Sobering and frightening

Dec 21, 2016

An "in-depth bizarro profile" of Donald Trump's doctor? Yes, please.

That's how STATnews' Matthew Orr describes his colleague Ike Swelitz's latest piece, a practically hallucinatory stumble down the rabbithole with Dr. Harold Bornstein, the man who famously (and spuriously) proclaimed that Donald Trump would be the healthiest man ever elected president.

(To give you an idea of what a challenging piece this must have been to write, Bornstein told Swelitz at one point in the interview process, "I happen to have known the Sulzbergers for 50 years. I’m going to make sure you don’t ever work again if you do this.” Because if there's anyone who frowns on the kind of journalistic curiosity displayed by Swelitz it's the owners of the New York Times. Oh wait...)

Honestly, Bornstein was less concerned with discussing Trump and his policies and more focused on bashing Obamacare and how the press depicts his hair.

In any case, as The Verge''s Elizabeth Lopatto put it, "Stat News interviews Trump's doctor, who is.... not the most reassuring fellow."

But we think STAT's Damian Garde put it best: "Trump's doctor is a runaway Thomas Pynchon character."

Sobering and frightening

"If you thought that elected bodies would rein Trump in, this is sobering and frightening reading," tweets Autobiography blogger Stuart Bridgett in response to a Politico story revealing that hordes of Trump supporters on Twitter, Breitbart, and across the web are "browbeating" Republican officials who dare to oppose Trump in even the slightest manner.

Perhaps the most startling example of this phenomenon in action surrounds Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) who was told to "go hang yourself" simply because he cautioned that some of Trump's policies "are not going to line up very well with our conservative policies." All this, despite broadly pledging his support for the president-elect.

"Republican Congressmen are afraid of Breitbart," tweets The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone, matter-of-factly getting to the heart of the piece.

"Republicans have been terrorized into lockstep and Democrats are busy fighting about 'Is Lena Dunham good?'" says Digiday's Evan DeSimone, who is likely referring to a recent controversy that arose after the Girls star, in an ill-worded attempt to empathize with women who have had abortions, said she wished she'd had one. Which yeah, isn't a great look, but with courts increasingly emboldened by Trump's election to crack down on all manner of women's health initiatives, is Dunham really Enemy Number One for abortion rights activists?

But it's Ben Terris of the Washington Post who deserves the last word here, dropping the mic on anyone feeling sorry for these lawmakers and their thoroughly-beaten brows: "If negative coverage from Breitbart and angry tweets keep you from voting your conscience, maybe dont be in congress."

In other news:

A man named Adam Saleh has posted a video on Twitter that appears to show him and a travel companion being escorted off a Delta flight from Heathrow "because I spoke Arabic to my mom on the phone." The video has now been retweeted almost 600,000 times and has been shared by Muck Rack journalists over 12,000—oh wait, now over 13,000 times. It all sounds very awful, and nothing in the video directly contradicts Saleh's claims. Except.... as BuzzFeed notes, Adam Saleh is a YouTuber "best known for making hoax videos involving airlines." So yeah, there may be much more to this story than meets the eye.

"Been working on this ~weird~ story for a while and i'd love for you all to read it." Weird is a dramatic understatement for Amelia Tait's latest piece at the New Statesman which covers a "movie that doesn't exist and the Redditors who think it does." Uproxx's Keith Phipps sums it up in a tweet: "Who remembers the '90s Sinbad movie SHAZAAM? Apparently a lot of people despite it not, well, existing."

"Almost 40% of young Americans (18-34) were living with their families in 2015, the largest percentage since 1940," tweets Eli Yokley of Morning Consult, linking to a Wall Street Journal article on the new study.

Eater's Helen Rosner interviews culinary gadfly Anthony Bourdain about the election, "and the bleak world we're about to inhabit." The article's first sentence alone references "the balmy heat of Muscat," "frigid wind fires," and "Manhattan's crosstown canyons," which all makes for a nice literary treat on a cold day in a cold world.

And finally, according to Newt Gingrich—by way of CNN's David Wright and NPR's Morning Edition—Trump is dumping his whole "drain the swamp" rhetoric. Speaketh Newt: "It was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore." 

About the author

reporter covering music tech + politics. bylines @FastCompany @Guardian @thedailybeast @Stereogum I wrote @propublica's fracking song

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