator and a columnist for the Courier Journal, is the third partner in RunSwitch.” (Jennings is a CNN contributor.) “So much for rule on not becoming part of the story,” as Bruce Japsen tweets. Adds Jess Zimmerman, “It is staggering to me how many otherwise reasonable people are walking back their outrage at MAGA-sporting dumbshits openly mocking a Native elder because some PR firm told them to…and ALSO how many of them think it's ‘diffuse the situation.’”
Meanwhile, CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan reports that Twitter has suspended the account that helped ignite the controversy. CNN Business found out that, although the Twitter account claimed to belong to a California schoolteacher, its profile photo was of a blogger based in Brazil. O’Sullivan notes that he tried to reach the person or people behind the account, but “[s]oon after we pointed out on Twitter that the account was using a different woman’s profile picture, the account blocked this reporter.”
The unexpurgated Rudy Giuliani
Next up, “This interview with Giuliani is COMPLETELY INSANE,” which is how Lainna Fader prepares us for “Even if He Did Do It, It Wouldn’t Be a Crime”: Rudy Giuliani on President Trump, the new Isaac Chotiner interview with Giuliani for the New Yorker. Peter Sagal says, “I don’t know how Isaac Chotiner gets people to say things like this, but I’m glad he does.” For example, “Giuliani tells NYer he’s ‘been through all the tapes’ and that’s how he knew BuzzFeed misreported. Pressed on what he means by tapes, Giuliani: ‘I shouldn’t have said tapes.’ Pressed again, says, ‘I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this,’” tweets Kyle Griffin. Yup, “TAAAAAPES!” as Jonathan M. Katz puts it.
From that same interview, Steve Inskeep highlights, “This @IChotiner interview with @RudyGiuliani is must-read astonishing. ‘I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump.’ Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead.’” In other words, as Adam Weinstein says, “The @IChotiner interview with Rudy is tragicomic gold.”
Also insane, or as Zachary Shahan tweets, “This is fucking insane”: Kenneth Vogel’s latest for The New York Times, Deripaska and Allies Could Benefit From Sanctions Deal, Document Shows (25,000+ shares). On Twitter, Vogel summarizes, “NEW: The TRUMP admin. claimed it forced painful concessions from OLEG DERIPASKA to lift sanctions on his companies. But a confidential document shows he & his allies will retain majority ownership, & he will settle huge debts likely at favorable rates.” “This reveals how Manafort crony Deripaska won 100’s of millions from Treasury lifting sanctions. Will GOP Senators find a way to revisit their votes?” wonders Andrea Mitchell, while Jim Roberts thinks it’s “Another #TrumpRussia smoking gun.”
Meanwhile, Jack Farchy points out that “The details won’t come as a surprise to Bloomberg readers, though, as we reported them last month.” He links to his Bloomberg story, with Yuliya Fedorinova and Samuel Dodge, How Deripaska’s Deal Means Cutting Stake But Keeping Influence.
Ok this one I buy
Next week, former White House communications aide Cliff Sims will be releasing a 384-page tell-all of his time inside the White House, subtly titled, “Team of Vipers.” The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker got his hands on an advance copy, and he brings us the details in his piece, ‘Absolutely out of control’: Cliff Sims’s book depicts life in Trump’s White House. Based on Rucker’s sneak peek, Kara Swisher says, “Ok this one I buy.” Charles Arthur notes, “There seems to be a pattern emerging from memoirs written from inside the White House.” Sure seems that way. Also, says Sam Stein, “The Sims book may be about chaos in the White House. But the more interesting story is the profound level of humiliation Paul Ryan was willing to endure for…..what?”
Cheeseburgers in paradise
Jeremy Breningstall could only be referring to President Trump Posts Altered Photos to Facebook and Instagram That Make Him Look Thinner (45,000+ shares), by Matt Novak of Gizmodo. “The Commissar Vanishes... his jowls,” as Adam Weinstein tweets. And not just the jowls. Novak also points out, “Trump’s fingers have been made slightly longer. Seriously.” Steve Silberman invites you to “Imagine being the poor schmuck whose job in the White House is to Photoshop photos of Trump so he looks less fat and has longer fingers. The feelings of futility must be truly majestic.”
