Fox News once devoted its 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. time slots to relatively straightforward newscasts. Now those hours are filled by opinion shows led by hosts who denounce Democrats and defend the worldview of former President Donald J. Trump.
For seven years, Juan Williams was the lone liberal voice on “The Five,” the network’s popular afternoon chat show. On Wednesday, he announced that he was leaving the program, after months of harsh on-air blowback from his conservative co-hosts. Many Fox News viewers cheered his exit on social media.
Donna Brazile, the former Democratic Party chairwoman, was hired by Fox News with great fanfare in 2019 as a dissenting voice for its political coverage. She criticized Mr. Trump and spoke passionately about the Black Lives Matter movement, which other hosts on the network often demonized. Ms. Brazile has now left Fox News; last week, she quietly started a new job at ABC.
Onscreen and off, in ways subtle and overt, Fox News has adapted to the post-Trump era by moving in a single direction: Trumpward.
amounted to an existential moment for a cable channel that is home to Trump cheerleaders like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham: the 2020 election.
Fox News’s ratings fell sharply after the network made an early call on election night that Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, would carry Arizona and later declared him the winner, even as Mr. Trump advanced lies about fraud. With viewers in revolt, the network moved out dissenting voices and put a new emphasis on hard-line right-wing commentary.
the network fired its veteran politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, who had been an onscreen face of the early call in Arizona for Mr. Biden. This month, it brought on a new editor in the Washington bureau: Kerri Kupec, a former spokeswoman for Mr. Trump’s attorney general William P. Barr. She had no journalistic experience.
opinion shows at 7 and 11 — with segments that lament “cancel culture” and attack Mr. Biden — are attracting bigger audiences than the newscasts they replaced. And the niche right-wing network Newsmax has failed to sustain its postelection audience gains.
In some ways, the Murdochs are making a rational business decision by following the conservatives who have made up the heart of the Fox News audience; recent surveys show that more than three-quarters of Republicans want Mr. Trump to run in 2024.
But under Roger Ailes, the network’s founder, who shaped its look and feel, Fox News elevated liberal foils like Alan Colmes, a Democrat who shared equal billing in prime time with Mr. Hannity until the end of 2008, and moderates like Mr. Williams.
“Roger’s view was you had to have some unpredictability and you had to challenge the audience; you couldn’t just be reading Republican talking points every night,” said Susan R. Estrich, a Democratic lawyer and former commentator on Fox News who negotiated Mr. Ailes’s exit from the network amid his sexual misconduct scandal.
Today in Business
Ms. Estrich recalled that Mr. Ailes had defended Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News host, when Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, attacked her in misogynist terms. Now, she said, “instead of trying to broaden their audience, Fox News is narrowing it and digging in.”
Rick Santorum, after he was criticized for remarks about Native Americans.
Ms. Brazile said she had left Fox News of her own accord.
“Fox never censored my views in any way,” she wrote in an email. “Everyone treated me courteously as a colleague.” Ms. Brazile added: “I believe it’s important for all media to expose their audiences to both progressive and conservative viewpoints. With the election and President Biden’s first 100 days behind us, I’ve accomplished what I wanted at Fox News.”
an outcry from the Anti-Defamation League.
A pro-Trump drift at Fox News is not new: George Will, a traditional conservative who opposed Mr. Trump’s candidacy, lost his contributor contract in 2017. Shepard Smith, a news anchor who was tough on Mr. Trump, left in 2019.
Some Fox News journalists, though, say privately that they are increasingly concerned with the network’s direction. Kristin Fisher, one of the network’s rising stars in Washington and a White House correspondent, left Fox News last month despite the network’s effort to keep her. She had faced criticism from viewers in November after a segment in which she aggressively debunked lies about election fraud advanced by Mr. Trump’s lawyers.
The longtime Washington bureau chief, Bill Sammon, resigned in January after internal criticism over his handling of election coverage, around the time that Mr. Stirewalt was fired. (Mr. Stirewalt was let go along with roughly 20 digital journalists at Fox News, which the network attributed to a realignment of “business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era.”)
Mr. Sammon has effectively been replaced by Doug Rohrbeck, a producer with extensive news experience on Bret Baier’s newscast and Chris Wallace’s Sunday show. Still, some Fox journalists were surprised when the network hired Ms. Kupec, the former Barr spokeswoman, to work under Mr. Rohrbeck. (In 2019, CNN hired Sarah Isgur, the spokeswoman for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as a political editor. After protests from staff, she was shifted to an on-air role and later left the network.)
Fox News International, a streaming service available in 37 countries in Asia and Europe.
Despite continuing criticism from liberals, Fox News remains a financial juggernaut for the Murdoch empire; it is expected to earn record advertising revenues this year, the network said.
Even as its programming decisions seem aimed at attracting Trump supporters, Fox News does face one roadblock: Mr. Trump. The former president has maintained his stinging criticism of Fox News, which, he has claimed, betrayed him by calling the election for Mr. Biden.
