February 17th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Fox Knew, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

They lied. They knew they were lying. They put profiting off those lies ahead of everything from personal integrity to national stability. None of the early findings in the Dominion vs Fox News case will come as much of a shock to those living in reality. We all knew Trump was lying about election fraud and that the whack jobs spouting nonsense and leaking grease were either complete phonies or completely nuts. But the liars on Fox News kept lying. Why? Because like the mad king, their base got out of control and even hinting at the obvious truth about the election would mean losing viewers to the even crazier news outlets popping up on cable and the internet. Will what we learned from the just-released court filing, a 200-page motion for summary judgment in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News really matter? Will something come of admissions like the one from Tucker Carlson that Trump is the “the undisputed world champion” of destroying things and that it could ruin Fox News if it didn’t back his election lies? Will it make a difference that we now know for sure that off the air, Fox News stars blasted the election fraud claims they peddled? In the court of public opinion probably not. The Fox News base won’t follow this story and if they do, they won’t believe it. Team Reality has severe Trump fatigue, already knew these clowns were lying, and has largely given up on the notion that anyone will ever be punished for the widespread, wanton betrayal of America. But the details are damning. The efforts to silence the occasional truth-telling Fox employees in order to buoy the stock price are overt. And The Big Lie still thrives and threatens today because of this endless procession of little lies. Fox News propped up the lies and the liars for profit. Maybe this Dominion lawsuit will hit their bottom line. The truth has always been out there. Let’s hope, for once, the truth hurts.


Bullet Point Pitch

“The offerings are numerous: automatically locking doors, bullet-resistant tables, Kevlar backpacks, artificial intelligence that detects guns and countless types of training exercises, like breathing techniques to avoid panic during an attack or strategies for how to use a pencil to pierce a shooter’s eyes.” The sane response to endless school and workplace mass killings would be to address the deadly tools that enable them. In America, the response is a rise of businesses designed to teach teachers and other workers how to protect themselves. Do these methods work? The only way to find out is to swipe your credit card and wait. NYT (free article): In a Violent America, Safety Becomes a Sales Pitch.


Magic Mic Drop

It “generated nearly $1.1 billion in revenue in 2022, up 7 percent from the year before. The game accounted for 18 percent of Hasbro’s overall revenue last year, higher than its 16 percent share in 2021.” Forget GI Joe and the Transformers. Forget your newfangled video games. Hasbro’s biggest money maker is old school. NYT (Gift Article): Magic: The Gathering Becomes a Billion-Dollar Brand for Toymaker Hasbro. (The nerds are driving business and getting picked up on by chat programs. Times are good.)


Weekend Whats

What to TV: Maybe it’s a midlife crisis. Or boredom. Or a low grade depression. Whatever it is, all I really do all day is watch sports or listen to sports talk. And, inevitably, the best part of the day is watching Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. It opens with dad jokes, it ends with Wilbon calling viewers, knuckleheads, and in between the two hosts cover the day’s sports with a clock running to make sure they get to every topic. I love the show. I’ve also long believed that cable news hosts should have the adhere to a similar timing system so they’d actually share a variety of news stories (like your favorite newsletter) instead of running day-long panels on the same worn out topic.

+ What to Follow: I’ve stopped Tweeting, which has been hard since I’m an internet dopamine addict. But I still post on the fast-growing Mastodon network. If you’re on that federated platform, you can follow me here. If you’re looking for nice user interfaces for Mastodon, I’d recommend Ivory for the iPhone, and Elk for the web. I’ve also been posting on Post.News, which is a new centralized platform that’s a cross between tweeting and blogging.

+ What to Read: “He trains with the intensity of a modern professional athlete, diving every weekday and spending hours in the gym, and relaxes like a sportsman of a bygone era, enjoying roll-up cigarettes in the evening and several drinks too many after a win. By his own admission he is spectacularly absentminded and spectacularly unbothered by the consequences. ‘Falling asleep on trains, missing planes, nothing phases him,’ said his sister Jeannette, whose wedding he came within a whisker of missing.” No coach, no agent, no ego: the incredible story of the ‘Lionel Messi of cliff diving.’


