media matters
August 26, 2014
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The case of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer, continues to make headlines weeks after the incident sparked riots and outrage in Ferguson, Missouri, and prompted a national debate.

Meanwhile, the case of Dillon Taylor, a white 20-year-old shot and killed by a black policeman outside a 7-Eleven in Utah has received virtually no media coverage beyond local news reports. His brother, who was with him at the 7-Eleven, says Taylor was unarmed.

The negligible coverage of the Taylor case by the mainstream media prompted many conservative critics to address the racial double standard. The Washington Times reports: "Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh blamed the discrepancy between the two cases on 'the liberal world view' that portrays whites as oppressors and blacks as victims."

The Times noted that CNN news host Jake Tapper acknowledged the discrepancy between the two cases, and noted that "the press often undercovers such topics as inner-city violence and the high rates of black-on-black crime."

According to Tapper, though, the Brown case is more newsworthy because of the national reaction it sparked, though some question whether the excessive media coverage of the violent protests actually served to fuel them.

the saga continues
10:03 p.m. ET

Nope, Kanye West's Twitter account wasn't hacked on Thursday: He really did apologize to Beck for the whole jumping-onstage-and-later-talking-serious-smack debacle at the Grammys.

After saying he was sorry to Beck, West decided to make amends with Bruno Mars:

Since the Grammys, West has been making the rounds trying to soften his image, and admitted to a radio station host last week that Beck's Morning Phase, which he didn't listen to before the show, was "kind of good." Now that the Kanye West Apology Tour 2015 is over, can a Yeezus/Beck/Mars collaboration be far off?

justice is (finally) served
9:05 p.m. ET
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Out of the more than 7,000 Virginians who were involuntarily sterilized by the state between 1924 and 1979, only 11 are still alive. On Thursday, the Virginia General Assembly agreed to give each survivor $25,000.

The Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act aimed to "improve the genetic composition of humankind by preventing those considered 'defective' from reproducing," The Associated Press reports. The legislation served as a model for other states and Nazi Germany, and across the country, 65,000 Americans were sterilized in 33 states. Virginia's eugenics law was upheld in the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. writing for the majority, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

In Virginia, six state institutions conducted the sterilizations. Lewis Reynolds, 87, was sterilized at the Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feeble Minded when he was 13; they thought he had epilepsy, but he just had temporary symptoms after being hit in the head with a rock. The retired Marine didn't discover he had been sterilized until he was married and trying to start a family with his first wife, who ended up leaving him once she found out he couldn't have children. "I think they done me wrong," he told AP. "I couldn't have a family like everybody else does. They took my rights away."

have you seen this dress?
7:49 p.m. ET

Someone call the fashion police: The pearl-covered dress worn by actress Lupita Nyong'o to Sunday's Academy Awards was stolen from a hotel on Wednesday.

The Calvin Klein-designed dress is said to be covered with 6,000 real pearls, and is worth a hefty $150,000. The gown was reported missing at 11:23 p.m. Wednesday, and police believe it was taken between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. that day. Detectives are dusting for fingerprints, talking to staff, and looking at surveillance footage from L.A.'s London Hotel for clues. "At this point, we don't have any idea who did it," Lt. William Nash of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told NBC News.

your health
7:22 p.m. ET
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The Centers for Disease Control is worried about an increase in the number of people contracting the potentially deadly bacteria C. difficile.

C. difficile is usually found in hospitals, but a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine said that 150,000 people who had not been in a hospital came down with C. diff in 2011, and 82 percent had visited a doctor's or dentist's office in the 12 weeks before becoming ill, CNN reports. Nearly half a million Americans are infected every year, with 15,000 deaths attributed to the bacteria. Researchers say the best way to avoid getting it is by washing hands with soap and water after visiting a doctor's office.

In 2013, researchers found C. diff in six out of seven outpatient clinics tested in Ohio, on chairs and exam tables. The CDC plans to do another study to see just why the numbers are so high outside of hospitals and to determine how many people arrive at the doctor's office already with the bacteria. "This is really an important issue," Dr. Cliff McDonald, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, told CNN. "We need to understand better how people are getting C. diff."

Shutdown showdown
5:19 p.m. ET
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The Senate appears poised for a vote Friday on a bill that would approve funding for the Department of Homeland Security without blocking President Obama's immigration order. That would give the House — which passed a DHS funding bill last month that included provisions thwarting Obama's immigration action — less than a day to respond; funding for DHS runs out Saturday.

Confronted with a restive conservative wing that wants him to keep fighting and spurn the bipartisan Senate deal, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has yet to say how he will respond once the Senate acts.

Snowball Fights
4:56 p.m. ET

During a speech on climate change, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) employed some very questionable science to prove that global warming is a hoax.

"Do you know what this is?" he asked. "It's a snowball. It's just from outside here, so it's very very cold out," Inhofe said before tossing the snowball.

"Here, Mr. President, catch."

His staff confirmed that the snowball was caught by a Senate page. —Marshall Bright

Science!
4:19 p.m. ET
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Oversleeping might be the activity of choice for college students, but sleeping more than eight hours a day could have significant health risks.

A new study published in the journal Neurology found that people who regularly sleep for longer than eight hours a day are at a higher risk for stroke than people who sleep six to eight hours daily.

The researchers studied almost 10,000 people aged 42 to 81 for nearly 10 years, recording how long they slept each night and if they had any strokes. The participants who slept the most had a risk of stroke 46 percent higher than average, and their stroke risk was double that of those who slept six to eight hours a night.

For now, the study authors note that more research is needed, since the study only proves correlation, not causation, between the two. But the researchers also note that oversleeping may be a sign of other health problems, such as depression, cancer, or neurological deterioration.

Kiss off?
4:08 p.m. ET

"That's just a kiss, that's all," House Speaker John Boehner explained Thursday after blowing kisses in response to a reporter's query.

With two days to avoid a Homeland Security shutdown, Boehner faces a potential revolt from the right over the fight to block President Obama's immigration order. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) struck a deal with Democrats to undo parts of the House's DHS funding bill, but Boehner insists he's waiting to see a final version of the legislation before he'll commit to a next move.

So when pressed to explain how he would avert a DHS shutdown, Boehner began one response with a few kisses, before adding, "When we make decisions I'll let you know," he said. —Jon Terbush

Fair and Balanced
3:34 p.m. ET
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It's likely not a surprise that a majority (66 percent) of Republicans trust Fox News. 

What is more surprising, though, is that Fox is both the most and least trusted news source, according to a new study from Public Policy Polling. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they trusted Fox News over ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, MSNBC, CNN, and NBC, while 30 percent of respondents said they trusted Fox the least.

The only network that Republicans and Democrats agree is reliable? PBS. 

This just in
3:00 p.m. ET
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An Argentine judge has dismissed the case against President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which alleged Kirchner had protected Iranian officials from being prosecuted for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Judge Daniel Rafecas said Thursday that the documents filed by deceased prosecutor Alberto Nisman "failed to meet standards needed to open a court investigation," The Guardian reports. "I dismiss the case because no crime was committed," Rafecas said on Thursday.

Nisman's death was originally ruled a suicide, but later was suspected to be murder. He had drafted an arrest warrant for Kirchner.

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