Weekly Update 30 Aug - 05 Sep 20
Updated: Sep 6
Clips on media/communication, national security, politics, sports, and pop culture worth knowing about in the days ahead.
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By Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic
Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.
By Guy Snodgrass, for Forbes
Call this one the “September Surprise.”
Jeffrey Goldberg’s scathing article in The Atlantic on Thursday rapidly trended to become the nation’s leading story heading into the Labor Day Weekend, claiming that President Trump called WWI veterans ‘suckers’ and ‘losers’ when canceling a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery during a 2018 state visit to France.
By David Byler, Washington Post
By almost any measure, 2020 is a very different kind of election.
A pandemic. A recession. Social protests in multiple cities that are entering their fourth month. Record numbers out of work, and record highs in the stock market. Social distancing in offices, restaurants, even in some homes. The oldest nominee in history. A president talking about ignoring the results.
By David Brooks, NYT
If Trump claims a victory that is not rightly his, a few marches in the streets will not be an adequate response. There may have to be a sustained campaign of civic action, as in Hong Kong and Belarus, to rally the majority that wants to preserve democracy, that isolates those who would undo it.
By John C. Danforth and Matt Malone, for WSJ
Today a growing number of Americans regard their political opponents not as fellow citizens with whom they disagree but as enemies; as politically, socially and even morally irredeemable. Millions of Americans consume news in echo chambers, while countless numbers have lost friends or even turned away from family over political disagreements.
By George Will, for the Washington Post
The U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding Taiwan has become untenable, as has Joe Biden’s 2001 stance. President George W. Bush, asked that year whether the country has an obligation to defend Taiwan against an attack by China, said: “Yes, we do, and the Chinese must understand that.” Bush was asked, “With the full force of the American military?” He answered: “Whatever it took.” Bush’s national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said “the Taiwan Relations Act makes very clear that the U.S. has an obligation that Taiwan’s peaceful way of life is not upset by force.”
Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit are holding regular meetings with one another, with federal law enforcement — and with intelligence agencies — to discuss potential threats to election integrity. The unprecedented 2020 war games show how the Bay Area tech giants are worried that the government doesn't have the COVID election under control, and are trying to protect their platforms against sinister efforts to game the outcome.
On Thursday, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the company’s “New Steps to Protect the U.S. Elections.” They include blocking new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day and attaching labels to posts containing misinformation, specifically related to the coronavirus and posts from politicians declaring victory before all the results are counted.
America’s Competition With China Is Not About Doctrine
Bipartisanship is exotic these days in the United States, but the two parties do share something: a deep concern about China. Asked in February at the Munich Security Conference whether she agreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s China policy, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi remarked dryly but tellingly: “We have agreement in that regard.” Legislation supporting Hong Kong and Taiwan and sanctioning Chinese officials easily passed Congress this year. Unlike in the past, today China has few—if any—friends in the corridors of power in Washington.
By Josh Rogin, Washington Post
President Trump has been publicly promising to build a 350-ship U.S. Navy since his 2016 campaign and he’s still campaigning on it. He will end his first term failing to achieve that goal. But according to the Pentagon, China did it — on Trump’s watch.
By Jeff Schogol, Task and Purpose
With each passing day, it increasingly looks as if Pentagon officials are trying to hide from the press until the presidential election is over. We seem to be back to the bad old days when then-Defense Secretary James Mattis’ relationship with President Donald Trump became so strained that Mattis and other top Pentagon leaders were wary of saying anything at all to avoid antagonizing the president. Now current Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who publicly broke with Trump in June about the need to use active-duty troops in response to protests and riots across the country, is also reportedly at odds with the president. And it appears that Esper wants to fly under the radar as long as possible.
Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 26,709,458 — Total deaths: 876,400 — Total recoveries: 17,778,605 .
U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 6,232,889 — Total deaths: 188,252 — Total recoveries: 2,283,454 — Total tests: 81,293,103 .
Politics: How to prepare for an election facing unprecedented threats.
World: Pope to take first trip since coronavirus lockdown — Pandemic is erasing a decade of global progress in child mortality rates — China calls for U.S. visitors to show negative COVID-19 tests.
Sports: 77 of 130 major college football teams to play this season.
World: India surpasses 4 million coronavirus cases.
By Leana S. Wen, for the Washington Post
Eight months into the biggest public health crisis of our lifetimes, the United States is facing a related crisis: one of confidence in our federal government’s top scientific institutions.
Video by Sanya Dosani and Chai Dingari, NYT
While the United States was creating confusion with its virus messaging, the rest of the world got creative.
Dr. Richard Chung and Dr. Charlene Wong for USA Today
During COVID-19, college students' risk-taking and ingenuity could become productive in curbing the virus and reopening, so encourage them.
By Sapna Masheshwari and Gillian Friedman, NYT
In August, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales in the United States rose 1.2 percent in July, the third straight month of growth. But the increase slowed noticeably from June, and the way Americans are shopping has changed significantly. Customers have moved online in greater numbers, hoping to avoid crowds at stores, and retailers are already adjusting their holiday plans accordingly.
By Michael Levenson and Jennifer Schuessler, NYT George Washington University said on Thursday that it was looking into a blog post, written under the name of an associate professor of history, saying she had engaged in a yearslong deception by assuming various Black identities even though she is white.
By Helene Cooper, NYT
All things being equal, Col. Anthony Henderson has the military background that the Marine Corps says it prizes in a general: multiple combat tours, leadership experience and the respect of those he commanded and most who commanded him.
By Angela Watercutter, Wired
The actor's criticism of how the franchise treated characters of color is obvious to those who watched the trilogy. He's just calling it out.
Pew Research Center
72% of U.S. adults say news organizations do an insufficient job telling their audiences where their money comes from
By Maelle Gavet, for Fast Company
Social media platforms are manipulating users and distorting our sense of reality—just as George Orwell predicted.
It’s tempting to call the Covid-19 pandemic a black swan — an event so unexpected and devastating that companies could not have prepared for it. But experts have been predicting global pandemics for years, and in January 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report cited infectious diseases as a potential threat. Yet very few companies included a global pandemic in their highest risk categories.
By Maynard Webb, for Fast Company
Act quickly,Problems don’t get better with age.
By Frank Baker, Boston City Councilman - Dorchester Reporter
It’s hard to believe that we have entered the sixth full month of Covid-19 paralyzing our city and our lives. I have previously written here about the solutions we all need to deliver in order to maintain our civility and society during these incredibly difficult times. I have called for support of our police as they dedicated themselves to our safety amidst a global pandemic. I have asked for support of Black Lives Matter. And I have asked for support of our city budget, one that considered the transformational effects the virus has had on our economy and funds services that help all of our residents with affordable housing, schools, and public health initiatives.
As sports begin to trickle back, the way they are measured will start to look a little bit different. The changes could help boost TV network viewership numbers substantially for sports and other types of programming typically viewed outside of the home — including bars, restaurants and workplaces.
Kinley was in fourth grade when Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president of the United States. The nomination had enormous meaning to minority communities that only saw white men as commander in chief, and it planted a seed in the mind of the young Black kid in Memphis, Tenn.