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April 30, 2014

When Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American magazine, went on Fox and Friends this morning, he was asked to talk about "trends in the future." Before the taping, Moyer put together a list of trends, which included climate change. "The only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen ... is that climate change is going to get worse. So I put that as one of my talking points," Moyer wrote in a blog post about his TV appearance.

But, a producer at the network "politely and matter-of-factly" asked him replace climate change "with something else." Moyer obliged and talked about discovering life on other planets instead. His tweet about the topic change, however, sparked outrage on social media, especially in light of a recent survey that found Fox's climate-change coverage to be only 28 percent accurate.

Moyer, however, says the incident was blown way out of proportion. "To be honest I'm surprised this is garnering as much interest as it seems to be," he wrote. "We all understand that Fox comes with a political point of view, one which has served them well in the ratings hunt." Jordan Valinsky

1:18 p.m.

Fox's Stuart Varney would like Megan Rapinoe to remove her arm band.

Rapinoe, a co-captain for the U.S. women's national soccer team, said she is "not going to the f--king White House," if the U.S. side wins the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. This didn't sit well with Fox Business host, who said on Wednesday he'd love to see the U.S. team "fire" Rapinoe as co-captain over the remark.

Varney said Rapinoe's comments were "beneath contempt," and questioned her use of an obscenity in relation to the president and the White House. Varney's guest Susan Li questioned Rapinoe's patriotism, pondering if she should even be allowed to wear the American flag.

At the beginning of the conversation, Varney said Rapinoe "has now split the team," though, so far at least, there are no indications that Rapinoe's teammates have taken issue with her comments.

Shortly after Varney's segment aired, Mediaite reports, Trump posted a series of tweets criticizing Rapinoe — though he did extend an invitation to the team, win or lose. Tim O'Donnell

1:09 p.m.

Google employees are petitioning for the company to be booted from this year's San Francisco Pride parade due to its hate speech policies, Bloomberg reports.

Nearly 100 employees have signed a petition calling on the event's board of directors to kick out Google, which is an event sponsor. The letter cites Google-owned YouTube allowing "abuse and hate and discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons," saying that "Pride must not provide the company a platform that paints it in a rainbow veneer of support for those very persons."

This petition comes as YouTube faces criticism over its response to conservative commentator Steven Crowder making a series of homophobic remarks against Vox's Carlos Maza in his videos. Maza said that he has received harassment online as a resulted of Crowder's attacks, posting a video compiling Crowder's remarks and pointing out that he sells a T-shirt on his store with a homophobic slur on it.

YouTube initially said Crowder's videos did not violate its policies, saying that "opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site." The platform later suspended monetization on Crowder's account, citing a "pattern of egregious actions" that "has harmed the broader community." Amid the firestorm, YouTube promised to take a "hard look" its harassment policies with "an aim to update them."

But the employees calling for Google to be kicked out of the Pride event don't seem to be buying this, in their petition writing that they are "never given a commitment to improve" from the company but that "there is no time to waste, and we have waited too long, already." Google had previously told employees that protesting the company while officially marching with it in the parade would violate its policies, The Verge reports. Maza commended the Google employees who signed this petition on Wednesday, writing on Twitter, "That's some serious courage." Brendan Morrow

12:15 p.m.

The House Oversight Committee has voted to subpoena White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for testimony over her alleged Hatch Act violations after she refused to provide it on Wednesday.

In a 25-16 vote, the panel voted to subpoena Conway, CNN reports, as Democrats had threatened to do should Conway skip its hearing. The House's hearing took place after the Office of Special Counsel recommended Conway be fired for "repeatedly" violating the Hatch Act, which limits the political speech White House officials can engage in as part of their official duties. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who has advocated for the impeachment of President Trump, voted with Democrats to authorize the subpoena.

The White House had directed Conway not to testify before the House panel. "The precedent for members of the White House staff to decline invitations to testify before congressional committees has been consistently adhered to by administrations of both political parties," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said. As directed, Conway did not testify on Wednesday.

Conway has contended she never violated the Hatch Act and in a Monday interview said that "they want to silence me." Henry Kerner, head of the Office of Special Counsel, testified on Wednesday and said in an opening statement that Conway's alleged Hatch Act violations were "unacceptable from any federal employee, let alone one in such a prominent position" and that her conduct "reflects not a misunderstanding of the law, but rather a disregard for it." Brendan Morrow

11:43 a.m.

The Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch will soon have a new streaming home thanks to a deal reportedly to the tune of half a billion dollars.

