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“Des Moines Register” Reporter Opens Up About Firing As Carson King’s Childen’s Hospital Donation Surpasses $2.3M

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  • Former Des Moines Register reporter Aaron Calvin confirmed that he was fired after publishing information on two racist posts Carson King made in 2012.
  • In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Calvin said he feels abandoned by the newspaper and has received death threats over the incident.
  • Meanwhile, King’s donation to a local children’s hospital surpassed $2.3 million Monday.

Aaron Calvin “Abandoned” by Des Moines Register

Aaron Calvin, the Des Moines Register writer who reported on two racist tweets made by Carson King in 2012, confirmed that he was fired after his own racist and homophobic tweets surfaced.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Calvin, 27, said he felt “abandoned” by the Register after a representative from its parent company, Gannett Media, told him he could either be fired or resign without severance. Calling the decision largely “semantic,” Calvin then chose to be fired.

“I was reminded by an editor to background Carson,” Calvin told BuzzFeed, “and I found a few tweets that he published in high school that were racist jokes. I knew if I found them, other people would find them as well.”

“He was deeply regretful, and I recognized that these were not representative artifacts of Carson,” he continued.

Calvin faced national backlash after including the section on King’s tweets in his profile. King reached viral fame after turning his beer-fundraiser into a massive donation to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

Calvin then faced an additional level of scrutiny when social media users discovered his own set of racist and homophobic tweets, dating from 2010-2013. In two of those tweets, Calvin uses the n-word. In another, he said he would marry a horse following the legalization of gay marriage.

Of his own tweets, Calvin said he was embarrassed and that they’d been taken out of context, saying he “would not have published them today.” According to Calvin, the tweets where he said the n-word were lyrics to Kayne West songs.

“This event basically set my entire life on fire,” Calvin told the outlet.

On Sept. 26, the Register’s executive editor Carol Hunter announced that Calvin no longer worked for the newspaper in a column, though she did not state whether Calvin had been fired or resigned

In that column, she said the Register had not been aware of Calvin’s tweets despite having vetted him. She also noted that the newspaper would update policies surrounding its hiring process; however, she did not provide any details regarding those new policies.

“We took appropriate action because there is nothing more important in journalism than having readers’ trust,” she said. 

Calvin Receives Death Threats

In his interview with BuzzFeed, Calvin also said he had to leave his apartment after HR representatives at the Register warned him not to return there following death threats he had received.

The company reportedly offered to house him in a hotel, but Calvin opted to stay with a friend instead. 

Calvin noted the death threats have come on top of other harassment and criticism he’s seen online. 

Online Response to Calvin’s Firing

When the story of King’s tweets first broke, Anheuser-Busch broke a partnership it had initiated with King. Following their divorce from King, people flocked to social media with the hashtag #StandWithCarson

Many also noted how the situation seemed to be a case of backward-cancel culture, with those on the Internet criticizing the Register and Anheuser-Busch for their responses to King, who had only used his fame to raise money for charity. 

At the same time, others noted that Calvin’s situation appears to be a more classical account of cancel culture, with him being fired even though his tweets were from the same time period as King’s.

Still, many felt Calvin’s firing was the wrong move and showed that the newspaper failed to really understand the source of social media outrage.

“The @DMRegister took the wrong lesson away about what they did wrong with Carson King,” one user said. “Aaron Calvin shouldn’t have been fired, he and the editors should have just apologized. The real lesson is to not follow cancel culture. An 8 year old tweet is not news.”

King Hits $2M Goal

King originally set a goal of $2 million, but as of Friday, King has surpassed that goal. According to King’s Twitter, as Monday afternoon he raised over $2.3 million.

Monday, King will host a benefit concert before closing his Venmo at midnight Eastern Time. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Fox News) (WHO-TV)

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Florida School Says Students Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Must Stay Home for 30 Days

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The school falsely claimed that people who have just been vaccinated risk “shedding” the coronavirus and could infect others.


Centner Academy Vaccination Policy

A private school in Florida is now requiring all students who get vaccinated against COVID-19 to quarantine for 30 days before returning to class.

According to the local Miami outlet WSVN, Centner Academy wrote a letter to parents last week describing COVID vaccines as “experimental” and citing anti-vaccine misinformation.

“If you are considering the vaccine for your Centner Academy student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,” the letter reportedly stated.

“Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has debunked the false claim that those newly vaccinated against COVID-19 can “shed” the virus.

According to the agency’s COVID myths page, vaccine shedding “can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus,” but “none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.”

In fact, early research has suggested that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the virus than unvaccinated people.

Beyond that, unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID in general because they are much more likely to get the virus than vaccinated people. According to recently published CDC data, as of August, unvaccinated people were six times more likely to get COVID than vaccinated people and 11 times more likely to die from the virus.

Centner Academy Continues Spread of Misinformation

In a statement to The Washington Post Monday, Centner Academy co-founder David Centner doubled down on the school’s new policy, which he described as a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”

“The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,” he added.

The new rule echoes similar efforts Centner Academy has made that run counter to public health guidance and scientific knowledge.

In April, the school made headlines when its leadership told vaccinated school employees that they were not allowed to be in contact with any students “until more information is known” and encouraged employees to wait until summer to get the jab.

According to The New York Times, the following week, a math and science teacher allegedly told students not to hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds.

The outlet also reported that the school’s other co-founder, Leila Centner, discouraged masking, but when state health officials came for routine inspections, teachers said they were directed in a WhatsApp group to put masks on.

See what others are saying: (WSVN) (The Washington Post) (Business Insider)

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Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem

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Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.


Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg

In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism. 

Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.

“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.

Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice

“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.

According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject. 

Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out. 

Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.

See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)

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Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids

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The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.


DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.

The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.

In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.” 

Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.

In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”

Labor Market Implications

The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.

Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.

According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.

“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”

It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.

The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.

That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (ABC News)

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