The film has been noted for the problems encountered while making it. These problems were chronicled in the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which recounted the stories of Brando arriving on the set overweight and completely unprepared; costly sets being destroyed by severe weather; and its lead actor (Sheen) suffering a near fatal heart attack while on location. Problems continued after production as the release was postponed several times while Coppola edited thousands of feet of footage.
Ambivalent about the mission, Willard joins a Navy PBR commanded by “Chief” (Albert Hall) and crewmen Lance (Sam Bottoms), “Chef” (Frederic Forrest) and “Mr. Clean” (Laurence Fishburne) to head upriver. They rendezvous with brazen Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall), a commander of an attack helicopter squadron, to discuss going up the Nung river. Kilgore initially scoffs at them, but befriends Lance, both being keen surfers, and agrees to escort them through the Viet Cong-held coastal mouth of the river due to the surfing conditions there. At dawn the helicopter raid commences. Amid the attack Kilgore calls in a napalm sortie on the local cadres and the rivermouth is taken. Willard gathers his men to the PBR, transported via helicopter, and begins the journey upriver.
Tension arises between Chief and Willard as Willard believes himself to be in command of the PBR, while Chief prioritizes other objectives over Willard’s secret mission. Slowly making their way upriver, Willard reveals part of his mission to the Chief to assuage the Chief’s concerns about why his mission should take precedence. As night falls, the PBR reaches the chaos of the last US outpost on the Nùng river, the Do Long bridge. Seeking some intel on what’s upriver, Willard and Lance proceed through the base seeking information. Finding no info, and disgusted, Willard orders the Chief to continue upriver as an unseen enemy launches a strike on the bridge.
The next day, Willard learns from the dispatch that another Special Operations Group (SOG) operative, Captain Colby (Scott Glenn), who was sent on an earlier mission identical to Willard’s, is now listed as missing in action. Meanwhile, as the rest of the crew read letters from home, Lance pops open a purple smoke grenade for fun. This catches the attention of an unseen enemy in the trees and the boat is fired upon, killing Mr. Clean. Later, in a separate attack, Chief is killed.
Eventually the PBR arrives at Kurtz’s outpost and the remaining crew members are met by an American freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), who manically praises Kurtz’s genius. As they wander through the compound they come across Colby, who stands nearly catatonic along with other US servicemen, now serving in Kurtz’s renegade army. After returning to the PBR, Willard later takes Lance with him to the village, leaving Chef behind with orders to call an airstrike on the village if they do not return.
In the camp, Willard is subdued, bound and brought before Kurtz (Marlon Brando) in the darkened temple. Tortured and imprisoned, Willard screams helplessly as Kurtz drops Chef’s severed head into his lap, meaning there will be no airstrike. After several days, Willard is released and given the freedom of the compound. Kurtz lectures him on his theories of war, humanity and civilization while praising the ruthlessness and dedication of the Viet Cong. Kurtz discusses his family and asks that Willard tell his son “the truth” about him in the event of his “death”.
That night, as the villagers ceremonially slaughter a water buffalo, Willard stealthily enters Kurtz’s chamber as Kurtz is making a tape recording, and attacks him with a machete. Lying mortally wounded on the ground, Kurtz, with his dying breath, whispers “…The horror… the horror…”. The villagers are now abuzz about something amiss in Kurtz’s quarters, and seeing Willard departing the rooms with bloody machete in hand, they bow down and allow Willard to take Lance by the hand and lead him to the boat. The two of them ride away as Kurtz’s final words echo eerily as the world fades to black.
Martin Sheen as Captain Benjamin L. Willard, a veteran U.S. Armyspecial operationsofficer who has been serving in Vietnam for three years. The soldier who escorts him at the start of the film recites that Willard is from 505th Battalion, of the elite 173rd Airborne Brigade, assigned to MACV-SOG. It is later stated in the briefing scene that he worked intelligence/counterintelligence for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, carrying out secret operations and assassinations. Both scenes also establish he workedCOMSEC. An attempt to re-integrate into home-front society had apparently failed prior to the time at which the film is set (in 1970), and so he returns to the war-torn jungles of Vietnam, where he seems to feel more at home.
Albert Hall as Chief Quartermaster George Phillips. The chief runs a tight ship and frequently clashes with Willard over authority. Has a father-son relationship with Clean.
Sam Bottoms as Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Lance B. Johnson, a former professional surfer from California. He is known to drop acid. He becomes entranced by the Montagnard tribe, even participating in the sacrifice ritual.
Laurence Fishburne (credited as Larry Fishburne) as Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Tyrone “Mr. Clean” Miller, the seventeen-year-old cocky South Bronx-born crewmember.
Dennis Hopper as an American photojournalist, a manic disciple of Kurtz who greets Willard. According to the DVD commentary of Redux, the character is based on Sean Flynn, a famed news correspondent who disappeared in Cambodia in 1970. His dialogue follows that of the Russian “harlequin” in Conrad’s story.
Jerry Ziesmer as a mysterious man (who is coincidentally addressed by General Corman as ‘Jerry’; document visible on the Blu-ray version mentions a C.I.A. agent named R.E. Moore) in civilian attire who sits in on Willard’s initial briefing. His only line in the film is the famous “Terminate with extreme prejudice“. Ziesmer also served as the film’s assistant director.
Harrison Ford as Colonel G. Lucas, aide to Corman and a general information specialist who gives Willard his orders. The character’s name is a reference to George Lucas, who was involved in the script’s early development with Milius and was the original director intended to direct the film. Ford also portrayed Han Solo in Lucas’ space opera Star Wars, and prior to that had appeared in Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973, produced by Coppola and Gary Kurtz) and Coppola’s The Conversation (1974).
Scott Glenn as Captain Richard M. Colby, previously assigned Willard’s current mission before he defected to Kurtz’s private army and sent a message to his wife, intercepted by the army, telling her to sell everything they owned, including their children.
Bill Graham as Agent (announcer and in charge of the Playmates’ show)
Several actors who were, or later became, prominent stars have minor roles in the film including Harrison Ford, G. D. Spradlin, Scott Glenn, R. Lee Ermey, and Laurence Fishburne. Fishburne was only fourteen years old when shooting began in March 1976, and he lied about his age in order to get cast in his role.Apocalypse Now took so long to finish that Fishburne was seventeen (the same age as his character) by the time of its release.
Although inspired by Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness, the film deviates extensively from its source material. The novella, based on Conrad’s experience as a steamboat captain in Africa, is set in the Congo Free State during the 19th century. Kurtz and Marlow (who is named Willard in the movie) work for a Belgian trading company that brutally exploits its native African workers.
When Marlow arrives at Kurtz’s outpost, he discovers that Kurtz has gone insane and is lording over a small tribe as a god. The novella ends with Kurtz dying on the trip back and the narrator musing about the darkness of the human psyche: “the heart of an immense darkness”.
In the novella, Marlow is the pilot of a river boat sent to collect ivory from Kurtz’s outpost, only gradually becoming infatuated with Kurtz. In fact, when he discovers Kurtz in terrible health, Marlow makes an effort to bring him home safely. In the movie, Willard is an assassin dispatched to kill Kurtz. Nevertheless, the depiction of Kurtz as a god-like leader of a tribe of natives and his malarial fever, Kurtz’s written exclamation “Exterminate the brutes!” (which appears in the film as “Drop the bomb. Exterminate them All!”) and his last words “The horror! The horror!” are taken from Conrad’s novella.
Coppola argues that many episodes in the film—the spear and arrow attack on the boat, for example—respect the spirit of the novella and in particular its critique of the concepts of civilization and progress. Other episodes adapted by Coppola, the Playboy Playmates’ (Sirens) exit, the lost souls, “take me home” attempting to reach the boat and Kurtz’s tribe of (white-faced) natives parting the canoes (gates of Hell) for Willard, (with Chef and Lance) to enter the camp are likened to Virgil and “The Inferno” (Divine Comedy) by Dante. While Coppola replaced Europeancolonialism with Americaninterventionism, the message of Conrad’s book is still clear.
Coppola’s interpretation of the Kurtz character is often speculated to have been modeled after Tony Poe, a highly decorated Vietnam-era paramilitary officer from the CIA’s Special Activities Division. Poe’s actions in Vietnam and in the ‘Secret War’ in neighbouring Laos, in particular his highly unorthodox and often savage methods of waging war, show many similarities to those of the fictional Kurtz; for example, Poe was known to drop severed heads into enemy-controlled villages as a form of psychological warfare and use human ears to record the number of enemies his indigenous troops had killed. He would send these ears back to his superiors as proof of the efficacy of his operations deep inside Laos. Coppola denies that Poe was a primary influence and says the character was loosely based on Special Forces Colonel Robert B. Rheault, whose 1969 arrest over the murder of suspected double agent Thai Khac Chuyen in Nha Trang generated substantial contemporary news coverage.
Use of T. S. Eliot’s poetry
In the film, shortly before Colonel Kurtz dies, he recites part of T. S. Eliot‘s poem “The Hollow Men“. The poem is preceded in printed editions by the epigraph “Mistah Kurtz – he dead”, a quotation from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.
Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision, – he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath –
“The horror! The horror!”
When Willard is first introduced to Dennis Hopper’s character, the photojournalist describes his own worth in relation to that of Kurtz with: “I should have been a pair of ragged claws/Scuttling across the floors of silent seas”, from “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“.
While working as an assistant for Francis Ford Coppola on The Rain People, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg encouraged their friend and filmmaker John Milius to write a Vietnam War film. Milius had wanted to volunteer for the war, and was disappointed when he was rejected for having asthma. Milius came up with the idea for adapting the plot of Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness to the Vietnam War setting. He had read the novel when he was a teenager and was reminded about it by one of his college lecturers who had mentioned the several unsuccessful attempts to adapt it into a movie.[note 1]
Coppola gave Milius $15,000 to write the screenplay with the promise of an additional $10,000 if it were green-lit. Milius claims that he wrote the screenplay in 1969 and originally called it The Psychedelic Soldier. He wanted to use Conrad’s novel as “a sort of allegory. It would have been too simple to have followed the book completely”.
Milius based the character of Willard and some of Kurtz’s on a friend of his, Fred Rexer. Rexer claimed to have experienced, first-hand, the scene related by Brando’s character wherein the arms of villagers are hacked off by the Viet Cong. Kurtz was based onRobert B. Rheault, head of special forces in Vietnam. Scholars have never found any evidence to corroborate Rexer’s claim, nor any similar Viet Cong behavior, and consider it an urban legend.
At one point, Coppola told Milius, “Write every scene you ever wanted to go into that movie”, and he wrote ten drafts, amounting to over a thousand pages. Milius changed the film’s title to Apocalypse Now after being inspired by a button badge popular withhippies during the 1960s that said “Nirvana Now”. He was also influenced by an article written by Michael Herr titled, “The Battle for Khe Sanh”, which referred to drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and people calling airstrikes down on themselves. He was also inspired by such films as Dr Strangelove.
Milius says the classic line “Charlie don’t surf” was inspired by a comment Ariel Sharon made during the Six Day War, when he went skin diving after capturing enemy territory and announced “We’re eating their fish”. He says the line “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning” just came to him.
Milius had no desire to direct the film himself and felt that Lucas was the right person for the job. Lucas worked with Milius for four years developing the film, alongside his work on other films, including his script for Star Wars. He approached Apocalypse Now as a black comedy, and intended to shoot the film after making THX 1138, with principal photography to start in 1971. Lucas’ friend and producer Gary Kurtz traveled to the Philippines, scouting suitable locations. They intended to shoot the film in both the rice fields between Stockton and Sacramento, California and on-location in Vietnam, on a $2 million budget, cinéma vérité style, using 16 mm cameras, and real soldiers, while the war was still going on. However, due to the studios’ safety concerns and Lucas’ involvement with American Graffiti and Star Wars, Lucas decided to shelve the project for the time being.
Coppola was drawn to Milius’ script, which he described as “a comedy and a terrifying psychological horror story”. In the spring of 1974, Coppola discussed with friends and co-producers Fred Roos and Gray Frederickson the idea of producing the film. He asked Lucas and then Milius to direct Apocalypse Now, but both men were involved with other projects; in Lucas’ case, he got the go-ahead to make Star Wars, and declined the offer to direct Apocalypse Now. Coppola was determined to make the film and pressed ahead himself. He envisioned the film as a definitive statement on the nature of modern war, the difference between good and evil, and the impact of American society on the rest of the world. The director said that he wanted to take the audience “through an unprecedented experience of war and have them react as much as those who had gone through the war”.
In 1975, while promoting The Godfather Part II in Australia, Coppola and his producers scouted possible locations for Apocalypse Now in Cairns in northern Queensland, that had jungle resembling Vietnam. He decided to make his film in the Philippines for its access to American equipment and cheap labor. Production coordinator Fred Roos had already made two low-budget films there for Monte Hellman, and had friends and contacts in the country. Coppola spent the last few months of 1975 revising Milius’ script and negotiating with United Artists to secure financing for the production. According to Frederickson, the budget was estimated between $12–14 million. Coppola’s American Zoetrope assembled $8 million from distributors outside the United States and $7.5 million from United Artists who assumed that the film would star Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, and Gene Hackman. Frederickson went to the Philippines and had dinner with President Ferdinand Marcos to formalize support for the production and to allow them to use some of the country’s military equipment.
Steve McQueen was Coppola’s first choice to play Willard, but the actor did not accept because he did not want to leave America for 17 weeks.Al Pacino was also offered the role but he too did not want to be away for that long a period of time and was afraid of falling ill in the jungle as he had done in the Dominican Republic during the shooting of The Godfather Part II.Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, and James Caan were approached to play either Kurtz or Willard.
Coppola and Roos had been impressed by Martin Sheen‘s screen test for Michael in The Godfather and he became their top choice to play Willard, but the actor had already accepted another project and Harvey Keitel was cast in the role based on his work in Martin Scorsese‘s Mean Streets. Principal photography began three weeks later. Within a few days, Coppola was unhappy with Harvey Keitel’s take on Willard, saying that the actor “found it difficult to play him as a passive onlooker”. After viewing early footage, the director took a plane back to Los Angeles and replaced Keitel with Martin Sheen. By early 1976, Coppola had persuaded Marlon Brando to play Kurtz for an enormous fee of $3.5 million for a month’s work on location in September 1976. Dennis Hopper was cast as a kind of Green Beret sidekick for Kurtz and when Coppola heard him talking nonstop on location, he remembered putting “the cameras and the Montagnard shirt on him, and we shot the scene where he greets them on the boat”.James Caan was the first choice to play colonel Lucas. Caan wanted too much money for what was considered a minor part in the movie. Harrison Ford was eventually cast as Colonel Lucas.
On March 1, 1976, Coppola and his family flew to Manila and rented a large house there for the five-month shoot. Sound and photographic equipment had been coming in from California since late 1975.
Typhoon Olga wrecked the sets at Iba and on May 26, 1976, production was closed down. Dean Tavoularis remembers that it “started raining harder and harder until finally it was literally white outside, and all the trees were bent at forty-five degrees”. One part of the crew was stranded in a hotel and the others were in small houses that were immobilized by the storm. The Playboy Playmate set had been destroyed, ruining a month’s shooting that had been scheduled. Most of the cast and crew went back to the United States for six to eight weeks. Tavoularis and his team stayed on to scout new locations and rebuild the Playmate set in a different place. Also, the production had bodyguards watching constantly at night and one day the entire payroll was stolen. According to Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, the film was six weeks behind schedule and $2 million over budget.
Coppola flew back to the U.S. in June 1976. He read a book about Genghis Khan to get a better handle on the character of Kurtz. After filming commenced, Marlon Brando arrived in Manila very overweight and began working with Coppola to rewrite the ending. The director downplayed Brando’s weight by dressing him in black, photographing only his face, and having another, taller actor double for him in an attempt to portray Kurtz as an almost mythical character.
After Christmas 1976, Coppola viewed a rough assembly of the footage but still needed to improvise an ending. He returned to the Philippines in early 1977 and resumed filming. On March 5, 1977, Sheen had a heart attack and struggled for a quarter of a mile to reach help. He was back on the set on April 19. A major sequence in a French plantation cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but was cut from the final film. Rumors began to circulate that Apocalypse Now had several endings but Richard Beggs, who worked on the sound elements, said, “There were never five endings, but just the one, even if there were differently edited versions”. These rumors came from Coppola departing frequently from the original screenplay. Coppola admitted that he had no ending because Brando was too fat to play the scenes as written in the original script. With the help of Dennis Jakob, Coppola decided that the ending could be “the classic myth of the murderer who gets up the river, kills the king, and then himself becomes the king — it’s the Fisher King, from The Golden Bough“.
A water buffalo was slaughtered with a machete for the climactic scene. The scene was inspired by a ritual performed by a local Ifugao tribe which Coppola had witnessed along with his wife (who filmed the ritual later shown in the documentary Hearts of Darkness) and film crew. Although this was an American production subject to American animal cruelty laws, scenes like this filmed in the Philippines were not policed or monitored and the American Humane Association gave the film an “unacceptable” rating. Principal photography ended on May 21, 1977.
Japanese composer Isao Tomita was scheduled to provide an original score, with Coppola desiring the film’s soundtrack to sound like Tomita’s electronic adaptation of The Planets by Gustav Holst. Tomita went as far as to accompany the film crew in the Philippines, but label contracts ultimately prevented his involvement. In the summer of 1977, Coppola told Walter Murch that he had four months to assemble the sound. Murch realized that the script had been narrated but Coppola abandoned the idea during filming.Murch thought that there was a way to assemble the film without narration but it would take ten months and decided to give it another try. He put it back in, recording it all himself. By September, Coppola told his wife that he felt “there is only about a 20% chance [I] can pull the film off”. He convinced United Artists executives to delay the premiere from May to October 1978. Author Michael Herr received a call from Zoetrope in January 1978 and was asked to work on the film’s narration based on his well-received book about Vietnam, Dispatches. Herr said that the narration already written was “totally useless” and spent a year writing various narrations with Coppola giving him very definite guidelines.
Murch had problems trying to make a stereo soundtrack for Apocalypse Now because sound libraries had no stereo recordings of weapons. The sound material brought back from the Philippines was inadequate, because the small location crew lacked the time and resources to record jungle sounds and ambient noises. Murch and his crew fabricated the mood of the jungle on the soundtrack. Apocalypse Now had novel sound techniques for a movie, as Murch insisted on recording the most up-to-date gunfire and employed the Dolby Stereo 70 mm Six Track system for the 70mm release. This used two channels of sound from behind the audience as well as three channels of sound from behind the movie screen. The 35mm release used the new Dolby Stereo optical stereo system, that has a single surround channel and three screen channels.
In May 1978, Coppola postponed the opening until spring of 1979 and screened a “work in progress” for 900 people in April 1979 that was not well received. That same year, he was invited to screen Apocalypse Now at the Cannes Film Festival. United Artists were not keen on showing an unfinished version in front of so many members of the press but Coppola remembered that The Conversation won the Palme d’Or and agreed, less than a month prior to the start of the festival, to screen Apocalypse Now at Cannes. The week prior to Cannes, Coppola arranged three sneak previews of slightly different versions. He allowed critics to attend the screenings and believed that they would honor the embargo placed on reviews. On May 14, Rona Barrett reviewed the film on television and called it “a disappointing failure”. At Cannes, Zoetrope technicians worked during the night before the screening to install additional speakers on the theater walls, to achieve Murch’s 5.1 soundtrack. On August 15, 1979 Apocalypse Now was released in the U.S. in 15 theaters equipped to play the first Dolby Stereo 70mm film with stereo surround sound.
Alternate and varied ending
At the time of its release, discussion and rumors circulated about the supposed various endings for Apocalypse Now. Coppola stated the original ending was written in haste, where Kurtz convinced Willard to join forces and together they repelled the air strike on the compound. Coppola said he never fully agreed with the Kurtz and Willard dying in fatalistic explosive intensity, preferring to end the film in a more encouraging manner.
When Coppola originally organized the ending, he considered two significantly different ends to the movie. One involved Willard leading Lance by the hand as everyone in Kurtz’s base throws down their weapons, and ends with images of Willard’s Swift boat slowly pulling away from Kurtz’s compound, this final scene superimposed over the face of a stone idol, which then fades into black. The other option showed an air strike being called and the base being blown to bits in a spectacular display, consequently killing everyone left within it.
The original 1979 70mm exclusive theatrical release ended with Willard’s boat, the stone statue, then fade to black with no credits, save for ‘”Copyright 1979 Omni Zoetrope”‘ right after the film ends. This mirrors the lack of any opening titles and supposedly stems from Coppola’s original intention to “tour” the film as one would a play: the credits would have appeared on printed programs provided before the screening began.
There have been, to date, many variations of the end credit sequence, beginning with the 35mm general release version, where Coppola elected to show the credits superimposed over shots of Kurtz’s base exploding. Rental prints circulated with this ending, and can be found in the hands of a few collectors. Some versions of this had the subtitle “A United Artists release”, while others had “An Omni Zoetrope release”. The network television version of the credits ended with “…from MGM/UA Entertainment Company” (the film made its network debut shortly after the merger of MGM and UA). One variation of the end credits can be seen on both YouTube and as a supplement on the current Lionsgate Blu-ray.
Later when Coppola heard that audiences interpreted this as an air strike called by Willard, Coppola pulled the film from its 35 mm run, and put credits on a black screen. (However, prints with the “air strike” footage continued to circulate to “repertory” theaters well into the 1980s.) In the DVD commentary, Coppola explains that the images of explosions had not been intended to be part of the story; they were intended to be seen as completely separate from the film. He had added the explosions to the credits as a graphic background to the credits.
Coppola explained he had captured the now-iconic footage during demolition of the sets (set destruction and removal was required by the Philippine government). Coppola filmed the demolition with multiple cameras fitted with different film stocks and lenses to capture the explosions at different speeds. He wanted to do something with the dramatic footage and decided to add them to the credits.
In 2001, Coppola released Apocalypse Now Redux in cinemas and subsequently on DVD. This is an extended version that restores 49 minutes of scenes cut from the original film. Coppola has continued to circulate the original version as well: the two versions are packaged together in the Complete Dossier DVD, released on August 15, 2006 and in the Blu-ray edition released on October 19, 2010.
The longest section of added footage in the Redux version is a chapter involving the de Marais family’s rubber plantation, a holdover from the colonization of French Indochina, featuring Coppola’s two sons Gian-Carlo and Roman as children of the family. These scenes were removed from the 1979 cut, which premiered at Cannes. In behind-the-scenes footage in Hearts of Darkness, Coppola expresses his anger, on the set, at the technical aspects of the shot scenes, the result of tight allocation of resources. At the time of the Redux version, it was possible to digitally enhance the footage to accomplish Coppola’s vision. In the scenes, the French family patriarchs argue about the positive side of colonialism in Indochina and denounce the betrayal of the military men in the First Indochina War. Hubert de Marais argues that French politicians sacrificed entire battalions at Điện Biên Phủ, and tells Willard that the US created the Viet Cong (as the Viet Minh) to fend off Japanese invaders.
Other added material includes extra combat footage before Willard meets Kilgore, a humorous scene in which Willard’s team steals Kilgore’s surfboard (which sheds some light on the hunt for the mangoes), a follow-up scene to the dance of the Playboy Playmates, in which Willard’s team finds the Playmates awaiting evacuation after their helicopter has run out of fuel (trading two barrels of fuel for two hours with the Bunnies), and a scene of Kurtz reading from a Time magazine article about the war, surrounded by Cambodian children.
A deleted scene titled “Monkey Sampan” shows Willard and the PBR crew suspiciously eyeing an approaching sampan juxtaposed to Montagnard villagers joyfully singing “Light My Fire” by The Doors. As the sampan gets closer, Willard realizes there are monkeys on it and no helmsman. Finally, just as the two boats pass, the wind turns the sail and exposes a naked dead civilian tied to the sail boom. His body is mutilated and looks as though the man had been whipped. The singing stops. It is assumed the man was tortured by the Viet Cong. As they pass on by, Chief notes out loud, “That’s comin’ from where we’re going, Captain.” The boat then slowly passes the giant tail of a shot down B-52 bomber as the noise of engines way up in the sky is heard. Coppola said that he made up for cutting this scene by having the PBR pass under an airplane tail in the final cut.
A 289-minute workprint circulates as a video bootleg, containing extra material not included in either the original theatrical release or the “redux” version.
A three-hour version of Apocalypse Now was screened as a “work in progress” at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival and met with prolonged applause. At the subsequent press conference, Coppola criticized the media for attacking him and the production during their problems filming in the Philippines and famously uttered, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The filmmaker upset newspaper critic Rex Reed who reportedly stormed out of the conference. Apocalypse Now won the Palme d’Or for best film along with Volker Schlöndorff‘s The Tin Drum – a decision that was reportedly greeted with “some boos and jeers from the audience”.
Apocalypse Now performed well at the box office when it opened in August 1979. The film initially opened in one theater in New York City, Toronto, and Hollywood, grossing USD $322,489 in the first five days. It ran exclusively in these three locations for four weeks before opening in an additional 12 theaters on October 3, 1979 and then several hundred the following week. The film grossed over $78 million domestically with a worldwide total of approximately $150 million.
The film was re-released on August 28, 1987 in six cities to capitalize on the success of Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and other Vietnam War movies. New 70mm prints were shown in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, and Cincinnati — cities where the film did financially well in 1979. The film was given the same kind of release as the exclusive engagement in 1979 with no logo or credits and audiences were given a printed program.
Upon its release, Apocalypse Now received near-universal critical acclaim. In his original review, Roger Ebert wrote, “Apocalypse Now achieves greatness not by analyzing our ‘experience in Vietnam’, but by re-creating, in characters and images, something of that experience”. In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Charles Champlin wrote, “as a noble use of the medium and as a tireless expression of national anguish, it towers over everything that has been attempted by an American filmmaker in a very long time”.
Ebert added Coppola’s film to his list of The Great Movies, stating: “Apocalypse Now is the best Vietnam film, one of the greatest of all films, because it pushes beyond the others, into the dark places of the soul. It is not about war so much as about how war reveals truths we would be happy never to discover”.
Other reviews were less positive; Frank Rich in Time said: “While much of the footage is breathtaking, Apocalypse Now is emotionally obtuse and intellectually empty”.
Various commentators have debated whether Apocalypse Now is an anti-war or pro-war film. Some commentators’ evidence of the film’s anti-war message include the purposeless brutality of the war, the absence of military leadership, and the imagery of machinery destroying nature. Advocates of the film’s pro-war stance, however, view these same elements as a glorification of war and the assertion of American supremacy. According to Frank Tomasulo, “the U.S. foisting its culture on Vietnam,” including the destruction of a village so that soldiers could surf, affirms the film’s pro-war message. Additionally, a Marine named Anthony Swofford recounted how his platoon watched Apocalypse Now before being sent to Iraq in 1990 in order to get excited for war. According to Coppola, the film may be considered anti-war, but is even more anti-lie: “…the fact that a culture can lie about what’s really going on in warfare, that people are being brutalized, tortured, maimed, and killed, and somehow present this as moral is what horrifies me, and perpetuates the possibility of war”.
In May 2011, a newly restored digital print of Apocalypse Now was released in UK cinemas, distributed by Optimum Releasing. Total Film magazine gave the film a five-star review, stating: “This is the original cut rather than the 2001 ‘Redux’ (be gone, jarring French plantation interlude!), digitally restored to such heights you can, indeed, get a nose full of the napalm.”
Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film 99% “Certified Fresh” with an average rating of 8.9/10, and the stated consensus that “Francis Ford Coppola’s haunting, hallucinatory Vietnam war epic is cinema at its most audacious and visionary”.
In 2002, Sight and Sound magazine polled several critics to name the best film of the last 25 years and Apocalypse Now was named number one. It was also listed as the second best war film by viewers on Channel 4‘s 100 Greatest War Films and was the second rated war movie of all time based on the Movifone list (after Schindler’s List) and the IMDb War movie list (after The Longest Day). It is ranked number 1 on Channel 4‘s 50 Films to See Before You Die. In a 2004 poll of UK film fans, Blockbuster listed Kilgore’s eulogy to napalm as the best movie speech. The helicopter attack scene with the Ride of the Valkyries soundtrack was chosen as the most memorable film scene ever by Empiremagazine (although the same track was used earlier in 1915 to similar effect in the score written to accompany the silent film The Birth of a Nation). This scene is recalled in one of the last acts of the 2012 video game Far Cry 3 as the song is played while the character shoots from a helicopter.
