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Vox Sentences: 2 dead and dozens injured after tens of thousands march in Venezuela

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Bill O’Reilly’s vacation becomes permanent; Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz decides not to seek reelection; a march in Venezuela is met with violence.


Fox drops Bill O’Reilly

Fox News Executives Said To Be Considering Bill O'Reilly's Future With The Cable News Channel
Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to Fox News following numerous claims of sexual harassment and subsequent legal settlements.
Getty Images / Drew Angerer
  • Today 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, released a statement announcing that “[a]fter a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.” [Washington Post / Paul Farhi]
  • The proximate cause: Earlier this month, news broke that Fox News had paid about $13 million in settlements over the years to women who had experienced sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior by the longtime Fox host. [New York Times / Emily Steel, Michael S. Schmidt]
  • When the story first broke, it didn’t seem like O’Reilly would lose his show. As the host of the No. 1 cable news show on television, he was simply too valuable an asset to the network. [TVNewser / A.J. Katz]
  • But then the show started hemorrhaging subscribers (80 brands, all told, by the time he was fired), and “internal debates ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air.” [Wall Street Journal]
  • A suspiciously timed “vacation” took O’Reilly off air from April 12 to 24. Vox’s German Lopez predicted that The O’Reilly Factor might never come back. As it turns out, he was right. [Vox / German Lopez]
  • The question might be why it took so long. After all, O’Reilly has faced (and complained peevishly about) sexual harassment allegations several times over the past decade. [The Daily Beast / Andrew Kirell]
  • The new allegations (and the advertiser pullout) probably didn’t help O’Reilly save his skin one last time — but neither did falling ratings, or a change in power within 21st Century Fox in which give-’em-hell Rupert Murdoch has ceded power to his more image-conscious sons. [Vox / Jeff Guo]
  • The second generation of Murdochs was also responsible for engineering the resignation last year of Fox News chair Roger Ailes, after more than two dozen women, including former on-air host Gretchen Carlson, spoke out about harassment they endured from Ailes. [Washington Post / Manuel Roig-Franzia, Scott Higham, Paul Farhi, Krissah Thompson]
  • O’Reilly, as much as Ailes, made the network what it is today. O’Reilly’s everyday guy persona — which was actually a put-on in a vain efforts to lend credibility to his crass, sexist, racist, and generally -phobic views — set the pugnacious, perma-offended tone Fox has adopted as its own. [Slate / Michael Kinsley]
  • Their brand has always capitalized on misogyny — and O’Reilly and Ailes’s behavior was a natural manifestation of it, as was Fox’s initial support of both men. But the ouster of Ailes and now O’Reilly shows the company has learned the cost of publicly putting its theory into practice. [Vox / Constance Grady]
  • Then again, the brand O’Reilly and Ailes perfected lives on in one Donald J. Trump, whose “politically incorrect” (and often just incorrect) appeal borrows heavily from O’Reilly’s (and who hasn’t allowed allegations of sexual harassment to bring him down). [Fusion / Alex Pareene​]

Did criticism and opposition chafe at Chaffetz?

House GOP Leadership Speaks To The Press After Their Party Conference Meeting
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz
Getty Images / Mark Wilson
  • Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who currently serves as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has announced he will not run for reelection in 2018. [Washington Post / Elise Viebeck]
  • The move apparently stunned his colleagues — most of whom were given no advance notice of his decision. [The Hill / Cristina Marcos]
  • As the head of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz was an aggressive critic of the Obama administration — which made it noticeable, if not exactly surprising, when he greeted the Trump administration by threatening critics of the president within the federal government. [The Atlantic / McKay Coppins]
  • As a result, he became something of a target for liberals enraged by the Trump administration, as well as for anti-Trump Republicans — including his own constituents. In February, at a town hall he held in Utah, the crowd chanted, “Do your job,” in reference to Chaffetz’s responsibility as committee chair to investigate President Trump’s potential conflicts of interests, and booed him repeatedly. Outside of it, hundreds chanted, “Vote him out.” [NBC / Mark Hanrahan]
  • Two brothers in Utah, who said they tried to ask Chaffetz about his controversial decisions as committee chair, started their own PAC called “U Work 4 Utah” and raised more than $12,000 to pay for billboards pressuring Chaffetz to investigate connections between Russia and Trump associates. [Huffington Post / Nick Visser]
  • Based on the wording of Chaffetz’s announcement, it appears he will not be running for a Senate seat in 2018 either, but the possibility of him running for governor of Utah in 2020 remains open. Indeed, in early 2016 Chaffetz told the Deseret News: “I’m not going to be here (in the House) forever. I would take a serious, serious look at running for governor.” [Deseret News / Lisa Riley Roche]
  • Utah is a pretty red state, so some dissatisfaction at home doesn’t doom Chaffetz’s political future. But here’s an illustration of just how hated he’s become by Democrats: The challenger who would have run against Chaffetz if he sought reelection has surpassed him in fundraising by a factor of 3 to 1. [Roll Call / Eric Garcia​]

