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The right-wing media roots of impeachment – CNN



How did we get here? How did Trump wind up on the verge of impeachment? Well, his sources of information led him astray. He was misinformed by the shows and sites he was watching and reading.
To be clear: His choices, what Trump did with the information — the withholding of aid money, the alleged shakedown of the Ukrainian president, the claims that it was a “perfect” phone call — that’s all his own doing. Trump is responsible for what he did. But what he was hearing from right-wing media was crucial. The conspiratorial bent of his favorite talk shows was critical.
  • Re: Ukraine and 2016: Sean Hannity and other Trump backers took tiny bits of true information from a January 2017 Politico story titled “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire” and blew it way, way out of proportion, to the point that some viewers thought Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election. Hannity leaned on the Politico story for months and months — in fact, he’s still talking about it, as of Sunday — so it’s no wonder why Trump harbored a grudge against Ukraine.
  • Re: the Bidens and Burisma: Enter John Solomon, the right-wing columnist for The Hill who worked closely with Rudy Giuliani to light the fuse of the Ukraine scandal. Trump was watching when Solomon went on Hannity in March and described a Ukrainian effort to “try to influence the United States election in favor of Hillary Clinton.” We know he was watching because he tweeted about the segment. Solomon rolled out an anti-Biden conspiracy theory… the feedback loop kept looping… and it ultimately ensnared Trump.
  • Re: the aid money for Ukraine, according to WaPo, Trump saw an article from the right-leaning Washington Examiner titled “Pentagon to send $250M in weapons to Ukraine” and started to ask Q’s about the $$.
Here’s the thing: The pro-Trump media bubble did not actually help Trump. To the contrary, it led him to the brink of impeachment…

Ari Melber’s point

MSNBC’s Ari Melber made a similar point about the power of right-wing media last week. The web headline: “Trump could be impeached partly for admissions on Fox News.”
“Democrats think they can prove key, damning parts of this plot based partly on these scheming and intimidating statements in public, specifically broadcast live on Fox,” Melber said, “which looks especially bad because it was occurring before this whistleblower came forward.”
“The impeachment probe is finding evidence that Trump’s Ukraine plot was fundamentally about propaganda,” he added. “The goal was pushing Ukraine to damage the Bidens in public, not about actually investigating foreign corruption. It was about getting talk of Biden and corruption on American television — in a loop from Fox News, back to Ukraine, back to CNN — an entire political conversation that was designed to tarnish the Biden brand.”

Americans say they are paying attention

This data is a counterpoint to the claims about “impeachment fatigue:” Three out of four Americans say they are following the impeachment proceedings at least “somewhat closely,” according to CNN’s new poll conducted by SSRS. In the poll, 42% of respondents said very closely, 34% said somewhat closely, 12% said not too closely, and 11% said not closely at all. The margin of error was +/- 3.7 points.
The poll found “support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office stands at 45% in the new poll, down from 50% in a poll conducted in mid-November.” Details here…
— One of the most interesting findings: “Among those who oppose impeachment, more cite Trump’s job performance as a major reason for their views than say it’s because the president is innocent of the charges,” Jennifer Agiesta pointed out…

The question of the day is…

Quoting from Chris Cuomo’s lead on his Monday night show: “The toughest question, the toughest situation here for us, is the unknown: Will we ever hear from the people with the most direct knowledge of this Ukraine fiasco?” Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton and a couple of others “should know a lot about why aid to Ukraine was held up. And they’ve all been silenced by this president. And they may be kept quiet by Senate Republicans who seem intent to hold a trial with no witnesses…”