Extra, Extra

Rep Rally: “They look at first glance like ordinary news outlets serving up headlines from around the world. The hundreds of websites, seemingly unconnected to one another, come in six languages and purport to cover far-flung cities such as Paris, London and Chicago. But beneath the surface, the sites have something in common: They host frothy stories about clients of a little-known reputation-management company that promises to remake the online images of its customers.” WaPo (Gift Article): Leaked files reveal reputation-management firm’s deceptive tactics.

+ Lives Derailed: “I’m losing so much sleep. I’ve already been to the doctor twice, and I’m taking anxiety pills…This is 10 times worst than just losing my livelihood.” Ohio town reflects on chemical train derailment aftermath. Folks near the derailment are dealing with chemicals, a lack of information, and of course, fake news.

+ Lie Now, Pay Later: “Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has filed for bankruptcy but has nearly $10m in assets and spends almost $100,000 a month, according to court filings.”

+ Bing It On: “Microsoft has nothing to lose. It’s spent billions on Bing, a search-engine no one voluntarily uses. Might as well try something so stupid it might just work. But why is Google, a monopolist who has a 90-plus% share of search worldwide, jumping off the same bridge as Microsoft?” Cory Doctorow on Google’s Chat Bot Panic.

+ Spy Fly: “U.S. and European security officials caution that Russia retains significant capabilities but said that its spy agencies have sustained greater damage over the past year than at any time since the end of the Cold War. The magnitude of the campaign appears to have caught Russia off-guard.” In addition to committing mass murder, causing endless deaths of his own citizens, and driving a mass exodus from Russia, Putin is also ruining his spy apparatus. WaPo: In wake of Ukraine war, U.S. and allies are hunting down Russian spies.

+ Separate But Sequel: “A woman from Fisher Branch, Man., had decided to do an at-home ancestry kit. When Evelyn Stocki clicked on the results of her own at-home ancestry kit, she was shocked to find that she had a full-blooded brother living in British Columbia.” A hospital’s mistake left two men estranged from their heritages. Now they fight for answers.

+ Whoops: Hobby Club’s Missing Balloon Feared Shot Down By USAF.


Feel Good Friday

“On Thursday, the office of Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman, a Democrat who was elected to the Senate after a bruising campaign during which he suffered a stroke, announced he had checked himself into the hospital for clinical depression. The statement said Fetterman had experienced depression on and off in his life, but it had only become severe in recent weeks.” How can a story about a depression so bad it requires hospitalization be in the feel good section? Because being honest about depression and public about such challenges will help a lot of other people. Fetterman draws praise for getting help for depression.

+ “The beloved Catholic nun captured the sports world’s imagination and became something of a folk hero as the chaplain for the Loyola Chicago men’s basketball team that reached the NCAA Final Four in 2018.” At 103, Sister Jean publishes memoir of faith and basketball.

+ “Avci can be heard asking about his mother and the rest of their family as the man on the other end cries in disbelief. Avci then kisses the hand of the rescuer holding the phone and thanks him.” Turkey earthquake: 2 men rescued from rubble 261 hours later.

+ David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak … UK Prime Ministers come and go. Larry the Cat sticks around. Larry the Cat celebrates 12 years of dutiful service at No. 10 Downing St.

+ “Impossible to get a decade ago, THCV cannabis has some surprising possible effects, including an energy boost and even reverse munchies.” Calif. is a great place to find rare diet weed.

+ Plans are underway to unite a cat in Kansas with it owners in Florida. Maybe the cat just really wanted to get away from Florida. (I suppose I’m being a little too anthropomorphic in my thinking.)

+ Reminder: Newscycle willing, NextDraft will be off next week.

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