Media

Fox & Friends

DeSantis gives Fox 'exclusive' of him signing election bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, continuing his ongoing feud with most of the “corporate media,” on Thursday signed into law a contentious election bill during an event where only Fox News was allowed to observe.

The far right conspiracy

Facebook knew of Honduran president’s manipulation campaign – and let it go

Facebook allowed the president of Honduras to artificially inflate the appearance of popularity on his posts for nearly a year after the company was first alerted to the activity. The astroturfing – the digital equivalent of a bussed-in crowd – was just one facet of a broader online disinformation effort that the administration has used to attack critics and undermine social movements, Honduran activists and scholars say. Facebook posts by Juan Orlando Hernández, an authoritarian rightwinger whose 2017 re-election is widely viewed as fraudulent.

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Showed lawmakers nude photos of women he claimed to have slept with

Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican being investigated by the Justice Department over sex trafficking allegations, made a name for himself when he arrived on Capitol Hill as a conservative firebrand on TV and staunch defender of then-President Donald Trump. Behind the scenes, Gaetz gained a reputation in Congress over his relationships with women and bragging about his sexual escapades to his colleagues, multiple sources told CNN. Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with, the sources told CNN.

Media

Washington Post lifts ban on reporter from covering sexual assault

The Washington Post on Monday lifted a ban on breaking news reporter Felicia Sonmez, which she says had barred her from covering stories related to sexual assault and harassment after she criticized newsroom leadership. Sonmez tweeted she had been informed by her editors that the ban was being lifted on Monday afternoon.

The Talk

Sharon Osbourne leaves TV show after row about Meghan and Piers Morgan

Sharon Osbourne has left US chat show The Talk following an on-air row over Piers Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex, CBS said. Osbourne clashed with her co-hosts while defending Morgan, who left his job on Good Morning Britain following his comments about Meghan. The Talk is off air while CBS investigates the incident.

Chris Cuomo · CNN

Cuomo testing story stirs controversy for CNN anchor

CNN should investigate anchor Chris Cuomo and he should publicly talk about allegations he received prioritized COVID-19 testing — ordered by his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) — while reporting on the pandemic, said Matthew Hall, national president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Boulder Mass Shooting

Someone livestreamed the Boulder shooting, YouTube isn’t taking it down

As the mass shooting that left ten people dead was still unfolding Monday afternoon in Boulder, Colorado, the incident was playing out live on YouTube to an audience of 30,000 people. The livestreamer, Dean Schiller, had left King Soopers supermarket on Table Mesa Drive just before the shooting began. When he heard the first shots fired, he turned on his phone and began to record. More than three hours later, Schiller, who describes himself as a citizen journalist and operates the ZFG Videographer YouTube channel, finally stopped recording.

New Social media Platform

Trump will use 'his own platform’ to return to social media after Twitter ban

Donald Trump will soon use “his own platform” to return to social media, an adviser said on Sunday, months after the former president was banned from Twitter for inciting the US Capitol riot. Trump has chafed in relative silence at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida since losing his Twitter account and the protections and powers of office. Recently he has released short statements which many have likened to his tweets of old. Speculation has been rife that Trump might seek to create his own TV network in an attempt to prise viewers from Fox News.

Circuit Senior Judge Laurence Silberman

Federal judge accuses NY Times, WaPo of being 'Democratic Party broadsheets'

A federal appeals court judge in his dissenting opinion in a defamation case on Friday accused The New York Times and The Washington Post of being “Democratic Party broadsheets.”

Meghan Markle

Sun investigator says he illegally obtained information about Meghan

A private investigator employed by the Sun has said he illegally accessed the Duchess of Sussex’s private information shortly after she met Prince Harry. Dan Hanks, who lives in Los Angeles, told the website Byline Investigates that he compiled a 90-page report on the future member of the royal family in October 2016, shortly after the tabloid newspaper first became aware of her relationship with the prince.

Alexi McCammond

Teen Vogue’s new top Editor out after backlash over old racist tweets

Just days before she was set to begin the job, Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief is out at the publication following internal uproar over her decade-old tweets about Asians. People familiar with the situation told that Alexi McCammond, a former Axios political reporter who was hired by Condé Nast earlier this month to lead Teen Vogue, will no longer join the fashion and lifestyle publication.

