Links and Notes - Mon, Jan 27, 2020


Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
Felicia Sonmez shares her account of suspension from WaPo, says Managing Editor Tracy Grant had concerns that the tweets didn't pertain to her coverage area — The Post has suspended reporter Felicia Sonmez following her social-media activity over the death of NBA great Kobe Bryant.

Marc Stein / New York Times: Kobe Bryant's Brilliant and Complicated Legacy
Tom Gara / @tomgara: Such crappy treatment of Felicia Sonmez by her bosses at the WaPo here ...
Lindsey Ellefson / The Wrap: ESPN to Re-Air Kobe Bryant's Final NBA Game Tonight
Manisha Krishnan / VICE: Reporters and Activists Are Being Harassed for Saying Kobe Bryant Was Credibly Accused of Rape
Rachel Cohen / @rmc031: someone had posted Sonmez's address, leading her to fear for her safety at home, so she checked into a hotel on Sunday night. She learned she was being suspended while hiding out in the hotel
Aleksander Chan / @aleksnotalex: it is insane to me is that there appears to have been no regard for sonmez's safety from her editors? if your reporter find themselves in this kind of situation it is your obligation to make sure they are safe ...
Maggie Haberman / @maggienyt: Context for Sonmez tweets, however Ill-timed some considered them - she has been vocal on the subject of sexual assault and harassment on Twitter for a very long time.
James Poniewozik / @poniewozik: “Management continued to worry about the tweets, says Sonmez, noting that Grant sent her another message saying that if she didn't delete them, she'd be ‘in violation of a directive from a managing editor.’”
James Poniewozik / @poniewozik: If your social-media policy boils down to, “Don't get people mad at us on Twitter,” just ban your staff from social media and get it over with.
Jack Crosbie / @jscros: even without considering that sonmez is an assault survivor herself, this is just absolutely throwing a writer under the bus. for what? tweeting a factual news story that the public didn't like? pure coward shit here
@libbycwatson: so someone posts felicia's address online, making her fear for her safety, and wapo's management's response is to suspend HER. for having tweeted a headline! what a shitty organization
Jack Crosbie / @jscros: absolutely shameful handling of the situation from the editors in charge here. any editor who isn't willing to go to bat for their writers and subordinates isn't worth shit ...
Jim Waterson / @jimwaterson: Washington Post journalist writes blog for Washington Post on why Washington Post management was wrong to suspend a Washington Post journalist. ...
Lydia DePillis / @lydiadepillis: Tweeting a story “off my beat,” because @feliciasonmez is an impeccable journalist and human with, I dare say, excellent judgment. ...
Ben / @mrshickadance9: @maxwelltani This has some real “stick to sports” energy
Glenn Greenwald / @ggreenwald: Kudos to @ErikWemple, followed by other Post journalists, in being vocally critical of their paper's treatment of reporter @feliciasonmez. As @yashar says, you don't have to agree with her tweets to recognize how shoddy was her editors' treatment of her:
@yashar: 3. As @ErikWemple points out in his column...if tweeting about stuff that is outside of a reporter's coverage area, the whole newsroom should be suspended. By the way, @feliciasonmez was never told her posting emails was the reason for suspension ...
Zach Carter / @zachdcarter: What @ErikWemple details here is an embarrassment for Washington Post management. The Post is going after their own reporter for the “crime” of ... receiving death threats. ...
Max Tani / @maxwelltani: So WaPo's only explanation was she was tweeting off her beat (everyone does that) and making it hard for other WaPo reporters to do their jobs (but they won't explain how tweeting a factual article made others lives harder). Pretty weak stuff! ...
Marc Bain / Quartz: How NBA players paid tribute to Kobe Bryant
Ross Andersen / The Atlantic: Kobe Bryant's Unfinished Business
Raf Noboa y Rivera / The Miscellanies: The man died before the name
Jeva Lange / The Week: Kobe Bryant's other great gift was storytelling
Jon Allsop / Columbia Journalism Review: The reverberations of Kobe Bryant
Robert Kraychik / Breitbart: Verified Twitter Users Condemn Kobe as ‘Rapist’ Following Death
Bradford Betz / Fox News: After Kobe Bryant's death in helicopter crash, CNN reporter says he ‘faced a very credible rape accusation’
Sydney Smith / iMediaEthics: WashPost suspends reporter for Kobe Bryant tweets
Trey Alston / MTV: Kobe Bryant And Daughter Gianna Die In Helicopter Crash: What We Know
» All Related Discussion
Ariel Zilber / Daily Mail:
WaPo suspends Felicia Sonmez after she tweeted a story about a rape allegation against Kobe Bryant, responded to criticism, and uploaded abuse sent to her email — Felicia Sonmez (right), who covers national politics for The Washington Post, posted a link to a story about the Kobe Bryant rape case …

