September 16, 2019

Calls for Kavanaugh’s Impeachment Come Amid New Misconduct Allegations

At the center of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was the testimony of sexual misconduct allegations by Christine Blasey Ford, a California university professor who had attended a Washington-area high school near his.

She testified that when they were teenagers, he pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth. He has denied the allegations from both women.

“These newest revelations are disturbing,” Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts wrote on Twitter about The Times essay. “Like the man who appointed him, Kavanaugh should be impeached.”

Kamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California and a member of the Senate committee that presided over his confirmation hearings, on Twitter echoed the call for impeachment.

“He was put on the Court through a sham process and his place on the Court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice,” she wrote.

Julián Castro, who was housing secretary under President Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, also called for his impeachment.

ImageKamala Harris, a Democratic senator from California, said on Twitter that Justice Kavanaugh’s place on the Supreme Court was “an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice.”
CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Mr. Trump, who nominated Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, defended him on Twitter on Sunday.

“He is an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY,” he wrote. “Such lies about him. They want to scare him into turning Liberal!”

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14 Million Watched Democrats Debate in Houston

Such efforts are rooted in the paper’s journalism. Still, it’s a shift for an institution that shied away in the past from self-promotion — sometimes, its critics argued, to its detriment.

“Our decision to take a leading role in planning and hosting a debate grew out of our mission to cover the major issues and concerns facing voters and the country,” the paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, and its politics editor, Patrick Healy, wrote in a memo on Friday.

The paper is also considering taking part in additional events. “If 2020 Republican primary debates are held, we intend to look into helping plan one of those, as well as a general election debate next year,” Mr. Baquet and Mr. Healy wrote.

Mr. Healy said in an email that The Times approached the Democratic National Committee “as a way to understand the process for planning and presenting debates.” Soon afterward, the paper began discussing a joint editorial approach with CNN.

Sponsoring news organizations are responsible for the costs of each event, which can be significant. Along with renting a venue and paying a production crew, the sponsoring outlets oversee the construction of a set — usually festooned by massive and expensive LED screens — and the logistics of a live television production.

The Times acknowledged on Friday that its debate partnership with CNN includes “a financial component,” but declined to discuss specific terms.

CNN is the first television network to secure a repeat sponsorship of a 2020 debate. CBS News is aiming to hold an event closer to the Iowa caucuses early next year. Fox News requested a debate, but was turned down by the Democratic National Committee.

The mid-October event will be the first Democratic primary debate in Ohio since February 2008, when NBC News sponsored one between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Cleveland. A Republican contest in Cleveland in August 2015, featuring a voluble upstart named Donald J. Trump, retains the record for viewership of a primary debate, with 24 million watching on Fox News.

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Elizabeth Heng Ad, Targeting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Draws a Backlash

The advertisement features Elizabeth Heng, a Republican from California’s Central Valley who lost her 2018 challenge to Jim Costa, a Democrat, by 15 percentage points.

“This is the face of socialism,” Ms. Heng says, as a picture of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez burns.

“Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horror of socialism?” Ms. Heng adds as a photo of skulls in a Khmer Rouge death camp is displayed.

“My father was minutes from death in Cambodia before a forced marriage saved his life,” Ms. Heng says. “That’s socialism: Forced obedience. Starvation.”

“Mine is a face of freedom — my skin is not white; I’m not outrageous, racist, nor socialist,” she adds. “I’m a Republican.”

Republicans have made a significant effort to recruit young candidates of color in recent years, and have stepped up such attempts in California since their 2018 losses. During the midterm elections, Republicans targeted some Democrats with ties to the Middle East by portraying them as terrorist sympathizers.

Ms. Heng appeared to take full credit for the advertisement Thursday night.

“Are you really calling me a racist,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m calling all Democrats out for supporting an evil ideology.”

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Deliveroo Ad Implying Delivery Anywhere (Even Space) Is Banned in U.K.

Some social media users echoed this view after the ad first appeared online in January.

“‘Order what you want, where you want’ and last night I tried and was told that you don’t deliver where I live,” Jacques Joubert, a resident of Andover in southwestern England, according to his Facebook profile, commented on Facebook in March.

“Reckon time for an ad change? False advertisement at its finest,” he said.

“I don’t get it,” Kate van Gelder commented on a shorter cut of the ad on YouTube.

“I don’t live on the moon or in the middle of the desert,” she said. “I live down the road from Eastbourne, but you don’t deliver here yet?”

Others were critical of the regulator’s decision to ban an ad that they saw as harmless.

