May 2022

The Big Picture

The more I look at this remarkable photo from Uvalde today, by Verónica Cárdenas for Reuters, of Beto O’Rourke confronting Gov Greg Abbott, the man whose job he wants to take, the more I’m struck by echoes of Norman Rockwell. The composition is just perfect: the cop and his badge, the fingers pointing at O’Rourke to get out, the gun in the holster, the craven politicians *up* on the stage and the people *down* on the floor. It’s a real ‘speaking truth to power’ moment.

Jon Allsop at the Columbia Journalism Review looks at the initial press coverage in the US and overseas. He writes: “…[T]he rush of coverage that follows such events, while repetitive and distinctive in its rhythms, cannot be divorced from the way we approach other big stories across the sweep of society. In all such cases, the need to probe and scrutinize the official line, rather than just regurgitate it, is paramount.”


May 24:

Voters turned out in local primary elections in Georgia and other states that will have national implications for this year’s midterms. But the outcomes were tragically overshadowed by yet another mass shooting – this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Read related post: Ten days later, Ten years later


May 20:

What a life. What a talent. Rest in Peace.


May 18:

Mastriano wins, Cawthorn loses, Oz too close to call as the jury is still out on Donald Trump’s influence in GOP primaries.

Read related post: Not Your Father’s GOP

Meanwhile, the House committee to investigate the events of Jan 6th is gearing up for its hearings, set to start in the coming weeks.


May 17:

There are primaries in five states today – the busiest election day of the cycle so far – and for Republicans it will be the biggest measure yet of the hold former President Donald Trump still has on the party.

Perhaps the most high-profile and closely-watched GOP contest will be in the key(stone) state of Pennsylvania, where the local races are particularly indicative of how the Trumpist wing of the party is now effectively its mainstream, with congressional leadership growing concerned that what should be a relatively straightforward path to winning back control of the House in November may be diverted by a slate of more extreme, Trump-endorsed primary candidates.

Follow PA updates from the Philadelphia Inquirer here

Read previous primary-related post: God, Guns and Trump.

Meanwhile, the actual President, Joe Biden, travels to Buffalo, NY today to meet with families of the victims of the weekend’s White supremacist gun attack at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

Earlier, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer wrote to Rupert Murdoch urging his Fox News network to “immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called ‘Great Replacement’ theory on your network’s broadcasts.”


May 15:

An 18-year-old admitted White supremacist shot 13 people, killing 10, at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, apparently driving for hours to get to that specific location. He live-streamed his attack and had uploaded a hundred-page “manifesto” articulating various far-right conspiracy theories and racial grievances.

He was taken into custody alive, because… well, of course he was.

Follow updates via CNN here

Absolutely tragic.

Another toxic mix of unconstrained racism, white supremacist entitlement, conspiracy theories and easy access to military-grade weapons; all things enabled by an unholy alliance of unscrupulous politicians eager to stoke their base and media figures who want to see the world burn for ratings.

Read previous related postLawyers, Guns and Money


Elsewhere, today saw a big hit and a no-hit…


14 May:

Protesters are set to take to the streets today in hundreds of cities across the US against the Supreme Court’s impending move to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark abortion decision that has been the law of the land since 1973. The effect on American society of such a reversal would undoubtedly be convulsive and far-reaching.

After the Senate failed this week to pass codification of the rights conferred under Roe into federal law, and Democrats scramble to focus their opposition to the move, the House Judiciary committee will hold a hearing this coming Wednesday into the implications of a post-Roe world.


10 May:

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees in this year’s Pulitzer Prizes.

Meanwhile, optimism for the future of the profession and its community-focused mission was reinforced today with the announcement of the latest class of the Report For America program.

In Baltimore, the recent positive disruption in local news continues.

But the nation’s longstanding metro dailies continue to face undisputed challenges. “We can no longer afford to be the paper of record,” Brian McGrory, the editor of The Boston Globe, said during a panel at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard. “We need to be the paper of interest.”


10 May:

Twenty-two year-old Los Angeles Angels’ rookie Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, the first solo no-hitter of the season. It was the 12th no-hitter in the Angels’ history and just Detmers’ 11th career start. He’s the 25th rookie pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter, and the first since Arizona’s Tyler Gilbert last season.


9 May:

MLB announced that regular season games would take place in London in the 2023, ’24 & ’26 seasons, as part of a “long-term strategic partnership” with the city. The Yankees and Red Sox played a series in 2019 at the London Stadium – where the upcoming games are set to be held – then the Cubs and Cardinals were due to play the following year, but the series was cancelled due to Covid.

Manfred Khan – London Mayor Sadiq Khan and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in NYC. Pic: MLB Europe

The move prompted speculation – again – about the likelihood of a permanent London franchise as part of the game’s international expansion, with Commissioner Rob Manfred having talked previously about“sustained play in Europe” including cities other than London.

It was recently announced that MLB’s Home Run Derby X event will take place in London in July, as part of a global tour also stopping in Mexico City and Seoul.


6 May:

On the same day as another jobs report exceeds expectations, President Biden’s approval rating hit another low. Yesterday the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by half a percentage point with inflation at a 40-year high. Amid warnings about the possibility of a global recession, concerns about the economy will continue to loom over the political summer and in the run-up to November’s midterms.


4 May:

Trump-endorsed candidate JD Vance won the five-way Ohio GOP Senate primary on Tuesday night and will face Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan in November for the seat being vacated by Republican Rob Portman.

Read related post: God, Guns and Trump.

In the rest of the country, people continue to digest the Supreme Court’s signal that it will strike down Roe v Wade, the first time the highest court would act to *remove* established rights.


In a great baseball milestone today, Dusty Baker became the first Black manager to notch up 2,000 wins. He’s the 12th manager in baseball history to reach that mark.


3 May:

In a bombshell report last night, Politico said it had obtained a leaked memo showing that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v Wade, a move that would end fifty years of federal protection for abortion rights, and possibly paving the way for further disruption to broader rights issues that until now have been considered “settled law”.

With the final court decision due in June or July, last night’s news will also likely lead to public protests and reinforce the polarization between blue and red states ahead of November’s midterms.

Meanwhile, primary voters go to the polls today in Ohio – with The Bulwark describing the GOP field there as “a MAGA Murderer’s Row” – and, perhaps appropriately ahead of May 4th, the “Evil Empire” extends its winning streak.

Read related post: God, Guns and Trump


1 May:

Trevor Noah may have single-handedly saved the institution that is the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. The “Nerd Prom” has been on shaky ground the past few years, partly due to the Trump administration and then Covid. But last night Noah set exactly the right tone, ending the usual roasts with a perfectly-pitched reminder of what journalism – and particularly Washington journalism – should be about. Take a few minutes to watch.

Noah’s closing remarks on the role of the press were widely praised and came a week after Jon Stewart’s warning that comedy is the “bellwether of democracy” in his acceptance speech at the Mark Twain Prize ceremony.