President Trump’s crude and sexist Twitter insults against TV news commentators raise questions again about the content and contours of presidential speech. Responding, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough say Trump White House staffers warned that the National Enquirer planned a negative article about them unless they begged it not be published. Meanwhile, Twitter is reported to be exploring adding a ‘fake news’ button to flag tweets with false, misleading, or harmful information. A NRA video ad claiming the media and others incite violent protests against Trump urges supporters to fight back “with the clenched fist of truth.” And a federal judge hears case on whether classes on Latino culture can be banned in Arizona. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


Trump’s Attack on Mika Brzezinski Comes at a Tense Political Moment
Mr. Trump’s invective threatened to further erode his support from women and independents, both among voters and on Capitol Hill. Christine Matthews, a Republican pollster, said the president’s targeting of a prominent woman was particularly striking, noting that he used only one derogatory word to describe the show’s co-host, Joe Scarborough, and the remainder of his limited characters to hit upon damaging stereotypes of women.

Donald Trump is not well
America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. The president’s unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months, and we are seldom surprised by his posting nasty tweets about us. This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.

Twitter is looking for ways to let users flag fake news, offensive content
The feature, which is still in a prototype phase and may never be released, is part of the company’s uphill battle against rampant abuse on its platform. Twitter has been plagued by many issues, such as fake accounts that can be purchased for pennies and that spread automated messages and false stories. Extremists use the service as a recruiting tool, and hate-spewing trolls have threatened women and minorities.

This chilling NRA ad calls on its members to save America by fighting liberals
It’s not hard to figure out what the narrative is here. A liberal insurgency is destroying American society. The “only way” to protect yourself from this is to donate to the NRA—an organization that exists solely to help people buy guns. The ad isn’t an outright exhortation to violence. NRA ads never are. But the NRA has a long history of using apocalyptic, paranoid rhetoric about the collapse of American society to sell people on the notion that they need to act now to preserve their gun rights.

Arizona’s Mexican-American Studies Ban Goes To Trial
A law passed by Arizona Republicans to ban a Mexican-American studies program in public schools was a discriminatory act that destroyed a program credited with boosting Latino student achievement, lawyers argued. The state of Arizona hopes to convince U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima that the law was necessary to stop ethnic studies classes because they politicized students and made them resent white people. The trial strikes at the issue of how to teach students about race and social injustice in public schools that often exemplify the country’s inequality.

CNN punished three journalists for missteps on a Trump-Russia story. Did it overreact?
At this strange moment in history, any journalistic error can have extremely serious consequences. Three CNN journalists found that out when they resigned under pressure after reporting, editing and publishing a story—based on a single anonymous source—that the network says didn’t go through the proper review channels. Some hailed the move as welcome accountability, if a draconian form of it. James Risen of the New York Times saw it as “a cowardly, panicked move. CNN brass was “easily intimidated by Trump.”

Her artwork was based on videos of her own children. Now she’s under attack by Pizzagate trolls.
Maria Marshall, whose work appears in the exhibition “Revival” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, is yet more collateral damage from the hacking of John Podesta’s emails. The October leak has also embroiled his brother, lobbyist and art collector Tony Podesta who, with his ex-wife Heather, donated many works to “Revival.” The Podesta connection was enough to put Marshall’s work under scrutiny by conspiracy theorists like the creator of the videos on the Pizzagate channel.

Wrestling’s new villain named himself ‘Progressive Liberal.’ Hillary’s on his shirt.
It was a strange sight, even for professional wrestling. A wrestler holding a microphone faced a crowd before a match and began unleashing a torrent of insults, the nature of which seemed out of place at a pro wrestling tournament. As the crowd grew increasing hostile, the wrestler’s remarks became more politically tinged. “You know what, I think Bernie Sanders would make a great secretary of state.” “I want to exchange your bullets for bullet points. Bullet points of knowledge.”


‘Climate of Fear’ Grips Journalists in Myanmar After Arrests
This week began like many others for U Lawi Weng, a reporter with The Irrawaddy: on the road in a conflict-ridden area near the eastern border with China. But on Monday, Mr. Lawi Weng and two reporters from The Democratic Voice of Burma were detained in Shan State as they emerged from territory controlled by an armed ethnic group. They were charged on Wednesday under a colonial-era “unlawful association” law, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to three years.

Vietnamese blogger Mother Mushroom jailed for 10 years
Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known by her blogging pseudonym, “Mother Mushroom”, was convicted of “conducting anti-State propaganda.” The 37-year-old runs a blog which is frequently critical of the government, and covers issues such as land confiscation, freedom of speech and police brutality. She is famous for using the tagline, “Who will speak if you don’t?”

Delete Hate Speech or Pay Up, Germany Tells Social Media Companies
Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of up to $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours, under a law passed on Friday. The law reinforces Germany’s position as one of the most aggressive countries in the Western world at forcing companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to crack down on hate speech and other extremist messaging. Digital and human rights groups had opposed the law on the grounds that it placed limits on individuals’ right to free expression.

Egypt has blocked over 100 local and international websites including HuffPost and Medium
The list of blocked websites in Egypt keeps growing, as the government widens what some say is an unprecedented crackdown on both local and international digital outlets. A majority of these are news websites, but also included are platforms that can be used to access blocked sites or that allow for anonymous browsing and communication. The growing censorship comes as the government says it’s cracking down on websites that are “publishing false information” and “supporting terrorism.”


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