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US press corps fights back with open letter to Trump: You won’t set the rules for us

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Kyle Pope, the editor in chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review penned an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump on behalf of the U.S. Press Corps setting some clear ground rules moving forward.

“In these final days before your inauguration, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps,” the letter starts. Before writing up the list of eight demands, Pope offered background on Trump’s relationship with the media over the course of his campaign and since winning the election.

“You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialized,” Pope wrote.

“But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too.”

President Trump may no longer allow journalists to have access to him, but that’s OK, Pope argued, noting, “We are very good at finding alternative ways to get information … Telling reporters that they won’t get access to something isn’t what we’d prefer, but it’s a challenge we relish.”

Pope also noted that moving forward, Trump should expect U.S. journalists to work together. “We now recognize that the challenge of covering you requires that we cooperate and help one another whenever possible,” he wrote, citing Trump’s refusal to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta at a press conference last Wednesday.

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“So, when you shout down or ignore a reporter at a press conference who has said something you don’t like, you’re going to face a unified front,” Pope argued. “We’ll work together on stories when it makes sense, and make sure the world hears when our colleagues write stories of importance.”

But the biggest takeaway from Pope’s letter was a reclamation of journalism moving forward and a notice to the president-elect that journalists will no longer play by his rules. “We’ve been around since the founding of the republic, and our role in this great democracy has been ratified and reinforced again and again and again,” he wrote.

“Enjoy your inauguration.”

 

 

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Evangelical calls out Christian right for continuing to oppose therapeutic weed: ‘America is sick’

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In a column for the New York Times, religion writer Jonathan Merritt made the Christian case to evangelicals who aligned themselves with the Republican Party during the Ronald Reagan era to accept that therapeutic marijuana could ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of pain sufferers -- and that Jesus would approve.

According to Merritt, who admits he grew up the son of an evangelical pastor, that he was raised to believe that "marijuana was just one more sinful tool that the devil used to shred America’s moral fabric."

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2020 Election

BUSTED: Trump super PAC accused of lying to government about the source of mysterious $325,000 donation

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According to a report from the Daily Beast's "Pay Dirt" investigative unit, a Super PAC affiliated with President Donald Trump has some explaining to do about a $375,000 donation that was wrongly attributed to one company -- but wire transfers tell a completely different story.

As the Beast notes, "The super PAC America First Action reported receiving a $325,000 contribution last year from a company called Global Energy Producers. But records released in federal court this week indicate that contribution came from an entirely different company," adding that the discrepancy was pointed out by the  Campaign Legal Center which labeled it a violation of federal campaign-finance laws.

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Senate delivers stinging bipartisan rebuke to Trump — and blocks Saudi arms sales

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The Trump White House suffered a stinging defeat on Thursday when a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers voted to block sales of American arms to Saudi Arabia.

The vote in favor of blocking the arms sales received affirmative votes from all Senate Democrats, as well as votes from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Graham, who is usually one of President Donald Trump's staunchest allies, said he voted for the bill because he believed the United States could not ignore the behavior of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, as well as the Saudi government's killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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