Archive for Mia Jankowicz

Chris Cuomo is planning to sue CNN if it doesn’t pay him $18 million remaining on his contract, reports say

A head and shoulders still of Chris Cuomo on his former CNN show "Cuomo Prime Time."
Chris Cuomo addresses his brother's resignation on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" in August, 2021.
  • Chris Cuomo has lawyered up after being fired from his job at CNN, reports say.
  • The New York Post said Cuomo could seek the roughly $18 million left on his contract. 
  • He hired the lawyer who managed Megyn Kelly's lucrative exit from NBC, Puck News reported. 

Chris Cuomo hired a lawyer to sue CNN for $18 million, the remaining value of his former contract with the network, several reports said. 

On Saturday night, CNN announced that it had fired Cuomo, its top primetime anchor, in light of new information about how he helped his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, to fight sexual harassment allegations

Documents from the New York Attorney General's office showed that Chris Cuomo's efforts went further than he had initially claimed. It included using media sources to learn more about one of his brother's accusers, as Insider's Azmi Haroun, Charles Davis, and Jake Lahut reported

Citing unnamed sources, both the New York Post and Matt Belloni of the tech- and media-focused outlet Puck News  reported Monday that Chris Cuomo has hired lawyer Bryan Freedman.

Freedman's company did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

According to the Post, Cuomo seeks to secure the remainder of the salary in his contract with CNN. The anchor signed his latest contract with CNN in April 2020, according to Variety.

That four-year contract was worth $6 million annually, the Post reported, meaning Cuomo will be looking for a further $18 million if he litigates with CNN. 

Bryan Freedman is a high-profile entertainment lawyer. His firm, Freedman + Taitelman, has handled cases for Kevin Spacey, Michael Jackson's estate, and Megyn Kelly. 

Kelly's case bears some comparison to Cuomo's. She left NBC midway through her contract in acrimonious circumstances in 2019, but secured its full $69 million value through her lawyer, CNN reported

Cuomo may also seek damages, the Post reported. It also cited an unnamed CNN source who said the network had "no intention of paying Cuomo a penny."

CNN's contracts have a morality clause which entitles it to fire anyone who sullies its reputation, according to the Post. Representatives for CNN did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. 

According to Puck News, CNN is working with Daniel Petrocelli, who in 2018 successfully contested a Department of Justice attempt to block a merger of Time Warner and CNN owner AT&T.

Petrocelli's firm also did not immediately respond to Insider's request for confirmation. 

Cuomo also announced on Instagram on Monday that he will also "take a step back" from his weekday radio show on SiriusXM. 

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A North Dakota lawmaker who organized an anti-vaccine-mandate rally pulled out after catching COVID-19

A handful of people stand outside the North Dakota State Capitol in April 2020. One man stands with a yellow 'don't tread on me' flag.
North Dakotan anti-lockdown protesters at an April 2020 rally in at the statehouse in Bismarck.
  • A North Dakota lawmaker skipped his own anti-vaccine rally after he caught COVID-19.
  • Rep. Jeff Hoverson, a Republican, said his illness was "rough" but was treating it with ivermectin.
  • Lawmakers in the state are considering legislation meant to counter Biden's incoming vaccine rules.

A North Dakota lawmaker and organizer of a rally against vaccine mandates pulled out of the event after contracting COVID-19.

State representative Jeff Hoverson, a Republican, posted to Facebook on Sunday to say he was quarantining. "Covid is real and like a really bad flu," he said.

Hoverson is an organizer of Monday's "We The People" rally which took place outside the North Dakota State Capitol in opposition to vaccine mandates.

He told the Associated Press (AP) he is feeling "rough" but claimed that the unproven anti-COVID drug ivermectin was "keeping me out of the hospital." His three children would go instead, he told the outlet.

He also used his Facebook post to tout ivermectin, a deworming drug that remains unproven as a COVID-19 treatment but is popular with anti-vaxxers, as Insider's Hilary Brueck reported.

He is one of the most rightwing members of the state's legislature, according to the AP, and last posted a video to Facebook decrying a "Communist Takeover Of America & The World."

A video still showing the North Dakota State Capitol from the air, superimposed with the text 'We The People.'
A still from the promotional video from the 'We The People' rally in North Dakota.

Around 400 people attended the rally Monday, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The rally's website advertised speakers such as Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk.

It also touted Chris Berg, a talk radio host who walked out of his job in October over his employer's vaccine requirement, the Herald said.

North Dakota's state legislature is considering two bills meant to curb vaccine mandates, in defiance of President Joe Biden's incoming rules obliging companies with more than 100 employees to require their vaccination.

