- The Des Moines Register published a profile piece Tuesday on Carson King—the man who has raised over $1 million for an Iowa children’s hospital after displaying his Venmo on ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
- The outlet reported on two racist tweets King made in 2012 when he was 16-years-old.
- Before the Register published the story, King broke the news on local TV, and Anheuser Busch later ended its partnership with him but promised it would still match his donations.
- Soon after, #StandWithCarson began trending on Twitter, with users then uncovering the Register reporter’s own racist and even homophobic posts from the same time period.
Des Moines Register Digs Up Old Tweets
The Iowa man who turned a small beer fundraiser into a million-dollar children’s hospital donation is facing backlash and support online after a profile piece by the Des Moines Register exposed two racist tweets from 2012.
The article in question focuses on 24-year-old Carson King, who picked up national attention this month when he was seen on ESPN’s “College GameDay” holding a sign asking for beer money.
“Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” the sign read along with his Venmo username.
King said the sign had originally been a joke, but once money began pouring in, he decided to donate it to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
In his profile of King, Des Moines Register Reporter Aaron Calvin opened with a small anecdote about King’s step-grandmother and continued by diving into his now-viral story.
Near the end of the Register’s article, however, Calvin mentions two racist tweets that were posted when King was 16-yeard old.
“A routine background check of King’s social media revealed two racist jokes,” Calvin wrote, “one comparing black mothers to gorillas and another making light of black people killed in the holocaust. The joke tweets date back to 2012, when King was a 16-year-old high school student.”
King then reportedly told Calvin the tweets made him “sick” and that he was remorseful for them.
“That’s not something that I’m proud of at all,” King told the Register.
Following his interview with Calvin, King deleted his old tweets.
Before that article was published, King reached out local TV outlets to defend himself, saying in a statement that those posts quoted and referenced the show Tosh.0.
“I am embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16-year-old,” he said to reporters while reading a statement. “I want to sincerely apologize.”
Following his interview, King then also took to Twitter to apologize.
“The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage,” he said, “and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do.”
Also following the news of King’s old tweets, Anheuser-Busch ended their partnership with him after having previously gifted him a year’s supply of Busch Light with his face printed on the cans.
In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said King’s posts “do not align with our values as a brand or as a company,” though it said it will continue to match King’s donation.
King’s Venmo account will be open until the end of the month to continue to collect donations for the children’s hospital.
The story has started yet another conversation about “cancel culture;” however, unlike most examples where people on social media criticize a company for inaction, people are now criticizing Anheuser-Busch for severing ties with King. By Wednesday morning, #StandWithCarson was a trending topic on Twitter.
Across social media, people also questioned why the Register would publish the information since King is a normal person not seeking to use the money he’s raising for himself.
Des Moines Register Responds
The Register responded by issuing its own statement Tuesday night explaining why it included the information about King’s tweets. In that statement, the paper’s executive editor said several editors had a discussion on whether or not to publish them.
“The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts,” the statement from Executive Editor Carol Hunter reads. “Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so?”
“The counter argument: The tweets were posted seven years ago, when King was 16,” it continues. “And he was remorseful. Should we chalk up the posts to a youthful mistake and omit the information?”
Ultimately, the editors decided to include the information at the bottom of the article in an attempt to be transparent.
“Reasonable people can look at the same set of facts and disagree on what merits publication,” Hunter concluded. “But rest assured such decisions are not made lightly and are rooted in what we perceive as the public good.”
Des Moines Reporter’s Racist and Homophobic Tweets
Alongside the support King saw online, many on social media began looking into Calvin’s social media. Users eventually uncovered a series of racist and homophobic tweets made by the reporter between 2010 and 2013.
In one, he reportedly mocked the legalization of gay marriage, saying he was going to marry a horse. According to multiple media outlets, he also repeatedly used the n-word.
Calvin then found himself apologizing for his own tweets on Wednesday morning.
“Hey just wanted to say that I have deleted previous tweets that have been inappropriate or insensitive,” he said. “I apologize for not holding myself to the same high standards as the Register holds others.”
The Des Moines Register has declined to comment on Calvin’s old tweets, but it said it’s launched an investigation.
The Register is aware of reports of inappropriate social media posts by one of our staffers, and an investigation has begun.— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) September 25, 2019
Carson King Day
Wednesday, the State of Iowa awarded King with his own day to be held on Sept. 28.