The ‘Lie of the Year’ is…

I suppose I should ask for a drumroll, please…
The Lie of the Year 2019, according to PolitiFact, is Trump’s claim that the “whistleblower got Ukraine call ‘almost completely wrong.'”
“Despite what Trump claims, the whistleblower got the call ‘almost completely’ right,” the editors noted. Because there was so much to fact-check, PolitiFact also released a list of “10 things Donald Trump got wrong about impeachment in 2019.”
And speaking of shocking falsehoods…
The WaPo Fact Checker’s database of every suspect statement by Trump now has a total of 15,413 false or misleading claims since inauguration day.
The new data came out on Monday. Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly wrote, “The president apparently believes he can weather an impeachment trial through sheer repetition of easily disproven falsehoods.”
— BIG PICTURE: Kessler also noted that “Trump said more false or misleading claims in 2019 than he did in 2017 and 2018 combined…”

More media news: The start of the Jeff Shell era at NBC

Jeff Shell will lead NBCUniversal into the streaming wars. He will take over for Steve Burke on January 1, assuming the CEO spot just a couple of weeks before the company’s big Peacock streaming service presentation to investors, and a few months before Peacock launches to the public.
Comcast made this succession plan official on Monday morning… Burke will be bumped up to chairman from January until August, through the Summer Olympics, when he will retire from the company…

What’s next for Steve Burke?

More time at his ranch? Here’s what the LAT’s Meg James reported the other day: “Burke has said that he had little interest in competing against Comcast. He previously told The Times that he had no intention of clinging to power long past his prime. Burke is expected to spend more time on his Montana ranch or pursue something in the investing world. He has made a fortune at Comcast (his annual compensation typically tops $30 million) and has the financial chops…”

New law leads Vox Media to forego freelancer model in California

Kerry Flynn writes: Vox Media will part ways with hundreds of freelance writers in the wake of California’s AB5, CNBC reports. The new law, set to go in effect January 1, affects several gig economy jobs including those at ride-hailing companies and food-delivery startups. It also forbids freelancers from submitting more than 35 articles per year to an outlet. (THR wrote about the dilemma for freelancers in October.) Instead of allowing California freelancers to work within that limit, Vox Media’s SB Nation has chosen to forego their contractor model for blogging about California teams and instead hire full-time and part-time employees…
— SB Nation’s executive director John Ness wrote, “We know many of our California contractors already have other full-time jobs and may not have the bandwidth to apply, but we hope to see many of them join us as employees…”

Axios raising $20 million+

Kerry Flynn writes: Axios is expected to raise at least $20 million in a new funding round, led by Glade Brook Capital, Recode’s Peter Kafka and Theodore Schleifer report. This funding would give the company a value of about $200 million.
The Information said last month that this round was in the works. Per Recode, “the new round is supposed to be ‘opportunistic’ — meaning Axios is taking the money because it’s available on good terms. That’s a very different scenario than the one facing many other digital media publishers, many of which found it relatively easy to raise money five or six years ago…”

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Western News – Work with Indigenous communities leads to media career for new grad – Western News



CBC Radio had been a constant companion for Colm Cobb Howes during quiet, bitter-cold commutes to work as a teacher in Indigenous communities in northern Canada. Little did he know he would one day be working to tell those stories he enjoyed listening to since he was a child. 

Colm Cobb Howes

Colm Cobb Howes (Submitted photo)

A recent Master of Media in Journalism and Communication (MMJC) graduate, Cobb Howes is now associate producer at CBC News Toronto’s Metro Morning radio show.  

Cobb Howes is among Western students graduating this fall and will join 328,000 Western alumni from more than 160 countries during virtual Convocation celebrations on Oct 25.  

It’s the reason I came to MMJC, to get into CBC and share the stories of the people I met during my time working in Indigenous communities,” said Cobb Howes.  

Although Cobb Howes joined the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and missed many of the in-person learning experiences, he was able to participate in a six-week internship that opened the door for him to work at the CBC – first as an intern and eventually as a full-time associate producer.  

“I never assumed or thought that I would be able to work at CBC Toronto, right out of school,” he said. “I thought that perhaps I would get a good reference (from the CBC internship) and then it would help me get in somewhere like in a smaller market. And so I feel incredibly lucky to have that opportunity right now.” 