The state is among the more than 26 states suing to block the rules, as Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported.

Hoverson's Facebook post also called on the state health department to "stop misleading the public about these available treatments," by which he appeared to ivermectin, which doctors generally do not recommend.

The episode is illustrative of a growing divide between scientific consensus - which encourages vaccination, masking, and other measures to curb the spread of the virus - and a highly politicized group that touts, without evidence, unproven treatments like ivermectin as alternatives to getting vaccinated.

In September, North Dakota health officials had held a town hall discouraging ivermectin use in the wake of reports of overdoses and poisoning from the drug, the Associated Press reported.

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The Wall Street Journal defended publishing a letter by Trump full of obviously false claims about the 2020 election

trump wall street journal
Former President Donald Trump holds up a copy of The Wall Street Journal in April 2020.
  • The WSJ hit back at critics after it published a letter by Trump that included several falsehoods.
  • Its opinion section published, without challenge, Trump's assertion the 2020 election was rigged.
  • After considerable backlash the WSJ defended the gesture, saying Trump's "monomania is news."

The Wall Street Journal defended itself from critics after it published a letter from former President Donald Trump containing a slew of false statements about the 2020 election.

Trump's letter was published Wednesday by the paper's opinion section and ran to nearly 600 words. It falsely claimed that "the election was rigged" and listed numerous supposed irregularities, which the Journal published without correction.

The letter was itself a response to a Wall Street Journal editorial discussing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision on ballot counting rules, which mentioned how President Joe Biden convincingly won in the state.

There was an immediate backlash to Trump's letter. The next day, the paper defended the move in an editorial titled "The Facts on Trump's Fraud Letter."

It argued that that the letter was inherently newsworthy, and hit out at its critics as "the progressive parsons of the press" and "media clerics."

The backlash came from media and ethics commentators, as well as, according to CNN's Reliable Sources newsletter, some of the paper's own reporters.

"I think it's very disappointing that our opinion section continues to publish misinformation that our news side works so hard to debunk," one unnamed WSJ reporter told the outlet.

The comment continued a longstanding animosity towards the paper's opinion section from its news staff, members of which have accused the opinion section of lax standards and a willingness to echo Trump talking points.

Walter Schaub, the former director of the Office for Government Ethics, encouraged his Twitter followers to cancel their subscriptions, calling the paper a "dangerous fascist propaganda outlet."

Also on Twitter, NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen saw the letter as an example of how, in his view, "the WSJ opinion section is one of the leading institutions of the [Republican] Party," which he says functions by "flooding the zone with shit."

The paper did not respond to requests for comment from media reporters such as the Washington Post's Jeremy Barr.

But it came out swinging in its Thursday response.

"[Trump's] 2020 monomania is news, and it reflects on his fitness for 2024," the editorial read.

"We trust our readers to make up their own minds about his statement," it continues. "And we think it's news when an ex-President who may run in 2024 wrote what he did, even if (or perhaps especially if) his claims are bananas."

It went on to debunk many of Trump's claims, saying "it's difficult to respond to everything" due to the rate at which Trumpworld produces falsehoods.

Bill Grueskin, a journalism professor and former WSJ managing editor, told the Washington Post that opinion editors do not normally just publish letters containing known falsehoods without intervention.

"If someone is going to spout a bunch of falsehoods, the editor usually feels an obligation to trim those out, or to publish a contemporaneous response," Grueskin said. In this case, the Wall Street Journal waited until after considerable backlash.

Ultimately, the paper concluded, there is no evidence backing up Trump's claims of having won the election.

The paper did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment

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In a landmark case, an Israeli man is requesting UK asylum, saying he’ll be made to participate in ‘apartheid’ if he returns

A row of IDF soldiers and an artillery unit near Israel's border with Gaza.
Israeli soldiers of an artillery unit gather near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, on its Israeli side May 14, 2021
  • An Israeli student seeking asylum in the UK says he'll be made to commit 'apartheid' in Israel.
  • The man, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, fled Israel after being ordered to join the army, reports say.
  • The UK's Home Office rejected his case last year, but an appeal is scheduled for Monday.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

An Israeli Jewish student is seeking asylum in the UK on the grounds that returning to Israel would result in him participating in "apartheid," according to multiple reports.

The 21-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbinical student is appealing a previous asylum claim rejected in December last year, according to Middle East Eye (MEE). The case, in which he has been granted anonymity, will be freshly considered Monday in a Manchester court, court documents seen by Insider show.

