If you demonize an entire swath of people...
There was utterly disturbing news out of Maryland yesterday which made Rachel Cohen react simply with “um.” It was the revelation that a Coast Guard Officer Plotted to Kill Democrats and Journalists, according to prosecutors. Dave Philipps wrote that story for the New York Times. “Gee, it's like if you demonize an entire swath of people, unstable people might just act on it!” Steve Kiggins figured out. Bill Ritter reacted with: “This is i-n-s-a-n-e.”
The self-proclaimed white nationalist reportedly planned a mass terror attack, the government said. Lynh Bui’s reporting for the Washington Post includes this alarming quote: “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on earth.” Peter Hermann shared another: “The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country."
What’s happening with Jussie Smollett?
There were still more surprising updates on the Jussie Smollett story out of Chicago - Sopan Deb at the New York Times wrote that the actor had been Labeled a Suspect by Chicago Police.
ABC News’ Mark Osborne reported that Smollett was taken into custody by Chicago police over allegedly lying about the attack.
Chicago’s CBS affiliate got ahold of Video Showing the Brothers Linked To Jussie Smollett’s Attack Buying the Items Allegedly Worn In his Assault.
Despite the allegations, Faith Karimi and Brad Parks at CNN wrote that Jussie Smollett's attorneys vowed an “aggressive defense” as he faces a felony charge for allegedly staging his own attack.
And the latest from Fox came from the AP on Wednesday. Smollett’s employer said the actor is “a pro on set” and his role was not cut.
A blackface update
USA Today conducted a review of 900 yearbooks and found blatant racism including blackface, KKK hoods, and mock lynchings. Brett Murphy led that investigation. Michelle Maltais pointed out, “It was not just the South...we found blackface and Ku Klux Klan photos like Ralph Northam's far beyond Virginia.”
Then in a surprising twist to that piece USA Today also published an opinion piece from Nicole Carroll, who admitted, I became part of our story on racist images in college yearbooks. I’m here to own my mistake and apologize. It begins: “The news is full of blackface pictures. There can be no debate about whether or not such images are racist and hurtful. They are. It was recently brought to my attention that I was involved in publishing such a photo when I was in college.”
The Mueller report seems imminent
We’ve heard that the Justice Department is preparing for the Mueller report in the coming days, from Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post. Zapotosky added a bit more info on Twitter: “Team Mueller is down to a lean 12 attorneys, they're roping in AUSAs to receive the hand-off of cases & they could submit a report to the AG in the coming days.”
Likely following a slew of books written by former staffers, the Trump White House Is apparently Forcing Interns to Sign NDAs and Threatening Them With Financial Ruin, according to Asawin Suebsaeng at The Daily Beast.
But that might not be the worst of the Trump team’s problems. Because Nina dos Santos at CNN reports that Senate investigators are pursuing Trump's Moscow-based American former business associate. “There's a new name in the Russia inquiry,” Matt Wells announced. “What does the man known as ‘Geo’ know?” Daniel Wright wondered out loud.
For another bit of Trump news that will have you questioning...everything, there’s a report from BuzzFeed News that Trump Never Actually Ordered Disaster Officials To Cut Off Aid To California Wildfire Survivors even after he said he did. Brianna Sacks, who co-wrote the article with Hamed Aleaziz, tweeted: “Remember that time Trump said he had ordered FEMA to ‘send no more money’ to survivors of California's wildfires until state officials ‘got their act together’? Turns out, he never did.”
If you want to know How a top EPA regulator's law firm profited from the fight to roll back air rules, read Zack Colman, and Alex Guillen’s exclusive in Politico. Colman shared, “The biggest US coal-burning power companies paid a DC lobbying firm millions to tear down Obama enviro rules. Then one of its lobbyists became EPA's top air regulator. We reveal these companies -- and we have the receipts.”
Election season is never over, election season is just beginning
Here’s how Molly Ball and Philip Elliott describe the 2020 Democratic Primary in their piece for Time Magazine: The Biggest Field Yet. No Frontrunner. A Divided Base. Should be fun, right? Simon Rosenberg called the piece a “very worthwhile deep dive on a changing Democratic Party” so now you have to give it a read.
“The cyber propaganda — which frequently picks at the rawest, most sensitive issues in public discourse — is being pushed with a more insidious approach than in the 2016 presidential election, when online attacks aimed at polarizing and misleading voters,” Daniel Haar tweeted. Per Natasha Korecki at Politico, a “sustained and ongoing” disinformation assault is targeting Democratic presidential candidates. Carrie Budoff Brown wrote, “New @natashakorecki scoop: Main targets of the campaign are Harris, Warren, O’Rourke and Sanders. The goal: undermine the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation, and distortions of their positions.” Chris Brennan added, “I look forward to @Twitter and @Facebook telling us — in 2021 — how they’re going to crack down on this sort of abuse of their platforms.”
Amy Gardner shared Wednesday: “My take on a very dramatic day in NC election hearing, where a heartbroken son (and federal prosecutor) came forward to say he warned his father, Mark Harris, not to hire McCrae Dowless.” Read her piece Candidate’s son warned father of N.C. political operative’s alleged tactics in the Washington Post.
The business desk
From Shanghai.ist, Uniqlo says its new spring jacket was not inspired by Mao Zedong. Anna Fifield elaborated: “Uniqlo says it's ‘purely coincidental’ the jackets and trousers in its new spring collection can combine to look a lot like the outfits that Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping wore.”
In what Allison Prang called “banking AND tech news today,” Apple and Goldman Sachs have teamed up on a credit card which will be paired with the iPhone. Tripp Mickle, Liz Hoffman, and Peter Rudegeair at the Wall Street Journal got that scoop. The card will be available “this spring” and “will help users manage their money.”
Margaret Sullivan takes CNN to task in her Perspective piece for the Washington Post, writing CNN’s hiring of a GOP operative as political editor is even worse than it looks. “My column on what this terrible hire says about 2020 coverage, whether CNN has learned anything (no) and the defensive addiction to both-sides ‘journalism,'” she tweeted.
In another newsroom a few hundred miles away, New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger responded to President Trump’s continued attacks on a free press. It includes this line Connor Ennis tweeted: "The phrase 'enemy of the people' is not just false, it’s dangerous."
One more thing
There’s news out of Syracuse that SU’s men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim hit and killed a man who was walking on I-690, according to what a source told Douglass Dowty at Syracuse.com. Brent Axe wrote, “Wow. Stunning news on this Thursday morning.”