Northern exposure 

Colm Cobb Howes with Indigenous youth

Cobb Howes worked with Indigenous youth in the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec. (Submitted photo)

Before joining Western’s MMJC program, Cobb Howes worked for an educational not-for-profit organization as a teacher for Indigenous students, mostly in the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee in Northern Quebec. His work entailed travelling through nine Cree communities as well as the Kuujuarapik Inuit community on Hudson Bay in Quebec. He also had the opportunity to work in a Maliseet Community in New Brunswick, and in an Anishinabek Community in Northern Ontario. 

It was during this two-year stint that Cobb Howes developed an interest in storytelling that led him to pursue a postgraduate program in journalism.  

“I did teach high school science and math, but at the same time, we also ran programming that was delivered outside of schools. One of the programs is called the cultural mapping program, that’s done in partnership with the community, where it’s like an internship for youth in the community. 

This program offered several workshops for the interns on things like camera operation and storytelling.  

“I really enjoyed being able to help facilitate it, being out in the community and talking to people and telling stories,” said Cobb Howes. “It was amazing to see how it empowered these kids as they realized they were doing all of this work.  And so that’s partly why I wanted to go into storytelling.” 

Writing is not a new-found passion for Cobb Howes, however, who completed his undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of Guelph. When considering his postgraduate program in journalism, Western was the only choice for him. 

“I really wanted to choose something I would enjoy and not just do it for the sake of getting a degree. I knew this is where I wanted to be. And that was how I chose Western,” said Cobb Howes, whose brother also attended Western for his undergraduate studies. 

Work of storytelling 

Working as an associate producer for CBC Toronto gives Cobb Howes the opportunity to talk to different people and share their “amazing stories.” 

“We had someone on who was an astrophysicist and he was getting ready to retire,” he recalled. “We were asking him things like, ‘Is the universe going to be swallowed by a black hole? What do we need to be worried about? Or, should we be worried about, you know, asteroid hitting earth?’ And it was incredible that I, as a citizen, get to interact with this person who is a leading academic in their field, and have these kinds of conversations. I find it amazing that I get to do that every day for work. 

Asked if he was given the opportunity to choose one story, any story, that can make an impact on listeners, what would it be – and his answer took him back to his experience working with Indigenous communities. 

“There’s a lot of stories that happen in the north, that people don’t know about, and oftentimes, they get segmented into categories… and it gets put in the Indigenous category of the news desk,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that those stories don’t just get told because they’re valid. Sometimes, something will happen in the north, and it doesn’t get told in Toronto, because it didn’t happen in Toronto. But people in Toronto need to know about that.  

“If we’re serious about making meaningful change in the way that we tell stories, then we need to start thinking outside of the box, because so often stories like that go under reported because they don’t fit into the way that we think they should appear in the news. 


Virtual Convocation details:  

  • Virtual fall convocation will be available to stream beginning at 7p.m. EST on Friday, October 22.  
  • There will be three ceremonies, which will be pre-recorded and posted online by navigating through the homepage, allowing graduates and their families and loved ones to choose the ceremony they wish to see when they want to see it.  
  • Each ceremony will include celebratory music by Convocation Brass, with administration and faculty on stage and with remarks by honorary degree recipients.  
  • Receiving honorary degrees are: lawyer and community philanthropist Janet Stewart; writer/visual artist Shani Mootoo; historian Natalie Zemon Davis; and medical researcher Tak Mak.  
  • An orator will read out each graduating student’s name, which will also be featured on individually displayed slides during the ceremony.  
  • Graduates will receive their parchments by mail. 

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UPS, Disney meet White House officials to discuss vaccine mandate



Executives with United Parcel Service Inc, Walt Disney Co and other companies met with White House officials on Tuesday to discuss President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement plan for private-sector workers, amid concerns it could worsen labor shortages and supply chain woes.

The mandate would apply to businesses with 100 or more employees, and would affect about 80 million workers nationwide.

Several industry sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the rulemaking process was moving with urgency and they expect the mandate to be formally announced as early as this week. It was not clear how much time employers will have to implement it.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been meeting with several influential business lobbying groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Business Roundtable as part of its rulemaking process. The meetings were requested by the trade groups and companies and is part of the regular rulemaking process.