The student's lawyer, Fahad Ansari of Riverway Law, says he fled Israel in 2017 after he received orders to join the military, MEE reported. According to The New Arab, the student has an autism spectrum disorder.

According to Al-Jazeera, the student said he strongly opposes Zionism and Israel's existence, citing both political and religious arguments. The view strongly departs from Israel's political mainstream.

"Our client is attempting to prove his case in the context of Israel operating as an apartheid state," Ansari told MEE.

The student also fears imprisonment as a deserter, as well as reprisal for his political views, if he returns to Israel, Al-Jazeera reported.

This year, prominent human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Israeli nonprofit B'Tselem have said that Israel's policies towards Palestinians compared with Israeli Jews, and its occupation of the West Bank, amount to apartheid.

The accusation drew a sharp rebuke from Israel's foreign ministry, which called HRW's statements "fictional" with "no connection to facts or reality on the ground," The Guardian reported at the time.

Conscientious objectors in Israel are not uncommon, but it is the first time the UK has handled an Israeli asylum case on this basis, according to MEE. Any precedent set could have influence over future cases.

Ultra-Orthodox Israelis were exempt from military service until February this year, after decades of efforts to overturn the exemption, according to The Times of Israel. Fahad told MEE that there have been forcible conscriptions of students like his client during this time.

The UK's Home Office, which handles asylum claims, was not immediately available for comment at time of publication, but told MEE that as it is an ongoing legal case it would "not be appropriate" to comment further.

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3 federal pandemic-aid programs expired as of Labor Day, severing millions of Americans from unemployment benefits

Unemployment line
People line up outside a newly reopened career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, U.S., April 15, 2021.
  • Three federal pandemic-era benefits programs ended Monday.
  • The programs expanded who was eligible for unemployment insurance and for how long.
  • A left-leaning think tank estimated the programs' end would affect 7.5 million unemployed Americans.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

As of Monday, three federal unemployment-aid programs had come to a close, cutting off pandemic benefits for millions of people in the US.

The programs - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and an additional weekly $300 in Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation - were scheduled to end by Labor Day.

The ability to apply for benefits in some states ended Saturday, rather than Sunday, because of a difference in which day states end their claim weeks.

The left-leaning think tank The Century Foundation estimated that 7.5 million people would lose benefits, as Insider's Juliana Kaplan and Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in particular created a new class of beneficiaries, allowing workers such as gig workers and freelancers to receive unemployment aid.

Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, previously told Insider the programs were ending too early and argued that President Joe Biden's administration should have waited until unemployment was closer to prepandemic levels.

"It's going to take consumer spending out of the economy - it's going to slow the rate of GDP growth," he said.

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee in turn argued the ongoing benefits made it difficult for job recruiters to compete with the amounts offered for unemployment.

Twenty-five mostly GOP-led states voluntarily opted to cut the benefits in March, affecting an estimated 4.1 million unemployed workers at the time, Time reported.

Many businesses in the US are still finding it difficult to hire workers, however. Months after Alabama and Florida opted to cut the flow of benefits, employers in some industries continue struggling to find workers, as Insider's Grace Dean reported.

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The Taliban said women should join its new government, but Afghans are deeply skeptical given the militant group’s brutal history

Women hold hands with their children as they run across a street
Women with their children try to get inside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 16, 2021 to try and flee the country.
  • A Taliban leader said women should join its government, in remarks suggesting the group has changed.
  • Afghans are bracing themselves for a return to the militant group's ultra-conservative regime.
  • One minister in the fallen government said she feels "the fear that every woman has in Afghanistan."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Taliban leader announced an "amnesty" Tuesday and said that women should join its government, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban's cultural commission, said "The Islamic Emirate doesn't want women to be victims," according to the AP. The Islamic Emirate is the Taliban's name for Afghanistan.

"They should be in the government structure according to Shariah law."

Samagani's talk of an amnesty was unspecific, the AP reported, with little clue as to what that would entail. The militants are still negotiating with the country's fallen government, with no deals exchanged, the agency reported. The country's President Ashraf Ghani fled the country Sunday.

The comments came days after the US troop withdrawal precipitated an astonishingly speedy Taliban takeover of the country, including its capital, Kabul.

The Taliban group has said it is open to women's education, and has promised there will be no retribution against those who worked in the fallen government, the AP reported.

Nonetheless, the rapid change of power has prompted thousands of Afghans to make desperate attempts to leave the country, fearing the Taliban's ultra-conservative history. In particular, the country has been bracing itself for an assault on women's freedoms.

