February 21, 2017

After outrage last weekend over a recent video showing Milo Yiannopoulos speaking positively about pedophelia, the Breitbart editor’s book with Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold was cancelled. Yiannopoulos had already pushed the release date to June so that he could include a chapter on the outrage his book deal generated. In a short statement, the company wrote, “After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication of Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos.”

In addition to his cancelled book, Yiannopoulos’s comments might also have put him on the outs with Breitbart. Washingtonian reports that numerous employees are preparing to leave if Yiannopoulos is not fired. “The fact of the matter is that there’s been so many things that have been objectionable about Milo over the last couple of years,” said one anonymous editor. “This is something far more sinister.”  

Jim Rutenberg profiles Alex Jones and his conspiracy website, Infowars. Rutenberg writes that many of President Trump’s talking points—the evils of mainstream media, voter fraud, and ignored terrorist attacks—come directly from Jones and his videos. Most recently, Jones has been arguing that Michael Flynn’s resignation is part of a “counter coup” from the CIA that wants to oust Trump. “If Watergate had broken in this media environment,” Rutenberg writes, “would President Richard Nixon have had to resign? Would enough people have believed it?”

At the Washington Post, Paul Farhi wonders if the White House’s refusal to answer press inquiries before deadline is “indifference of a strategy to discredit journalists.” Margaret Sullivan examines whether Trump will use the Espionage Act to force journalists to reveal the identities of administration whistleblowers. Sullivan reminds us that the First Amendment doesn’t cover everything, and that Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to answer questions about what he would do if a reporter was subpoenaed. “When it comes to the so-called ‘reporter’s privilege,’ case law is notoriously shaky,” she writes, “and Justice Department guidelines enacted in recent years are well-intentioned but toothless.”

Liane Moriarty. Photo: Nic Walker

The Guardian talks to Liane Moriarty, whose 2014 novel Big Little Lies was recently adapted into an HBO miniseries. Moriarty says that she has only recently become widely-read in her home country of Australia; before that, the majority of her readers were in the US. “Some Australian readers get cranky,” Moriarty said. “They say, ‘We knew her from the beginning’—but I sold well in America first, for sure.”

In honor of the Mall of America’s twenty-fifth anniversary, the shopping center is offering a five-day writing residency. In addition to a $2,500 honorarium and a hotel stay, the winner will “spend five days deeply immersed in the Mall atmosphere while writing on-the-fly impressions in their own words.”

Tonight at McNally Jackson in New York, Mary Gaitskill talks to Cara Hoffman about her new novel, Running.

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