Meghan Markle

Charlie Hebdo criticised for 'offensive' cartoon

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has sparked outrage with a cartoon depiction of Queen Elizabeth kneeling on the neck of Meghan Markle, echoing the death of George Floyd.

Disinformation

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is trying to launch a social media site

MyPillow founder and staunch Trump ally Mike Lindell plans to launch a social network of his own in the next few weeks, creating a haven for the kind of pro-Trump conspiracy theories that have been banned on more prominent social-media sites. On Lindell’s “Vocl” social media platform, users will be free to claim that a supercomputer stole the election from Donald Trump, or that vaccines are a tool of the devil.

Fox News

Military leaders thrash Tucker Carlson after comments about female troops

Senior military officials are condemning Fox News host Tucker Carlson for saying this week that President Joe Biden is making a “mockery” of the armed forces through efforts to recruit and keep women in the service. On Tuesday, Carlson complained during his prime-time program that while “China’s military becomes more masculine … our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.”

‘calculated and cruel’

Tucker Carlson keeps attacking a New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz

Fox News host Tucker Carlson devoted a lengthy portion of his show Tuesday night to attacking New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz over her accounts of facing online harassment, claiming that in fact she has “one of the best lives in the country.”

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Meghan personally complained to ITV about Piers Morgan remarks

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, reportedly filed a formal complaint to the British broadcaster ITV concerning host Piers Morgan's comments about her mental health in her and Prince Harry's recent bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Decision to quit

Piers Morgan storms off set of Good Morning Britain in Meghan row

Piers Morgan has decided to leave GMB after a row over remarks he made about the Duchess of Sussex’s mental health. ITV said it had accepted the presenter’s decision to leave the breakfast show, saying in a statement: “Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add.” Ofcom has launched an investigation into Morgan’s comments, after receiving more than 41,000 complaints. Morgan had made dismissive remarks on Monday’s show about Meghan’s claims during a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired in the US on Sunday night to have had issues with her mental health.

Media

Rupert Murdoch prepares to hand over his media empire

Birthday parties in pandemics are dreary, even for billionaires. But Rupert Murdoch’s 90th, which he will celebrate on March 11th, should at least be less stressful than his 80th. Back then British detectives were burrowing into a subsidiary of his firm, News Corporation, then the world’s fourth-largest media company, for evidence that its journalists had hacked phones and bribed police.

Fox News

Tucker Carlson calls QAnon followers 'gentle' patriots

Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory are “gentle people waving American flags”, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on Friday night – two months since many joined a mob that stormed the US Capitol seeking to overturn Donald Trump’s election defeat, a riot in which five people died.

Facebook & Co

A few rightwing 'super-spreaders' fueled bulk of election falsehoods, study says

A handful of rightwing “super-spreaders” on social media were responsible for the bulk of election misinformation in the run-up to the Capitol attack, according to a new study that also sheds light on the staggering reach of falsehoods pushed by Donald Trump. A report from the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a group that includes Stanford and the University of Washington, analyzed social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok during several months before and after the 2020 elections.

New Study

Far-right misinformation received highest engagement on Facebook

Content posted from news outlets rated as far-right received the highest levels of engagement on Facebook in the months surrounding the 2020 elections, according to a new study. Moreover, researchers found that among far-right outlets, sources identified as spreading misinformation had on average 65 percent more engagement per follower than other far-right pages. The study evaluated a total of 8.6 million Facebook and Instagram posts between Aug. 10 and Jan. 11 downloaded from the tool CrowdTangle.

Inforwars

Alex Jones seen on leaked video saying he's 'sick' of Donald Trump

Prominent conspiracy theorist and far-right media personality Alex Jones is seen in a newly revealed video complaining about former President Trump and exclaiming that he wished he had never met him.

Shortnews

Voltswagen

Volkswagen accidentally posts new company name

Volkswagen on Monday appeared to accidentally announce a rebranding with the new name “Voltswagen,” before quickly removing the press release from its website. On Monday morning, the German automaker posted a statement on its website announcing the “rebranding,” in an apparent shift towards its investment in electric vehicles, before taking it down, USA Today reported. In the release, the automaker said the rebranding is “more than a name change."