In seeming anticipation of reprisal, images of women adorning the exterior of a Kabul beauty salon were painted over on Sunday. Female Afghan journalists have spoken out about their fear of retribution, while on Sunday CNN's Clarissa Ward reported having been told to stand aside by a Taliban fighter, because she is a woman.

On Sunday, before Samangani's latest remarks, Rangina Hamidi, education minister in the country's fallen government, had told the BBC that she fears the consequences of having taken a government position. She said she felt "the fear that every woman has in Afghanistan."

"Deep down in my heart I keep telling myself to think that I haven't done anything bad, and hopefully I won't have to pay the price for joining a government position," she said.

"I might face consequences that I never even dreamed of, and I guess that's the price that we pay for trying to make the world a little better," she added.

Many Afghans who lived through the Taliban's first takeover of the country, before US intervention in 2001, remain skeptical of the apparent change of tone reflected in Samangani's remarks, the AP reported.

During that time, women were largely confined to the home, and brutal punishments such as stonings, beheadings and amputations were common.

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How a prolific anti-vax doctor, known for endorsing claims that COVID-19 shots could make you magnetic, oversees a lucrative empire of junk science

A composite image of four screenshots of Dr Tenpenny talking to camera on Instagram.
Dr. Sherri Tenpenny talking to followers via Instagram Live.
  • Dr. Sherri Tenpenny was named as one of the 12 most prolific sources of anti-vax misinformation.
  • Earlier this year she told Ohio lawmakers that COVID-19 vaccines could make people magnetic.
  • But her influence runs deeper, reaching a vast audience and earning her money.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny had just returned from the Ohio Statehouse late on June 9, 2021.

She told lawmakers there - who were considering a bill against vaccine mandates - that the COVID-19 vaccine could potentially make people both magnetic and connective to 5G mobile data networks.

The testimony - which was demonstrably false - garnered global headlines and its own PolitiFact fact check.

It inspired a nurse at the same hearing to make a comical failed attempt at proving she was now magnetic.

That evening, talking to her Bible study group, Tenpenny was pleased with herself. "If the goal was to make them look stupid ... I think I did a pretty good job with that," she said in a video that has since been removed from Instagram.

"You knocked it out of the park," one follower commented.

The incident illustrates the chasm of perception between anti-vaxxers and mainstream science in understanding the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sherry Tenpenny
Tenpenny testifying at the Ohio Statehouse.

(Tenpenny told Insider that she had spoken for more than an hour, and that news reports cherry-picked and twisted her words. She stuck to her claim that the Ohio hearing went well.)

In March, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) named Tenpenny among 12 anti-vaxxers responsible for spreading 65% of all false information about vaccines, dubbing them the "Disinformation Dozen."

The report has been influential, and was name-checked by President Joe Biden in July, who said: "These 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it." The remark came after his explosive comment that anti-vax claims on Facebook were "killing people."

But even censure from the most powerful person in the world can only do so much. Anti-vaccine disinformation has crept up on the Biden administration's COVID-19 response, complicating the rapid rollout of free, life-saving vaccines.

Tenpenny's limited following of around 115,000 people across conventional social-media platforms (she was recently banned from Twitter) obscures her true reach.

Between her podcast, appearances on Infowars, and speeches at right-wing rallies, she's had more than 1.5 million streams.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are now saying that vaccine misinformation is contributing to the "pandemic of the unvaccinated." In the Ohio Statehouse, Tenpenny knew that Democrats, who opposed the bill against vaccine mandates, would confront her with the "Disinformation Dozen" label.

"I said, 'yeah! I'm kind of proud of that, that's pretty cool, isn't it?'" she told her Bible study group. "I just, like, pivoted it."

She chuckled. "Idiots."

Sowing doubt

Weeks before any COVID-19 vaccine trials were completed, Tenpenny was sure of the outcome.

"They're being led like sheep to the slaughter, Alex," she told the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Infowars in September. "What's coming in this vaccine is going to be horrific."

Tenpenny is a doctor, but her specialism is osteopathy. She has no qualifications in epidemiology. Despite this, she has spent years making unproven or exaggerated claims about vaccines. She regularly talks about the 40,000 hours she has spent researching the topic.

Tenpenny gave an initial interview to Insider followed by an email exchange, in which she partly responded to several detailed requests for comment.

Speaking to Insider, she explained why she produces no research herself, and instead presents her conclusions based on reading scientific papers. They are often, though not always, peer-reviewed materials.

"I quote what I quote and I use references so people can read the material themselves, so that they can see that I don't take things out of context," she said.

But the material is often taken out of context.

