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Member since: Sun Jan 22, 2017, 08:04 PM
Number of posts: 2,107

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The Media Today: Yes, we're doing it all over again

From the Columbia Journalism Review

Since Donald Trump became president, there has been a never-ending series of articles about what the media did to enable his victory. Near the top of that list is the air time and free advertising ($2 billion worth, according to one estimate) given to him by TV networks like CNN, because they knew he would attract a crowd, in much the same way a car accident does. Also near the top of the list is credulous reporting of stories about Hillary Clinton that were fed by hacked and leaked emails, creating the erroneous impression that both sides were equally guilty of political transgressions. Given the sheer volume of these “lessons learned” pieces, you might think it unlikely that something similar would happen this time around. You would be wrong. A blizzard of news on Wednesday showed that some are not only failing to heed those warnings but failing hard.

Take NBC. In the wake of Trump’s refusal to attend a virtual presidential debate, the network offered the president his own town hall event and scheduled it at the same time as Biden’s previously announced town hall (at Trump’s behest). In other words, the network is treating a debate between candidates for president as though it were the finale of a celebrity cooking show. More than one observer was reminded of what former CBS chief executive Les Moonves said about Trump’s presidency in 2016: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” New Yorker writer Sue Halpern called the NBC decision “stunning and shameful”, and Yashar Ali of HuffPost said more than a dozen NBC sources expressed “frustration and anger toward their employer.” As Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan said: “the defining media story of this era is mainstream journalism’s refusal to deny Trump a giant megaphone.”

Meanwhile, in a flashback to the Hillary Clinton email story, the New York Post published a thinly sourced and highly questionable piece alleging that Joe Biden’s son Hunter introduced his father to a Ukrainian executive whose company was later investigated for fraud. The alleged evidence for this story– by a reporter who has spent almost her entire career as a producer at Fox News—includes emails taken from a laptop that a computer repair shop owner said may have belonged to Hunter Biden (the owner later gave a rambling and disjointed interview in which he contradicted himself repeatedly). And it appears that all the paper has are screenshots of the emails it says it has based the story on. Despite this, the story was breathlessly promoted by the usual suspects, including Rudy Giuliani and Breitbart News, and was even picked up by other outlets, including Bloomberg. The Biden campaign released a statement saying there was no truth to the report, and that the candidate’s calendar shows he was busy when the alleged meeting occurred.

Both Twitter and Facebook to tried to limit the amplification of the Post story, which quickly became a big part of the conversation. A Facebook spokesman said the social network had already started reducing the distribution of the report while it was being fact-checked. This is a reversal of the usual procedure, which typically involves reducing the algorithmic promotion of a story only after it has found to be false. But Facebook’s head of security noted that he had recently warned of the potential for foreign interference, including “hack and leak” operations aimed at destabilizing the election. Twitter took the extra step of preventing users from sharing the link, a decision that triggered immediate cries of censorship and which some said could backfire. Senator Josh Hawley wrote the Federal Election Commission arguing that the blocking amounts to a donation to the Biden campaign and is therefore a rules violation.

Posted by jayschool2013 | Thu Oct 15, 2020, 08:19 AM (7 replies)

Census Count Can Be Cut Short, Supreme Court Rules

Source: New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to shut down the census count ahead of schedule, a move that could allow the Census Bureau to submit tabulations excluding unauthorized immigrants by the end of the year.

The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the court acts on emergency applications. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, saying that “the harms associated with an inaccurate census are avoidable and intolerable.”

The administration has proposed various deadlines for completing field work and submitting the results. In April, after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the Census Bureau’s work, it said it would finish counting on Oct. 31 and submit the results in April 2021, after the statutory deadline of Dec. 31.

The administration changed course in August, ordering the field work wrapped up by Sept. 30, and delivery of totals by Dec. 31. The move came not long after the announcement in July that the administration would seek to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population totals it will send to Congress for reapportioning seats in the House.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/us/supreme-court-census.html

Posted by jayschool2013 | Tue Oct 13, 2020, 04:27 PM (16 replies)

University of Iowa pauses diversity training after Trump executive order

Source: Cedar Rapids Gazette

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa is pausing for two weeks all of its diversity and inclusion training and programming to evaluate whether any of it violates a new executive order from President Donald Trump barring what he called race or sex “stereotyping” or “scapegoating” training for federal workers, contractors or grant recipients.

