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If Dr. Ford’s testimony has stirred up painful memories, the LA Times has this list of resources

Speaking of tips for weathering a news cycle hell storm, the Los Angeles Times has put together a list of resources in the case that Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony stirred up painful memories.

Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018. (Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP)

Margaret Sullivan’s tips on how to stay “slightly” sane when the news cycle is a hell storm

Margaret Sullivan, of The Washington Post, published this column on Monday, headlined “How to stay (slightly) sane this week: A user’s guide to the media maelstrom ahead.”

I pulled it off our news wire just now because I feel like, A, a lot of these tips are evergreen, and B, a few of them might be pertinent during the Kavanaugh hearings today.

The points I want to underscore: It’s totally legit not to take in difficult live news all at once, moment by moment, blow by blow. You can read about it later when it’s all been digested into a coherent article or two or three (or, if that’s too traumatic for you, never! for some people, never is fine, too!).

Another tip I have: Turn off previews on your notifications! It’s easier then going into each app one at a time and turning off notifications all together. (I learned this when news outlets kept blowing surprises for me when I was watching the Olympics *shakes fist in air*.)

Turning off previews on your notifications may help you stay (slightly) sane.

Anyway, here’s Margaret Sullivan’s piece:

How to stay (slightly) sane this week: A user’s guide to the media maelstrom ahead


Sept. 24, 2018

On Friday morning — which already feels like a month ago — Washington Post White House reporter Seung Min Kim posted an exhausted sigh of relief on Twitter: “Well. We at least made it to Friday, everyone.”

The universe seemed to read that like a dare. It reared up in anger and hurled blazing fireballs of news.

Within a few hours, the New York Times had posted a blockbuster story that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein suggested last year that President Trump should be secretly recorded, and that the 25th Amendment might be explored to remove him from office.

And Washington once again was in a froth. There would be no weekend.

No sooner had that been processed — challenged, defended, disparaged, celebrated — then the news arrived that a date had been set for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Then, on Sunday evening, the New Yorker dropped a shocker about a second allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. All hell broke loose again.

With the Kavanaugh hearings — and possibly a collective nervous breakdown — approaching like a Category 4 hurricane, I humbly offer a media user’s guide to the week ahead, with a little help from my media-desk colleagues Paul Farhi and Sarah Ellison.

Here’s what you can do to keep the insanity to a dull roar.

  • Consider actually reading that story before you share it on social media. It’s astonishingly common to see a story hit Twitter and see it retweeted with outraged commentary even before it could possibly be digested. Headlines are only a hint, after all, and the fine print in the 19th paragraph may change your mind about what you think, or what you say to your Facebook friends in your next blistering post.
  • Know your source. When you see the names Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow — two of the most careful, disciplined reporters in America, it’s reasonable to take them seriously. (Although even with reporters of this caliber, it’s important not to overstate what their New Yorker story really says and to pay close attention to what it doesn’t say.) When you see declarations from Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’s attorney, about representing a third Kavanaugh accuser — without naming names or providing details — doubtful hesitation is in order.
  • Trust the stories you like less than those you want to believe. At the very least, it’s a good exercise in critical thinking to employ extreme skepticism to fight the confirmation bias we’re all guilty of. Seek out reaction and commentary from the other side of the situation; you don’t have to believe it, but you ought to consider it.
  • Wait and see. Know that cable news anchors — and all who deliver breaking news — may be scrambling in the first hours of a development. On Sunday night, CNN’s Ana Cabrera — grappling with the just-dropped New Yorker story, seemed never to have heard of the estimable Mayer, whom she referred to as Farrow’s co-author before consulting her notes and then mispronouncing her name. CNN’s Brian Stelter took pains in his Sunday-night newsletter to backtrack on something he had said spontaneously on air earlier: That “frat boy” behavior is forgivable. (He clarified to say that’s not true when it allegedly involves sexual assault.)
  • Know who is paid to say what on cable. Remember that cable commenters — particularly Trump surrogates — are paid to bring a particular point of view to the table. They may be legally constrained by nondisclosure agreements from doing anything other than gushing positively. Take this, therefore, with a few extra pounds of salt. As Farhi asked pointedly in a story: Shouldn’t media organizations be disclosing this? Clearly yes, but they don’t. So consumer beware.
  • Compare and contrast. Those who were quick to disparage the Times’s Rod Rosenstein story when it first appeared had to recalibrate their angry disbelief as other news organizations, including The Post, were able to match the story with their own sources. In some cases, the follow-up reporting from other places had a different tone or emphasis, making more, for example, of the possibility that Rosenstein had been speaking sarcastically. (On Monday morning came widespread reports that the Deputy Attorney General was resigning.)
  • Take a break. The news never stops, so put down your phone, turn off your TV, and do something else for a few hours. Cook a meal, take a walk, go to yoga class, read a 19th century novel.