Tenpenny sells a suite of four educational courses on COVID-19, priced at $79 a module, though currently discounted to $24.95.

In course materials viewed by Insider from the "Social Distancing and Contact Tracing" module, Tenpenny cited the leading atmospherics researcher Professor Lidia Morawska from Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

A screenshot of a slide from Dr Tenpenny's course on social distancing. It cites research by Prof Lidia Morawska on the 6-foot rule, which Morawska later said was misused.
A screenshot of a slide from Dr Tenpenny's course on social distancing. It cites research by Prof Lidia Morawska on the 6-foot rule, which Morawska later said was misused.

Morawska had written an influential paper about the methodology of assessing airborne infection, calling for a more nuanced understanding, as Insider's Hilary Brueck reported. She had referred to the "dogma" of older science, saying it needed refreshing.

Tenpenny presented the quote with little further context, framing it as part of an argument that social distancing is useless in preventing infection.

"Dr. Tenpenny completely misrepresents what I say," Morawska told Insider. "I never said that distancing is useless, quite to the contrary."

Confronted with this, Tenpenny said that Morawska was "backpedaling" from the conclusions of her own research.

Needless to say, Morawska disagreed.

Tenpenny sent Insider extensive materials, including a document about the COVID-19 vaccine named "20 mechanisms of injury," many of which have already been extensively debunked, as Reuters reported.

Insider asked Professor Raymond Tellier, a microbiologist with specialisms in coronaviruses, pandemics, and medical microbiology at McGill University, to review the document.

Tellier said: "To paraphrase Luke Skywalker: 'Amazing. Almost everything she said is wrong.'"

He sent Insider a point-by-point rebuttal of her assertions on spike proteins, mRNA, human DNA, adenoviruses, and anaphylaxis, all of which Tenpenny uses to falsely claim that the vaccine is harmful.

"It is quite clear that she does not understand (or willfully misrepresents) the articles she is reading, and is incapable of appreciating them correctly," he said.

Insider sent Tenpenny Tellier's detailed critique. Tenpenny responded by saying "other scientists and medical doctors" agree with her conclusions, without addressing Tellier's conclusions.

She cited Dr. Ryan Cole, a dermopathologist, and Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist, as supporting some of her arguments. Both doctors have been criticized for spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

How inflated numbers and falsehoods entered the discussion

Speaking of the vaccine, Tenpenny asked Insider: "Can you think of any product in any industry that could have contributed to at least 45,000 deaths in the first eight months of use?"

There is no official report of the vaccine causing, or even being connected to, 45,000 deaths. The CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) has logged, to date, 6,340 deaths in people who have had the shot, or 0.0019% of all recipients.

This doesn't mean the vaccine killed 6,340 people, since the system does not record - or even aim to record - whether a vaccine caused a death or if it is merely a coincidence.

Reports can be submitted by anyone, and no connection between the vaccine and ill effects needs to be proven.

The figure of 45,000 vaccine deaths comes from the calculations, based on VAERS data, of an anonymous computer programmer in a lawsuit filed by America's Frontline Doctors. The group is known for spreading vaccine disinformation, The New York Times reported.

The case has not been tested in court, but it has gone straight into Tenpenny's arsenal. So, too, has the fact that the COVID-19 vaccine has not undergone long-term trials - which Tenpenny embellished to a rightwing rally in Tampa in July.

"This shot has never been tested in humans before, ever," she said, adding: "There are no long-term studies." The follow-up did little to undo the main falsehood, given that the vaccine was tested on around 75,000 volunteers.

To "pass" Tenpenny's anti-social distancing course, users must answer 10 true-or-false questions showing they accept the main conclusions of the course: that social distancing has no benefit in a pandemic, and that masks are a form of mind control. (Insider scored 70%.)

A screenshot of the quiz at the end of one of Dr Tenpenny's COVID-19 courses. The "true or false" question reads: "masks and distancing are mind control techniques, planned and designed for behavior modification."
A sample question concluding one of Dr Tenpenny's COVID-19 courses.

In a June 2021 report on the Disinformation Dozen, titled "Pandemic Profiteers," the CCDH estimated that Tenpenny earned up to $353,925 from a single webinar titled "How Covid-19 Injections Can Make You Sick ... Even Kill You."

This income is on top of sales from Tenpenny's pre-recorded training courses, her line of supplements, as well as her fees for appearing in multiple vaccine-injury cases. And each webinar produces more customers.

