NEW YORK (AP) — Reports about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ two meetings with Russia’s U.S. ambassador became a textbook illustration of the vastly different shapes a story takes in today’s media world.
The story moved with lightning speed Thursday across the media ecosphere, from the Washington Post’s initial revelation the night before, to hours of political combat, finally to Sessions’ announcement — broadcast live Thursday afternoon on broadcast and cable news networks — that he would remove himself from any investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
“This is really going to take the temperature down on Capitol Hill,” MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt said following Sessions’ news conference.
Perhaps. The story about Sessions’ meetings with the Russian ambassador, with the backdrop of still unanswered questions about Russian ties to Trump, had enough mystery to make it politically malleable: why did they take place and what was said? Some Democrats called for Sessions’ resignation, while many Trump supporters saw nothing wrong.
Less than 24 hours after the Post story broke, the chyron on CNN’s screen read “Sessions Under Siege.” He was in a “firestorm.” Meanwhile, the Breitbart News web site had another take: “Fake news: Media, Democrats distort remarks to target Jeff Session.”
Before Sessions’ news conference, news networks and web sites featured two key videos: one showing Sessions answering a question from Minnesota Sen. Al Franken about the meetings in a January hearing, and the other NBC’s brief interview with Sessions on Thursday morning. The attorney general said he would recuse himself from an investigation into the government’s Russian ties, “whenever it’s appropriate,” a determination he made by mid-afternoon.
The conservative web site Red State used sarcasm as the story sucked up television time. “Jeff Sessions met with a Russian ambassador and now all hell is breaking loose,” the site headlined.
“I’m sorry, I don’t see the scandal here,” wrote Joe Cunningham. “Yeah, Sessions wasn’t completely forthcoming, but if we fired all politicians for failing to disclose all the facts that may or may not be relevant to an issue, then we would be without politicians.”
The liberal site Daily Kos linked a clip of the Sessions testimony under the headline, “Here are the 30 seconds that may end Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ career.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, this ends in resignation,” wrote Jen Hayden. “There is no other reasonable outcome. Sessions will be lucky if it doesn’t result in jail time, too.”
CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel all aired a live news conference of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for Sessions’ resignation. But after Schumer answered one question from a reporter, Fox turned the sound off the New York senator and on for a split-screen interview with Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican. Scalise urged viewers not to rush to judgment.
Similarly, CNN and MSNBC ran House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s news conference from beginning to end as she also called for Sessions’ resignation. Fox was televising a story about opioid abuse in Maryland when Pelosi began talking. Fox shifted to Pelosi, but only for a few seconds before a commercial break, and never returned to her.
“Her message is very similar to Chuck Schumer’s, so we’ll see where this goes,” anchor Bill Hemmer said.
The journey of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Thursday illustrated a politician who delivered different messages to different outlets.
McCarthy was interviewed on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he said Sessions’ recusal from the Russian investigation would be important for the trust of the American people. Asked directly by Mark Halperin whether public trust in an independent review required Session’s recusal, McCarthy said yes. “I think it would be easier,” he said.
Forty-five minutes later, McCarthy was on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” where anchor Ainsley Earhardt asked “why are you calling on him to recuse himself?”
McCarthy said he wasn’t calling for Sessions’ recusal, and said his feelings were similar to what Sessions had expressed in his morning interview, when he said he would recuse if it were appropriate. “That’s all my answer was,” McCarthy said. “It’s amazing how people spin things so quickly.”
“I’m sorry I asked it the wrong way,” Earhardt said. “But I don’t watch ‘Morning Joe.’ I was told that’s what the mainstream media is reporting.”
Sessions’ defenders suggested the newspaper story on Sessions was part of a Democratic effort to distract from Trump’s well-received speech before Congress on Tuesday. “The conspiracy theories on the left are getting wilder than ever,” said Fox’s Dana Perino.
On the liberal Talking Points Memo site, founder Josh Marshall wrote that he didn’t yet have a sense of how serious the Sessions story was. He found Sessions’ need to conceal the meetings more interesting than the meetings themselves.
“Astronomers can’t see black holes directly,” he wrote. “They map them by their event horizon and their effect on nearby stars and stellar matter. We can’t see yet what’s at the center of the Trump/Russia black hole. But we can tell a lot about its magnitude by the scope of the event horizon and the degree of its gravitational pull, which is immense.”
An 8-year-old Canadian hockey goalie whose dance moves on the ice have made him an online sensation is being called up to the big leagues for a dance-off.
