Roben Farzad links to the BuzzFeed News Staff Council letter signed by more than 400 BuzzFeed News employees who are demanding the company pay out earned paid time off to recently laid-off workers. Ellie Hall explains, “The reason so many of my @BuzzFeed and @BuzzFeedNews colleagues who were just laid off have WEEKS of PTO saved up is because they worked long hours and extra days when breaking news demanded it. BF management should not punish them for their dedication.” Many, including Fast Company’s Union, are tweeting in support of “the workers at BuzzFeed who are fighting to be treated decently.” Kate Aurthur points to “421 signatures and counting, including some high-level managers. Because they know it makes NO SENSE that laid-off employees in New York won’t get their PTO when ones in California will.” As of this morning, the number of signatures is at 463.
What should you do about your local newspaper that you want to support but you know is being eaten alive by a soulless hedge fund? In her latest column for The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan answers the question, Cancel in protest? Or stay with a local newspaper that’s being strip-mined for profits? Her verdict: Support local news. “Reporters at these shrunken newspapers are hustling to get the job done...These journalists — as well as those at the Denver Post, the Buffalo News, and at Gannett papers like the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and hundreds of others — deserve our patronage.” Tweets Ron Lieber, “She wants you to keep subscribing. So do many of us who are lucky enough to do this work.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Flint and Ben Mullin took a deep dive into Bill Simmons’s multi-media company The Ringer, and they found that, For Bill Simmons’s The Ringer, Podcasting Is the Main Event. Podcast sales at The Ringer exceeded $15 million in 2018. Oh great — as Lauren Sherman tweets, “Now journalists are going to have to be ‘good at podcasts,’ which is different from being good at TV, good at radio, good at video, good at graphics, and of course, good at writing.”
Meanwhile, “As #MeToo has swept the country, it's also hit high school newspapers — where student journalists are facing crackdowns from administrators. Read the final story from the @BuzzFeedNews national desk & @tylerkingkadeon why sexual assault reporting matters.” Marissa Carroll links to Tyler Kingkade’s final story for BuzzFeed News, A Teenager Says Her High School Banned Her From Writing About Sexual Assault. On a bittersweet note, Tina Susman tweets, “Tyler was my first hire at @BuzzFeedNews, and his is the last story I’ll publish. This one’s more timely than ever. Thanks @tylerkingkade and rest of the national desk for doing work that matters.” Adds Kingkade, “Myself, the editors behind this @tinasusman @Marisa_Carroll, and the photo editor for this story @Legeiser are available for hire now!”
Am I reading this right?
In a new interview with Peter Nicholas and Kristina Peterson of The Wall Street Journal, Trump says he’s skeptical he would accept any Congressional border deal. He says a lot of other things, too. For example, regarding Ann Coulter and her assessment that he’s the biggest wimp ever to be president, he tells them, “I hear she’s become very hostile. Maybe I didn’t return her phone call or something.” Take Ylan Q. Mui’s advice, who says, “I was gonna tweet the best quotes, but really you should read the whole thing.”
As far as what’s actually happened with border security during the Trump administration, “Company paid $60.7 million to hire border agents brings in...33? Am I reading this right?” asks Olivier Knox. Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times found out that Trump ordered 15,000 new border and immigration officers - but got thousands of vacancies instead. As David Lauter tweets, “The Trump administration has spent 10s of millions to expand the Border Patrol -- and two years later, has more vacancies than when they started. @mollymotoole with a great tale of waste and mismanagement.” Gabriel Snyder has an idea: “Before we give Trump another blank check for nebulous border security spending, how about Congress checks whether he isn’t wasting the billions he’s already been given? This report is not heartening on that front…”
Also, Trump claimed women were gagged with tape. Then Border Patrol tried to find some evidence. Dara Lind has that story at Vox, or as Steve Silberman puts it, “America 2019: After Trump repeatedly airs his weirdly specific racist freakout fantasy of Mexicans blue-taping women's mouths shut, Border Patrol tasked with finding evidence for his claims.” Ezra Klein points out, “Ideally, the way it would work is the president says things that are true. The way it's actually working is the president says things and then his administration scrambles to see if they're true.”
On that note, it’s worth remembering, “Trump really cannot stop lying. On big things, on small things, he lies. (And yes, even I have seen the Oval Office.)” David Corn links to Josh Dawsey’s Washington Post piece, ‘Want to see the Lincoln bedroom?’: Trump relishes role as White House tour guide. Let’s just say this is another one where there are too many quotes to excerpt here, so be sure to read it — and especially the kicker.