"My job is to teach the 400 of you in the class … so each one of you go out and teach 1,000," she told her $623-a-head "Mastering Vaccine Info Boot Camp" in March, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Judges have called her vaccine-injury fees exorbitant. In a long-running case, a federal court official in 2009 "expressed serious concern" over the $25,800 Tenpenny billed a client, noting she had claimed to have spent 260 hours preparing for a single day's hearing. She also had billed two meals for a total of $139.19, the judge said.

The vaccine-injured client, Michael Shaw, eventually won his case with testimony from a neurologist. But Tenpenny's testimony was criticized as scientifically illiterate.

The official said it had likely slowed Shaw's access to justice.

From vaccine hesitancy to conspiracy theories

Tenpenny's "Vaxxter" Facebook page description said it was dedicated to exposing "problems associated with Big Pharma."

"We support fully informed consent and support your right to refuse vaccines and mandatory medications," it said.

After Insider highlighted the content of the page, Facebook removed it, along with a slew of other pages linked to Tenpenny.

Debates around medical freedoms have been enormously re-energized in right-wing politics during the pandemic, whether they be about mask-wearing, lockdowns, or vaccine use. Indeed, it was Ohio House Rep. Jennifer Gross who invited Tenpenny to testify in the statehouse about the anti-vaccine mandate bill in June, as the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Gross didn't respond to Insider's request for comment.

While Tenpenny takes that increasingly mainstream position on Facebook, she often directs her followers to more niche material elsewhere. Tenpenny told Insider it was a "given" that she tones down how she talks on mainstream social media platforms.

"Everybody modifies their language these days if they want to say what they really think because the censorship spiders, and reporters, will come along and take it out of context or take it down," she said.

Which is why over on Infowars, the story goes far beyond the reasonable questions a vaccine-hesitant person might have.

There, the shot is - apparently - part of a big pharma plot to sicken people with vaccines in order to create a bigger medical customer base. "These shots are designed to make you sick and even kill you," she told Alex Jones on July 1.

"The people at the top of this ladder, they're eugenicists and I believe many of them are satanists," she told him last September.

Tenpenny's worldview has strayed into antisemitism, as The Jewish Chronicle first reported.

The CCDH provided Insider with several antisemitic Telegram posts from Tenpenny, which variously mention Jewish figures such as the Rothschild family and George Soros. In some cases, they allege ambitions of world domination, which is considered antisemitic by the American Jewish Committee.

She also shared an interview in which Bishop Richard Williamson claimed that no Jews were gassed in Nazi concentration camps during what he called "the quote-unquote Holocaust." The post was accompanied by a note that "posting and forwarding are not an endorsement."

"Many people share things on different channels," Tenpenny told Insider of the post, saying she had no idea who Williamson is. "This is his interpretation … I could challenge and debate everyone of his statements with other studies."

"'His studies' vs 'my studies' … that's what scientific debate is about," she added.

Asked about a post in which she said that "the CEOs of the major vaccine manufacturers are Jews," Tenpenny said it had been posted by a member of her social-media team, and that they had held a meeting about it after it received attention.

She did not take the post down, however, tellling Insider: "Then the next time somebody gets upset about something, do we take that out? Or do we just say, suck it up, buttercup, move on? It's not that big a deal."

Sluggish reaction from social-media companies

Instagram has taken little action on Tenpenny's "@happyhourwithDrT" Bible study account, which often veers into anti-vaccine disinformation.

Facebook has been sporadic in how it responds to her posts. Until Insider contacted the company, her "Vaxxter" page remained live, with some posts marked with a link to a fact-check and others offering links to accurate COVID-19 information.

After questions from Insider, Facebook and Instagram took down five pages linked to Tenpenny, including "Vaxxter," and two Instagram accounts, citing breaches of its coronavirus misinformation policies.

While she rarely posted written vaccine disinformation on Facebook, Tenpenny used the "Vaxxter" page to direct its 27,000 followers to her podcast, which is hosted on Podbean.

After Insider contacted Podbean for comment, the company said Tenpenny's content violated its terms of use, and that the channel had been removed. However, it was still live at time of publication.

The whack-a-mole system is deeply frustrating to Imran Ahmed, CEO of CCDH.

"People are looking for big answers to big problems, and that's where conspiracist-thinking stuff can go in," he told Insider.

"We know that these are bad actors," he said, speaking of the Disinformation Dozen. "And that's been our argument with the social media companies."

'No bottom line beyond the bottom line'

Tenpenny's social media presence is warm, world-weary, and comforting. In her cozy Instagram chats, she seems completely sincere in her beliefs.

But for Ahmed, the Disinformation Dozen have one prime motivation: Money. "There is no true self" with them, he said. "There's no bottom line beyond the bottom line."

