Some YouTube personalities could use a dose of feminism
Time's Person of the Year selection of the #MeToo "Silence Breakers" accentuates claims of a watershed or reckoning in American society when it comes to sexual harassment. You can look to your ideological left for ample assurance about a "social movement" afoot, but it's not quite so simple if you look to your right.
It's especially tough, it appears, if you look to your far right, according to Right Richter, a newsletter crafted on the side by Will Sommer, an editor at The Hill in Washington, D.C., who follows the right-leaning media in his spare time.
His latest issue examines how female personalities on the so-called alt-right are being attacked viciously by, yes, men on the alt-right, despite the fact that the women are "politically indistinguishable from their mostly male audience. They call for a return to a particular brand of traditional or 'trad' values, and they really don't like Muslim immigrants."
But, "That hasn't stopped many young male right-wing figures from dubbing them thots, which stands for 'That Ho Over There,' a pejorative shorthand."
Sommer explained to me, "Female YouTube provocateurs helped drive the rise of the alt-right. But as those same women now find themselves harassed by their fans and pressured to get married and live a 'traditional' life, they're finding that the alt-right needs some feminism of its own."
This all crystallized over the weekend, he says, with Canadian Lauren Southern, 22 and already the most prominent woman on the alt-right (she even had to do a video last month, explaining to her army of supporters why she still isn't married!). "The alt-right's long-simmering resentment at its favorite women exploded with the discovery of pictures of Southern posing in costume as a Japanese video game character with — gasp! — a man of color."
"Suddenly, the men of the alt-right realized that their internet girlfriend might not be as racist as they had hoped, and complained that they had been taken for suckers."
What Sommer calls a "full-scale freakout" against women of the far right has ensued. At the forefront is a former D.C. pick-up artists who goes by "Roosh V." He "intoned to his followers on YouTube about how they had been grifted by the 'trad thots.'"
"Scratch a traditional girl, one who has some kind of fame, and you reveal a feminist every single time," Roosh warned his acolytes.
Concludes Sommer: "These various YouTube women have been treated terribly, whatever you think of their politics. But it's still been interesting to see them, some of the internet's most outspoken critics of feminism, realize that the far-right could do with a little feminism of its own."
Maybe they can morph into Silence Makers, though it does seem unlikely we'll see any semblance of a reckoning or watersheds in their abusive environs. But you can at least sign up for Sommer's handiwork here and track whether epochal change will come. Left, middle and right, it will take a whole lot of daily labor throughout society to get well beyond the justifiable outrage of the day.
Al Franken's fall
Brian Bakst of Minnesota Public Radio broke word that "A Democratic official who has spoken to Al Franken and key aides says Franken will resign his Minnesota Senate seat on Thursday."
"The official spoke to Franken and separately to Franken's staff. A staff member told the official that Franken had gone to his Washington home to discuss his plans with family."
And we don't have a formal announcement yet but University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato's "Sabato's Crystal Ball" already offers an early line on who'd replace him (the Democratic governor picks a temporary replacement) and the possible contours of a mandated special election next November.
Trump's Jerusalem move
Murdoch moves to reshape his empire
Writes the Financial Times: "The potential sale of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment and international assets to Walt Disney would pave the way for Rupert Murdoch to reshape his remaining empire around his first love: news."
"The transaction would leave Mr. Murdoch in possession of the Fox broadcast network, the cable channels Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Sports 1, and 28 local television stations in the U.S."
But, curiously, while the financial paper says elsewhere that "James Murdoch has been suggested as a potential successor to Bob Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney," the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal reports Iger "will likely stay on past his 2019 retirement date if the entertainment company wins its bid to buy the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox Inc., according to people familiar with the negotiations."
Well, on whom would you wager here? The FT or Murdoch's rag?
Well, there's a Column C. Bloomberg declares, "Fox Deal Or Not, Iger Can't Stay at Disney Forever."
Hmmmm. Let's go with a Solomonic combo of A) He stays but B) Not forever (assuming a decent diet and a personal trainer, Chip, who makes house calls, the 66-year-old could be good for another 10 years).
Where's the beef?
Law & Crime, the Dan Abrams-run law journalism operation that was Law Newz until a recent rebranding amid a partnership with A+ E Networks, notes how "Back in October, Bill O’Reilly was poised to sue an ex-New Jersey assemblyman who wrote a Facebook post alleging that the former Fox News host harassed his ex-girlfriend, who worked at the network."
O'Reilly huffed and puffed and warned of a defamation suit. Yes, he filed a summons and notice against (the former assemblyman). But that's not the same thing as a legal complaint. So far, no lawsuit has been filed.
Story opening of the day
"It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday and I’m on Day Six of my Amazon diet," writes The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Bindley. "An Amazon diet is when you use as many products and services from Amazon as possible and live in an apartment that looks like what would happen if Jeff Bezos’ brain threw up."
"I’m getting a haircut, thinking it’s a mini-break because Amazon can’t cut my hair yet. George, my stylist, is placing rollers in my hair and raving about how they’re the best rollers ever. His friend brought them from London. Rollers from London! How chic!"
