Monday, June 6th, 2016


You Bet Your Ass I’m Biased

"We don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason." So said Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti in announcing his company's decision to dump its ad deal with the Republican National Committee because of Donald Trump's comments about Muslims, Latinos, women, and the free press. Even though this is a business and not an editorial decision, the move will undoubtedly raise the issue of bias in journalism and increase the political vitriol aimed at the media. But here's the thing; while journalists are expected to be unbiased in the delivery of facts, they should and must be biased against hate and prejudice. Historically, Americans have depended on that bias. Unbiased reporting doesn't mean checking your frontal lobe at the door. I am biased in every link I share and every word I write. I won't keep pertinent news from you and I save my most politically-motivated writing for other platforms. But the issues raised by Buzzfeed go way beyond normal political discourse. Americans can disagree on the best ways to deal with terrorism or improve the economy, but when the discourse clearly sinks into hate speech against our fellow citizens, it's time to draw a line in the sand, not stick our heads in it. No one is going to build a wall between me and my ethics. If that means I lose some subscribers, so be it.


Juarez Not Hell

Kids are playing in the park. In most places, that's a normal scene. In Juarez, that scene would have been unthinkable a few years ago as the city became one of the central battlegrounds for drug cartels. Nat Geo's Sam Quinones returns to the once hopeless Juarez to see how things got turned around.

+ "But why send him to Brooklyn, of all places?" Guernica's Dwyer Murphy on the fight to extradite El Chapo.


A Few Minutes of Action

"You don't know me, but you've been inside me, and that's why we're here today." The victim of a sexual assault at Stanford addresses her attacker after a judge sentenced him to only a six-month sentence because he worried that anything longer would have a "severe impact" on the defendant.

+ The assailant's dad wrote a letter that only added fuel to the fire and included this especially poorly considered line: "That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life."


The Molding of Cassius Clay

"What a loss to suffer, even if for years you knew it was coming. Muhammad Ali, who died Friday, in Phoenix, at the age of seventy-four, was the most fantastical American figure of his era, a self-invented character of such physical wit, political defiance, global fame, and sheer originality that no novelist you might name would dare conceive him." New Yorker editor and Ali biographer David Remnick reflects on the outsized life of Muhammad Ali. Somewhere right now, Howard Cosell and Ali are sitting down for an interview they've both been looking forward to for decades.

+ The reaction to Ali's death is a reminder of the impact sports has on society. Ali also had a major impact on sports writing by inspiring some of its best examples. Deadspin has collected some of the Greatest Writing About The Greatest. Trust me, the Internet generation didn't invent the personal brand.

+ Muhammad Ali in photos.


An Itch That Needs Scratching?

"You're standing by and you see someone drowning, and you have the ability to stop them from drowning, but you can't." James Surowiecki on Zikanomics: Is Congress On The Mosquitoes' Side? (They both have about the same public approval numbers.)


Jail Broke

"Imagine a burglary being committed, arresting the person inside the residence and then handcuffing them, walking them outside and only being able to issue them a citation because you can't lodge them in a jail." Reveal's Byard Duncan heads to the rural west where tough economic times have led residents of some communities to choose lower taxes over law enforcement.


Pain, Killer

"There's no single villain in this story. Our dangerous embrace of opioids was the result of the entire medical establishment -- including governmental, nonprofit, and pharmaceutical organizations—searching for an answer to the problem of pain." Slate's Jeremy Samuel Faust explains how the medical establishment learned to love the dangerous drugs that killed Prince (and helped fuel a heroin epidemic).

+ John Oliver buys $15m in medical debt, then forgives it.


String Theory

Quick, name the greatest champions in tennis history. I'm guessing that the name Novak Djokovic was not on the tip of your tongue. But his record in recent years (against a particularly talented field) is nothing short of remarkable. And his chase of tennis records is speeding up.


The Sting

If there's a financial gain within reach, people will steal almost anything. Even bees. From NPR: Beekeepers feel the sting of stolen hives.


Bottom of the News

"Every rush hour, he went on the Google-owned social-media app and posted false reports of a wreck, speed trap or other blockage on his street, hoping to deflect some of the flow." WaPo on the ongoing (and one-sided) war between traffic-weary homeowners and Waze.

+ "Tim and Eric are figuring out a new method of comedy production. Depending on which subreddit stream you're reading, they're either geniuses or pointlessly nihilistic and digressive." Bloomberg on Tim and Eric's Joke Empire.

+ WSJ: Is the Jetpack Movement Finally Taking Off? (I'm setting my drone's phasers on stun just in case it is...)_