Trump Says He Will Release Final Set of Documents on Kennedy Assassination
|| NY Times
“WASHINGTON — President Trump has decided to release a final batch of thousands of classified government documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday morning.
“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
The release of the information being held in secret at the National Archives — including several thousand never-before-seen documents — was mandated to occur by Oct. 26 under a 1992 law that sought to quell conspiracy theories about the assassination.
Mr. Trump has the power to block the release of the documents, and intelligence agencies have pressured him to do so for at least some of them. The agencies are concerned that information contained in some of the documents could damage national security interests.
“The president believes that these documents should be made available in the interests of full transparency unless agencies provide a compelling and clear national security or law enforcement justification otherwise,” the statement said.
It is not known what revelations might be contained in the unreleased documents, though researchers and authors of books about Kennedy say they do not expect any bombshells that significantly alter the official narrative of the assassination — that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in Dallas — delivered in 1964 by the Warren Commission.
But the documents are likely to “help fuel a new generation of conspiracy theories,” according to Philip Shenon, a former New York Times reporter and the author of a book about the commission, and Larry J. Sabato, a University of Virginia professor and author of a book about Kennedy, who wrote a recent article about the documents in Politico.”
Awan Brothers Worked for Several California Democrats
“Imran Awan and his brother Abid worked for several dozen Democratic U.S. Representatives, including several from California, according to a recent investigative report citing congressional staff data.
CBS Los Angeles reported on Thursday (original links):
Imran Awan was fired Tuesday by Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the same day he pleaded not guilty to a bank fraud charge in connection with a $165,000 home equity loan, authorities said.
His brother Abid Awan, was employed earlier this year by Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu, Tony Cardenas, and nearly 30 more House Democrats as a “shared employee”, according to Legistorm, a website that tracks congressional employment.
CBS singled out Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), who has been encouraging government employees to leak information to the media.
Imran Awan also worked for several California Democrats, most notably former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), who is now Attorney General of California.
In addition, both brothers also worked for a variety of other Democrats from other states.
The various allegations involving the Awan brothers are still being revealed. The brothers were accused of owing money to a Hezbollah-linked Iraqi politician earlier this year. In addition, they allegedly sent files from the offices of members of the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees to remote servers, and stole hard drives that were later smashed.
It is still unclear how the Awan brothers were able to secure lucrative government contracts and gain access to sensitive information despite several red flags, including their financial and legal problems that ought to have resulted in any security clearance being denied.
Critics have accused former Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) of protecting Imran Awan, employing him until his arrest last week.”
U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned in South Carolina
|| NY Times
“In a major blow to the future of nuclear power in the United States, two South Carolina utilities said on Monday that they would abandon two unfinished nuclear reactors in the state, putting an end to a project that was once expected to showcase advanced nuclear technology but has since been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
Have Comment Sections on News Media Websites Failed?
– NY Times
“Many newspapers and online media companies have begun disabling comment sections because of widespread abuse and obscenity. Of course, that vitriol is not meted out equally: The Guardian analyzed its comments and found the 10 most abused writers of the past decade were female and/or black. (The Times moderates comments in an effort to keep them on-topic and not abusive.)
Have comment sections — once thought to be a democratizing force in the media — failed?
From the ‘Comments’ Section:
“Comment sections have become less necessary and relevant as publishers move audience engagement to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram — all of which allow for easier moderation and hold greater opportunity to attract new audiences.”
“Trolls, jerks, petulant little snotnoses, call them what you will, they haven’t a chance of ever running the show or even directing the conversation. Most people know when they are being led and most know the acceptable limits of each publication. I’d rather figure out myself who is kidding who than have a third party decide to shut down the squawk box.”
“It’s through the comment section that we the readers can talk about how bias your articles are and state the real facts that most journalists leave out of their garbage opinion piece. You’re just shooting yourself in the foot by leaving the comment section out because most people will just go to another dime a dozen site that left the comment section in.”
…..Read the continuing and thoughtful discussion, with a comments section @ NY Times
The Left’s War on Comment Sections
“The internet was born open but is becoming closed everywhere. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rush to shutter readers’ comments sections at major news organisations. Cheered on by intolerant, snobbish cultural elites, news organisations from The Verge to The Daily Beast have, in recent months, informed their readers to take their opinions elsewhere.
Dozens of progressive blogs and news outlets are following suit, citing “abuse” and “harassment” as the primary reasons they no longer want to hear the opinions of their readers. But that’s not what is really going on.
