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‘INFECTED’: How the media scrambled to cover Trump and the first lady’s positive coronavirus tests – The Washington Post



Speaking to New York Times journalist Peter Baker about President Trump and first lady Melania Trump quarantining while awaiting the results of a coronavirus test, Brian Williams uncharacteristically cut off the White House correspondent in the middle of his answer.

“Hang on, Peter,” Williams said around 1 a.m. on Friday. “Looks like … ” The MSNBC anchor trailed off, staring down at a piece of paper that was handed to him, knowing the next words out of his mouth were about to shift the nation’s regularly scheduled programming for the foreseeable future.

The “president of the United States has tested positive for covid-19,” he said in a grave tone. “This puts us in all new territory.”

Trump, 74, tweeted early Friday that he and the first lady have contracted the novel coronavirus, just 32 days before the election. The confirmation came hours after news broke that Hope Hicks, a top Trump aide who traveled with the president this week, had tested positive Thursday morning.

In a pandemic that has killed more than 205,000 people in the United States and sickened millions more, news of the president and first lady testing positive left journalists scrambling as much of the nation was going to bed.

As reporters flooded Twitter, daily newspapers stopped their presses to swap in front pages with the breaking news in bold headlines — “INFECTED,” shouted the New York Daily News. The San Francisco Chronicle chose a more sedate, “Trump says he has virus.”

At the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Greg Mees, the paper’s design director, was in bed when a colleague in the sports department called with the news. Mees, 29, leaped up and called the paper’s printing facility, which was already running off thousands of copies of the next day’s edition.

He didn’t quite yell, “Stop the presses!” — but close.

“I said, ‘Just slow it down as much as you possibly can,’” Mees told The Washington Post.

Within 30 minutes, Mees and his team shipped over a fresh lead headline: “TRUMP HAS VIRUS,” in a jumbo font. The presses were able to print the new edition for more than half of the paper’s subscribers. “We have an amazing crew to make this happen,” Mees said. “This is definitely the latest major change I can ever remember to a front page.”

Cable news outlets, meanwhile, went into overdrive to bring on panels of experts raising questions without immediate answers: Are the Trumps showing coronavirus symptoms? Who else at the White House has been exposed? Did Trump expose former vice president Joe Biden at Tuesday’s presidential debate?

On CNN, anchor Don Lemon was still processing the news he had just read on-air when White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins spelled out the severity of the situation for the Trump administration.

“This is a nightmare scenario for the West Wing,” Collins said. “We had a suspicion this was in the making because they had been so quiet about what his diagnosis was, and it had taken so long to get these results that something seemed to be up.”

Sam Vinograd, a national security analyst for the network, had earlier described the prospect of a positive test for the president as “a Code Red moment for the U.S. government.”

“At this point, knowing that the president is sick and that the pandemic is affecting personnel in the White House, this may be the most dangerous moment the U.S. government has ever faced,” she said. “The president is suffering from a deadly virus. This feels like something we should be watching on an episode of ‘Homeland.’ ”

The sentiment was echoed by Williams on MSNBC. “Don’t think for a second that this is not a national security matter,” he said.

As Williams called for the two remaining presidential debates to be canceled, Vin Gupta, a public health physician at the University of Washington, emphasized Trump’s positive test meant “the presidential race has been fundamentally altered.”

“There should be no more in-person gatherings for the remainder of this season,” said Gupta, an MSNBC medical contributor. “And my biggest concern here is if the president remains asymptomatic that he may use it to tamp down the seriousness of the infection.” He added: “Let’s hope everyone stays well and healthy, but this was preventable.”

On Fox News, Ronny L. Jackson, Trump’s former White House physician, claimed without evidence that the president was asymptomatic.

“I will bet you that he does not develop symptoms, that he moves on and this does not become a big deal,” Jackson said to overnight anchor Ashley Strohmier, adding he believed the president would “weather this storm.”

Also calling into the network to express support for the Trumps was host Sean Hannity. Hours earlier, Hannity had interviewed the president, with Trump remarking how he and the first lady had gotten tested “because we spend a lot of time with Hope.”

“I know there will probably be those who want to politicize something like this as quickly as possible, which is sad but predictable,” Hannity said after news broke of the president’s positive test.

Others at the network, like Washington correspondent Griff Jenkins, noted the gravity of the moment.

“This will be a day remembered in Washington for a very long time,” Jenkins said.

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MAGA world, GOP unite on social-media bias after Hunter Biden story – POLITICO




MAGA world is uniting with mainstream conservatives to whip up a frenzy over social-media bias in the final weeks of the election, convinced that the handling of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden has presented a validating example of years-old MAGA complaints.

