Dr. Anthony Fauci told Princeton University graduates that the COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a “cacophony of falsehoods and lies” that has poisoned society. The world-famous infectious disease doctor told the Ivy Leaguers on Monday to be on alert for leaders who spew lies to further their own political ends at the expense of the public good. “Sadly, elements of our society have grown increasingly inured to a cacophony of falsehoods and lies that often stand largely unchallenged,” Fauci said. “We see this happen daily … from certain elected officials in positions of power.” Fauci did not mentio...
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Fox News in real trouble for spreading 'pure bunk' about Trump's loss -- and OAN could be 'wiped out' by lawsuits
Legal experts believe that Fox News could be in real trouble for spreading baseless conspiracy theories about Donald Trump's election loss.
A judge ruled last month that Dominion Voting Systems could move forward with its lawsuit against Fox Corp., the conservative news network's parent company, for amplifying bogus claims that it rigged the election for Joe Biden, and Judge Eric Davis made clear the $1.6 billion suit was not frivolous, reported The Guardian.
“These allegations support a reasonable inference that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion,” Davis said in his ruling.
That doesn't guarantee Fox News or the Murdochs will be held liable, but legal experts agree the suit poses a real threat to conservative networks that spread the conspiracy theories.
“Dominion has a very strong case against Fox News – and against OAN for that matter,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a constitutional law professor at Stetson University and a fellow at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. “The reason Dominion is suing is because Fox and other rightwing news outlets repeated vicious lies that Dominion’s voting machines stole the 2020 election from Trump for Biden. But all of these conspiracy theories about Dominion’s machines were just pure bunk, and Fox as a news organization should have known that and not given this aspect of the big lie a megaphone.”
“What’s particularly bad for Fox is [that] Dominion asked them to stop and correct the record in real time, " she added, "and Fox persisted in spreading misrepresentations about the voting machine company.”
Davis noted in his ruling that newspapers under Rupert Murdoch's control, such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Post, condemned Trump's election lies and urged the former president to concede his loss, and text messages obtained by the Jan. 6 commission show communication between Fox News hosts and White House officials about the insurrection.
“I think once you start to pull the discovery material, what you’re going to find is there was a lot of communication between the Trump people both internally and externally about pushing very specific lies and narratives,” said Angelo Carusone, president and chief executive of Media Matters for America.
Fox News would probably survive, but the much smaller OAN and Newsmax, which are also being sued by Dominion and election software company Smartmatic, could be decimated in court.
“I think OAN is going to be wiped out from the litigation costs," Carusone said. "Forget about any judgment.”
Newsmax has enough cash to survive a trial and even pay the damages sought by Dominion and Smartmatic, but OAN is already struggling after it was dropped by DirecTV, which was responsible for 90 percent of its revenue, and the network appears to be in a death spiral.
“We’ve started seeing, already, them scaling back programming, they’ve been laying off staff, they’ve been cutting back the number of programs," Carusone said. "So it’s pretty clear that they don’t have sufficient resources to weather a protracted litigation.”
The Brazilian government published data Friday showing that more than 2,500 fire hotspots were recorded in the Amazon rainforest last month, the highest number for June since 2007—one of the worst years ever for the critical ecosystem.
"The Biden administration has only legitimized the Brazilian government's anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental agenda."
The latest report from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research estimates that the Brazilian Amazon has lost 1,450 square miles of jungle since the start of 2022.
Greenpeace Brazil said in response to the alarming figures that the far-right Bolsonaro government's systematic rampage against basic environmental protections is responsible for the surge in rainforest fires and overall deforestation, which have helped transform parts of the Amazon—long known as a key carbon "sink"—into sources of planet-warming greenhouse gas.
"Agribusiness is hitting new records for forest destruction as the dry season arrives in the Amazon," said Cristiane Mazzetti, a spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil. "Illegal burnings and deforestation have accelerated over the last three years as a direct result of the Brazilian government's anti-environmental agenda that encourages the destruction of the forest."
"If this trend does not change," Mazzetti added, "we will approach the tipping point of no return in which the Amazon could fail as a rainforest."
Brazilian academics have warned in recent months that a Bolsonaro victory in the October presidential election would mean total demise for the Brazilian Amazon. Recent polling shows that Bolsonaro is trailing leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has vowed to pursue "net-zero deforestation" if elected.
"If Bolsonaro remains in the power of presidency, it's hopeless in terms of the environment," Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the São Paulo-based Climate Observatory, told HuffPost in April, a record-shattering month for Amazon deforestation.
