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Video from Fox host Tucker Carlson drove threats online, analysts find

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Tucker Carlson‘s portrayal of the deadly Jan. 6 attack as a largely peaceful event on his prime-time Fox News show set off a dangerous new wave of social media chatter that includes death threats against Capitol police officers and Democratic leaders, according to experts who monitor extremism and a report from Advance Democracy shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

The segment that aired last week downplayed the violence at the Capitol two years ago, falsely recasting the Washington mob that breached the Capitol as an “orderly and meek” gathering of “sightseers.”

Carlson’s claims, which accompanied clips of Capitol security footage, drew an angry reaction from right-wing users who fired off threats on Elon Musk’s Twitter and in pro-Trump forums directed at politicians who have made public inquiries into the violence, especially the congressional Jan. 6 committee

Those threats came in far greater numbers than before the broadcast, according to the Advance Democracy report.

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On Twitter, posts relating to Jan. 6 using violent rhetoric increased fivefold from the previous week, the report shows.

The outpouring of violence concerns extremism experts, who said Carlson and Fox News are playing with fire by spreading disinformation that could inspire violence against the targets of their coverage.

“If there were an attack right now on one of the groups or individuals that was mentioned in Tucker’s report — one of the dumping grounds for his ire — I would not be surprised at all,” said Megan Squire, deputy director for data analytics at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “I mean, that’s basically what we’re expecting right now.”

Fact check: False claim about ‘QAnon shaman’ amid Jan. 6 tapes

Threats posted online

On pro-Trump forum Patriots.win, which played a central role in the planning of Jan. 6, users called for violence, with one commenting: “SOLUTION HAS NEVER CHANGED.” He added: “GALLOWS. FOR ALL OF THEM.”

Incendiary comments spread on other social media platforms such as Gab, Getter, 4chan and Trump’s own Truth Social, according to the Advance Democracy report. Violent threats included calls to lynch Jan. 6 Committee members and Democratic lawmakers such as “hang them high” and “hang ’em all.”

“God does not sleep,” a Gettr user wrote. “Every one of them in the January 6 committee will have to pay for what they did.”

Streaming platforms Rumble and TikTok were also rife with incendiary talk including false claims that Jan. 6 was a so-called false flag operation. (In such a case, conspiracy theorists allege, a destructive event is actually faked to pin blame on the opposite side.)

Users called for mass arrests and charges of treason against Jan. 6 Committee members, Advance Democracy found.

“Nuremberg 2.0 for the Commies and their propagandists,” one Rumble user wrote. “If not a single person is arrested for the immense corruption then there are no more peaceful solutions,” another wrote.

One TikTok commenter threatened mainstream media outlets: “It’s time to burn these media outlets to the ground.”

Squire said Advance Democracy’s findings mirror what she and her team at SPLC are seeing on social media in the wake of Carlson’s reports.

Jared Holt, a senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and an expert on domestic extremism, said he also noted a significant uptick in violent and hateful rhetoric online after the Carlson piece aired.

Holt said a quick analysis showed Carlson’s name, and referenced to the Jan. 6 riot increased 15-fold in the days after the segment. He said the coverage is a deliberate attempt to distort the truth and convince Fox News watchers the insurrection was not as serious as it was.

“Disagreements are at the heart of politics,” Holt said. “The political process is about resolving those disagreements. But if one party of that conversation is attempting to erase what, objectively, was an attack on the democratic process itself — it’s just appalling.”

Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.

Fox News is ‘promoting dangerous false narratives for ratings’

Daniel Jones, president of nonprofit research organization Advance Democracy, accused Fox News of “promoting dangerous false narratives for ratings.”

Carlson’s show last week was the highest-rated program on cable TV, reeling in nearly 3.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

“Fox News is knowingly misleading its viewers again by cherry-picking footage to suggest the events of Jan. 6th were largely non-violent. Fox News personality Tucker Carlson is telling his viewers that they have been misled,” Jones told USA TODAY. “Our research found that these comments have directly led to violent threats being made against the January 6th Committee members, federal judges and others.”

Carlson’s report was unscrupulous by the standards of any journalist, said Kelly McBride, chair of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics & Leadership at the Poynter Institute.

