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Daily Reads: Trump’s FCC Is Poised to Kill Net Neutrality; Fox to Pay Out $90 Million in Sexual Harassment Scandal Settlement

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

Trump's FCC Is Poised to Kill Net Neutrality

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The high cost of harassment –> 21st Century Fox settled a shareholder lawsuit “arising from the sexual harassment scandal at its Fox News Channel, which cost the jobs of longtime news chief Roger Ailes and anchor Bill O‘Reilly,” for $90 million, reports Jonathan Stempel for Reuters. The big tab will be picked up by insurers for Fox and Roger Ailes’ estate after a judge signs off on the settlement.

In yesterday’s news, women accused the following high-profile men of some form of inappropriate behavior: TV journalist Charlie RoseNew York Times reporter Glenn Thrush; Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and Oliver Stone. Also, five women say they were groped at a TED Talks conference last year, and blame the organization for not doing enough to rein in abusive behavior.

Criminalizing dissent –> The first six of around 200 activists accused of felony riot during Trump’s inauguration went on trial in DC yesterday. One defense attorney “suggested the charges were being pursued because groups like the American Civil Liberties Union would sue the police department” for the tactics it used that day, and without widespread convictions against the hundreds of people they detained, “the government would lose.” Ryan Reilly reports for  HuffPost that the accused face “decades in prison” if convicted.

Elections have consequences –> “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will reveal plans to his fellow commissioners on Tuesday to fully dismantle the agency’s Obama-era net neutrality regulations,” reports Margaret Harding McGill for Politico. “Pai also will follow through on his plans to scrap the legal foundation that the FCC’s old Democratic majority adopted in 2015 to tighten federal oversight of internet service providers.”

The human toll –> The Trump administration will end a special status granted to about 60,000 Haitians after a 2010 earthquake rocked their country and send them back to Haiti within 18 months, according to Joseph Tanfani at The Los Angeles Times. US officials say Haiti has recovered from both the disaster and the political strife that followed, but according to Tanfani, “a report by the United Nations in January said the country is still mired in poverty and struggling to recover from a legacy of political upheaval and serial disasters, with about 2.5 million people still needing help.”

Making America Great Again –> Jason Szep and Matt Spetalnick report for Reuters that “a group of about a dozen US State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to stop foreign militaries from enlisting child soldiers.”

Democracy and elbow grease –> David Eggert reports for the AP that an all-volunteer group of activists called Voters Not Politicians “has defied the odds by collecting hundreds of thousands of voter signatures for a 2018 initiative to overhaul redistricting in Michigan — without having to pay a dime for a signature.” The Wolverine State is one of the most heavily-gerrymandered in the union, according to voting rights experts.

Not over yet–> Days after the Keystone pipeline leaked over 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, Rebecca Leber reports for Mother Jones that the fight over Keystone XL is far from over, as activists vow to “exploit every single” opportunity to halt its completion.

Green light –> Laura Rozen reports for Al Monitor that State Department officials are pressuring the Saudi government “to ease their pressure campaigns on Qatar and Lebanon and improve aid access in Yemen to avert catastrophic famine.” But at the same time, Saudi officials say “they have at least tacit approval from the White House for their hard-line actions, in particular from President Donald Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.”

Irony –> We may finally see some rigorous antitrust enforcement in an increasingly consolidated media sector because the president has a personal vendetta against CNN. Sara Forden, David McLaughlin, and Scott Moritz report for Bloomberg that AT&T and Time Warner remain “defiant”after the Department of Justice announced a lawsuit to block the proposed merger of media giants.

And former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps released a statement in conjunction with Common Cause saying that while the proposed deal “clearly violates… antitrust law… President Trump’s railing against CNN should not have played any role in the Justice Department’s decision to bring suit.”

It’s springtime for Mar-A-Lago –> Lauren Gill reports for Newsweek that “Mar-A-Lago was once thought of as the peak of the Palm Beach social scene, but now members reportedly can’t convince their friends to step foot in it, forcing them to go elsewhere.” But filling the void are a number of far-right groups that “have started flocking to the resort as a means of showing support for the commander-in-chief.”

And with only so many far-right groups to go around, Oliver Smith reports for The Telegraph that “average room rates have fallen by as much as 63 per cent at all but one” of Trump’s 13 hotels.

More than one way to skin a cat –> At The Nation, Joshua Holland lays out an alternative to Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All proposal that might avoid some of the potential barriers to getting it passed.

Crisis –> Germany has plunged into political chaos after talks to form a new coalition government fell apart amid recriminations from four different parties. Paul Hockenos reports for Foreign Policy that “it’s going to be a while before Europe’s most powerful country has a stable government – and Angela Merkel probably won’t be leading it.”

“It’s the capitalism, stupid” –> That’s the headline on Benjamin Fong’s New York Times piece arguing that “the real culprit of the climate crisis is not any particular form of consumption, production or regulation but rather the very way in which we globally produce, which is for profit rather than for sustainability.”

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


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