Discussion: Kobe Bryant & Daughter Die in Helicopter Crash, 3 Bodies Recovered
Ken Meyer / Mediaite: Read the Kobe Bryant-Related Tweets That Led Washington Post to Suspend Reporter Felicia Sonmez
Jeremy Gordon / The Outline: Kobe Bryant was an incredible basketball player; he also admitted to sexual assault.
@davidklion: It's outrageous and cowardly that the Washington Post is suspending a reporter for tweeting factual, reported information about a public figure who was credibly accused of rape. ...
Matthew Keys / The Desk: Washington Post reporter suspended following Kobe Bryant tweet backlash
Rachel Abrams / New York Times: Washington Post Suspends a Reporter After Her Tweets on Kobe Bryant
Joe Concha / The Hill: Washington Post suspends reporter after Bryant tweets
Staci D Kramer / @sdkstl: Streisand Effect at work
John Nolte / Breitbart: WaPo Reporter Suspended for Posting Full Names of Critics After Kobe ‘Rape’ Comments
@jimrutenberg: Sure would be great if @washingtonpost would offer a little more context on its decision here
Olivia Nuzzi / @olivianuzzi: News organizations should protect their journalists, not acquiesce to the mob when it comes for them. The Washington Post not only failed Felicia Sonmez, but set a dangerous precedent.
Ewilliams / DCist: Washington Post Suspends Journalist Who Shared Tweets About Kobe Bryant's Rape Case
Tom Lutz / The Guardian: ‘Devastating’: America mourns Kobe Bryant after death in helicopter crash
Dylan Matthews / @dylanmatt: A fun story is that while I was planning to leave anyway, the Post technically fired me bc, after Ezra tweeted something asking people to follow Wonkblog on Twitter, I jokingly quote-tweeted it with “NEVER” @feliciasonmez is the best and this is idiotic
Dan Froomkin / @froomkin: Suspended??? That's a ridiculous overreaction. And people who email abuse to reporters have ZERO right to privacy. ...
Ben Collins / @oneunderscore__: A lot of people were online yesterday refreshing their phones, desperate for somebody to blame for something inexplicable. A lot of them were driven, algorithmically or otherwise, to this outrage mob. This is the Post giving into it, and feeding their reporter to the wolves.
@davidklion: This is especially troubling considering that a few months ago, Sonmez bravely went public with the details of her own sexual assault at the hands of a fellow journalist in China, and was smeared by the usual gang of unaccountable reactionary pundits for doing so.
Peter Sterne / @petersterne: It wasn't just @feliciasonmez. A number of journalists tweeted links to articles about the Kobe Bryant rape allegations yesterday. But only the Washington Post saw fit to suspend its reporter.
@libbycwatson: regardless of the rule, it is so clear that wapo could have exercised discretion on whether to fucking SUSPEND her over it. they should side with their reporter over the nutters sending her abusive emails. it is that simple
Max Tani / @maxwelltani: This is insane and clearly an overreaction by WaPo. The rape allegation is a part of Kobe's legacy. Punishing a reporter for pointing that out is confusing and a bizarre choice for an outlet that does serious reporting on harassment and misconduct. ...
Marlow Stern / @marlownyc: as the writer of the kobe rape case story she tweeted out, this is completely insane. #metoo but also let's suspend a brave survivor of sexual assault for pointing out the facts?
Elon Green / @elongreen: yessssssssss, tell me more about the legend of Marty Baron
Helen Ubias / @notesfromhel: Putting aside the timing of her tweets, I've aways wondered (in my own experience) why readers who send hateful, threatening and abusive emails are afforded such an undeserving expectation of privacy. It just empowers their abusive behavior.
Stuart McDonald / @travelfish: ‘The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues.’ Yeah, ahhh nope.
Stacy Washington / @stacyontheright: Why protect the ones attacking her? They deserve to be outed for sending death threats. I cannot agree with this.
@davidklion: NYT and the Atlantic will do nothing to their employees who smear a reporter (relying on a debunked report by their friend) on Twitter; meanwhile WaPo will suspend that same reporter for tweeting facts about Kobe Bryant and setting off the MAGA crowd. It's sickening.
Lindsey Barrett / @lam_barrett: this is flat-out obscene and would be if it happened to anyone, but it's all the more atrocious given what sonmez has already gone through with her own sexual assault, as david points out.
@libbycwatson: what wapo did to felicia sonmez is so shameful—even if the ostensible reason for suspending is that she tweeted the names of people emailing her. media organizations are still so susceptible to gamergate style campaigns from right-wing psychos (who fueled the outrage against her)
Joshua Benton / @jbenton: Nine different stories by @washingtonpost reporters yesterday made reference to the sexual assault allegation against Kobe Bryant. But a reporter who tweets a story about it w/o any commentary gets suspended for “poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues”?
Jeet Heer / @heerjeet: This is a really bad look for the Washington Post.
Jonathan Myerson Katz / @katzonearth: If the @washingtonpost really did this, it's disgusting. Who is it supposed to assuage? The people who sent her death threats? They'll forget about it in a day anyway.
@chanders: This seems very disturbing behavior on the part of the @washingtonpost and I'd love to see a write up on the incident that wasn't in the Daily Mail.
Jim Waterson / The Guardian: Kobe Bryant: reporter suspended after sexual assault case tweet
@libbycwatson: I mean just as a matter of principle, if you send me an email and we don't agree that it's off the record, I can do what I want with it. if you send me an abusive email it is within my rights to tweet about it
Mark Di Stefano / @markdistef: I love that no matter what happens - like a beloved sports legend dies - the online conversation arc will always bend towards a fight about ethics in journalism
Chad Loder / @chadloder: I was bothered by her timing. But she tweeted facts. This is what journalists do.
Matthew Gertz / @mattgertz: This response from the Post is shameful and incoherent. If the editors feel that a reporter tweeting a well-reported story's headline with a link is beyond the pale and damages the paper they should get it over with and ban the newsroom from Twitter. ...
Lindsey Ellefson / The Wrap: BBC Apologizes for Using LeBron James Footage in Kobe Bryant Memorial
Lee Brown / New York Post: Washington Post suspends Felicia Sonmez after Kobe Bryant rape case tweets
Sulaiman Daud / Mothership.SG: Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41, dies in helicopter crash: US media

