By Rob Lenihan Twitter and Reddit commenters are split over how to respond to the firing of SpaceX employees who criticized CEO Elon Musk. Fair or unfair? Stifling free speech or a response to workplace bullying? The SpaceX controversy spilled into social media as commenters posted their thoughts about SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO Elon Musk, which fired several employees for writing a letter blasting the world's richest man as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment.” The employees were complaining about Musk's public behavior and h...
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Donald Trump's increasing statements that the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling that, for all practical purposes, overturned Roe v. Wade hurt Republicans in the 2022 midterms is setting off alarms with anti-abortion leaders who feel he is no longer on their side and that they are being played.
In a speech last week the former president took credit for putting in place three new members on the Supreme Court who had no qualms about throwing out Roe after fifty years which, in turn, created a firestorm and became a rallying point from Democrats in the 2022 election.
Likely with that in mind, in that same speech, the former president seemed to hint that abortion talk should be taken off the table until after the 2024 general election and that has anti-choice activists feeling betrayed.
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According to a report from Politico, "As his GOP opponents have seized on the comments, hoping to close a wide polling gap by attacking Trump as a fair-weather conservative, the anti-abortion movement finds itself at a crossroads — afraid of alienating the presumptive nominee but loath to let his remarks go unchallenged."
Patrick Brown of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Life and Family Initiative complained, "Are pro-lifers going to allow themselves to be a cheap date? Are they going to sit back and take it when candidates are denigrating the cause they dedicated their life to?”
Kristan Hamrick, the 38-year-old chief policy strategist with Students for Life of America warned the former president that her group plans to hold Trump's feet to the fire on the issue.
"He won’t feel pressure until it’s applied, and we’re willing to apply it,” she bluntly stated. “You cannot ignore the human rights issue of our time and still get our vote.”
Billy Valentine of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which plans to invest $78 million to get out the vote effort said Trump may lose some of those very voters they are reaching out to.
“Looking at a general, he’s going to need all Republicans to come home if he’s going to beat Joe Biden," Valentine explained. "He’s going to need the base in order to win ultimately, and he’s going to need a clear position. In the absence of a clear position, the Democrats are going to define him.”
Top Trump rival Gov. D Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is warning anti-choice activists that Trump is preparing to "sell them out."
“I don’t know how you can even make the claim that you’re somehow pro-life if you’re criticizing states for enacting pro-life protections for babies that have heartbeats,” he charged.
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Rupert Murdoch's announcement he is stepping down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. circulated rapidly Thursday morning, with critics celebrating the exit of the billionaire media mogul some are blaming for the "intellectual and moral decay of our society."
Murdoch created Fox News, which he launched in October of 1996. His massive empire also includes the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, along with dozens of other media outlets in the U.S. and around the world.
"I have decided to transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus at Fox and News," his letter, addressed to "Dear Colleagues," reads. One of his sons, Lachlan Murdoch, "will become sole Chairman of both companies."
"My father firmly believed in freedom," Murdoch adds, "and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause. Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose. Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth," he claimed.
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake was among the many who pointed to Murdoch's "elites" remark.
"Murdoch in his letter: 'Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth,'" Blake writes, before pointing to court documents from the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit Fox News settled for $787 million. "Murdoch in the Dominion documents: Showing exceeding concern about angering the most powerful man in the world [Donald Trump] by telling the truth."
Author, editor, and professor of international relations, Nicholas Grossman, also focused on Murdoch's "elites" remark.
"Rupert Murdoch's parents had the titles of Sir and Dame. He's a multi-billionaire, and very influential, owning prominent news outlets in the US, UK, and Australia. The notion that Murdoch, of all people, is not elite, and not in cahoots with media, is ridiculous, absurd, insane."
Although Murdoch's move is not effective until the shareholders' meeting in November, his announcement comes just one day after a Vanity Fair interview with author Michael Wolff: "Murdoch Chronicler Michael Wolff Foresees the Fall of Fox News: 'It Will Cease to Exist in Its Present Form.'"
