New reality

Well, “This is quite bad,” as Sam Rubin tweets. LA Weekly staff is slashed as publication's sale to Semanal Media closes, reports Lauren Raab of The Los Angeles Times. Hidden Los Angeles tweets, “We don't know the identities of the new owners... and now we don't know who's going to be writing LA Weekly either.” “What the frack,” says Jessica Lussenhop. “The investors behind the LA Weekly need to reveal themselves. Journalism and secrecy don’t go together,” tweets Matt Pearce.

Meanwhile, “Failed effort to plant false story about Roy Moore part of months-long campaign to infiltrate Post, other media,” tweets Rosalind Helderman, who links to Woman’s effort to infiltrate The Washington Post dates back months, by Beth Reinhard, Aaron C. Davis and Andrew Tran of The Washington Post. “Project ‘Veritas’ in name only,” notes Tom Krattenmaker. Tweets Eric Lipton, “New reality for reporters in DC: assume that stranger asking you questions is a partisan spy.”

Indeed, James O'Keefe, head of Project Veritas, vows further undercover operations: ‘Being hated is a sign of respect,’ reports The Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach. Tweets Andre Perry, “Lying to get to truth is something I ask my six year-old not to do.”

Also, the White House Bars One of Few Black Journalists From Attending Christmas Party, as Newsweek’s Chris Riotta reports, referring to American Urban Radio Networks Washington bureau chief April Ryan. Craig Pittman explains: “Prez Part-Time #Florida Man Really Prefers A White Christmas.”

A kiss to the donor class

So about those tax cuts. “Republicans insist corporations will use their tax cuts to invest in workers. Corporations: ummm, no,” tweets Igor Bobic, who links to Trump's Tax Promises Undercut by CEO Plans to Reward Investors, by Bloomberg Politics’ Toluse Olorunnipa. “You just know what I'm going to say, right? Mmmhmm — suhhhprise, suhhprise, suhprise!” tweets Brandon Weber. Tweets Brendan Greeley, “As always, CEOs are always the realest when they talk to investors.” “Don’t say you weren’t told,” says Carolyn Lochhead.

And brace yourself, because “You have never read an article about tax policy as frightening as this one,” says Amelia Lester. At The New York Times, Peter Goodman and Patricia Cohen write that It Started as a Tax Cut. Now It Could Change American Life. “The end of: a) upward mobility and b) the idea of America,” is how Brent Staples sums it up. “It is at every turn carefully engineered to deliver a kiss to the donor class,” says Randeep Ramesh

Also, “Another financial product that helped exacerbate crisis returns. Welcome back to the repo,” tweets Max Colchester, who links to The Return of the Repo: A Market’s Postcrisis Comeback, by Jon Sindreu of The Wall Street Journal.

Seriously America

“Is there a doctor in the White House?” Bill Chuck is asking in light of the report from Peter Baker and Eileen Sullivan of The New York Times, Trump Shares Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Videos, and Britain’s Leader Condemns Them (114,000+ shares). Meanwhile, a New York Daily News editorial says, Donald Trump is a madman: The President's Wednesday Twitter spasm confirms what many Americans have long suspected. “Seriously America,” says Waynw Moriarty.

“‘Facist’, ‘racist’, ‘evil’ - Trump's getting some pretty brutal personal feedback in the British parliament today,” tweets Matt Wells, who links to May says Trump was ‘wrong’ to share anti-Muslim videos, by CNN’s James Masters. Tweets Ram Ramgopal, “Trump's Twitter attack is straining the UK-US relationship.”

Now seems like a good time to Meet Bahtiyar Duysak, the man who deactivated Trump’s Twitter account. That’s from Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch.

New scoop this morning from Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times reveals that the White House Envisions Tillerson Ouster From State Dept., to Be Replaced by Pompeo, Within Weeks. So this is “What happens when you allegedly call your boss a moron,” as Niki Blasina tweets. “Arguably the buried lede here is that there could be an open Senate race in Arkansas next year,” tweets David Klion.

Axis of harassment

At Variety, Ramin Setoodeh and Elizabeth Wagmeister have the exclusive details behind yesterday’s announcement: Matt Lauer Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women. A former reporter is quoted as saying, “They protected the s— out of Matt Lauer.” The piece also reveals, “His office was in a secluded space, and he had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up.” “This is straight terrifying,” says Amy Choi. “The lede alone on this is just appalling and just the start,” tweets Kara Swisher. And “Oh the burn on this kicker,” says Carolina A. Miranda. Tweets Ray Locker, “NBC News’ profits from morning TV hinged on Lauer, who had multiple enablers.”

Benjamin Cassidy tweets, “I tracked down Garrison Keillor at a Pittsfield restaurant following his show's cancellation at The Colonial. Story.” He links to After show canceled, Keillor says firing ‘kind of bewildering to me,’ his piece for the Berkshire Eagle.

Today’s breaking news, from Sara Moniuszko of USA Today, Russell Simmons steps down from companies following new accusation from writer Jenny Lumet. “They're dropping like their flies!” observes Michael Corcoran.

And an Army veteran says Franken groped her during USO tour in 2003, reports CNN’s MJ Lee. As Farhad Manjoo notes, “This brings the total to five.”

Still holding at 16 is the U.S. President. In a new piece for The Daily Beast, Brandy Zadrozny writes that in a previously unreported comment to Maximum Golf magazine, Trump Bragged: ‘Nothing in the World Like First-Rate P**sy.’ Also read the story to find “A new entry in the category of worst moments of malpractice in journalism,” as Choire Sicha tweets.

“How years of interoffice romance at the top of Google became a big problem. @ReedAlbergotti digs deep,” tweets Amir Efrati, who links to Reed Albergotti’s piece for The Information, Google Reckoning with History of Interoffice Romance by Top Execs. “Andy Rubin was just the opening salvo it seems,” says Sarah Kunst.

At Politico, Todd Purdum takes a look at the Axis of harassment: Hollywood, Washington and the media confront their demons.

Holy hell

“Oh look here's Erik Prince peddling a new plan to make money from conflict, this time in Libya,” tweets Martin Hodgson, who links to Blackwater founder pitches plan to quell Libya migrant crisis with private police, by Stephanie Kirchgaessner of The Guardian. “If ‘deploy the mercenaries!’ is your only answer, what kind of godawful questions are you asking?” tweets Matt Nippert.

“READ. THIS,” says Katie Zavadski. She links to Strong Evidence that U.S. Special Operations Forces Massacred Civilians in Somalia, Christina Goldbaum’s report for The Daily Beast. Tweets Justin Miller, “U.S. FORCES FIRED ON UNARMED CIVILIANS, PLANTED WEAPONS ON THEM.” “Holy hell. Well... Trump did promise to Make War Crimes Great Again,” tweets Andrew Kirell

Hidden treasures

How about a palate cleanser? HuffPost’s Garreth Van Niekerk takes a look at Johannesburg Art Gallery's Amazing Hidden Treasures. He writes, “The embattled Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) is exhibiting its archive of paintings, decorative objects, sculpture and literature, after the invaluable collection was nearly destroyed by water damage earlier this year.”

Monica Drake “can't stop re-reading this lovely piece from @sahiltner.” She’s referring to Looking for the Sublime? It’s in This Swiss Valley, by Stephen Andrew Hiltner of The New York Times. Tweets John Branch, “I hesitate to promote this because it's one of my favorite places, so please look but don't go there.”

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