In August 2009, the head of the German Financial Regulator told the Bundestag Finance Committee that the failure of the “terrible” Depfa Bank, which was completely supervised by its Irish equivalent, lead to the collapse of its German parent which forced Berlin to bail it out at a cost of €102 billion. The committee was told that the alternative was a run on German banks and the eventual collapse of the European finance system and “You would have woken up on Monday morning in the film Apocalypse Now”
In 2011, actor Charlie Sheen, son of Martin Sheen, started playing clips from the film on his live tour and played the film in its entirety during post-show parties. One of Charlie Sheen’s films, the 1993 comedy Hot Shots! Part Deux, includes a brief scene in which Charlie is riding a boat up a river in Iraq while on a rescue mission and passes Martin, as Captain Willard, going the other way. As they pass, each man shouts to the other “I loved you in Wall Street!”, referring to the 1987 film that had featured both of them. Additionally, the promotional material for Hot Shots! Part Deux included a mockumentary that aired on HBO titled Hearts of Hot Shots! Part Deux—A Filmmaker’s Apology, in parody of the 1991 documentaryHearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, about the making of Apocalypse Now.
The film was also ranked #7 on Empire’s 500 Greatest Movies of all time.
Home video release aspect ratio issues
The first home video releases of Apocalypse Now were pan-and-scan versions of the original 35 mm Technovision anamorphic 2.35:1 print, and the closing credits, white on black background, were presented in compressed 1.33:1 full-frame format to allow all credit information to be seen on standard televisions. The first letterboxed appearance, on Laserdisc on December 29, 1991, cropped the film to a 2:1 aspect ratio (conforming to the Univisium spec created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro), and included a small degree of pan-and-scan processing at the insistence of Coppola and Storaro. The end credits, from a videotape source rather than a film print, were still crushed for 1.33:1 and zoomed to fit the anamorphic video frame. All DVD releases have maintained this aspect ratio in anamorphic widescreen, but present the film without the end credits, which were treated as a separate feature. The Blu-ray releases of Apocalypse Now restore the film to a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, making it the first home video release to effectively display the film in its true aspect ratio; the theatrical release had an aspect ratio of 2.39:1.
As a DVD extra, the footage of the explosion of the Kurtz compound was featured without text credits but included commentary by Coppola, explaining the various endings based on how the film was screened.
On the cover of the Redux DVD, Willard is erroneously listed as “Lieutenant Willard”.
Jump up^However, filmmaker Carroll Ballard claims that Apocalypse Now was his idea in 1967 before Milius had written his screenplay. Ballard had a deal with producer Joel Landon and they tried to get the rights to Conrad’s book but were unsuccessful. Lucas acquired the rights but failed to tell Ballard and Landon.
Story 1: Part 1, Obama The Big Liar (The Great Pretender) Vs. Trump The Great Truth Teller (We Will Rock You) — Make America Great Again! — Could Not Have Said It Better Myself — Three Cheers For Trump — Videos
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“The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.”
– Donald Trump, Written Statement released July 6, 2015
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• Donald Trump • One On One • Hannity • 6/17/15 •
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Billionaire mogul Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential run Tuesday. Below is the text of his speech:
Last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product – a sign of strength, right? But not for us.
It was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.
Our labor participation rate was the worst since 1978.
But think of it, GDP below zero, horrible labor participation rate, and our real unemployment is anywhere from 18-20%. Don’t believe the 5.6. Don’t believe it.
That’s right – a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs. But the real number, the real number, is anywhere from 18-19 and maybe even 21% and nobody talks about it because it’s a statistic that’s full of nonsense.
Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we as a country are getting weaker. Even our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work.
It came out recently. They have equipment that’s 30 years old and they don’t even know if it works. And I thought it was horrible when it was broadcast on television because boy does that send signals to Putin and all of the other people that look at us and they say ‘OK, that is a group of people and that is a nation that truly has no clue. They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing.’
We have a disaster called the big lie – Obamacare, Obamacare.
Yesterday it came out that costs are going, for people, up 39, 39, 49 and even 55%. And deductibles are through the roof. You have to get hit by a tractor, literally a tractor, to use it because the deductibles are so high it’s virtually useless. It’s a disaster.N
As an example, I’ve been on the circuit making speeches and I hear my fellow Republicans and they’re wonderful people. I like them. They all want me to support them.
They don’t know how to bring it about, they come up to my office. I’m meeting with three of them in the next week and they don’t know: Are you running, are you not running, could we have your support, what do we do, how do we do it?
And I like them. I hear their speeches. And they don’t talk jobs. They don’t talk China. When was the last time you heard ‘China’s killing us?’ They’re devaluing their currency to a level that you wouldn’t believe it makes it impossible for our companies to compete. Impossible.
They’re killing us, but you don’t hear that from anyone else. You don’t hear that from anybody else.
And I watch the speeches. I watch the speeches and they say ‘the sun will rise. The moon will set. All sorts of wonderful things will happen.’
And the people are saying ‘What’s going on? I just want a job. I don’t need the rhetoric, I just want a job.’
And it’s going to get worse because remember, Obamacare really kicks in in 2016, 2016.
Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might even be on one of my courses – I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. So I say, you know what, if he wants to – I have one right next to the White House. Right on the Potomac. If he wants to, if he’d like to play, that’s fine. In fact I’d love him to leave early and play. That would be a very good thing.
But Obamacare kicks in in 2016, really bigly. It is going to be amazingly destructive.
Doctors are quitting.
I have a friend who’s a doctor and he said to me the other day: ‘Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses. It’s a disaster. My patients are besides themselves. They had a plan that was good. They had a plan. They have no plan now.’
We have to repeal Obamacare and it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for everybody, but much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. And we can do it.
So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you. There’s something certainly not very good and that’s what we have representing us.
They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They are controlled fully, they are controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors and by the special interests. Fully. They control them.
Hey, I have lobbyists. I have to tell you, I have lobbyists that can produce anything for me. They’re great. But you know what? It won’t happen. It won’t happen because we have to stop doing things for some people, but for our country it’s destroying this country.
We have to stop and it has to stop now.
Our country needs, our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now.
We need a leader that wrote the Art of the Deal. We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, can take care of our vets – our vets have been abandoned. And we also need a cheerleader.
You know, when President Obama was elected I said ‘Well, the one thing I think he’ll do well – I think he’ll be a great cheerleader for the country. I think he’d be a great spirit. He was vibrant. He was young. I really thought he would be a great cheerleader.
He’s not a leader, that’s true. You’re right about that. But he wasn’t a cheerleader. He’s actually a negative force. He’s been a negative force. He wasn’t a cheerleader, he was the opposite.
We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again. It’s not great.
We need, we need, we need somebody that literally will take this country and make it great again. We can do that.
And, I will tell you, I love my life. I have a wonderful family. They’re saying, ‘Dad, you’re going to do something that’s so tough.’
You know, all of my life I’ve heard that a truly successful person, a really, really successful person – and even modestly successful – cannot run for public office. Just can’t happen.
And yet, that’s the kind of mindset that you need to make this country great again.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for President of the United States and we are going to make our country great again.
It can happen. Our country has tremendous potential. We have tremendous potential.
We have people that aren’t working. We have people that have no incentive to work. But they’re going to have incentive to work. Because the greatest social program is a job. And they’ll be proud, and they’ll love it, and they’ll make much more money than they would have ever made. And they’ll be doing so well, and we’re going to be thriving as a country. Thriving. It can happen.
I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created, I tell you that.
I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs, and I’ll bring back our money.
Right now, think of this – we owe China $1.3 trillion. We owe Japan more than that. So they come in, they take our jobs, they take our money and then they loan us back the money and we pay them in interest. And then the dollar goes up, so their deal’s even better.
How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen? How stupid are they?
Business mogul Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on Tuesday in New York. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House.
I’m going to tell you a couple of stories about trade, because I’m totally against the trade bill for a number of reasons.
Number one: the people negotiating it don’t have a clue. Our president doesn’t have a clue. He’s a bad negotiator. He’s the one that did Bergdahl. We get Bergdahl, they get five killer terrorists that everybody wanted over there. We get Bergdahl. We get a traitor. We get a no-good traitor and they get the five people that they wanted for years. And those people are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us. That’s the negotiator we have
Take a look at the deal he’s making with Iran. He makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster and we have to protect Israel.
So we need people – I’m a free trader. But the problem with free trade is, you need really talented people to negotiate for you. If you don’t have talented people, if you don’t have great leadership, if you don’t have people that know business – not just a political hack that got the job because he made a contribution to a campaign, which is the way all jobs just about are gotten, free trade is terrible.
Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have people that are stupid. We have people that aren’t smart, and we have people that are controlled by special interests and it’s just not going to work.
So here’s a couple of stories. Happened recently, a friend of mine is a great manufacturer, and you know, China comes over and they dump all their stuff.
I buy it. I buy it because, frankly, I have an obligation to buy it, because they devalue their currency so brilliantly. They just did it recently and nobody thought they could do it again, but with all our problems with Russia, with all our problems with everything, everything, they got away with it again.
And it’s impossible for our people here to compete. So I want to tell you this story. Friend of mine if a great manufacturer. Calls me up a few weeks ago, he’s very upset.
I said, ‘What’s your problem?’
He said, ‘You know, I make a great product.’
I said, ‘I know, I know that, because I buy the product.’
He said, ‘I can’t get it into China. They won’t accept it. I sent a boat over and they actually sent it back. They talked about environmental, they talked about all sorts of crap that had nothing to do with it.’
I said, ‘Oh, wait a minute, that’s terrible. Did anyone know this?’
He said, ‘They do it all the time with other people.’
I said, ‘They send it back?’
He said, ‘Yea, so I finally got it over there, and they charged me a big tariff.’
They’re not supposed to be doing that. I told him. Now they do charge you tariffs on trucks when we send trucks and other things over there.
Ask Boeing. They wanted all their patents and secrets before they agreed to buy planes from Boeing.
Hey, I’m not saying they’re stupid. I like China. I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?
I own a big chunk of the Bank of America building at 1290 Avenue of Americas that I got from China in a war. Very valuable. I love China.
The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower.
I love China. People say, ‘Oh, you don’t like China.’ No, I love them, but their leaders are much smarter than our leaders. And we can’t sustain ourselves with that.
There’s too much – it’s like, it’s like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That’s the difference between China’s leaders and our leaders.
They are ripping us. We are rebuilding China. We are rebuilding many countries.
China, you got there now – roads, bridges, schools. You never saw anything like it. They have bridges that make the George Washington Bridge look like small potatoes.
And they’re all over the place. We have all the cards, but we don’t know how to use them. We don’t even know that we have the cards, because our leaders don’t understand the game.
We would turn off that spigot by charging them tax until they behave properly.
Now they’re going militarily. They’re building a military island in the middle of the South China Sea – a military island. Now, our country could never do that because we’d have to get environmental clearance and the environmentalists wouldn’t let our country – we would never be able to build in an ocean.
They built it in about one year, this massive military port. They’re building up their military to a point that is very scary.
You have a problem with ISIS, you have a bigger problem with China.
And in my opinion, the new China, believe it or not, in terms of trade is Mexico.
So this man tells me about the manufacturing. I say, ‘that’s a terrible story, I hate to hear it.’
But I have another one, Ford. So Mexico takes a company, car company, that was going to build in Tennessee, rips it out. Everybody thought the deal was dead. Reported in the “Wall Street Journal” recently.
Everybody said that it was a done deal. It’s going in, and that’s going to be it, going into Tennessee -. great state, great people. All of a sudden, at the last moment, this big car manufacturer, foreign, announces they’re not going to Tennessee, they’re going to spend their billion dollars in Mexico instead. Not good.
Now Ford announces a few weeks ago that Ford is going to build a $2.5 billion car and truck and parts manufacturing plant in Mexico. $2.5 billion. It’s going to be one of the largest in the world. Ford – good company.
So I announced that I’m running for President. I would, one of the early things I would do, probably before I even got in, and I wouldn’t even use – you know, I know the smartest negotiators in the world.
I know the good ones, I know the bad ones, I know the overrated ones. You’ve got a lot that are overrated. They get good stories because the newspapers get buffaloed. But they’re not good.
But I know the best negotiators in the world and I’d put them one for each country. Believe me folks, we will do very, very well. Very, very well.
But I wouldn’t even waste my time with this one. I would call up the head of Ford, who I know. If I was President I’d say ‘Congratulations, I understand that you’re building a nice, $2.5 billion dollar factory in Mexico and that you’re going to take your cars and sell them to the United States. Zero tax – just across the board.’
And you say to yourself, ‘How does that help us, right? Where is that good.’ It’s not.
So I’d say ‘Congratulations, that’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. Every car, and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35% tax. Okay? And that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.’
Now here’s what’s going to happen. If it’s not me in the position, if it’s one of these politicians that we’re running against, you know, the 400 people that we’re – and here’s what going to happen. They’re not so stupid. They know it’s not a good thing. And they may even be upset by it,
But then they’re going to get a call from their donors or probably from the lobbyists for Ford and say ‘you can’t do that to Ford, because Ford takes care of me, and I take care of you, and you can’t do that to Ford.’
And you know what? No problem. They’re going to build in Mexico, they’re going to take away thousands of jobs. That’s very bad for us. So under President Trump, here’s what would happen: The head of Ford will call me back, I would say within an hour after I told him the bad news, but it could be he’d want to be cool and he’ll wait until the next day. You know, they want to be a little cool.
And he’ll say, ‘Please, please, please.’
He’ll beg for a little while, and I’ll say, ‘Sorry, no interest.’
Then he’ll call all sorts of political people and I’ll say ‘Sorry fellas, no interest.’
Because I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using lobbyists, I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.
And by the way, I’m not even saying that to brag. That’s the kind of mindset, that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country.
So, because we’ve got to make the country rich. It sounds crass. Somebody said ‘oh, that’s crass.’ It’s not crass.
We’ve got $18 trillion in debt, we’ve got nothing but problems.
We’ve got a military that needs equipment all over the place. We’ve got nuclear weapons that are obsolete.
We’ve got nothing.
We’ve got social security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m not going to cut it at all. I’m going to bring money in, and we’re going to save it.
But here is what’s going to happen. After I’m called by 30 friends of mine who contributed to different campaigns, after I’m called by all of the special interests and by the donors and by the lobbyists – and they have zero chance at convincing me. Zero. I’ll get a call they next day from the head of Ford.
He’ll say, ‘Please reconsider.’
I’ll say, ‘No.’
He’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States. We’re not going to build it in Mexico.’
That’s it. They’ll have no choice. They have no choice. There are hundred of things like that.
I’ll give you another example: Saudi Arabia. They make a billion dollars a day, a billion dollars a day.
I love the Saudis, many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships. We send, we’re going to protect – what are we doing? They got nothing but money.
If the right person asked them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there except for us.
And believe me, you look at the border with Yemen – you remember Obama a year ago, Yemen was a great victory. Two weeks later the place was blown up. Everybody.
And they kept our equipment. They always keep our equipment. We ought to send used equipment, right? They always keep our equipment, we ought to send some real junk because, frankly, it would be – we ought to send our surplus. We’re always losing this gorgeous, brand-new stuff.
But look at that border with Saudi Arabia. Do you really think that these people are interested in Yemen? Saudi Arabia without us is gone. They’re gone.
And I’m the one that made all of the right predictions about Iraq. You know, all of these politicians that I’m running against now, it’s so nice to say I’m running as opposed to if I run, if I run – I’m running.
But all of these politicians that I’m running against now, they’re trying to dissociate. I mean, you look at Bush – it took him five days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know.
I said, ‘Is he intelligent?’
And then I looked at Rubio. He was unable to answer the question. He didn’t know.
How are these people going to lead us? How are we going to go back and made it great again? We can’t They don’t have a clue. They can’t lead us. They can’t.
They can’t even answer simple questions. It was terrible, but Saudi Arabia is in big, big trouble.
Now, thanks to fracking and other things, the oil is all over the place. And I used to say it, there are ships at sea, and this was during the worst crisis, that were loaded up with oil. And the cartel kept the prices up because, again, they were smarter than our leaders.
They were smarter than our leaders. There is so much wealth out there that we can make our country so rich again and, therefore, make it great again.
Because we need money. We’re dying. We’re dying. We need money. We have to do it and we need the right people.
So Ford will come back. They’ll all come back. And I will say this – this is going to be an election, in my opinion, that’s based on competence.
Somebody said to me the other day, a reporter, very nice reporter – ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person.’
But actually, I am. I think I’m a nice person. Does my family like me? I think so. Look at my family.
I’m proud of my family by the way. Speaking of my family – Melania, Barron, Kai, Donny, Dunn, Vanessa, Tiffany, Ivanka did a great job. Did she do a great job? Jarrett, Laura and Eric. I’m very proud of my family. They’re a great family.
So the report said to me the other day ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person. How can you get people to vote for you?’
I said, ‘I don’t know. I think that, number one, I am a nice person. I give a lot of money away to charities and other things.’
I think I’m actually a very nice person, but I said ‘This is going to be an election that’s based off competence. Because people are tired of these nice people and they’re tired of being ripped of by everybody in the world and they’re tired of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capita. Than any nation in the world.’
And we’re 26th in the world. Twenty-five countries are better than us at education, and some of them are like, third-world countries.
But we’re becoming a third-world country because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads, everything.
So one of the things I did, and I said, you know what I’ll do? I’ll do it. And a lot of people said ‘he’ll never run. Number one, he won’t want to give up his lifestyle.’
They’re right about that, but I’m doing it.
Number two – I’m a private company, so nobody knows what I’m worth. And the one thing is, when you run, you have to announce and certify to all sorts of governmental authorities, your net worth.
So I said, ‘that’s okay, I’m proud of my net worth.’
I’ve done an amazing job. I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn and Queens. And my father said – and I love my father. I learned so much. He was a great negotiator.
I learned so much just sitting as his feet playing with blocks, listening to him negotiate with subcontractors. But I learned a lot.
But he used to say ‘Donald, don’t go into Manhattan. That’s the big leagues. We don’t know anything about that. Don’t do it.’
But I said, ‘Dad, I gotta go into Manhattan. I gotta build those buildings. I’ve got to do it, Dad, I’ve got to do it.’
And after four or five years in Brooklyn, I ventured into Manhattan and did a lot of great deals: the Grand Hyatt hotel, I was responsible for the convention center on the west side.
I did a lot of great deals and I did them early and young, and now I’m building all over the world. And I love what I’m doing.
But they all said, a lot of the pundits on television, ‘well Donald will never run and one of the main reasons is, he’s private, and he’s probably not as successful as everybody thinks.’
So I said to myself, ‘you know, nobody’s ever going to know unless I run because I’m really proud of my success, I really am.’
I’ve employed tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. That means medical, that means education, that means everything.
So a large accounting firm and my accountants have been working for months because I’m big and complex and they put together a statement, a financial statement. It’s a summary, but everything will be filed eventually with the government. And we don’t need extensions or anything, we’ll be filing it right on time.
We don’t need anything. And it was even reported incorrectly yesterday, because they said he had assets of nine billion.
I said, ‘no, that the wrong number. That’s the wrong number, not assets.’
So they put together this, and before I say it, I have to say this: I made it the old-fashioned way. It’s real estate. it’s labor and it’s union – good and some bad – and lots of people that aren’t unions and it’s all over the place and building all over the world.
And I have assets, big accounting firm – one of the most highly respected – $9,240,000,000.
And I have liabilities of about $500 – that’s long-term debt, very low interest rates.
In fact, one of the big banks came to me, said, ‘Donald, you don’t have enough borrowing, can we loan you $4 billion.”
I said ‘I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I’ve been there. I don’t want it.”
But in two seconds, they give me whatever I wanted. So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it’ll be well-over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of — net worth, not assets, not — a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses, the greatest assets — Trump Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Bank of America building in San Francisco, 40 Wall Street, sometimes referred to as the Trump building right opposite the New York — many other places all over the world.
So the total is $8,737,540,000.
Now I’m not doing that, I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to, believe it or not.
I’m doing that to say that that’s the kind of thinking our country needs. We need that thinking. We have the opposite thinking.
We have losers. We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain.
So I put together this statement, and the only reason I’m telling you about it today is because we really do have to get going, because if we have another three or four years — you know, we’re at $8 trillion now. We’re soon going to be at $20 trillion.
According to the economists, who I’m not big believers in, but, nevertheless, this is what they’re saying, that $24 trillion. We’re very close, that’s the point of no return. $24 trillion.
We will be there soon. That’s when we become Greece. That’s when we become a country that’s unsalvageable. And we’re gonna be there very soon. We’re gonna be there very soon.
So, just to sum up, I would do various things very quickly. I would repeal and replace the big lie, Obamacare.
I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.
Mark my words.
Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump. Nobody.
I will find, within our military, I will find the General Patton or I will find General MacArthur, I will find the right guy. I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody, nobody will be pushing us around.
I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who’s making a horrible and laughable deal, who’s just being tapped along as they make weapons right now, and then goes into a bicycle race at 72 years old, and falls and breaks his leg.
I won’t be doing that. And I promise I will never be in a bicycle race. That I can tell you.
I will immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration, immediately.
Fully support and back up the Second Amendment.
Now, it’s very interesting. Today I heard it. Through stupidity, in a very, very hard core prison, interestingly named Clinton, two vicious murderers, two vicious people escaped, and nobody knows where they are.
And a woman was on television this morning, and she said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump,’ and she was telling other people, and I actually called her, and she said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, I always was against guns. I didn’t want guns. And now since this happened,’ it’s up in the prison area, ‘my husband and I are finally in agreement, because he wanted the guns. We now have a gun on every table. We’re ready to start shooting.’
I said, ‘Very interesting.’
So protect the Second Amendment.
End, end Common Core. Common Core should, it is a disaster. Bush is totally in favor of Common Core.
I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration. He’s in favor of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it.
We have to end, education has to be local.
Rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Nobody can do that like me. Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought.
I look at the roads being built all over the country, and I say I can build those things for one-third. What they do is unbelievable, how bad.
You know, we’re building on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Old Post Office, we’re converting it into one of the world’s great hotels. It’s gonna be the best hotel in Washington, D.C. We got it from the General Services Administration in Washington. The Obama administration. We got it. It was the most highly sought after — or one of them, but I think the most highly sought after project in the history of General Services.
We got it. People were shocked, Trump got it. Well, I got it for two reasons. Number one, we’re really good. Number two, we had a really good plan. And I’ll add in the third, we had a great financial statement. Because the General Services, who are terrific people, by the way, and talented people, they wanted to do a great job. And they wanted to make sure it got built.
So we have to rebuild our infrastructure, our bridges, our roadways, our airports.
You come into LaGuardia Airport, it’s like we’re in a third world country. You look at the patches and the 40-year-old floor. They throw down asphalt, and they throw.
You look at these airports, we are like a third world country. And I come in from China and I come in from Qatar and I come in from different places, and they have the most incredible airports in the world. You come to back to this country and you have LAX, disaster. You have all of these disastrous airports. We have to rebuild our infrastructure.
Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.
Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it. People have been paying it for years. And now many of these candidates want to cut it.
You save it by making the United States, by making us rich again, by taking back all of the money that’s being lost.
Renegotiate our foreign trade deals.
Reduce our $18 trillion in debt, because, believe me, we’re in a bubble. We have artificially low interest rates. We have a stock market that, frankly, has been good to me, but I still hate to see what’s happening. We have a stock market that is so bloated.
Be careful of a bubble because what you’ve seen in the past might be small potatoes compared to what happens. So be very, very careful.
And strengthen our military and take care of our vets. So, so important.
Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Remarks by the President on Progress in the Fight Against ISIL
4:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend — especially our men and women in uniform. This Fourth of July we were honored to once again welcome some of our incredible troops and their families to share Fourth of July and fireworks at the White House. It was another chance for us, on behalf of the American people, to express our gratitude for their extraordinary service around the world every day.
And that includes the work that brings me here today — our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL. This is a cause, a coalition, that’s united countries across the globe — some 60 nations, including Arab partners. Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power, across our government — military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and perhaps most importantly, the power of our values.
Last month, I ordered additional actions in support of our strategy. I just met with my national security team as part of our regular effort to assess our efforts — what’s working and what we can do better. Secretary Carter, Chairman Dempsey, I want to thank you and your team for welcoming us and for your leadership, including General Austin who’s leading the military campaign. And I want to summarize briefly where we stand.
I want to start by repeating what I’ve said since the beginning. This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out — and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition.
As with any military effort, there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks — as we’ve seen with ISIL’s gains in Ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria. But today, it’s also important for us to recognize the progress that’s been made.
Our coalition has now hit ISIL with more than 5,000 airstrikes. We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps. We’ve eliminated thousands of fighters, including senior ISIL commanders. And over the past year, we’ve seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back.
In Iraq, ISIL lost at the Mosul Dam. ISIL lost at Mount Sinjar. ISIL has lost repeatedly across Kirkuk Province. ISIL lost at Tikrit. Altogether, ISIL has lost more than a quarter of the populated areas that it had seized in Iraq. In Syria, ISIL lost at Kobani. It’s recently endured losses across northern Syria, including the key city of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a vital supply route to Raqqa, its base of operations in Syria.
So these are reminders that ISIL’s strategic weaknesses are real. ISIL is surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction. It has no air force; our coalition owns the skies. ISIL is backed by no nation. It relies on fear, sometimes executing its own disillusioned fighters. Its unrestrained brutality often alienates those under its rule, creating new enemies. In short, ISIL’s recent losses in both Syria and Iraq prove that ISIL can and will be defeated.
Indeed, we’re intensifying our efforts against ISIL’s base in Syria. Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations. We’re going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria — the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. Partnering with other countries — sharing more information, strengthening laws and border security — allows us to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria as well as Iraq, and to stem, obviously, the flow of those fighters back into our own countries. This continues to be a challenge, and, working together, all our nations are going to need to do more, but we’re starting to see some progress.
We’ll continue cracking down on ISIL’s illicit finance around the world. By the way, if Congress really wants to help in this effort, they can confirm Mr. Adam Szubin, our nominee for Treasury Under Secretary to lead this effort. This is a vital position to our counterterrorism efforts. Nobody suggests Mr. Szubin is not qualified. He’s highly qualified. Unfortunately, his nomination has been languishing up on the Hill, and we need the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, we continue to ramp up our training and support of local forces that are fighting ISIL on the ground. As I’ve said before, this aspect of our strategy was moving too slowly. But the fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government. So, with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL [Iraqi] forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province.
More Sunni volunteers are coming forward. Some are already being trained, and they can be a new force against ISIL. We continue to accelerate the delivery of critical equipment, including anti-tank weapons, to Iraqi security forces, including the Peshmerga and tribal fighters. And I made it clear to my team that we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria.
Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction. They have filled a void, and we have to make sure that as we push them out that void is filled. So, as Iraqi cities and towns are liberated from ISIL, we’re working with Iraq and the United Nations to help communities rebuild the security, services and governance that they need. We continue to support the efforts of Prime Minister Abadi to forge an inclusive and effective Iraqi government that unites all the people of Iraq — Shia, Sunnis, Kurds and all minority communities.
In Syria, the only way that the civil war will end — and in a way so that the Syrian people can unite against ISIL — is an inclusive political transition to a new government, without Bashar Assad — a government that serves all Syrians. I discussed this with our Gulf Cooperation Council partners at Camp David and during my recent call with President Putin. I made it clear the United States will continue to work for such a transition.
And a glimmer of good news is I think an increasing recognition on the part of all the players in the region that given the extraordinary threat that ISIL poses it is important for us to work together, as opposed to at cross-purposes, to make sure that an inclusive Syrian government exists.
While the focus of our discussions today was on Iraq and Syria, ISIL and its ideology also obviously pose a grave threat beyond the region. In recent weeks we’ve seen deadly attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. We see a growing ISIL presence in Libya and attempts to establish footholds across North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Southeast Asia. We’ve seen attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, France and Copenhagen.
