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Mueller report enables Trump to renew attack on media already under widespread criticism

President Donald Trump is looking hungrily at the Mueller report finding of no Russian collusion, relishing the opportunity to strike back. Trump’s communications director promptly warned TV producers against giving Democrats air time who had claimed there was evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia to throw the 2016 presidential election. (The Associated Press, March …

Read moreMueller report enables Trump to renew attack on media already under widespread criticism

Reporter wins settlement over records request concerning fake public comments on net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission agreed to pay $43,000 for attorney fees and court costs of a New York journalist seeking records on net neutrality proceedings in 2017. The records that reporter Jason Prechtel received under the settlement showed how millions of fake comments were sent to the FCC during the net neutrality rollback. (Gizmodo, March …

Read moreReporter wins settlement over records request concerning fake public comments on net neutrality

Army backs off mind-boggling fee to see report about environmental poison

The U.S. Army intended to charge an the Environmental Working Group (EWG) nearly  $300,000 to see results of water tests for a contaminant at military installations. A dangerous chemical in firefighting foam was thought to be present in 401 sites, and 24 military drinking water systems around the world tallied unsafe levels of the chemical …

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Transparency: Dark money groups evade light on election spending

Congress passed two transparency reforms recently, one a success and the second a failure. The first required disclosure of campaign finance reports for U.S. Senate candidates. House candidates were required to file electronic reports. Senate candidates all chose to file paper reports delaying public access and costing the government $900,00 annually to convert the files. …

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Airbnb loses First Amendment argument over strict Santa Monica home rental law

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected HomeAway and Airbnb’s First Amendment argument in upholding Santa Monica’s ordinance that bans home stays unless a resident is present. The ordinance also prohibits rentals of entire homes for less than 30 days. (San Francisco Chronicle, March 13, 2019, by Carolyn Said) The rental companies argued that …

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Democrats introduce federal act to protect journalists

In response to President Donald Trump’s repeated assaults on journalists, Democratic congressmen introduced an act to make it a federal crime to cause bodily injury to a journalist. (My Record-Journal, March 14, 2019, by Mary Ellen Godin) Just last month, as Trump incited his followers in the El Paso rally, a supporter yelled “F— the …

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Congressional Republican leader sues Twitter for defamation

California Republican Devin Nunes is suing Twitter and its users for $250 million in damages, claiming that the users defamed him, with Twitter’s acquiescence, for political considerations. Nunes cited a number of tweets that accused him of criminal activities, made crude jokes about him, claimed he was voted “Most Likely to Commit Treason” in high …

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States find ways to avoid releasing police body cam videos

Claims that releasing body cam videos of police officers would jeopardize ongoing investigations effectively blocks timely public access in cases of shootings and other uses of force. In North Carolina, the videos can only be released after a judge signs a court order.  (News & Record, March 16, 2019, by Ryan J. Foley of The …

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Watchdog GAO sounds alarm on ethics compliance of government appointees

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) wants Congress to pass legislation to require the federal government to release details about the financial standing of thousands of political appointees. The  watchdog agency suggests releasing the appointees’ assets, debts and past salaries. The agency said the move was necessary to promote ethics in government and conflict-free leadership. (ProPublica, …

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Free press at work: Fox TV host unhappy about reports of his sexist and racist comments

Conservative Fox TV host Tucker Carlson is chaffing over the reports of a 24-year-old researcher for the liberal group Media Matters for America. Madeline Peltz noticed in watching Carlson’s TV show that Carlson was introducing white supremacy ideas to his listeners. She researched his past appearances, uncovering a number of racist, misogynistic and homophobic remarks. …

Read moreFree press at work: Fox TV host unhappy about reports of his sexist and racist comments