“It is unethical and immoral to lie to people, period. And when you have as large of a platform as Fox News does, that lie causes a lot of harm,” McBride said. “It is antithetical to journalism.”

But what Carlson does should not be considered journalism, McBride said. As recent revelations from the Dominion Voting Machines defamation lawsuit against Fox News have shown, Carlson and many of his colleagues at Fox are engaged in a deeply cynical disinformation effort, she said.

“There’s no way you can look at his [Carlson’s] Jan. 6 special and conclude that he has any interest in doing journalism,” McBride said.

More: Two years since the Jan. 6 insurrection, extremist groups are fragmented, but live on

Tucker Carlson aired Jan. 6 claims using Capitol security footage

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave Carlson exclusive access to Capitol security footage from Jan. 6.

Carlson, who has spread conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attack, opened the broadcast with the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump and was “a grave betrayal of American democracy.”

He showed clips of rioters in the Capitol not engaged in violent activities. The released footage “demolishes the claim” that an insurrection occurred, Carlson said.

House GOP leaders promoted the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment. On Tuesday, the House Republican Conference tweeted: “MUST WATCH” and four siren emojis.

Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger condemned the segment as “offensive and misleading.”

Republicans split in reaction to Tucker Carlson segment

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, criticized Fox News for depicting the Jan. 6 attack “in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.” Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said Carlson’s broadcast was “dangerous and disgusting.”

The Biden administration criticized Carlson for his “false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution and the rule of law — which cost police officers their lives.”

“We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: that Tucker Carlson is not credible,” deputy White House press secretary Andrew J. Bates said in a statement.

Bates was referring to the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems.

In a deposition released Tuesday, David Clark, who oversaw Fox News’s weekend programming, said he did not consider Carlson’s program a credible source of news.

According to court documents, Carlson admitted that the voter fraud claims were false.

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Ryan Reynolds Jokes About Taylor Swift’s Astronomical Babysitting Rates

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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are a Hollywood power couple with four adorable children. But juggling busy careers and a growing family can be a challenge, even for A-listers. Enter their close friend, pop icon Taylor Swift, who, according to Reynolds, might be their go-to babysitter. However, her services come with a hefty price tag (at least according to Reynolds‘ playful exaggeration).

During a recent E! News interview promoting their upcoming movie “Deadpool & Wolverine,” Hugh Jackman playfully suggested that Swift was the real nanny for Reynolds and Lively’s four children. This lighthearted jab sparked a humorous response from Reynolds.

Known for his sharp wit, Reynolds responded to Jackman’s comment with a hilarious quip. He stated that the cost of having Taylor Swift babysit would be “cost-prohibitive,” implying that her rates would be astronomically high. He even playfully added, “But I think what he meant was, ‘Cost-insane-what-are-you-doing-I’m-no-longer-you’re-accountant.'”

Reynolds and Lively, who tied the knot in 2012, share four children: James (9), Inez (7), Betty (4), and a one-year-old whose name and gender remain private. The couple has maintained a close friendship with Swift over the years. This strong bond is evident in their recent attendance at a stop of her Eras Tour in Spain, along with their three eldest children.

Swift’s friendship with the Reynolds family extends beyond casual hangouts. During the concert in Spain, she gave a heartwarming shout-out to the couple’s daughters. While introducing her album “Folklore,” she mentioned the names James, Inez, and Betty, sending the audience into a frenzy. This sweet gesture further highlights the special bond between the singer and the Reynolds children.

This isn’t the first time Swift has incorporated the girls’ names into her music.  Her 2020 album “Folklore” features a song titled “Betty” that tells a story of a love triangle involving characters named James, Inez, and Betty. Additionally, her 2017 album “Reputation” included a voice recording of James on the song “Gorgeous.”

Whether Swift truly babysits for the Reynolds family or not remains a playful mystery. However, one thing is certain: the singer holds a special place in the hearts of the Reynolds children and their parents.

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The Simmering Feud Between Eva Mendes and Rachel McAdams

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The 2004 romantic drama “The Notebook” continues to be a pop culture phenomenon, captivating audiences with its passionate love story between Noah and Allie, played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. But beyond the on-screen romance, rumours of tension between the actors and Gosling’s current partner, Eva Mendes, have added a layer of intrigue to the film’s legacy.

