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GOP has a new game plan to attack and intimidate journalists who criticize Trump: report

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- Commentary

The Republican Party has had a hostile relationship with the press for years. They have sought to stave off criticism of their scandals and policy flaws by tarring journalists with a broad brush as the “liberal media” (which, at least as far as mainstream outlets go, is a complete myth). President Donald Trump took this to a further extreme by calling any story critical of him “fake news,” an insult that he repeats, on average, once a day. Trump’s former strategist, alt-right former Breitbart News owner Steve Bannon, even went so far as to call the mainstream media the “opposition party.”

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But now, the GOP is preparing to take their assault on the press to a new level.

According to The Atlantic, Trump’s allies at the Republican National Committee, as well as the super PAC America First, are planning an offensive not just against Democrats who criticize Trump, but against journalists: “Any reporter who tries that will be hit with 30-second spots of all their ridiculous claims about collusion,” said an anonymous source within GOP strategists’ orbit. “Their tweets have all been screencapped. It’s all ready to go.”

Quite apart from being draconian, this would seem to be a waste of resources, given that in general these reporters will not actually be running for office against them.

The GOP broadly plans to use Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which stated that Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge anyone on the Trump campaign with conspiracy with the Russian government, to discredit anyone who has speculated about collusion in the last two years. They’re even demanding that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) resign for saying there was evidence of collusion. In reality, Barr’s letter doesn’t actually say there was no evidence of collusion, just not a prosecutable case and until the actual Mueller report is released, there’s no way to know the extent of what he did find.

Indeed, unfortunately for the RNC, the public seems to recognize this. A recent poll showed 56 percent of people do not believe that Barr’s summary exonerates the president. So if Republicans want to attack reporters, they might be jumping the gun until they actually persuade the public that those reporters are wrong.

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Only 5,500 rapid COVID-19 tests touted by Trump are being deployed — for the entire country: report

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by Rachana Pradham

A coronavirus test made by Abbott Laboratories and introduced with considerable fanfare by President Donald Trump in a Rose Garden news conference this week is giving state and local health officials very little added capacity to perform speedy tests needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s a whole new ballgame,” Trump said. “I want to thank Abbott Labs for the incredible work they’ve done. They’ve been working around-the-clock.”

Yet a document circulated among officials at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week shows that state and local public health labs were set to receive a total of only 5,500 coronavirus tests from the giant manufacturer of medical devices, diagnostics and drugs, according to emails obtained by Kaiser Health News.

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Maddow reports Florida governor is letting ‘coronavirus-denialist megachurch guy’ hold huge services

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On Sunday, the River Church in Tampa was packed with parishioners despite the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.

The following day, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister arrested Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for violating the county's social distancing rules.

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Here’s how Christian Nationalists have shaped the federal government’s response to coronavirus

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On Thursday, appearing on the Slate radio show "The Gist" with Mike Pesca, journalist Catherine Stewart outlined some of the ways the Christian Right is responsible for the federal government's disastrous response to coronavirus.

"The coronavirus pandemic is real wrath-of-God type stuff, isn't it?" said Pesca. "Well, there are some people who are waiting for this, who are ready for this, and who, quite scarily, have been tasked with the response."

"It's a complex question, and I think that Christian Nationalism, which is what we're dealing with here, is not a religion," said Stewart. "Many evangelicals are doing very positive things, many religious people are doing a lot of positive things in this situation with the coronavirus. But Christian Nationalism is not a religion, it's a political ideology that cloaks itself in religious rhetoric. And it's a movement that put Trump in power."

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