On Friday, after criticism from Paul Ryan, the former House speaker, Mr. Trump wrote that “Fox totally lost its way and became a much different place” after the Murdochs appointed Mr. Ryan to the Fox Corporation board.
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.
Hoo boy, this is a moment. A government authority in the United States has sued Amazon over claims that the company is breaking the law by unfairly crushing competition.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by the attorney general for the District of Columbia, joins the recent government antitrust cases against Google and Facebook. These lawsuits will take forever, and legal experts have said that the companies likely have the upper hand in court.
The D.C. attorney general, Karl Racine, however, is making a legal argument against Amazon that is both old-school and novel, and it might become a blueprint for crimping Big Tech power.
It’s a longstanding claim by some of the independent merchants who sell on Amazon’s digital mall that the company punishes them if they list their products for less on their own websites or other shopping sites like Walmart.com. Those sellers are effectively saying that Amazon dictates what happens on shopping sites all over the internet, and in doing so makes products more expensive for all of us.
told me that he believed that those price claims were the strongest potential antitrust case against Amazon on legal grounds. (He has since been picked to advise the White House on corporate competition issues.)
I don’t know if any of these lawsuits against Big Tech will succeed at chipping away at the companies’ tremendous influence. And I can’t definitively say whether we’re better or worse off by having a handful of powerful technology companies that make products used and often loved by billions of people.
the price of power is scrutiny.
How to fight back against bogus online information: The comedian Sarah Silverman and three of my colleagues are hosting a virtual event Wednesday about disinformation and how to combat it. Sign up here for the online event at 7 p.m. Eastern. It’s open only to New York Times subscribers.
fine social media companies for permanently barring political candidates’ accounts. The measure is most likely unconstitutional and unenforceable, Democrats, libertarian groups and tech companies told my colleague David McCabe, but it’s a response to Facebook’s and Twitter’s suspension of former President Donald Trump.
Posting is life. My colleague Taylor Lorenz explains how social media invitations to a teenager’s birthday party spread on TikTok and drew thousands of people and a police crackdown. The event got big partly because it was an opportunity for attendees to post compelling material online. SIGH.
POTUS loves Apple News? I don’t like it when computers and smartphones come with the device makers’ apps already installed, but it’s effective — even with the president of the United States. The Washington Post reported that during the 2020 campaign Joe Biden shared with aides human interest stories from Apple News, which came on his iPhone and he apparently hadn’t deleted.
Hugs to this
The Linda Lindas are glorious. Here is the talented punk band of four girls between the ages of 10 and 16 — Bela, Eloise, Mila and Lucia — playing “Racist, Sexist Boy” at a Los Angeles public library. The Guardian interviewed them about their sudden internet fame.
We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you’d like us to explore. You can reach us at email@example.com.
If you don’t already get this newsletter in your inbox, please sign up here. You can also read past On Tech columns.
Lordstown Motors, a start-up aiming to make electric pickup trucks, said on Monday that it would “at best” make just 50 percent of the vehicles it had previously hoped to this year.
Lordstown gained attention because it purchased an auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio, that General Motors had closed. It was also once hailed by former President Donald Trump for saving manufacturing jobs.
The company, which said Monday it was on track to start production in September, became a publicly traded company last year by merging with a special purpose acquisition vehicle, a company set up with cash from investors and a stock listing. Several other electric vehicle and related businesses have gone public through similar mergers in recent months taking advantage of investors desire to find the next Tesla.
Lordstown, which is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, said it lost $125 million in the first quarter of 2021, but ended the period with $587 million in cash.
After the news of its production outlook was released, Lordstown’s stock fell about 8 percent in after-hours trading, to just under $9. The stock briefly traded at about $30 last year.
For nearly 50 years, public opinion has had only a limited effect on abortion policy. The Roe v. Wade decision, which the Supreme Court issued in 1973, established a constitutional right to abortion in many situations and struck down restrictions in dozens of states.
But now that the court has agreed to hear a case that could lead to the overturning of Roe, voters and legislators may soon again be determining abortion laws, state by state. This morning’s newsletter offers a guide to public opinion on the subject.
Americans’ views on abortion are sufficiently complex that both sides in the debate are able to point to survey data that suggests majority opinion is on their side — and then to argue that the data friendly to their own side is the “right” data. These competing claims can be confusing. But when you dig into the data, you discover there are some clear patterns and objective truths.
Here are five.
1. A pro-Roe majority …
Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans — 60 percent to 70 percent, in recent polls by both Gallup and Pew — say they do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. Similarly, close to 60 percent of Americans say they favor abortion access in either all or most circumstances, according to Pew.
restrictions that Roe does not permit.
Roe, for example, allows only limited restrictions on abortion during the second trimester, mostly involving a mother’s health. But less than 30 percent of Americans say that abortion should “generally be legal” in the second trimester, according to Gallup. Many people also oppose abortion in specific circumstances — because a fetus has Down syndrome, for example — even during the first trimester.
