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Reporter Who Dug Up Carson King Tweets Criticized For Own Offensive Posts

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  • 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.

Online Response

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.”

Source: @aaronpcalvin

Calvin then changed his Twitter profile to private. 

The Des Moines Register has declined to comment on Calvin’s old tweets, but it said it’s launched an investigation.

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)

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New COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant in the U.S. by March, CDC Warns

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  • The CDC warned Friday that a new highly transmissible COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.
  • The strain was first reported in the United Kingdom in December and is now in at least 10 states.
  • The CDC used a modeled trajectory to discover how quickly the variant could spread in the U.S. and said that this could threaten the country’s already overwhelmed healthcare system.

CDC Issues Warning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the new COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.

While it is not known to be more deadly, it does spread at a higher rate, which is troubling considering the condition the U.S. is already in. Cases and deaths are already on the rise in nearly every state and globally, 2 million lives have been lost to the coronavirus. 

The variant was first reported in the United Kingdom in mid-December. It is now in 30 countries, including the U.S., where cases have been located in at least ten states. Right now, only 76 cases of this variant have been confirmed in the U.S., but experts believe that number is likely much higher and said it will increase significantly in the coming weeks. It is already a dominant strain in parts of the U.K.

Modeled trajectory shows that growth in the U.S. could be so fast that it dominates U.S. cases just three months into the new year. This could pose a huge threat to our already strained healthcare system.

Mitigating Spread of Variant

“I want to stress that we are deeply concerned that this strain is more transmissible and can accelerate outbreaks in the U.S. in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC told the New York Times. “We’re sounding the alarm and urging people to realize the pandemic is not over and in no way is it time to throw in the towel.”

The CDC advises that health officials use this time to limit spread and increase vaccination as much as possible in order to mitigate the impact this variant will have. Experts believe that current vaccines will protect against this strain.

“Effective public health measures, including vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, will be essential,” the CDC said in their report.

“Strategic testing of persons without symptoms but at higher risk of infection, such as those exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or who have frequent unavoidable contact with the public, provides another opportunity to limit ongoing spread.”

See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (New York Times) (NBC News)

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Former Michigan Gov. and 8 Others Charged Over Flint Water Crisis

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. (Al Goldis/AP)

  • Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty Wednesday for his role in the Flint water crisis
  • By Thursday, eight more former state and city officials were charged with crimes ranging from involuntary manslaughter to extortion.
  • Flint residents have long awaited this news. In 2019, prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against 15 officials and said they would start the investigation from scratch, citing concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.

Rick Snyder Charges

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said Thursday that it had filed 41 charges against nine former state and city officials for their role in the Flint water crisis.

The most high-profile figure to be charged was former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. On Wednesday, he was hit with two counts of willful neglect of duty.

He was the state’s top executive when local officials decided to switch the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.

The switch was supposed to be a temporary cost-saving measure while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. However, the water wasn’t treated properly for corrosion, so lead-contaminated water was released into the homes of people all over the city. Because of that, 12 people died and at least 90 were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease.

Snyder appeared in court this morning via Zoom, pleading not guilty to the two misdemeanor charges. If convicted he could face up to a year in prison and as much as a $1,000 fine.

His charges alone are significant because they make him the first governor or former governor in the state to ever be charged with a crime for alleged conduct while in office.

8 Others Charged

Along with Snyder, eight others were charged, including a former state health director Nick Lyon. Lyon received nine charges of involuntary manslaughter, among others.

Richard Baird, one of Snyder’s closes advisors was changed for extortion, perjury, and obstructions of justice. Others who were charged include:

  • Jarrod Agen, Snyder’s former chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence’s former communications director.
  • Dr. Eden Wells, a former chief medical executive for the state Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • Darnell Earley, former Flint finance director and state-appointed emergency manager.
  • Gerald Ambrose, former state-appointed emergency manager.
  • Howard Croft, former Flint Public Works Director.
  • Nancy Peeler, the state’s director of maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting for the health department.

Flint residents have waited a long time for justice over the water contamination issue. Prosecutors previously dropped all 15 criminal charges tied to the Flint case in 2019 and said the investigation would begin again from scratch.

At the time, they cited concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.

It also wasn’t until last year that the state reached a $600 million settlement with victims, establishing a fund from which residents can file for compensation.

See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Detroit News) (Detroit Free Press)

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Three Lawmakers Test Positive for COVID-19 Following Capitol Attack

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  • At least three Congressmembers have tested positive for COVID-19 following Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol. 
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) believe they contracted the virus after locking down in close quarters with numerous Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
  • Jayapal and Schneider are calling for those who did not wear a mask to face consequences.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Tests Positive

At least three members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 after locking down in close quarters with other House members during Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol. 

Congress’ attending physician, Brian Monahan, warned that members may have been exposed during the lockdown. He recommended that everyone who was isolated inside should get tested for the virus. 

On Monday Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) became the first to announce that she tested positive. Watson Coleman believes she was exposed while in the Capitol lockdown. In her statement, she cited the multiple Republicans who refused to wear masks while inside. Video footage from Punchbowl News shows a Democratic lawmaker handing out masks and a handful of Republicans declining to take one. 

Watson Coleman is a 75-year-old lung cancer survivor. While she said she is only experiencing cold-like symptoms, she tweeted that per a doctor’s suggestion, she headed to a local hospital for antibody treatment. She also encouraged those who sheltered in place to get tested. 

More Cases Follow

Later on Monday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said she too had tested positive, also blaming a lack of mask-wearing in the Capitol. In a lengthy Twitter thread, she said Republicans created a superspreader event and demanded consequences for their actions. 

Many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic—creating a superspreader event ON TOP of a domestic terrorist attack,” she wrote. 

“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable,” Jayapal added. 

“I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) echoed her frustrations on Tuesday after releasing a statement saying he has become the third House member to have tested positive following the lockdown. 

“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” he wrote.

Like Jayapal, he is calling for sanctions against those who opted to not wear masks. 

Many health officials feared that this lockdown could lead to a surge in cases. They also worry that the mob itself could lead to a superspreader event as most of those who attacked the Capitol were not wearing masks and were crowding together both inside and outside of the building.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NPR) (NBC Chicago)

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