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President Trump invokes and praises fake claim that an American general committed war crimes against Islamic insurgents, and also expands his defense of Confederate statues. James Murdoch, head of Trump-friendly Fox News’ parent company and son of Trump confidant Rupert Murdoch, criticizes the president’s response to Charlottesville. Three major groups cancel fundraising galas at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Media and technology companies pull back from giving digital organizing platforms to white supremacist and Nazi groups. ACLU steps away from providing free-speech legal defenses to hate groups seeking to march with firearms. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer.

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


Defiant, Trump Laments Assault on Culture and Revives a Bogus Pershing Story
Despite ongoing rebukes over his defense of white supremacists, Trump defiantly returned to his campaign’s nativist themes, lamenting the removal of Confederate statues as an assault on American “culture,” reviving a bogus, century-old story about a U.S. general killing Muslim extremists, and attacking Republicans with a renewed vigor.

James Murdoch, Rebuking Trump, Pledges $1 Million to Anti-Defamation League
In an email confirmed as authentic by a spokesman for 21st Century Fox, he wrote “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential.” The Anti-Defamation League has been outspoken against Trump since early in his campaign, tracking an uptick in white supremacists supporting him as he declined repeatedly to forcefully denounce them or disavow their support.

Three fundraising giants cancel plans for galas at Mar-a-Lago
The American Cancer Society, the Cleveland Clinic, and the American Friends of Magen David Adom have all canceled upcoming fundraisers at Trump’s resort. Laurel Baker, head of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce called the business “morally reprehensible” as more charities are expected to defect.

Where Is the Line? Deadly Protest Forces Media to Decide
Google, Twitter, and GoDaddy appeared to find it this week when they shut down The Daily Stormer, an American Nazi website after it mocked Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville. But The Daily Stormer had been comfortably operating since 2013. As we’ve seen time and time again in recent months, it often takes an extreme moment to push the platforms to address extreme content.

Tensions grow inside ACLU over defending free-speech rights for the far right
In response to the violence in Charlottesville, the ACLU’s three California affiliates declared that “white supremacist violence is not free speech.” The ACLU’s decision not to represent white supremacist groups that want to march with firearms marks a new interpretation of their position that reasonable gun regulation does not violate the 2nd Amendment.

Everything About Disney and ABC’s ‘Pink Slime’ Settlement Should Scare the Hell Out of You
News of perhaps the largest defamation settlement in U.S. history came and went with a whimper last week. What’s striking is that ABC continues to stand by its reporting. In a world where the free press is under attack, one of the few companies with the resources to mount a legal defense of journalism instead chose to pay its assailants to shut up and go away.

Pentagon Forces Out Popular Press Spokesman
The abrupt departure of Steve Warren, an Army colonel who established a rapport with Pentagon correspondents over the course of his career, coincides with broader complaints raised by journalists about how the department is providing information and handling media access to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

YouTube TV now available to 50% of U.S. households
The company also plans to move into 17 more major metro areas in the weeks ahead. YouTube TV is one of many “skinny bundles” for streaming live TV over the internet, and has aimed to differentiate itself from competitors by focusing on providing access to the major broadcast stations, like ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.


Journalist Attacked In Kosovo Links Beating To His Work
Parim Olluri, the editor of Insajderi (Insider), was beaten by three people near his home on August 16. Olluri has been reporting on suspected corruption involving government officials, politicians, and former senior officers of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the guerrilla force that fought in the 1998-99 insurgency.

Cambridge University Press pulls China articles after censorship demands
Concerns were first raised by Dr Tim Pringle, the editor of China Quarterly, a CUP-published journal. Pringle said that CUP had pulled articles from its Chinese website in order to avoid having their entire website shut down after being sent a list by the General Administration of Press and Publication, a state press censor.

Hong Kong legal chief denies political motive in jailings as criticism mounts
An appeals court on Thursday jailed three leaders of the city’s democracy movement, Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law, for six to eight months. Several protests by their supporters are planned in coming days. But the sentencing has stoked broader international fears for Hong Kong’s constitutionally enshrined freedoms.

Venezuela intensifies crackdown on government critics
Maduro loyalists issued a new arrest warrant for one prominent legislator and vowed to remove his immunity from prosecution in a case that could become a model for targeting other critics. A proposed measure that could imprison opponents for up to 25 years could soon make that task easier.

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