the other side
June 27, 2019

On Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol gave reporters a tour of its Clint station in West Texas, described as squalid, overcrowded, lice-infested, and generally "appalling" last week by lawyers who interviewed some of the 250-plus migrant children detained there. Since then, Border Patrol moved the children to a different facility, then brought about 100 back to Clint.

"On Wednesday, the situation in Clint seemed to have improved: Children appeared to be wearing clean clothes, and at least a half dozen hallway monitors were brought in to help watch the 117 children being housed there," from a few months old to nearly 18, The Associated Press reports. The reporters were shown more of the facility than the lawyers but were not allowed to bring in cameras or talk to the children. AP's Cedar Attanasio reports that Border Patrol seems to have done a lot of work in the last five days:

Aaron Hull, head of Border Patrol's El Paso sector, said the reports of child mistreatment were "hurtful" to agents who "are risking their health, their lives, their marriages ... to enforce the rule of law humanely." He confirmed lawyers' reports that the children subsist on instant oatmeal, instant noodles, and microwaved burritos, and said they get a new toothbrush every night.

Earlier Wednesday, the lawyers who represent all migrant children under the Flores settlement asked a federal judge to immediately require inspections and doctor visits at border facilities like Clint, and order the prompt release of children to parents and close relatives. The detained children, classified as unaccompanied minors, are supposed to spend no more than 72 hours in Border Patrol custody, but one of the Flores lawyers, Warren Binford, told The New Yorker that almost none of the children they interviewed at Clint "came across unaccompanied. The United States is taking children away from their family unit and reclassifying them as unaccompanied children. ... And some of them were separated from their parents." Peter Weber

April 3, 2018

Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation's largest TV broadcaster, is playing defense after Deadspin unleashed a video over the weekend showing anchors at its 170-plus local news stations reading the exact same warning about the "troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country," the "sharing of biased and false news" and "fake stories" on social media, and the "members of the media [who] use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think," which "is extremely dangerous to our democracy."

The video went viral in part because of Sinclair's conservative bent and pending expansion, and because having dozens of news anchors reading the same warning about bias and "fake" news, localized and not mentioning that it came from corporate headquarters, was a little creepy. On Monday, Sinclair's vice president of news, Scott Livingston, defended his "corporate news journalistic responsibility promotional campaign" in both an internal memo obtained by CNN and public statements.

Livingston told local news directors that "the stories we are referencing in this campaign are the unsubstantiated ones (i.e. fake/false) like 'Pope Endorses Trump'" and "the false 'Pizzagate' story." Sinclair said in a statement that "the promos served no political agenda, and represented nothing more than an effort to differentiate our award-winning news programming from other, less reliable sources of information." Also on Monday, Trump defended Sinclair and offered some names to fill in Sinclair's blanks.

Local news anchors at Sinclair-owned stations also took to social media to defend their credibility or express remorse. "Everyone is really embarrassed after watching the Deadspin video," an employee at one station told CNN. Peter Weber

June 30, 2017

Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski offered Vanity Fair the back story to the vicious attacks President Trump lobbed at her on Twitter on Thursday. "I kind of wanted to keep that to myself," Brzezinski said of the procedure Trump had targeted her for when he tweeted that "low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago [three] nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

While Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough responded at length to Trump's tweets Friday morning, even bringing to the surface allegations that Trump had tried to blackmail them about their negative coverage of his administration, Brzezinski added the story of how she had personally learned about the attacks:

"I said, 'Guys! What did he tweet?' Willie showed me, and I started laughing, and said, 'Shit. I kind of wanted to keep that to myself,'" [Brzezinski] said, referring to the procedure she had undergone to tighten the skin under her neck. "I had a turkey neck. My mom told me to get it done," she explained. "I was FaceTiming all my friends, telling them to get it done, that it wasn't so bad."

She said that she had told Melania Trump about the procedure when the couple stopped by Mar-a-Lago on New Year's Eve. "The irony of it all is that Donald kept saying, 'That's incredible. You can't even tell? Who did it? Who did it?' He kept asking for the name of the doctor. He literally asked 10 times. 'Is he down here? Who is he?'" Scarborough recalled. (A spokesman from the White House declined to comment.) [Vanity Fair]

Read more about how Brzezinski learned about Trump's tweets, and how she is feeling now, at Vanity Fair. Jeva Lange

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