What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Terror Again in NYC; Fox’s Russia Coverage Embarrasses Staffers

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Fox's Russia Coverage Embarrasses Staffers

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Terror –> Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in yesterday’s vehicular terror attack in downtown Manhattan that left eight people dead, was an Uzbeki green card holder — and Uber driver — who a friend described as seemingly happy and fond of the US but had long “been on the radar of federal authorities,” according to The New York Times.

At USA Today, Kim Hjelmgaard notes that “Uzbek nationals have carried out a string of terrorist attacks in Europe this year,” and offers a brief backgrounder on the country. (She also notes that “Uzbekistan is not covered by President Trump’s proposed travel and refugee bans for several Muslim-majority countries.”)

The story continues –> Bloomberg’s Greg Farrell, David Voreacos and Henry Meyer report that “former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos made a significant claim in an email: Top Trump campaign officials agreed to a pre-election meeting with representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

During the campaign, Sam Clovis, who is now Trump’s climate-change denying pick for the top scientific job at the Department of Agriculture, “knew that…Papadopoulos was talking to Russians,” according to Catherine Boudreau and Josh Dawsey at Politico. Clovis has been cooperating with investigators, and his confirmation hearing may be imperiled by his involvement.

Paul Manafort’s indictment has left “Washington’s legion of lobbyists” worried about their own unregistered work with foreign governments, according to John Hudson and Zoe Tillman at Buzzfeed.

And Curt Devine reports for CNNMoney that “Facebook accounts run by Russian trolls repeatedly called for violence against different social and political groups in the US, including police officers, Black Lives Matter activists and undocumented immigrants.”

But not everywhere –> Oliver Darcy reports for CNN that “some employees at Fox News were left embarrassed and humiliated by their network’s coverage of the latest revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling.” One unnamed “Fox News personality” told Darcy that it made him or her “want to quit.”

And Vox’Alvin Chang looks at a week of Fox News transcripts and charts how they came to question Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s integrity.

Under pressure –> Politico reports that “House Republicans postponed the much-anticipated rollout of their tax reform proposal Tuesday night, an ominous sign for a direly needed legislative accomplishment for President Donald Trump and his party.”

Jason Furman and Greg Leiserson write at Vox that the “real cost” of the GOP’s high-end tax cuts is that they’ll require either bruising spending cuts “or tax increases in other areas,” both of which “could hurt many American families.”

Reuters reports that “Republican tax legislation due to be released this week in the US House of Representatives will not include a deduction for state and local income taxes.” If they hold that line, it will make it very difficult to get the votes of Republicans from states with significant income taxes. 

The Earth He has given to the sons of men” –> On Tuesday, EPA head Scott Pruitt “used the Bible to explain his major changes to the composition of the agency’s independent science advisory committees,” writes Rebecca Leber at Mother Jones. She quotes Pruitt offering a story about the Biblical figure Joshua, and adds: “What the ‘Joshua Principle’ means for the EPA is that scientists who receive agency grants for their research are now barred from serving on any of its independent advisory boards, “a rule-change that “opens the door to more industry and political representation.”

The economics of legalization –> California’s recreational marijuana market becomes legal on Jan. 1, but state and local taxes on weed of up to 45 percent in some parts of the state may keep the black market in business. Aaron Smith has more at CNN.

Don’t know much about history –> The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer argues that when White House chief of staff John Kelly said the Civil War resulted from a “lack of an ability to compromise,” rather than slavery, he was not only “invoking a rosy view of the Confederacy echoing that of his boss,” but also one that’s been carefully cultivated by an “organized pro-Confederate propaganda campaign that has been conducted for a century.”

Hollywood’s Latino problem –> In the real world, the native-born commit crimes at a higher rate than the foreign-born, but a new study finds that half of Latino immigrant characters on TV are portrayed as criminals. Rebecca Sun has more on that story at The Hollywood Reporter.

#ThemToo –> “Waves from the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal crested across the Atlantic and crashed through the hallowed halls of British democracy,” writes Fortune’s Claire Zillman, with “multiple members of Parliament facing accusations of sexual misconduct by legislative staffers.”

Meanwhile, six women have accuses filmmaker Brett Ratner “of sexual harassment or misconduct,” reports the Los Angeles Times. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Andy Dick has been dropped from the independent feature film Raising Buchanan following accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct on set.” And Paul Farhi reports for The Washington Post that “NPR is investigating allegations by two women who said the head of its news department,” Michael Oreskes, “made unwanted physical contact with them” when he worked for The New York Times 20 years ago.

Death threats –> A Georgia man has been arrested for threatening to kill Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican representing South Carolina, dozens of times after Scott spoke out about Donald Trump’s tepid response to the deadly white supremacist riot in Charlottesville back in August. Emma Dumain has more on that at The State.

Super storms of the past? –> Maybe! Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post that “ancient storms may have been able to hurl huge boulders, scientists say” — which raises a new, frightening possibility about future superstorms driven by a warming climate.

How they operate –> Gothamist’s Jake Offenhartz reports that a group of “alt-right” counter-protesters infiltrated a student-led demonstration against right-wing extremist Mike Cernovich at Columbia University on Monday. They then briefly unfurled a sign that said “no pedo-bashing,” took a photo, and as a result, Donald Trump Jr., along with countless other conservatives on Twitter, now believe a conspiracy theory about “pro-pedophile anti-fascist student protesters.” Offenhartz notes that this is not the first time that white nationalists have deployed this tactic.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



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