Charges against Assange arguing interactions with sources can be a crime have created a template for other countries, with Brazil arguing the same for Greenwald

by Edward Snowden

This actually is an example of the U.S.'s war on the media or the war on truth and facts.

The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence.

Alan Rusbridger / @arusbridger: Important: 'If these cases [Assange & Greenwald] become templates prosecutors in the US & other nations follow, virtually every investigative reporter will become vulnerable to criminal charges and imprisonment." via @NYTOpinion

What a shock. I've said for a LONG time that "breaking news" is synonomous with incorect news. It's better to wait 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, or more to know the truth.

Media orgs that claim to "be in" the breaking news bussines are purveyors of falsehoods. Then these media orgs fall in love with the breaking news banner, and these orgs claim that every news item, even trivial news, is breaking news.

Initial coverage of Kobe Bryant's death was an illuminating example of how breaking news reports will be wrong due to the drive to be first at any cost

by Margaret Sullivan

crazy does crazy well.

Founder of right-wing Christian site TruNews, who has made anti-Semitic comments, says the White House gave five TruNews staffers press credentials for Davos

@mattnegrin: the WHCA will respond to this news by continuing to ask the president “do you have any comment” on the news of the day and then tweeting out whatever he says for the next 502 years
Senator Megan Hunt / @nebraskamegan: Don't look away
Sara Spector / @miriam2626: “That's the way Jews work,” Mr. Wiles said. “They are deceivers. They plot, ... they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda. This ‘Impeach Trump’ movement is a Jew coup, and the American people better wake up to it really fast.” #HolocaustMemorialDay
Mark S. Zaid / @markszaidesq: On #HolocaustRemembranceDay, WH should answer this question below. And it should immediately revoke press pass for @TruNews, or at least publicly state no future passes will be issued.
Gady Epstein / @gadyepstein: Attack real journalists who ask tough questions but give press credentials to guys who say impeachment is a “Jew coup”
Paul Krugman / @paulkrugman: A site that called impeachment a “Jew coup” got White House press credentials for Davos. If you think this was an innocent oversight, you're an idiot
Brian Stelter / @brianstelter: .@WHCA asked, but has not received an on the record answer to this Q:

From the NY Times article:

One media outlet stood out: TruNews, a website aimed at conservative Christians whose founder, a pastor named Rick Wiles, recently described Mr. Trump’s impeachment as “a Jew coup” planned by “a Jewish cabal.”