 

From Clashing Personalities to Real-Life Romance

While their undeniable on-screen chemistry led to a blockbuster performance, Gosling and McAdams reportedly had a tumultuous time during filming. “We inspired the worst in each other,” Gosling admitted to The Guardian. However, their initial animosity blossomed into a real-life romance in 2005, sending shivers down the spines of fans who had rooted for Noah and Allie.

 

Love Found, Love Lost

Their off-screen love story, however, wasn’t a fairytale. After two years, the couple went their separate ways. McAdams found happiness and a family with screenwriter Jamie Linden, while Gosling met his current partner, Eva Mendes, on the set of “The Place Beyond the Pines” in 2011. Together, they have built a life and share two daughters.

 

A Post-Breakup Conundrum: Maintaining a Friendship

While McAdams and Gosling’s romantic flame fizzled out, reports suggest they remained amicable post-breakup.  This friendly dynamic, however, is said to have shifted when Mendes entered the picture.

 

A Shadow of Jealousy? Unconfirmed Rumors of Tension

Unverified reports claim that Mendes is allegedly uncomfortable with McAdams being around Gosling.  Unnamed sources allege that Mendes discourages any interaction between the former co-stars, fearing it might upset her. This has reportedly limited Gosling’s ability to maintain a casual friendship with McAdams.

The validity of these claims remains shrouded in mystery.  Mendes and Gosling are known for their privacy, making it difficult to separate truth from speculation.

 

 

Beyond the Rumors: The Power of “The Notebook” Endures

While the rumors of off-screen tension add another chapter to the “The Notebook” narrative, the film’s enduring power lies in its timeless portrayal of love and loss. Whether Gosling and McAdams remained friends or not doesn’t diminish the on-screen magic they created. The film’s ability to resonate with audiences continues, reminding us of the intensity of first love, the pain of heartbreak, and the enduring power of memories.

The Notebook’s legacy is a complex one, weaving together a captivating on-screen love story, rumored off-screen tension, and a reminder of the film’s lasting impact on pop culture.

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From Mansion to Moat: Drake’s Million Dollar Home Gets Soaked

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Toronto residents woke up to a soggy Wednesday morning after the city was pummeled by record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday. The downpour caused widespread flooding across the city, and even the opulent mansion of rap superstar Drake wasn’t spared.

 

Drake’s “Embassy” Flooded

Drake shared a video on his Instagram story showing the extent of the water damage at his Toronto mansion, nicknamed “The Embassy.” The sprawling 50,000-square-foot estate boasts an NBA-regulation basketball court and an art-deco theme, but on Tuesday, it was battling ankle-deep murky water flooding its halls.

The video shows Drake himself, clad in shorts and holding a broom, wading through the water. Someone else can be seen desperately trying to hold a large glass door shut as water surges in, presumably from a flooded patio or balcony.  Drake captioned the video with a touch of humor: “This better be espresso martini.”

The extent of the damage to the mansion remains unclear at this time.

 

Historic Rainfall Causes Citywide Flooding

The flooding at Drake’s mansion was just one symptom of the unprecedented rainfall that lashed Toronto on Tuesday. The city saw over 100 millimeters of rain in a single day, easily surpassing the average rainfall for the entire month of July (71.6 mm). This deluge makes it the fifth-wettest day ever recorded in Toronto’s history.

The heavy downpour overwhelmed the city’s drainage systems, leading to widespread flooding across neighborhoods. Emergency services were inundated with over 700 calls reporting flooded basements.  A major artery, the Don Valley Parkway, became an impassable waterway, with cars submerged almost entirely and some drivers forced to wait for rescue on the roofs of their vehicles.

 

Toronto Cleans Up After the Storm

As of Wednesday morning, the city is in cleanup mode.  Emergency crews are working to clear debris and assess the damage caused by the floods.  The extent of the financial losses incurred by homeowners and businesses is still being determined.

While Drake’s mansion may have gotten an unwelcome soaking, the true story of this weather event lies in the impact it had on ordinary citizens across Toronto. The city is now focused on recovery efforts and ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents.

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