Keep this infographic handy for whenever you’re reading something.
Back on Jan. 9, Jeff Bezos and his soon-to-be former wife announced they were divorcing. Shortly after that, the National Enquirer published “reports” of Bezos’ affair, complete with text messages and claims of dirty photos.
Bezos apparently got to wondering how the National Enquirer got his texts and photos, so he hired all-star security consultant and author Gavin de Becker and his firm to investigate. And once the investigation started turning up dirt, the National Enquirer’s parent company, AMI, owned by David Pecker, apparently tried to blackmail Bezos by threatening to publish his dick pics.
But of course, publishing photos of Jeff Bezos’ wiener is only embarrassing – it’s not going to actually hurt him. He’s a powerful, ridiculously rich straight white dude involved in a pretty tame affair. The National Enquirer can’t actually hurt him with dirty pics, so yesterday Bezos published a blog post to Medium basically telling the National Enquirer, “🖕🖕🖕,” and published their emails to boot.
Once that happened, journalist Ronan Farrow announced, “Hey, the National Enquirer tried to blackmail me, too, along with some other prominent journalists.” Those journalists included folks at the Daily Beast and the AP.
- Washington Post: Ronan Farrow says he also faced ‘blackmail efforts from AMI’ for reporting on the National Enquirer, Trump
- Vox: Jeff Bezos says the National Enquirer’s owner threatened to release his “d*ck pick,” so he described it himself
- Jeff Bezos: No thank you, Mr. Pecker
So, yeah, turns out, the National Enquirer? Hella shady. But of course, we already knew that.
Some more links:
- Daily Beast: Trump’s Publisher Pal Puts Saudi Propaganda Magazine in U.S. Supermarkets
- Daily Beast: National Enquirer Boss Took Ally of Saudi Arabia to Meet Trump in the Oval Office
- New York Times: Wooing Saudi Business, Tabloid Mogul Had a Powerful Friend: Trump
- New York Post: The strange saga of a pro-Saudi tabloid in America’s heartland
- NBC News: Publisher of National Enquirer admits paying hush money to help Trump ahead of 2016 election
- CNN: Donald Trump lied about his relationship with the National Enquirer way back in 2016
The National Enquirer, for their part, says, “Nuh-uh!” and promises to investigate the situation, for whatever that’s worth. 🙄
One last quick thing. This morning Paul Krugman tweeted, “I never expected to see Jeff Bezos emerge as a hero of democracy. But he has. A profile in moral courage.”
I saw a few other folks tweeting similar sentiments last night and this morning, so I don’t mean to pick on Krugman in particular, here, but let’s tone this kind of “moral hero, profile in courage” bullshit down a bit, eh?
Bezos has umpteen gazillion dollars and more power than god. A few dick pics being made public were never going to hurt him. Also, he’s in charge of Amazon, a company that is a mass-consumerist hellscape that treats its employees like garbage.
I mean, good on Bezos for not buckling to blackmail and bringing it to light and all, but let’s not pretend that he’s some saint or anything.
Hey, so remember how last week BuzzFeed News published a big bombshell article, and then the spokesperson for the Mueller investigation was all, “That’s not completely accurate,” and the rest of the media, all the rightwingers, and half of the left spent the week dunking on BuzzFeed?
Rudy Giuliani claims the Moscow tower was barely more than a notion. “There were no drafts. Nothing in the file.” Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News tell a different story.BuzzFeed
- New York Magazine: How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually. – So many bots, generating so much traffic, all for ad clicks and views, scams, propaganda, and more.
- ProPublica: How a Dubious Forensic Science Spread Like a Virus – So it turns out blood spatter analysis is kind of bullshit.
- LA Times: Malware attack disrupts delivery of L.A. Times and Tribune papers across the U.S. – ICYMI, there was a huge foreign malware attack just after Christmas, attacking newspapers around the country.
- HuffPost: I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America. – This was a fantastic read. Be nice to your cable guys. Their job sucks.
- Motherboard: I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone – Your cell providers are selling your location data to databases that serve private individuals and businesses.
Two quick things about this screenshot.
First Thing: This headlines states that Donald Trump thought the the people he saw talking on the TV were talking privately to him. The article, however, is about an answer Pence gave to a question from NBC: “Which former presidents told President Trump, as he said, that he should’ve built a wall?” The answer was basically, “Maybe Trump saw it on TV.”
Look, guys, I know you’re trying to get clicks. We’re all trying to get clicks. But we’re dealing with a president who has an obvious mental impairment of some kind, and who seems to be in mental decline. You can’t go announcing that he thinks the TV people are talking directly to him, because that is shit we’ll all easily believe in real life.
You’re not helping.
Second Thing: The President of the United States is such a hot, festering mess that I just read a headline that said Trump thinks the TV people are talking directly to him, and I found that shit extremely easy to believe.
Like, it wasn’t a “Ha ha, he’s so dumb, I bet he does,” reaction. It was a “Yeah, he probably does, dude has dementia or something and dementia patients get confused like that,” response.
And that is terrifying.
Good reading here today. In particular, “Blood Cries Out” was a fascinating and well-reported story, but it’s pretty long, just so you’re forewarned. The BuzzFeed article is pretty interesting, too.
- BuzzFeed News: The “Yellow Jackets” Riots In France Are What Happens When Facebook Gets Involved With Local News
- Atavist: Blood Cries Out: On a Missouri farm, two families worked the land side by side, until a murder shattered their American Dream.
- NiemanLab: Americans still prefer watching over reading news (but that’s only because of people 50 and up)
- Lawfare: Avoiding A World War Web: The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace
- Ars Technica: Study: It only takes a few seconds for bots to spread misinformation
George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, died November 30, at the age of 94.
I don’t remember Bush I particularly well. I was pretty young when he was president, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. He got us into the Gulf War, though, and a lot of kids I knew at the time had their dads sent off to war for that.
The thing I remember most was that at the time, if you had satellite TV, you could find raw feeds from various news agencies on different channels, showing footage from the Gulf. It was basically b-roll that news agencies were streaming back to their stations to be chopped up, edited, and played later on in the background while anchors did their thing.
A friend of mine had those stations playing pretty much 24-7 in her house. She was watching it in case her dad popped up on screen.
Bush I lied about Iraqis killing babies in hospitals to keep America ginned up and in favor of his war effort.
Bush I also arranged for a black high school kid to be lead into selling crack in front of the White House, so that kid could be arrested and Bush could go on TV to tell the nation that the drug epidemic was so bad, people were selling crack in front of the White House. He used this propaganda to kick off his War on Drugs, which has gone on to destroy the lives of, fuck, I don’t even know how many people.
He also helped shepherd the ADA into law, which I mention because this is the real world and almost no one is entirely bad.
He also insisted he wouldn’t raise taxes, and when he realized his tax policy was ballooning the deficit, went ahead and raised taxes anyway. This arguably lost him re-election because Clinton took him to school over it in the elections, but hey, it was fiscally responsible. It might have been the last time you’ll see a fiscally responsible Republican.
5 Things to Read Today
- The Atlantic: How YouTube’s Algorithm Really Works
- ProPublica: “I Don’t Want to Shoot You, Brother”
- CNN: How Trump Tower Moscow fits into Russian interference
- AV Club: Netflix is dropping a massive stand-up series to ease your New Year’s Day hangover
- Engadget: Tumblr will start blocking adult content on December 17th
Photo: President George Bush on the Texans sideline. Houston Texans Vs. New York Giants Reliant Stadium. Houston, Tx. Oct. 10, 2010, by AJ Guel. (Source and licensing.)