June 27, 2018

What the Supreme Court's approval will bring

Tuesday’s 5-4 high court approval of President Trump’s travel ban may keep journalists busy on everything from foreign relations to neighborhood stories to, sadly, another angle on Trump’s tweets.

Here’s a quick look at five implications — and fertile topics for news coverage.

JUST A FIRST STEP?: The court victory may embolden Trump to remake the entire immigration system, The Washington Post’s David Nakamura says. “Is the president going to issue an executive order against Mexicans?” asked Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, which brought the case against the travel ban. “Is he going to issue an executive order against people from Honduras? Guatemala? What’s next?”

TWEETS: Chief Justice John Roberts says Trump’s incendiary tweets stand apart from a clearly defined policy and should not be considered; Justice Sonia Sotomayor, for the minority, asserted five Trump tweets and three retweets clearly showed the racial bias that influenced the travel ban. Here’s the entire opinion.

A DIFFERENT SLICE OF CAKE?: The majority opinion shows the court is concerned about bias only if it is against Christians, Sirine Shebaya and Johnathan Smith write for The Huffington Post. They note the court defended a Christian baker who felt his religious beliefs were discriminated against if he had to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

THE EFFECT ON THOSE ABROAD: Iranians are the most affected, but The New York Times’ Rick Gladstone gives a useful country-by-country survey. Related: What's Next? Muslims grapple with Supreme Court ruling that they believe redefines their place in America (Editors: This is excellent reference material if your area has a significant community from one of these nations).

NEXT CHALLENGE: Seventeen states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in federal court seeking to stop family separations at the border. Trump signed an executive order last week appearing to end the practice, but his administration has provided little detail on the separated families, and experts say many of the children may find their way into a fragile and overburdened foster care system.

Quick hits

WHISTLEBLOWER FACES PRISON: The document allegedly detailed Russian attempts to break into state election systems days before the 2016 election. The Intercept wrote about the effort. The Trump administration vigorously prosecuted the National Security Agency whistleblower, Reality Winner, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the World War I-era Espionage Act and agreed to serve more than five years in prison. “Despite the fact that Winner’s disclosure served the public interest by alerting Americans to vulnerabilities in our voting system, the Trump-Sessions Justice Department prosecuted her with vicious resolve under the Espionage Act,” said Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept. The prosecution comes as Trump and his inner circle are being investigated by special prosecutor Robert Mueller over the significant Russian influence in the 2016 race.

MACHINES DON’T CUT IT: Humans, not algorithms, will run Apple News, says Tim Cook says in comments that sound like “we’re better than Facebook." "News was going a little crazy out there," Cook said Monday night. Apple News, and its midterm elections module, will "make sure you’re not picking content that strictly has the goal of enraging people."

LET LEE DO IT: Warren Buffett’s company is turning over management of its newspapers in 30 markets to Lee Enterprises in a bid to reduce costs. BH Media Company’s properties include papers in Buffalo, Richmond and Winston-Salem. Departing: BH Media Group's top executive, Terry Kroeger. Expect more on this story from Poynter’s Rick Edmonds.

VOTING WITH HIS FEET: A former NBC reporter said he’d move to Canada if Trump won. And Mark Nykanen made the move. Via Amber Athey of the Daily Caller.

FIGHTING BACK AGAINST PRESS RESTRICTIONS: Across Southeast Asia, journalists are fighting back against governments that are trying to restrict the public’s access to information. This roundup from Time Magazine shows it’s not just Myanmar, where two prize-winning Reuters journalists have been jailed for more than six months for exposing a massacre of the nation’s Rohingya minority. The causes cited: Press freedom is not an interest of the Trump administration, and the region’s close ties to China allow it to disregard admonitions from the West.

DATA WARRIORS: A group of researchers, using library science and IRS 990 forms, are mapping out the places where the kids separated from their parents by U.S. officials could be detained, WIRED’s Emily Dreyfuss reports. Here are a few ways you can help kids and parents who have been separated by authorities.

What we’re reading

INTERPRETERS NEEDED: The family separations have prompted a call for interpreters, but not in Spanish. People seeking to help the migrants need people who can speak southern Mexico’s Zapotec language and Mayan tongues such as K’iche’ and Maml, the Associated Press’ Anita Snow reports.

PROFITING FROM TRUMP: New York Times stockholders, as shares have gone up 141 percent since Election Day, reports Reason’s Ira Stoll. The biggest NYT winner: Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, owner of 16 percent of the Times stock. Stoll says he realized paper profits of $422 million.

SHE WAS OUTSPENT 18-TO-1. SHE WON: A look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, who soundly defeated a 10-term member of Congress to become the Democratic nominee for a New York district. "We have people. They have money," she said in a campaign ad. 

IT’S NOT ‘CLUE’: The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer reports on a parlor game about manipulating the 2016 presidential election. Big Trump donor Rebekah Mercer had it around her place, Mayer said. Among the “characters” in the game is “Robert Mercer,” Rebekah’s billionaire dad. According to game rules, the elder Mercer starts with $600 million in “cash” to implement his “policy wishlist,” which includes “Mass Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants,” the creation of a “biometrics/Citizens ID” and the use of “Predictive/Algorithmic Policing." Mayer notes there is no mention in this board game of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. (Hat tip: David Carroll)

IT’S NOT ‘TRUE’: Rebekah Mercer: a) disputes that she played that parlor game, but acknowledges b) she was carrying around pages of the game rules on her vacation, but later shredded them, and c) suspects a friend’s nanny may have been spying on her, fished out the game rules from her purse and was paid by the New Yorker to spill the beans. A New Yorker spokesperson told BuzzFeed’s Joseph Bernstein and Ryan Mac that the magazine “doesn't pay sources for information and it doesn't 'spy' on people.”

On Poynter.org

Want to get this briefing in your inbox every weekday morning? Sign up here.

Got a tip, a link, a suggestion, a board game for Rebekah Mercer? We’re trying to make this roundup better every day. Please email me at dbeard@poynter.org.

Thanks to Ren LaForme for editing this.

And have a good Wednesday.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.

More News

Back to News