On to other weighty issues, Matt Viser of The Washington Post reports that Trump voters now blame him for the government shutdown (32,000+ shares). He tweets, “So often, stories exploring Trump supporters have found that, no matter what, they back him. In a Michigan county he won by 12 points in 2016, I found something different: Some are peeling away from him, and growing tired of his shutdown stance.” For example, one 49-year-old retired Navy reservist said to him, “What the [expletive] were we thinking?”
Meanwhile, “In Africa, Russia is becoming the counterweight to China. While we discuss our experience and ineffectual wall.” Quentin Hardy links to the new piece by Henry Foy, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya and David Pilling of the Financial Times on Putin’s pivot to Africa. Tweets Joseph Cotterill, “I’d wager that when we look back on Russian influence in parts of Africa in a couple of years, it won’t be about arms deals - it will be about election ‘consulting’.”
Required reading for every journalist
Richard L. Berke says, “If you ever doubted that @RobertACaro was one of our journalistic giants, take note of his reporting tips. Priceless: On a Presidential paper trail.” That’s Robert A. Caro on The Secrets of Lyndon Johnson’s Archives, for the New Yorker. Will Bunch says, “The remarkable piece by Robert Caro on how he got the true story of LBJ's life should be required reading for every future (and present) journalist.” Adds Jeremy Gerard, “I had the privilege of profiling Robert Caro for Bloomberg News and it remains a favorite. Of his personal account in this week's New Yorker, I can only say to aspiring journalists: You don't need J-school; you only need this.”
OK, here’s one more: Wade Roush tweets, “Robert Caro is a national treasure, and journalists should be lining up to donate organs if that’s what it takes to make sure he can finish the Johnson biography and his planned memoir.” In summary, David Grann calls this one the “Read of the Month.”
The Slacker generation awakens (briefly)
We do exist! But...eh. Of course Generation Xers Have The Most Gen X Response To Being Left Off The List (206,000+ shares), and HuffPost’s Ed Mazza has helpfully compiled the reactions to the now infamous CBS News graphic, just in case anyone cares. And if not, oh well, whatever, nevermind. As Amy Oztan points out, “Yes, Gen X will continue to make trenchant commentary while also making you laugh out loud. It's what we do best.”
Elaine Woo of The Washington Post has the obituary for former senator Harris Wofford, a civil rights activist who helped Kennedy win the White House. Tweets Arianna Huffington, “A sad day. #HarrisWofford was a lifelong activist for civil rights and a relentless and passionate campaigner to expand the promise of America. He was an early supporter of #MLK and died on the day honoring him.”
AP tweets, “Slain photojournalist Mohamed Ben Khalifa, a contributor to the AP since 2014, captured Libya's turmoil and its people's resilience. Here are some of his most memorable images.” Read about Ben Khalifa and see some of his work here.
“Henry was desperate to escape the gang MS-13. He informed to police and the FBI. They used his intel, then handed him over to ICE. Now, he's been deported. A judge said his hands were tied. With help from supporters, Henry has gone into hiding in Europe.” Hannah Dreier links to her new ProPublica piece, co-published with New York magazine, on the MS-13 member who secretly helped police — and has now been deported.
Morgan Till referred to this one as “Your Monday night eye-opener from @JobyWarrick,” which is the exclusive by Joby Warrick of The Washington Post, Iraqi scientist says he helped ISIS make chemical weapons.
If that’s not scary enough, “Well, Earth, it was nice while it lasted…” Crispin Burke links to the news that Greenland’s Melting Ice Nears a ‘Tipping Point,’ Scientists Say, as reported by John Schwartz of The New York Times.
CNN’s Pierre Buet reports that Chris Brown has been arrested in Paris on allegations of rape, according to a source.
It’s Oscar nomination day, and Nate Nickolai of Variety has The Complete List of 2019 Oscar Nominations.