RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

Dec. 24 to Dec. 30


Featured Investigation

CNN has been the first name in airport news for about a quarter century. For millions of travelers, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper are their companions as they schlep from Raleigh to Atlanta, then Chicago and San Francisco.

But as news outlets are increasingly seen as partisan tools in the age of Trump, some conservatives are renewing opposition to CNN’s outsized presence in airports and other public spaces.  In airports and elsewhere, “CNN is the default cable news network hanging Big Brother-like on the wall for all to see and believe,” commentator Roger L. Simon  wrote  this month in a column for PJ Media. He argued that “allowing one network the privilege of dominating our public spaces is dangerous in the extreme, even if, as seems to be the case, the public has growing distrust of that network.”

As Erin Clark reports for RealClearInvestigations, conservative critics may have a point:

In 2014, a  Pew study found that CNN’s audience skewed only slightly left of center, but this year  study by Harvard University’s non-partisan Shorenstein Center found that CNN (along with NBC) had the most consistently negative coverage of the Trump administration. During its first three months, 93 percent of CNN’s reporting was negative.

A Media Research Center report echoed those findings. In an analysis titled CNN Is Completely Obsessed With Donald Trump — and Not in a Good Way,” the MRC found that over the course of a single day, CNN devoted 92 percent of news coverage to the Trump presidency, with 96 appearances by anti-Trump guests and panelists, against just seven by pro-Trump speakers. ...

Lately it’s so polarizing that former Colorado congressman and Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo encouraged a national anti-CNN movement as he  launched a petition drive  to “Get CNN Out of Denver International Airport.” Also this year, the network became a target of conservative undercover video outfit Project Veritas, which  recorded a CNN producer  calling Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway ... an “awful woman” who “looks like she got hit by a shovel.” In the video, the producer also is heard calling American voters “stupid as sh--.” 

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Other Noteworthy Articles and Series

A Business Where Bodies Are Butchered, Packaged and Sold
They call themselves body brokers, these men and women who use pliers and motorized saws to harvest corpses donated to science. The liver of a public school janitor was sold to a medical-device company for $607. The torso of a retired bank manager, bought by a Swiss research institute, fetched $3,191. A Midwestern health-care system paid $65 for two femoral arteries, one from a church minister. And the lower legs of a union activist were purchased by a Minnesota product-development company for $350 each. 

The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth
New York Times
Doing absolutely nothing: It's nice work if you can get it, and 200 subway construction workers did, at a rate of $1,000 per day each. That's just one example of the exorbitant costs to expand New York’s regional transit network, according to a New York Times investigation. The paper found that public officials for years stood by as politically connected labor unions, construction companies and consulting firms reaped the public spending largesse -- billions of dollars that could gone to repair existing subways. The estimated cost of the Long Island Rail Road project, known as “East Side Access,” has ballooned to $12 billion, or nearly $3.5 billion for each new mile of track — seven times the average elsewhere in the world. 

Federal Bureaucrats Making $200K Increase 165%
Open the Books
Between fiscal year 2010 and 2016, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent, says a watchdog group that crunches government statistics. Furthermore, nearly 30,000 rank-and-file federal employees who received more than $190,823 out-earned each of the 50 state governors. At 78 departments and independent agencies, the average employee made $100,000 or more. Additionally, on average, federal employees receive 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. 

Hot New Job: Smut Watcher for Facebook
Wall Street Journal 
Social-media giants like Facebook and Google are hiring legions of contractors to hunt for pornography, racism and violence. It's one of the fastest-growing, and most grueling, jobs in technology, raising a host of civil liberties concerns. The equivalent of 65 years of video are uploaded to YouTube each day. And Facebook receives more than a million user reports of potentially offensive content daily.

Pakistan: 'Honor' Killings Shock Karachi
The murder of an 18-year-old boy Pakistani boy and his 15-year-old girlfriend by their own parents has renewed attention on honor killings in the nation. At least 650 people – mostly women – are killed each year at the hands of close family members for supposed immoral behavior. This is more than the number of Pakistani civilians killed by terrorism.

The Trouble With Lawmakers' Side Gigs
Center for Public Integrity
State legislators around the country often have other jobs that they juggle with their official duties. Some do mundane and evidently blameless work, like Stephen Meeks, who some hungry central Arkansans might know better as the pizza delivery guy. But an investigation finds that many others exploit their legislative work in favor of their businesses -- a less savory way to grab a slice.



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