In a message disseminated over the weekend to the UI president’s cabinet and council of deans, Liz Tovar — interim associate vice president for UI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion — said the temporary stoppage doesn’t alter the campus’ commitment to diversity.

“However, after consulting with multiple entities, and given the seriousness of the penalties for non-compliance with the order, which include the loss of federal funding, we are recommending that all units temporarily pause for a two-week period to evaluate any trainings, workshops, or programs that may include language or materials that could be deemed in violation of the executive order,” Tovar wrote.

The order, which Trump signed Sept. 22, aims to upend “destructive ideology” it argues is “grounded in misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world. This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans,” the order states.

Read more: https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/education/university-of-iowa-pausing-diversity-training-after-white-house-executive-order-20201005

Oy. The University of Michigan has condemned the order and is flouting it, continuing with its diversity and equity training.
Posted by jayschool2013 | Tue Oct 6, 2020, 08:34 AM (16 replies)

New York Times/Siena College poll of Nebraska's 2nd Congressional DistrictAn advantage in a small bu

Source: New York Times

In a close race, the presidential election could be decided by an unlikely spot: Nebraska’s Second Congressional District, including Omaha and most of its suburbs.

If the race is decided there, Joe Biden appears to have the advantage, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll. He leads President Trump by seven points, 48 percent to 41 percent, among likely voters in the first nonpartisan survey of the district so far this year, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The district is traditionally Republican, but Mr. Trump carried it by only two percentage points in 2016. It was even closer than familiar battleground states like Arizona or North Carolina.

The district’s demographics have made it an even more plausible pickup opportunity for Mr. Biden. It’s relatively white, metropolitan and well educated, and national polls routinely show Mr. Biden running ahead of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance among all three groups.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/presidential-polls-trump-biden?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage#new-york-times-siena-college-poll-of-nebraskas-2nd-congressional-district

Obama won the district in 2008.
Posted by jayschool2013 | Mon Sep 28, 2020, 01:51 PM (1 replies)

New Covid cases per day

Some numbers from yesterday, per https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

1. United States — 29,057 total, or 1 case per 11,295 people
2. United Kingdom — 5,525 total, or 1 per 12,063 people
3. Spain — 3,577, total, or 1 per 13,122 people
4. Italy —3,491 total, or 1 per 17,290 people
5. France — 3,824 total, or 1 per 17,518 people
6. Turkey — 3,783 total, or 1 per 21,675 people
7. Russia — 4,785 total, or 1 per 30,198 people
8. Germany — 2,327 total, or 1 per 35,676 people

Just a single-day snapshot of a few selected countries.
Posted by jayschool2013 | Sun Apr 19, 2020, 09:47 AM (7 replies)

Internal Documents Show Federal Agencies Supported the WHO Before Trump Was Against It

From ProPublica:

As President Donald Trump publicly bashed the World Health Organization over its response to the coronavirus pandemic last week, American aid officials tried to delicately sidestep the political tensions, internal documents shared with ProPublica show.

And Trump’s campaign upended weeks of partnership between his own administration and the WHO, which provides advice and support for health officials in developing countries. The U.S. Agency for International Development had chosen to funnel much of its pandemic response through the WHO.

Even as they dealt with the fallout of Trump’s decision to cut off WHO funding, his administration leaned on it for expert advice.

“Given the political dynamics, I do not recommend reference to WHO here or below,” wrote one U.S. Agency for International Development career official in a comment on a draft report about how emergency funding would be spent. “Recommend deleting.”
Posted by jayschool2013 | Sun Apr 19, 2020, 09:08 AM (0 replies)

Coronavirus Advice From Abroad: 7 Lessons America's Governors Should Not Ignore as They Reopen

From ProPublica:

Memo to America’s Governors:
From: ProPublica

Subject: Restarting the Economy

After insisting that he had absolute power to decide when to reopen the American economy, President Donald Trump has turned over to all of you what he initially called “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

Trump is often guilty of hyperbole, but he’s right in this case. Figuring out how and when to let people go back to work during an outbreak of life-threatening disease is the most consequential decision any of you will ever face. You’ve already seen the stakes in New York, New Jersey and Michigan. Get this wrong and thousands of people in your state will die. As the presidential election campaign heats up, count on the president to blast you for high unemployment rates in your state (you lifted restrictions too slowly) or clusters of deaths (you went too far, too soon).