Of course, there’s a downside.

Chances are that when you come back, some fresh hell will have hit the fan. But at least your heart rate will be lower — for a minute — while you catch up.

The Philadelphia Flyers have a new mascot, and everyone hates it

The Philadelphia Flyers on Monday announced they had added a new mascot to their hockey family. The team introduced the world to “Gritty,” an orange … thing that most closely resembles some kind of monster. It’s unclear if he’s related to the Phillies’ Phanatic, which I just today found out is not a monster but instead a large green flightless bird.

Here’s what the team had to say about Gritty, who you can follow on Twitter, if you’re into that sort of thing:

He’s loyal but mischievous; the ultimate Flyers fan who loves the orange and black, but is unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team. Legend has it he earned the name “Gritty” for possessing an attitude so similar to the team he follows.

He claims that he’s been around for a lot longer than we know it, and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time.

Gritty apparently is a little rough around the edges, a bit quirky, and a huge fan of hot dogs. OK, sure.

Despite all his charm, however, Gritty was not as well-received as the team presumably had hoped. I scrolled pretty far down through the replies to the Flyers’ announcement tweet and didn’t see anything positive. Here are some selected reactions:

I feel like I need to warn you about the next photo. Sorry in advance.

Valley News sports reporter Josh Weinreb even weighed in on Gritty’s unveiling.

Says it all, tbh.

The Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, takes to the ice during the first intermission of the Flyers’ preseason NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Monday, Sept, 24, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

This might actually be the hardest ‘Harry Potter’ quiz you’ll ever take

Calling all Potterheads: Time magazine this weekend published a Harry Potter quiz that it claims is the hardest HP quiz you’ll ever take. I scoffed, tbh. After all, lots of quizzes claim to be the hardest you’ll ever take, yet few actually are.

I went in cocky, but was quickly knocked down a peg. In the end, though, I triumphed. (I only had to take the quiz like four times to do so, but hey.) This is a serious contender for THE hardest Harry Potter quiz.

Try your hand at the link below!

Welcome to Toronto, home of aggressive trash pandas

Apparently raccoons — or at least one super smart “uber-raccoon” in particular — for years have been causing serious headaches for Torontonians, who have been forced to take excessive measures to protect their garbage cans from the medium-sized mammals. From National Public Radio:

The raccoon scourge was bad enough that the city spent CA$31 million on “raccoon-resistant” organic green-colored waste bins in 2016. It was the latest assault in what Canadian media have called a “raccoon war.”

The bins were a success, so much so that Toronto residents began expressing concern that the trash pandas might be starving, or even dying, because they’d been cut off from their primary food source (“trash pandas” is a slang term for raccoons, in case you didn’t know).

Experts say that’s not the case, because they’ve been weighing dead raccoons and they’re all just as fat, or fatter, than they were before the bins were distributed to residents.

tl;dr: The raccoon-proof garbage bins have largely been effective, but there are some wily raccoons who have managed to continue to access the trash, either through their own ingenuity or due to faulty garbage bins.

But they’re definitely not starving, no matter how you spin it.

Sarah Koenig says the third season of ‘Serial’ will be ‘different’

Former Concord Monitor reporter Sarah Koenig, now the host of the podcast Serial, recently sat down with Elle Magazine to discuss the upcoming third season of the series, which will premiere on Sept. 20. Subsequent episodes will be released each Thursday.

Koenig, along with her co-reporter Emmanuel Dzotsi, spent more than a year inside Cleveland’s criminal courts, learning the ins and outs of cases. The first two episodes will drop on September 20, with new episodes released each Thursday after that (though you can listen to a trailer right now).

Season 1 of Serial detailed the murder of Maryland teenager Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Koenig began to question if Syed had been wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, and many listeners seemed to agree. In the time since then, Syed has been granted a new trial, largely thanks to Koenig’s reporting.

Season 2 took a look at the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Catch up on the last two seasons of Serial, as well as Season 3, here.