The memo calls King a “force for change” and states that he showcases “who [Iowans] are as a people, not only by selflessly donating to a worthy cause, but by spreading the message of generosity.“
See what others are saying: (KCCI) (Washington Post) (Fox News)
Trump Signs Order Allowing Former Troops to Be Called Upon for Coronavirus Fight
- President Trump signed an executive order that allows for former troops to be brought back to active duty to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
- This is not an immediate order to call former service members back, but it is typically used when the military is in need of specific skill sets, like persons with high demand medical capabilities.
- Officials are still reviewing who might be activated.
- The order comes just days after the Army called upon former service members to voluntarily rejoin and help in the military’s response efforts. Over 14,000 have expressed interest as of Friday.
Trump Signs Executive Order
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that allows the Pentagon to bring former U.S. troops and members of the National Gaurd and reserve back to active duty to help those already battling the county’s coronavirus outbreaks.
During his press conference Friday night, Trump said the decision allows the federal government “to mobilize medical, disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members including retirees.”
“We have a lot of people, retirees, great military people — they’re coming back in,” Trump added.
What This Means
The executive order released by the White House states that anyone recalled can remain on active duty for up to 24 months straight. It provides the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security the authority to order as many as 1 million individuals at one time, however, it is not an order to do so.
According to Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman, the order applies to units and individual members in the National Guard and Reserves and certain Individual Ready Reserve members who are normally in an inactive status.
Hoffman said that decisions about who may be activated are still being reviewed, but he added, “Generally, these members will be persons in Headquarters units and persons with high demand medical capabilities whose call-up would not adversely affect their civilian communities.”
As of now, the Individual Ready Reserve contains 224,841 members, according to the Department of Defense, and nearly 11,000 of those members “have medical capabilities.”
“This is a dynamic situation, we do not currently have a projected number of expected activations, but the Department is now fully authorized to make activations as needed,” Hoffman said.
He also stressed that the departments would consult with state officials before using any National Gaurd Reserve Component units under the executive order.
Earlier this week, the Army called upon former service members to voluntarily rejoin and help in the military’s pandemic response efforts. The Army said the initial response has been positive, with at least 14,6000 people expressing interest as of Friday.
See what others are saying: (Politico) (CNN) (Fox News)
FDA Authorizes Portable Test Kit That Can Detect COVID-19 in 5 Minutes
- The FDA has approved the use of a new coronavirus test kit that can give positive results in as little as 5 minutes and negative results in 13, leaps faster than the hours and sometimes days laboratory tests normally take.
- The tests are run on a lightweight and small portable device that can be used in emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, and even outside hospital walls.
- Abbott, the medical device company that makes the kits, plans to send out 50,000 tests a day starting next week.
New Test Approved
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Emergency Use Authorization to the medical device company Abbott for a new coronavirus test kit that gives results within minutes.
Abbott announced the news in a Friday press release, saying it plans to start delivering 50,000 tests a day beginning next week. The tests run on the company’s ID NOW platform, a portable device about the size of a small toaster than weights only 6.6 pounds.
Its portability means it can be used directly in an emergency room or urgent care clinic and even, “outside the traditional four walls of a hospital in outbreak hotspots.”
The company called it “the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of novel coronavirus(COVID-19), delivering positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.”
Second Rapid Test to Be Approved by FDA
The approval from federal health officials means that regulators were satisfied with the test’s validation data and are confident that its benefits outweigh any risk, like false positives or negatives.
The FDA’s approval marks the seconds time it has green-lit a fast working test that could accelerate testing across the country. Last week, it approved a 45-minute rapid point of care test by the molecular diagnostics company Cepheid. However, that test is primarily intended for emergency rooms and hospitals, not doctors’ officers or urgent care clinics.
Still, those turnaround times are leaps faster than the hours to days it takes most laboratory tests to bring results.
Medical Shortages Still Cause Concern
The approval of the Abbott test comes as cities across the nation battle with numbers of potential patients that surpass available tests and resources. Even with insufficient testing, the United States became the country with the largest number of reported cases of coronavirus on Thursday, exceeding China and Italy. By Friday, the U.S. hit more than 100,000 cases.