To help you and your aides think about this decision over the next few weeks, we’ve interviewed experts and frontline officials from Italy, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. While they differ on the details, their views formed a startlingly united consensus of what’s needed:

1. Massive, ongoing testing to detect where the disease is spreading,
2. a real-time ability to trace contacts of those infected and isolate them,
3. a willingness of people to wear masks in crowded public spaces,
4. reserves of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment for hospital workers to handle any surge in cases,
5. and reliable, easily administered blood tests to find out the number of people who have been infected. If they work well, such tests could eventually be used to identify people with immunity who could work at higher-risk jobs.
Posted by jayschool2013 | Sun Apr 19, 2020, 09:05 AM (3 replies)

Health Officials Recommended Canceling Events with 10-50 People. Then 33,000 Fans Attended MLS Game

Source: ProPublica

On March 6, at 2:43 p.m., the health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County, the hardest-hit region in the first state to be slammed by COVID-19, sent an email to a half-dozen colleagues, saying, “I want to cancel large group gatherings now.”

The county’s numbers — 10 known deaths and nearly 60 confirmed cases as of late morning — were bad and getting worse. Many local events had already been called off for fear of spreading the coronavirus. Oyster Fest. The Puget Sound Puppetry Festival. A Women’s Day speaker series at the Gates Foundation. King County had ordered a stop to in-person government meetings unless they were considered essential.

The health officer, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, was to the Seattle area what Anthony Fauci would become for the country, the doctor at the microphone, dispensing guidance. Under Washington law, Duchin also had authority to make his wish an order.

Duchin sent his email 28 hours before the Seattle Sounders, defending MLS champions and one of the league’s biggest draws, were to host a match at CenturyLink Field. No event in the coming days would generate a gathering to compare. The game would draw people from across the Puget Sound area, and maybe beyond.

Read more: https://www.propublica.org/article/health-officials-recommended-canceling-events-with-10-50-people-then-33000-fans-attended-a-major-league-soccer-game

Posted by jayschool2013 | Sun Apr 19, 2020, 08:58 AM (12 replies)

Patriotic Quotes

Some famous words to stir your souls:

"I regret that I have but one life to give for the Dow Jones Industrial Average." — Hathan Nale

"Veni, Vidi, Investi." — Ghoulious Caesar

"I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his net worth." — Thready Roosevelt

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of the markets." — Ron F. Kennedy

"The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is dishonest, profitable." — Dedrick Fruglas

"Patriotism IS short, frenzied outbursts of emotion — what was I thinking when I said the opposite?" The New Adlai Stevenson

Posted by jayschool2013 | Thu Apr 16, 2020, 06:31 AM (7 replies)

U.S. Projects Summer Spike in Infections if Stay-At-Home Orders Are Lifted

Source: New York Times

Stay-at-home orders, school closures and social distancing greatly reduce infections of the coronavirus, but lifting those restrictions after just 30 days will lead to a dramatic infection spike this summer and death tolls that would rival doing nothing, government projections indicate.

The projections obtained by The New York Times come from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. The models use three scenarios. The first has policymakers doing nothing to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The second, labeled “steady state,” assumes schools remain closed until summer, 25 percent of Americans telework from home, and some social distancing continues. The third scenario includes a 30-day shelter in place, on top of those “steady state” restrictions.

The documents, dated April 9, contain no dates for when shelter in places orders were delivered nor do they contain specific dates for when spikes would hit. The risk they show of easing shelter-in-place orders currently in effect in most of the country undercut recent statements by President Trump that the United States could be ready to reopen “very, very soon.”

The model foresees a bump in the demand for ventilators — considered a stand-in for serious Covid-19 infection rates — 30 days after stay-at-home orders are issued, a major spike in infections about 100 days after, and peaking 150 days after the initial order. (Assuming further shelter-in-place policies are not implemented to reduce future peaks.)

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/us/coronavirus-updates-usa.html

Posted by jayschool2013 | Fri Apr 10, 2020, 12:52 PM (26 replies)
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