"Now, with The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty, Wolff has directed his poison pen back to a topic that helped make his name," Vanity Fair's Joe Pompeo writes.
Wolff's focus is on what happens to Fox News after the 92-year old Rupert Murdoch dies, and how his more liberal son James might impact the media empire.
"I think it will cease to exist in its present form," after Murdoch's death said Wolff. "I think it will go into a radical transition in which, either James Murdoch will take over and change it into something else, or they will sell it. Fox has existed in its present state just for one reason: It’s controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who is the one man who can stand up, or has been able to stand up, to the political and social opprobrium at a fierce, fierce level, and to do this for the sake of making enormous amounts of money. But when he departs, that changes very clearly and very quickly."
Wolff added he thinks the "logical" decision will be to sell off Fox News.
"I think it’s more logical, at any rate, to sell the whole damn thing. And I think the position that cable television news is not going to get more valuable, it’s only going to get less valuable, is persuasive."
Wolff Thursday morning reposted this photo:
Political and journalism experts, like foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf, on Thursday cheered the Murdoch news and denounced his reign.
"On this happy day on which Rupert Murdoch has announced his retirement, let us reflect on the fact that no single individual has done more damage to Western democracy or more for the intellectual and moral decay of our society during the past half century than Rupert. Good riddance," wrote Rothkopf.
"I believe one could accurately argue that Rupert Murdoch did more to corrode American democracy and fuel division than any other individual in modern history," wrote veteran intelligence officer, activist, and social media personality Travis Akers. "His departure from Fox News leaves a wake of public distrust, violence, and a nation in a cold civil war."
Author and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob adds, "Millions of Americans are more ignorant and less loyal to our democracy because they got their'news' from Rupert Murdoch."
MSNBC's Medhi Hassan wrote: "As Rupert Murdoch announces his 'retirement', a reminder that some of the worst things we have had to experience in recent years - the Iraq war, the rise of Trump, the Big Election Lie - are all thanks to him and to Fox."
Media Matters for America President Angelo Carusone served up this warning:
"Lachlan Murdoch is worse than Rupert Murdoch, so you’ll basically just get a more malevolent version of Fox that will also be even more chaotic since Lachlan is both a less competent leader and Fox is facing an especially turbulent period that Lachlan has no idea how to navigate."
With an eye to the future, veteran journalist Kara Swisher offered this on Lachlan Murdoch: "Prediction: It will be a short reign of the crown prince — after the old man goes, the other siblings will have the con and it will all be sold off (Elon? Right leaning PE firm or media org?)."
Media Matters' Madeline Peltz also glimpsed into what the future might look like under Lachlan's leadership.
"Lachlan Murdoch is now the sole chairman of his family's media empire. He is a dangerous ideologue who unwaveringly backed Tucker Carlson's white supremacy on the network," Peltz said, referring to the now-former top Fox News host. She added: "Murdoch was the number one champion of Tucker Carlson, even as he cost Fox News millions in ad revenue and spread dangerous extremism that inspired acts of right-wing terrorism around the world."
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's latest bid to get House Republicans to fulfill a basic obligation of a governing party has failed.
On Thursday morning, the House held a vote to simply begin debate on a spending bill that would fund the United States military.
Despite the fact that the motion would have merely opened debate rather than passed the measure, it nonetheless failed by a vote of 212 in favor to 216 opposed.
"This is a disaster for House Republicans," commented Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman on Twitter after it became clear that the measure appeared headed for defeat.
In a followup post, Sherman explained just why McCarthy's inability to get his caucus to move on this issue was so stunning.
"Just to put this in context, Republicans cannot even agree to debate the Pentagon spending bill," Sherman wrote. "This bill usually passes by big margins. It failed twice this week. Kevin McCarthy's House Republicans are in a state of crisis."
McCarthy currently has just ten days to avert a government shutdown and so far he can't even get his party to pass bills to fund the United States military.
McCarthy could in theory try to pass a bipartisan deal to keep the government open, but that would almost certainly lead to GOP hardliners voting to oust him from the speakership.
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