There was a time when comments sections were seen as the next step in a golden age of democratised communication, particularly by the political Left. “For the first time ever, we are thinking aloud, unfiltered by mass media gatekeepers,” wrote a former Hillary Clinton advisor in 2008. “Never before has the global discourse been so accessible, recursive, and durable.”
In 2009, the former online editor for the Washington Post wrote that despite their problems, readers’ comments allowed readers to “complain about what they see as unfairness or inaccuracy” and remind editors that they “do not always agree with journalists about what is important.”
The late Georgina Henry, former editor of the Guardian’s online commentary pages, wrote in 2010 that “journalism without feedback, engagement, dispute and opinion from below the line no longer feels complete to me.” Indeed, the Guardian was once so enamoured of its comments section that it ran a weekly feature, Below the Line, in which “delightful, prolific, or controversial members of the Guardian comment community” were invited to profile themselves.”
Comments are making the internet worse. So we got rid of them
“In February 2009, large law firms were in crisis. The stock market was in free fall, Lehman Brothers had recently collapsed and rumors of lawyer layoffs and firm implosions were rampant.
At Above the Law, the legal news website I founded in 2006, my colleague Elie Mystal and I were covering the developments closely. In the reader comments, we noticed persistent predictions bubbling up of layoffs at leading law firm Latham & Watkins. These comments led us to investigate further. Before Latham eventually announced its massive, record-setting layoffs, we broke the story — and we owed the scoop, one of our biggest ever, to our comments section.
Reader comments in the early days of Above the Law were a treasure trove of information, insight and humor, advancing our mission of bringing greater transparency to an often opaque profession. Comments were wildly popular; some readers came specifically to read them, and some commenters became Internet celebrities in their own right. “Loyola 2L,” a law student who helped raise public awareness about the risks and costs of going to law school in 2007, was named Lawyer of the Year by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
Over the years, however, our comments changed. They had always been edgy, but the ratio of offensive to substantive shifted in favor of the offensive. Inside information about law firms and schools gave way to inside jokes among the “commentariat,” relevant knowledge got supplanted by non sequiturs, and basic civility (with a touch of political incorrectness) succumbed to abuse and insult. A female Supreme Court justice was called a “bull-dyke.” An Asian American woman’s column about civility in the legal profession provoked “me love you long time” in response. My colleague Staci Zaretsky, who writes extensively about gender inequality in the legal profession, was told: “Staci, you have plenty of assets, like that fat milky white ass.”
In part, our decision was based on science. Researchers have found that when readers are exposed to uncivil, negative comments at the end of articles, they trust the content of the pieces less. (Scientists dubbed this the “nasty effect.”) A study by the Atlantic found that negative comments accompanying a news article caused readers to hold the article in lower esteem. In an increasingly competitive media environment, websites can ill afford to have their content and brands tarnished in this way.”
What happened after 7 news sites got rid of reader comments
“Recode, Reuters, Popular Science, The Week, Mic, The Verge, and USA Today’s FTW have all shut off reader comments in the past year. Here’s how they’re all using social media to encourage reader discussion.
For a short period at the end of 2014, it appeared that publishers had reached a breaking point in their ongoing struggle with reader comments. Within a few weeks of each other, Recode, Mic, The Week, and Reuters all announced that they were closing down their comment sections. They joined the ranks of other outlets, including The Chicago Sun-Times and Popular Science, that abandoned the practice in favor of letting users discuss stories on social channels instead.
Many news organizations have had comments sections for as long as they’ve been online. For just as long, many have agonized over the value of the conversations that rage in the space below a story. There’s plenty of debate over the issue, as newsrooms struggle with moderation, the value of anonymity among commenters, and, in some cases, the legal issues that arise from what’s said in the comments.
I spoke to seven news organizations — Recode, The Verge, Reuters, Mic, Popular Science, The Week, and USA Today’s FTW — about their decision to suspend comments, the results of that change, and how they manage reader engagement now.
Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief, and Helen Havlak, engagement editor:
PATEL: Comments and community are foundational for the company, and they’re foundational to The Verge. So they’re really important to us. We didn’t get rid of them, and that makes us a little different from everybody else you might be talking to. We want to have a big community, a vibrant community, and find ways to grow and nurture that community over time. That will ultimately lead to our success, particularly in a world where, I think, everyone is super worried about off-platform publishing. We’re trying to reset the expectations of our community and rethink how we maintain what’s strong about one set of people that are reading one kind of content as our site grows and as our ambitions grow for the site.”