Many fear that shortages of other critical medical equipment, like masks and swabs, could stifle the new rapid test’s impact. That’s because the kit requires a swab sample collected from patients, and many health care facilities are running desperately low on the tools needed to safely collect those samples.
The Center for Disease Control issued guidance Tuesday that allows some patients to collect their own nasal swabs in health care facilities, in an effort to reduce the amount of protective equipment needed for health care workers.
On the opposite end, however, others note that fast and efficient testing can help medical professionals determine how much protective equipment they actually need to wear when interacting with a patient, as well as what kind of care to provide. Since this test can be done in a doctor’s office, it could even potentially help diagnose patients with mild or asymptomatic cases of the virus and help stop them from unknowingly spreading it.
Experts also say drastically increasing testing capacity can help get the economy back on track sooner. With increased testing, measures like keeping everyone at home could be replaced with more targeted identification and isolation of those infected.
EPA Limits Environmental Regulations During Coronavirus Crisis
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it is scaling back its enforcement of environmental rules during the coronavirus emergency as businesses face challenges like layoffs and accessibility issues.
- The temporary policy allows companies to monitor their own compliance with environmental laws, and the EPA said it will not issue penalties for violations of certain reporting requirements.
- Many critics slammed the move, arguing that it opens doors to excess pollution and does not prioritize the health and safety of people and wildlife.
- The EPA defended the policy, saying it has reserved its authorities for situations other than routine monitoring and reporting and will consider the pandemic’s impacts on a “case-to-case basis.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it will limit the enforcement of certain regulations as the coronavirus pandemic continues, leaving companies in charge of monitoring their own compliance with environmental laws.
The agency unveiled the temporary policy on Thursday, arguing that businesses are running into obstacles like layoffs and accessibility issues as the virus alters normal life across the nation.
“EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
Under normal circumstances, companies must report when their facilities release a certain amount of pollution into the air or water. Now, that requirement will be put on hold for the time being.
“In general, the EPA does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that Covid-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the EPA upon request,” the policy states.
The agency also said it would exercise “discretion” in enforcing other environmental rules. It noted that the policy does not apply to criminal violations or hundreds of the country’s most toxic waste sites that fall under the Superfund act. The EPA also said it expects public water systems to maintain high standards.
“Public water systems have a heightened responsibility to protect public health because unsafe drinking water can lead to serious illnesses and access to clean water for drinking and handwashing is critical during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the policy says.
The memo said that the changes will apply retroactively beginning on March 13, with no set end date indicated.
Criticism of New Policy
Some, including people in the oil industry, had been asking for these regulations to be loosened, but others slammed the EPA’s choice, claiming it is too broad and lax.
Gina McCarthy, who headed the EPA under the Obama administration and is now president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the policy an “open license to pollute.”
Some called the changes “outrageous” and “evil,” accusing the EPA of prioritizing businesses over the health of individuals and wildlife.
Prominent figures in the climate change fight slammed the move as well.
“The EPA uses this global pandemic to create loopholes for destroying the environment,” teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted. “This is a schoolbook example for what we need to start looking out for.”
Others pointed out the irony of suspending rules that preserve air quality while a respiratory disease makes its rounds across the country.
“What part of, ‘air pollution increases our vulnerability to respiratory diseases LIKE CORONAVIRUS,’ is not clear, EPA?” one Twitter user wrote.
Defense of Policy
The EPA stood behind their move and did not agree with its classification as a dismissal of regulations.
“It is not a nationwide waiver of environmental rules,” Andrea Woods, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, told The New York Times. “For situations outside of routine monitoring and reporting, the agency has reserved its authorities and will take the pandemic into account on a case-by-case basis.”
Susan Parker Bodine, the EPA official who issued the policy, said that it does not excuse organizations from consequences if they do committ environmental violations.
“If you do have violations of your permit, you’re still obligated to meet your permit limits, you’re supposed to do everything possible,” Bodine told ABC. “And after the fact the agency will take that all into consideration but there isn’t a promise of no penalties in those kinds of situations.”
“If you have an acute risk, if you have an imminent threat … the facility has to come in and talk to their regulator, their authorized state or come into the agency,” she added. “And the reason for that is that we want to, we want to put all of our resources into keeping these facilities safe keeping communities safe.”