He said CCDH's researchers had infiltrated a meeting of the National Vaccine Information Center, a group identified by NewsGuard as spreading "false and unsubstantiated claims about vaccination."

There, anti-vaxxers including Tenpenny "were arguing in secret over how they were going to take advantage of COVID."

"They were bubbling over with glee at the opportunity that COVID presents to them for market growth," he said.

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John McAfee spent 8 months in a ‘dank’ Spanish prison. His last days were spent musing on power, incarceration, and love.

A screenshot of John McAfee testifying to Spain's National High Court on June 15
A screenshot of John McAfee testifying to Spain's National High Court by video conference on June 15.
  • John McAfee asked for time in his cell two hours before he was found dead, El País reported.
  • He had been in prison for 8 months awaiting an extradition ruling, which he lost Wednesday.
  • McAfee had access to social media, made philosophical posts, and claimed to be in good spirits.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Two hours before John McAfee was found dead, he had requested to spend time in the cell that he shared with another prisoner, El País reported.

Ten days earlier, McAfee had argued in court that his looming extradition to the US on tax evasion charges would see him spend the rest of his life in prison.

But authorities did not find his argument persuasive, and at 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday he learned his extradition had been approved, the paper reported.

In Catalonia's Brian 2 prison, inmates can get some alone time in their cells in the afternoons if they have no other duties.

McAfee locked himself in alone, sources told the paper. Two hours later, prison staff found his body, the same sources said. He appeared to have killed himself by hanging.

His lawyer, Javier Villalba, told Reuters that McAfee died by suicide, a finding that was echoed by Catalonia's law enforcement body El Mossos D'Esquadra, El País reported.

The final determination will be made by autopsy, Reuters cited a Department of Justice official as saying.

McAfee tweeted more than once that he would never kill himself. The posts have since fueled online speculation about his death - including among QAnon conspiracy theorists, as Insider's as Insider's Rachel Greenspan and Steven Asarch reported.

McAfee had not been on suicide watch, prison sources told El País.

Villalba. the lawyer, also said the death was a shock. "At no point had he shown any special worry or clue that could let us think this could have happened," he told Reuters on Thursday.

In late May, McAfee said he'd been asked by another inmate how to kill himself, but didn't have any advice. But he said he was struck that suicide did not seem an odd prospect in prison.

McAfee posted about his mental state too. In late April he said incarceration had been "the most trying period of my life," and on June 8 noted that he was having "a down day."

Other times he took a different view: on May 23 he wrote that he had "never felt more free" than in prison.

Thoughts on prison, love and power

McAfee had spent more than eight months in the prison - which he described as "dank" - at the time of his death.

His Twitter account has 1.1 million followers - perhaps unsurprising for a man with such a colorful life.

While locked up, he posted about prison conditions - whether that was his fellow inmates, Spanish prison food, or the limited reading materials.

There were also bursts of humor, such as when he speculated about farting ants.

According to his wife Janice, McAfee was well-liked by his fellow inmates, who called him "Papa America" and particularly appreciated his full set of teeth - useful for opening sauce packets and taking the filters out of cigarettes.

"I'm sure he will figure out a way to turn that into a business of some sort," she wrote in an update on April 23.

He also shared his thoughts about love and power. Six days before his death, he posted a video. It is unclear when the video was made, as it appears to be recorded in a soundproofed room rather than in prison.

"Humans are compassionate, loving, gracious, kind, generous people," he said to camera We are simultaneously greedy, jealous, envious, angry - we're a mixed bag. And if you give one of the human species power, which part of ourselves uses it? Love?" He laughed. "Love does not need power, people."

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ProPublica said that it doesn’t know the source of its secret tax information on the super-rich, and admitted that a hostile state could have sent it

propublica sign
  • ProPublica said it does not know the identity of the source who passed them a trove of IRS files.
  • The outlet published a bombshell investigation into the tax practices of the mega-rich.
  • ProPublica said it is confident of the material even if the source had hostile motives.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

ProPublica says it does not know the identity - or motivations - of the source who passed it private tax documents for its recent bombshell investigation of the ultra-rich.

On Tuesday, the left-leaning outlet published its a flagship investigation based on the private IRS documents of billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Michael Bloomberg and Warren Buffett.

The federal government is now investigating the origins of the leak, which it says was illegal. In an accompanying article, ProPublica's CEOs Stephen Engelberg and Richard Tofel revealed that they don't know who sent the documents.

"We do not know the identity of our source," they wrote. "We have considered the possibility that information we have received could have come from a state actor hostile to American interests."

