Calling all political news junkies. Talking Points Memo is hiring an ambitious, New York-based newswriter to cover the epic political stories of our time.
Full posting after the jump.
TPM is basically a political news and investigations website. We cover a range of topics. We cover the big stories of the day even when they are not inherently political. Where we can we do it with an emphasis on their political and policy dimensions. But political news is the core of what we do.
We are all now in position in which the key big story of the day is the COVID-19 virus outbreak. It is fundamentally a public health story. But in addition to having major economic impacts, the COVID-19 is now impacting almost every question tied to politics, policy and governance.
So I wanted to share a few thoughts about how I and we will cover it.
From TPM Reader XX …
A few thoughts on the silencing:
Fauci has a lot of Congressional access and has for decades. He has many ways to get out a message.
Birx did some of her early research under Fauci. She also worked for Robert Redfield, the Director of CDC when she was at the Army and cleaned up after some problems he had there (look up gp160 including Jon Cohen’s reporting). She is also very politically adept and that’s why she continued in her position in this Administration.
One of the striking patterns in the federal government’s crisis response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been the extent of the disconnect between the federal infectious disease professionals and the White House. Until the President’s press conference it was almost as if they were operating on two separate planets – with the former issuing a frank and increasingly serious set of warnings while the President and his top advisors ranged from happy talk to lashing out at political enemies. That disconnect is not entirely a bad thing. At least the people at the CDC weren’t clearly being muzzled by the White House. The President has the bigger megaphone. But their message was getting out as well.
And why wouldn’t he?
As stock markets plummet — the Dow Jones has plunged the most since the 2008 recession in recent days — and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticize President Trump’s handling of the spread of the coronavirus, the President is looking for someone to blame for his negative press. Up until this week, Trump had barely mentioned the spreading pandemic and when he did, his tone — as it often is in situations that require delicacy — was deaf.
Mike Pence victimized by Trump yet again:
The decision to put Mr. Pence in charge was made on Wednesday after the president told some people that the vice president didn’t “have anything else to do,” according to people familiar with the president’s comments.
I’ve been watching the mix of very worrisome mishandling of the Coronavirus by the White House along with more positive developments from within the federal infectious disease bureaucracy. To be clear, in this case I’m talking mainly about things the President and his White House advisors have said – misinformation, happy talk, etc. I’m not talking about ways they may have concretely messed things up in the field. That is much less clear. On the CDC front, I’m not talking about “good news” in terms of the outbreak but rather signs that actual experts seem to be doing or saying the right things regardless of President Trump’s nonsense.
As epidemiologists struggle to understand the biology of the novel Coronavirus, one question has been the role of smoking. There is evidence that the virus hits habitual smokers particularly hard and may play a role in the relative lethality of infection. It sort of stands to reason that this could be the case and there are few studies examining the question and attempting to quantify the potential impact. That is all tentative and I’m certainly not an expert. So I don’t want to dwell on that question. But reading up on this did allow me to learn some statistics about smoking in China that I found genuinely stunning.
From TPM Reader CH …
I missed the last two presidential debates because I was part of the League of Women Voters team holding candidate forum in a nearby municipality. At the end of each, audience members came up to observe that these forums were much better than the mudfights that the network opining heads presided over. They preferred the League format and the League rules to the clickbait, max controversy approach of the network stars.
So, what does the League of Women Voters do that’s so popular? Here are a few of the guidelines:
There are always repercussions when you weld yourself to President Trump’s wagon.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani may not regret becoming the President’s unhinged cable news cheerleader or embarking on a shadow campaign to pressure a foreign government to pursue Trump’s political agenda, which ultimately got his boss impeached. But there’s one consequence of Trump fealty that may have the former New York City mayor down in the dumps: the demise of his social life.
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