So I’ve called on the international community to unite against this scourge of violent extremism. In this fight, the United States continues to lead. When necessary to prevent attacks against our nation, we’ll take direct action against terrorists. We’ll continue to also partner with nations from Afghanistan to Nigeria to build up their security forces. We’re going to work day and night with allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks, and to smother nascent ISIL cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world.
This also includes remaining vigilant in protecting against attacks here in the homeland. Now, I think it’s important for us to recognize the threat of violent extremism is not restricted to any one community. Here in the United States, we’ve seen all kinds of homegrown terrorism. And tragically, recent history reminds us how even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology with access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans. So our efforts to counter violent extremism must not target any one community because of their faith or background, including patriotic Muslim Americans who are our partners in keeping our country safe.
That said, we also have to acknowledge that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, including here in the United States. And they are targeting Muslim communities around the world. Numerous individuals have been arrested across the country for plotting attacks or attempting to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Two men apparently inspired by ISIL opened fire in Garland, Texas. And because of our success over the years in improving our homeland security, we’ve made it harder for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like 9/11 here at home.
But the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex — it’s harder to detect and harder to prevent. It’s one of the most difficult challenges that we face. And preventing these kinds of attacks on American soil is going to require sustained effort.
So I just want to repeat, the good news is that because of extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as well as our military intelligence, we are doing a better job at preventing any large-scale attacks on the homeland. On the other hand, the small, individual lone wolf attacks or small cells become harder to detect and they become more sophisticated, using new technologies. And that means that we’re going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks.
It’s also true why, ultimately, in order for us to defeat terrorist groups like ISIL and al Qaeda it’s going to also require us to discredit their ideology — the twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people into their ranks. As I’ve said before — and I know our military leaders agree — this broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns; they’re defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision.
So the United States will continue to do our part, by working with partners to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We’re fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims. But around the world, we’re also going to insist on partnering with Muslim communities as they seek security, prosperity and the dignity that they deserve. And we’re going to expect those communities to step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can, in conjunction with other people of goodwill, against these hateful ideologies in order to discredit them more effectively, particularly when it comes to what we’re teaching young people.
And this larger battle for hearts and minds is going to be a generational struggle. It’s ultimately not going to be won or lost by the United States alone. It will be decided by the countries and the communities that terrorists like ISIL target. It’s going to be up to Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, to keep rejecting warped interpretations of Islam, and to protect their sons and daughters from recruitment. It will be up to all people — leaders and citizens — to reject the sectarianism that so often fuels the resentments and conflicts upon which terrorists are currently thriving. It will be up to governments to address the political and economic grievances that terrorists exploit.
Nations that empower citizens to decide their own destiny, that uphold human rights for all their people, that invest in education and create opportunities for their young people — those can be powerful antidotes to extremist ideologies. Those are the countries that will find a true partner in the United States.
In closing, let me note that this Fourth of July we celebrated 239 years of American independence. Across more than two centuries, we’ve faced much bigger, much more formidable challenges than this — Civil War, a Great Depression, fascism, communism, terrible natural disasters, 9/11. And every time, every generation, our nation has risen to the moment. We don’t simply endure; we emerge stronger than before. And that will be the case here.
Our mission to destroy ISIL and to keep our country safe will be difficult. It will take time. There will be setbacks as well as progress. But as President and Commander-in-Chief, I want to say to all our men and women in uniform who are serving in this operation — our pilots, the crews on the ground, our personnel not only on the ground but at sea, our intelligence teams and our diplomatic teams — I want to thank you. We are proud of you, and you have my total confidence that you’re going to succeed.
To the American people, I want to say we will continue to be vigilant. We will persevere. And just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.
Thank you very much, everybody. And thanks to the team up on the stage here with me — they’re doing an outstanding job.
Q Take a question?
THE PRESIDENT: You know what, I will take a question. Go ahead.
Q Every servicemember who is listening to you today, Mr. President, is wondering, are you going to veto the defense bills that are going to pay me? What is your latest thinking on that? Because we’ve heard secondhand through statements of policy that your advisors would threaten a veto. What’s your take, sir? Would you veto the appropriations bills?
THE PRESIDENT: Our men and women are going to get paid. And if you’ll note that I’ve now been President for six and a half years and we’ve had some wrangling with Congress in the past — our servicemembers haven’t missed a paycheck.
But what is also important in terms of our budget is making sure that we are not short-changing all the elements of American power that allow us to secure the nation and to project our power around the world. So what we’re not going to do is to accept a budget that short-changes our long-term requirements for new technologies, for readiness. We’re not going to eat our seed corn by devoting too much money on things we don’t need now and robbing ourselves of the capacity to make sure that we’re prepared for future threats.
I’ve worked very closely with the Chairman and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a budget that is realistic and that looks out into the future and says this is how we’re going to handle any possible contingency. And we can’t do that if we’ve got a budget that short-changes vital operations and continues to fund things that are not necessary.
We also have to remind ourselves that the reason we have the best military in the world is, first and foremost, because we’ve got the best troops in history. But it’s also because we’ve got a strong economy, and we’ve got a well-educated population. And we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities that allow us to create new products that then can be translated into our military superiority around the world. We short-change those, we’re going to be less secure.
So the way we have to look at this budget is to recognize that, A, we can’t think short term, we’ve got to think long term; and B, part of our national security is making sure that we continue to have a strong economy and that we continue to make the investments that we need in things like education and research that are going to be vital for us to be successful long term.
Q As an Army reservist, I’m curious to know if you have any plans to send any more American troops overseas right now, any additional forces.
THE PRESIDENT: There are no current plans to do so. That’s not something that we currently discussed. I’ve always said that I’m going to do what’s necessary to protect the homeland.
One of the principles that we all agree on, though, and I pressed folks pretty hard because in these conversations with my military advisors I want to make sure I’m getting blunt and unadultered [sic] uncensored advice. But in every one of the conversations that we’ve had, the strong consensus is that in order for us to succeed long-term in this fight against ISIL we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress.
It is not enough for us to simply send in American troops to temporarily set back organizations like ISIL, but to then, as soon as we leave, see that void filled once again with extremists. It is going to be vital for us to make sure that we are preparing the kinds of local ground forces and security forces with our partners that can not only succeed against ISIL, but then sustain in terms of security and in terms of governance.
Because if we try to do everything ourselves all across the Middle East, all across North Africa, we’ll be playing Whack-a-Mole and there will be a whole lot of unintended consequences that ultimately make us less secure.
All right? Thank you. I didn’t even plan to do this. (Laughter.) You guys got two bonus questions.
Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York, one of five children of Mary Anne (née MacLeod) and Fred Trump, who married in 1936. His oldest brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 43. Trump’s mother was a Scottish immigrant, born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland, and Trump’s paternal grandparents were German immigrants. His grandfather, Frederick Trump (né Friedrich Drumpf), immigrated to the United States in 1885, and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1892. Frederick married Donald’s grandmother, Elisabeth Christ (October 10, 1880 – June 6, 1966), at Kallstadt, Bavaria, Germany, on August 26, 1902. They had three children.
Trump began his career at his father’s real estate company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. One of Trump’s first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. Trump became intimately involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years. In 1972 the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.
In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan and became involved in larger building projects and used attractive architectural design to win public recognition. He made plans to acquire and develop the old Penn Central for $60 million with no money down. Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and created The Trump Organization.
New York City had a plan to build the Javits Convention Center on property for which Trump held a right-to-buy option. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million but the city rejected his offer and Trump received a broker’s fee on the sale of the property instead. Repairs on The Wollman Rink in Central Park (built in 1955) were started in 1980 with an expected 2½-year construction schedule but was nowhere near completion by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project, at no cost to the city, and completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget.
By 1989, poor business decisions left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and to the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.
In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4.1 billion. In June 2015, Business Insider published a June 30, 2014, financial statement supplied by Trump. The statement reflects his net worth as $8.7 billion. Of that amount, $3.3 billion is represented by “Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments”, described by Business Insider as “basically [implying] that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion”.
Beyond his traditional ventures in the real estate, hospitality, and entertainment industries and having carved out a niche for the Trump brand within these industries, Trump has since then moved on to establish the Trump name and brand in other industries and products. Trump has succeeded in marketing the Trump name on a large number of products, including Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump Restaurants (located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump (an online travel website), Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men’s accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), Trump magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 board game), Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex.
In 2011, Forbes’ financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputes this valuation, saying that his brand is worth about $3 billion. Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects. For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name. According to Forbes, this portion of Trump’s empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation. According to Forbes there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven “condo hotels” (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments).
In April 2011, amidst speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the US presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to him stating that, if Trump should decide to run for president, he would file “financial disclosure statements that [would] show his net worth [was] in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt.” (Presidential candidates are required to disclose their finances after announcing their intentions to run.) Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his professionally prepared 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book stating a $7 billion net worth.Estimates of Trump’s net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: In 2015, Forbes listed it as $4.1 billion. On June 16, 2015, just prior announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Trump released professionally prepared financial disclosure statements to the media stating a net worth of almost $9 billion. Some business journalists have expressed skepticism of the higher net worth estimate.
In 2011, Trump made a rare foray into the stock market after being disappointed with the depressed American real estate market and facing poor returns on bank deposits. He stated that he wasn’t a stock market person, but he also stated that prime real estate at good prices is hard to get. Among the stocks Trump purchased, he stated he bought stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble. In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.
The USFL planned to play its 1986 schedule in the fall, directly opposite the NFL, thanks mostly to Trump’s strong advocacy of direct competition with the older, established league. Two years earlier, Trump sold most of his fellow owners on a move to the fall by arguing that it would eventually force a merger with the NFL—in which the owners of any USFL teams included in a merger would see their investment more than double.
Following the death of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. in March 2014, Trump expressed public interest in purchasing the team. When speaking to the media, Trump has made it clear that should he purchase the team, the Bills would remain in Buffalo.Ultimately, the team was sold to Kim and Terrence Pegula in September 2014.
Turnberry Hotel, Ayrshire, Scotland
The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world. On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Trump had purchased Doonbeg Golf Club in the Republic of Ireland. It was confirmed that Doonbeg Golf Club would be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland. In 2006, Trump bought the Menie estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland creating a highly contentious golf resort. In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota. In June 2015, Trump’s appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm (Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm) within sight of the golf links was denied.
The Miss Universe and Miss USA have been owned by Donald Trump since 1996 and are among the most recognized beauty pageants. The pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills. In 2015, Trump awarded the Reelz Channel exclusive rights to air the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants.
In March 2011, Trump was the subject of a Comedy Central Roast. The special was hosted by Seth MacFarlane, and roasters included Larry King, Snoop Dogg, and Anthony Jeselnik among regular roast participants. Trump’s daughter Ivanka was seen in the audience. In April 2011, Trump attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, featuring comedian Seth Meyers. President Obama used the occasion to present several prepared jokes mocking Trump.
In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBCreality show, The Apprentice, in which a group of competitors battled for a high-level management job in one of Trump’s commercial enterprises. Contestants were successively “fired” and eliminated from the game. In 2004, Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the catchphrase “You’re fired.”
For the first year of the show, Trump was paid $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show’s initial success, he is currently[when?] paid a reported $3 million per episode, making him one of the highest paid TV personalities. In 2007, Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to television (The Apprentice).
Along with British TV producer Mark Burnett, Trump also put together The Celebrity Apprentice, in which well-known stars compete to win money for their charities. While Trump and Burnett co-produced the show, Trump stayed in the forefront, deciding winners and “firing” losers.
In February 2015, Trump opted not to renew his television contract for The Apprentice, generating speculation of his eventual run for President of the United States in 2016.
He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in a match called “The Battle of the Billionaires”. Trump was in the corner of Bobby Lashley, while Vince McMahon was in the corner of Lashley’s opponent Umaga with Stone Cold Steve Austin as the special guest referee.The stipulation of the match was hair versus hair, which means that either Trump or McMahon would have their head shaved if their competitor lost. Lashley won the match, and he and Trump shaved McMahon bald.
On June 15, 2009, as part of a storyline, McMahon announced on Monday Night Raw that he had “sold” the show to Trump. Appearing on screen, Trump declared he would be at the following commercial-free episode in person and would give a full refund to the people who purchased tickets to the arena for that night’s show. McMahon “bought back” Raw the following week for twice the price. His entrance theme “Money, Money” was written by Jim Johnston.
A 2011 report by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that over two decades of U.S. elections, Donald Trump made contributions to campaigns of both Republican Party and Democratic Party candidates. In February 2012, Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president of the United States. Trump was an early supporter of Ronald Reagan for president of the United States.
At the 2011 CPAC conference, Trump stated that he is “pro-life” and “against gun control.” He has spoken before Tea Party supporters. Trump has expressed himself against the scientific consensus that no evidence links the childhood vaccination to the development of autism.In May 2015, Trump opposed giving President Obama fast track trade authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Instead, he has called for stronger negotiations with China on trade and tariffs if necessary. Trump has advocated a policy of stronger leadership to deal with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which he has blamed for high oil prices.
Trump floated the idea of running for president in 1988, 2004, and 2012, and for governor of New York in 2006 and 2014, but did not enter those races. He ran for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party in 2000, winning the party’s California primary. As Trump publicly speculated about seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released in March 2011 found Trump leading among potential contenders, one point ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. A Newsweek poll conducted in February 2011 showed Trump within a few points of Barack Obama, with many voters undecided in the November 2012 general election for president of the United States. A poll released in April 2011 by Public Policy Polling showed Trump having a nine-point lead in a potential contest for the Republican nomination for President of the United States while he was still actively considering a run. His moves were interpreted at the time by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice. On May 16, 2011, Trump announced he would not run for president.Public Policy Polling described the events of May 2011 as “one of the quickest rises and falls in the history of presidential politics”. In December 2011, Donald Trump was named among the top six of the ten most admired men and women living, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll.
In 2013, Trump was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and spent over $1 million to research a possible run for president of the United States. In October 2013, New York Republicans had circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run of governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump said that while New York had problems and taxes were too high, running for governor was not of great interest to him. In February 2015, Trump opted not to renew his television contract for The Apprentice, generating speculation that he might run for President of the United States in 2016.
In January 2013, Trump (who is a notably popular figure in Israel) endorsed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli elections, stating that “A strong prime minister is a strong Israel.” In 2015, Trump was awarded the ‘Liberty Award’ at the ‘Algemeiner Jewish 100 Gala’ in honor of his positive contributions to US-Israel relations.
Trump formally announced his candidacy for president of the United States in the 2016 elections on June 16, 2015, from his headquarters in Trump Tower in New York City. Trump’s announcement speech included the song “Rockin’ in the Free World“.Trump launched his campaign declaring the official slogan, “We are going to make our country great again” with a commitment to become the “greatest jobs president that God ever created”.
Trump is popularly known as The Donald, a nickname perpetuated by the media after his first wife Ivana Trump, a native of the Czech Republic, referred to him as such in an interview.
Trump’s mother, Mary Anne, was born in 1912 at Tong, Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland. In 1930, aged 18, on a holiday in New York, she met Fred Trump and stayed in New York. Born in Queens, New York, Trump has four siblings: two brothers, Fred, Jr. (who is deceased) and Robert S. Trump; and two sisters, Maryanne and Elizabeth. His older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a federal appeals court judge.
In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelníčková and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka (born October 30, 1981), and Eric (born January 6, 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples and together they had one child, Tiffany (born October 13, 1993). They divorced on June 8, 1999. In a February 2008 interview on ABC’s news program Nightline, Trump commented on his ex-wives by saying, “I just know it’s very hard for them [Ivana and Marla] to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it.”
On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss, a native of Slovenia. Trump and Knauss married on January 22, 2005, at Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church, on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate. Melania gave birth to a boy named Barron William Trump, Trump’s fifth child, on March 20, 2006.
Trump has seven grandchildren: five from his son Donald Jr. (Kai Madison, Donald John III, Tristan Milos, Spencer Frederick and Chloe Sophia) and two from his daughter Ivanka (Arabella Rose and Joseph Frederick).
Trump is a Presbyterian. In an April 2011 interview, on the 700 Club, Trump said, “I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.” A February 2011 Politics Daily article described Trump as “apparently a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, which is a Presbyterian denomination”. Andrew Cusack in 2008 stated that Donald Trump is a member of New York City’s Marble Collegiate Church. Explaining that church’s organizational relationships, Cusack says “the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church is actually a denomination within a denomination” and that the Collegiate Churches are “now part of the Reformed Church of America“. Marble Collegiate Church also states that it is denominationally affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, with the RCA website stating that the RCA has a local church “presbyterian form of government”. Trump does not drink alcohol. Of his daughter Ivanka’s conversion to Judaism he said: “Not only do I have Jewish grandchildren, I have a Jewish daughter and I am very honored by that.”
Trump manages business financing as far as possible without placing himself at risk of personal bankruptcy. Four of his businesses have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to a 2011 report by Forbes, these were due to over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City: Trump’s Taj Mahal (1991), Trump Plaza Hotel (1992), Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (2004), and Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009)Trump said “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt. … We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. You know, it’s like on ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s not personal. It’s just business.” He indicated that other “great entrepreneurs” do the same.
Trump’s first corporate bankruptcy was in 1991 when Trump Taj Mahal was unable to pay its obligations.Forbes indicated that his first bankruptcy was the only one where his personal wealth was involved. Time, however, maintains that also in the later 2004 bankruptcy $72 million personal money was involved.
On November 2, 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 protection plan. Under the plan, Trump agreed to give up a 49 percent stake in the luxury hotel to Citibank and five other lenders. In return Trump would receive more favorable terms on the remaining $550+ million owed to the lenders, and retain his position as chief executive, though he would not be paid and would not have a role in day-to-day operations.
In the subsequent restructuring of these two events Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt by 1994 and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he relinquished theTrump Princess yacht and the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. Trump sold his ownership of West Side Yards to Asian developers as a result of his negotiations with Chase Manhattan Bank. Trump was reportedly paid a premium for placing his well known moniker on the buildings that eventually arose. In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. The real estate assets became a source of wealth even when profits had struggled.
The third corporate bankruptcy was on October 21, 2004, when Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt. The plan called for Trump’s individual ownership to be reduced from 56 percent to 27 percent, with bondholders receiving stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. Trump Hotels was forced to seek voluntary bankruptcy protection to stay afloat. After the company applied for Chapter 11 Protection in November 2004, Trump opted to relinquish his CEO position but retained a role as Chairman of the board. In May 2005 the company emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.
The most recent corporate bankruptcy occurred in 2009. On February 13, Trump announced that he would resign from the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts and four days later the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At that time Trump Entertainment Resorts had three properties in Atlantic City: Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and Trump Marina (sold in 2011). In early August 2014 Donald Trump filed a lawsuit requesting his name be removed from the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and the Taj Mahal facilities since he no longer runs or controls the company. Trump Entertainment Resorts filed again for bankruptcy in 2014.
In March 1990, after an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott said that Trump’s Taj Mahal project would initially “break records” but would fail before the end of that year, Trump threatened to sue the firm unless the analyst recanted or was fired. The analyst refused to retract the statements, and was fired by his firm. Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy for the first time in November 1990. A defamation lawsuit by the analyst against Trump for $2 million was settled out of court. The analyst’s statements regarding the Taj Mahal’s prospects were later called “stunningly accurate.”
In January 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a financial-reporting case against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc., alleging that it had committed several “misleading statements in the company’s third-quarter 1999 earnings release.” The matter was settled with the defendant neither admitting nor denying the charge.
In 2015 Trump initiated a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County claiming that officials pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to the Palm Beach International Airport in a “deliberate and malicious” act over his Mar-A-Lago estate. The air traffic is allegedly damaging the construction of the building and disrupting its ambience. Trump had previously sued twice over airport noise.
In 1973, the Justice Department unsuccessfully sued Trump Management Corporation for alleged racial discrimination, at which time Trump was the company’s president. The federal government filed the lawsuit against his New York City real estate company for allegedly discriminating against potential black renters to which Trump never admitted, the case was settled out of court in 1975.
A 1991 book, Trumped!!, by John R. O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, claimed that Trump once said in reference to a black accountant at Trump Plaza: “laziness is a trait in blacks.” O’Donnell claimed he told him: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” Trump responded that O’Donnell was a disgruntled employee.
In April 2011, he questioned President Obama’s proof of citizenship. Trump also questioned whether Obama had good enough grades to warrant entry to Harvard Law School. On April 25, 2011, Trump called for Obama to end the citizenship issue by releasing the long-form of his birth certificate. Obama eventually made a formal statement in efforts by the White House to put the matter to rest with the release of the long-form of Obama’s birth certificate on April 27, 2011. Trump expressed pride at his role in the release of the long-form certificate in a press conference follow-up.
On August 24, 2013, a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney GeneralEric Schneiderman, whose claims were dismissed by the Manhattan Superior Court, had accused Trump of defrauding more than 5,000 people of $40 million for the opportunity to learn Trump’s real estate investment techniques in a for-profit training program, Trump University. On January 30, 2014, the New York court dismissed all of the Attorney General’s fraud claims against Trump, allowing only the licensing aspect of the case to proceed. In October 2014, the New York court found Trump only liable for not obtaining a license to operate the for-profit investment school, Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, formerly known as Trump University. In a separate class action civil suit in mid-February 2014, a San Diego federal judge allowed claimants in California, Florida, and New York to proceed.
On June 5, 2013, Trump tweeted: “According to Bill O’Reilly, 80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks-if you add Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%, 1% white”. Trump also tweeted: “Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed”.
In late October 2014, model Alexia Palmer filed a civil suit against Trump Model Management for promising a $75,000 annual salary but paying only $3,380.75 for three years’ work. Palmer claims to be owed more than $200,000. Palmer charged that Trump Model Management, charged, in addition to a management fee, “obscure expenses” from postage to limousine rides that consumed the remainder of her compensation. Trump attorney Alan Garten claims the lawsuit is “bogus and completely frivolous.”
Illegal immigration comments, 2015
Trump attracted reactions from opponents and defenders regarding comments on undocumented illegal immigration while announcing his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. He stated in part, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems…. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
On July 6, 2015, Trump issued a 3-page, 881-word written statement clarifying his earlier comments on illegal immigration, which read in part:
“The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.”
– Donald Trump, Written Statement released July 6, 2015.
Reactions to illegal immigration comments
José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said that “he is a politician who ignores the context in which it is participating”, with regard to US international economic relations and Trump’s comments.
Univision announced it would no longer carry broadcasts of the Miss USA Pageant. In response, Trump indicated the matter would be handled by legal action, and followed through by filing a $500 million lawsuit against Univision. The complaint asserts that Univision is attempting to suppress Trump’s First Amendment rights by putting pressure on his business ventures.
Paulina Vega, the current Miss Universe, said that, although she repudiates the immigration remarks of Trump, who in turn called her a “hypocrite”, that she cannot give up the crown because her contract forbids it, and she could be sued.
Serta, a mattress manufacturer, also decided to drop their business relationship with Trump.
Story 1: Political Correctness Social Hysteria Over Confederate Flag Not Black On Black Homicides, Black Genocide In Abortion Mills, Drugs Induced Mental Illness Leading To Suicides and Mass Shootings — Get Serious People — Symbols Over Substance — The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down — Videos
The U.S. population’s distribution by race and ethnicity in 2010 was as follows; due to rounding, figures may not add up to the totals shown.
Virgil Kane is the name
And I served on the Danville train
‘Till Stoneman’s cavalry came
And tore up the tracks again In the winter of ’65
We were hungry, just barely alive
By May the 10th, Richmond had fell
It’s a time I remember, oh so well
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la
“Back with my wife in Tennessee
When one day she called to me
“Virgil, quick, come see,
There goes Robert E. Lee!
“Now, I don’t mind chopping wood
And I don’t care if the money’s no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”Like my father before me
I will work the land
And like my brother above me
Who took a rebel standHe was just 18, proud and brave
But a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can’t raise a Kane back up
When he’s in defeatThe night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, “Na, na, la, na, na, la”
The Band, The Weight
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Confederate flag controversy amid S.C. grieving
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A BRIEF HISTORY OF MENTAL ILLNESS
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The Complicated Political History Of The Confederate Flag
The Confederate flag flies near the South Carolina Statehouse, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. Tensions over the Confederate flag flying in the shadow of South Carolina’s Capitol rose this week in the wake of the killings of nine people at a black church in Charleston, S.C.
Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press
Last week’s tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine black parishioners gathered for a Bible study has renewed the debate over one of the most controversial Southern symbols — the Confederate flag.
On Monday, a cascade of both Republicans and Democrats endorsed removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse in Columbia. South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley held a press conference Monday afternoon, flanked by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, to call for the flag to be removed. She was joined by the state’s Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham — who is running for president — and Tim Scott — the chamber’s only African-American Republican.
Demonstrators carry Confederate flags as they leave the entrance of the South Carolina Statehouse after the removal of the flag in Columbia, S.C., on July 1, 2000.
Eric Draper/Associated Press.
In December 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union just months after Abraham Lincoln, from the anti-slavery Republican Party, was elected president. In April 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C.
Ten other states would eventually follow South Carolina in secession, forming the Confederate States of America. However, of the three flags the Confederacy would go on to adopt, none are the Confederate flag that is traditionally recognized today. The “Stars and Bars” flag, currently the subject of controversy, was actually the battle flag of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
After the war ended, the symbol became a source of Southern pride and heritage, as well as a remembrance of Confederate soldiers who died in battle. But as racism and segregation gripped the nation in the century following, it became a divisive and violent emblem of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist groups. It was also the symbol of the States’ Rights Democratic Party, or “Dixiecrats,” that formed in 1948 to oppose civil-rights platforms of the Democratic Party. Then-South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond was the splinter group’s nominee for president that same year; he won 39 electoral votes.
Now, the flag is a frequent emblem of modern white supremacist groups. The alleged Charleston shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, was photographed holding the Confederate flag in images on his website. Not all southerners, who believe the flag should be flown, however, see it as a racist symbol. They see it, instead, as a symbol of southern pride or as a way to remember ancestors who fought in the Civil War.
Why is it flying at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.?
The Confederate flag flies on the dome of the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., in 2000.
Eric Draper/Associated Press
The flag was first flown over the state Capitol dome (passed by the Democratic Legislature) in 1962 to mark the centennial of the start of the Civil War, but many saw it as a reaction to the civil-rights movement and school desegregation. For nearly four decades, it continued to be a controversial issue in the Palmetto State. A 1994 nonbinding referendum placed on the GOP primary ballot found that three-in-four voters said the flag should keep flying. That same year, black ministers and the NAACP threatened a boycott of the state if the flag didn’t come down, and business leaders sued to remove the flag.
But in 2000, a compromise was reached — the battle flag would be removed from atop the dome and a smaller, square version would be placed at a less-prominent place on the Statehouse grounds — on a 20-foot pole next to the 30-foot Confederate monument. But that didn’t end the controversy, and many years of protests, criticism and boycotts followed.
What is the process to remove the flag in South Carolina?
The “Get In Step” marchers pass by a small group of Confederate Flag supporters Tuesday, April 4, 2000, near Wells, S.C., on their way to Orangeburg on the third day of the march to Columbia to have the flag taken down from the Statehouse.
Mary Ann Chastain /Associated Press
According to the 2000 change, a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate is required to remove the flag. However, there may be a workaround, and the law itself could be changed by a simple majority. ThePost & Courier has a running tally of state lawmakers and how they stand on the issue. At her press conference, Haley said if the Legislature doesn’t finish its session by acting to remove the flag, she will call an additional session.
Also under the 2000 compromise: lowering the flag requires approval of the Legislature, which is why even after Haley ordered the American and South Carolina flags ordered to half-staff following last Wednesday’s massacre, the Confederate flag remained at full staff.
What other states have had controversies about the Confederate flag?
Protesters close their eyes in silent prayer as they stand on the South Carolina Statehouse steps during a rally to take down the Confederate flag, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Columbia, S.C.
Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press
Many Southern states’ current flags are inspired by the “Rebel flag.” Georgia’s flag was changed to incorporate part of the Confederate flag into its own in 1956. From 2001 to 2003, a new flag that removed the more prominent emblem was adopted, and instead itfeatured the state seal with past flags at the bottom. The design was widely panned, though, and, in 2003, a new state flag was adopted. The new design instead draws from parts of the actual flag of the Confederate States of America and not the Confederate battle flag.
