July 12, 2017 Last Updated 8:23 am

Will this be the President Trump’s ‘Cronkite moment’ as the NY Post calls Jr. ‘an idiot’

Morning Brief: Lawsuit will test whether an elected official can ‘block’ other Twitter users, or whether preventing others from reading their tweets is a constitutional violation

The day ended yesterday without either the NYT or WaPo dropping another bombshell story. They didn’t need to, they had all the material they needed thanks to the son of the president dropping his emails onto Twitter… and expecting it all to work out. It didn’t. Even the New York Post, owned by Trump ally Rupert Murdoch, called Donald J. Trump Jr. “an idiot.”

At some point one had to figure that the daily melodrama that is the United States executive branch would become a reason to go slow, spread out the traffic bumps, take advantage of the enormous interest in the news.

There must be new stories ready to go, the NYT’s Adam Goldman tweeted “I am still reporting.” The first response to the tweet was from a reader who “I am running out of my free NY Times articles for the month!” Goldman cooling responded “Time to subscribe.”

President Johnson had his moment of truth when Walter Cronkite added a commentary onto the end of one of his broadcasts, calling for the US to end the Vietnam War.

To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, if unsatisfactory conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations.

But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.

This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.

Likewise, many have begun to wonder at what point Trump begins to lose Rupert Murdoch. It may be happening now, and for two reasons. One is obvious, that the Trump presidency is in trouble. But the second reason is simply that the news is both too big, and too inviting to ignore for much longer. Fox News’s rivals are gaining because cable news watchers know that is where they will learn about the latest revelations. For how long can Fox News schedule alternative programming far less interesting than reality?

Note: W. Joseph Campbell, professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC, tweeted that ‘the Cronkite Moment’ is a ‘media myth’. I would disagree to a certain degree. Yes, Campbell is right that Johnson did not change his stance regarding the war, and that public opinion did not significantly change (Campbell rightly says that public opinion was already against the war). But it was significant in that it showed that one person’s opinion had evolved: that of Walter Cronkite. Today, the one person’s opinion that could change, and it would have an impact, would be Rupert Murdoch, and that is the point I am making.

NY Post, Editorial:

Donald Trump Jr. is an idiot

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. As were Junior’s shifting, incomplete accounts of the meeting under days of Times questioning.

Democrats and the media are frothing to find something criminal in it all, with the most unhinged talking treason. What it clearly was, was criminally stupid.

Los Angeles Times, Editorial:

If it wasn’t clear already, Trump Jr.’s email release proves Russia investigation is no ‘witch hunt’

Unsavory as it is, the behavior of Donald Trump Jr. may not have violated the law and it doesn’t establish that the Trump campaign was complicit in other Russian activities connected to the 2016 campaign, notably the hacking of Democratic email accounts and the relaying of their contents to WikiLeaks. But after this revelation, no one can pretend that the various investigations into possible contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign are frivolous or politically motivated.

That includes President Trump, who should take a belated vow of silence on this subject and let the investigations take their course.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Editorial: The Trump family’s ever-changing stories on Russia
Boston Globe, Editorial: Smoke, meet fire

At first I thought this a bit of a silly story. With so much going on, a lawsuit against the president because he blocks some Twitter users seemed trivial to me. Then I thought about it.

Yes, of course, the president can’t prevent citizens from reading his tweets, that would be a violation of their rights to participate in public discussions.

It is also why it makes sense for any president to avoid Twitter… or Facebook… or any other social media going forward.

The New York Times, Charlie Savage:

Twitter Users Blocked by Trump File Lawsuit

By blocking people from reading his tweets, or from viewing and replying to message chains based on them, Mr. Trump is violating their First Amendment rights because they expressed views he did not like, the lawsuit argued.

It offered several theories to back that notion. They included arguments that Mr. Trump was imposing an unconstitutional restriction on the plaintiffs’ ability to participate in a designated public forum, get access to statements the government had otherwise made available to the public and petition the government for “redress of grievances.”

Jesus, it really happened.

The New York Times, Jugal K. Patel:

An Iceberg the Size of Delaware Just Broke Off a Major Antarctic Ice Shelf

A chunk of floating ice that weighs more than a trillion metric tons broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart…

…The event fundamentally changes the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University in Britain that had been monitoring the rift since 2014.

“The remaining shelf will be at its smallest ever known size,” said Adrian Luckman, a lead researcher for Project Midas. “This is a big change. Maps will need to be redrawn.”

So, yesterday was Amazon Prime Day, and for the second year in a row I abstained. Not because I didn’t look for bargains, but simply because I didn’t find any to be had.

The gimmick feels more like a way to sell more Echoes and Dots, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. And maybe there is a need for a summer holiday shopping season for those who are shopaholics. But I feel pretty alright letting the day go by without wasting any money.

Did you buy anything?

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