Violence in Venezuela

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a march against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.
Getty Images / AFP / Federico Parra
  • Last month, Venezuela took a major step toward authoritarian rule when the country’s Supreme Court (populated by loyalists of President Nicolás Maduro) wrested power from its National Assembly, effectively dissolving any power held by Maduro’s opponents. [New York Times / Nicholas Casey, Patricia Torres]
  • Protests quickly followed, but as Abraham F. Lowenthal wrote for the New York Times, it was unclear what the opposition could accomplish without any government power: “The government’s assault on the National Assembly may help the opposition remobilize popular protest, but it is hard to know how long that will last and what it alone can produce.” [New York Times / Abraham F. Lowenthal]
  • Today, in a serious blow to the protests themselves, two people were killed and many were injured when violence erupted during “the mother of all marches,” a demonstration involving tens of thousands of Venezuelans across the country. [Guardian / Virginia Lopez, Jonathan Watts]
  • President Maduro deployed the Venezuelan army to back up police — resulting in the arrest of about 500 protesters, as well of reports of tear gassing and beatings. [Guardian / Virginia Lopez]
  • The two fatalities seem to have occurred when violence broke out between supporters of the government and the opposition. According to early reports, a teenager was shot in the head on his way to play soccer in Caracas. [ABC News Australia]
  • The second death reportedly occurred in the Andean state of Tachira, where a woman was killed during gunfire at a rally. [Guardian / Virginia Lopez, Jonathan Watts]
  • It’s a tragic development, but not an unpredictable one: Maduro’s government has cracked down on opposition expression and racked up human rights abuses. [Human Rights Watch]
  • But political dissatisfaction and crackdowns are riding atop much bigger currents of strife. Venezuela is an oil-rich country in the midst of a major recession. The Guardian’s Latin America correspondent Jonathan Watts described the country as having “the world’s fastest contracting economy, the second highest murder rate, inflation heading towards 1,000% and shortages of food and medicine that have pushed the poorest members of its 30 million population to the edge of a humanitarian abyss.” [Guardian / Jonathan Watts]
  • What happened to the socialist dream in Venezuela? In short, Hugo Chávez so aggressively overregulated the economy during his presidency that he bestowed Venezuela with both the “most punitively misconceived microeconomic policies” and “the world’s most mindlessly self-destructive macroeconomic policies.” [Vox / Francisco Toro]
  • It’s also important to understand that the socialist dream was propelled by leftist populism — and, as countries around the world seem to be learning the hard way over and over again these days, even well-intentioned populism can — and often does — lead to authoritarianism. [New York Times / Max Fisher, Amanda Taub​]

Miscellaneous

  • Facebook Live was used to film a murder — but what’s truly shocking is that Facebook and its founder weren’t more prepared for this inevitable tragedy. [New Yorker / Steve Coll]
  • A CEO who compared himself to Steve Jobs, a $120 million startup, a juice press capable of wielding four tons of force … and a product that it turned out could be squeezed by hand. [Bloomberg / Ellen Huet, Olivia Zaleski]
  • 3D-printed, high-quality transparent glass may finally be within reach — and the practical applications range from mirrors and miniature devices for research to skyscraper facades and lenses. [New York Times / Steph Yin]
  • What if striving to be pleasant and appear happy at work all the time is making us miserable and killing our productivity? What if it’s better to be grumpy? [Quartz / Meredith Bennett-Smith]
  • The impending Writers Guild strike could hit Hollywood hard. How? Just ask anyone involved in these five major 2009 films. [Film School Rejects / The Bitter Script Reader]

Verbatim

  • “The only thing of real size in the house seems to be a painting of her adopted brother, and now adopted son, Izaiah, from when he was a young child. The painting looms over Dolezal on the living-room wall as she begins to talk. I try to get my bearings and listen to what she's trying to say, but for the first few moments, my mind keeps repeating: ‘How in the hell did I get here?’” [The Stranger / Ijeoma Oluo]
  • “Pence wasn’t supposed to walk outside, according to the schedule, but he decided in the moment he wanted to send a message directly to the North Koreans. ‘I thought it was important that we went outside,’ he said. ‘I thought it was important that people on the other side of the DMZ see our resolve in my face.’” [Washington Post / Josh Rogin]
  • “In the words of Yale evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns, ‘Macho makes you sick.’ Indeed, men often have a harder time than women fighting off infections.” [Nautilus / Richard G. Bribiescas]
  • “Steven Pete has no idea how you feel. Sitting in Cassava, a café in Longview, Washington, next to a bulletin board crammed with flyers and promises — your pain-free tomorrow starts today; remember: you’re not alone in your battle against peripheral neuropathy! — he tells me he cannot fathom aches or pinches or the searing scourge of peripheral neuropathy that keep millions of people awake at night or hooked on pills.” [Wired / Erika Hayasaki​]
  • “Collectively, humans have watched Adam Sandler on Netflix for longer than civilization has existed.” [Quartz / Ashley Rodriguez]

Watch this: Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change

The biggest problem for the climate change fight isn’t technology — it’s human psychology. [University of California, Vox]


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