Mississippi’s state flag remains the only one in the U.S. that still features the battle flag prominently. In 2001, Magnolia State voters decidedto keep the current flag by a wide margin. The University of Mississippi, or “Ole Miss,” has also faced controversy. In 1997, waving Confederate flags at football games was banned. “Colonel Reb,” their Confederate soldier mascot, was retired in 2003 and, “From Dixie With Love” was dropped from the marching band set list.
What have top Republicans and presidential candidates said about the flag?
The question of whether to remove the controversial flag has played a role in presidential politics thanks to the state’s early primary status.
Among current 2016 hopefuls, only Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has explicitly endorsed the controversial flag’s removal, noting he decided to remove it from the Florida statehouse grounds to a museum during his tenure.
Before Haley’s press conference, other GOP candidates, and potential candidates, had walked a line on the flag, either declining to weigh in or underscoring that it’s a decision that should be up to South Carolina. But afterward, there was a flood of support from many candidates. Here’s a brief roundup of where others stand and stood:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had said he wouldn’t weigh in until after funerals of the Charleston victims. But then he tweeted this afternoon, “I am glad @nikkihaley is calling for the Confederate flag to come down. I support her decision.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he hoped the state would “make the right choice for the people of South Carolina”; as a state legislator, he voted for a bill that would have kept the Confederate flag on the Florida Capitol grounds in order to protect historical monuments.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said in a statement that he supported Haley’s decision, saying it “honors the people of Charleston, and the families of the victims of last week’s horrific hate crime. Removing the flag is an act of healing and unity, that allows us to find a shared purpose based on the values that unify us. May God continue to be with the families of the victims in Charleston, and the great people of South Carolina.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that the decision was “not an issue for someone running for president.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the Washington Post that it was a matter for South Carolinians to decide, but that “I understand the passions that this debate evokes on both sides.”
John Kasich would support removing the flag before Haley’s press conference and afterward he said, “the flag should come down.”
Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, supported its removal in the past. He tweeted: “[T]o many, it is a symbol of racial hatred” and should be taken down.
Several Republican members of Congress have also said they support the Confederate flag’s removal; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., endorsed the flag’s removal, calling it “a painful reminder of racial oppression.” And, he added, “the time for a state to fly it has long since passed.”
After Haley’s press conference, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also issued a statement saying that he “support[s] the call by Governor Haley and South Carolina leaders to remove the Confederate battle flag from state house grounds.”
African-American Pastor Horrified at How Many Black Babies Abortion Kills
BY REBECCA DOWNS
The Rev. Elaine Flake of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York has recently learned of and reacted to the statistics of black women having abortions in New York City.
Flake reacted in disbelief, initially wondering if the statistics were even true.
The Christian Post, reporting on the Rev., dedicates one paragraph to such statistics of black women, as well as links to a previous article of theirs:
As CP has reported, citing the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: “Black women in New York City aborted more than half of their pregnancies in 2012, topping the number of abortions recorded by women of every other racial or ethnic group in the city.” The report revealed that more than any other ethnic group in NYC, black women were the leading abortion patients and also had the highest pregnancy and miscarriage rates.
The Christian Post mostly focuses on Rev. Flake’s reactions to the abortion trend, as well as many other troubling statistics for the black community on marriage, miscarriages and out of wedlock pregnancies.
Millions of black babies have been aborted. The number amount to more than 16 million, actually. These rates create skewed ratio too, considering that, according to the 2010 census data, blacks made up 12.6% of the population. And, as Abort73.com broke down:
In 2009, a total of 286,623 blacks died in the U.S.14 That same year, an estimated 1.21 million abortions took place in the United States.15 If 35.4% were performed on black women, that means almost twice as many blacks were killed by abortion as by all other causes.
As the state health report mentions, it is not just that the abortion rate of black babies nationwide is alarming, but in New York City. As if such statistics could not be more of a cause for shock and concern, the rate at which black women abort their babies in New York City, the Reverend’s own back yard, is even more troubling.
In New York City, 37 percent of all pregnancies ended in abortion in 2012. According to 41 Percent NYC, that’s nearly twice the national average. Queens, where Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York is located has an abortion rate that is lower than that, but only slightly so, at 35 percent.
These are overall abortion rates for New York City though. If the above statistics for New York City are not disturbing enough, the specifics for blacks in the area will be.
Black women obviously need support then, but are they really getting it? Unfortunately, the answer may be that they are not getting as much help as truly needed.
Rev. Flake mentions that she is not aware of women in her church having dealt personally with abortion, since no one has ever gone to her:
CP suggested that with such a large congregation in Queens, it was likely some women belonging to The Greater Allen A.M.E Cathedral have had to personally deal with the issue of abortion. Pastor Flake agreed that it was likely, saying, “I would imagine, I’m not sure. No one has ever come to me, but I would think with that kind of percentage that that could be the case.”
Women are suffering in silence through the confusion of unplanned pregnancies and the pain of abortion while they lacked the necessary support. Let Rev. Elaine Flake be an example of the church being more involved to help women then.
Rev. Flake was in attendance at the Women’s Power Breakfast and participated in a “Black Church Panel,” along with her husband, who also leads the church alongside her. The two events were part of a conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
As the leader of a mega-church of 23,000 people and participating at such events, Rev. Elaine Flake is no stranger to taking initiative it would seem. Now that she is aware of the rate of which her race is being killed off in her own city, perhaps she and others will answer the call to end this genocide of innocent black babies in the womb.
Hillary Clinton’s speech Tuesday at a historic black church in Missouri was mostly well-received by the audience, but three words angered some of the activists she was hoping to appeal to.
Clinton spoke to frequent applause about religion, racism, access to education, repairing communities and the shooting last week in Charleston, S.C.
The church where Clinton spoke, Christ the King United Church of Christ, is in Florissant, Mo., fewer than 5 miles from where the rioting and protesting happened in Ferguson.
But she’s now facing criticism on social media after using the phrase “all lives matter” — which has been used by some as pushback to the phrase “black lives matter.” The latter phrase, which hung on a banner outside the church, was widely used by protesters in Ferguson and other cities.
Before using the phrase, Clinton was retelling an anecdote about the lessons she learned from her mother.
“I asked her, ‘What kept you going?’ Her answer was very simple. Kindness along the way from someone who believed she mattered. All lives matter.”
To some in the pews, what Clinton said fell flat. Or worse:
“With her statement that all lives matter, that blew a lot of support that she may have been able to engender here,” said Renita Lamkin, a pastor at the St. John AME Church in St. Charles. She is white and while protesting in Ferguson was hit in the gut with a rubber bullet. Her passion comes in part because her children are African-American.
“My children matter,” she said. “And I need to hear my president say that the lives of my children matter. That my little black children matter. Because right now our society does not say that they matter. Black lives matter. That’s what she needs to say.”
Clinton’s campaign points out she did say “black lives matter,” late last year. But that didn’t stop a flood of complaints on Facebook and Twitter after Clinton’s speech:
Gabrielle Kennedy, also in audience at the church, had a more charitable reaction.
“I knew when she said it that there would be people who would not be happy with that. But I am of the belief that it’s a process,” she said.
And some on Twitter defended Clinton’s comment, including Democratic strategist and former Bill Clinton campaign advisor Donna Brazile:
‘It Takes Time’
In nearby Ferguson, burned-out businesses are still boarded up on West Florissant Avenue. Charles Davis, owner of the Ferguson Burger Bar, counts his blessings.
“We were saved by God. Nothing happened to us,” Davis said.
But business still isn’t back to where it was. And neither is the community. Ferguson is trying to heal from the wound ripped open when a black 18-year-old was shot by a white police officer.
“It takes time. A year is not long enough. But what people should understand is a lot of changes that needed be made has been made,” he said.
Many of the activists who rose up after the shooting of Michael Brown were on hand when Clinton spoke.
She spoke about the recent shooting in Charleston, and asked, “How do we make sense of such an evil act? An act of racist terrorism perpetrated in a house of God?” Clinton also praised the ability of the families of the victims to look at the accused gunman and offer forgiveness.
After her speech, still in front of an audience, Clinton sat down for an hourlong discussion with community leaders. Kennedy, who was there, gives Clinton credit for coming to Missouri and listening.
“What you saw on that stage there, in the pulpit area there, how we take care of ourselves. This is us doing us, and it’s fabulous stuff,” Kennedy said.
A pastor delivered a final prayer before Clinton left. And in it, she called for this to be the beginning of a conversation. Not the end.
New England Patriots Cialis Commercial Parody ‘Deflate gate’ NFL Investigating Patriots
‘Deflate-gate’: NFL Investigating Patriots
The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots deflated footballs that were used in their AFC championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts. (Jan. 20)
Patriots’ QB Tom Brady Says He Didn’t Deflate the Footballs
CBS Evening News 22 January 2015
Former NFL QB Explains Deflated Footballs
The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC championship game. Former NFL quarterback Hugh Millen says the footballs give quarterbacks a better grip and faster throws. (Jan. 23)
SportsCenter | Science behind New England Patriots deflated footballs
The Declining Influence Of TV News
Ken Auletta: Writer Liberation and the Decline of Broadcast
Pew study finds Americans more polarized than ever
A major study by the Pew Research Center finds the increasing polarization in the U.S. is not just in our politics. American adults are less likely to compromise and often decide where to live, who to marry and who their friends should be based on what they already believe. Michael Dimock of the Pew Research Center and Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report join Gwen Ifill to assess the data.
Major TV Networks’ News Viewership Declining
Mainstream media blends the lines of news and entertainment
“Apparently” This Kid is Awesome, Steals the Show During Interview
It’s the Individual that’s finished.
Network (1976) (Trailer)
The NFL Doesn’t Want to Know How Deflate-gate Happened
By Andrew C. McCarthy
As Brendan’s post reports, at this afternoon’s press conference, Tom Brady flatly denied altering the footballs “in any way,” which I presume includes causing anyone else associated with the Patriots to alter them. Let me add a few points.
The major takeaway of the press conference is that, according to Brady, no one from the NFL has interviewed him. This is simply mind-boggling. Because of the way footballs are handled pregame, the quarterback would be the most essential source of information in the event irregularities occur. Brady is thus the first person the NFL should have spoken with if the league really wanted to get to the bottom of what happened.
One now has to be suspicious that the league would rather not know at this point. Why? Because we are just ten days from the Super Bowl and there is very strong evidence of cheating. If the league quickly learns who is responsible, it would have to suspend the cheater(s) from the big game or be mercilessly ridiculed for turning a blind eye. The NFL obviously does not want to suspend star players or coaches from its showcase event.
But now, the league will be mercilessly ridiculed anyway. There are very few people who handle the balls or might influence how they are handled between the time they are chosen and the time they are used in a game: the starting QB, the equipment manager, the ball boy(s), the referees, and the coaches. That means a competent investigation to get to the bottom of this growing controversy could be completed in a few hours – meaning, it should have been done by now. Plus, if you need to talk to the QB, you do it before he has to start ramping up his prep for the Super Bowl – meaning, between Monday and Wednesday of this week. You don’t wait until now, when he is turning his focus to the game.
If the NFL wanted to interview Tom Brady, it would have been done already. Football turns out to be a lot like politics: Officials avoid information because if they learn something bad has been done, they are expected to do something about it.
This is an extraordinarily foolish way to handle things. The NFL has run out of feet to shoot itself in this year, and this controversy is worse because it actually affects the integrity of the game. Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick claim they simply don’t know what happened, but almost everyone who knows football says that is impossible. Either way, because no explanation has been forthcoming from the Pats, there is a media feeding frenzy at the worst time: when over 5,000 international media figures are descending to cover the Super Bowl, which is as much a cultural phenomenon as a sporting event. Deflate-gate will now surely overwhelm coverage of the game, and the league’s incompetent (at best) handling of the investigation will invite endless reminders of its earlier black eyes this season.
A lot of this seems so unnecessary. Before we rehearse the really damaging facts, let’s cover one that is not well understood and that should have undercut the significance of the ball deflation.
Everyone agrees that, after the Colts raised concerns about the balls just before halftime, the balls were reexamined at halftime, and new balls were substituted for the under-inflated ones. That is, the second half was unquestionably played on the up and up . . . and in it the Patriots outscored the Colts 35-0 28-0. So whatever happened with the balls did not affect the outcome of the game – the right team made it to the Super Bowl.
Other than that, though, the story is bad. The refs examined the balls before the game – 12 from the Pats and 12 from the Colts – and found them to fit the specifications, weighing between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds [of air per square inch].
Right before halftime, a member of the Colts intercepted a Brady pass and noticed the ball was soft – something the Colts already had suspicions about based on (a) a prior game with the Pats in which they intercepted a couple of passes and detected under-inflated balls, and (b) similar suspicions about the Pats harbored by the Baltimore Ravens, who apparently shared those suspicions with the Colts after losing a tight playoff game to the Pats two weeks ago.
After the interception before halftime, the Colts’ sideline informed their general manager, who informed league officials. Based on the complaint, the refs re-examined all 24 balls at halftime. The Colts’ balls were all still within the specs, but 11 of the 12 Pats’ balls were under-inflated by up to two pounds per square inch – i.e., about 10.5 pounds. It was unseasonably mild for Foxboro, Mass., in January – about 51 degrees. Between that and the fact that the Colts’ footballs were unchanged, there seems to be no weather-related explanation for a drop in air pressure in the Pats’ footballs.
There are thus only two apparent possibilities, neither of which is good for the Pats: Either (a) the Pats supplied under-inflated balls and the refs did not competently examine them prior to the game; or (b) the Pats, who had control of their chosen footballs after the pregame examination by the refs, deflated the balls before or during the first-half.
Because the league has not done much of an investigation or released much information, we do not know how thorough the refs’ examination process is. I am also not in a position to say how noticeable the difference between 10.5 and 12.5 pounds is. The refs – football lifers – handle the balls on every play, and they obviously did not notice during the first-half. I saw Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino interviewed on Fox News earlier this week, and upon being presented with two footballs, one fully and one under-inflated, he indicated it was hard to tell the difference. But he also said, after squeezing and throwing them a few times, that the under-inflated one was somewhat easier to grip.
I still think the best case scenario for the Pats is that, based on years of experience, the equipment managers know Brady prefers a ball at the very bottom of the 12.5 to 13.5 pound range (as he said today at his press conference). It would not surprise me if, without there needing to be any discussion, the process is for equipment managers to bring Brady only balls that are at or slightly under 12.5 pounds. Those balls no doubt deflate a bit in the four or five days he breaks them in at practice, so by the time he selects a dozen for the game, they are likely to be under 12.5 pounds – perhaps markedly under, but maybe not enough that you could tell unless you examined very closely.
I’m sure Brady and the equipment manager do not measure the air pressure at that point; Brady just picks the ones he wants. Then, as he said at the press conference, he is done with the process and doesn’t deal with the balls again until game-time. That’s what allows him to say both that he doesn’t know what happened after he chose game balls and that he did not deflate those balls.
The equipment manager brings the balls to the refs for pregame inspection a couple of hours before game-time. So it would be important to know how thorough the refs’ inspection is. If the balls were not up to spec because of the Pats’ routine manner of handling them, and then the refs failed to do a careful enough examination to make sure they were up to spec, that could explain why they were under-inflated when checked at halftime. That is, it is not necessarily true that someone deflated them after the refs’ examination.
Of course, if the refs did do a competent pregame examination, then someone on the Pats has to have deflated the footballs.
One more interesting tidbit that could be relevant. Turns out that it is largely because of Tom Brady that the NFL changed its protocols in order to allow each team to supply game balls for its own use. It used to be that the home teams were responsible for supplying all the game balls. But nine years ago, Brady and Broncos star QB Peyton Manning successfully petitioned the competition committee to change the rules. The rationale was that every QB likes the ball to be broken in differently, and since there is some leeway in the rules about inflation (i.e., the 12.5 to 13.5 range), the league should accommodate the slightly different size and contour preferences of different QBs.
Personally, I would have thought the range allowing a pound of difference simply reflected that air pressure can change depending on climate conditions and how the ball is handled – just like it does with your car’s tires. I seriously doubt the rule was written with the thought that players on opposing teams would not be using the same ball. That would be inconceivable in, say, baseball, in which players for both teams pitch and hit balls that are exactly the same.
Tom Brady indicated at today’s press conference that he did not think the balls used made much difference – he did not, he said, notice any difference between the first-half balls that were under-inflated and the second-half balls that were inflated to league specifications. Maybe . . . but sounds remarkably blasé coming from a guy who previously pushed the league to change its rules so he could always have footballs that conformed to his unique preferences.
In many ways, 2013 and early 2014 brought a level of energy to the news industry not seen for a long time. Even as challenges of the past several years continue and new ones emerge, the activities this year have created a new sense of optimism – or perhaps hope – for the future of American journalism.
Digital players have exploded onto the news scene, bringing technological knowhow and new money and luring top talent. BuzzFeed, once scoffed at for content viewed as “click bait,” now has a news staff of 170, including top names like Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Schoofs, and is the kind of place that ProPublica’s Paul Steiger says he would want to work at if he were young again. Mashable now has a news staff of 70 and enticed former New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts to become its chief content officer. And in January of this year, Ezra Klein left the Washington Post for Vox media, which will become the new home for his explanatory journalism concept. Many of these companies are already successful digital brands – built around an innate understanding of technology – and are using revenues from other parts of the operation to get the news operations off the ground.
Other kinds of new revenue are flowing into news operations as well. A new breed of entrepreneurs – like Jeff Bezos, John Henry and Pierre Omidyar — are investing their own money in the industry, in some cases creating wholly new entities and in others looking to bring new life to long-standing ones. Among their best credentials – beyond deep pockets – is that they are tech industry insiders and news media outsiders. Philanthropic money has grown as well, in many cases focused on smaller outlets seeking to fill the gap in news coverage left by legacy cutbacks. As recently as March 2014, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation announced a $10 million grant to New York Public Radio to help build its digital capabilities, an expressed need among nonprofits.
The year also brought more evidence than ever that news is a part of the explosion of social media and mobile devices, and in a way that could offer opportunity to reach more people with news than ever before. Half of Facebook users get news there even though they did not go there looking for it. And the Facebook users who get news at the highest rates are 18-to-29-year-olds. The same is true for the growth area of online video. Half of those who watch some kind of online video watch news videos. Again, young people constitute the greatest portion of these viewers.
Accompanying this momentum is the question of what it adds up to within the full scope of news that consumers receive. Here the events of the last year get put in some perspective. Our first-ever accounting found roughly 5,000 full-time professional jobs at nearly 500 digital news outlets, most of which were created in the past half dozen years. But the vast majority of bodies producing original reporting still comes from the newspaper industry. But those newspaper jobs are far from secure. Full-time professional newsroom employment declined another 6.4% in 2012 with more losses expected for 2013. Gannett alone is estimated to have cut 400 newspaper jobs while the Tribune Co. announced 700 (not all of them in the newsroom).
The new money from philanthropists, venture capitalists and other individuals and non-media businesses, while promising, amounts to only a sliver of the money supporting professional journalism. Traditional advertising from print and television still accounts for more than half of the total revenue supporting news, even though print ad revenues are in rapid decline. While seeing some small gains in new revenue streams like digital subscriptions and conferences, total newspaper advertising revenue in 2013 was down 49% from 2003. (That 2013 number also includes some niche and non-daily publications.) Television ad revenue, while stable for now, faces an uncertain future as video becomes more accessible online. What’s more, most of the new revenue streams driving the momentum are not earned from the news product itself.
There were a number of other events over the last year for which the impact on citizens is mixed or unclear. Local television, which remains the primary place American adults turn to for news, saw its audience increase for the first time in five years. At the same time, though, there were fewer stations producing original news compared with 2012, primarily the result of television acquisitions that left fewer companies in control of more stations. At this point, fully a quarter of the 952 U.S. television stations that air newscasts do not produce their news programs. Additional stations have sharing arrangements where much of their content is produced outside their own newsroom. The impact on the consumer seems to vary from market to market, with some markets increasing potential reach by airing news on stations that never had it – even if that newscast is the same one that airs on another local station. In other markets the news has contracted, as news organizations have reduced staff or content production for cost efficiency.
In digital news, the overlap between public relations and news noted in last year’s State of the News Media report became even more pronounced. One of the greatest areas of revenue experimentation now involves website content that is paid for by commercial advertisers – but often written by journalists on staff – and placed on a news publishers’ page in a way that sometimes makes it indistinguishable from a news story. Following the lead of early adapters like The Atlantic and Mashable, native advertising, as it is called by the industry, caught on rapidly in 2013. The New York Times, The Washington Post and most recently The Wall Street Journal have now begun or announced plans to begin devoting staff to this kind of advertising, often as a part of a new “custom content division.” eMarketer predicts that native ads spending will reach $2.85 billion by 2014.
Many of these publishers initially expressed caution over such ads, with Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker even describing it as a “Faustian pact.” In the end, though, many publishers eventually came down with a conclusion similar to Baker’s, who said that he was “confident that our readers will appreciate what is sponsor-generated content and what is content from our global staff,” according to a statement released by The Journal. That may be the case, and it could also be the case that stories created for and paid for by advertisers do not bother consumers as long as they are a good read. At this point, though, there is little if any public data that speak to consumer response one way or the other.
And despite evidence of news consumption by Facebook users—half of whom report getting news across at least six topic areas—recent Pew Research data finds these consumers to have rather low levels of engagement with news sites. Another question looming over developments in social media is whether the self-selective process combined with algorithmic feeds are narrowing the kinds of information Americans are exposed to.
One of the biggest stories of the year, the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, shined light on yet another area of challenge for journalism in the digital age: easy access to web-based content. It threatens the security of journalists’ communications and their ability to get sources to share information with them, the ultimate impact of which could be the stories that don’t get reported on and delivered to consumers.
A year ago, the State of the News Media report struck a somber note, citing evidence of continued declines in the mainstream media that were impacting both content and audience satisfaction. As indicated above and throughout this report, many of these issues still exist, some have deepened and new ones have emerged. Still, the level of new activity this past year is creating a perception that something important, perhaps even game-changing, is going on. If the developments in 2013 are at this point only a drop in the bucket, it feels like a heavier drop than most. The momentum behind them is real, if the full impact on citizens and our news system remains unclear.
This year’s Annual Report, our 11th edition, set out to examine these shifts—in revenue, in jobs, in technology, in content, in consumer behavior. It is structured a bit differently than in the past – to account for the widening of the industry, the growing influence of technology and new ways of sharing of our data. This year’s report includes four original research reports and two graphical presentations, along with key findings and a searchable database of all the statistics gathered in past years. From these reports, six major trends emerge:
1) Thirty of the largest digital-only news organizations account for about 3,000 jobs and one area of investment is global coverage. Vice Media has 35 overseas bureaus; The Huffington Post hopes to grow to 15 countries from 11 this year; BuzzFeed hired a foreign editor to oversee its expansion into places like Mumbai, Mexico City, Berlin and Tokyo. The two-year-old business-oriented Quartz has reporters in London, Bangkok and Hong Kong, and its editorial staff speaks 19 languages. This comes amid pullbacks in global coverage form mainstream media. The amount of airtime network evening newscasts devoted to overseas reporting in 2013 was less than half of what it was in the late 1980s. International reporters working for U.S. newspaper have declined 24% from 2003 to 2010. As the new digital native outlets continue to add staff, the country may be seeing the first real build-up of international reporting in decades – save for a few start- ups like Global Post.
2) So far, the impact of new money flowing into the industry may be more about fostering new ways of reporting and reaching audience than about building a new, sustainable revenue structure. The news industry in the U.S. brings in a little over $60 billion of revenue annually, according to estimates in our report. Advertising, at least for now, accounts for roughly two-thirds of this pie, most of which remains tied to legacy forms. Audience revenue accounts for about a quarter and is growing both in total dollars and in share. But this revenue may also be coming from a smaller—or at least flat—pool of contributors. New kinds of earned revenue streams like event hosting and web consulting account for about 7%, while investment from sources such as venture capital and philanthropy amount to only about 1% of the total. One part of the equation worth exploring is what kind of savings occurs at digital news startups free of the legacy infrastructure, but taking on the newer costs of technology development and maintenance.
3) Social and mobile developments are doing more than bringing consumers into the process – they are also changing the dynamics of the process itself. New survey data released here find that half (50%) of social network users share or repost news stories, images or videos while nearly as many (46%) discuss news issues or events on social network sites. And with broader mobile adoption, citizens are playing important eyewitness roles around news events such as the Boston bombing and the Ukrainian uprising. Roughly one-in-ten social network users have posted news videos they took themselves, according to the data. And 11% of all online news consumers have submitted their own content (including videos, photos, articles or opinion pieces) to news websites or blogs. Just as powerful, though, are the shifts in how news functions in these spaces. On social sites and even many of the new digital-only sites, news is mixed in with all other kinds of content – people bump into it when they are there doing other things. This bumping into means there may be opportunity for news to reach people who might otherwise have missed it, but less of that may be in the hands of news organizations. Only about a third of people who get news on Facebook follow a news organization or individual journalist. Instead, stories get shared from friends in their networks. And few Facebook visitors, according to a separate Pew Research study of traffic to top news sites, end up also coming to a site directly. For news providers, this means that a single digital strategy – both in terms of capturing audience and building a viable revenue base – will not be enough.
4) New ways of storytelling bring both promise and challenge. One area of expansion in 2013 was online news video. Ad revenue tied to digital videos over all (no firm calculates a figure specifically for news videos) grew 44% from 2012 to 2013 and is expected to continue to increase. For now, though, its scale is still small, accounting for just 10% of all digital ad revenue in the U.S. YouTube alone already accounts for 20% of these revenues and Facebook has now entered the digital video ad market and, based on its rapid growth in display ad revenue, is expected to quickly account for a significant portion of these dollars. In terms of audience appeal, one-third of U.S. adults watch online news videos, but that growth has slowed considerably. After a 27% increase from 2007 to 2009, the next four years saw just 9% growth. Again, large distributors of video content like YouTube and Facebook already account for a hefty portion of video watching on the web. Nonetheless, some news providers are making significant investments in digital video. The Huffington Post celebrated the one year anniversary of HuffPost Live, Texas Tribune held a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the purchase of equipment to stream live video coverage of the 2014 Texas governor’s race, and the multimedia company Vice in early 2014 launched a new multimedia portal just for news stories.
5) Local television, which reaches about nine in ten U.S. adults, experienced massive change in 2013, change that stayed under the radar of most. Nearly 300 full-power local TV stations changed hands in 2013 at a price of more than $8 billion. The number of stations sold was up 205% over 2012 and the value up 367%, with big owners getting even bigger. If all the pending sales go through, Sinclair Broadcasting alone will own or provide service to 167 stations in 77 markets, reaching almost 40% of the U.S. population. Sinclair’s CEO, David Smith, at the UBS conference in December 2013 expressed an interest in growing even more: “I’d like to have 80% of the country if I could get it. I’d like to have 90%.” Much of what is driving these purchases is the growth in fees that local stations are able to charge cable companies for re-airing their content – known by the industry as retransmissions fees. Both Meredith (which owns 13 stations) and Scripps (which owns 19) said they saw their retransmission revenues roughly triple in the last three years. In terms of programming, a clear result is more stations in the same market being operated jointly and sharing more content. As of early 2014, joint service agreements exist in almost half of the 210 local TV markets nationwide, up from 55 in 2011. And fewer stations are producing their own newscasts. The ultimate impact on the consumer is complicated to assess, but the economics benefit to the owner is indisputable.
6) Dramatic changes under way in the makeup of the American population will undoubtedly have an impact on news in the U.S, and in one of the fastest growing demographic groups – Hispanics – we are already seeing shifts. The Hispanic population in the U.S. has grown 50% from 2000 to 2012–to 53 million people. Most of that growth has come from births in the U.S. rather than the arrival of new immigrants, reversing a trend from previous decades. As a result, a growing share of the Hispanic population is American-born and a growing number speak English proficiently. In response to these trends, more general-market media companies—like ABC, NBC, Fox and The Huffington Post—have started Hispanic news operations. Since 2010, six national Hispanic outlets have been launched, all of which are either owned in full or in partnership by a general-market media company. Not all of them have been successes, however. Earlier this year, NBC Latino—a website-only outlet—closed, after only 16 months, and CNN Latino, which had both a web and on-air presence, was shut down just a year after its launch. At the same time, Fusion, a joint effort by ABC and Univision, initially described the channel as aimed at Hispanic millennials but later switched to aiming it at millennials more broadly—currently the largest and most diverse generational group in the U.S. As demographic shifts within the U.S. continue, so too will their impact on the news ecosystem.