"There will be more deforestation," said Astrini. "The Amazon will fast forward to its collapse point."
Environmental groups have voiced dismay at the Biden administration's failure to confront Bolsonaro on the international stage over his government's assault on the Amazon. The U.S. is Brazil's second-largest trading partner.
Last month, during the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, President Joe Biden went as far as to praise Bolsonaro for trying to "protect the Amazon."
"In addition to being divorced from reality, Biden's statement is remarkably tone-deaf," Maria Laura Canineu and Luciana Téllez Chávez of Human Rights Watch wrote on the final day of the summit, where the two leaders met for the first time. "Biden has shamefully squandered the opportunity to leverage his meeting with Bolsonaro to support the courageous defenders of the Amazon."
"These defenders are putting their lives on the line to protect the world's largest rainforest and a vital bulwark against climate change," they continued. "Biden should correct this mistake and press Bolsonaro to reverse his damaging policies, urging Bolsonaro to get Brazil back on track in fighting deforestation and protecting forest defenders from violence."
Diana Ruiz, the head of forests at Greenpeace USA, said in a statement Friday that "up to now, the Biden administration has only legitimized the Brazilian government's anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental agenda."
"The U.S. has a responsibility to act and stop making deals with President Bolsonaro, who continues to wage an assault against Indigenous Peoples and environmental defenders," Ruiz added.
Trump biographer says ex-president projecting mental instability on Cassidy Hutchinson after Jan. 6 hearing
Former President Donald Trump used a far-right channel to attack former senior White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, but one of his biographers alleges that his comments are all just projections.
"This lady yesterday, there's something wrong with her," Trump said on Wednesday. "Is there something wrong? The woman is living in fantasy land. She's a social climber, if you call that social. She has serious problems. Mental problems. But for this girl to sit there and just, I think, make up stories and I, again, hardly know who she is."
In the past, Trump has been caught trying to discredit former top aides by claiming he doesn't even know them when photos and videos show otherwise. He infamously called his foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos nothing more than a coffee boy, when, in reality, he was told to organize foreign trips for Trump and speak to international agents as a representative of the campaign.
Similar to Papadopoulos, Hutchinson has been photographed with Trump, and she's well-known in Trump world. The House Select Committee began the hearing with her by showing photos of her on Air Force One and wherever chief of staff Mark Meadows went.
“Well, we always expected Trump world to try and discredit her, and they are not disappointing us in that regard,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) told NBC News on Sunday. “I thought her testimony was credible. She has nothing to gain by stepping forward and telling the truth. And Trump world has everything to lose by the truth. So they are doing their best to try and attack her, to discredit her.”
Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio has written books about Trump using these tactics and explained on CNN that it's "straight out of the playbook."
"I'm reminded of the saying that the character is destiny so we're now seeing play out Donald Trump's destiny based on his character and Ms. Hutchinson's destiny playing out based on her character and we know that in the wings with Pat Cipollone and we're going to try to see where his character leads him," D'Antonio explained. "Yes, Donald Trump has always done this and the strange thing is that it has worked for him. It has allowed him to attract only the most loyal people who are afraid of him. It has allowed him to bully people into submission."
D'Antonio noted it's interesting that Trump actually uses the exact same words to attack people.
"He always says that people are crazy," the biographer explained. "People are seeking to raise their profile. People are just making up stories. Well, who does that remind you of? Who does it remind you of when he says someone is making up stories or trying to raise their profile or even being a little bit crazy. It reminds us of one former president."
Those who know Trump have been asked about what they've witnessed from the ex-president's behavior and if what Hutchinson is describing is accurate.
"It sounds like the person that he imagined himself to be," said D'Antonio about Trump's behavior. "So this is a fellow who told me he's the hero in his own comic book, that he loves to fight all kinds of fights, even physical fights. The record doesn't show he's really done that."
Former lawyer Michael Cohen explained on CNN that he's never known Trump to actually get into physical altercations with anyone, even as a child. There are rape accusations in Ivana Trump's book as well as sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations from over 20 women. Trump even bragged on video about sexually assaulting women.
"I think it's unlikely that he would somehow make his way across the beast and grab the steering wheel, but I think it's the kind of story people would tell about him," said D'Antonio. "The part that is credible to me is the idea he insisted on going to the Capitol himself. Now we can only tremble at the thought of what would have happened if he had done that. I think the outcome would have been very different. The idea that he imagined being the president that would take over the car, and force it to go up to the Capitol, is how he would have thought about himself. But it's not what I expect he did."
See the full discussion below or at this link.
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