Friday News: Blowback


RENOWNED BLACK FEMALE CHEMIST TURNS DOWN UNC RECRUITMENT EFFORT: "The news this week that Nikole Hannah-Jones was denied tenure was very disheartening. It does not seem in line with a school that says it is interested in diversity," wrote Professor Lisa Jones in her letter to UNC. "Although I know this decision may not reflect the view of the school's faculty, I will say that I cannot see myself accepting a position at a university where this decision stands. I appreciate all of the efforts you have put into trying to recruit me but for me this is hard to overlook." The chemistry department explained that this is going to have long-term impacts on them and others for years to come. "As you can see, this is already having a chilling effect on future hiring at UNC, particularly from under-represented groups."

LOUIS DEJOY FACES FBI PROBE FOR CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS: The FBI is investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in connection with campaign fundraising activity involving his former business, according to people familiar with the matter and a spokesman for DeJoy. FBI agents in recent weeks interviewed current and former employees of DeJoy and the business, asking questions about political contributions and company activities, these people said. Prosecutors also issued a subpoena to DeJoy himself for information, one of the people said. That person, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing and politically sensitive investigation. In early September, The Washington Post published an extensive examination of how employees at DeJoy’s former company, North Carolina-based New Breed Logistics, alleged they were pressured by DeJoy or his aides to attend political fundraisers or make contributions to Republican candidates, and then were paid back through bonuses.

DELLI-GATTI WILL BE DIRECTOR OF CLEAN ENERGY, AFTER REPUBLICANS BLOCK HER AT DEQ: Soon after the North Carolina Senate rejected his nominee to head the state's Department of Environmental Quality Thursday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced a new job for her: clean energy director. In that new role, outgoing DEQ Secretary Dionne Delli-Gatti will focus on "administrative efforts to promote clean energy in North Carolina, including negotiating energy legislation" with lawmakers who just rejected her, the governor's office said in a news release. Her new salary will be the same as the old one: $155,526 a year. The governor's office said DEQ Chief Deputy John Nicholson will be the department's interim secretary. Delli-Gatti is the first Cooper cabinet secretary the Senate has rejected in the governor's five years in office. She would have been the first woman to lead the Department of Environmental Quality, but Republicans declined to confirm her Thursday on a party-line vote in the Senate.

FACEBOOK WILL CRACK DOWN ON POLITICIANS WHO USE HATE SPEECH: Facebook plans to announce Friday that it will no longer automatically give politicians a pass when they break the company’s hate speech rules, a major reversal after years of criticism that it was too deferential to powerful figures during the Trump presidency. Since the 2016 election, the company has applied a test to political speech that weighs the newsworthiness of the content against its propensity to cause harm. Now the company will throw out the first part of the test and will no longer consider newsworthiness as a factor, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak publicly. The Post reported last year that the newsworthiness exemption was first created in response to Trump’s inflammatory remarks about Muslims during his candidacy. Since then, the company has maintained that it rarely used the exception and has only acknowledged using it six times. Those incidents were all outside the United States, and include political speech in Hungary, Vietnam and Italy. In practice, however, Facebook has appeared to give politicians and political leaders a pass in many more instances. In 2019, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would not apply its fact-checking to political ads, for example. And throughout his presidency, Trump repeatedly flooded the platform with misinformation. He promoted baseless claims of voter fraud and repeatedly stated without evidence that the 2020 election was stolen. Facebook chose to append a generic label to most of that content rather than ban it.

EX-JUDGE WILL DECIDE WHAT NEEDS TO BE WITHHELD FROM GIULIANI'S SEIZED ELECTRONICS: Federal prosecutors and lawyers for Rudolph W. Giuliani have recommended that Barbara S. Jones, a former judge in Manhattan, be appointed to review materials seized by the F.B.I. during recent searches of Mr. Giuliani’s home and office, according to a government court filing late Thursday. The proposal, which still must be approved by a federal judge, would require Ms. Jones to determine what seized materials might be covered by attorney-client privilege and should be kept from the authorities who are investigating Mr. Giuliani. Ms. Jones, who is now in private practice, filled a similar role three years ago when she was appointed to oversee a review of materials seized by the authorities during the investigation of Michael D. Cohen, former President Donald J. Trump’s onetime personal lawyer and fixer. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the F.B.I. have been examining whether Mr. Giuliani lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian officials who were assisting him in his efforts to unearth damaging information about President Biden, who was then a leading Democratic candidate. Federal law prohibits lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of foreign officials without registering with the Justice Department, and Mr. Giuliani never registered. On April 28, the F.B.I. seized 18 electronic devices, including cellphones and computers, in searches of Mr. Giuliani’s Madison Avenue apartment and his Park Avenue office in Manhattan, according to court filings.



Facebook and the AM radio problem

I've been on Facebook for several years. Since the "Trump years", I've noticed a steady decline in the quality of the advertisers. Informally, some of my friends have noticed it, too.

Now when I log on, I hardly ever see any national advertiser on the platform. You used to see them fairly regularly. They've been replaced by the kinds of ads you hear on AM talk radio these days - get rich quick schemes, quack medical and weight-loss stuff, or shady merchandise deals from fly-by-nights in Asia. Some of the stuff is clearly fraudulent, offering name-brand computers or photographic equipment at ridiculously low prices at websites no one has ever heard of.

I don't know for sure what's driving Facebook's change here, but I can't help but think that Trump, his racist supporters, and the many grifters and scam artists working the Republican base on the platform are starting to drive national advertisers away.

That's what's steadily happened to AM talk radio, as various campaigns against national advertisers on right-wing hate shows started getting boycotted or didn't want that kind of message out there alongside their brand.

I'm also wondering about Facebook's audience numbers. I know several friends who either dropped of the platform completely or severely limited their interactions during the Trump years. I stopped commenting or interacting with local and national news stories posted there because of the flood of bots, fake accounts, and hate-mongering flying around in the comments.

Is Facebook afraid that if they don't change, they'll turn into the wasteland that is right-wing AM talk radio?

Who's funding the panic over critical race theory?

Some names you might recognize in this blog post, "Where Does the Bizarre Hysteria About ‘Critical Race Theory’ Come From? Follow the Money!".

The Koch network (which, we assume, includes Art Pope), Turning Point USA, ALEC are among the usual suspects here.

Seven degrees of Sarah Scaife

Looks like they're all lining up to oppose teaching the reality of systemic racism. Probably because they've all benefited from white supremacy their entire lives.