TruNews, which Mr. Wiles founded as an online radio program in 1999 called America’s Hope, has a history of spreading conspiracy theories and proclaiming an imminent apocalypse. It drew more scrutiny in November after Mr. Wiles, in an online video, accused Jews of orchestrating Mr. Trump’s impeachment.

“That’s the way Jews work,” Mr. Wiles said. “They are deceivers. They plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda. This ‘Impeach Trump’ movement is a Jew coup, and the American people better wake up to it really fast.”

Mr. Wiles also warned his listeners that “when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.”

Holy crap. What a wacko. Yet, according to this wacko:

Asked in the interview if he understood why his “Jew coup” comments prompted charges of anti-Semitism, Mr. Wiles replied: “I coined a phrase. It came out of my mouth: ‘It looks like a Jew coup.’ All I pointed out was many of the people involved were Jewish.”

Pressed if such rhetoric could be reasonably interpreted as anti-Semitic, Mr. Wiles said: “It’s hard to say. I don’t know. I can tell you from my heart there is no ill will toward the Jewish people, with all sincerity.”

No ill will toward Jewish people??? How does that wacko reconcile his own comments?

This country could be in civil war at Christmas time. Members of the U.S. military will have to take a stand.

People are going to be forced possibly by this Christmas to take a stand because of this Jew coup in the United States.

We have weeks to stop it. This is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States.

You have been take over by a Jewish cabal, a Bolshevik Revolution.

There will be a purge. That's the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country. They kill millions of Christians.


This is the same Wiles who, last November, dedicated an entire program to declaring that the effort to impeach Trump was a “Jew coup” that will eventually lead to a “purge” in which millions of Christian are killed.

“That’s the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda,” Wiles said during the program. “This ‘impeach Trump’ effort is a Jew coup and the American people better wake up to it really fast … This is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States and it’s beyond removing Donald Trump, it’s removing you and me. That’s what’s at the heart of it. You have been taken over by a Jewish cabal. The church of Jesus Christ, you’re next. Get it through your head! They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.”

uhhh, i doub that this type of journalism has ever been one-side. this is journalistic malpractice. this opinion is an example of the left doing what the right is accused of doing. maybe the rule of life is to distrust all journalists who discuss politics at any level. journalism and politics have an incestural relationship.

A history of how right-wing media has minimized actions of conservatives and scandalized the actions of Democrats, a practice that began taking shape in the 40s

A look at various challenges Afghan female journalists face while reporting in a deeply patriarchal country, where 1,700 out of 10K in its press corps are women

Reporters and Activists Are Being Harassed for Saying Kobe Bryant Was Credibly Accused of Rape

Women’s rights advocate Julie Lalonde was told she should die, while a 'Washington Post' reporter has been suspended from her job.

Within a couple hours of tweeting about former NBA star Kobe Bryant’s rape allegation, Julie Lalonde had received thousands of replies—many of them advising her to kill herself, or that she deserved to be raped.

Lalonde, an Ottawa-based women’s rights advocate, was reacting to news of Bryant’s death by helicopter crash when she tweeted “Kobe Bryant was a rapist. In case y’all forget that over the next few days.”

Widely recognized as one of the greatest professional basketball players of all time, Bryant won five NBA Championships as an LA Laker; he retired in 2016. But his legacy is by no means untarnished. In 2003, Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman at a hotel he was staying at in Eagle, Colorado. The woman, an employee at the hotel, alleged Bryant choked her and forced her to have intercourse; evidence of the alleged attack included bruises on the woman’s neck and vaginal injuries. Bryant said the sex was consensual. The allegation never made it to trial. Ultimately, Bryant’s accuser decided not to testify; his defense team raised her sexual history in preliminary hearings, and she was identified and smeared by tabloids.

Bryant later settled with his accuser in a separate civil suit. In a public statement, he apologized to her and said he understood she did not consider the sex consensual.

Air traffic controllers were reportedly concerned about dense fog in the area.