In 2013, the cable news audience, by nearly all measures, declined. The combined median prime-time viewership of the three major news channels—CNN, Fox News and MSNBC—dropped 11% to about 3 million, the smallest it has been since 2007. The Nielsen Media Research data show that the biggest decline came at MSNBC, which lost nearly a quarter (24%) of its prime-time audience. CNN, under new management, ended its fourth year in third place, with a 13% decline in prime time. Fox, while down 6%, still drew more viewers (1.75 million) than its two competitors combined (619,500 at MSNBC and 543,000 at CNN).
The daytime audience for cable news was more stable, holding flat at about 2 million viewers across the three news channels. CNN (up 12%) and Fox (up 2%) actually experienced growth here. That was counterbalanced by more deep loses at MSNBC (down 15.5%).
After years in decline, local television news showed new signs of life in 2013. Viewership increased in every key time slot. Local morning news (5 to 7 a.m. Eastern Time or equivalent) gained 6.3%, early evening newscasts followed with a 3.3% increase and late night news programs were flat (up 0.1%). This follows declines every year across all time slots from 2008 to 2012, with the exception of a small uptick in 2011. The jump in viewership in the key timeslots was due largely to significant increases in the November sweeps period when morning news was up 12%, early evening grew by 8% and late night increased by 6%.
The 2013 picture was more mixed for Fox broadcast affiliates. Morning newscasts gained 9% more audience on average, continuing the steady growth of previous years. However, late-night viewership continued to decline, although the loss in 2013 was small, just 1.2%. Over the past six years, these programs have lost more than 25% of their viewers, while one of the worst performing traditional time slots, the 11 p.m. newscasts, have lost 17.3% since 2007.
Local news in nontraditional time slots are expanding their audience. The nontraditional early-morning news slots continued to grow. At 4:30 a.m., viewership increased 13% to 2.9 million. Viewership at 4 a.m. increased by 21% on average, to 257,000, following a 19% increase in 2012. Newscasts at midday and following the network news at 7 p.m. added viewers after having lost audience the year before. Midday newscasts saw a 5% increase of their audience and viewership also grew 2% for 7 p.m. newscasts. Though audiences in these time slots are growing, the programs attract far fewer viewers than some of the most popular hours for local TV. Late-night news programs, for instance, averaged 24.3 million viewers in 2013.
In the evening, an average of 22.6 million viewers tuned into one of the three commercial broadcast news programs on ABC, CBS or NBC, a 2.3% increase over the average viewership for 2012, according to Pew Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. The ABC World News increased 2.2% to 7.7 million viewers on average and CBS Evening News increased 6.5% to 6.5 million viewers. NBC Nightly News, the ratings leader, was the only evening news program to decrease, dipping 0.7% to 8.4 million viewers on average.
Morning news saw a 6.7% increase in average viewership compared with 2012, to 13.4 million. For years, NBC’s Today show led in viewership and ratings, but ABC’s Good Morning America took the throne in 2012 and grew its margin of victory in 2013. ABC’s Good Morning America increased 11% to 5.5 million viewers on average, CBS This Morning increased 17.9% to 3.2 million viewers and NBC’s Today show decreased 3.7% to 4.7 million.
Newspapers increased their total circulation by 3% daily and 1.6% Sunday, according to an analysis by the Newspaper Association of America’s John Murray. But that result is influenced by liberalized reporting rules by the Association for Audited Media and includes both paying visitors to digital platforms and distribution of Sunday insert packages to nonsubscribers.
Print now accounts for only 71.2% of daily circulation and 74.9% of Sunday, according to Murray. And Murray’s analysis of 15 of the largest newspapers shows that those papers now have just 54.9% of their total circulation in print.
According to the Alliance for Audited Media, sales of newsstand copies for news magazines, the measure most accepted by the industry, fell 2% on average, following years of declining numbers. In 2013, though, the decrease was smaller than the total industry decline in newsstand sales (10%). The Economist was the hardest hit, losing 16% of its newsstand sales, after a 17% decline in 2012. The Atlantic and The Week were also hit (down 12% and 7% respectively). The New Yorker enjoyed a 16% increase, one of the highest reported in past years. Time posted some significant gains too, up 6% from the year before. Since 2008, when Pew Research started tracking these figures, the news magazines have lost 43% of their single-copy sales on average.
Subscriptions were flat, as they have been in years past. But these are normally kept from declining through discounts or special offers.
Traditional radio continues to reach the vast majority of Americans 12 and older, 91% in 2013 (roughly unchanged from 2012), but online listening is where the growth is. According to Edison Media research, fully 33% of Americans reported listening to online radio “in the last week” in 2013, up from 29% in 2013. In addition, online radio listening in cars (long a stronghold of AM/FM radio) rose to 21%, from 17% in 2012.
Another form of nontraditional radio, podcasting, has largely leveled off. The number of Americans who have “ever” listened to an audio podcast was down slightly from 29% in 2012 to 27% in 2013.
The other main non-AM/FM audio platform, satellite radio, saw moderate growth in subscribers in 2013. By the end of 2013, Sirius XM had 25.6 million subscribers in the U.S., up from 23.9 million at year end 2012.
Circulation for the top 20 alternative weekly newspapers declined again in 2013, but at a slower pace than in previous years: 6% in 2013, compared to 8% in 2012.
The vast majority of Americans now get news in some digital format. In 2013, 82% of Americans said they got news on a desktop or laptop and 54% said they got news on a mobile device. Beyond that, 35% reported that they get news in this way “frequently” on their desktop or laptop, and 21% on a mobile device (cellphone or tablet).
While commercial digital native sites remain a relatively small part of the economics of the news industry, their digital audience figures compete with those of much larger legacy news organizations. In April, May, and June of 2013, for example The Huffington Post averaged 45 million unique monthly visitors, putting it second only to Yahoo among the top news sites. Buzzfeed.com also fared well with 17 million monthly unique visitors, putting it at roughly the same as The Washington Post with 19 million monthly unique visitors.
Audiences of noncommercial digital native news organizations vary widely and can be hard to determine because of syndication and partnership arrangements with other news outlets. On the national level, for example, ProPublica, an investigative journalism nonprofit site founded in 2007, had 544,799 unique visitors to its site in October 2012, according to a Knight Foundation report. While that is a 176% increase over October 2010, it probably misses a fair amount as the organization syndicates its content to various news organizations.
There are also regionally oriented outlets like the New England Center for Investigative Reporting with far fewer visitors per month: 2,362 unique visitors in October 2012, according to self-reported data in the Knight report. Still, that was up 87% from October 2010.
At the local level, MinnPost attracted 268,955 unique visitors in October 2012, according to the report, while The Lens, which focuses on New Orleans and Gulf Coast news, reported just 20,177 unique visitors in October 2012 (though again a huge increase – 375% – over October 2010). The variation in these data speaks to both the diversity in the scope of noncommercial digital start-ups as well as the degree to which collaboration and syndicated content may mean that site visits is not the best way to assess total audience.
The year 2013 was a relatively weak one for economic growth among the cable news outlets. Fox News was projected to increase its total revenue, according to research firm SNL Kagan, by 5% to $1.89 billion. CNN was projected to increase just 2% to $1.11 billion, and MSNBC was projected to decline by 2% to $475 million. Both CNN and MSNBC experienced advertising revenue losses year over year.
Revenue from license fees, which cable channels charge to providers in exchange for the right to carry their programming, continued to grow in 2013, according to projections, becoming a larger part of the revenue pie for the news channels. For CNN, license fee revenue now accounts for 64% of its total intake. For Fox, it is 58%. And for MSNBC, it makes up 51% of total revenue.
Local TV stations make the vast majority of their revenue from on-air advertising, which typically follows a cyclical pattern of increases in election years and decrease in non-election years. In 2013, total local TV ad revenue was expected to decline 2.5% from election-year 2012, according to BIA/Kelsey, amounting to $19.7 billion. But this is less of a decline than in 2011, when advertising revenues dropped by about 8% from the year before, and in 2009, when the decline was 22%.
To calculate ad revenue going just to news-producing stations (i.e. stations that include news programming,) we have to go back one year to 2012, the most recent year that BIA has final station-level data. For that year, news-producing stations took in $17.3 billion in total ad revenue, compared with $20.2 billion in the industry over all.
This year, Pew Research also estimated what portion of the $17.3 billion in ad revenues at these news-producing stations is connected to the news programming. Local TV news directors, in an annual survey by Bob Papper, attributed 48.6% of 2012 stations’ revenues to news. That would amount to $8.4 billion in all. Other sources of revenues for the local TV industry have been growing. Retransmission payments have been increasing rapidly in the past decade, according to data from the investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. In 2011, the last year for which there were final data, retransmission revenues equaled almost $1.5 billion, more than 70 times higher than they had been in 2003 ($20 million). And VSS projects that revenue will more than double—to about $3.7 billion—by 2016. In 2013 alone, 21st Century Fox— created after the split-up of News Corp. — doubled its retransmission revenues. And Nexstar, which owns 108 local stations, reported a 66% increase in its retransmission fee revenues for the fourth quarter 2013, which now account for about 23% of its total revenues.
Digital revenues for the local TV market were forecast to grow 23% in 2013, following 17% growth the previous year, according to Borrell Associates. But, the typical local TV station makes only about 4% of its total revenue from online and mobile ads, according to Borrell Associates.
Newspapers (updated April 22, 2014)
The Newspaper Association of America has stopped compiling quarterly reports on advertising revenue. According to its annual numbers, which were released in April 2014, overall revenue for newspapers in 2013 was $37.6 billion, a decrease of 2.6% from 2012. Within that total, combined print and digital ad revenue decreased by 7%—to $20.7 billion. While daily and Sunday print ad revenue dropped 8.6%, digital advertising edged up by 1.5%. That is a slowdown from the 3.7% digital ad growth rate in 2012.
The news was better with circulation revenue which was up 3.7% in 2013, slightly lower than the growth rate in 2012, 4.6%. Many companies continue to add digital subscriptions and raise rates for a combination of print and digital access. The biggest paywall gains tend to come in the first year with revenues flattening in following years. Many companies are also building other revenue sources like digital marketing services for local businesses, contract printing or events and newsletters. Direct marketing revenue increased by 2.4% in 2013 while new and other revenue increased 5%, in 2013, according to the NAA, but both only constituted a fraction of the total revenue picture.
For a third year in a row, news magazines faced a difficult print advertising environment. Combined ad pages (considered a better measure than ad revenue) for the five magazines studied in this report were down 13% in 2013, following a decline of 12.5% in 2012, and about three times the rate of decline in 2011, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Again, hardest hit was The Week, which suffered a 20% drop in ad pages. The Atlantic fell 17%, The Economist 16%, and Time about 11%, while The New Yorker managed to keep its ad pages losses in single digits (7%). For print magazines, the number of ad pages sold across the industry over all was down in 2013 (4.1%), after a steep decline in 2012 (8.2%).
According to Kantar Media, ad revenue for network television evening news programs increased 2% in the first three quarters of 2013 to $401 million. ABC’s World News decreased 3% to $130 million, the CBS Evening News saw an 11% increase to $116 million and NBC Nightly News remained steady at $155 million. Revenue for network television morning shows increased 7% in the first three quarters of 2013. At ABC’s Good Morning America revenues increased 12% to $260 million and CBS This Morning fell 2% to $108 million. At NBC’s Today show, revenue increased 6% to $504 million.
Total digital ad spending rose to $42.6 billion in 2013, a 15.7% increase over 2012. But the bigger news was that display made up almost as much of that total as search (which is not a source of revenue for news organizations.) In 2013 display ads accounted for about 42% of the total, or $17.7 billion, according to eMarketer, and are projected to outpace search by 2015.
While the ascent of display is a good thing for news organizations, the dominance of large tech companies remains an issue. In 2012 the top five display advertising companies made 47% of all display ad revenue on the web; in 2013 that proportion increased to 51%. And while Google had been on top, Facebook overtook the search giant in 2013, taking in 17.9% of all display ad revenue to Google’s 16.9%.
Much of the for-profit digital news landscape is occupied by private or unincorporated concerns that do not disclose detailed financial figures. But based on publicly available estimates and reports, Pew Research analysts identified a minimum of roughly $500 million in annual ad revenue from a range of digital news sites. Even that estimate does not include outlets that had been identified, but for whom no revenue estimates were found. That $500 million figure would account for roughly 1% of all known news ad revenue across U.S. media sectors. While the actual figure is almost certainly higher, even if it were doubled, it would still account for a small fraction of all news revenue in the U.S.
About one-fifth of nonprofits (21%) surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2012 said they generated $50,000 or less in annual revenue in 2011, the latest year for which data were available, and 26% took in between $50,001 and $250,000. Foundations have been prominent sources of funding, particularly in the form of start-up grants. For many outlets, this initial funding has been difficult to replace. Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents (61%) began with a start-up grant that accounted for at least one-third of their original funding, and a majority of those grants were for $100,000 or more. Yet less than a third of those outlets had the funding renewed. As with the audience for digital native noncommercial sites, discussed above, the economics for these sites also vary, but a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center finds on average total income is quite small and heavily reliant on foundations.
Traditional AM/FM radio remains heavily reliant on “spot” advertising (ads aired during radio broadcasts) for its revenue, which saw virtually no year-over-year change in the third quarter of 2013 (the most current data available) compared with the third quarter of 2012. Digital and off-air advertising saw increases of 15% and 3% respectively, but is just a drop in the network advertising bucket.
Sirius XM, the only satellite radio provider in the U.S., grew its revenue in 2013 as well. In 2013, Sirius XM had $3.8 billion in revenue, up from $3.4 billion in 2012, an 11.7% increase. This follows several years of growth in subscriber revenue after the merger of the two companies (Sirius and XM) in 2007.
Staffing levels in the local TV sector were expected to be stable in 2013, according to the yearly Hofstra University survey. A majority of news directors expected no change in staff size in 2013, while just a third said they anticipated adding more staff, about the same as the year before. And only 2.5% said they expected to have to cut staff, fewer than the year before.
The average amount of weekday local TV news programming declined by six minutes in 2012, the last year for which data exist, to five hours and 24 minutes, according to the same survey. This follows four straight years of increases in the hours of news, but still puts the average hours at 5.4 in 2012, up 46% from what is was in 2003 (3.7 hours). And weekend programming continued to add time: up 11% on Saturday and 6% on Sunday on average.
One area seeing more news is in the very early 4:30 a.m. time slot. The number of stations airing news at 4:30 a.m. increased 159% in 2013 to 634, up from 245 in 2012, according to Nielsen data. Those stations cut across 207 markets, up from 113 in 2012.
Under Jeff Zucker, CNN, already a sizable global news operation, was projected to increase its spending more than either Fox or MSNBC in 2013. SNL Kagan estimated that CNN would grow its news investment by 11% to $757 million in 2013, compared to Fox’s increase of 4% (to $848.5 million) and MSNBC’s scale-back by 4% (to $272 million).
CNN still maintains by far the largest bureau system among the three major news channels with 33 around the world, though the organization laid off at least 40 journalists in late 2013 and lists one fewer domestic bureau than it had the previous year. (Fox lists two fewer bureaus than it did a year earlier, and no updated information was available from NBC News.)
During 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available, full-time professional newsroom employment at newspaper organizations fell by 2,600 jobs, or 6.4%. The total of 38,000 jobs is down 33.2% from its 1989 peak of 56,900, according to the annual census of the American Society of News Editors. Most of that loss was in the last six years. When the organization’s census for 2013 is released, more job losses are likely.
According to various sources, including media accounts, several major companies eliminated hundreds of newspaper jobs in 2013—including two companies that began investing more heavily in local television stations. Gannett is estimated to have cut about 400 newspaper jobs while the Tribune Co. announced about 700 cuts, not all of them in the newsroom. Media reports put newsroom layoffs at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland at about 50 and at The Oregonian in Portland at about 35 in 2013.
In one eye-catching cutback, The Chicago Sun-Times laid off its entire 28-person photography department in 2013, but hired back four photographers in December. Even Aaron Kushner, a California publisher who attracted considerable attention for hiring scores of journalists and investing heavily in print journalism, implemented about 70 layoffs at The Orange County Register and The Press-Enterprise in Riverside early in 2014.
One of the noteworthy developments in 2013 (and early 2014) was the growth of editorial jobs in the expanding world of big commercial digital native news outlets. Rapidly growing Buzzfeed added approximately 170 editorial jobs last year, Gawker’s editorial staff grew to 132, almost double what it was two years earlier. Mashable lured former New York Times editor Jim Roberts to oversee its robust investment in news coverage while Yahoo News hired several high profile Times journalists to build up its original content. Henry Blodget’s Business Insider hired 15 new people to grow its editorial staff to 70. The founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, is building its growing staff at the fledgling First Look Media around Glenn Greenwald, while Ezra Klein’s Project X at Vox Media is signing up former Washington Post staffers at a brisk clip. Vice Media, which has expanded from a Montreal punk magazine to a worldwide news operation, now has more than 1,100 total global employees (that includes all staff positions), and as of the deadline for this report, had hired nearly 50 U.S. new employees in 2014 alone.
Not all of the news was good.AOL’s network of Patch hyperlocal sites at one time employed about 1,000 reporters and editors but that had been cut back to fewer than 100 by early 2014, signaling the failure of the most ambitious effort to create a universe of digital community news sites under one roof.
In January 2013, Time magazine cut six positions as part of broader wave of layoffs (500 jobs) at Time Inc., the publishing division that houses Time magazine. Those cuts were part of a mandate from Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes to shave $100 million from the publishing division’s annual costs. In late 2013, soon after Nancy Gibbs replaced Rick Stengel as Time’s managing editor (becoming the first women to hold that position), Time announced 11 new hires and three promotions. However, in February 2014 Time Inc. proceeded with another round of reductions, reportedly 500 jobs, as part of a restructuring plan to spin off from its parent company, Time Warner.
News in traditional radio is a hard category to define, one measure being the number of stations that carry news content only. While the number of all-news radio stations in the U.S. remains small, 37 in 2012, according to the latest data available, that number was unchanged from 2011.
Local TV station sales exploded in 2013. Nearly 300 TV stations were sold, up 205% from 2012, according to BIA/Kelsey. Likewise, the total value of these transactions was up, a 367% increase in 2013 from 2012, reaching $8.8 billion.
Sinclair, which already owned more local stations than any other company, purchased 63 more in 2013, the most notable of which were seven stations from Allbritton Communications and 22 from Fisher Communications. Sinclair now operates 167 television stations in 77 markets. The Tribune Co. acquired Local TV Holdings for $2.73 billion (a total of 19 stations) and Gannett purchased Belo, adding 17 stations, in a $2.2 billion transaction. BIA/Kelsey attributes this growth to strong political advertising revenues from the previous year, retransmission consent revenues and continued historically low interest rates.
The only major development in the ownership and executive level positions at the three network news divisions in 2013 was the joint venture between Disney/ABC with Univision to create a new cable channel, Fusion. They each own 50% of the channel.
A process that began in 2012 was completed in mid-2013 when News Corp.—parent of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network—formally spit in two. The movie and TV division containing the news channels was renamed Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. with Rupert Murdoch continuing as chief executive.
In August of 2013, Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network launched a new channel aimed squarely at U.S. audiences—Al Jazeera America. It occupies the same space on the dial held by Current TV.
Within days in August of 2013, two venerable newspapers changed hands. Multi-millionaire and Red Sox owner John Henry bought The Boston Globe and another Massachusetts newspaper, The Worchester Telegram & Gazette, from The New York Times for $70 million. And, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos acquired The Washington Post for $250 million. In other transactions, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired several more newspapers, The News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., and Tulsa World, among them. A. H. Belo sold one its four newspapers – The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., and plans to sell The Providence Journal in Rhode Island. That will leave just its flagship Dallas Morning News and the nearby Denton Record-Chronicle. Tribune Co., on the other hand, pulled eight of its papers off the market in 2013, after failing to fetch an attractive offer. Tribune now plans to spin them off into a separate company.
Commercial Digital Natives
Unlike other sectors studied here most commercial digital native sites are privately held companies and in 2013 saw little movement. One notable development, though, was AOL’s dropping of the hyperlocal news network Patch. Patch was founded by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in 2007, at first independent of AOL but then acquired by it in 2009.
In 2009 and 2010, AOL hired 900 employees, Armstrong said, with half of them going to Patch. By early 2011, Patch sites were up and running in about 800 cities and towns across the U.S. Despite this aggressive growth, and plans being made to hire for 1,000 Patch sites by the end of 2011, Armstrong drew back, saying in early 2012, “We don’t have a massive number of Patches on a run-rate profitability, and some of them have bounced in and bounced out.”
Despite the early growth at Patch and investment by AOL the company’s business model quickly came under criticism. In May, 2012 Starboard Value (an investment firm that owned 5.3% of Patch at the time) released a report calling Patch’s business model unsustainable. The report offered some rare estimates of Patch’s finances, which showed that the company had lost $147 million in 2011 and only brought in $13 million in advertising revenue.
Over the course of 2013, Patch suffered more losses. In August 2013 AOL announced the closing of 400 of the 900 Patch sites that existed at the time. Finally, in early 2014, AOL dropped Patch entirely and sold majority ownership of the remaining sites to Hale Global.
In March 2013, Time Warner announced that it would spin off Time Inc. into a separate publicly traded company. In March of 2014, these plans seem to be in full effect as Time Inc. prepares to separate from Time Warner. In the meantime, Time Inc. has been integrating American Express Publishing, which it bought last year.
Even at a time of fragmenting media use, television remains the dominant way that Americans get news at home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Nielsen data. And while the largest audiences tune into local and network broadcast news, it is national cable news that commands the most attention from its viewers.
Almost three out of four U.S. adults (71%) watch local television news and 65% view network newscastsover the course of a month, according to Nielsen data from February 2013. While 38% of adults watch some cable news during the month, cable viewers—particularly the most engaged viewers—spend far more time with that platform than broadcast viewers do with local or network news.1
On average, the cable news audience devotes twice as much time to that news source as local and network news viewers spend on those platforms. And the heaviest cable users are far more immersed in that coverage—watching for more than an hour a day—than the most loyal viewers of broadcast television news. Even those adults who are the heaviest viewers of local and network news spend more time watching cable than those broadcast outlets.
The data in this study was prepared specifically for the Pew Research Center by Nielsen, the primary source of ratings and viewership information for the television industry. This comparison of in-home network and local television, cable and internet news consumption offers a unique look at how people get news across different platforms in a rapidly changing media environment. It is based on Nielsen’s national panel of metered homes and reflects viewership in the month of February 2013, which largely coincides with the first television “sweeps” period of the year. (See Methodology)
The numbers in this report dovetail with other data about television news viewership. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey of news consumption habits shows that local television remains the most popular way of accessing news. And Pew Research’s annual State of the News Media reportshows that the nightly network newscasts draw far larger audiences than the prime-time cable news shows.
But the deeper level of viewer engagement with cable news may help to explain why cable television—despite a more limited audience—seems to have an outsized ability to influence the national debate and news agenda. Previous Pew Research Center data have shown that in prime time—when the audience is the largest—cable talk shows tend to hammer away at a somewhat narrow news agenda that magnifies the day’s more polarizing and ideological issues. The Nielsen data make it clear that cable’s audience is staying for a healthy helping of that content.
In one finding that may seem counterintuitive in an era of profound political polarization, significant portions of the Fox News and MSNBC audiences spend time watching both channels. More than a third (34%) of those who watch the liberal MSNBC in their homes also tune in to the conservative Fox News Channel. The reverse is true for roughly a quarter (28%) of Fox News viewers. Even larger proportions of Fox News and MSNBC viewers, roughly half, also spend time watching CNN, which tends to be more ideologically balanced in prime time. (The channel’s new version of Crossfire, which debuted on Sept. 9, follows its formula of delivering opinion from both the left and right.)
Some of the key findings from this initial analysis include:
While the largest portion of Americans watch local and network TV news at home, those who tune into cable news do so for an average of 25 minutes a day. That is more than twice as much time as local and network TV viewers spend getting news on those platforms.
Even heavy viewers of local TV news and network news spend more time watching cable news than they do watching these respective platforms. The heaviest local news viewers spend, on average, 11 more minutes watching cable news than local news. The heaviest network news viewers spend about one more minute watching cable news than they do network news.
Across all three platforms, there is a very large gap between the heaviest news consumers and everyone else. The top third of network news viewers in terms of time spent, for example, average almost 32 minutes a day watching network news. The next third spends about one-sixth as much time, or five minutes, watching network news.
There is no news junkie like a cable junkie. The most dedicated cable news viewers average 72 minutes, more than an hour, of home viewing a day. That compares with about 32 minutes for the heaviest network news viewers and 22 minutes for the most engaged local news audience. There is, however, a precipitous drop—to only three minutes a day—for the second most dedicated group of cable watchers.
There is widespread news consumption across different platforms, particularly with broadcast news. Fully 90% of network news viewers also watch local news and 82% of local news viewers also tune in to network news. The result is that more than half (58%) of U.S. adults watch both network and local news.
How Many Watch TV News and When
Emerging digital technology has changed news consumption choices and habits, and in a report released last fall, Pew Research Center found that local television has experienced viewership declines in the last several years, most acutely among young people. Additionally, Pew Research has documented significant declines in Americans’ reliance on newspaper and radio over time.
At the same time, the Nielsen data provide a reminder of the central role television still plays in news consumption in the comfort of home. Almost three-quarters of Americans, (71%) watch local TV news and almost two-thirds, (65%) watch network news over the course of a month. And more than one-third (38%) of Americans watch news on cable television.
Although broadcast television may have a wider reach, cable news handily wins the competition for the time and attention of news consumers at home. People who watch cable news do so for an average of about 25 minutes a day, compared with the slightly more than 12 minutes a day local television and network news viewers spend on those platforms. Some of this is no doubt due to cable news’ role as an around-the-clock, news-on-demand operation.
On every television platform, viewership is largest in the evening and nighttime hours. The number of viewers watching cable news is quite stable between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., begins to grow modestly in the late afternoon and then peaks between 8-11 p.m.
The local news audience is highest during the late 11 p.m. newscast, with about 15% more viewers than the slots from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The early morning newscasts, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., generate about 60% of the viewership that the late night program does.
Heavy vs. Light TV News Viewers
A deeper analysis of television news watchers reveals major differences in the amount of time they spend on that activity. To illustrate this, the audience data were sliced into thirds based on the time spent watching each platform, and Nielsen averaged the viewing time for each of the three groups of viewers.
Overall, people in the top category for each platform—the heaviest users in terms of time spent—are far more engaged than those in tiers two and three. That is particularly true for cable. The heaviest users of cable news devote, on average, one hour and 12 minutes (72 minutes) a day to that platform. Viewing time drops off dramatically for the bottom two-thirds of cable news viewers. Those in the middle tier average slightly more than three minutes of viewing time and those at the bottom catch a glimpse for less than a minute.
Similarly, for local TV news, the top tier of viewers averages almost 22 minutes a day, compared with six and a half minutes a day for those in the middle tier and one minute for those on the bottom rung. At the network news level, the most engaged viewers watch for almost 32 minutes day. But that drops off to slightly more than five minutes for the next tier and less than one minute for the lightest viewers.
News Viewing is Dominated by the Very Engaged
According to the numbers, people who are heavy users of any type of television news tend to be heavy viewers of other platforms. But the heaviest viewers of cable news far outpace heavy viewers of local and network news, racking up almost 50 more minutes a day, on average, than the most dedicated local news viewers and approximately 40 more minutes than the top tier of network news viewers.
Even the heavy viewers of local and network news spend more time watching cable news than they do watching network and local news.
The most devoted local news viewers spend an average of about 22 minutes a day on local news compared with about 32 on cable. (They also spend almost 24 minutes a day watching network news.) The heaviest network news users spend about a half minute more (32 minutes) watching cable than network.
