First off, a not-fun stat for you to ponder: According to a new study released last week, more than 80 percent of the accounts that purposefully spread misinformation during the 2016 election are still active. At the same time, even Star Wars: The Last Jedi is being attacked by trolls with political agendas, because there’s nothing so minor that it can’t be ruined by 2018. How are we still even making it through this in one piece? It has to have something to do with the fat bears, right? Meanwhile, here’s everything else people found themselves talking about on the internet in the last seven days.
You’re Not Thinking. You Never Do
What Happened: As if anyone needed reminding, a press conference early last week really underscored that President Donald Trump can’t help himself when it comes to belittling women.
What Really Happened: Last week started with a surprising—and yet, mostly unsurprising—reminder of just how boorish President Trump can be.
The exchange, and reporting thereof—and there was a lot of reporting around this subject, because the press loves a press story—caught the attention of many, especially in the way it was framed by some as “sparring.”
A sign that some in the White House were acutely aware of how embarrassing the exchange was for the president came when the official transcript showed up and was … well, wrong.
That error, once publicly shared and shamed, was soon corrected.
If only the original comments could be fixed as easily.
The Takeaway: While Trump’s snipes at Cecilia Vega were loudly shared and shamed, it’s worth pointing out that he actually didn’t limit himself to demeaning just one female reporter during the press conference.
The Stormy Daniels Story Brews Again
What Happened: You really can’t keep the Stormy Daniels story down, but the latest development was not what anyone expected—unless you happened to be the other son of the president.
What Really Happened: Remember when Trump said that he didn’t know anything about Don Jr.’s meeting with Russians in Trump Tower until the news broke, and then it turned out that he dictated the initial statement released to the press? Well then, this week might’ve given you an unexpected sense of déjà vu.
As with all things, this is a far more nuanced story than it would initially seem on the face of it, so let’s seriously consider how best to summarize the reporting on this new development?
Oh, that works.
Yes, this was a much-shared development in a story we all thought was done, but really: Who saw this plot twist coming in the Stormy saga—and on the day Stormy’s book was released, as well? (Truly, the so-called “Trump Bump” is real.)
OK, perhaps that’s going a little bit too far, but still: You do have to wonder just a little how Eric approached the subject, don’t you? Just a little.
I mean, it’s not like it’s an easy subject to broach, really.
The Takeaway: At the heart of this whole story is this one sad fact.
Kava-Yay or Kava-Nah?
What Happened: Last week was another big one for Brett Kavanaugh.
What Really Happened: It’s been quite the week for Supreme Court nominee and professional beer enthusiast Brett Kavanaugh. As you may remember, two weeks ago Kavanaugh and one of the women accusing him of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judicial Committee. In the wake of that, a proposed vote on whether or not to place Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court was postponed after Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) demanded the FBI look into the matter. With a depressingly short window in which to do so—the investigation had to be completed within one week—the postponement took effect, and the FBI opened its (limited) investigation.
Surely placing Kavanaugh under further scrutiny would be good for him, considering he so aggressively defended himself in the hearing, right?
OK, so that doesn’t look good for the judge, but surely nothing else would happen to contradict his testimony.
This New York Times story caused its own minor ruckus when it turned out that some of it was sourced with the help of someone who had previously stated that she did not want Kavanaugh to be placed on the court, but that was pretty much a surreal sideshow, made all the moreso by a strange comment on the matter by a Times spokesperson. But back to Kavanaugh, who had sworn under oath that he liked beer, but wasn’t a particularly over-indulgent drinker. Is it possible there’s evidence from the past that contradicts that? Let’s go back to the Times.
Then it escalated.
And escalated again.
With this in mind, it’s not surprising that some were choosing to distance themselves from Kavanaugh.
Thursday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported that the investigation was already over and that the White House had declared no wrongdoing. Immediately, concerns were raised about the investigation’s thoroughness.
As of this writing, it’s still believed that the Senate will vote to confirm Kavanaugh by the end of this weekend.
The Takeaway: As of this writing, it’s still believed that the Senate will vote to confirm Kavanaugh by the end of this weekend.
What Happened: If you’ve been wondering just how true the president’s claims of being a self-made man really are, last week offered up an answer.
What Really Happened: For many, the question of just what financial support President Trump got from his father has long been an open one. Last week, the New York Times came up with what appeared to be the definitive answer.
For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, the Times actually came up with its own synopsis, because that’s how important the story was. Of course, other outlets wrote their own takeaways too, because that’s how important the story was.
You know who else thought the story was important? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
As some pointed out, the potential legal implications aren’t necessarily what would upset Trump most about what the Times reported.
How did the president respond to the piece?
The Takeaway: By the way, the idea that, perhaps, this could have happened a little earlier wasn’t lost on everyone.
Trump Responds to Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony
What Happened: Speaking of Trump and Brett Kavanaugh, amidst the kerfuffle last week the president did try to stand up for his Supreme Court nominee. It didn’t go well.
What Really Happened: It all started with a Trump rally on Tuesday.
His comments were well-covered by a stunned press, because of course they were. Seriously, just think about this. So how did those comments go over with the folks Kavanaugh needed to win over to secure his place on the Supreme Court?
Yeah, that’s not looking too good. And even if all Senate Republicans didn’t speak out against the president’s comments, one influential party certainly seemed to be disappointed.
As is always the case, however, there were those who chose to defend the president.
The Takeaway: Let’s just go with this.