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Morning Reads: Why Won’t Network News Ask Candidates About Climate?

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

Morning Reads: Network News Won't Ask Candidates About Climate

Democratic president candidates (L to R) Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O'Malley, debate at Saint Anselm College December 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Democrats debate –> The three Democratic candidates for president faced off at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire on Saturday night. Mother Jones offers some “key moments.”

As usual, DC insiders proclaimed Hillary Clinton the winner, and the internet proclaimed Bernie Sanders the winner. The New York Times and PolitiFact fact-checked the discussion, which was largely policy based and, unlike the GOP’s events, lacking many over-the-top moments.

Differences on taxes –> Sanders and Clinton split on whether they’d raise taxes on the middle class, defined by Clinton as those making less than $250,000 per year. Clinton said she wouldn’t do it; Sanders would raise taxes by an average of $1.61 per week, he said, to help pay for expanded health care and free public-college education. Clinton’s position, writes Matthew Yglesias at Vox, “speaks to a certain amount of intellectual bankruptcy in contemporary American liberalism. It’s an ideology that stands for the creation of new government programs but won’t stand up for the idea that these programs are actually sufficiently valuable to ask people to pay for them.”

Silent on climate –> ABC’s moderators didn’t ask a single question about climate change, notes Slate’s Josh Vorhees. That makes two debates in a row, one Republican, one Democratic, in which the issue received hardly any discussion at all — even though both took place within days of the historic Paris climate agreement.

Meanwhile, Brian Kahn at Climate Central: “November marks the second month in a row the global average temperature was more than 1°C (1.8°F) above the 1951-80 baseline period NASA uses. October and now November are the first time in NASA’s dataset that a given month has been a full degree Celsius above average… With November’s new record, the probability of this year being the record hottest year is now greater than 99.999 percent. In laymen’s terms, that means it’s as likely to be a record setter as it is for the sun to rise tomorrow.”

Government funded, at a cost –> The omnibus spending-and-taxation package made its way through both houses of Congress and on Friday was signed into law by the president. Reporters are hailing the bill as a welcome end to an “age of austerity” that has gripped Washington in recent years. BUT: As we’ve noted here in Morning Reads, and as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship explain in greater detail, there was a lot hiding in that legislation that was less than savory.

Obama speaks out –> Julie Hirschfield Davis at The New York Times: “President Obama said in a radio interview airing on Monday that Donald J. Trump, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, is exploiting the resentment and anxieties of working-class men to boost his campaign. Mr. Obama also argued that some of the scorn directed at him personally stems from the fact that he is the first African-American to hold the White House.”

Before it’s too late –> The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the publication purchased by the conservative casino magnate and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson, is wasting no time investigating their new boss amidst fears that he might seek to influence the paper’s reporting. That includes a Sunday editorial from the self-described “libertarian/conservative” editorial board exploring how Adelson’s business interests might influence future editorial policy. Adelson, who owns the Israel Hayom newspaper in Tel Aviv, “isn’t shy” about using that paper to push his political agenda, the board writes.

ALSO: The Review-Journal reported on Friday that in the midst of negotiations to sell the paper to Adelson, reporters were assigned to monitor the activities of three local judges, one of whose caseloads includes “a long-running wrongful termination lawsuit filed against Adelson and his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp…” The case includes “allegations that Adelson turned a blind eye to prostitution and other illegal activities in his resorts” in Macau.

Times gets it wrong –> Amid the rush to push out information on the San Bernardino shooting last week, The New York Times published an anonymously sourced story claiming immigration officials had missed social media posts by the killers advocating jihad. That wasn’t true, but the damage was done; Republican politicians, including those running for president, used the reporting to lambast the president’s call to allow refugees into America. This misreporting led Times public editor Margaret Sullivan to write that, “the paper needs to show far more skepticism — a kind of prosecutorial scrutiny — at every level of the process… If this isn’t a red alert, I don’t know what will be.”

Selective hearing –> Zaid Jilani at The Intercept: “When a CBS News segment featuring a focus group of American Muslims aired Friday, it highlighted their relationship to terrorism, with a particular fixation on how much responsibility they felt to condemn terrorist attacks. But … CBS edited out parts of the discussion where they raised their own concerns — including critiques of US militarism, surveillance and entrapment.”

What could possibly go wrong? –> Interesting longread from The New York Times about what happens when profit-hungry hedge funds bail out an entire US territory. Puerto Rico’s billion-dollar deal with Wall Street is “testing the power of an ascendant class of ultrarich Americans to steer the fate of a territory that is home to more than three million fellow citizens,” write Jonathan Mahler and Nicholas Confessore. And Kelsey Snell and Karoun Demirjian report at The Washington Post that “Democrats pushed to have aid for Puerto Rico, which is struggling to pay its debts, in the year-end [budget] deal, but Republicans refused.”

American optimism –> Headline on Jonathan Chait’s latest column at NY Mag: “People Who Were Certain Climate Change Is Fake Are Now Certain That Paris Can’t Stop It.”

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship.

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