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Voltswagen

Volkswagen accidentally posts new company name

Volkswagen on Monday appeared to accidentally announce a rebranding with the new name “Voltswagen,” before quickly removing the press release from its website. On Monday morning, the German automaker posted a statement on its website announcing the “rebranding,” in an apparent shift towards its investment in electric vehicles, before taking it down, USA Today reported. In the release, the automaker said the rebranding is “more than a name change."

"‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility,” the release said, according to USA Today, which saved a photo of the statement before it was removed.

“The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs,” the statement added.

A person familiar with the company’s plans told USA TODAY that Volkswagen is planning on making the change permanently. The source added that the company was not hacked, that the announcement was not a joke, and that it was not a marketing ploy.

Volkswagen’s plans to rebrand come as several automakers are beginning to invest more in electric vehicles. In November, General Motors announced that it was investing $27 billion through 2025 as part of its commitment to electric and autonomous vehicles. Additionally, the company unveiled plans to launch 30 electric vehicles globally by 2025.

Recovery

White House downplays surprising February jobs gain

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far from a full and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The February jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. gaining 379,000 jobs last month, nearly double the consensus estimates of economists. The unemployment rate also dropped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020, as businesses prepared for a post-pandemic world.

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Recovery

White House downplays surprising February jobs gain

Top White House officials took little solace in the better-than-expected February jobs report, insisting Friday that the U.S. was far from a full and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The February jobs report released Friday showed the U.S. gaining 379,000 jobs last month, nearly double the consensus estimates of economists. The unemployment rate also dropped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2020, as businesses prepared for a post-pandemic world. President Biden’s top advisers, however, sought to spotlight how much economic damage the U.S. needs to repair and shortcomings of the rebound so far as Democrats push a $1.9 trillion aid bill through Congress.

“If you think today's jobs report is ‘good enough,’ then know that at this pace … it would take until April 2023 to get back to where we were in February 2020,” tweeted White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

If you think today's jobs report is "good enough," then know that at this pace (+379,000 jobs/month), it would take until April 2023 to get back to where we were in February 2020.

— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) March 5, 2021
Even with February’s gain, the U.S. is still 9.5 million jobs short of replacing those lost to the pandemic, and 18 million Americans are on some form of jobless aid, according to the Labor Department. The unemployment rate has also been artificially depressed by the exit of nearly 5 million Americans from the workforce since the onset of the pandemic.

Cecilia Rouse, chair of Biden’s White House Council of Economic Advisers, highlighted in a Friday analysis how Black and Hispanic women have suffered the greatest declines in labor force participation.

“Black women were only 14 percent of the female labor force in February 2020, but have accounted for a disproportionate 26 percent of female labor force dropouts since then,” she wrote. “Hispanic women were only 17 percent of the female labor force in February 2020 but have accounted for 27 percent of the female labor force dropouts.”

The White House’s concerns are shared broadly by economists, who are generally optimistic in the economy’s prospects for 2021 but concerned about the depth of damage yet to be repaired.

“The pace of job growth in February was a pleasant surprise, but it is still too early to get excited,” wrote Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.com.

“At this pace, it will take about four and a half years to get back to where the labor market would have been without the pandemic. Millions of Americans out of work do not have that time,” Bunker wrote.

Even so, Republicans — who are almost unanimously opposed to Biden's relief bill — touted the surprising February jobs gain as proof the recovery is well underway.

"America’s hard work and perseverance during the challenges of the last year are finally being realized, and more Americans are being vaccinated," said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. "With a third vaccine now available for distribution, expectations are set for a record recovery from the pandemic-induced recession."

COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

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COVID-19

CDC signs off on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday formally accepted the recommendation from its advisory panel that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older in the United States. The announcement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will allow vaccinations to begin as soon as the doses are received. Walensky called the decision "another milestone toward an end to the pandemic."

"This vaccine is also another important tool in our toolbox to equitably vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible," Walensky said in a statement.

A senior administration official told reporters Sunday evening that Johnson & Johnson will ship 3.9 million doses immediately, and vaccine distribution centers will start receiving them as early as Tuesday.

Experts have said the vaccine could be targeted at places like rural communities, health centers or individual physician offices because of its relatively easy storage requirements.

However, senior administration officials said the goal is equitable distribution, and doses will be allocated to states by population, just as the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are.

