Nothing really matters, anyone can see
Welcome to Monday. If you’re still missing that extra hour of sleep, here’s a story to throw a little cold water in your face. Daniel Schulman, David Corn and Dan Friedman of Mother Jones have been doing some digging into the story of the massage parlor owner/Trump donor who sold access to Trump, and the latest twist is that Cindy Yang has ties to groups directly connected to the Chinese government and the Communist Party (28,000+ shares). Josh Rogin frames it this way: “Alleged human trafficker turned Trump supporter member of Chinese Communist Party influence operations groups.” At this rate, Will Pollock thinks it’s only a “matter of time before we learn Yang's at the center of a Chinese #natsec operation implicating 85% of GOP.” As Joshua Holland says, “Imagine how this would go down if things still mattered.”
2016, but more
Speaking of Trump donors, Trump’s massive reelection campaign has 2016 themes - and a 2020 infrastructure, according to new reporting by Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post. The campaign has already raised $100+ million, “with millions of small-dollar donors and wealthy supporters poised to add to that record haul.” Dawsey gives the highlights on Twitter: “Targeting 23 million voters. A team to attack the media. Lots of specific digital advertising. Inside the nascent but growing Trump campaign — and the early preparations to pull off a difficult path.” Is it worth it? Well, Steven Greenhouse suggests, “Trump’s Re-Election Slogan Should Perhaps Be: Four More Years (to Keep Me From Getting Indicted and Going to Prison).”
So, what’s he telling those donors? Axios’s Jonathan Swan reveals, Behind the scenes: Trump tells RNC donors that the “Democrats hate Jewish people.” Swan also notes, “Trump joked that the agents were ‘in blackface’ because of the masks so maybe ‘they have to take them away,’ according to two sources who were there.” To recap, “In addition to lying that he never said ‘Tim Apple,’ Trump also said Democrats hate Jews, he’d make a great Israeli PM, his Secret Service agents wear blackface, and Joe Biden was ‘the dummy.’ To donors. Who donated to him,” tweets Adam Weinstein. And Aram Zucker-Scharff reminds us, “Donald Trump said there were some ‘good people’ along an angry mob yelling ‘Jews will not replace us.’ That context needs to be attached on every one of these stories. If it's not, you've failed as a reporter.”
Meanwhile, in an exclusive for ABC News, Tom Llamas sat down with Keith Davidson, the former attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and the one who brokered the deals with Trump. In that interview, Davidson tells Llamas the hush-money deals were ‘done for political reasons,’ as Llamas and Kaitlyn Folmer report, and “that’s what makes it a crime, folks,” tweets Quinta Jurecic.
One burn after another
In other 2020 news, “nothing screams pull quote like an emblematic Bad Word,” tweets Nick Niedzwiadek, who links to ‘F---in insane’: De Blasio allies warn against 2020 run, by Laura Nahmias and Sally Goldenberg at POLITICO. For what it’s worth, “Another self-described friend of the mayor called the idea ‘idiotic.’” As Kate Hinds says, “This whole story is one after another but this in particular: ‘There’s a little bit of self-righteousness about him that thus far hasn't translated into a groundswell of support for a federal candidacy.’”
And then, “The revolution eats its own,” tweets Josh Kraushaar, who links to another POLITICO story, this one by Alex Scott Thompson and Daniel Strauss, who report that a mid-20s female aide to Gillibrand resigned in protest over the handling of her sexual harassment complaint by Gillibrand‘s office, and criticized the senator for failing to abide by her own public standards.
Pretty consistent with the public record
Moving on, because as Adam Serwer says, “I understand why people are focusing on other things but man is it bizarre that Tucker Carlson’s politics are shaped by actual castration anxiety.” For that, head over to Media Matters, where Madeline Peltz reveals, In unearthed audio, Tucker Carlson makes numerous misogynistic and perverted comments. Erik Wemple tweets, “I have contacted Fox News for a comment about the newly surfaced recordings of @tuckercarlson saying misogynistic things. One thing Fox News cannot say: We’re shocked and appalled. That’s because even though these new recordings are awful, they are pretty consistent with the public record that preceded @mmfa presenting the recordings.” Check out Wemple’s Twitter thread for some examples, if you can stomach it. But the point is, “I continue to be surprised at how many national news cycles Bubba the Love Sponge plays a major part in,” as Jimmy Geurts tweets.
