Confluence | Oct 4, 2019 | 0
3 Stories You Should Read 12/02/2019: Impeachment, Bill Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg
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In the category of: Stay on message.
The controversy over whether Democrats are rushing to judgment offers both sides new strategic options in an increasingly vitriolic collision over whether Trump abused his power in pressuring Ukraine for favors ahead of the 2020 election and a way to compress a case brimming with overwhelming details, unfamiliar foreign actors and profound principles of governance into an understandable narrative.
In the category of: Not all good old boys are created equal.
Few people these days seem to remember that Clinton and his agents in the fall of 1998 were virtually begging for Congress to pass a resolution of censure condemning his conduct as a way of averting impeachment. Republicans dismissed censure as a meaningless diversion, determined to use constitutional procedures to drive him from office.
By contrast, when Trump the other day was asked whether he would accept being censured, as a way of allowing Republicans to express disapproval of his Ukraine dealings while voting against impeachment and removal, he was contemptuous. “Unacceptable,” he said at a London news conference. “I did nothing wrong. You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong.”
In the category of: The politics of influence
The Facebook CEO has managed to piss off both Democrats and Republicans with proposed changes to his political ad policy.
Publicly, Mark Zuckerberg has appeared as defiant as ever amid growing pressure over Facebook’s choice not to screen or fact-check political ads. “People should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” the co-founder and CEO said last week, defending the company’s laissez faire approach. Behind the scenes, however, he seems increasingly open to making at least some changes—though, as usual, the moves he’s considering would infuriate virtually everyone.
According to the Washington Post, Zuckerberg has privately suggested imposing limits on political ads and changing the way they are labeled. Under the proposed changes, the company would cap the number of ads a single candidate can run at a time, and ban ads in the three days leading up to an election. Additionally, the company would make clear that such content has not been fact checked—a stab at flagging the ads while dodging responsibility for what they contain. The social media giant has discussed the proposed policy changes with both Republican and Democratic operatives recently, the Post reported Wednesday, but both sides were wary, concerned the ad limits could be too restrictive and would make it harder for them to get through to voters. (The official Trump campaign Twitter account has accused Facebook of trying to “take important tools away from us for 2020.”)
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