Engelberg and Tofel said the source told them they were motivated by ProPublica's previous reporting on taxation, but, the CEOs said, "we do not know for certain that is true."

Noting recent hacks on US servers from hostile states, they added: "We have long held that those motives are irrelevant if the information is reliable."

They said that they had vetted the information extensively by comparing the documents to those they already had access to.

"In every instance we were able to check - involving tax filings by more than 50 separate people - the details provided to ProPublica matched the information from other sources," they wrote.

The ProPublica story revealed the actual rates of tax the ultra-rich pay, as well as a wide array of details of their tax practices.

Explaining why they published the private information, Engelberg and Tofel argued that it is in the public interest to reveal the tax avoidance practices of the billionaires, who were often found to have paid proportionately much less than regular Americans.

Tactics highlighted by ProPublica include low-interest borrowing to keep tax bills down, and an allegation that Bezos claimed a tax credit designed for much lower-income households than his.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene said that she’s the victim of Democrat bullying when questioned about her hounding of AOC

Marjorie Taylor Green at a new member orientation
Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., arrives at the Hyatt Regency for new member orientation in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene said she is the one who is a victim of bullying, not Democrats.
  • She listed a handful of grievances on Newsmax, re-casting her taunting of AOC as "citizen lobbying."
  • "They're the ones that are completely out of line," she told the rightwing network.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted to flip the script about her behavior towards political rivals on Friday when questioned about a recent video of her taunting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Speaking to Greg Kelly on right-wing network Newsmax, Greene described several encounters with Democrats that she said make her the victim of aggression, contrary to what she sees as a skewed media narrative.

"They're accusing me of being aggressive and saying that my mannerisms are wrong," she said. "It's definitely the other way round."

A screenshot of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene talking to Newsmax's Greg Kelly.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene talking to Newsmax's Greg Kelly.

Greene had come under intense criticism on several occasions for confrontational behavior and support of far-right causes, most recently on Wednesday when pursuing Ocasio Cortez on Capitol Hill "screaming," as witnesses said. On that occasion, she inaccurately said that Ocasio-Cortez supported terrorists.

Soon after that, a 2019 video emerged from before Greene was a member of Congress, showing her and far-right companions taunting Ocasio-Cortez through the New Yorker's office letterbox, calling her a "baby" who needed to "get rid of your diaper."

Speaking to Kelly, Greene described the act as "citizen lobbying."

A composite of close-up cellphone screenshots showing Marjorie Taylor Greene laughing into the camera, speaking through Alexandria OCasio-Cortez' letterbox, and walking away.
Marjorie Taylor Greene in a 2019 video outside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' office.

Earlier this year, a video from 2018 emerged, showing her harassing and mocking Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg over his anti-gun stance.

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments in February after multiple incidences emerged of her endorsing political violence.

Recalling that, Greene told Kelly Friday that "there was no ethics violation against me, I've done nothing wrong."

Kelly was keen to build the same narrative in his interview, saying that Democrats such as Ocasio-Cortez and Eric Swalwell - who has also been critical of Greene - are "picking on you."

marjorie taylor greene alexandria ocasio-cortez
MTG has challenged AOC to a debate on pay-per-view TV over the Green New Deal.

Greene agreed, saying, "They don't know what to do with me because I'm not going to back down and be intimidated by their bully tactics."

She cited several instances that she said constituted bullying from Democrats:

An altercation in January with Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, where Bush was "verbally assaulting me in the tunnels, screaming at me," according to Greene. But when the incident was first reported, Bush said that it was Greene who berated her in the hallway after she had asked Greene to wear her mask properly.

In a live-streamed video from the tail end of the encounter, a voice can be heard shouting for Greene to put her mask on.

A standoff with Rep. Marie Newman, who in February planted the trans flag in what Greene described as "an aggressive manner" outside her own office. She also accused Newman of having "aggressively" bumped her shoulder while walking by her one time.

Newman did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. A video of Newman planting the flag can be seen here:

A visit from Guam's congressional delegate Michael San Nicolas in March, during which National Guardsmen offered cookies and books to Greene's aides outside her office. Greene was not in the office at the time.

The gesture came after a gaffe from Greene, who had mistakenly said at CPAC that Guam was a foreign country that is undeserving of American aid.

In their interview, Kelly and Greene cast this as a threatening act.

"I saw an orchestrated political event using our troops, marching them into your office, which I found to be potentially intimidating," said Kelly.

"Thank God I wasn't in there," agreed Greene.

Greene did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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