Most communities will have doses of all three vaccines, but not every vaccination site will because of limited availability. Officials stressed people should take whatever vaccine is available.

An administration official said the 3.9 million doses are Johnson & Johnson's entire inventory. There will not be any additional deliveries next week, and the official said governors are aware distribution through the early and middle parts of March will be "uneven."

A total 20 million doses of J&J's vaccine will be sent in March, but they will be concentrated more toward the end of the month. The U.S. has paid for 100 million doses, which the company has pledged will be delivered by June.

The U.S. paid more than $1 billion to aid in the manufacturing and delivery of J&J's vaccine. Nearly a year ago, the company also won $465 million in federal funding for vaccine research and development, bringing its U.S. funding total on the project to almost $1.5 billion.

The nation's third coronavirus vaccine arrives days after the United States surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

While nursing home deaths have sharply dropped, as have overall cases and deaths, the CDC is warning the decline in new cases has stalled amid a rise in more contagious variants of the virus.

At the same time, governors across the country are lifting coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates and capacity limits, despite warning signs of a new spike from the virus mutations.

"This third safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine comes at a potentially pivotal time," Walensky said in the statement.

"CDC’s latest data suggest that recent declines in COVID-19 cases may be stalling and potentially leveling off at still very high numbers. That is why it is so critical that we remain vigilant and consistently take all of the mitigation steps we know work to stop the spread of COVID-19 while we work our way toward mass vaccination," Walensky said.

CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

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CPAC

News outlets diverge over airing Trump's speech

CNN and MSNBC did not air former President Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday while Fox News and other conservative outlets such as Newsmax and OANN carried his remarks live. Fox News began airing Trump's speech after the former president took to to the stage at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. CNN continued on with coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and MSNBC continued to air its "PoliticsNation" program, though it aired a short clip from the speech.

Trump was the last scheduled speaker to at CPAC. During his first major post-presidency address, the former president attacked the Biden administration, the media and immigrants, in many ways echoing the first campaign speech he made when announcing his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's relationship with media has largely been combative, with the former president sometimes even attacking outlets that were sympathetic to him. He attacked Fox News over its polling and after the outlet declared Biden the winner of the Arizona in the 2020 election.

During his speech, Trump also attacked the multiple changes the Biden administration made after assuming office, many of which reversed the actions of the Trump administration, including ending the transgender military ban, rejoining the Paris Climate agreement and reversing Trump's visa ban on legal immigration.

He also repeated numerous false claims about voter fraud and the results of the 2020 election.

Trump revealed in his speech that he would not be starting a new political party, ending speculation that he was starting a separate party.

Payments

Federal Reserve suffers widespread disruption

The Federal Reserve suffered a widespread disruption in multiple payment services Wednesday, including a system that banks and businesses rely on to zip trillions of dollars around the financial system each day. After experiencing problems for several hours, the crucial payment system, known as Fedwire, resumed normal operations shortly before 3 p.m. ET, according to the Fed's website.

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Payments

Federal Reserve suffers widespread disruption

The Federal Reserve suffered a widespread disruption in multiple payment services Wednesday, including a system that banks and businesses rely on to zip trillions of dollars around the financial system each day. After experiencing problems for several hours, the crucial payment system, known as Fedwire, resumed normal operations shortly before 3 p.m. ET, according to the Fed's website.

Other Fed services are still down, however.

In a statement, the Fed blamed an "operational error" and said it is working to restore services and communicate with customers.

Banks, businesses and government agencies rely on Fedwire to transfer vast sums of money around the US banking system. More than $3 trillion was transferred daily using Fedwire during the fourth quarter.

The problems were widespread. Fed staff "became aware of a disruption for all services" beginning around 11:15 a.m. ET, according to a message on the Fed website.

"Our technical teams have determined that the cause is a Federal Reserve operational error," the message said.
In an update, the Fed said that it has "taken steps to help ensure the resilience" of Fedwire and national settlement service applications "including to the point of failure."

It's not clear how many banks or companies are affected by the outage.

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange backed by the Winklevoss twins, said some of its systems are experiencing outages because of the Fed disruption. "All funds remain secure while we investigate the issue," Gemini said in a status update.

A person familiar with the matter at a major bank told CNN Business that Fedwire flows have resumed. There are few concerns that any payments will fail to be executed due to the outage, the person added.