New, not yet released Michael Wolff book on Trump campaign and White House roils Washington. After quotes from Steve Bannon accusing the Trump family of treason are leaked, the President’s attorney sends Bannon a cease and desist letter, pledging legal action on libel and non-disclosure grounds. Protesters gather outside Twitter headquarters urging the company to suspend Trump’s account over his bellicose remarks on North Korean nukes. White House Correspondents’ Association faulted for tepid response to Trump attacks on the press. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

 

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

U.S.

Trump portrayed as uninformed, unprepared and lacking focus in unflattering new book
The unflattering portrait of Trump emerges in Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Trump aides vigorously sought to undermine the book, with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that it is “filled with false and misleading accounts.”
THE WASHINGTON POST

Trump lawyer sends Bannon ‘cease and desist’ letter
President Trump’s lawyer sent former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon a “cease and desist” letter, accusing him of violating an agreement signed during the 2016 campaign. The letter comes after Bannon told a journalist that a 2016 Trump Tower meeting was ‘treasonous.’
POLITICO

Group protests Twitter for not suspending Trump’s account
President Trump’s provocative tweet aimed at North Korean leader Kim Jung Un triggered questions to the White House about his fitness for office. A group in San Francisco, however, is turning its attention not to Trump, but to Twitter.
VARIETY

‘This is embarrassing’: White House Correspondents’ Association takes heat for Trump-media report card
Jim Acosta, the fiery CNN White House correspondent, said that he’d received an access threat from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) gave a tepid response to the situation.
THE WASHINGTON POST

‘Fake news’: wide reach but little impact, study suggests
The study found that the reach of fake news was wide indeed, yet also shallow. One in four Americans saw at least one false story, but even the most eager fake-news readers—deeply conservative supporters of President Trump—consumed far more of the real kind, from newspaper and network websites and other digital sources.
NEW YORK TIMES

 
Global

Emmanuel Macron promises ban on fake news during elections
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has vowed to introduce a law to ban fake news on the internet during French election campaigns. He said he would shortly present the new law in order to fight the spread of fake news, which he said threatened liberal democracies.
THE GUARDIAN

A saucy app knows China’s taste in news. The censors are worried.
In response, online Chinese news platform Toutiao has suspended more than 1,000 account that it said had been publishing “low-quality content” on the app. It also replaced Toutiao’s “Society” section with a new section called “New Era,” which is heavy on state media coverage of government decisions.
NEW YORK TIMES

Facebook declines to say why it deletes certain political accounts, but not others
Facebook is declining to say why it appears to be picking and choosing political leaders to censor at the request of the US government after it deleted the social media accounts of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
THE GUARDIAN

Iranian authorities block access to social media tools
Social media and messaging apps have become crucial to antigovernment demonstrators around the world, as a means of organizing and delivering messages to other citizens. Not surprisingly, restricting access to such technology has become as important to government crackdowns as the physical presence of the police.
NEW YORK TIMES

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