The heaviest cable news users also spend more time watching local news (almost 14 minutes) and network news (almost 17 minutes) than the average viewerdoes (around 12 minutes). But that time is low compared with the 72 minutes they spend watching cable news in the home.
Crossing Over: Many People Get News from More Than One Source
The Nielsen data clearly indicate that those who watch television news on one platform are likely to watch it on another—particularly when it comes to broadcast news. The greatest overlap occurs between local and network newscasts, which often are on the same channel. Fully 90% of network news viewers also watch local news and 82% of local news viewers also tune in to network news.
The crossover is not as great from broadcast news (network and local) to cable. Slightly less than half—about 44%—of both network and of local news viewers also watch cable news.
Similarly, cable news viewers, while a smaller group overall, are heavy consumers of local and network news. Indeed, cable viewers exhibit the heaviest news consumption habits of any group measured here. Three out of four cable viewers (76%) also watch some network news and even more (82%) watch some local news.
Overall, more than half of adult Americans watch more than one form of television news. The biggest cross platform viewing involves the broadcast platforms, with 58% of the adult population watching both local and network news. Slightly more than half as many, 31%, watch local television and cable news, followed by the 29% of the population that watches both network and cable television news.
Hand Me the Remote: Viewers Flip Among Cable News Channels
The three major cable news competitors differ somewhat in their viewership levels, with CNN reaching 20% of U.S. adults, Fox News reaching 18% and MSNBC reaching 14%. CNN’s viewership lead is supported by years of datashowing it has a wider reach than its competitors, but weaker “appointment” viewership, meaning it is less successful in getting viewers to tune in regularly for scheduled programs, especially in prime time. That helps explain why CNN consistently trails Fox News Channel in the rating wars since Fox News has a clear lead over competitors in its prime-time programming.
One of the most striking findings in this analysis is the degree to which viewers of one of the three cable news channels also view the competition. While the formats of the three major cable news channels are quite similar, there are significant ideological differences, most pronounced in prime time.
In the evening, Fox News boasts a lineup of conservative talk show hosts while MSNBC features a team of liberal ones. CNN, the original cable news outlet, has built its brand around national and global reporting of breaking news events. It also airs opinion in prime time, but includes commentators from both the right and the left.
The perception is that because of their distinct identities—and particularly because of the divergent ideological leanings of Fox News and MSNBC—the cable news channels appeal to different, politically segmented audiences. However the data show something different.
More than one-quarter (28%) of the people who watch Fox News also tune in to MSNBC. An even higher number (34%) of MSNBC viewers turn on Fox News.
There is even more crossover viewing when it comes to CNN. Slightly more than half (54%) of MSNBC viewers watch CNN, while 44% of Fox News viewers tune in to CNN. Healthy segments of the CNN audience also watch Fox News (39%) and MSNBC (38%).
Overall, 5% of the adult American population watches both MSNBC and Fox News. That is slightly lower than the percentage who watches both CNN and Fox (8%) or CNN and MSNBC (also 8%).
Despite some crossover, there are also viewers who watch only one of the three cable channels. Here, Fox News Channel narrowly has the largest singularly dedicated audience. About one- quarter of American adults, (24%) watch only Fox News, 23% watch only CNN and 15% watch only MSNBC.
Online News Consumption at Home
According to the February 2013 data used in this study, about 38% of Americans access news online at home via a desktop or laptop computer. Nielsen’s online numbers—based on those who access news websites—do not measure those getting news at home from a smartphone or tablet device. This data also reflect the fact that those getting online news at home generally spend very small amounts of time on that task. On average, that amounts to 90 seconds per day getting news online.
Looking at the data by intensity of use, the heaviest online news users spent only about four minutes a day on that activity. Medium online news searchers spent about 18 seconds per day at that task, while light users spent less than six seconds.
Overlap Among Cable News Sites
Some of the most popular news websites are affiliated with the three major cable news channels. Though all three are consistently among the top 10 most trafficked news websites, their audiences are fairly small as a percentage of U.S. adults.
Nbcnews.com (formerly MSNBC.com) is one of the most trafficked news sites on the web, but it still only reaches about 9% of adults in America, according to Nielsen. About 6% of the public gets news on cnn.com each day. In addition, 5% of Americans get news from foxnews.com.
When it comes to news consumers visiting multiple sites, 37% of those who visit foxnews.com also go to nbcnews.com, while 22% of those who visit nbcnews.com view foxnews.com. In addition, 28% of those who visited foxnews.com and 21% of those who visited nbcnews.com also go to cnn.com. Among cnn.com users, 26% also went to foxnews.com and 33% also went to nbcnews.com.
For the most part, there is more crossover news consumption on the television side of the three competitive cable news outlets than there is on their digital properties.
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PARIS (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — Three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including its editor, before escaping in a car. It was France’s deadliest postwar terrorist attack.
CBS News’ Elaine Cobbe reports that, according to witnesses, two armed and masked men walked into the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and opened fire in the entrance hallway, killing people as they saw them. The gunmen reportedly sought out members of the newspaper’s staff by name during the rampage through the 2nd floor office, which lasted between five and 10 minutes, according to witnesses.
Security forces were hunting for the gunmen who spoke flawless, unaccented French in the military-style noon-time attack on the weekly newspaper, located near Paris’ Bastille monument. The publication’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed have frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims.
President Francois Hollande called the slayings “a terrorist attack without a doubt,” and said several other attacks have been thwarted in France “in recent weeks.”
France raised its security alert to the highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation. Schools closed across Paris, although thousands of people jammed Republique Square near the site of the shooting to honor the victims.
Top government officials held an emergency meeting and Hollande planned a nationally televised address later Wednesday evening.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which also left four people critically wounded, and was condemned by world leaders as an attack on freedom of expression, but praised by supporters of the militant Islamic State group.
Clad all in black with hoods and carrying machine guns, the attackers forced one of the cartoonists arriving at the office building with her young daughter to open the door with a security code.
The staff was in an editorial meeting and the gunmen headed straight for the paper’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier – widely known by his pen name Charb – killing him and his police bodyguard first, said Christophe Crepin, a police union spokesman. Minutes later, two men strolled out to a black car waiting below, calmly firing on a police officer, with one gunman shooting him in the head as he writhed on the ground, according to video.
Ten journalists and two police office were killed, Crepin said, including one assigned as Charb’s bodyguard and another who had arrived on the scene on a mountain bike. Among the dead were Bernard Maris, an economist who a contributor to the newspaper and was heard regularly on French radio, and Georges Wolinski, a celebrated cartoonist who also worked for Paris Match magazine.
“Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo,” one of the men shouted in French, according to a video shot from a nearby building and broadcast on French TV. Other videoshowed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of “Allahu akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great”- could be heard among the gunshots.
The video showed the killers moving deliberately and calmly. One even bent over to toss a fallen shoe back into the small black car before it sped off. The car was later found abandoned in northern Paris, police said.
Luc Poignant of the SBP police union said the attackers switched to another vehicle that had been stolen.
A reporter for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in Paris told Sky News that the first two officers to arrive, who were apparently unarmed, fled after seeing gunmen armed with automatic weapons and possibly a grenade launcher.
Corinne Rey, the cartoonist who said she was forced to let the gunmen in, said the men spoke fluent French and claimed to be from al Qaeda. In an interview with the newspaper l’Humanite, she said the entire shooting lasted perhaps five minutes.
The Guardian reports a witness in the office building said one of the gunman asked where Charlie Hebdo was located.
“Then someone opened the door to our office and asked where Charlie Hebdo was. He had a rifle. We backed away. Afterwards he left, we heard gunfire. We went to the windows, there were two men running with guns, speaking in bad French … They were shouting outside, and shooting again. Afterwards I saw someone leaving the building with his hands covered in blood,” the unnamed witness said, according to The Guardian.
The security analyst group Stratfor said the gunmen appeared to be well-trained, “from the way they handled their weapons, moved and shot. These attackers conducted a successful attack, using what they knew, instead of attempting to conduct an attack beyond their capability, failing as a result.”
Both al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have repeatedly threatened to attack France. Just minutes before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the Islamic State’s leader giving New Year’s wishes:
Charlie Hebdo has been repeatedly threatened for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and other sketches. Its offices were firebombed in 2011 after an issue featured a caricature of the prophet on its cover. Nearly a year later, the publication again published Muhammad caricatures, drawing denunciations from the Muslim world because Islam prohibits the publication of drawings of its founder.
Another cartoon, released in this week’s issue and entitled “Still No Attacks in France,” had a caricature of a jihadi fighter saying “Just wait – we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s wishes.” Charb was the artist.
“This is the darkest day of the history of the French press,” said Christophe DeLoire of Reporters Without Borders.
The last tweet from the magazine came less than an hour before the reports of a shooting. It was a picture depicting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, with a message wishing him, “Best wishes.”
“The motive here is absolutely clear; trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad,” CBS News security consultant and former CIA deputy chief Mike Morell told “CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose. “What we have to figure out here is the perpetrators and whether they were self-radicalized or whether they were individuals who fought in Syria and Iraq and came back, or whether they were actually directed by ISIS or al Qaeda.”
Morrell added a warning that law enforcement and intelligence agencies would need to “worry about copycat attacks, not only in France but in the rest of the world, and I would even say in the broader world to include the United States.”
The New York Police Department released a statement, saying it had a detective stationed in Paris and “will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
“There are standing contingency plans in place to adjust police deployments based on any unfolding situation in the world. That includes how we use and where we position and deploy specialized police resources, said Deputy Commissioner Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller.
In the winter 2014 edition of the al Qaeda magazine Inspire, a so-called chief describing where to use a new bomb said: “Of course the first priority and the main focus should be on America, then the United Kingdom, then France and so on.”
In 2013, the magazine specifically threatened Charb and included an article titled “France the Imbecile Invader.”
An al Qaeda tweeter who communicated Wednesday with AP said the group is not claiming responsibility, but called the attack “inspiring.”
CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate also noted on “CBS This Morning” that “France has been dealing with the problem of French foreign fighters flowing into Syria and Iraq and coming back into France.”
He says it may be more likely, however, that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was carried out by “self-radicalized individuals, individuals who take their prompt from the propaganda of these groups and took it upon themselves, perhaps, to attack.”
Zarate pointed to the attack by young French Muslim man Mohamed Merah, who shot up a Jewish community center in the country’s south in March 2012, as an example of this sort of violence.
“France is not new to this, and the perpetrators could be a wide spectrum of individuals who were inspired to attack fellow French citizens,” said Zarate.
President Obama said he has reached out to Hollande to express his sympathies for the attack in Paris Wednesday. In remarks before a meeting with Secretary Kerry and Vice President Biden, Obama called the shootings “cowardly and evil.”
“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, an attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech, freedom of the press,” Obama said.
He continued, “A universal belief in freedom of expression is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.” The president promised the U.S. would stand with France and said that U.S. counterterrorism was providing assistance to the French to help hunt for those responsible for the shooting.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said his country stood united with France,
“We stand squarely for free speech and democracy. These people will never be able to take us off those values,” Cameron said in the House of Commons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also condemned the attack as a “cynical crime,” and pledged cooperation in fighting terrorism,
Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques, condemned the “hateful act,” and urged Muslims and Christians “to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue, to make a united front against extremism.”
On social media, supporters of militant Islamic groups praised the move. One self-described Tunisian loyalist of al Qaeda and the Islamic State group tweeted that the attack was well-deserved revenge against France.
Elsewhere on the Internet, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie was trending as people expressed support for weekly and for journalistic freedom.
Standing together in defiance, thousands gather across France to show support for 12 people slaughtered by ‘Al Qaeda’ gunmen in attack on Paris magazine as manhunt for terrorists continues
Masked gunmen storm Paris headquarters with AK-47s shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’ and ‘the Prophet has been avenged’
Stalked building asking for people’s names before killing the editor, three cartoonists and the deputy chief editor
Editor Stephane Charbonnier had famously shrugged off threats, saying: ‘I’d rather die standing than live kneeling’
Horrific footage shows a police officer begging for his life before being shot in the head at point-blank range
Cartoonist Corrine Rey told how she cowered with her young daughter as she watched two colleagues gunned down
Killers fled in stolen car across eastern Paris after a ‘mass shoot-out’ with police officers and remain on the loose
Militants believed to be from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which was behind plane bomb plots in U.S. and UK
Newspaper had earlier posted a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on its Twitter account
Publication’s offices were firebombed in 2011 for publishing satirical cartoon of Prophet Mohammed
White House had previously criticised Charlie Hebdo in 2012 for publishing its religiously sensitive cartoons
By SIMON TOMLINSON and PETER ALLEN and JAY AKBAR and CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE
Thousands of people gathered across Europe tonight to show their support to an anti-Islamist newspaper, after its offices in Paris were targeted today by suspected Al Qaeda militants who massacred 12 people.
Among those slaughtered was a police officer as he begged for mercy.
Masked attackers brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff after seeking out journalists by name in France’s deadliest post-war terrorist attack.
Clad all in black with hoods and speaking flawless French, the militants forced one of the cartoonists – who was at the office with her young daughter – to open the door.
Witnesses said the gunmen were heard shouting ‘we are from the Al Qaeda in Yemen’, ‘the Prophet has been avenged’ and ‘Allahu akbar!’ – Arabic for ‘God is great’ – as they stalked the building.
They headed straight for the paper’s editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard, who had been recruited to protect him after extremists firebombed the offices in 2011 over a satirical cartoon about the Prophet Mohammed.
A year later, Mr Charbonnier famously dismissed threats against his life, declaring: ‘I would rather die standing than live kneeling.’
The militants also killed three other renowned cartoonists – men who had regularly satirised Islam – and the newspaper’s deputy chief editor.
Despite a shoot-out with armed officers, the gunmen escaped in a hijacked car and remain on the loose this evening, leaving the French capital in virtual lockdown as police and soldiers flooded the streets to join the search.
President Barack Obama offered U.S. help in pursuing the gunmen, saying they had attacked freedom of expression.
But it also emerged that the White House had previously criticised Charlie Hebdo in 2012 over its Prophet Mohammed cartoon, saying the images would be ‘deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory.’
Meanwhile, horrific footage emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office minutes later.
In an apparent desperate plea for his life, the officer is seen slowly raising his hand towards one of the attackers, who responds by callously shooting him in the head at point-blank range.
Scroll down for videos and audio
Demonstration: Protesters at the Place de la Republique in Paris tonight, following an attack by gunmen on the offices of Charlie Hebdo
Elsewhere: People gather at the Place Royale in Nantes to show their solidarity for the victims of the attack on the offices of the satirical weekly
Brutal execution: A police officer pleads for mercy on the pavement in Paris before being shot in the head by masked gunmen during an attack on the headquarters of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, a notoriously anti-Islamic publication
Gunned down in cold blood: Horrific footage shows the injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two of the gunmen approach. In a desperate plea for his life, the officer slowly raises his hand towards one of the attackers, who callously shoots him at point-blank range
‘Massacre’: The gunmen are seen brandishing Kalashnikovs as they move in on the injured police officer from their vehicle outside the office
Emergency: Police officers and firefighters gather in front of the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today after gunmen stormed the building
Critical: Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher in front of the offices of French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo after the shooting
Terrifying video shows trained terrorists gunning down police
Despite a fierce firefight with police, the men were able to get away in a hijacked car, and, within an hour of the atrocity, appeared to have disappeared without trace.
France raised its security alert to the highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation.
President Francois Hollande described the bloodbath as a ‘barbaric attack against France and against journalists’ and vowed to hunt down those responsible.
Jacques Myard, French MP with opposition party UMP, said: ‘We knew something would happen. The (security) services used to say to us it’s not if but when and where. We know that we are at war. The Western nations – like Britain, France, Germany – we are at war.’
The Queen today sent her ‘sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed’ in the attack, while Prime Minister David Cameron described the murders as ‘sickening’.
Social media users have responded to the Charlie Hebdo massacre with an outpouring of solidarity using the hashtag #jesuischarlie which is trending on Twitter.
By 4.15pm, nearly five hours after the attack, it had already been tweeted more than 250,000 times, according to one social analytics website.
Thousands of people also jammed Republique Square near the site of the shooting to honor the victims, holding aloft pens and papers reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ – ‘I am Charlie.’
Guy Verhofstadt, the President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe tweeted: ‘A tragic day for the freedom of speech #jesuischarlie.’
Marches have also been organised through Paris and London in support of journalistic freedom.
As well as the AK47 assault rifles, there were also reports of a rocket-propelled grenade being used in the attack, which took place during the publication’s weekly editorial meeting at around 12pm (11pm GMT), meaning all the journalists would have been present.
A young mother and cartoonist who survived the massacre told how she had let the suspected Al Qaeda killers into the office.
Corrine Rey said she had returned from picking up her young daughter from a kindergarten when she was confronted by two heavily armed men wearing balaclavas.
‘I had gone to pick up my daughter at day care, arriving in front of the building, where two masked and armed men brutally threatened us,’ said Ms Rey, who draws under the name ‘Coco’.
‘They said they wanted to go up to the offices, so I tapped in the code,’ said Ms Rey, referring to the digi-code security system on the interphone.
Ms Rey and her daughter hid under a desk, from where they saw two other cartoonists being executed. ‘They shot Wolinski and Cabu,’ she said. ‘It lasted five minutes. I had taken refuge under a desk.’
Terrifying sounds of gunshots from rooftop above Paris offices
Faces of the victims: Among the journalists killed were (l to r) Charlie Hebdo’s deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Stephane Charbonnier, who is also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac, also known as Tignous
At large: The gunmen are seen near the offices of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo before fleeing in a car. They remain on the loose
Forensic experts examine the car believed to have been used as the escape vehicle by gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office
A truck tows the car apprently used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people
A police photographer (partially hidden) works with investigators as they examine the impacts from machine gun fire on a police vehicle
Ms Rey said the men ‘spoke French perfectly’ and ‘claimed they were ‘Al Qaeda terrorists’.
Gunmen reportedly told another witness: ‘You say to the media, it was Al Qaeda in Yemen.’
A police source told the Liberation newspaper the gunmen were asking for the Mr Charbonnier by name, shouting: ‘Where is Charb? Where is Charb?’
The source added: ‘They killed him then sprayed everyone else.’
Mr Charbonnier was included in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda.
The latest tweet published by the newspaper’s official Twitter account earlier in the day featured a cartoon of Abu Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, who wishes everyone ‘good health’.
Cartoonists Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were all also reported dead.
Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet later announced on Twitter that a contributor, Bernard Maris, was another of the victims.
Meanwhile, there were reports of a car explosion outside a synagogue in Sarcelles, a commune in the northern suburbs of Paris, just hours after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
The blast, which happened at around 1.30pm GMT, is not thought to be connected to the massacre, according to Paris Metro which quoted the mayor of Sarcelles.
Florence Pouvil, a salesperson at Lunas France on Rue Nicolas Appert, opposite the Charlie Hebdo offices, told MailOnline: ‘I saw two people with big guns, like Kalashnikovs outside our office and then we heard firing. We were very confused.’
‘There were two guys who came out of the building and shot everywhere. We hid on the floor, we were terrified.
‘They came from the building opposite with big guns. It has a bunch of different companies inside. Some of our co-workers work there so we were frightened for them.
‘They weren’t just firing inside the Charlie Hebdo offices. They were firing in the street too.
‘We feared for our lives so we hid under our desks so they wouldn’t see us. Both men were dressed in black from head to toe and their faces were covered so I didn’t see them.
‘They were wearing military clothes, it wasn’t common clothing, like they were soldiers.’
According to the New York Times, one journalist at the Charlie Hebdo office, who asked not to be named, texted a friend after the shooting to say: ‘I’m alive. There is death all around me. Yes, I am there. The jihadists spared me.’
A man is carried into an ambulance. Ten people were reportedly in wounded, four critically, in the attack by suspected Al Qaeda militants
Life-threatening: An injured person is evacuated outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office
Several people were left critically wounded when terrorists carried out a ‘military-style’ attack on the newspaper office
Shell-shocked: A woman cries outside the office. Witnesses reported hearing loud gunfire and at least one explosion during the attack
Trail of destruction: Police inspect the damage after a collision between police cars at the scene during a firefight with Islamic militants
ARE PARIS GUNMEN FROM YEMENI AL QAEDA CELL BEHIND PLANE BOMB PLOTS IN THE U.S. AND BRITAIN?
The gunmen being hunted by police over the Charlie Hebdo attack are believed to be from militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The group was established by Yusef al-Ayeri in 2003 in Saudi Arabia, but was forced to flee to Yemen after a series of attacks drove them back.
Yemen’s weak government allowed the group to rally and gain members, though they are only thought to have around 400 troops today.
While their attacks initially focused on targets in the Middle East, such as an attempted suicide attack on Saudi Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, they quickly spread to Western targets.
On Christmas Day in 2009, they were implicated in the underwear bomb plot after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was discovered on a Detroit-bound plane trying to detonate liquid explosives in his underpants.
The following year AQAP also took responsibility for a plot to blow up two devices hidden inside printer cartridges loaded on to cargo planes travelling from Yemen to the United States.
One device was discovered during a stopover at East Midlands Airport in Britain, while another was uncovered in Dubai.
According to Stanford University the group is currently lead by Yemen-born Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who is an apprentice of Osama Bin Laden and was imprisoned for a time in Yemen, but escaped in 2006 along with 22 others.
The group has a global jihadist agenda. Like ISIS, they aim to create a single Arab caliphate, covering Pakistan Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and the Levant – the area encompassing Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Israel.
If today’s attack is confirmed as coming from AQAP, it will be the first time the group has used lone-wolf style tactics, in which gunmen act alone or in small groups to attack targets.
Officers were involved in a gunfight with the men, who escaped in a hijacked car and sped away from the office towards east Paris
On red alert: After the first shots rang out, it is thought that three policemen on bicycles were the first to respond to the atrocity
Benoit Bringer, a journalist with Agence Premiere Ligne, told the iTele network he saw several masked men armed with machine guns
Carnage: A police official, Luc Poignant, said he was aware of one journalist dead and several injured, including three police officers
Terror: In footage filmed from a rooftop, people are seen running for cover as the gunmen rampage through the building
A picture posted on Twitter appearing to show people taking refuge on the roof of the Charlie Hebdo office
Targeted: A picture posted on Twitter reportedly showing bullets in one of the windows of the Charlie Hebdo offices
Harrowing Instagram video captures audio of gunfire in Paris
Another witness, Gilles Boulanger, who works in the same building, told Itele: ‘A neighbour called to warn me that there were armed men in the building and that we had to shut all the doors.
‘And several minutes later, there were several shots heard in the building from automatic weapons firing in all directions. So then we looked out of the window and saw the shooting was on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, with the police. It was really upsetting. You’d think it was a war zone.’
French journalist, Stefan De Vries, told Sky News: ‘There was protection at the door but they killed the police officers, they executed them and they started shooting in the offices.’
An unnamed eyewitness told the BBC World Service: ‘When I arrived at the scene it was quite disturbing as you can imagine. There were several corpses on the floor.
‘We saw the number of casualties was very high, so we just tried to help as we could – there were a lot of people down on the floor and there was blood everywhere.
‘I’m very traumatised by this attack and everything and now we’re in psychological hell where we’re being attended to by professionals.’
Benoit Bringer, a journalist at the scene who works next door, took refuge on the roof of the building, which is in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.
He said: ‘There were very many people in the building. We evacuated via the roof just next to the office. After around ten minutes we saw two heavily armed, masked men in the street’.
Another witness said: ‘There was a loud gunfire and at least one explosion. When police arrived there was a mass shoot-out. The men got away by car, stealing a car.’
A police official, Luc Poignant, said: ‘It’s carnage.’
After the shooting, hundreds of comments were posted on the Charlie Hebdo Twitter page, with one user, David Rault, writing: ‘A sad day for freedom of expression.’
Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard escaped the massacre because he was in London.
He told France Inter: ‘I am shocked that people can have attacked a newspaper in France, a secular republic. I don’t understand it.
‘I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.’
France reinforced security at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transport after masked gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices
Mr Biard said he did not believe the attack was linked to the newspaper’s latest front page, which featured novelist Michel Houellebecq, who has previously sparked controversy with comments about Islam.
And he said the newspaper had not received threats of violence: ‘Not to my knowledge, and I don’t think anyone had received them as individuals, because they would have talked about it. There was no particular tension at the moment.’
A visibly shocked French President François Hollande, speaking live near the scene of the shooting, said: ‘France is today in shock, in front of a terrorist attack.
‘This newspaper was threatened several rimes in the past and we need to show we are a united country.
‘We have to be firm, and we have to be stand strong with the international community in the coming days and weeks.
‘We are at a very difficult moment following several terrorist attacks. We are threated because we are a country of freedom
‘We will punish the attackers. We will look for the people responsible.’
Defiant: Stephane Charbonnier, known by his pen name Charb, was editor of Charlie Hebdo, and gunned down by men with assault weapons
Mr Charbonnier was named as one of nine men the extreme Islamist group were targetting (pictured centre right). Their photographs were printed alongside the caption ‘a bullet a day keeps the infidel away’
Tragic: Cartoonist Georges Wolinski was named by officials as one of those shot dead at the offices of Charlie Hebdo
Lead cartoonist Jean ‘Cabu’ Cabut (left) was among the 12 massacred by terrorists in Paris today, along with Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac (right)
Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gilet announced on Twitter that a contributor, Bernard Maris (above right) was another of the victims
Committee to Protect Journalists reacts to Paris attack
The Queen today sent her ‘sincere condolences to the families of those who have been killed’ in the attack.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron described the murders as ‘sickening’.
He added: ‘We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.’
The British Foreign Office immediately updated is advice for travellers heading to Pairs, warning: ‘There is a high threat from terrorism.’
It added: ‘If you’re in Paris or the Ile de France area take extra care and follow advice of French authorities.’
Luce Lapin and Laurent Leger, who have both worked at Charlie Hebdo, were using Twitter hours before the attack, with the most recent tweet posted by Lapin praising cartoonist Cabu.
It read: ‘Cabu, a great man! And honest, he doesn’t eat foie gras.’
While Leger’s made a political point about taxes.
It said: ‘Macron [French ministry of economy] wants more billionaires in France, the same that use tricks for not paying ISF [solidarity tax on wealth].’
Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques, condemned the ‘hateful act,’ and urged Muslims and Christians ‘to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue to make a united front against extremism’.
David Cameron condemns barbaric gun attack in Paris
Location: Officers were involved in a gunfight with the men, who escaped in a hijacked car and sped away from the office towards east Paris
‘100 LASHES IF YOU DON’T DIE OF LAUGHTER’: HOW CHARLIE HEBDO HAS BECOME A BYWORD FOR ANTI-ISLAMISM
Charlie Hebdo has become a byword for offensive statements in France after taking several highly provocative swipes at Islam.
The newspaper once named Prophet Mohammed as its guest editor, published cartoons of the holy figure in the nude, and once renamed itself Sharia Hebdo with the cover slogan ‘100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter’.
The controversy began in 2006 when the publication reprinted now-infamous cartoons of Prophet Mohammed by Danish artist Kurt Westergaard.
When the images originally appeared they lead to days of protests across the Middle East and in Western cities. The decision to reprint the images landed the then-editor in court under anti-terror laws, though he was later acquitted.
The Hebdo offices were burned to the ground in 2011 when attackers used Molotov cocktails to start a blaze early in the morning of November 2.
There was nobody in the building at the time, and the target was instead thought to be the newspaper’s computer system, which was completely destroyed.
Riot police were forced to stand guard outside the building for days following the attack, as the editors took a defiant stance, choosing to reprint the cartoon images multiple times.
In 2012 they again printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as a deliberately provocative gesture while violent protests were taking place across the Middle East.
The following year the newspaper’s office again had to be surrounded by riot officers after they published a cartoon booklet depicting the Prohpet naked as a baby and being pushed in a wheelchair.
On the final page of the booklet there was a note from the editor, Stephane Charbonnier, saying the images were ‘halal’ because Muslims had worked on them, and that they were factually accurate as they had been derived from descriptions in the Koran.