So what would happen if you sought to rely solely on Amazon products and services? This is her account.
RT's alternate universe
The Russian government-run, English language TV network continues to portray the Winter Olympics ban as a travesty concocted by the evil West. It gave lots of play yesterday to this giant surprise:
"The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to ban the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang is yet another attempt to 'isolate' the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry says."
It's on firmer ground with the similarly surprise news that "Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will seek another term in office in next year’s presidential election."
Trump's financial backer
It's no secret to those in the financial know, but Crain's New York does a nice job on the relationship between Trump's businesses and Deutsche Bank.
"After Donald Trump went bust in the early 1990s, Chase, Citibank, Manufacturers Hanover and nearly every other major lender in town cut ties because he didn't repay his loans. But one firm stuck with him: Deutsche Bank."
"The big German lender advanced a $170 million loan in 2014 to help build the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and also wrote mortgages for a Chicago tower and the Trump National Doral golf resort in Florida."
"Deutsche Bank is the only major financial institution currently doing business with the president, according to Crain's reporting and data from the president's financial disclosures."
But also check out this Crain's Chicago Business opus on everybody he stiffed on the Chicago tower, including an architect who worked on the sales office (she and her husband sued and settled with Trump).
Meanwhile, Bloomberg corrects a story that indicated Robert Mueller had targeted Deutsche Bank records of Trump and his family.
Underplaying a story
As the Washington Post noted, "A conservative watchdog group said internal Justice Department emails show a senior prosecutor assigned to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is biased against President Trump."
The disclosure by Judicial Watch, whose right-leaning ideological bent can undermine any air of authority, got modest attention from the press. It should have received more, especially as that prosecutor praised then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she declined to support Trump's first travel ban.
He lauded Yates for an action — or inaction — that was arguably indefensible, as a high-ranking former Justice Department official in a Democratic administration agreed in an email chat. At the time many in the press portrayed Yates as a hero. But the department has a long bipartisan practice of refusing to defend an action or policy only if there are absolutely no credible arguments for it. That was not the case here, as contends the Democrat, who is no fan of Trump.
Reporters can sometimes roll their eyes at mention of a particular official or group, including Judicial Watch. In this instance, it uncovered notable material.
Local news we can all use
Wicked Local Belmont reported, "Actor and Cambridge native Matt Damon went 'good tree hunting' in Belmont in the company of his nephew and his brother, Kyle. The trio were spotted shopping for a Christmas tree this past Sunday at the annual Lion’s Club tree and wreath sale, which itself is no stranger to celebrity sightings."
Another football tragedy
Mike Adamle is a retired Chicago TV sportscaster and former NFL and Northwestern University running back. He was as charismatic and fit as they come, looking 15 years younger than his actual age — until exhibiting the obvious symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disease increasingly associated with football.
His neurologist tells the Chicago Tribune's Phil Thompson that Adamle, 68, has post traumatic epilepsy, or a bruising of the brain. Thompson profiles a defiant Adamle dealing with dramatic cognitive and memory changes, while also finding time to testify to Congress and start a national support group. But he knows the deal, feeling his decline, he says, every single day.
"He copes with his disappointment and explains his dementia to friends through a comedy monologue, where he jokes that his brain’s neurons have cousins like 'Teflon' and 'Moron.'"
“'If you can’t make fun of something … being like this is a lot more fun than being the other way,' he says."
The morning Babel
CNN's "New Day went with the testimony of Silent Sam — oops, Donald Trump Jr. — before a House Intelligence Committee, with Jeffrey Tobin disputing his claims of attorney-client privilege during a key meeting with his father and other lawyers. Any court would spurn that claim, Toobin said.
"Trump & Friends" hailed their guy making "a full-throated case" for Jerusalem as Israel's capital, while making fun of the evil mainstream media's inherently critical coverage by saying he was being derided for merely making good on a campaign promise. That's where it sets the bar, as well as "try something new when the old stuff hasn't worked." Well, trying something new could also mean nuking North Korea since negotiations have failed, right? Or reimposing child labor.
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" went the Donald Jr. testimony route and the son not talking about what he and Daddy discussed when it came to Russia. But it also discussed a whistleblower's claim that a mere 11 minutes after taking over the presidency, there was talk involving then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn about ditching economic sanctions with Russia and "a lot of people making a lot of money," as Joe Scarborough put it. And show regular Steve Rattner then chimed in:
"You're sitting there 11 minutes in, there are all these problems in the world, you're going to go from there to the West Wing and take your new office as national security adviser and start fixing these problems, and instead of thinking about all our problems and what we're going to do about it, he's thinking about how to make money for himself."
Yes, unseemly, if true. But the moral scolding over personal gain is somewhat diminished coming from Rattner, the former Wall Street financier. He's the show's only mainstay who's had to pay $10 million to settle "civil charges that he engaged in a kickback scheme involving New York state's pension fund," as The New York Times reported at the time.