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The Washington Post Comes Under Fire for Suspending Reporter Dave Weigel Over Retweet

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A fellow reporter at The Post called him out for reposting the tweet, which prompted a larger wave of backlash.


Suspended Without Pay

On Monday, CNN broke the news that veteran politics reporter Dave Weigel has been suspended without pay from his position at The Washington Post for retweeting a joke some considered sexist.

“Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual,” read the original tweet by YouTuber Cam Harless.

Felicia Sonmez, who is also a politics reporter at The Post, criticized Weigel for his retweet, sparking a controversy that embroiled social media through the weekend.

She tweeted that it’s “fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed.”

She also reportedly tagged Weigel in an internal company Slack channel and asked, “I’m sorry but what is this?”

Kris Coratti, the chief spokesperson for The Post, said that editors at the outlet have denounced the tweet.

“Editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated,” Coratti told reporters.

Weigel removed the retweet, calling it an “offensive joke” and saying, “I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.”

Meanwhile, Harless said, “It’s weird to see someone else apologize for something you tweeted.”

Another reporter for the outlet, Jose A. Del Real, commented that Weigel’s retweet was “terrible” and “unacceptable” but argued that the highly public condemnations were not necessary.

“Rallying the internet to attack him for a mistake he made doesn’t actually solve anything,” he said. “We all mess up in some way or another. There is such a thing as challenging with compassion.”

Del Real and Sonmez argued about the matter on Twitter until Del Real temporarily deactivated his account.

“When women stand up for themselves, some people respond with even more vitriol,” Sonmez tweeted.

Del Real later reactivated his account, saying the events had caused “an unrelenting series of attacks intended to tarnish [his] professional and personal reputation.”

The Post Responds

On Sunday morning, The Washington Post’s executive editor Sally Buzbee sent a memo to the newsroom staff reminding them to “treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online.”

“When issues arise, please raise them with leadership or human resources and we will address them promptly and firmly,” she added.

Sonmez then tweeted that Buzbee’s comments only provided fodder for more harassment against her. Sonmez also said on Twitter that she had reached out to Buzbee and another editor at The Post to discuss the matter but didn’t hear back.

Several more employees at The Post joined in the discussion on social media, sharing experiences of sexism and racism in the workplace.

After CNN broke the news of Weigel’s suspension, the outlet claimed that The Post was reluctant to comment on the matter because it involved personnel.

When CNN emailed The Post for comment, an out-of-office message said Weigel would return on July 5.

Some criticized The Post for its decision on social media, while others defended it and Sonmez.

“Dave Weigel has now suffered greater consequences for a retweet than anyone who promoted Iraq War WMD propaganda or banker porn about the 2008 global financial crisis,” one user tweeted.

“I’m sad that all of us who subscribe to the Washington Post for their journalism won’t get to read @daveweigel’s coverage of the primaries taking place this month because the paper has put optics and politics before ethics and fairness,” another user said. “It’s a disservice to readers.”

“When I first saw @feliciasomnez criticizing that sexist retweet, I thought that she was right but it wasn’t a big deal,” a user tweeted. “The horrific backlash to her totally justified criticism, including ongoing harassment by her male colleague, proves just how right she was about sexism at wapo.”

“As a young journalist who’s also been extremely open about being a survivor of sexual assault, it means so much to me to see @feliciasomnez standing up for others,” journalist Alison Berg tweeted. “Extremely disappointing but not surprising to see how many men will continue to dig their heels into misogyny.”

Somnez posted a Twitter thread blasting what she calls a sexist culture at The Washington Post.

“For years, Post employees have been raising concerns of unequal treatment of employees from different backgrounds, or of ‘stars’ versus everyone else — not just when it comes to social media use,” she wrote.

Sonmez herself was placed on administrative leave from The Post in 2020 after she shared an article about rape allegations against Kobe Bryant in the wake of his death.

She received criticism for it, but The Post reversed her leave after Weigel and many others signed a letter defending her.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Fox News) (The Daily Beast)

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Conservatives Slam Elmo For Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19 

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While critics accused the muppet of promoting propaganda, CDC data shows the shots are safe and effective.


Elmo Gets Vaccinated 

Conservative politicians expressed outrage on Twitter after the beloved “Sesame Street” character Elmo revealed he got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared the way for children between the ages of six months and five years to get vaccinated against the virus. The famous red muppet is three years old, making him finally eligible for the jab. 

In a video shared by “Sesame Street,” Elmo said that he felt “a little pinch, but it was okay.” 

Elmo’s father, Louie, then addressed parents who might be apprehensive about vaccinating their own kids. 

“I had a lot of questions about Elmo getting the COVID vaccine,” he said to the camera. “Was it safe? Was it the right decision? I talked to our pediatrician so I could make the right choice.” 

“I learned that Elmo getting vaccinated is the best way to keep himself, our friends, neighbors, and everyone else healthy and enjoying the things they love,” he continued. 

Republicans Criticize “Sesame Street”

While some praised the video for raising awareness and addressing the concerns parents may have, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) quickly lambasted the effort.

“Thanks, Sesame Street for saying parents are allowed to have questions,” Cruz tweeted. “You then have Elmo aggressively advocate for vaccinating children UNDER 5. But you cite ZERO scientific evidence for this.”

Despite Cruz’s claim, the CDC has provided ample resources with information on vaccines for children. 

He was not alone in criticizing the video. Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, suggested that Elmo would be taking puberty blockers next. 