“Misleading claims, like delivering a pizza to space? I thought you could get a pizza in space, no?” Kerr Millar wrote, commenting on a Facebook post by the Advertising Standards Authority announcing its decision.

“You seem proud of these statements, but you are bowing to the minority and setting a terrible example,” he added.

The ad, which has been pulled from television, will also be removed from YouTube.

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Google Says a Change in Its Algorithm Will Highlight ‘Original Reporting’

“Google search results have not rewarded investments in journalism,” Mr. Chavern said in a phone interview Thursday. “If we can get to a place where they do better, that’s good.”

Google seemed to acknowledge with Thursday’s changes that publications that dig up new information could use some help from the platforms.

“Some stories can also be both critically important in the impact they can have on our world and difficult to put together, requiring reporters to engage in deep investigative efforts to dig up facts and sources,” Mr. Gingras said in the post. “These are among the reasons why we aim to support these industry efforts.”

The guidelines from Google would also elevate outlets known for a history of accurate reporting, considering metrics like how many journalism awards a publication has won.

Several tech platforms, including the Google-owned YouTube, have been criticized for seeming to promote sensational content with no basis in fact. Soon after the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., for instance, the No. 1 trending video on YouTube tapped into false theories that the survivors of the shooting were “crisis actors.”

That kind of inflammatory content may attract views in the short run while damaging the reputation of any company that makes it widely available.

The three examples of hard-news articles Mr. Gingras noted in his post were published by large outlets: the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich, The Washington Post and The New York Times. It was unclear what the algorithm change would mean for publications in small and midsize cities that have struggled in recent years while trying to transition from print to digital.

Google, Mr. Gingras said, is putting “increased effort into, How do we do right by local outlets?” He cited reporting on natural disasters as the type of local coverage that could benefit from the changes.

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Host Violent Content? In Australia, You Could Go to Jail

Immediately after the Christchurch shootings, internet service providers in Australia and New Zealand voluntarily blocked more than 40 websites — including hate hothouses like 4chan — that had hosted video of the attacks or a manifesto attributed to the gunman.

In New Zealand, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is leading an international effort to combat internet hate, the sites gradually returned. But in Australia, the sites have stayed down.

Mr. Morrison, at the G7, said the eSafety Commission was now empowered to tell internet service providers when to block entire sites at the domain level.

In its first act with such powers, the commission announced Monday that around 35 sites had been cleared for revival, while eight unidentified repeat offenders would continue to be inaccessible in Australia.

In a country without a First Amendment and with a deep culture of secrecy in government, there is no public list of sites that were blocked, no explanations, and no publicly available descriptions of what is being removed under the abhorrent-content law.

More transparency has been promised by officials in a recent report, and some social media companies have pledged to be more forthcoming. But Susan Benesch, a Harvard professor who studies violent rhetoric, said any effort that limits speech must require clear and regular disclosure “to provoke public debate about where the line should be.”

To get a sense of how specific complaints are handled, in early August a reporter for The New York Times submitted three links for investigation:

  • A Facebook post showing a gun used in the Christchurch attacks.

  • Footage of the Christchurch attacks found on a site based in Colombia.

  • A message board post referring to the alleged Christchurch attacker as a saint.

Investigators said the last item “did not meet the threshold” and was not investigated. For the Christchurch footage, a notice was sent to the site and the hosting service. The first complaint was referred to Facebook, which removed the post.

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Apple TV Plus Is Just $5. Will People Pay for It?

In effect, Apple is hoping customers will part with $5 a month for the same reason they pay for premium cable channels like HBO or Showtime. But that pitch was easier to make in the days before streaming, when there was a stark difference between what viewers could find on basic cable channels and the broadcast networks. Now there are more shows — and a greater variety of shows — than ever before.

To prepare for the Nov. 1 debut, the company created an entertainment arm from scratch, installing the Hollywood veterans Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg as top executives. The division has spent well over $1 billion to develop more than a dozen shows, cutting checks to Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon and J. J. Abrams.

One of Apple TV Plus’s marquee programs, “The Morning Show,” a drama set in the world of morning television, stars Ms. Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell. “See,” a fantasy, features Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard. There is also “Dickinson,” a quirky comedy with Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski in lead roles that puts a contemporary spin on the poet Emily Dickinson. Children’s programming includes a “Peanuts” series.

Apple said it planned to roll out new shows each month, including a thriller from the director M. Night Shyamalan and a series starring Octavia Spencer. In the not too distant future, it will have a slate big enough to rival networks that have been in the business for decades.

The first hurdle will be the reaction of critics and social media users.