The satirical publication, widely seen as France’s answer to Private Eye, prides itself on a mixture of tongue-in-cheek reporting and investigative journalism.
Hebdo’s current office building has no notices on the door to prevent a repeat of the attacks that have occurred in the past.
In an interview with De Volkskrant in January 2013, Mr Charbonnier revealed he had been placed under constant police protection for four months after one of the cartoon issues was published.
He shrugged off criticism that he was only publishing the images to gain notoriety for Hebdo, and insisted that he was instead defending the right to free speech.
Mr Charbonnier pointed out that the newspaper had poked fun at feminism, nuclear energy and homeland security, but the Islam issues always attracted the most publicity.
Charlie Hebdo was previously attacked with a firebomb in 2011
The offices of the same newspaper were burnt down in a petrol attack in 2011 after running a magazine cover of the Prophet Mohammed as a cartoon character.
At the time, the editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press.
He said: ‘If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.’
Mr Charbonnier, also known as Charb, said he did not see the attack on the newspaper as the work of French Muslims, but of what he called ‘idiot extremists’.
‘We have to be stand strong with the international community’: A visibly shocked French President François Hollande arrives at the scene, where he promised to bring those responsible to justice
The cover showed Mohammed saying: ‘100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter’.
This week’s Charlie Hebdo also featured the author Houellebecq, whose new novel imagines Muslims taking over the French government in 2022.
Inside, there was an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons – one showing the Prophet with a clown’s red nose.
Depiction of the Prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam, but the newspaper denied it was trying to be provocative.
A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in November 2011 after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.
PARIS — At least two masked gunmen on Wednesday burst into the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper that had drawn threats for lampooning Islam, killing 12 people in a methodical hail of gunfire, fleeing by car as they battled on the street with the police and setting off a wide manhunt for the killers.
There were unconfirmed news reports late Wednesday that the police had arrested three suspects, all French nationals, including two brothers.
The terrorist attack on the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was among the deadliest in postwar France, setting the nation on edge, sending shockwaves through Europe and threatening to deepen the distrust of France’s large Muslim population. The attack came at a time when Islamic radicalism has become a central concern of security officials across Europe.
The attack, carried out with automatic weapons, was carried out with an unusual degree of military-style precision. President François Hollande of France calledit a display of extraordinary “barbarism” that was “without a doubt” an act of terrorism. He declared Thursday a national day of mourning.
He also raised the nationwide terror alert to its highest status, saying several terrorist attacks had been thwarted in recent weeks as security officials here and elsewhere in Europe have grown increasingly wary of the return of young citizens from Syria and Iraq, where they went to wage jihad.
The French authorities put some schools on lockdown for the day, and added security at houses of worship, news media offices and transportation centers, and conducted random searches on the Paris Metro.
The Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said witnesses said the attackers had screamed “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great” during the attack, which the police characterized as a “slaughter.”
Corinne Rey, a cartoonist known as Coco, who was at the newspaper office during the attack, told Le Monde that the attackers spoke fluent French and had said they were part of Al Qaeda.
An amateur video of the assailants’ subsequent gunfight with the police, showed the men shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!” The video, the source of which could not be verified, also showed the gunmen killing a police officer as he lay wounded on a nearby street.
The victims at Charlie Hebdo included some of the country’s most revered and iconoclastic cartoonists. The weekly’s editorial director, Stéphane Charbonnier, had already been received light police protection after earlier threats, the police and the prosecutor said. An officer assigned to guard the newspaper’s offices and its top editor was among the victims.
As news of the attack spread, an outpouring of grief mixed with expressions of dismay and demonstrations of solidarity for free speech. By the evening, not far from the site of the attack in the east of Paris, thousands gathered at Place de La République — young and old, and various classes — some chanting, “Charlie! Charlie!” or holding signs reading, “I am Charlie” — the message posted on the newspaper’s website.
Spontaneous vigils of hundreds and thousands formed in other cities around France and elsewhere in Europe.
Mr. Molin, thprosecutor, said that two men armed with AK-47 rifles and wearing black hoods, had forced their way into the weekly’s offices about 11:30 a.m., firing at people in the lobby, before making their way to the newsroom on the second floor, interrupting a news meeting and firing at the assembled journalists.
The attackers then fled outside, where they clashed three times with the police, shooting one officer as he lay on the ground on a nearby street. They then fled in a black Citroen, and headed north on the right bank of Paris. During their escape, prosecutors said, they crashed into another car and injured its female driver, before robbing and abducting a bystander.
The police said the precision with which the assailants handled their weapons suggested that they had received military training. During the attack, which the police said lasted a matter of minutes, several journalists hid under their desks or went to hide on the roof, witnesses said.
Meziani Zina, 32, who works at the reception of an employment center across from the building, said she heard several loud shots ringing from the weekly’s headquarters.
One journalist who was at the weekly during the attack and asked that her name not be used, texted a friend after the shooting: “I’m alive. There is death all around me. Yes, I am there. The jihadists spared me.”
Treasured by many, hated by some, and indiscriminate in its offensiveness, Charlie Hebdo has long reveled in provoking.
In 2011, the office of the weekly was badly damaged by a firebomb after it published a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad to salute the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections. It had announced plans to publish a special issue renamed “Charia Hebdo,” a play on the word in French for Shariah law.
Police said the dead included four celebrated cartoonists at the weekly, including its Mr. Charbonnier, known as Charb, Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac.
Mr. Charbonnier stoked controversy and earned the ire of the Muslim community in 2006, when he republished satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that had been published in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. His last cartoon for Charlie Hebdo featured an armed man who appeared to be a Muslim fighter with a headline that read: “Still no attacks in France. Wait! We have until the end of January to give our best wishes.”
The police said that an abandoned black Citroen with silvered wing-mirrors, used by the gunmen, was later discovered in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
A senior United States counterterrorism official said on Wednesday that the American authorities were following the developments in Paris closely, but that they had not yet identified any individuals or groups who might be responsible for the attack.
Michael J. Morell, the former deputy director of the C.I.A. and now a consultant to CBS News, said it was unclear whether the attackers acted on their own or were directed by organized groups.
“This is the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the attacks in London in July of 2005,” Mr. Morell said. “The motive here is absolutely clear: trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad. So, no doubt in my mind that this is terrorism.”
He added, “What we have to figure out here is the perpetrators and whether they were self-radicalized or whether they were individuals who fought in Syria and Iraq and came back, or whether they were actually directed by ISIS or Al Qaeda.”
Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris, one of France’s largest, expressed horror at the assault on Charlie Hebdo. “We are shocked and surprised that something like this could happen in the center of Paris. But where are we?” he was quoted as saying by Europe1, a radio broadcaster.
“We strongly condemn these kinds of acts and we expect the authorities to take the most appropriate measures.” He added: “This is a deafening declaration of war. Times have changed, and we are now entering a new era of confrontation.”
The attack comes as thousands of Europeans have gone to join jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria, further fueling concerns about Islamic radicalism and terrorism being imported. Those concerns have been particularly acute in France where fears have grown that militants are seeking to target French citizens in retaliation for the government’s support for the United States-led air campaign against jihadists with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
In Dijon and Nantes, a total of 23 people were injured when men drove vehicles into crowds, with one of the drivers shouting an Islamic rallying cry. The authorities depicted both drivers as mentally unstable. The attacks came after violence attributed to lone-wolf attackers in London in 2013, inCanada in October and last month in Sydney, Australia.
In September, fighters in Algeria aligned with the Islamic State beheaded Hervé Gourdel, a 55-year-old mountaineering guide from Nice, and released a video documenting the brutal killing. Mr. Gourdel was kidnapped after the Islamic State called on its supporters to target Europeans to avenge the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
President Obama issued a statement condemning the attack. “Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended,” he said. “France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials, and I have directed my administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”
The former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, called the assault a “direct and savage attack against one of our most revered republican ideals: the freedom of expression.”
In a condolence letter addressed to President Holland, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany expressed condolences on behalf of the German people.
“This horrible act is not only an attack on the lives of French citizens and the domestic security of France,” Ms. Merkel said. “It also stands as an attack on the freedom of expression and the press, a core element of our free, democratic culture that can in no way be justified.”
Correction: January 7, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the location of the abandoned car believed to have been used by the gunmen, using information from the police. It was found in the 19th Arrondissement, not the 20th.
Charlie Hebdo (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁli ɛbdo]; French for Charlie Weekly) is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication is strongly antireligious and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics,culture, etc. According to its former editor, Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), the magazine’s editorial viewpoint reflects “all components of left wing pluralism, and even abstainers”.
In 1969, the Hara-Kiri team decided to produce a weekly publication – on top of the existing monthly magazine – which would focus more on current affairs. This was launched in February as Hara-Kiri Hebdo and renamed L’Hebdo Hara-Kiri in May of the same year. (‘Hebdo’ is short for ‘hebdomadaire’ – ‘weekly’)
In November 1970, the former French president Charles de Gaulle died in his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, eight days after a disaster in a nightclub, theClub Cinq-Sept fire caused the death of 146 people. The magazine released a cover spoofing the popular press’s coverage of this disaster, headlined “Tragic Ball at Colombey, one dead.” As a result, the journal was once more banned, this time by the Minister of the Interior.
In order to sidestep the ban, the team decided to change its title, and used Charlie Hebdo. The new name was derived from a monthly comics magazine calledCharlie Mensuel (Charlie Monthly), which had been started by Bernier and Delfeil de Ton in 1968. Charlie took its name from Charlie Brown, the lead character ofPeanuts – one of the comics originally published in Charlie Mensuel – and was also an inside joke about Charles de Gaulle. In December 1981, publication ceased.
In 1991, Gébé, Cabu and others were reunited to work for La Grosse Bertha, a new weekly magazine resembling Charlie created in reaction to the First Gulf War and edited by comic singer Philippe Val. However, the following year, Val clashed with the publisher, who wanted apolitical mischief, and was fired. Gébé and Cabu walked out with him and decided to launch their own paper again. The three called upon Cavanna, Delfeil de Ton and Wolinski, requesting their help and input. After much searching for a new name, the obvious idea of resurrecting Charlie-Hebdo was agreed on. The new magazine was owned by Val, Gébé, Cabu and singer Renaud Séchan. Val was editor, Gébé artistic director.
The publication of the new Charlie Hebdo began in July 1992 amidst much publicity. The first issue under the new publication sold 100,000 copies. Choron, who had fallen out with his former colleagues, tried to restart a weekly Hara-Kiri, but its publication was short-lived. Choron died in January 2005.
In 2000, journalist Mona Chollet was sacked after she had protested against a Philippe Val article which called Palestinians “non-civilized”. In 2004, following the death of Gébé, Val succeeded him as director of the publication, while still holding his position as editor.
Controversy arose over the publication’s edition of 9 February 2006. Under the title “Mahomet débordé par les intégristes” (“Muhammad overwhelmed by fundamentalists”), the front page showed a cartoon of a weeping Prophet Muhammad saying “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons” (“it’s hard being loved by jerks”). The newspaper reprinted the twelve cartoons of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy and added some of their own. Compared to a regular circulation of 100,000 sold copies, this edition enjoyed great commercial success. 160,000 copies were sold and another 150,000 were in print later that day.
The suit by the Grand Mosque and the UOIF reached the courts in February 2007. Publisher Philippe Val contended “It is racist to imagine that they can’t understand a joke” but Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the Grand Mosque, explained the suit: “Two of those caricatures make a link between Muslims and Muslim terrorists. That has a name and it’s called racism.”
On 22 March 2007, executive editor Philippe Val was acquitted by the court. The court followed the state attorney’s reasoning that two of the three cartoons were not an attack on Islam, but on Muslim terrorists, and that the third cartoon with Mohammed with a bomb in his turban should be seen in the context of the magazine in question which attacked religious fundamentalism.
In 2008, controversy broke over a column by veteran cartoonist Siné which led to accusations of antisemitism and Siné’s sacking by Val. Siné sued the newspaper for unfair dismissal and Charlie Hebdo was sentenced to pay him €90,000 in damages. Siné launched a rival paper called Siné Hebdo which later became Siné Mensuel. Charlie Hebdo launched its Internet site, after years of reluctance from Val.
In 2009, Philippe Val resigned after being appointed director of France Inter, a public radio station to which he has contributed since the early 1990s. His functions were split between two cartoonists, Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier) and Riss (Laurent Sourisseau). Val gave away his shares in 2011.
The paper’s controversial 3 November 2011 issue, renamed “Charia Hebdo” (a reference to Sharia law) and “guest-edited” by Muhammad, depicted Muhammad saying: “100 lashes of the whip if you don’t die laughing.”
Debris outside the paper’s offices following the November 2011 attack
In the early hours of 2 November 2011, the newspaper’s office in the 20th arrondissement was fire-bombed and its websitehacked. The attacks were presumed linked to its decision to rename a special edition “Charia Hebdo”, with the Islamic Prophet Mohammed listed as the “editor-in-chief”. The cover, featuring a cartoon of Mohammed by Luz (Renald Luzier), had circulated on social media for a couple of days.
Charb was quoted by AP stating that the attack might have been carried out by “stupid people who don’t know what Islam is” and that they are “idiots who betray their own religion”. Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, said his organisation deplores “the very mocking tone of the paper toward Islam and its prophet but reaffirms with force its total opposition to all acts and all forms of violence.”François Fillon, the prime minister, and Claude Guéant, the interior minister, voiced support for Charlie Hebdo, as did feminist writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who criticised calls for self-censorship.
In September 2012, the newspaper published a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammed, some of which feature nude caricatures of him. Given that this came days after a series of attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East, purportedly in response to the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, the French government decided to increase security at certain French embassies, as well as to close the French embassies, consulates, cultural centers, and international schools in about 20 Muslim countries. In addition, riot police surrounded the offices of the magazine to protect against possible attacks.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticised the magazine’s decision, saying, “In France, there is a principle of freedom of expression, which should not be undermined. In the present context, given this absurd video that has been aired, strong emotions have been awakened in many Muslim countries. Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?” However, the newspaper’s editor defended publication of the cartoons, saying, “We do caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, and when we do it with the Prophet, it’s called provocation.”
^ Jump up to:abMcNab 2006, p. 26: “Georges Bernier, the real name of ‘Professor Choron’, [… was] cofounder and director of the satirical magazine Hara Kiri, whose title was changed (to circumvent a ban, it seems!) to Charlie Hebdo in 1970.”
Story 1: Part II More On Jonathan Gruber, Basically PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) on Healthcare, Obamacare and Lack of Transparency — The American Voters Were Not Stupid And Rejected Democrats Who Supported Obamacare By Voting Them Out of Office — But The Democratic Progressive Elitist Establishment Are Liars and Losers — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Death Knell of Socialized Medicine — Repeal Obamacare Now! — Videos
Stupid Is As Stupid Does
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
Stupid is as stupid does, Mrs. Blue..
How Did The Media Cover Jonathan Gruber
SMOKING GUN! Gruber Admits Obama Was in Room During Planning of Cadillac Lie
Gruber’s ObamaCare Remarks?
CNN airs New Video of Jonathan Gruber: Exploit the Lack of American Voters’ Economic Understanding
Trey Gowdy on Gruber comments
Megyn Kelly: Democrats Committed Fraud By Not Representing Obamacare as a Tax
Greater Boston Video: Jonathan Gruber Pushes Back
Krauthammer rips Jonathan Gruber: “We’re hearing the true voice of liberal arrogance”
GRUBER: “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”
The Worst of Jonathan Gruber
Flashback: Obama: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.
The Changing Touchstone of Transparency
Nets Ignore ObamaCare Architect Crediting Law’s Passage On ‘The Stupidity Of The American Voter’
Megyn Slams ObamaCare Architect Who Declined to Appear on ‘Kelly File’
WHY IS OBAMA NOT IN PRISON FOR STEALING TAXPAYER MONEY?
ObamaCare: Bill’s architect Gruber admits lies, deception necessary because Americans are stupid
Dems including Harry Reid, Sebelius, and Obama admit Single Payer Healthcare is ultimate goal
Democrats Push for a Single Payer Health Care System Katie Pavlich Charles Payne 8 12 13
Socialize Medicine! – Influential Democrat Calling For Single Payer System Amid Obamacare Trouble
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” – Barack Obama
Jon Stewart on You Can Keep Your Plan. Period.
Jonathan Gruber on MSNBC says he “regrets” calling the American voter stupid
Conversation: “Health Care Reform,” The Comic Book
Gruber Files- Harvard University
The Cadillac Tax
Obama admits he DID raise taxes
Obamacare’s Cadillac Tax Pushing People To Plans With High Deductible- Union You Got What You Wanted
Jonathan Gruber brags about the “basic exploitation” of American voters
What is the “cadillac tax?” M3 Insurance HCR
Unions & Cadilac Health Care Plans
Obama’s Health Care Lies And Reversals
Obama lies about “cadillac” plan taxation.
Rep Joe Courtney Discusses “Cadillac Tax” with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business News Channel
HealthCare Reform – Modified Community Rating Part 1 – Federal Marketplace
HealthCare Reform – Modified Community Rating Part 2 – Federal Marketplace
Community Rating – How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Small Business Owners
Forrest Gump TRAILER
Honest Trailers – Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump’s most beautiful quote
Funeral Toll & Peal, Mount Angel Abbey
When a monk passes away during the night, the toll is sounded early the following morning. It is repeated after the funeral Mass, when the monks process down to the cemetery, and ends with a peal of all the bells. These are the last few tolls of the sequence on the largest bell in the Pacific Northwest.
Please pray for the eternal repose of the soul of this monk, that he may enter into everlasting life with Christ.
Martin Luther King – For whom the bell tolls
Nancy Pelosi says she doesn’t know who Jonathan Gruber is. She touted his work in 2009.
Many have pointed out since then that Pelosi’s office has cited Gruber’s work in the past. That’s notable, but it’s very unlikely Pelosi herself wrote those press releases herself or even participated in their drafting.
But then there’s this: Pelosi herself has also mentioned Gruber and his work — back in November 2009, at the height of the Obamacare debate.
Here’s the transcript, via Nexis:
Q: As you know, the Republicans released their health- care bill this week. And I wanted to get your comment on the bill, and specifically on the CBO analysis that it would cost significantly less than the Democratic plan and that it would lower premiums.
PELOSI: Let me just say this. Anything you need to know about the difference between the Democratic bill and the Republican bill is that the Republicans do not end the health insurance companies’ discrimination against people with preexisting conditions. They let that stand. That’s scandalous, the fact that it exists. I don’t understand why they have not heard the American people, who have said preexisting conditions should not be a source of discrimination.
And secondly, the Republican plan ensures about 3 million more people than now, and ours does 36 million people. So that’s a very big difference in that.
We’re not finished getting all of our reports back from CBO, but we’ll have a side by side to compare. But our bill brings down rates. I don’t know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT’s analysis of what the comparison is to the status quo versus what will happen in our bill for those who seek insurance within the exchange. And our bill takes down those costs, even some now, and much less preventing the upward spiral.
So again, we’re confident about what we set out to do in the bill: middle class affordability, security for our seniors, and accountability to our children.
Pelosi’s office told the Washington Post that the minority leader meant that she didn’t know Gruber personally.
“She said she doesn’t ‘know who he is,’ not that she’s never heard of him,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.
Hammill added: “We’ve cited the work of dozens upon dozens of economists over the years. As the leader said today, Mr. Gruber played no role in drafting our bill.”
Pelosi clearly wants to distance herself and Obamacare from Gruber, given Gruber’s controversial comments about “the stupidity of the American voter,” and Democrats are going to argue that Gruber wasn’t instrumental in the bill. But, as an architect of the Massachusetts health-care law and a consultant to the White House on Obamacare, he’s been regularly cited by Democrats as an authority on this issue — including, apparently, by Pelosi.
This Philly-Based Investment Adviser Has Become Obamacare’s Digital Menace
You could pardon Rich Weinstein for gloating. These past few days, he’s enjoyed the type of journalistic high that comes with unearthing a particularly meaty scoop.
Except Weinstein is no journalist. He’s a Philadelphia-based investment adviser approaching 50 who, until a half-year ago, was unknown to the political world. A set of videos he found of Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who played an important role in drafting the Affordable Care Act, changed all that. The videos have become rich context for a legal challenge to the law now heading to the Supreme Court, and they’ve made Weinstein the celebration of conservative circles.
“This is going to sound a little cocky and I don’t want it to be,” Weinstein told The Huffington Post Tuesday in one of the the media interviews he’s given on his feat. “But I’m not partially responsible for finding those clips. I’m completely responsible.”
Weinstein’s story, in some respects, would be the stuff of a made-for-TV movie — if the director is a member of the tea party and eager to dramatize the Affordable Care Act’s unraveling (those two points, admittedly, are redundant).
Weinstein, who runs his own company, and his family lost their health insurance after Obamacare forced higher standards for policies. On the exchange, the only plan with similar benefits was twice the cost of his old one. Irritated, he began looking into who put together the Affordable Care Act, searching Google with the term “ACA architects.” Days consumed with researching old videos became nights.
“Remember when the husbands used to come home at night in the ’50s and ’60s and grab a newspaper and read it?” said Weinstein. “Well, I’m like that with the iPad. It was a lot of time. For the past year, I put a lot of time into this.”
His break came last winter. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, outlined a long-shot legal argument that said a direct interpretation of Affordable Care Act precluded giving subsidies to people on federally run exchanges. Weinstein had seen that argument before, albeit from a different vantage point. Months earlier, he had stumbled across video of Gruber stating that the subsidies to help low-income Americans buy insurance are reserved for state-established exchanges, if only to give states an incentive to establish an exchange
Weinstein had a smoking gun, but no one to show it to.
“I’ve got the tinfoil hat,” Weinstein said, excusing the reporters who ignored his early entreaties. “People in the media must be overwhelmed with idiots like me who think they have something.”
So he took time off — three to four months — and watched his kids play lacrosse. Then, in July, two conservative justices on a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the subsidies for those shopping on federally run exchanges were, indeed, illegal. People were talking about the issue again.
Weinstein dropped comments about his Gruber video onto The Washington Post’s Volokh Conspiracy blog. Eventually, Ryan Radia, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank, noticed and turned it into a blog post.
Dominos began to fall. Weinstein’s first video was included in the legal challenge to Obamacare. And that challenge — King v. Burwell — ended up making its way to the Supreme Court. “Which is crazy,” Weinstein said. “Crazy because I found it. Not crazy because it is a crazy legal case.”
This week, another of Weinstein’s videos emerged. This one is of Gruber saying that a bit of budgetary deception helped Obamacare pass in Congress (“call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever,” said the professor). This, too, found its way into the mainstream conversation. Gruber on Tuesday went on MSNBC to apologize for his language, though he may have return. Weinstein said he has another video of a similar comment that he will soon release.
Should the Supreme Court ultimately rule against subsidies being available on federally run insurance exchanges, it would, in some ways, make the perfect ending to a conservative-inspired Horatio Alger story.
“I’m kind of a nobody,” said Weinstein. “And, I think, people who are out there, just the average person who gets hacked off about something or has an interest about something, I think I’m a perfect lesson that any one person can make a difference. Anybody. Even guy with the tinfoil hat in his mom’s basement.”
Except life and politics aren’t that simple. There is texture. Weinstein doesn’t live in his mom’s basement. He just says it for rhetorical flair. For those who would like to dismiss him as a knee-jerk partisan, he’s not that, either. He voted for Bill Clinton, he said, before he cast a ballot for Ross Perot and, most recently, Mitt Romney. Certainly, he’s no longer a “nobody” in the fight against Obamacare. Elements of the conservative movement have geared up to both promote and protect his work.
Phil Kerpen, who founded the group American Commitment and formerly was vice president for the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, helped spread the second of Weinstein’s videos. Once Kerpen found out an article was in the works, he sent a tweet suggesting The Huffington Post was “doxxing” Weinstein for attacking Gruber. The tweet came just minutes after The Huffington Post asked Weinstein whether he had used an online alias before commenting on The Volokh Conspiracy.
But the real nuance is in the history and the policy details. Gruber was an architect of Obamacare. But he wasn’t the only architect. The staffs to former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), among others, deserve their fair share of credit or blame, depending on one’s perspective.
On the issue of subsidies, the Gruber statement that Weinstein unearthed remains a gem for a reason. It’s because it’s rare (Gruber called it a “speak-o” — like a typo). There has been one other instance unearthed of Gruber discussing tax incentives as a means of compelling a state to set up an exchange.
For defenders of the law, that’s still thin gruel compared with the widely accepted belief during and after the crafting of the bill that subsidies would be universal. (The IRS ruled this way in May 2012, five months after Gruber’s speech.)
For critics, it’s proof enough.
“I don’t think he misspoke at all. I don’t think he was taken out of context and I don’t think he misspoke,” said Weinstein.
And then there is the issue of practical outcomes. Weinstein became a digital archaeologist after the cost of his insurance went up two-fold. Should a lawsuit succeed in eliminating subsidies for those buying insurance on federally run exchanges, it would result in many people confronting similar, or worse, price hikes. It’s an outcome that Weinstein admitted weighs on him, even as he keeps scanning the Web for more Gruberisms.
“It does,” Weinstein said. “But the way you say it makes it sound like nothing else will happen. Like it is a straight line. Subsidies are taken away and the world ends. And I think that’s not fair. I think there will most certainly be a disruption. No doubt about it. I think some states will go build their own exchanges quickly. But, I think the markets would find a way to adjust.”
“It does bother me,” he added later. “I get it. I’m not an evil person. I just think people should see these videos. I just think people should know what’s going on. “
Hearings floated as Hill Republicans seize on Gruber Obamacare comments
By Robert Costa and Jose A. DelReal
Congressional Republicans seized Wednesday on controversial commentsmade by a former health-care consultant to the Obama administration, with one leading House conservative suggesting that hearings could be called in response as part of the GOP effort to dismantle the law in the next Congress and turn public opinion ahead of the 2016 election.
“We may want to have hearings on this,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an influential voice among GOP hardliners and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in an interview at the Capitol. “We shouldn’t be surprised they were misleading us.”
The firestorm began when a video emerged showing Jonathan Gruber, a high-profile architect of the Affordable Care Act and one of its fiercest advocates, suggesting that the health reform law passed through Congress because of the “stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of transparency” over its funding mechanisms. The remarks were originally made in 2013 during a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania but began heavy circulation on social media Monday.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber said. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the ‘stupidity of the American voter’ or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
Gruber apologized for his incendiary remarks in an on-air interview with MSNBC Tuesday afternoon, calling his comments inappropriate and saying he was speaking “off the cuff.” On Tuesday evening, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly aired a second video, of Gruber calling voters stupid, also from 2013.
The controversy has lit a fire under conservatives eager to dismantle the law and has raised eyebrows among the law’s defenders, who are concerned that such comments will further damage the law’s already shaky standing with American voters. It also comes after a sweeping electoral victory for Republicans last Tuesday, who won control of the Senate and bolstered the size of their majority in the House.
Jordan said House Republicans have been sending each other a blizzard of e-mails and text messages this week, and he expects the interest in “bringing [Gruber] up here to talk” will gain traction as members return to Washington. House Republicans will gather Thursday evening for their first series of votes since the election.
“I just had a colleague text me saying, ‘We’ve got to look into this!” Jordan said as he glanced at his phone outside the House floor Wednesday morning.
The chatter among lawmakers echoes the outrage among the conservative grassroots over the comments. Sen. Ted Cruz in a speech last week said targeting ACA must remain the party’s top priority. “Now is the time to go after and do everything humanely possible to repeal Obamacare,” he said.
House GOP leadership aides expressed new optimism that their desire to target the ACA could get some momentum. While rhetorically committed to full repeal, in order to keep the party’s right flank on board, the party is looking more seriously at undermining specific parts of the law as it navigates divided government next year. Those moves could include repealing the medical device tax; watering down a requirement that employers offer full time workers coverage, which takes effect in January; and changing the definition of a full-time worker from someone who works at least 30 hours a week to someone who works at least 40 — all proposals which could win some Democratic support.
On the other side of the Capitol, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is slated to become chairman of the powerful Senate budget committee, also threw his support behind possible hearings. In a furious gaggle with reporters, Sessions said Gruber’s comments could make dealings with the White House more difficult, days after Republican leaders said they would seek areas of common ground.
