A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
The lead story on CNN.com Thursday night: “New Orleans faces a never-before-seen problem with Tropical Storm Barry.” The story noted that the Mississippi River “which is usually at 6 to 8 feet in midsummer” is “now at 16 feet.” Meanwhile, Barry is “spinning away in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening a storm surge of 2 to 3 feet.”
Barry is scheduled to make landfall Friday night or early Saturday as the first tropical system to hit the United States this year. Moving into the weekend, expect to see a lot of coverage. Most major newsrooms have already started making preparations…
>> CNN is updating this page continuously with the latest info…
Hurricane warnings issued for coast
The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for parts of the Louisiana coast. New Orleans, meanwhile, is under a tropical storm warning, though no mandatory evacuations have been ordered yet. The city’s levees are not expected to be overtopped, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers. Some residents, however, are not taking chances, and are choosing to voluntarily evacuate…
“The calm before the storm is so deceiving”
That’s what one Louisiana resident told CNN. Indeed, the resident has a point. The storm has yet to make landfall, and meteorologists say it could strengthen into a hurricane as it does. Stay tuned…
Miami Herald: More Epstein victims come forward
The Miami Herald’s Julie Brown published her latest story with David Smileyon Thursday evening. “At least a dozen new victims have come forward to claim they were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein even as the multimillionaire money manager tries to convince a federal judge to allow him to await a sex trafficking trial from the comfort of the same $77 million Manhattan mansion where he’s accused of luring teenage girls into unwanted sex acts,” Brown and Smiley reported…
FOR THE RECORD
— Justin Baragona and Max Tani point out that Fox News “hasn’t asked paid contributor Ken Starr” about his former client Jeffrey Epstein… (The Daily Beast)
— Margaret Sullivan previews Norah O’Donnell’s takeover of the “CBS Evening News.” Sullivan writes that, “Ratings aside, if O’Donnell manages to return even a smidgen of trust to the beleaguered news media, that would count as a win…” (WaPo)
— Terrible news: Longtime WSJ reporter Lucette Lagnado has died at 62… (WSJ)
— Hate speech has spiked 40% on 4Chan since 2015, according to a Vice News analysis. Posts that include both hate speech and violent language are up 25%… (Vice News)
— “Two days after undergoing liver donation surgery, Fox News’ Ed Henry remains in the ICU, but he’s on the mend…” (AOL)
— ICYMI: “New Day” hosted a wild conversation on Thursday morning between a Mississippi gubernatorial candidate and a female reporter. The gubernatorial candidate, a Republican, “stood by his decision to deny a female reporter’s request to accompany him on a campaign trip unless she brought along a male colleague…” (CNN)
Hype falls flat at White House
It was supposed to be a day of achievement and triumph at the White House. But, once again, the hype President Trump promised did not translate into action.
Trump backed down on his quest to introduce a question about citizenship on the census. And his so-called “social media summit” did not outline any specific plans of action, only really featuring a meandering speech from him.
As THR’s Jeremy Barr asked rhetorically: “Another day in which a lot of things happened at the White House but nothing actually happened?”
News outlets call out Trump on census reversal
WaPo said he “backed down.” NYT said he had “abandoned his attempt.” And WSJ characterized it as a “major retreat.” News outlets did not mince words on Thursday when describing Trump walking back earlier promises to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census form.
That kind of bold language was necessary. As Maggie Haberman pointed out on Twitter, Attorney General Bill Barr claimed that “adding a question on citizenship by ‘executive fiat’ was never under consideration” when he had, in fact, “said it was, multiple times.”
There was one place that ran cover for Trump — and it is not hard to guess what corner of the media ecosystem it came from. While almost all major news organizations characterized Trump’s Thursday announcement as a retreat, Fox did otherwise. Their online headline read: “Trump, ‘not backing down’ in effort to count citizens amid census fight, announces executive order.”