CNN’s ‘Massive’ Error on Russia? No Time For It on ‘Reliable Sources’

CNN’s media unit has an enormous black hole in its review of the media world: CNN. On Friday, CNN retracted an online story making unsubstantiated claims about the Russian ties of Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci. Jon Passantino at Buzzfeed reported on Sunday a crackdown on CNN reporting on Russia to prevent future mistakes. 

So how much time did Stelter have for this story on his show Reliable Sources on Sunday? Nothing. Instead, Stelter spent more than five minutes hate-analyzing Fox & Friends as a Trump infomercial. He spent about ten and a half minutes indulging "TV legend" Phil Donahue. He even closed the show with four minutes allegedly about Russia — but his guest Masha Gessen basically fed back Stelter his favorite talking point that Trump is an "aspiring autocrat" who’s shutting down access to the press: "We’re definitely hurtling towards a closed system of government…"

Here’s what Buzzfeed reported: 

CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The email went out at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday from Rich Barbieri, the CNNMoney executive editor, saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas]," a CNN vice president.

"This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions," the email added. "I will lay out a workflow Monday."

The new restrictions also apply to other areas of the network — not just CNNMoney, which wasn’t involved with the article that was deleted and retracted.

A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News earlier that the story was a "massive, massive f—up and people will be disciplined." [Emphasis mine.] The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are "directly involved" in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.

It’s not like Stelter was unaware of the CNN retraction. He tweeted that on Saturday morning:


On Sunday night in his e-mail newsletter, Stelter spent about 230 words on the "massive" mess-up: 

On Friday evening fully retracted a story after questions were raised about the accuracy of the reporting and sourcing. The story, by Thomas Frank of the investigative unit, said Congress was investigating a "Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials." It didn’t get TV airtime, but it was shared on the web, where it was spotted and scrutinized by Breitbart.
On Friday night the story was replaced by an editor’s note: "That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled." The editor’s note included an apology to Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, who was named in the story. The next morning Scaramucci responded via Twitter: "CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on." Some prominent conservative figures, like Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity, seized on the story as an example of anti-Trump bias and anonymous source malfeasance…
An embarrassing moment for CNN
The truth is, there’s still a lot we don’t know. On Saturday and Sunday I asked CNN PR for details and comment. A network spokeswoman declined to comment as of Sunday evening.
My take: I sometimes complain to my editors about the layers of editing and oversight that exist at CNN. But these processes exist for good reasons. Determining what went wrong this time will help prevent future damage to the news organization… [Emphasis in the original.]
Perhaps Stelter should try to be as upset at his poor access to his own network’s executives as he is to the media’s poor access to Trump. 

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Researchers identify brain cells that spy on your breath

© Thomas SchmidtBreathing deeply reverse engineers your mood by tricking your brain cells into thinking you are calm Taking a deep breath really does calm you down by triggering neurons in your brain which tell the body it is time to relax, a new study has found.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of California have identified 175 brain cells which spy on the breath and alter state of mind accordingly.

For thousands of years yoga students have been taught that controlling their breathing can bring a sense of calm, while it is a well known truism that taking a few deep breaths can lower rage. But until now nobody knew why it worked.

The new study suggests that it is indeed possible to reverse engineer your mood simply by altering breathing.

“If something’s impairing or accelerating your breathing, you need to know right away,” said Dr Mark Krasnow, professor of biochemistry at the University of California.

“These 175 neurons, which tell the rest of the brain what’s going on, are absolutely critical.”

The neurons which link breathing to to relaxation, attention, excitement and anxiety are located deep in the brainstem. They can pick up on the differences in sighing, yawning, gasping, sleeping, laughing and sobbing.

When scientists genetically engineered mice so that the neurons which pick up excited breathing were absent, the animals were far calmer.

The investigators concluded that rather than regulating breathing, the neurons were spying on it instead and reporting their finding to another structure in the brainstem.

The research was published in Science.

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Frustrated by Trump, Turkey Willing to Settle for Gulen House Arrest Instead of Extradition

The administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long portrayed former imam Fethullah Gulen as the sinister mastermind who orchestrated last year’s failed coup attempt from his home in Pennsylvania.
Turkey demanded Gulen’s extradition from both the Obama and Trump administrations and denounced their failure to hand him over as outrageous. On Monday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus appeared to throw in the towel and accept house arrest as an alternative to extradition.

“What we’re telling American authorities is that the nature of our relationship, our alliance in NATO for years, our strategic alliances in the Middle East, the intense history of Turkish-American relations and friendship requires this man to be immediately arrested,” Kurtulmus said at a press conference after a cabinet meeting, as reported by Hurriyet Daily News.
“If you are saying ‘This is a judicial process,’ then you should arrest the man where he is and if you’re not extraditing him to us, at least limit his activities by bringing him under house arrest,” he added.
Kurtulmus made it clear his government still regards Gulen as the leader of a dangerous terrorist organization with “blood on its hands” and called upon the United States to stop him from spreading “treacherous and hostile attitudes towards Turkey.” In fact, he accused Gulen of sending covert “threats against the state of the Turkish Republic” via text messages from his cell phone while he was being interviewed by France24 television this week.
Presumably, Kurtulmus thinks “house arrest” would involve holding Gulen incommunicado, since managing a global conspiracy via the Internet and text messages would be possible from one of those HGTV Tiny Houses, let alone a home as spacious as Gulen’s gated estate in the Poconos.

As Gulen himself noted in that France24 interview, the Turkish government’s claim that he masterminded the July 2016 coup rests largely upon a single meeting at his estate with a former student of his, an enigmatic individual named Adil Oksuz who seems to have vanished after Erdogan defeated the insurrection.
At his press conference, Kurtulmus continued the Erdogan government’s defense of its wide-ranging Gulenist purge and perpetual state of emergency, arguing that Gulen’s movement – formally known as Hizmet, but dubbed the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) by the Turkish state – is so powerful that even seizing 966 corporations, arresting 50,000 people, and firing or suspending 3.5 percent of the public workforce has been insufficient to root them all out.
Gulen, for his part, told France24 that his movement would endure despite the Turkish government crackdown.
“In 170 countries, our movement’s schools are still operating, including in the US, Brussels, Europe. So I think this is a sign that this movement, whose core value is love, will continue. The politicians, their time is limited. They will go by democratic means. But this movement, which is anchored in love, will continue,” he said.
Gulen was also confident that President Trump will not extradite him to Turkey. “I don’t think either him or any other U.S. president will risk tarnishing the reputation of the United States around the world and submit to these unreasonable demands by the Turkish president, so I’m not worried about that possibility,” he said.

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Gorbachev: Trump praised first meet with Putin, ‘a good thing’

Donald Trump’s positive impressions about his "tremendous" first meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg is a good thing, but concrete steps are now needed to build mutual confidence and trust, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said.
Gorbachev said the meeting in itself is a positive sign. "The very fact of their meeting says a lot. And even more, some constructive agreements have been reached," Gorbachev told Russia’s Interfax news agency Saturday.
"The fact that the US President, for his part, gave positive account of the meeting is a good thing," the last Soviet leader stated. "Trump is not an empty-headed man, he is an unpredictable one. And it is amazing that he speaks about the meeting this way." Now, Gorbachev underlined, it’s crucial for both Moscow and Washington to take "concrete steps" towards implementing the agreements reached at the Hamburg meeting. He also urged the leaders to build trust and to re-engage each other.


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