Your daily depressing reminder
“What happens when a community loses its newspaper? David Bauder links to his analysis with David Lieb of The Associated Press, which shows us that a decline in readers and ads has led hundreds of newspapers to fold. As Barb Shelly tweets, “And here is your daily depressing reminder about the sad state of journalism -- in the form of an excellent piece of journalism centered in Missouri.”
Aman Batheja notes, “This from the @ap wins the award for bleakest anecdote ever written about a small town losing its newspaper.” He’s referring to this: “For painful, personal reasons, Pulaski County Sheriff Jimmy Bench wishes the Daily Guide was there to report on the December death of his 31-year-old son, Ryan, due to a heroin overdose. It would have been better than dealing with whispers and Twitter.” “Note to self: Make the news deserts bloom,” tweets Dean Betz.
Powerful, worrying, distressing stuff
A warning, from Ben Casselman: “This @MaxZahn_ @SharifPaget story on Amazon warehouse workers threatening suicide is hard to read. Read it anyway. (If it is safe for you to do so.)” He links to ‘Colony of Hell’: The Shocking 911 Calls From Inside Amazon Warehouses, by Max Zahn and Sharif Paget of The Daily Beast. Joseph Cox says, “This is really powerful, worrying, distressing stuff.” Adds Abby Haglage, “holy hell, this @thedailybeast story.”
The relentlessness of media stereotypes
Read Rory Smith’s new profile of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling in The New York Times to learn why Raheem Sterling Has Had Enough. As Siraj Datoo tweets, “There's actually a lot in this story about ethics in journalism (basics of fact-checking, or reaching out for a comment) -- and there's another point he makes too: there needs to be more ethnic diversity in the media.” He adds, “When I woke up i didn't think I’d be reading important media criticism from @sterling7, but here we go.” Andrew Das also highlights, “Raheem Sterling on perception, reality and the relentlessness of media stereotypes about black athletes. ‘When people are making the public believe you are a character you aren’t, that is hurtful, and it is degrading.’” Whether you follow soccer or not, don’t miss this one. As Mark Di Stefano says, “The NYT profile of Raheem Sterling is worth everyone’s time – especially for the non-football fan.”
Let’s all be more Greta
Finally today, to find out why “greta thunberg rules,” as Tristan Cross tweets, head over to The Guardian for Jonathan Watts’ interview with 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, schoolgirl climate change warrior: ‘Some people can let things go. I can’t.’ Tweets Kristiane Sherry, “This girl is amazing. Be more Greta. We ALL MUST do better on climate change.”
- Check out this fascinating new interactive piece by Adam Satariano, Chang W. Lee, Troy Griggs, Blacki Migliozzi and Karl Russell at The New York Times, which shows How the Internet Travels Across Oceans. Tweets Satariano, “The tech industry’s influence is extending to the oceans, where Google, Amazon and Facebook are racing to lay undersea cables to keep up with our growing data needs. I visited a Google ship with @nytchangster to get a look.”
- Bloomberg’s Fergal O’Brien reports that the Global Economy Hits Its Weakest Spell Since the Financial Crisis. The Bloomberg Economics model says growth has eased sharply, and while the slowdown may stabilize, downside risks remain.
- As Nicholas Casey points out, “Maduro is responsible for countless crimes against Venezuelans. But the burned aid truck you saw on TV may not be one of them. New footage shows the most likely source of the fire was a Molotov, thrown by protestors.” He links to his New York Times story with Christoph Koettl and Deborah Acosta, Footage Contradicts U.S. Claim That Maduro Burned Aid Convoy.
- “Meanwhile in Somalia: the article,” tweets Charlie Savage, who links to his piece with Eric Schmitt at The New York Times, Trump Administration Steps Up Air War in Somalia. “Last year, the strikes killed 326 people in 47 disclosed attacks,” they write. “And so far this year, the intensity is on a pace to eclipse the 2018 record.”
- Ben Spurr reports on data collected by The Toronto Star through a freedom of information request that reveals, TTC officers have collected more than 40,000 records on riders who weren’t charged with an offence. He tweets, “For years TTC officers have been documenting the personal information of transit users who aren’t charged with any offence. A Star analysis suggests they have documented Black people in disproportionately high numbers.”
- Bloomberg’s Angus Whitley reports that China Has Asked Local Airlines to Ground the Boeing 737 Max after Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash.
- WHAT. New from Lily Kuo at The Guardian, China database lists ‘breedready’ status of 1.8 million women.