Did the Kochs Bring Us President Trump?

Jane Mayer; David and Charles Koch. Photo: democracy now.org

Jane Mayer; David and Charles Koch. Photo: democracynow.org

Pundits have plenty of reasons for Republicans’ 2016 electoral success, but none may be as explanatory as a book published in January, before a single ballot was cast.

In Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer zeroes in on brothers Charles and David Koch and the secret network they’ve created to push their anti-government zealotry. Their decades of work and billions of dollars help explain the rise of the far Right today.

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Post Buries Scandals of Rhee and Henderson

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Post Metro section, p. B6, Nov. 17, 2016

When it comes to covering education the Washington Post is nothing if not consistent.

For nearly a decade, as Michelle Rhee and then her close friend Kaya Henderson headed up D.C. Public Schools, the Post was their cheerleader. And now, even after the anti-union duo has departed, the Post carries on.

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How Obama’s DNC May Undermine His Legacy

Obama & Wasserman Schultz. Credit: USA Today

Obama & Wasserman Schultz (USA Today)

When President Obama named the chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2011, he didn’t foresee that his selection could lead to the undoing of his signature achievements.

For Obama, the DNC wasn’t a top priority.

And his choice for chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, seemed solid. She was a rising star within the party, and a proven fundraiser.

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Trump Won. CNN Won Bigger.

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cnn.com

Donald Trump has been elected president, but the big winner this election was the media.

It’s hard to see how Trump’s victory could’ve happened without the unprecedented free media he received – nearly $3 billion through April, according to one estimate.

And networks were eager to do it, with the increased viewership he brought.

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” CBS president Leslie Moonves said of Trump’s candidacy. “What can I say?… The money’s rolling in, and this is fun.”

While the media at large benefited from increased ratings and clicks from Trump’s run, CNN led the way.

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Last Minute Election Interference Isn’t New in D.C. – But This Time the Post Isn’t Celebrating

prosecutors-vincent-gray-knewImagine, on the eve of a contested election, a top law enforcement official accuses a candidate of potentially serious misconduct. But instead of putting the charges before a judge or jury, the top official levels them in the court of pubic opinion, just as voters head to the polls.

Sound familiar?

Hillary Clinton isn’t the first to face this. It happened just two years ago.

The office at stake wasn’t 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but 1350 – the D.C. mayor’s office.

And the response of the media wasn’t widespread condemnation as it is today.

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See Ya, Kaya: The IMPACT on Teachers

Kaya Henderson and Jo-Ann Armao, the Post’s lead local editorial writer. Photo: @RICEBILLDC

Kaya Henderson and Jo-Ann Armao, the Post’s lead local editorial writer. Photo: @RICEBILLDC

This is the third of a threepart series on Kaya Henderson.[Part 1Part 2]

Kaya Henderson stepped down Friday as head of D.C. Public Schools, after serving longer than all but one of her predecessors. Prior to her six years as chancellor, Henderson spent three years as top deputy to her close friend, Michelle Rhee.

The Rhee/Henderson era was marked by great fanfare, but limited results. What overall gains were made masked a painful truth: the achievement gap – between higher and lower-income students, and between white, black and Hispanic students – grew.

In 2007, despite no experience running a school system, Rhee was named chancellor. She quickly became known for mass teacher firings and school closings.

Henderson succeeded Rhee, providing DCPS with a friendlier face while continuing to carry out their shared vision.

In their near-decade atop DCPS, Rhee and Henderson oversaw unprecedented instability.

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See Ya, Kaya: The Achievement Gap

Kaya Henderson. Photo: Twitter

Kaya Henderson. Photo: Twitter

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on Kaya Henderson’s leadership of DCPS. [Part 1]

After six years as head of D.C. Public Schools, Kaya Henderson steps down Friday, claiming she’s turned around a troubled school system.

“DCPS has become the fastest–improving urban school district in the country,” Henderson’s DCPS bio states.

But the facts tell a different story. It’s one of slight overall improvement (largely due to gentrification and changing demographics), masking a disturbing reality: under Henderson the achievement gap has grown and D.C.’s most at-risk students have fallen even farther behind.

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See Ya, Kaya: ‘Legacy of Progress’?

Kaya Henderson and Michelle Rhee. Photo: Washington Post

Kaya Henderson and Michelle Rhee. Photo: Washington Post

This is the first in a three-part series on Kaya Henderson’s time atop DCPS.

After six years as head of D.C. Public Schools, Kaya Henderson is calling it quits Friday.

According to the Washington Post, her biggest booster, Henderson is leaving behind a “legacy of progress.”

Not everyone agrees.

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Your Guide to Tonight’s Debate

Tonight's debate stage, with candidate stand-ins. Photo: NY Times

Tonight’s debate stage, with candidate stand-ins. Photo: NY Times

Tonight’s opening debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is expected to draw a record-breaking audience, possibly as many as 100 million viewers.

With the election just six weeks away and polls showing a neck-and-neck race, much is on the line.

Here’s what you need to know.

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Can We Talk About ‘Vaxxed’?

Brian Hooker secretly recorded his phone calls with CDC whistleblower William Thompson. Screen shot: “Vaxxed” (youtube.com)

Brian Hooker secretly recorded his phone calls with CDC whistleblower William Thompson. Screen shot: “Vaxxed” (youtube.com)

When actor Robert De Niro attempted to screen “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Conspiracy” at his Tribeca Film Festival, the media lambasted him. The festival “sold out to anti-vaccine crackpots,” declared the L.A. Times.

With filmmakers threatening to pull out of the festival if “Vaxxed” was screened, De Niro reluctantly withdrew the film, but not his support. “You must see it,” De Niro told the Today Show.

In the documentary, a top government scientist blows the whistle on his agency, exposing what appears to be shocking misconduct with potentially far-reaching effects on public health. But that’s difficult to discern from media headlines.

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