News media feeds off itself for Trump coverage
A Pew Research Center analysis of more than 3,000 news stories that were published or broadcast during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency found that the news media was seven times more likely to depend on other news organizations for information than to ask ordinary citizens what they thought. The Trump administration was cited as the source for 74% of the studied news stories, more than double the 35% rate that other news media was cited. But, the views and opinions of ordinary Americans ranked low on the scale of news sources, cited in just 5% of the articles, PRC said.
Defective coffee carafes lead to fine
A federal judge in Madison, Wis., imposed a $1.9 million civil penalty against Spectrum Brands Inc. for continuing to distribute Black & Decker SpaceMaker coffee carafes after they were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and, for failing to make timely notification to the CPSC that the carafe handles could break and spill hot coffee on consumers. According to the Department of Justice, Spectrum received approximately 1,600 reports of broken carafe handles between 2008 and 2012, but did not report the incidents to the CPSC until 2012.
Emailed threat became a federal case
John Rust, 24, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested and charged with emailing a threat to kill black students at Howard University. Although the email was initiated using the wi-fi at a Panera Bread restaurant in Alexandria, about 10 miles away from the historic black college in Washington, D.C., it traversed a state line and thus violated a federal criminal law that prohibits the interstate transmission of a communication that threatens a person’s safety. If convicted, Rust faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the Department of Justice said. Rust’s arrest also exposes him to a revocation of a parole that explicitly forbids him from accessing the Internet.
Broad coalition pleads for food-and-farm competition
A coalition of 210 farm, rural, worker and consumer organizations urged Congress to enact a farm bill that will promote competition in every link in the food chain—from the fields to the grocery store cash register. Led by groups such as Food and Water Watch and the National Farmers Union, the signatories to a letter sent to Capitol Hill said that consolidation in agribusiness, food processing and supermarket industries have meant lower prices and wages for farmers and farmworkers, erosion of rural economies, and higher food prices for consumers.
Suit seeks to ground some helicopter tours at federal parks
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a federal lawsuit to ignite a somnolent Federal Aviation Administration into fulfilling its obligation to develop a management plan to reduce the number of tour helicopters that fly over national parks. The suit is specifically aimed at reducing flights over seven parks, including Glacier National Park in Montana and Bryce Canyon in Utah, which last year endured 65,000 flyovers. PEER said the National Park Air Tour Management Act requires the FAA to develop a plan but, 17 years after the law’s enactment, nothing has been done.
Retailers expect blowout Christmas
The National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales in November and December—excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants—will increase between 3.6% and 4.0% for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from last year’s $655.8 billion. The expected increase, the NRF said, will reflect “the very realistic steady momentum of the economy.” Also, NRF said it expects retailers to hire between 500,000 and 550,000 seasonal workers, which is fewer than last year’s seasonal workforce of 575,000 but the reduction may be a consequence of increased permanent job hiring during the last several months.
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Wednesday, October 4