Then comes awards season.

Apple’s first shows will be eligible for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards; nominees will be announced Dec. 9. If Apple is able to storm the Golden Globes stage at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 5, any remaining Hollywood skeptics will have no choice but to consider the tech upstart a major player in entertainment.

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A New International Fair Peddles Pocket-Size Art

Most art fairs involve a frenzy of art handling: packaging, shipping and unloading, followed by careful arrangement. But to prep for a new art expo in Chicago, galleries can pack light — the art simply has to fit booths that are slightly larger than shoe boxes.

This is the unique challenge at Barely Fair, which is dedicated to contemporary miniature art and mimics the layout of a traditional art fair, except reduced to a 1:12 scale. Organized by Julius Caesar, a veteran Chicago artist-run space, it opens Sept. 20 with two dozen international exhibitors. Among them are the New York-based Coustof Waxman and, from Milwaukee, Outlet Gallery, a single electrical wall socket that shows plug-based installations. At Barely Fair, Outlet’s booth will host 10 sockets, each powering a different section of one artwork.

“Many of these galleries are on the small side,” said Kate Sierzputowski, a co-director at Julius Caesar. “I’ve been intrigued with how they create platforms for artists with superlow overhead, so we wanted to show a range of these spaces.”

The responses from exhibitors are diverse. Some have invited artists to create new works, like Serious Topics from Los Angeles, whose booth will burst with tiny art by 23 artists. Others will bring existing pieces that take on refreshed meaning in a scaled-down context. Case in point: the Chicago-based collection gallery Lawrence Clark, whose blue-chip booth will feature matchbooks with photolithographs by Barbara Kruger, an Anish Kapoor maquette and brass stencils by Lawrence Weiner.

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Staying on Top of Tech’s Changing Story

Five years ago, I think many of us covering tech knew this was happening. The rest of the world is realizing it now as well. I think that is driving a lot of the backlash to the tech industry in Washington and beyond. People see many changes happening around them, maybe in their pocketbook, office or government. And they are wondering whether we have a grip on where this is all heading.

You edit a lot of Amazon stories and you live near a Whole Foods, which Amazon now owns. Discuss.

Well, I certainly can attest that the avocados at Whole Foods are cheaper now.

It’s interesting to watch up close what is happening to the store after Amazon bought Whole Foods. I’m frankly surprised it hasn’t changed a lot more. You can see Amazon bleed into the store more each month, but most of the changes are baby steps.

Next I hope Amazon takes a leap and tackles the horrible checkout lines. Whatever algorithm they use for that needs to be rewritten from scratch.

Are you a Prime member?

I am, and I like to think our family gets its money’s worth. In addition to Whole Foods, where we get a discount as a Prime member, we do some shopping on Our children use Amazon Music through our Echo device. And I sometimes zone out with a show on Prime Video.

It’s not that we decided to be an Amazon family. It has just crept up on us.

Outside of work, what tech do you love to use?

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After Sept. 11, Twin Towers Onscreen Are a Tribute and a Painful Reminder

Ms. Westfeldt debuted her movie at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2001, just hours before the attacks. She recalled the joy she felt after her film, replete with gauzy, golden-hour shots of the towers, was applauded. A New Yorker, she awoke the next day to news of the attacks and spent the next 48 hours camped in front of a TV, crying and contacting loved ones.

Her movie had a second screening on Sept. 12, she said, and “the people who went basically reported back that there were audible gasps and sobs at those images.”

“It was just gut-wrenching,” she added. “All these images that were meant to be beautiful and romantic were now harrowing and triggering in the midst of a rom-com that was intended to make you laugh, not traumatize you.”

Ms. Westfeldt said she and her colleagues debated intensely about whether to leave in the Trade Center scenes and risk “inflicting more pain on people,” or remove them and possibly “erase or misrepresent history.” In the end, they chose to reshoot the scenes. She asks herself now whether the original scenes might have stood the test of time as the despair of losing the towers ebbed.

Michael Nozik, producer of the 2002 movie “People I Know,” starring Al Pacino, felt the same way. “We wanted to make sure we were not seen as exploitative and insensitive at a time when there was so much grief,” he said of the reshoot. Now, he said, “It’s nice to look at all the beautiful images of the Trade Center because it’s more like honoring them than the horror of recalling that event.”

Some directors, though, do not support altering a pre-9/11 picture based on post-9/11 sensibilities. Among them is Michael Bay, the maker of “Armageddon,” a 1998 summer disaster flick that shows one of the towers ablaze after a meteor strike.

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