The police-shooting news cycle, the White House’s ‘dossier’ on Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Fahrenthold, and the real size of the anti-mask movement

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Edited by Marco Nurra

Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, and the arbitrariness of the police-shooting news cycle. “Although the police shootings of Floyd, Taylor, and (for now) Blake have become big national stories, the same cannot be said of many other recent victims of racist violence. […] The reasons some of these cases get more coverage than others—stereotypes around what makes a “sympathetic” victim, whether there’s a video, what else is going on in the news that day—are numerous and well-known, and the resulting disparities are, ultimately, arbitrary. Still, it’s striking that even sustained national attention to police brutality against Black people isn’t enough to ensure sweeping change in American policy or practice. A functioning government and media should be able to juggle numerous urgent priorities at once—after all, that’s the reality we’re in. The longer our institutions fumble, the more Black people will die. It’s a miracle that Blake is alive,” writes CJR’s Jon Allsop.

‘Unarmed Black Man’ doesn’t mean what you think it means. Three words that repeatedly appear in stories about racially motivated shootings reinforce the biased assumptions that journalists are trying to expose.

Trump supporters rush to defend one of their own who killed protesters in Kenosha. Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two during a protest in Wisconsin, “had to maintain order.” Carlson’s defense of Rittenhouse also hinged on the false idea that he had taken to the streets to oppose a phantom movement of violent radicals using the protests as cover. “The Justice Department could have stopped all of this months ago,” Carlson ranted over footage of Kenosha recorded by another of the conservative gonzo video bloggers who descended on the city this week, searching for images of chaos to discredit the protest movement. “If federal prosecutors had treated the organizers of BLM and antifa the way they treated Roger Stone, our cities wouldn’t look like Kosovo tonight.”

Malta’s former PM questioned over Daphne Caruana Galizia murder inquiry. Joseph Muscat formally interviewed for first time in connection with investigation. In a statement released after he left police headquarters in the capital, Valletta, Muscat said officers had “confirmed to me on the record that I am not under investigation in connection with the case, which was concluded under my watch”. The decision to question him was prompted by a statement made by the chief suspect, the business magnate Yorgen Fenech, Muscat confirmed. Fenech’s arrest last year led to the resignation of Muscat’s chief of staff and two of his ministers, and ultimately to the prime minister’s decision to leave government.

Bangladeshi blogger faces death threats for criticizing Islamic fundamentalism. Asad Noor, an outspoken Bangladeshi blogger, has been facing threats and intimidation from both state and non-state actors for supporting minorities and criticizing Islamic fundamentalism. The atheist blogger crossed the Bangladesh-India border illegally on February 14, 2019, with the help of an agent after intelligence officers confiscated his passport. He has been living in India ever since. “In my YouTube and Facebook videos, I have been criticizing Islam and Prophet Mohammad, referencing the Quran and the Hadith. At the same time, I am critical about political Islam. That’s why Islamists are angry with me,” Noor told DW.

Hong Kong journalist denied visa amid fears for media freedom. After months of reassurance that Beijing’s national security law would not affect Hong Kong’s free press, the government has denied a visa to local media outlet, the Hong Kong Free Press. The English-language outlet had sought to employ a new editor, Aaron Mc Nicholas, an Irish journalist already based in Hong Kong. However the immigration department rejected an application to transfer his work visa after an almost six-month wait, without giving an official reason. Hong Kong Free Press has reported extensively on the protests and pro-democracy movement in recent years, and has been among multiple voices criticising the national security laws. McNicholas also extensively covered the protests and the subsequent government crackdown and implementation of the national security law. Since the implementation of the law – which criminalises a broad range of acts relating to secessionism, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion – the media industry in Hong Kong has struggled to secure guarantees for their safety. It remains unclear even if it is legal to quote people using the now banned independence slogans.

White House says it is creating ‘very large’ dossier on Washington Post journalist and others. The White House said in a story published Thursday that it was compiling a “very large” dossier on a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and others who it said are a “disgrace to journalism and the American people.”The astonishing revelation about the White House’s efforts to discredit reporter David Fahrenthold came after The Post requested comment for a Thursday story he wrote with two colleagues. The story, co-bylined by reporters Josh Dawsey and Joshua Partlow, detailed how President Trump’s company “charged the U.S. government more than $900,000” for hotel rooms fees among other services at Mar-a-Lago.In a statement, White House spokesperson Judd Deere accused The Washington Post of “blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization” and demanded “it must stop.”

The Washington Post editorializes against dishonest ads. The ad team runs them. The Washington Post editorial board could not have been clearer. “Facebook Shouldn’t Run Trump’s Lie-Laden Ads,” the board said in an unsigned house editorial last October, urging the company to “reject ads that contain flat-out falsehoods.” Five days later, the Post weighed in again, in an editorial headlined “Free Speech Doesn’t Mean Facebook Must Run Dishonest Ads.” It’s unambiguous: the Post does not feel that media companies should profit from misleading political ads. But what happens when it’s the Post’s ad department making the call? Last Thursday, as the Democratic National Convention was coming to a close, readers of the Post’s website were besieged with Trump campaign ads that took over the homepage on desktop and mobile devices. Against an ominous image of a city aflame, the ads proclaimed, “THE RADICAL LEFTIST TAKEOVER OF JOE BIDEN IS COMPLETE.” The ads linked to videos that made false claims about Biden—false enough that the Post’s own top fact checker, Glenn Kessler, went on Twitter to call them out. No, Kessler noted, Biden “does not support defunding the police.” And no, Biden’s China policies are not accurately depicted by Trump’s ads. The ads—especially the fact that they obscured the Post’s homepage—set off a firestorm.

Reporting on coronavirus vaccines: 5 tips to help journalists inject audiences with the facts. Longtime health care journalist Gary Schwitzer uses the language of disaster warnings when discussing the challenges of covering COVID-19. Schwitzer said the speedy publication of preliminary research  findings related to the coronavirus may create conditions for a “perfect storm of pandemic misinformation.” In an interview with Journalist’s Resource, he stressed the need for reporters to help audiences make sense of the “tsunami” of COVID-19 information. Schwitzer, publisher of, urges journalists to make sure audiences understand the limits of what scientists know to date about COVID-19, especially as the world awaits an effective vaccine. One piece of advice: “Please do not project certainty where certainty simply doesn’t exist,” he says.

Coronavirus: How pro-mask posts boost the anti-mask movement. When masks became mandatory in a number of countries in July, it sparked a lively conversation online. Videos of furious individuals hurling abuse at mask-wearing shop assistants went viral and anti-mask protests were covered in nightly TV news bulletins. A cursory look at social media and much of the coverage might make it seem that there was a sizable movement opposed to mask wearing, locked in furious debate with those criticizing or mocking them. Yet on closer examination, it becomes clear that what looks like a two-sided debate is in many countries a small minority provoking a backlash that ends up amplifying their messaging, raising their profiles and possibly introducing more people to a range of conspiracy theories.

‘An unquestionable truth’: Religious misinformation in the coronavirus pandemic. There has always been a conflict between faith and science. In the pandemic, some Latin American Christian communities are feeling this strain more than most.