Sessions Charges Ex-FBI Agent With Media Leaks

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A former FBI agent who allegedly shared secret documents with a national media organization has been charged months after Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to crack down on government leaks. Terry J. Albury, who was an agent in Minnesota, faces two counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. He was charged Tuesday by felony information, which typically indicates a defendant will plead guilty, per the AP. The charges allege Albury shared two documents with a reporter, including one dated August 17, 2011, that relates to how the FBI assesses confidential informants. The other document, which is undated, pertains to “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,“ according to the information.

The charges say Albury shared the documents sometime between February 2016 and January 31, 2017. Prosecutors don’t name a reporter or news organization, but on January 31 of last year, The Intercept posted a story about how the FBI assesses and manages informants. The story references a secret document dated August 17, 2011, that deals with assessing informants and recruiting them by identifying their “motivations and vulnerabilities.“ Albury’s attorneys, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, said in a statement that Albury “accepts full responsibility for the conduct set forth in the Information.“ They also said that as the only African-American FBI field agent in Minnesota, his actions were driven by a “conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI.“

Walmart Kicks Cosmo Out of Its Checkout Lines

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No longer will you see headlines like “Best. Sex. Ever.“ in the Walmart checkout line. The retail giant partnered with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation to announce Tuesday that it will remove women’s magazine Cosmopolitan from checkout lines at more than 5,000 stores across the US. In a press release, the NCOSE said the magazine—which covers sex, relationships, fashion, health, and more—would be removed “from each and every checkout aisle” at “all Walmart stores.“ However, it will still be found in the magazine racks, a Walmart rep tells USA Today. “While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard,“ the rep adds. According to the NCOSE, girls and boys complained the magazine’s “normalization of sexual objectification and pornography” made them feel pressure “to engage in more risky sex.“

Now, shoppers “will no longer be automatically exposed to Cosmo‘s hypersexualized and degrading article titles that regularly promote pornography, sexting, BDSM, group sex, anal sex, and more, all while marketing toward young teens with Disney star cover models,“ the conservative nonprofit says. “We really want a culture that will respect women and ensure their dignity is understood,“ adds the group’s VP of Advocacy and Outreach, citing the #MeToo movement. But Kristen King, who’s written for Cosmo, says the move shows “another double standard for women” since magazines like Men’s Fitness aren’t affected. “Saying it’s inappropriate for children to see women’s bodies teaches children that women’s bodies are inappropriate,“ King tells the BBC. “The more conversations we have about women’s health and sexuality the better.“

National Geographic Admits Past Racist Coverage

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National Geographic has acknowledged that it covered the world through a racist lens for generations, with its magazine portrayals of bare-breasted women and naive brown-skinned tribesmen as savage, unsophisticated, and unintelligent. “We had to own our story to move beyond it,“ editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg tells the AP in an interview about the magazine’s April issue, which is devoted to race. National Geographic first published its magazine in 1888. An investigation conducted last fall by University of Virginia photography historian John Edwin Mason showed that until the 1970s, it virtually ignored people of color in the US who were not domestic workers or laborers, and it reinforced repeatedly the idea that people of color from foreign lands were “exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché.“

For example, in a 1916 article about Australia, the caption on a photo of two Aboriginal people read: “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.“ In addition, National Geographic perpetuated the cliche of native people fascinated by technology and overloaded the magazine with pictures of beautiful Pacific island women.“I think National Geographic was a product of its time,“ Goldberg says. “It started at the height of colonialism and that is the lens through which it covered the world.“ In the April issue, Goldberg, who is National Geographic‘s first woman and first Jewish editor, wrote a letter titled “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.“

Trump Reveals Winners of ‘Fake News Awards’

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Stephen Colbert and other late-night hosts experienced real disappointment Wednesday night when President Trump revealed the winners of his inaugural Fake News Awards: The “honors” went to the New York Times, CNN, ABC, the Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek. In a list of 10 winners posted on the GOP website, which promptly crashed, the No. 1 award went to a New York Times opinion piece in which Paul Krugman “claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.“ The Times won two awards, with four for CNN and one apiece for the other outlets. More:

  • Other winners. The runners-up included the erroneous Brian Ross Russia-Trump story that caused ABC to suspend him, and CNN’s claim that Trump and Donald Trump Jr. had access to hacked emails from WikiLeaks. Time was at No. 4 for “falsely reporting that Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the White House.“
  • The 11th winner. The “last, but not least” final prize went to the topic of “RUSSIA COLLUSION!“ “Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!“ the GOP site states, listing the things Trump accomplished while “the media spent 90% of the time focused on negative coverage or fake news.“
  • Fake news? The New York Daily News notes that some of the awards contain claims that appear to be “alternative facts”—including the assertion that Trump’s win was a “landslide.“ The Washington Post was at No. 5 for reporting that “the president’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty,“ though the reporter had mistakenly tweeted a photo of the empty venue and immediately deleted it and apologized, according to the News.
  • Late-night reaction. In a spoof ceremony, Jimmy Kimmel gave a “Fake News Award” to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, played by Kimmel’s father, Billboard reports. Colbert received a standing ovation after telling the audience: “I am proud to say, The Late Show won fakest in late night.“ He then added: “I would say I’m humbled, but I think we deserve it, because I’m lying right now. We didn’t win.“
  • Backlash. Some of the backlash to the “Fakies,“ and to Trump’s treatment of the media in general, came from members of his own party, the Guardian reports. Former GOP press secretary Alex Conant tweeted that while he is working hard to get Republicans elected in 2018, Trump’s “tactics are not helpful to anyone except Chuck & Nancy.“
  • “Sinister subtext.“ The awards have the “sinister subtext” that Trump has spoken of having libel laws changed to make it easier to punish “fake news,“ writes Albert Hunt at Bloomberg. Legal experts, however, say that “if Trump were correct that mainstream news outlets deliberately published false information with the intent of making him look bad, he could successfully sue them without any changes to existing law,“ Hunt writes.
  • Corrections and retractions. The Washington Post fact-checks the winners and notes that retractions or corrections were issued in eight cases, and two resulted in suspensions or resignations. Two were tweets that didn’t result in news articles. “If the president admitted error as frequently, he would earn far fewer Pinocchios,“ the Post says, referring to its grading system for false claims.
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