Week In The News: Trump Feuds, Fox-Disney Merger, FAA, Midwest Flooding

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presents President Donald Trump with a Brazilian national team soccer jersey in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presents President Donald Trump with a Brazilian national team soccer jersey in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

With David Folkenflik

Boeing’s relationship with the FAA faces tough scrutiny. The Magic Kingdom eats up a Fox. And the president trashes his critics on Twitter. The roundtable is here.

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Kathie Obradovich, opinion editor and columnist for the Des Moines Register. (@KObradovich)

Darlene Superville, White House reporter, Associated Press. (@dsupervilleap)

John Harwood, CNBC editor at large covering Washington. (@JohnJHarwood)

From The Reading List

Associated Press: "Trump touts economy, renews McCain attacks in Ohio" — "President Donald Trump returned Wednesday to Ohio, the state that foretold his 2016 victory, with a tour of a tank plant, where he touted its revival and told cheering workers 'we are rebuilding the American military, we are restoring American manufacturing and we are once again fighting for our great American workers.'

"Trump could not resist using the visit to criticize John McCain, saying the late senator 'didn’t get the job done for our great vets in the VA.' He also complained that McCain’s family didn’t thank him for giving the senator 'the kind of funeral that he wanted.' McCain died last year of brain cancer.

"Trump’s visit to Ohio marked his first trip to the state since last year’s midterm election campaign , when the state was a rare bright spot for Republicans in the upper Midwest. But with Trump’s path to another four years in the White House relying on a victory in the state, his nascent campaign is mindful of warning signs that Ohio can hardly be taken for granted in 2020."

CNBC: "George Conway, husband of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, has an urgent warning about the president’s mental health" — "At first, it looked like a package deal: Kellyanne Conway would join President Donald Trump’s White House staff, her husband, George, the new administration’s Justice Department.

"The former happened, but the latter did not. And now, in a Washington spectacle unseen since the wife of Richard Nixon’s attorney general sounded alarms about Watergate, the spouse of a top presidential advisor is issuing urgent public warnings about Trump’s mental health.

"As the Trump administration got underway, media reports placed George Conway in line to head the Justice Department’s civil division. But then Trump rocked the agency by firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, and within weeks George Conway withdrew as a candidate to remain a private lawyer.

"Conway started publicly criticizing Trump days later. 'Sad,' he tweeted, invoking the familiar Trump lament, that the president had complicated the legal defense of his travel ban with impolitic comments.

"Soon afterward he sought to soften the impact. 'I still "VERY, VERY STRONGLY"' support Trump, he assured Twitter followers, 'and of course, my wonderful wife.' "

Time: "Europe and Canada Just Signaled They Don't Trust the FAA's Investigation of the Boeing 737 MAX" — "The decision by Europe and Canada to break with U.S. air-safety regulators over the safety of the Boeing 737 Max is likely to delay the resumption of flights after two of the jets crashed.

"The Europeans and Canadians vow to conduct their own reviews of Boeing’s changes to a key flight-control system, not to simply take the Federal Aviation Administration’s word that the alterations are safe. Those reviews scramble an ambitious schedule set by Boeing and could undercut the FAA’s reputation around the world.

"Boeing hopes by Monday to finish an update to software that can automatically point the nose of the plane sharply downward in some circumstances to avoid an aerodynamic stall, according to two people briefed on FAA presentations to congressional committees."

The Atlantic: "Hollywood Makes Way for the Disney-Fox Behemoth" — "The Disney Death Star has finally arrived. The company’s merger with Fox, completed this week, will radically reshape the Hollywood movie landscape. The math reveals a staggering picture: Last year, Disney’s overall market share for the domestic box office was 26 percent—placing the studio ahead of its five major competitors, not to mention a host of smaller independent companies. 20th Century Fox, a longtime rival, had the fifth-largest share (9.1 percent) and more than 1 billion dollars in grosses. Together, Disney and Fox now command 35 percent of the movie market—a historic number for cinema.

"The chilling implications of such a merger have been widely explored since the deal was first mooted in 2017. Disney had already become a pop-culture juggernaut after its acquisition of the Star Wars and Marvel brands over the past decade, on top of its existing animation studios (Walt Disney and Pixar). In 2016, Disney set a record for worldwide grosses in a calendar year; in 2018, it recorded the second-highest total in history. The company’s dominance of the film industry was already indisputable. But with Fox, it has gained a tremendous new asset.

"Disney didn’t acquire the entire company, leaving behind its network-TV channel and news and sports programming (which are now part of the rebranded Fox Corp). But along with 20th Century Fox, Disney now owns the prestige film company Fox Searchlight; the cable channels FX and National Geographic; Fox’s TV production company (which owns The Simpsons); most of Hulu; a huge library of classic films stretching back more than 80 years; and (most crucially to many a comic-book fan) the rights to Marvel’s X-Men and Fantastic Four characters, who can now be folded into the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. The initial announcement of the merger stirred up so much online excitement about many of these details that some of the larger implications of the Disney-Fox deal got drowned out."

Reuters: "Missouri governor declares state of emergency amid rising floodwaters in Midwestern U.S." — "Missouri’s governor declared a state of emergency on Thursday as floodwaters that left a swath of destruction across Nebraska and Iowa surged downstream, swamping small towns, roads and farmland in the U.S Midwest.

"Flooding triggered by last week’s so-called 'bomb cyclone' storm has already inflicted damage estimated at nearly $1.5 billion in Nebraska, killed at least four people in Nebraska and Iowa and left a man missing below Nebraska’s collapsed Spencer Dam.

"'The rising floodwaters are affecting more Missouri communities and farms, closing more roads and threatening levees, water treatment plants and other critical infrastructure,' Governor Mike Parson said in issuing his emergency declaration."

Tania Ralli produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on March 22, 2019.



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