Netflix on Tuesday announced that The Office is set to leave its platform in January 2021, giving subscribers just about a year-and-a-half more to stream the wildly popular sitcom. While the company only releases limited viewing figures, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt told Vulture last year he believes The Office is Netflix's most popular acquired show.

But now, it's headed to NBCUniversal's upcoming ad-supported streaming service, which launches next year. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Universal Television held an auction for streaming rights to The Office, which Netflix participated in. NBCUniversal offered $100 million a year for five years, the report says, which beat Netflix's bid.

So will NBC's bet that The Office will bolster its streaming platform pay off? The Verge reporter Julia Alexander suggests not, speculating on Twitter, "Office is great, but not a show that leads subscriptions. People will just pirate or buy a boxset for $60." Alexander goes on to write that "The Office and Friends were never primary reasons to get Netflix; but we enjoyed it all being packaged in ... NBCU and WarnerMedia are going to need big pulls, which they don't really have, to compete."

WarnerMedia is soon launching a streaming service as well, which is expected to eventually be the exclusive streaming home of Friends, although Netflix recently paid $100 million to keep streaming it for another year.

But Netflix is hoping its slate of original content will make up the loss of shows like The Office, and it just so happens it has a show in the works from the co-creator of The Office starring Steve Carell called Space Force. Shortly after the Office announcement on Tuesday, Netflix re-upped the trailer for Space Force on Twitter, writing, "just leaving this here for totally no reason." Brendan Morrow

11:42 a.m.

Some folks on the right — especially those who identify with libertarianism — were skeptical of Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) line of questioning during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on tech companies' use of algorithms and how they influence the public, part of a larger movement in Congress on both sides of the aisle to address rising concerns over the tech industry. Cruz grilled Google UX Director Maggie Stanphill about Project Veritas' recent investigation into whether Google is attempting to stifle conservatives.

Cruz was very concerned by the perception that Google doesn't seem to employ many Republican voters — he pointed out to Stanphill that Google employees gave Hillary Clinton a lot of money during the 2016 presidential election, while President Trump received nothing from the tech giant. Cruz kept asking Stanphill if she knew any Google senior executives who voted for Trump, to which Stanphill replied that she doesn't talk politics with her coworkers.

But Cruz, a conservative, didn't just get flak from his opponents on the left. Libertarians were not thrilled that a Republican senator was prying into a private business the way Cruz did.

Reason writes that Cruz's questioning revealed the "self-serving, corrupt, and authoritarian nature" of his and his allies' proposals, arguing that a past version of Cruz would be quite disappointed with his current-day self. Read more at Reason. Tim O'Donnell

11:13 a.m.

Let the games begin.

The first debate of the 2020 Democratic primaries is set for Wednesday night in Miami, featuring half of the 20 candidates who qualified. The other 10 will take the stage on Thursday evening.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) headlines Wednesday's debate, while other frontrunners like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will square off on Thursday (the nights were selected by a random draw.) Warren, CNN writes, heads into Wednesday evening with significant momentum. Her goal, CNN reports, is to prove she is the top candidate on whats considered the weaker stage — which is evident by the fact that she's reportedly preparing for questions about Biden and Sanders, even though they won't be around.

That's not to say there's no one else of note on Wednesday evening — Warren will be joined by former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), all of whom are lower in the polls, but still contenders in the wide-open race. Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio round out the lineup.

The debate will air at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo, and will be streaming NBC News' and Telemundo's digital platforms. NBC's Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, and Chuck Todd, as well as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Telemundo's José Diaz-Balart will moderate. Tim O'Donnell

10:25 a.m.

As the saying goes, "it's not a party until the bagpipes come out."

Attorney General William Barr got the party started on Wednesday morning, opening the U.S. Attorneys National Conference in Washington, D.C. with an inspiring bagpipe performance.

Barr dramatically emerged from backstage and received a standing ovation when U.S. Attorneys in attendance realized they'd be treated to a surprise performance from the nation's top law enforcement officer. But Barr is a longtime bagpipe aficionado. Before becoming attorney general in former President George H.W. Bush's administration, Barr performed in the City of Washington Pipe Band, one of the world's top bagpipe ensembles, reports The New Yorker. His fellow band member even went so far as to call Barr a "serious piper."

While he no longer competes, or plays daily as he once did, Barr reportedly keeps the party going with raucous bashes replete with fiddles, whiskey, and of course, bagpipes. Watch his Wednesday performance below, via Fox News. Summer Meza

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