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Stuff You Should Consume - April 30, 2023
Welcome to this week’s edition of “Stuff You Should Consume,”— a weekly compilation of interesting political content for Message Box readers.
“Biden’s team is leaning into this culture war staple” by Eli Stokols and Adam Cancryn, Politico
The campaign’s first TV ad, a 90-second spot running in seven states over the next two weeks as part of a seven-figure buy, warns Republicans “seek to overturn elections, ban books and eliminate a woman’s right to choose.” Biden followed up with a tweet hitting “MAGA extremists … telling you what books should be in your kids’ schools.” That followed the explicit reference to book bans in Biden’s launch announcement video Tuesday.
The early focus on book banning is part of the campaign’s attempt to reinforce a broader message, said one Democratic adviser involved in the effort: Biden is the only one standing between the American people and a Republican Party determined to roll back rights and limit freedoms.
“How Much Do Voters Really Care About Biden’s Age?” by Ian Prasad Philbrick, New York Times
Concerns over age are also more nuanced than they may first appear. While most voters favor age limits for politicians, they disagree over what that limit should be. Many voters also say older lawmakers bring valuable experience and shouldn’t be barred from serving if they remain in good health.
That doesn’t mean Americans who say they’re concerned about age are lying. Their voting choices may reflect the available options. “There’s nothing inconsistent about people saying no one in their 80s should be president and then voting for someone in their 80s if that’s the only choice they’re given,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster.
“Why Steve Bannon and Alex Jones love Robert F. Kennedy Jr.” by Alex Seitz-Wald, NBC News
Kennedy inhabits an ambiguous ideological space. He's proudly running as a Democrat who supports abortion rights and gun control, but his views on vaccines and other issues — and frequent appearances on outlets from Fox News to Alex Jones’ Infowars — have made him popular among far-right conspiracy theorists.
That groundwork is paying off in the form of widespread praise from conservative media influencers who have urged their audiences to keep an open mind about Kennedy, perhaps eager to use him as a foil against President Joe Biden.
And life was indeed good for the Robertses, at least for the years 2007 to 2014. During that eight-year stretch, according to internal records from her employer, Jane Roberts generated a whopping $10.3 million in commissions, paid out by corporations and law firms for placing high-dollar lawyers with them.
That eye-popping figure comes from records in a whistleblower complaint filed by a disgruntled former colleague of Roberts, who says that as the spouse of the most powerful judge in the United States, the income she earns from law firms who practice before the Court should be subject to public scrutiny.
“It's The End Of The Social Media Era Of Journalism As We Know It” by Parker Molloy, The Present Age
It’s that last line I quoted from Smith’s piece that sums up one of the bigger problems: Facebook, Twitter, and the rest simply stopped distributing links to websites
Facebook used to be a great place to get referral traffic; Twitter, not so much. Still, it’s only gotten worse as the platforms underwent the enshittification process.
In just the past few weeks, Twitter’s Elon Musk stripped journalists and news outlets of verification badges in an effort to turn the site into a pay-to-play hellhole.
“Why this Democratic group thinks the party can run against red state bills” by Dave Weigel, Semafor
Earlier this month, the States Project tried something different, paying Data for Progress to poll 1207 likely voters on the bills moving through their new legislatures. Among the findings, shared first with Semafor Americana: By a 37-point margin, voters wanted states to “prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in housing and other public services.” Sixty-seven percent of voters wanted to write “the right to a safe, legal abortion” into state constitutions. Three-quarters of them wanted a guaranteed right to collective bargaining, and 84% favored paid sick leave laws.
Just 31% favored the right to carry a “concealed gun in public without a permit,” 35% wanted to “restrict discussions and staff training about race and racism” in K-12 schools, and 31% wanted to “ban financial managers from considering environmental and social risks” — a description of “ESG” investing standards, which Republicans oppose. Just 37% of voters favored school library bans on books “that mention or discuss sexual orientation or gender identity,” and less than half as many (16%) favored a similar ban on books about racism and slavery.