Five decades

Jan 15, 2018

Today is MLK Day, and at The Washington Post, David M. Chappell explores The radicalism of Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent resistance. Also at The Post, DeNeen Brown writes of Martin Luther King Jr.’s scorn for ‘white moderates’ in his Birmingham jail letter. Tweets Brian White, “Remember Dr. King's legacy not with watered-down platitudes about his dream but with his scorn for the ‘white moderate’ who is the ‘great stumbling block’ on the path to freedom.”

In an op-ed for USA Today, Benjamin Crump, a civil rights advocate and attorney who represents Trayvon Martin’s family, says that To honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream we have to say ‘enough.’ He writes, “After 50 years of dreaming of civil rights, it’s time for America to wake up and get real.” And in an op-ed for The Hill, Dr. King and today’s call for a revolution of values, NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson urges people, “regardless of political affiliation, to stand against the attempts to remake our democracy into something less than what it has the potential to be.”

At The Atlantic, Vann R. Newkirk II writes that Trump Is a Manifestation of the Backlash Against MLK. He tweets, “Wrote this on half a century of backlash to MLK, its culmination in Trump, and how today King’s legacy is dismantled by those who celebrate him.” Jeffrey Goldberg calls it a “Strongly argued piece from @fivefifths on five decades of white backlash,” and Caroline Nyce says simply, “you're gonna want to read @fivefifths today.”

In a New York Times interactive piece that Kyle Blaine calls “Amazing” and Noga Tarnopolsky labels “Fantastic,” Jacey Fortin and Maggie Astor reflect, 50 Years Later, It Feels Familiar: How America Fractured in 1968. Patrick LaForge sums it up: “MLK. RFK. The battle of Chicago. Vietnam. Men orbiting the moon. French protests. Soviets on the march. Nixon elected. The year 1968 in push alerts.” Tweets Justin Sablich, “Very cool idea by @nytimes: What 1968 would have been like w/mobile news alerts. ‘The enormity of everything’ that happened that year would have been realized much sooner.”

If you have to deny it…

So here are some of the stories you may have been following over the weekend. Republican Senator David Perdue of Georgia says Trump Didn’t Use Vulgarity for Haiti and African Nations, writes Noah Weiland of The New York Times, and Paul Volpe has questions. Specifically, “How do you go from ‘I don’t recall’ to ‘he didn’t use that word’ in two days. And why wouldn’t you dispute the account immediately? And why wouldn’t the White House dispute the account immediately?” “There must be something freeing about going through life with absolutely no shame,” speculates Dan Pfeiffer. Jason Koebler says it’s “Cool that we’re spending today listening to a bunch of liars cover for a racist instead of discussing the implications of having a racist president and figuring out a way to protect those he’s hurting.”

For his part, Lindsey Graham says, ‘My memory hasn’t evolved’ on meeting where others say Trump referred to ‘shithole countries.’ That’s the report from Jamie Lovegrove and Andrew Harnik of The Post and Courier.

And for his part, ‘I’m Not a Racist,’ Trump Says in Denying Vulgar Comment, reports Michael Shear of The New York Times. Although… “If you have to deny being a racist, then you are probably a racist... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” Juan Escalante points out.

And then there’s this: David Leonhardt and Ian Philbrick of The New York Times have compiled Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List. Stuart A. Thompson explains, “We wanted to publish sooner, but it took too long to assemble all the examples.” Josh Sternberg’s only question: “Why is this in the Opinion section?”

Epic design fail

As AP reporter Caleb Jones recounts the moments after Hawaii missile alert, Amy B Wang of The Washington Post takes a closer look at the Hawaii missile alert: How one employee ‘pushed the wrong button’ and caused a wave of panic. To put it in terms we can all relate to, “Tfw all the ads load while you're in the process of clicking, and everything jumps around the page so you click the wrong thing,” tweets John Burn-Murdoch. “Epic design fail,” as Eric Umansky says.

This won’t make you feel any better. At The New York Times, Max Fisher writes that the Hawaii False Alarm Hints at Thin Line Between Mishap and Nuclear War. Or, as Atul Gawande, tweets, “How the unavoidability of diagnostic uncertainty when alarms go off, plus first-strike instability, put us minutes away from a poor or misguided decision-maker triggering unimaginable devastation. #mustread.” Mark Pazniokas notes, “It ran on page 13. Maybe because it was the scariest story in the paper.”