The helicopter took off from the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California around 9:06 a.m PT, according to flight records, and crashed roughly forty minutes later near Calabasas, California. Air traffic controllers had noted poor visibility in the area, and the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department and the Los Angeles Police Department had grounded their helicopters due to poor weather, according to Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the poor conditions, pilot Ara Zobayan was given a “special visual flight rule” clearance by the Burbank air control tower to fly through it, according to a radio conversation between Zobayan and air traffic controllers published by While Zobayan asked for “flight following,” or regular contact with air traffic controllers, the Burbank Airport control tower responded that he was flying at too low of an altitude, according to CNN.

“We walked into the gym and everyone was on their knees and praying,” the Fresno team’s coach told the paper. “(My girls) were crying and in disbelief. They were excited to play against Kobe Bryant’s daughter and take a picture with him and this tragic event happened.”

Yesterday's info:

4:30 PM PT -- L.A. weather was extremely foggy Sunday morning, and law enforcement sources tell us even LAPD air support was grounded because of it. Flight tracker data shows Kobe's chopper appeared to first encounter weather issues as it was above the L.A. Zoo. It circled that area at least 6 times at a very low altitude -- around 875 feet -- perhaps waiting for the fog to clear.

We know the pilot contacted the control tower at Burbank Airport around 9:30 AM PT, and the tower was aware the pilot had been circling for about 15 minutes.

The pilot eventually headed north along the 118 freeway before turning to the west, and started following above the 101 freeway around Woodland Hills, CA.

At around 9:40 AM they encounter more weather -- as in seriously heavy fog -- and the chopper turned south. This was critical, because they turned toward a mountainous area. The pilot suddenly and rapidly climbed from about 1200 feet up to 2000 feet.

However, moments later -- around 9:45 AM -- they flew into a mountain at 1700 feet. Flight tracker data shows they were flying at about 161 knots.

The pilot of the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, his daughter and 6 other passengers got in big trouble with fog -- they seemed to abort the trip and tried returning home, barely clearing one mountain range, but never slowed down ... this according to the flight tracker and several experienced helicopter pilots in the L.A. area.

The pilot was following a visual flight plan and was cleared by the tower to proceed north, toward Thousand Oaks where Kobe was taking his daughter for a basketball game. When he got to the Calabasas area, the fog became blinding.

It's strange that reports of dense fog were either unknown or not taken seriously. I assume that the pilot was aware of weather issues further along its planned route before taking off.

As we reported, the pilot was way too low -- at 1,250 feet. The pilots we spoke with say it's clear based on the abrupt change on the flight tracker ... the pilot panicked and quickly ascended to 2,000 feet. We're told he cleared a mountain range by 100 feet, and the pilots we spoke with say he was so low he almost certainly saw the tops of the mountain.

The pilots we spoke with -- all of whom have extensive experience -- say based on the flight tracker and the accident scene, they believe the pilot felt he had cleared all of the mountains and was proceeding to head back when he hit another mountain. The pilot clearly did not know there were mountains ahead because he actually descended from 2,000 feet to 1,700 feet .. presumably to go under the fog.

Even more baffling, we've been told the pilot was extremely experienced flying in that area -- and was even a flight instructor. One seasoned helicopter pilot told TMZ, he could not understand why Kobe's pilot would have maintained a speed of 161 knots in such dense fog. One of the benefits of a helicopter is you can go much slower -- even 15 mph -- to gingerly avoid terrain if you're uncertain.

Our sources say the chopper was sophisticated and had an altitude warning signal to pull up, but it was too late. As we said, he was doing 161 knots and didn't slow down. The helicopter hit the mountain at that speed.

A much slower, more cautious speed may have permitted the pilot to adjust altitude when warned.

Several of the pilots we spoke with say the pilot should have gone up to clear the fog, rather than down. To that end, we're told the pilot could have slowed down to almost a stop as he turned, but didn't.

Kobe and Shaq led a powerful Lakers team in the early to mid aughts. That was probably the last period where I watched the NBA somewhat regularly, at least the playoffs. After the mid to late aught years, my NBA viewing has been reduced to watching the Cavs play in the finals, which last occurred two years ago, and it may be a long time before it occurs again. If the Pistons make the finals, I'll watch them. Detroit beat the heavily favored Lakers in the finals back in the aught years. Detroit had an amazing team for a few years in the aughts. Good NBA hoops action occurred in the 2000s.

What We Know: The Helicopter Crash That Killed Kobe Bryant And 8 Others

What is the Mamba Mentality?

“Mamba Mentality isn’t about seeking a result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life”

– Kobe Bryant