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President Trump goes off the teleprompter at an Arizona campaign rally for a long rant against the media, calling reporters “bad people,” questioning journalists’ patriotism, and saying the media was “trying to take away our history and our heritage.” He lambasts what he says was incomplete reporting of his remarks on the racist violence in Charlottesville; quoting himself in his defense, he leaves out the parts of where he faulted ”many sides” and said there were some “very fine people” among the demonstrating white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Also in Arizona, a federal judge rules that state officials violated students’ First and 14th Amendment rights and Republican lawmakers acted with “racial animus” by banning a Mexican-American studies program from public schools. The Washington Post tracker of misleading statements by the president topped 1,000 early in August, at an average rate of nearly five per day; more than 30 of these claims have been repeated three or more times. Analysts point out that generals are increasingly present in the White House, sometimes contradicting the president in the media, and marking a departure from the traditional positioning of civilian leadership above and separate from the military. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


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


Trump blames the media for nearly all of his problems as president
Trump spent nearly a third of his 90-minute rally in Phoenix rehashing his public remarks in the wake of Charlottesville and complaining that he was widely criticized for them. In fact, about the only time he mentioned the racial tensions and violence stirred up last week was in the context of defending himself.

Arizona Unconstitutionally Banned Mexican-American Studies Classes, Judge Rules
The ruling marks a major victory for educators and activists who viewed the ethnic studies law as a flatly discriminatory effort by Arizona Republicans to keep students from learning about their history or studying writers of color that are often ignored in public schools. A hearing will follow within the next three weeks to determine how the ruling will be enforced.

President Trump’s list of false and misleading claims tops 1,000
At the current pace, he averages nearly five claims a day (up from 4.6 at the six-month mark,) many of which are repeats of claims that have been previously debunked. At this rate, the president won’t break 2,000 claims in his first year in office. But with five months to go, all bets are off.

Military leaders consolidate power in Trump administration
High-ranking military officials are consolidating power as they counsel a volatile president, winning arguments in the West Wing, publicly contradicting Trump and even balking at implementing one of his most controversial policies. After the violence in Charlottesville, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than Trump.

UN Panel Condemns Trump’s Response to Charlottesville Violence
Without mentioning Trump by name, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination denounced “the failure at the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject and condemn” racist violence, saying it was “deeply concerned by the example this failure could set for the rest of the world.”

DOJ drops request for IP addresses from Trump resistance site
Last week, the web hosting company DreamHost publicized a search warrant for disruptj20.org, used to organize protests on Inauguration Day. Complying with the request would mean handing over 1.3 million IP addresses and other information about visitors. Lawyers for DreamHost opposed the warrant, arguing it raised First and Fourth Amendment concerns.

Thanks to President Trump, dystopian novels are popular again
As Trump railed against the media as “fake news” and his adviser Kellyanne Conway talked about “alternative facts” on television, it only furthered the perception that we might be living in an Orwellian dystopia of newspeak, and sales for novels like The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984 skyrocketed. This trend isn’t just confined to old classics.

Secret Service agrees to stop erasing White House visitor log data
The Secret Service has agreed to stop erasing the data while a lawsuit demanding public access to some of the information goes forward. Who holds the information can have a pivotal impact on the public’s ability to access the data in a timely way. Records held by federal agencies like the Secret Service are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, which can result in relatively timely disclosures.

A Hunt for Ways to Combat Online Radicalization
The term is often used to describe young Muslim men inspired to take violent action by groups like the Islamic State. But white supremacists are just as adept at online radicalization. Where the Ku Klux Klan once grew primarily from personal connections and word of mouth, today’s white supremacists are using the internet to recruit and coordinate among a huge pool of potential racists.


Russian court puts theatre director under house arrest
Serebrennikov has won international acclaim for productions spanning drama, opera, and movies. He is the director of the Gogol Centre, a progressive, experimental theatre known for productions that often deal with political or sexual themes rarely seen on stage in Moscow. His detention has been seen widely as part of a crackdown on dissent.

Kim Wall Is Confirmed Dead as Danish Inventor Is Investigated
The Copenhagen police announced that a torso found in local waters was that of Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist whose disappearance after boarding a Danish inventor’s submarine has stunned many Scandinavians. The inventor, Peter Madsen, has been held on preliminary charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Turkey is trying to extradite its political opponents from Europe
Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 people following a coup attempt in 2016. The arrest of Dogan Akhanli, a Turkish-German writer, is part of a growing effort to track down opponents living abroad. Now a German citizen, Akhanli fled Turkey in 1991 where he had been jailed in the 1980s as an opponent of the military regime.

How Saudi Arabia is making it almost impossible to report on their war in Yemen
After months of media blockade, journalists were finally able to access Yemen again between March and May this year. At present, members of the media are officially allowed to travel on UN flights. But how many more times journalists will be refused entry remains unknown. Not all crews will have the resources to make alternative arrangements to enter Yemen.

Getting around the Great Firewall of China
A recent series of directives curtail the already fragile spaces for free expression in China. Many members of China’s creative community fear that these restrictions will have a profound impact on their work. Like counterparts around the world, artists in China use social media to disseminate their work and connect with audiences.

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