“The strategy was to hide the truth from the American people,” Sessions said. “I’m not into this post-modern world where you can say whatever you want to in order to achieve your agenda. That is a threat to the American republic… This is far deeper and more significant than the fact that he just spoke.”
Other Senate Republicans expressed similar discomfort with Gruber, but warned conservatives to not get their hopes up about repealing the health-care law while President Obama remains in office, underscoring the tonal difference between the more rabble-rousing House GOP and the new and more even-tempered Republican Senate majority.
Heading into a party luncheon on Wednesday, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said the health care law “is going to still be there regardless because we don’t have the votes” to undo it.
“We can talk all we want but he is going to veto whatever we send him,” Coburn said. “That’s the reality.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he was unsure of how Senate Republicans would use the Gruber kerfuffle to go after the law, if at all. For the moment, he said, Republicans should focus on using the episode to highlight how the national press has covered the president’s signature policy.
“What Gruber said should be read and reported on by every news organization,” he said. “People should be aware of how this administration thinks.”
Several Democrats said Wednesday that they were unaware of Gruber’s comments and declined to speculate on whether there could be political consequences, underscoring how much of the discussion is being driven by Republicans. One, however, did distance herself from the arguably aloof phrasing used by Gruber. “I have not seen them,” said Sen. Patty Murrary (D-Wash). “But I do think voters are pretty smart.”
The challenge for Republicans will be balancing the conservative ire surrounding Gruber with the leaders’ political imperative to establish themselves as a governing congressional majority. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) have pledged to bring another repeal bill to floor, but are also focused on achieving incremental legislative gains on Keystone XL and trade agreements.
POSTED AT 6:01 PM ON NOVEMBER 11, 2014 BY NOAH ROTHMAN
On Saturday, Newsbusters was the first major website to feature a video posted to YouTube by AmericanCommitment of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber boasting in 2013 how he helped deceive the public via a lack of transparency about that bill. Some readers were anxious about that video being made better known to the public since at the time the article was published, there were only a couple of dozen views of the video on YouTube.
Well they needn’t have worried because since then the video has gone over the top viral to the extent that Rush Limbaugh led his show talking about it at length this morning as did Sean Hannity on his radio show. In addition, the video made it into the mainstream media other than Fox News when Jake Tapper showed the video today on The Lead and The Hill has an article about it as well. As of this writing the video has over 177,000 views and growing fast. Reason today had an excellent analysis of the Gruber revelations:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber was, by most accounts, one of the key figures in constructing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. He helped designed the Massachusetts health care law on which it was modeled, assisted the White House in laying out the foundation of the law, and, according to The New York Times, was eventually sent to Capitol Hill “to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.” He provided the media with a stream of supportive quotes, and was paid almost $400,000 for his consulting work.
Jonathan Gruber, in other words, knows exactly what it took to get the health care law passed.
And that’s why you should take him seriously when he says, in the following video, that it was critical to not be transparent about the law’s costs and true effects, and to take advantage of the “stupidity of the American voter” in order to get it passed:
Here’s the full quote:
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
This validates much of what critics have said about the health care law, and the tactics used to pass it, for years.
For one thing, it is an explicit admission that the law was designed in such a way to avoid a CBO score that would have tanked the bill. Basically, the Democrats who wrote the bill knowingly gamed the CBO process.
It’s also an admission that the law’s authors understood that one of the effects of the bill would be to make healthy people pay for the sick, but declined to say this for fear that it would kill the bill’s chances. In other words, the law’s supporters believed the public would not like some of the bill’s consequences, and knowingly attempted to hide those consequences from the public.
Most importantly, however, it is an admission that Gruber thinks it’s acceptable to deceive people if he believes that’s the only way to achieve his policy preference. That’s not exactly surprising, given that he failed to disclose payments from the administration to consult on Obamacare even while providing the media with supposedly independent assessments of the law.
…Gruber may believe that American voters are stupid, but he was the one who was dumb enough to say all this on camera.
Now that various MSM outlets have begun to pay attention to the Gruber Obamacare deception video, it will be fascinating to see what type of excuses will be made by the pundits to cover for what he admitted. Bonus points to Jonathan Cohn at New Republic or Politico or any of a vast number of liberal sources for whoever can dream up the most entertaining spin control to explain away this viral video.
p.s. Did I mention that Newsbusters was the first major website to feature this video?
Dr. Jonathan Gruber is a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a Research Associate. He is an Associate Editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics. In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Dr. Gruber received his B.S. in Economics from MIT, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. Dr. Gruber’s research focuses on the areas of public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, has edited six research volumes, and is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, a leading undergraduate text, and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel. In 2006 he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under. During the 1997-1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003-2006 he was a key architect of Massachusettsâ€™ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.
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Meet Jonathan Gruber, the man who’s willing to say what everyone else is only thinking about Obamacare
By Jason Millman
Jonathan Gruber might not be a household name, but in the world of health care policy, he’s a pretty big deal. And now he’s also known as the guy who’s credited “the stupidity of the American voter” for the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
An old video surfaced this week of Gruber saying that a lack of transparency was one of the reasons Obamacare got through Congress in 2010. Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology health economist who’s credited as one of the intellectual godfathers of the Affordable Care Act, has apologized for speaking off the cuff, but critics of the law are eagerly highlighting his comments.
That’s because of what Gruber represents. He was one of the architects of the 2006 Massachusetts health care law, which became the basis for the ACA, and he helped craft the federal legislation that used a similar scheme of guaranteed coverage, financial assistance and insurance mandates. He was far from the only person who helped shape the ACA, but he has been one of its most vocal academic defenders in the nearly five years since it passed. (And he’s the only one to write a comic book about the law.)
It’s easy to see why Gruber’s comments get pored over by ACA opponents. There’s plenty of misunderstanding about what’s in the ACA and mistrust of the motivations for passing the law — just recall Nancy Pelosi’s infamous line about needing to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. So when someone like Gruber, who’s supposed to know the law inside and out, seemingly confirms critics’ worst suspicions, that makes for a powerful anecdote.
Gruber, who’s fiercely intelligent and passionate about the health reforms he helped create, also isn’t one to always sugarcoat things.
Earlier this year, a pretty important health policy study showed that the expansion of Medicaid coverage in Oregon was associated with a spike in emergency room visits. The research potentially undercut an argument by supporters of the law who said it would save money since giving more people health insurance meant patients would rely more on primary care providers, rather than expensive trips to the ER. And Gruber, commenting on the study, offered an uncomfortable truth.
“I would view [the study] as part of a broader set of evidence that covering people with health insurance doesn’t save money,” Gruber told the Washington Post at the time. “That was sometimes a misleading motivator for the Affordable Care Act. The law isn’t designed to save money. It’s designed to improve health, and that’s going to cost money.”
You may also remember Gruber from the last presidential campaign, when there was plenty of debate over just how similar Obamacare and Romneycare actually were to one another. It was Gruber who artfully cleared up the confusion. “They’re the same f—— bill,” he told Capital New York in what became a widely circulated interview three years ago. It’s probably what ACA supporters wanted to say all along, but only Gruber went ahead and did it.
His most potentially damaging comments surfaced just over the summer, when Gruber seemingly gave credence to the ACA challenge just taken up by the Supreme Court last week — a challenge that if successful couldtorpedo the law.
The case revolves around whether residents in states that refused to set up their own health insurance marketplaces should still be able to claim tax subsidies to help them afford their insurance. Opponents say no, Congress intentionally didn’t allow that under the law. Democrats say they never intended for people in these 36 states to not have access to the financial assistance.
Here was Gruber again, in January 2012, telling a health-care conference that states refusing to set up their own exchanges would deny their residents premium tax credits. The video wasn’t widely viewed until June of this year, but this is what he said at the time:
I think what’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it. But you know, once again, the politics can get ugly around this.
Here’s the video, with these comments near the 31:30 mark:
Critics of the law jumped on those comments as further validation of their challenge to the subsidies in the 36 states relying on the federal-run insurance marketplaces, or exchanges. Gruber later said that he misspoke, and that his own work always assumed all exchanges — whether run by the states or the federal government — would be eligible for subsidies.
Gruber’s latest comments have surfaced at an especially inopportune time for the Obama administration. The next enrollment period is approaching this weekend with lowered expectations, just as Republicans reclaimed the Senate and the Supreme Court agreed to hear a new Obamacare challengethat could seriously weaken the law.
The Democrats, realizing how harmful Gruber’s latest comments have become, are already out doing damage control. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today to put distance between Gruber and the health-care law, saying he’s not even sure that Gruber ever met with President Obama.
“He’s a consultant, not the architect [of Obamacare,” Dean said. “I’m not excusing the language — it’s terrible.”
Jonathan Holmes Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a research associate. He is an associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics.
Gruber’s research has focused on public finance and health economics. He has published more than 140 research articles, and has edited six research volumes. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, an associate editor of the Journal of Health Economics, and the author of Public Finance and Public Policy. and Health Care Reform, a graphic novel delineating the Affordable Care Act.
During the 1997–1998 academic year, Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003–06 he was a key architect of Massachusetts health care reform, also known as “Romneycare”. In 2006 he became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare magazine. During the 2008 election he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama presidential campaigns.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
In 2009–10 Gruber served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as the ACA or “Obamacare”. The act was signed into law in March 2010, and Gruber has been described as an “architect”, “writer”, and “consultant” of the legislation. He was widely interviewed and quoted during the roll-out of the legislation. 
One heavily-scrutinized part of the ACA reads that subsidies should be given to healthcare recipients who are enrolled “through an Exchange established by the State”. Some have read this to mean that subsidies can be given only in states that have chosen to create their own healthcare exchanges, and do not use the federal exchange, while the Obama administration says that the wording applies to all states. This dispute is currently part of an ongoing series of lawsuits referred to collectively as King v. Burwell. In July 2014, two separate recordings of Gruber, both from January 2012, surfaced in which he seemed to contradict the administration’s position. In one, Gruber states, in response to an audience question, that “if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits”, while in the other he says, “if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.” When these recordings emerged, Gruber called these statements mistaken, describing them as “just a speak-o — you know, like a typo”.
In a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber stated that the bill was deliberately written “in a tortured way” to disguise the fact that it created a system in which “healthy people pay in and sick people get money”. He stated that this obfuscation was necessary, due to “the stupidity of the American voter or whatever”, in order to get the bill passed and that a “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” His comments caused controversy after a video of them was placed on YouTubein November 2014.
In a December 4, 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Medicine for the Job Market”, he claimed that expanding health insurance, even in difficult financial times would stimulate the economy.
On February 9, 2011, the Center for American Progress published an article by Gruber titled “Health Care Reform Without the Individual Mandate,” analyzing the health insurance coverage impacts of alternative policy options for encouraging purchase of health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the mandate, a late penalty, and auto-enrollment.
In 2006, Gruber received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under. He was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine in 2005. In 2009 he was elected to the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association.
In 2011 he was named “One of the Top 25 Most Innovative and Practical Thinkers of Our Time” by Slate Magazine. In both 2006 and 2012 he was rated as one of the top 100 most powerful people in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.
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Could take 48 hours to confirm if deputy has Ebola
Marjorie Owens, Jason Whitely, Tanya Eiserer and David Schechter, WFAA
rews transported a patient exhibiting “signs and symptoms of Ebola” from a Frisco CareNow clinic to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
“Right now, there are more questions than answers about this case,” said Wendell Watson, a spokesman with the hospital.
The patient was identified as Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Michael Monnig, who accompanied county health officials Zachary Thompson and Christopher Perkins into the Dallas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan had been staying when he fell ill with Ebola.
“Initial reports from the urgent care facility indicated the patient had direct contact with the Dallas ‘patient zero’; however, Frisco firefighter-paramedics now report the patient says he had contact with the apartment and family members related to the Dallas ‘patient zero’ prior to the apartment being decontaminated,” said city of Frisco spokesperson Dana Baird.
The deputy had been ordered to go inside the unit with officials to get a quarantine order signed. No one who went inside the unit that day wore protective gear.
According to Christopher Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Association, Monnig said he was feeling sick to his stomach before his visit to the clinic. Dyer expressed concern for Monnig and his family.
“He’s doing exactly basically what we told him to do: If at any time you don’t feel well, go seek some medical attention,” Dyer said. “I’m being told that he’s not exhibiting classic signs of the Ebola virus. It’s just a matter that he doesn’t feel well, and because he had contact with Mr. Duncan’s apartment, they’re taking every precaution.”
That view was echoed by Frisco Fire Department Chief Mark Piland. “This patient was not experiencing all of those [Ebola] symptoms, just a few,” he said. “Based upon screening criteria from the CDC, the treatment tends to be a little bit more conservative at first.”
Complete coverage of the death of Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. WFAA
A staff member at CareNow called 911 to report Monnig as a possible Ebola patient.
“The CareNow staff, following [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommended screening protocol, contacted Frisco 911 and a fire department EMS crew was dispatched to the scene,” a CareNow statement said. It went on to say health officials, including those from the CDC, went to the clinic and — after interviews — cleared it to be reopened for patients.
Including staff, there were 14 people inside the CareNow clinic when Monnig arrived. The fire department released all of them to go home.
Frisco Mayor Maher Maso said “risk is minimal” from the new potential Ebola case. Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland said the patient was transported because he had “a few” symptoms that matched those in the CDC guidelines, but not all of the symptoms.
“At this point, I think we need to take every precaution,” Dyer said. “The hospital will get his blood work tested and we will know whether he is positive or negative for it, so until we know precisely whether he has it or not, we need to take every precaution.”
It will take up to 48 hours to get test results back to determine if Monnig tests positive for the Ebola virus.
The CareNow is located in the 300 block of Main Street. Patients were held inside the clinic as crews at the scene examined staff and others inside the building, but they have since been released.
Frisco’s fire chief said he was still figuring out how to decontaminate the department’s people and gear. “We have calls in to the Centers for Disease Control,” Piland said. “We’re also working with our public health officials here in Denton County. We’re going to get their recommendations on the proper decontamination procedures for the ambulances.”
Health officials said the transportation of the patient was done out of an abundance of caution.
“We are being very cautious and are in contact with the health department to ensure we follow proper protocol,” said Vicki Johns, with CareNow. “Our concern is for the safety and well being of everyone in our clinic.”
News 8’s Jason Whitely spoke to Chuck Moreno, who had gone into the CareNow facility with his 15-year-old son to get a flu shot Wednesday. Moreno said he saw a patient, whose skin was flushed and who was hunched over but walking, enter the clinic with his wife.
Within minutes, police and fire units surrounded the facility, taped off a gray SUV, and isolated other patients at the facility.
Moreno asked a CareNow employee if it was related to Ebola, and he said the employee nodded her head “yes.”
Moreno said he and his son quarantined themselves into an examination room, put on surgical masks they found in the room and sprayed disinfectant on themselves. Moreno said staff told them he and his son couldn’t leave the clinic and would be transferred to a major medical center, but he was unsure which one at the time.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Association President Christopher Dyer has repeatedly said that he did not believe that deputies should have been sent inside the quarantined apartment.
“This is a federal issue,” he said. “The CDC should have come in and taken care of this. A local department is not equipped to deal with a virus that is potentially this deadly.”
Monnig had planned to come back to work Wednesday, Dyer said. A couple of the other deputies have returned to work, he said.
SOUTHCOM Commander: Ebola Outbreak in Central America Could Cause Mass Migration to U.S.
By: Sam LaGrone
Published: October 7, 2014 5:14 PM
Updated: October 7, 2014 10:26 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) warned an Ebola outbreak in Central America or the Caribbean could trigger a mass migration to the U.S. of people fleeing the disease and implied established Central American illegal trafficking networks could introduce the infected into the U.S., during remarks at a Tuesday panel on security issues in the Western Hemisphere at the National Defense University.
“If it comes to the Western Hemisphere, the countries that we’re talking about have almost no ability to deal with it — particularly in Haiti and Central America,” SOUTHCOM Commander, Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, said in response to a question of his near term concerns in the region.
“It will make the 68,000 unaccompanied minors look like a small problem.”
An Ebola outbreak could encourage the poor and increasingly desperate populations in Central American countries — like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — to leave in droves.
“I think you’ve seen this so many times in the past, when in doubt, take off,” he said.
Though an ocean away from Ebola hotspots in Africa, a growing numbers of West Africans are using the illicit trafficking routes through Central America to enter the U.S. illegally and could introduce the disease in the U.S.
Kelly stressed through out the panel session at NDU how effective the criminal transportation networks were at moving people and material into the U.S.
“We see a lot of West Africans moving in that network,” he said.
Kelly passed on a story from a border checkpoint in Costa Rica — told to him by an American embassy official — in which five or six men from Liberia were waiting to cross into Nicaragua.
The group had flown into Trinidad and then traveled to Costa Rica hoping to travel up the Central American isthmus and into the U.S.
Given the length of the journey, “they could have been in New York City well within the incubation period for Ebola,” Kelly said.
The realities of a potential outbreak caused Kelly to ask his staff to start thinking about the affects to the SOUTHCOM area of operations (AO) and pay attention to the response of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The U.S. has sent 4,000 troops to West Africa to assist countries in dealing with the Ebola outbreaks in the region.
“The five services of the U.S. military will get it done and be a large solution to this problem,” Kelly said.
In the meantime, SOUTHCOM is regular contact with AFRICOM in the event of the worst-case outcome.
“We’re watching what AFRICOM is doing and their plan will be our plan,” Kelly said.
“The nightmare scenario, I think, is right around the corner.”
October 8, 2014 The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has died, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said Wednesday.
The news of Thomas Eric Duncan’s passing comes as those he came into contact with enter a critical period this week in determining whether they have also contracted the deadly virus.
Duncan, 42, was diagnosed with Ebola on Sept. 30, after arriving in the U.S. from Liberia on Sept. 20. He first went to the Dallas hospital with a fever on Sept. 26, but was sent home,despite telling a nurse he came from the Ebola-stricken country. The information did not reach doctors at the hospital, and he was discharged with antibiotics. He returned to the hospital two days later and was placed in isolation.
Texas officials continue to monitor 10 people who had direct contact with him while he was symptomatic, as well as 38 others who may have had contact. None have shown symptoms of the disease up to this point.
The incubation period of Ebola is a maximum of 21 days, with symptoms commonly beginning to present eight to 10 days after exposure. If Duncan passed the virus onto anyone else, that would likely become evident this week.
If any show signs of a fever, or other symptoms, health officials plan to immediately isolate and test those individuals for the virus.
Duncan was in serious condition until this past weekend, when his condition was changed to critical, and he was given the experimental drug brincidofovir, an oral medicine developed by Chimerix. The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for the treatment; it had previously been tested against Ebola only in test-tube studies.
Duncan is the first patient to die of Ebola in the U.S. At least five patients already diagnosed with Ebola in West Africa had been taken to the U.S. for treatment. Two were treated and released from Emory University Hospital, one was treated and released from Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, a fourth is currently in treatment at Emory, and a fifth is in treatment in Nebraska.
The current Ebola outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people in Duncan’s native Liberia, according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization. There have been more than 3,400 total deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and more than twice as many reported cases.
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 a.m.,” the hospital said in a statement. “Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.”
Duncan had reportedly come to the U.S. to marry his girlfriend, Louise Troh, from whom he had been separated for nearly two decades. Troh and three others who live in the apartment where Duncan stayed in Dallas remain in isolation.
Officials continue to closely monitor those who came into contact with Duncan, and they remain confident that an outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely.
The recent expansion of biocontainment laboratory capacity in the United States has drawn attention to the possibility of occupational exposures to BSL-3 and -4 agents and has prompted a reassessment of medical management procedures and facilities to deal with these contingencies. A workshop hosted by the National Interagency Biodefense Campus was held in October 2007 and was attended by representatives of all existing and planned BSL-4 research facilities in the U.S. and Canada. This report summarizes important points of discussion and recommendations for future coordinated action, including guidelines for the engineering and operational controls appropriate for a hospital care and isolation unit. Recommendations pertained to initial management of exposures (ie, immediate treatment of penetrating injuries, reporting of exposures, initial evaluation, and triage). Isolation and medical care in a referral hospital (including minimum standards for isolation units), staff recruitment and training, and community outreach also were addressed. Workshop participants agreed that any unit designated for the isolation and treatment of laboratory employees accidentally infected with a BSL-3 or -4 pathogen should be designed to maximize the efficacy of patient care while minimizing the risk of transmission of infection. Further, participants concurred that there is no medically based rationale for building care and isolation units to standards approximating a BSL-4 laboratory. Instead, laboratory workers accidentally exposed to pathogens should be cared for in hospital isolation suites staffed by highly trained professionals following strict infection control procedures.
The construction of a number of new federally funded biocontainment laboratories in response to the 2001 terror attacks, in compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directives 10 and 18,1,2 has raised concerns that a significant expansion in the laboratory workforce will result in an increased number of accidental exposures, some of which might lead to actual infection.3 While it is true that accidental infections of laboratory workers studying pathogenic bacteria and viruses were at one time fairly common, their incidence has been markedly reduced as a result of the standardization of laboratory design, biosafety practices, and employee training, so that only a handful of cases have occurred in the past few decades.4
Much of this new capacity in Biosafety Level-4 (BSL-4) biocontainment laboratories will be centered on the National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC) at Fort Detrick, which includes the existing United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and a planned expansion, plus the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Integrated Research Facility (NIAID-IRF) and a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) laboratory, the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). NIH also has upgraded the laboratory capacity at its Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, by expanding the amount of Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) space and adding a new BSL-4 lab, and it is supporting the construction of National Biocontainment Laboratories at Boston University and at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, both of which will contain BSL-3 and -4 units. In anticipation of public concerns, the NIBC Executive Steering Committee tasked its Scientific Interactions Subcommittee with organizing a workshop to review procedures for dealing with accidental exposures in laboratories currently conducting research on highly pathogenic (BSL-3 and -4) agents and to recommend optimal strategies for their detection and management in the future expanded biodefense research community.
The first prototype Class III (maximum containment) biosafety cabinet was fashioned in 1943 by Hubert Kaempf Jr., then a U.S. Army soldier, under the direction of Dr. Arnold G. Wedum, Director (1944–69) of Industrial Health and Safety at the United States Army Biological Warfare Laboratories, Camp Detrick, Maryland. Kaempf was tired of his MP duties at Detrick and was able to transfer to the sheet metal department working with the contractor, the H.K. Ferguson Co.
On 18 April 1955, fourteen representatives met at Camp Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. The meeting was to share knowledge and experiences regarding biosafety, chemical, radiological, and industrial safety issues that were common to the operations at the three principal biological warfare (BW) laboratories of the U.S. Army.Because of the potential implication of the work conducted at biological warfare laboratories, the conferences were restricted to top level security clearances. Beginning in 1957, these conferences were planned to include non-classified sessions as well as classified sessions to enable broader sharing of biological safety information. It was not until 1964, however, that conferences were held in a government installation not associated with a biological warfare program.
Over the next ten years, the biological safety conferences grew to include representatives from all federal agencies that sponsored or conducted research with pathogenic microorganisms. By 1966 it began to include representatives from universities, private laboratories, hospitals, and industrial complexes. Throughout the 1970s, participation in the conferences continued to expand and by 1983 discussions began regarding the creation of a formal organization. The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) was officially established in 1984 and a constitution and bylaws were drafted the same year. As of 2008, ABSA includes some 1,600 members in its professional association.
CDC technician dons an older-model positive-pressure suit before entering one of the CDC’s earlier maximum containment labs.
Biocontainment can be classified by the relative danger to the surrounding environment as biological safety levels (BSL). As of 2006, there are four safety levels. These are called BSL1 through BSL4, with one anomalous level BSL3-ag for agricultural hazards between BSL3 and BSL4. Facilities with these designations are also sometimes given as P1 through P4 (for Pathogen or Protection level), as in the term P3 laboratory. Higher numbers indicate a greater risk to the external environment. Seebiological hazard.
At the lowest level of biocontainment, the containment zone may only be a chemical fume hood. At the highest level the containment involves isolation of an organism by means of building systems, sealed rooms, sealed containers, positive pressure personnel suits (sometimes referred to as “space suits”) and elaborate procedures for entering the room, and decontamination procedures for leaving the room. In most cases this also includes high levels of security for access to the facility, ensuring that only authorized personnel may be admitted to any area that may have some effect on the quality of the containment zone. This is considered a hot zone.
Biosafety level 1
This level is suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans, and of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment (CDC,1997).
It includes several kinds of bacteria and viruses including canine hepatitis, non-pathogenic Escherichia coli, as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria. At this level, precautions against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal and most likely involve gloves and some sort of facial protection. The laboratory is not necessarily separated from the general traffic patterns in the building. Work is generally conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices. Usually, contaminated materials are left in open (but separately indicated) waste receptacles. Decontamination procedures for this level are similar in most respects to modern precautions against everyday microorganisms (i.e., washing one’s hands with anti-bacterial soap, washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants, etc.). In a lab environment all materials used for cell and/or bacteria cultures are decontaminated via autoclave. Laboratory personnel have specific training in the procedures conducted in the laboratory and are supervised by a scientist with general training in microbiology or a related science.
Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents. This is considered a neutral or warm zone.
All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets, specially designed hoods, or other physical containment devices, or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory has special engineering and design features.
It is recognized, however, that some existing facilities may not have all the facility features recommended for Biosafety Level 3 (i.e., double-door access zone and sealed penetrations). In this circumstance, an acceptable level of safety for the conduct of routine procedures, (e.g., diagnostic procedures involving the propagation of an agent for identification, typing, susceptibility testing, etc.), may be achieved in a biosafety level 2 (P2) facility, providing
the filtered exhaust air from the laboratory room is discharged to the outdoors,
the ventilation to the laboratory is balanced to provide directional airflow into the room,
access to the laboratory is restricted when work is in progress, and
the recommended Standard Microbiological Practices, Special Practices, and Safety Equipment for Biosafety Level 3 are rigorously followed.
The decision to implement this modification of biosafety level 3 recommendations is made only by the laboratory director.
This level is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections, agents which cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which vaccines or other treatments are notavailable, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and various other hemorrhagic diseases. This level is also used for work with agents such as smallpox that are considered dangerous enough to require the additional safety measures, regardless of vaccination availability. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a positive pressure personnel suit, with a segregated air supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a level four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors from opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a biosafety level 4 (or P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Agents with a close or identical antigenic relationship to biosafety level 4 agents are handled at this level until sufficient data are obtained either to confirm continued work at this level, or to work with them at a lower level.
Members of the laboratory staff have specific and thorough training in handling extremely hazardous infectious agents and they understand the primary and secondary containment functions of the standard and special practices, the containment equipment, and the laboratory design characteristics. They are supervised by qualified scientists who are trained and experienced in working with these agents. Access to the laboratory is strictly controlled by the laboratory director.
The facility is either in a separate building or in a controlled area within a building, which is completely isolated from all other areas of the building. A specific facility operations manual is prepared or adopted. Building protocols for preventing contamination often use negatively pressurized facilities, which, even if compromised, would severely inhibit an outbreak of aerosol pathogens.
Within work areas of the facility, all activities are confined to Class III biological safety cabinets, or Class II biological safety cabinets used with one-piece positive pressure personnel suits ventilated by a life support system.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published on October 4, 2007, a total of 1,356 CDC/USDA registered BSL-3 facilities were identified throughout the United States (GAO-08-108T ). This represents a very conservative estimate of the number of facilities in the US in 2007. Approximately 36% of these laboratories are located in academia. Only 15 BSL-4 facilities were identified in the U.S. in 2007, including nine at federal labs.
The following is a list of existing BSL-4 facilities worldwide.
Virology Laboratory of the Queensland Department of Health
Wuhan Institute of Virology already hosts a BSL-3 laboratory. A distinct BSL-4 facility is currently being built based on P4 standards, the original technology for confinement developed by France. It will be the first at level 4 in China, under the direction of Shi Zhengli.
The “National Institute of Infectious Diseases” used to operate within the Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital; the facility is now independent and is home to five BSL-3 labs as well as a single BSL-4 laboratory, which was completed in 1997. 
Located at National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Department of Virology I; this lab has the potential of operating as a BSL-4, however it is limited to perform work on only BSL-3 agents due to opposition from local residents and communities.