In the last seven days, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer declared he was interested in the US presidency, a Facebook video revealed Chicago police use a “bait truck” to try to convince potential thieves to thieve, and a judge threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court and demanded a plane be turned around mid-flight when it was discovered that the government had deported a mother and daughter even though their case was still pending. In other words, it’s been another week in the Meta-Zone that is the internet, and we’re all Rac Shades in our own way. Let’s see what else everyone’s been talking about this week, shall we?
For Once, It Really Was a Simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Question
What Happened: Paul Manafort’s business partner Rick Gates testified against him, and it was genuinely glorious.
What Really Happened: The ongoing trial against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort hit a high point last week, and we’re not talking about the testimony of his former accountant. No, instead, there was the much-anticipated debut on the stand of the trial’s star witness…
Yes, Rick Gates—Manafort’s former protege! His appearance was pretty much what everyone had been waiting for since the trial began, working on the assumption that, if anyone knew Manafort’s dark secrets, it’d be Gates (and that, as he’d already pled guilty to special counsel Robert Mueller, he’d share the details with the court). As it turned out, he really didn’t disappoint.
Oh, and it turns out, that’s not all Rick Gates has to offer.
As you might expect, the President of the United States had some calm, well-modulated words of wisdom about everything that was unfolding.
The Takeaway Let’s just take that last tweet from President Trump on its own terms for a second, shall we?
Bon Voyage, Alex Jones
What Happened: Inforwars founder Alex Jones, the man trying to get people to believe the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, was finally pushed off of a number of prominent internet platforms this week. An attempt to rally the rest of the internet around him didn’t go that well.
What Really Happened: It was also a very rough start of the week for conspiracy-spreader Alex Jones and Infowars, which were banned by YouTube, Spotify, and Apple for “hate speech“; Facebook also removed multiple pages related to Jones, and Pinterest also followed suit. Considering some of the things he’s said, this is a move that’s pretty overdue, but not everyone seemed to see it that way. Indeed, some were very disturbed by what they thought they were looking at.
Others didn’t feel the same way. And, even as Jones tried to monetize his situation, they took to Twitter to parody the right wing’s use of the famous Martin Niemöller “First they came for” quote, which might have gotten its start at right wing news site The Daily Caller.
The Takeaway: This is only the beginning.
The Platform That Didn’t Boot Alex Jones? Twitter
What Happened: As the one hold-out keeping Alex Jones on its platform, Twitter had some explaining to do. Sadly, it tried, and made everything worse.
What Really Happened: So, not every social media platform got rid of Alex Jones last week. In fact, not only did Twitter fail to remove his personal account or the Infowars one— as evidenced by the fact that he used it to complain all week —Twitter boss Jack Dorsey took to the service to argue just why that hadn’t happened.
That was … certainly a take. And not one that many people agreed with, as it turned out.
Let’s chalk this up to unfortunate public relations failure, and get back to the whole Alex Jones on Twitter thing, shall we? Because that’s what CNN did a day after Dorsey appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show.
The story goes in depth about the ways in which Dorsey’s defense of keeping Jones on the platform are, with the best will in the world, nonsensical at best considering the actual evidence on show. The irony of a journalist bringing this up, following Dorsey’s earlier commentary, wasn’t lost on everyone.
The plot thickened in real time on this one, as well.
Is Jones editing and removing his content to try and stay on the one mainstream platform left open to him? If so, is that even necessary considering Twitter hasn’t ousted him yet? Stay tuned; this one is likely to continue developing.
The Takeaway: For those who have gone from Twitter evangelists to Twitter not-so-enthusiasts, it was a pretty sobering, depressing week.
Let’s Go to the Tape
What Happened: It’s not enough that Omarosa is back with a new book (out next week); now she’s got secret tapes to help promote it, apparently.
What Really Happened: If nothing else, the Trump administration should be applauded for the ways in which it consistently appears to believe in the dramatic conceit of Chekhov’s gun. Remember last year when the president was very worried about being secretly recorded? We thought that was just his Putin paranoia, but ohhhhhhh no. There was far better dramatic irony to come.
However, not everyone was too impressed by the tease.
The Takeaway: So, now that it’s certain Michael Cohen and Omarosa were taping President Trump, the obvious question is, who’s next?
What Happened: It’s been teased and talked about for months, and now it … actually seems to be happening? Folks, meet the sixth branch of the US military: Space Force.
What Really Happened: It’s been a wacky notion of the president’s for some time, but last week, it was finally made official:
Needless to say, everyone was very excited at the prospect. #SpaceForce!
But don’t worry; no sooner was Space Force officially announced than the other shoe dropped—and it was called logo design. #SpaceForce!
Yes, merchandise, because of course merchandise. Well, maybe that’s where the money for Space Force’s $8 million price tag is going to come from. Meanwhile, some people had some thoughts about the logo choices. #SpaceForce!
Well, that’s one idea…
Others had some more designs they wanted to share … for the good of #SpaceForce!
The Takeaway: Even if some of the logos weren’t exactly the best quality, at least everyone could admit that “Mars Awaits” couldn’t be topped as a slogan for #SpaceForce! Or … could it?