Twitter and Facebook’s attempts to limit sharing of the Post story, citing policies meant to throttle the distribution of hacked materials and fact-challenged articles, is being used as proof positive in MAGA world that social media firms have a liberal agenda, and are using whatever means necessary to censor conservatives and protect liberals. And Republicans across the ideological spectrum are agreeing.

The incident has fueled Republican plans to vote on subpoenas that would force testimony from the CEOs of both Twitter and Facebook on the issue. That hearing would come on top of another one already planned for next Wednesday, when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will face a grilling over liability protections the tech industry enjoys for content posted on their platforms. Other Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have signaled shifts in how they wanted to regulate social-media platforms. And at the White House, chief of staff Mark Meadows has threatened to sue the two companies over the issue.

The flurry of activity caps a summer of anti-Big Tech maneuvering among conservatives, from anger over Twitter’s decision to post disclaimers on President Donald Trump’s tweets, to Attorney General Bill Barr’s rush to file an antitrust case against Google just two weeks before the election.

But now, in a matter of days, the handling of a single New York Post story has pushed long-simmering MAGA complaints about social-media bias to the top of Republicans’ talking points.

“They proved that all the lunatic ravings of the right were correct, and that there’s no objectivity [on social media platforms] whatsoever,” said Ron Coleman, a prominent conservative lawyer known for his work on tech censorship and free speech issues.

For nearly a decade, conservatives have accused social media companies of deliberately silencing them through a variety of subtle means — claiming their videos don’t always show up on their subscribers’ Facebook feeds, or that their accounts don’t show up in searches or that the platforms inappropriately label their content as promoting violence or misinformation. Researchers say such claims have never proven any intentional discrimination and note that some of the most widely shared content on social media platforms comes from conservative voices and outlets.

And notably, efforts to limit distribution of the Post story have not prevented the piece from circulating broadly on social media. The report generated 2.59 million interactions on Facebook and Twitter last week, more than double the next biggest story about Trump or Biden, even as national security specialists warned the information bore the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Still, anti-social media conservatives felt the handling of the story offered them a concrete, game-changing example of the type of silencing they have long claimed.

“The Rubicon was crossed [last] week, for sure,” said Rachel Bovard, a senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, who focuses on social media and free speech issues.

Years ago, the issue of internet free speech was popular among the more populist wing of the conservative movement — specifically, people and publications that drew influence from an online presence, and that were more likely to be targeted for violating platforms’ terms of service by sharing inflammatory content.

Throughout Trump’s presidency, Republicans have increasingly paid lip service to this constituency, echoing the complaints in hearings.

And Trump himself has repeatedly used his presidential platform to bemoan social-media companies’ behavior, hosting events about conservative censorship at the White House and signing a legally toothless executive order. As the November election neared, the White House pressured key Senate Republicans to hold hearings on alleged bias.

On Capitol Hill, competing Republican bills have appeared that would drastically revise Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which stipulated that digital platforms were not legally liable for content others had uploaded.

“The objection for some on the right always was, ‘Well, these platforms don’t engage in viewpoint censorship, they’re not politically biased, this all a crock of crap,’” Bovard said.

But now, the handling of the Post story — which offered unverified emails claiming Hunter Biden had arranged a meeting between his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and a Ukrainian business contact — has pushed more of the GOP into MAGA’s anti-social media camp. The timing (days before the election) and subject (Biden’s alleged corruption) likely helped. Some Republicans, such as McCarthy, started calling for the repeal of Section 230, while others wondered whether Twitter had taken on even more responsibilities other than simple bias.

“Is Twitter an ‘in kind donor’ to the Biden campaign? A ‘publisher?’” tweeted Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie last Thursday.

Trump was more insistent.

“If Big Tech persists, in coordination with the mainstream media, we must immediately strip them of their Section 230 protections,” he tweeted Friday. “When government granted these protections, they created a monster!”

Shoshana Weissmann, a fellow at the free market-oriented R Street Institute focused on Section 230 and licensing reform, sees the current outrage on Capitol Hill as far more political than policy focused. She argued that there are valid reasons for Section 230 to exist, saying digital platforms aren’t capable of policing all posts.

“If I threaten the president online, then Twitter’s not liable for that,” she said. “It would be me liable for that, or whoever made the threat or did something illegal online is liable for it. And it makes sense because there’s billions and billions of posts.”

And repealing Section 230 wouldn’t actually assuage conservative complaints, Weissmann insisted.

“It wouldn’t fix the partisan moderating,” she said. “These things are totally unrelated. It’s just kind of punishing them, because they’re there.”

Regardless of the policy implications, however, the handling of the Post story has played right into the hands of MAGA’s political arguments. Coleman, a prominent legal voice in the anti-social media world, said he was surprised at how Twitter and Facebook handled the story.