Other anti-vaxxers claimed Elmo would get myocarditis and accused “Sesame Street” of promoting propaganda.

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective against transmission of the virus, but this is not the first time conservatives have turned their anger against a friendly-looking muppet who opted to get the jab. When Big Bird got vaccinated in November, Cruz and other right-wing figures accused the show of brainwashing kids.

Big Bird’s choice to get vaccinated was not a shocker though, clips dating back to 1972 show him getting immunized against the measles. 

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Market Watch)

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Uvalde Puts Police Chief on Leave, Tries to Kick Him Off City Council

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If Pete Arredondo fails to attend two more consecutive city council meetings, then he may be voted out of office.


Police Chief Faces Public Fury

Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday following revelations that he and his officers did not engage the shooter at Robb Elementary for over an hour despite having adequate weaponry and protection.

Superintendent Hal Harrell, who made the announcement, did not specify whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

Harrell said in a statement that the school district would have waited for an investigation to conclude before making any personnel decisions, but chose to order the administrative leave because it is uncertain how long the investigation will take.

Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, the second in command at the police department, will assume Arredondo’s duties.

In an interview with The Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo said he did not consider himself in charge during the shooting, but law enforcement records reviewed by the outlet indicate that he gave orders at the scene.

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told state senators on Tuesday that some officers wanted to enter the classrooms harboring the shooter but were stopped by their superiors.

He said officer Ruben Ruiz tried to move forward into the hallway after receiving a call from his wife Eva Mireles, a teacher inside one of the classrooms, telling him she had been shot and was bleeding to death.

Ruiz was detained, had his gun taken away, and was escorted off the scene, according to McCraw. Mireles later died of her wounds.

Calls for Arredondo to resign or be fired have persisted.

Emotions Erupt at City Council

Wednesday’s announcement came one day after the Uvalde City Council held a special meeting in which community members and relatives of victims voiced their anger and demanded accountability.

“Who are you protecting?” Asked Jasmine Cazares, sister of Jackie Cazares, a nine-year-old student who was shot. “Not my sister. The parents? No. You’re too busy putting them in handcuffs.”

Much of the anger was directed toward Arredondo, who was not present at the meeting but was elected to the city council on May 7, just over two weeks before the massacre.

“We are having to beg ya’ll to do something to get this man out of our faces,” said the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old victim. “We can’t see that gunman. That gunman got off easy. We can’t take our frustrations out on that gunman. He’s dead. He’s gone. … Ya’ll need to put yourselves in our shoes, and don’t say that none of ya’ll have, because I guarantee you if any of ya’ll were in our shoes, ya’ll would have been pulling every string that ya’ll have to get this man off the council.”

One woman demanded the council refuse to grant Arredondo the leave of absence he had requested, pointing out that if he fails to attend three consecutive meetings the council can vote him out for abandoning his office.

“What you can do right now is not give him, if he requests it, a leave of absence,” she said. “Don’t give him an out. We don’t want him. We want him out.”

After hearing from the residents, the council voted unanimously not to approve the leave of absence.

On Tuesday, Uvalde’s mayor announced that Robb Elementary is set to be demolished, saying no students or teachers should have to return to it after what happened.

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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Texas Public Safety Director Says Police Response to Uvalde Shooting Was An “Abject Failure”

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New footage shows officers prepared to engage the shooter one hour before they entered the classroom.


Seventy-Seven Deadly Minutes

Nearly a month after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, evidence has emerged indicating that police were prepared to engage the shooter within minutes of arriving, but chose to wait over an hour.

The shooting at Robb Elementary began at 11:33 a.m., and within three minutes 11 officers are believed to have entered the school, according to surveillance and body camera footage obtained by KVUE and the Austin American Statesman.

District Police Chief Pete Arredondo reportedly called a landline at the police department at 11:40 a.m. for help.

“It’s an emergency right now,” he said. “We have him in the room. He’s got an AR-15. He’s shot a lot… They need to be outside the building prepared because we don’t have firepower right now. It’s all pistols.”

At 11:52 a.m., however, the footage shows multiple officers inside the school armed with at least two rifles and one ballistic shield.

Law enforcement did not enter the adjoined classrooms to engage the shooter until almost an hour later, at 12:50 p.m. During that time, one officer’s daughter was inside the classrooms and another’s wife, a teacher, reportedly called him to say she was bleeding to death.

Thirty minutes before law enforcement entered the classrooms, the footage shows officers had four ballistic shields in the hallway.

Frustrated Cops Want to Go Inside

Some of the officers felt agitated because they were not allowed to enter the classrooms.

One special agent at the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived about 20 minutes after the shooting started, then immediately asked, “Are there still kids in the classrooms?”

“It is unknown at this time,” another officer replied.

“Ya’ll don’t know if there’s kids in there?” The agent shot back. “If there’s kids in there we need to go in there.”

“Whoever is in charge will determine that,” the other officer responded.

According to an earlier account by Arredondo, he and the other officers tried to open the doors to the classrooms, but found them both locked and waited for a master key to arrive. But surveillance footage suggests that they never tried to open the doors, which a top Texas official has confirmed were never actually locked.

One officer has told reporters that within minutes of the police response, there was a Halligan bar, which firefighters use to break down locked doors, on-site, but it was never used.

At a special State Senate committee hearing Monday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and “antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said. “The officers have weapons, the children had none.”

We make it a point to not include the names and pictures of those who may have been seeking attention or infamy and will not link out to websites that might contain such information.

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