Noah Young, who plays on a team from Brampton near Toronto, has been pumping up crowds with routines for some time, his mother, Paige Rowswell, told the Canadian Press. It was only once his performance was captured on video and posted online this weekend that he drew wider attention.
The short dance routine to the song “Juju On That Beat” by Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall has been viewed more than 3 million times on Facebook and even caught the eye of two professional players, the New Jersey Devils’ Adam Henrique and goaltender Keith Kincaid.
When asked by Henrique on Twitter whether he could rival Noah’s skills, Kincaid replied Tuesday evening with a challenge: “I could give him a run for his money. Only one way to settle this.. dance off.”
The young goalie’s overnight fame has also attracted attention from the local professional minor hockey team, the Brampton Beast, and nearby junior and major junior teams, Rowswell said. She said Noah will be collaborating with them in the near future.
The sudden spotlight has come as a shock to his family and friends, for whom Noah’s dancing is simply par for the course. Mom says Noah isn’t living a star’s lifestyle, either.
“He just thought he could maybe stay up past bedtime and have a chocolate bar late and I was like, ‘No, sorry, you can’t,'” she said.
Noah’s dance moves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNz6oSrZDAk
Sometimes life’s lessons come from those with the least experience.
The story of two 5-year-old boys from Kentucky, one white and one black, is teaching people about racial harmony. The story exploded online when the mother of Jax, the white boy, posted on Facebook about how her son wanted to get his haircut like his black buddy, Reddy, so they could trick their teacher. The boys believe if they have the same haircut, their teacher won’t be able to tell them apart.
WAVE-TV followed Jax to his haircut, and he and Reddy giggle and goof around as Jax gets his hair shaved off.
In the video , Reddy sums it all up: “Jax’s me … and I’m Jax.”
Jax’s mother says she is glad people can “see what little kids see.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of writing anti-Muslim comments on an Ohio mosque has been charged with committing a hate crime.
Franklin County prosecutors say Todd M. Williams was indicted Thursday on charges of ethnic intimidation, desecration and criminal mischief in the vandalism of the Ahlul-Bayt Society Islamic Center in suburban Columbus last month.
Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says security camera video at the mosque shows the 44-year-old Hilliard man writing comments including “Allah Is A Fraud Dum Dums” on the mosque’s glass doors.
The hate crime charge of ethnic intimidation and the criminal mischief charges are misdemeanors. The desecration charge is a felony.
Township police say they don’t know of any motive.
Court records don’t show an attorney for Williams. No telephone number for him can be found.
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and the players’ association announced their agreement on pitchless intentional walks, and the change took effect with exhibition games starting Thursday.
If a manager signals the plate umpire for an intentional walk, the umpire would tell the batter to take first base.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred had hoped for more radical pace-of-game changes, but the union did not agree to raising the bottom of the strike zone, pitch clocks or limits on trips to the mound. MLB can make unilateral changes to playing rules only with one year advance notice.
Two other rule changes were announced Thursday. An addition to rule 5.07 formalizes an umpire interpretation and prohibits a pitcher from resetting his pivot foot or taking a second step toward home plate during his delivery. If the pitcher violates the rule with a runner on base, a balk should be called. If there are no runners, a violation should be considered an illegal pitch under rule 6.02(b).
A change to rule 5.03 requires base coaches to remain behind the line of the coach’s box closest to the plate and the front line parallel to the foul line prior to each pitch. A coach may leave the box to signal a player after a ball is put in play.
In addition, video review regulations were changed to establish a 30-second limit for a manager to make a challenge and a conditional two-minute guideline for the replay umpire to make a decision. When a manager is out of challenges, an umpire crew chief may ask for a review of a non-home run call starting in the eighth inning, one inning later than last year.
MLB also announced the prohibition of field markers to create references for positioning fielders.
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has acquired the complete archives of Lou Reed .
The library and Reed’s wife, musician Laurie Anderson, made the announcement Thursday, on what would have been his 75th birthday.
The Lou Reed Archive features paper and electronic records, photos, and about 3,600 audio and 1,300 video recordings.
Anderson says the archive couldn’t be in a better place: “in the heart of the city he loved the best.”
Reed, an aspiring poet, rose to prominence after Andy Warhol encountered his experimental rock band, The Velvet Underground. Warhol produced the band’s first studio album.
The library will host free displays and public programs over the next two weeks to celebrate and showcase Reed’s life and work, and his collection’s new home.