“For the people who control so much of the media complex now, and who understand so well what virality is about, they completely failed to make any accounting whatsoever for the Streisand effect,” he said, referencing the phenomenon where an attempt to hide something actually draws it greater attention.

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Duke Basketball Preseason Media Coverage – Duke University –



DURHAM, N.C. — The Duke men’s basketball program will continue to have players and coaches meeting with the media virtually over the next month, in place of the Blue Devils holding their traditional media day on campus due to COVID-19 protocols.

As players and coaches take questions from the media via video conference, will post the transcripts and video of those sessions. The sessions have been held Tuesdays, and will increase in frequency as the season approaches.

Click here to view the press conferences. Each link includes the transcript of selected questions and a video of the entire press conference.



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ImagineNATIVE film and media arts festival pivots to online presentations due to pandemic –



The ImagineNATIVE Indigenous film and media arts festival is going online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic but there’s still lots to look forward to starting Tuesday, says the festival’s artistic director.

“Film is really great in that it is quite adaptable, so we have a really great on-demand platform for everyone,” said Niki Little. 

Works will be released every day of the six-day festival and will be accessible for 48 hours. The festival will still feature micro meetings, keynote panels and an online hub for the iNDigital space showcasing 17 Indigenous-made digital and interactive media works.

“ImagineNATIVE is usually the place where people come together to connect to talk about their work and to really just celebrate each other,” said Little. 

A still from Audrey’s Story, which will be featured during the opening night shorts program. (ImagineNATIVE)

She said the gathering part was missing because of going online, so in order to honour the community and everyone that comes together to make the festival happen this year, there will be over $20,000 worth of prizes given away. 

There is also over $50,000 in cash awards for the artists. 

“It’s quite incredible how people have come together and rallied around this idea about the giveaway and about honouring our community and honouring the artists, because that’s really what it’s all about,” said Little. 

ImagineNATIVE began by creating space for Indigenous content creators and has expanded to being a nearly week-long festival. Last year it became an Oscar qualifying festival for the short format live action category.

“At the end of the day, we’re all about it being artist-centred and Indigenous-led and ensuring that Indigenous stories are being told by Indigenous people because that’s paramount,” said Little.

There will be four short film programs, each named after one of the colours in the medicine wheel.

The yellow shorts program will open the online festival, featuring works by artists from seven different nations across the world including: Theola Ross, Jack Steele, Ngariki Ngatae, Banchi Hanuse, Michelle Derosier, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu and Alisi Telengut.

The red, black and yellow programs will all feature a question and answer component running Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Special events include an hour of visual art, performances and curator talks from Toronto galleries in the form of a virtual art crawl led by Little. 

Lorne Cardinal will be presented with the 6th annual August Schellenberg Award of Excellence on Sunday. (ImagineNATIVE)

On Friday, the Night of Indigenous Devs will showcase international Indigenous video game talent. On Saturday, ImagineNATIVE’s annual concert will stream online in partnership with the Tkaronto Music Festival.

On Sunday, actor, producer, and director Lorne Cardinal will be presented with the August Schellenberg Award of Excellence.

Five film picks

Shadow of Dumont

Directed by Métis writer and director Trevor Cameron, this documentary explores Cameron’s cross-country road trip to the homelands of Gabriel Dumont. Dumont played a key role as a leader in the 1885 Métis uprising. 

Monkey Beach

In this adaptation of Eden Robinson’s novel by the same name, Lisa Hill is brought back to her Haisla village of Kitamaat by her dead cousin’s plea. Once she returns she has a vision of her younger brother Jimmy drowning. Jimmy goes out to sea to rid the village of a predator but then goes missing. This sets Lisa off on a journey to save her brother’s soul. This dramatic feature is directed by Cree/Métis writer, director and producer Loretta Todd. 

The Legend of Baron To’a

This film marks Māori/Pasifika actor, writer and producer Kiel McNaighton’s debut as a feature film director. The Legend of Baron To’a tells the story of Fritz, a Tongan entrepreneur, who after several years returns to his old neighbourhood to sell his family’s home, still grappling with his wrestling superstar father Baron To’a’s legacy.

Love and Fury

Seminole and Muscogee Creek filmmaker Sterlin Harjo followed a set of Indigenous artists over the course of the year to explore the question, “who classifies Native American art and what does that mean?” The documentary profiles musician and composer Laura Ortman, who performed at the 2019 Whitney Biennial; artist and composer Raven Chacon; famed poet, musician and author Joy Harjo; singer and guitarist Micah P. Hinson; among others. 

Tell Me A Story: A Multi-Generational Film Program

This program asks families to share stories both old and new. Directors include Phyllis Grant, Darryl Nepinak, Amber Twoyoungmen, Kes Lefthand, Winona Bearshield, Christiana Latham, Tristan Craig, Dustinn Craig, Darlene Naponse and Amanda Strong.

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