‘Lied,’ ‘lies,’ ‘lying’
More lies here. Rosalind Helderman, Josh Dawsey and Matt Zapotosky of The Washington Post have noticed, Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says. The question is, why? (29,000+ shares) Joshua Holland offers, “Suspected drug dealer lied over and over again, DEA agents say. The question is, why?” In case you’re keeping a tally, Zapotosky tweets, “This story by @PostRoz @jdawsey1 and me uses the word ‘lie’ (or a version of it like ‘lied,’ ‘lies,’ or ‘lying’) 31 times, by my count.”
If nothing else, “Seems the president has been a boon to the book publishing sector,” tweets Rachel Stassen-Berger. In an interview with Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, Chris Christie previews his new book, in which he reveals, Trump Thought Firing Flynn Would End ‘Russia Thing.’ Also, tweets Matt Katz, “Chris Christie really tries to emasculate his nemesis Jared Kushner in his new book, describing Kushner’s ‘soft quiver’ of a voice, and as @maggieNYT reports here, referencing his ‘typical salad’ meal choice.”
But that “Russia thing” hasn’t gone away, and now Kenneth Vogel of The New York Times reports, Treasury Dept. Lifts Sanctions on Russian Oligarch’s Companies. He tweets, “OLEG DERIPASKA's companies celebrated @USTreasury's official removal of sanctions against them on Sunday, with the main holding company calling it ‘a turning point in this great company’s fortunes.’” Also, “UPDATE: After @USTreasury lifted sanctions against OLEG DERIPASKA’s companies, the main one (EN+) named 7 new directors, including Chris Burnham, who served on TRUMP’s transition team & worked for @AmbJohnBolton at United Nations. In a word, says Gabriel Snyder, “Collusion.”
Next up, “Two charts from @DLeonhardt that do a lot to explain the age-polarization of politics,” tweets Matthew Yglesias. In a new column for The New York Times, David Leonhardt writes about The Fleecing of Millennials. Reading this, Benjamin R. Freed says, “Pete Buttigieg is going to get smoked by better-known, better-funded candidates, but economic vengeance for millennials is a solid platform.” Of course, there’s still that one generation that’s really just lucky to make it onto the charts at all. As Ted Rall puts it, “David Leonhardt to Gen X: drop dead, you don’t exist! Millennials are not the first generation to live worse than their parents. Gen X is—and they have no retirement savings.”
Moving on, “Aw man, most Gulf story of the year goes to…” Jerome Taylor links to the report by Bethan Mckernan of The Guardian (“Not The Onion,” as Nicola Smith points out), UAE mocked for gender equality awards won entirely by men (36,000+ shares). In fact, “You can’t make this shit up,” notes Sophie McNeill. “Where’s that #facepalm 🤦♂️ emoji? Ah, there!” tweets Eugene Costello. As Rob Hopkins says, “Hilarious. In a kind of really terribly awful kind of a way…”
At The New York Times, Wesley Morris asks, Why Do the Oscars Keep Falling for Racial Reconciliation Fantasies? It’s not only worth reading for an “Interesting, insightful look at the black/white ‘buddy’ movie,” as Patricia Cohen tweets. “Reading Wesley Morris is always a masterclass in criticism and incisive commentary,” notes Jenna Wortham. “Bigots into buddies. An excellently meandering piece about race in the movies,” is how Mark Shanahan puts it. Adds Rachel Swarns, “ICYMI: @Wesley_Morris at his best, telling truths that are hard for some to hear.”
How much do I love this story
OK, you deserve some really nice news, so how about this one from The Guardian, or as Natalie Angier says, “Bear with me: check out today's most-viewed story on the Guardian website.” That’s Three-year-old boy missing in woods for two days says friendly bear kept him safe. “How much do I love this story,” tweets Bobby Hellard and everyone. Adds Michael Safi, “no fact check required, thanks.” As Sam Byford says, “bears are good, confirmed.” Also, Carl Kinsella is surely not exaggerating when he says, “This is the best thing to ever happen.”
A few more:
According to the latest WaPo/ABC poll, midway through first term, Trump is not meeting the public’s modest expectations for his job performance, write Dan Keating and Dan Balz of The Washington Post.
Mujib Mashal of The New York Times reports, U.S. and Taliban Agree in Principle to Peace Framework, Envoy Says. This morning, he tweets, “An expanded version of our story is up, and it will continue to grow and update as we bring in more context and perspective.”
Scoop from Neelam Pandey of The Print, India’s Intelligence Bureau is red-flagging private universities whose promoters or teachers have been “critical of the Modi government.”
At The Guardian, Patrick Butler reports on a new Centre for Cities thinktank study that finds deprived northern regions have been the worst hit by UK austerity. “It was a political choice to do this,” notes Jude Kirton-Darling.