Tuesday’s meetings were disclosed in filings with the White House. Disney did not respond to requests for comment. A UPS spokesperson confirmed the meeting and said it is reviewing what a vaccine mandate means for the company and its employees.

Many of the industry groups have raised concerns such as labor shortages and how regulation by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could worsen existing supply-chain problems facing U.S. companies ahead of the holiday shopping season. Other topics, such as testing requirements and who will bear the cost, also were raised.

Evan Armstrong, RILA vice president for workforce, said it will be tough for the retail industry to implement the rule in the middle of the U.S. holiday season and that pushing it to January would help. He said the group raised the topic with the White House during their meeting.

“The implementation period needs to push this out past the holiday season because obviously for retail that is the biggest time for us,” he said. RILA’s members include large U.S. employers such as Walmart Inc and the industry supports over 50 million U.S. jobs.

Biden’s plan has drawn a mixed reaction from industry trade groups and companies.

Several big employers including Procter & Gamble Co and 3M Co, along with airlines such as American Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp, have imposed vaccination mandates since Biden’s announcement last month. Others such as IBM have said they will require all U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, no matter how often they come into the office.

Some other large U.S. employers, such as Walmart, have yet to issue broad requirements.

The vaccine order has spurred pushback from many Republican governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott of Texas, who issued an executive order banning businesses in his state from requiring vaccinations for employees. Although some, such as American Airlines, have said they plan to proceed with vaccination rules.

The mandate will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as an emergency temporary standard.


(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)

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Elections Alberta launches formal review of social media policies after election day Twitter spat – Edmonton Journal



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Elections Alberta says it has launched a formal review into activities on its social media accounts after someone who was managing its Twitter profile on election day got into a snarky argument with users over sharing photos of a ballot online.


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In a statement Tuesday, acting deputy chief electoral officer Pamela Renwick said the review is being conducted internally by Election Alberta’s compliance and enforcement unit, which is the same unit that investigates complaints as directed by the election commissioner.

The review will look at the conduct of our personnel on our social media platforms and the policies and processes that are to be followed for social media engagement and message approval,” she said.

“As the review includes personnel matters, those results will not be made public. Following the review, however, we will determine if there are results that we can share publicly without breaching confidentiality. “

The  spat started on Monday when former conservative MLA Derek Fildebrandt posted a photo of his ballot voting in favour of the referendum on removing the principle of equalization from the Constitution.


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Users pointed out that posting a photo of a ballot is illegal, referencing a 2019 tweet from the Elections Alberta account that warned posting photos is an offence.

“Who would’ve expected a two-year-old tweet would apply the same to this event?” the Elections Alberta account replied.

In a further exchange, this time with University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach, who accused Elections Alberta of given false information on Twitter, someone behind the account appeared to suggest that it wasn’t Elections Alberta’s responsibility to enforce the rules of a municipal election.

“I’m sure you’re well aware of the federalist state, the three levels of government, and how extra veres (sic) and intra veres (sic) powers are assigned, just as much as an old tweet holds no value versus an up-to-date one. Move on, Andrew,” the account tweeted.


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Renwick confirmed that provincial elections, like the one in 2019, and municipal elections like Monday’s, are covered under different pieces of legislation but both make it illegal to publicly post photos of ballots.

In the case of municipal elections, she said, the responsibility of enforcing the rule falls to the local authority.

Elections Alberta, an independent, non-partisan office of the legislative assembly, initially apologized for the tweets, posting on Twitter that “Albertans have the right to expect Elections Alberta to always remain unbiased and respectful in the election process” and said that the staff member in question had been removed from its social media accounts. The staff member was not named.

The tweets in question have since been deleted.

“Elections Alberta is committed to rebuilding the trust of Albertans in the integrity of our office,” Elections Alberta tweeted.

Renwick said Elections Alberta doesn’t have a timeframe for when the review will be completed but that it has already started.



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