Meanwhile, Michael Tackett is “Listening for that drumbeats,” as the Military Quietly Prepares for a Last Resort: War With North Korea. That’s the latest from Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and John Ismay, also of The New York Times.


At The Washington Post, Anne Gearan reports on the “Dueling audio”: White House claims Wall Street Journal misquoted Trump as saying he has a good relationship with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. In case you’re having trouble keeping up, CNN’s Brian Stelter lays it out for you: “Timeline: On Thursday POTUS had a ‘fun’ interview with the @WSJ... on Friday the paper reported about Stormy Daniels... and on Saturday the White House labeled the paper ‘fake news.’”

Oh, if you missed the Stormy Daniels story somehow, which is actually possible — as Stephen Smith, tweets, “How has this been online for an hour and I didn't see it till now? wtf am I even on Twitter for” — here it is: Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment For Adult-Film Star’s Silence (271,000+ shares), by Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo of The Wall Street Journal. Tweets Anthony Zurcher, “Can’t trust salacious gossip from a tawdry tabloid rag like the <looks down> Wall Street Journal.”

What could possibly go wrong?

Chris Dwyer is reacting to the exclusive from Robert O'Harrow Jr. at The Washington Post, Meet the 24-year-old Trump campaign worker appointed to help lead the government’s drug policy office. Pema Levy points out, “The White House office tackling the opioid epidemic is run by a 24-year-old with a penchant for embellishing his resume. This story is unreal.” As Chris Iorfida says, “By the time Alec Baldwin shows to give a quote, you'll be like, 'why the hell not, the story's already kind of bonkers.'” But look at it this way: “Only 24 years old, and already a master of the padded resume! #Competence,” tweets Colin Delany.

Bogus logic

“A sad day for democracy and press freedom. We at Rappler received the SEC’s kill order revoking our license to operate,” tweets Natashya Gutierrez of the Philippines news website Rappler. She links to Stand with Rappler, defend press freedom. Rappler tweets, “SEC’s kill order revoking Rappler’s license to operate is the first of its kind in history. We intend to not only contest this through all legal processes available to us, but also to fight for our freedom to do journalism.” Dan Gillmor explains that this is “How dictators manipulate government against journalism. Philippines regulator, following lead of press enemy Duterte, concocts bogus logic to revoke vital journalism company's registration.”

So listen, Facebook is done with quality journalism. Deal with it, writes Frederic Filloux, editor of Monday Note. Simon Frantz agrees: “Facebook has killed the news media 3 times (brand recognition, authorship, biz model). Time for publishers to recognise this & move on.” As for quality journalism, though? Marie-Catherine Beuth says, “I doubt it was ever about it.”

In the UK, The Guardian is unveiling a new look. “The Guardian won a Pulitzer and expanded heavily overseas. But along the way, it racked up major losses. Now, it is switching to a tabloid print format,” tweets Prashant Rao, who links to the story by Amie Tsang of The New York Times, The Guardian, Britain’s Left-Wing News Power, Goes Tabloid.

Meanwhile, “Tweeted without comment” from Samira Ahmed, Fear stalks the BBC, and women like me are being gaslighted and lied to, according to an op-ed by “Anonymous” in The Guardian today. Also “Not commenting on this - just posting” is Sarah Montague. Tweets Anne-Marie Tomchak, “As a former BBC woman, I felt so much empathy for the author of this anonymous piece. Not to mention compassion over the level of fear women in the BBC are feeling.”

But here’s some “Sense, finally. Virgin un-bans the Mail,” is how James Manning headlines it, linking to the news from Virgin that Richard Branson is overturning the “ban” on selling the Daily Mail on Virgin trains.

A sick feeling

In The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari, Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic responds to the allegations of sexual misconduct in Katie Way’s piece posted on the website Babe, I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life, and the reactions are mixed. “If you had a sick feeling in your stomach after reading the Aziz Ansari story, @CaitlinPacific will make you feel better,” says Rachael Larimore, while Rebecca Reid says, “I was so with this article until the last paragraph, which seemed unable to avoid taking a nasty swipe at young women. It's an interesting meditation, and without the bitterness I think it could have been very helpful.” Lauren Tara LaCapra’s take: “Hello I am an old person who doesn’t get these whippersnappers and their rape culture nonsense. Something something avocado toast and homeownership.” And Osita Nwanevu leaves us with this: “Jesus Christ, what the hell is this?”

About the author

Nashville-based writer, marketing communications consultant, and all-around word nerd. Usually covered in dog and/or cat hair.

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