Thursday | October 21st, 2021

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It’s Thursday, October 21st, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) State Department Begins Reviewing Afghanistan Withdrawal 

The Topline: The State Department has reportedly opened several “reviews” of President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

MARCUS YAM/Marcus Yam/Contributor/LOS ANGELES TIMES via Getty Images

Reviews

The State Department has launched a series of reviews – technically not “investigations” – looking into the department’s Special Immigrant Visa program, the Afghans who were processed for refugee admission into the U.S., the resettlement of those refugees and other visa recipients, as well the administration’s emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

The reviews, announced in a memo last week by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are similar to a preliminary investigation, or an informal investigation. The inspectors general will gather information and make a determination about whether they will open a formal investigation into the matters. 

The State Department’s inspector general, Diana Shaw, and her office are responsible for conducting the reviews. 

Pentagon Reviews

The Pentagon is also conducting its own reviews, including one into the drone strike that killed 10 civilians, one into the Department of Defense’s screening process for displaced Afghans, and another auditing the Pentagon’s support for relocating Afghan nationals.

Allies Left Behind 

One of the reviews being conducted by the State Department will include the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals.

Remember: There are still American citizens and allies trapped in Afghanistan. A group of American veterans and volunteers known as the Afghan Rescue Crew recently worked with officials from Qatar to evacuate 374 American citizens and foreign nationals from Afghanistan.

mikroman6 via Getty Images

2) Trust In Media Plummets

The Topline: New polling shows trust in establishment news media crumbling over the last few years, reaching near all-time lows.

Quote Of The Day: “Does it bother you that the news network you work for out and out lied?”

– Joe Rogan to Dr. Sanjay Gupta

The Drop

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 36% of Americans say they have a “Great deal/Fair amount” of trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” which means almost two-thirds of Americans do not trust the news media. 

This is the second lowest number Gallup has seen when it conducts these polls — in 2018, the number was at 45%.

There are relatively high levels of trust in media among self-reported Democrats, at 68%, compared with significantly lower rates among Independents and Republicans, at 31% and 11% respectively. 

Why Now?

Independent voices have gained enough of a platform to challenge the mainstream media. 

Last week, the hugely popular podcaster Joe Rogan called out Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his show for CNN’s misleading reporting on Rogan’s use of the medication Ivermectin while he was infected with COVID-19. 

Rogan demanded answers about why CNN misled audiences, telling them he was taking “horse dewormer,” rather than that he was taking Ivermectin, prescribed by a physician, as an antiviral. The FDA has not authorized Ivermectin for prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Elsewhere, Katie Couric admitted in her new book that she intentionally edited her 2016 interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to delete a portion where Ginsburg said athletes who kneel for the national anthem are showing “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life.” 

Couric claimed she was protecting Ginsburg because she feared the justice was “elderly” and “probably didn’t fully understand the question.”

A little over a week ago, The New York Times overreported the number of children hospitalized due to COVID-19 – reporting “nearly 900,000,” when the real number was around 60,000. 

Samir Hussein/Contributor/WireImage/Getty Images

3) Netflix Faces Worker Revolt Over Chappelle Special

The Topline: The controversy over comedian Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, “The Closer,” continued this week as a group of Netflix employees staged a walkout and released a list of demands.

Quote Of The Day: “We’re supposed to be that little voice that speaks out and says the things that you’re afraid to say. But you’re thinking, if you’re telling us that we can’t even say, that we can’t do that, then what can we do? You know, are we just supposed to put clown makeup on and dance around?”

– Comedian Jon Reep, on stand-up comedy

Demands

Chappelle’s Netflix special, “The Closer,” has drawn the ire of numerous LGBTQ activist groups, and employees at Netflix, due to its jokes poking fun at the transgender movement. 

On Wednesday, dozens of Netflix employees staged a walkout and issued a list of demands saying they want all posters and images of Chappelle removed from Netflix buildings. They also demanded that the company hire transgender and non-binary people to executive positions and fund new entertainment promoting transgenderism.

They also want Netflix to “acknowledge the harm and Netflix’s responsibility for this harm from transphobic content” and put a hate-speech warning on Chappelle’s special.

Netflix’s Response

Both of Netflix’s co-CEOs initially put out strong statements in defense of Chappelle, essentially saying speech is not violence.

However, Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, provided a new statement to Deadline on Tuesday saying he “screwed up” and wasn’t sensitive enough to transgender concerns. He said should have led with his “humanity” rather than a defense of free expression.

Stand-Up Community

Other than a few exceptions, most comedians are supporting Chappelle.

Earlier this week, fellow comedian Damon Wayans called him the “Van Gogh” of comedy and said comedians have been “slaves to PC culture,” and Chappelle has freed them.

Stephanie Keith/Stringer/Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Brian Laundrie

The FBI has confirmed that a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie, as well as what appears to be human remains, were discovered in a park in Florida on Wednesday. Laundrie, the former fiance of Gabby Petitio, is a person of interest in the homicide case.

Parkland

The Parkland mass shooter pleaded guilty on Wednesday to murdering 17 students and staff and injuring 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. A jury will determine whether he will face life in prison or execution.

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