One sign that many Americans favor significant restrictions is in the Gallup data. Gallup uses slightly different wording from Pew, creating an option that allows people to say that abortion should be legal “in only a few” circumstances. And that is the most popular answer — with 35 percent of respondents giving it (in addition to the 20 percent who say abortion should be illegal in all circumstances).
This helps explain why many abortion rights advocates are worried that the Supreme Court will gut Roe without officially overturning it. Yes, the justices are often influenced by public opinion.
3. Remarkable stability
Opinion on some major political issues has changed substantially over the last half-century. On taxes and regulation, people’s views have ebbed and flowed. On some cultural issues — like same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization — views have moved sharply in one direction.
barely budged. Here is Gallup’s four-category breakdown, going back to 1994:
stretching back to the 1970s, just after the Roe ruling.
A key reason is that abortion opinion differs only modestly by age group. Americans under 30 support abortion rights more strongly than Americans over 50, but the gap is not huge. The age gaps on marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage and climate change are all larger.
Abortion remains a vexing issue for large numbers of Americans in every generation — which suggests the debate is not likely to be resolved anytime soon.
4. A modest gender gap …
Gender plays a major role in American politics. Most women voted for Joe Biden, while most men voted for Donald Trump. On many issues, like gun control and the minimum wage, there is a large gender gap.
But the gap on abortion is not so large. If anything, it seems to be smaller than the partisan gap. That suggests, perhaps surprisingly, that there are more Democratic-voting women who favor significant abortion restrictions than Republican-voting women who favor almost universal access — while the opposite is true for men.
tilted toward college graduates and the Republican coalition is going in the other direction.
The bottom line
Both advocates and opponents of abortion access believe the issue is too important to be decided by public opinion. For advocates, women should have control over their bodies; after all, no major decision of men’s health is subject to a veto by politicians or other voters. And for opponents of abortion access, the life of an unborn child is too important to be subject to almost any other consideration.
If the Supreme Court overrules or substantially weakens Roe, this intense debate will play out state by state. Many states are likely to restrict abortion access substantially.
For more: Pew’s Jeff Diamant and Aleksandra Sandstrom look at opinion in each state. And The Upshot looks in detail at how and where laws may change if Roe falls.
and they’re still alive.
A Times classic: Eight things worth your time.
Lives Lived: With deadpan comedy and Everyman good looks, Charles Grodin first drew notice on Broadway. He went on to star onscreen in “The Heartbreak Kid,” “Midnight Run” and “Beethoven.” He died at 86.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Gina Cherelus writes in The Times.
Today, Shrek-related content is ubiquitous in memes and on social media, introducing the film to a new generation. At a sushi restaurant years ago, Jenson was delighted to overhear nearby diners talking about it. “One of them says, ‘Have you seen “Shrek”?’ And the other one is like, ‘No, no, I don’t go see kids’ stuff,’ and they go: ‘No, no, it’s not for kids. You have to go see it.’” — Sanam Yar, a Morning writer
Russia has stationed nearly 80,000 troops on its border with Ukraine. Not far away, in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Russian-backed separatists have recently intensified their attacks. And yesterday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv, to emphasize American support for Ukraine.
Blinken, holding a bouquet of roses, stood in a rainstorm to visit a memorial for Ukrainian soldiers killed in the fighting with Russia. He later said he had been emotionally moved “to pay tribute to those who lost their lives defending Ukraine’s democracy.”
Since President Biden took office — following Donald Trump, who was famously solicitous of President Vladimir Putin — tensions between Russia and the U.S. have been rising. This morning, we want to help you make sense of what’s going on.
What is Putin doing?
The buildup of troops since March is both a message to Ukraine as well as to the U.S. and the European Union.
over the Donetsk region, potentially giving Putin more control over eastern Ukraine.
The Times’s Helene Cooper and Julian Barnes wrote, “and to make clear to Kyiv the limits of Western support.”
It’s not just Ukraine
The troop deployment also seems to contain a message bigger than just Ukraine. It is a show of strength by Putin as he also takes steps to quash the protest movement led by Aleksei Navalny, which has inspired more dissent than Putin has faced in years. And it’s a reminder to Biden that if he becomes too aggressive toward Russia, Putin can create problems for him.
Biden has an ambitious foreign policy agenda, some of which has little to do with Russia and some of which requires Russian cooperation, such as climate change and Iran’s nuclear program. An escalating conflict over Ukraine would make all of that more difficult.
calling him a killer — but Biden’s actual policies have been more moderated. On the one hand, Blinken’s visit to Kyiv has been provocative, and last month the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia, in response to hacking and election interference.
But the sanctions stopped far short of what the U.S. could have imposed. “I was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so,” Biden said when announcing them. “The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia.”
Anton Troianovski, The Times’s Moscow bureau chief, describes the White House strategy as “a carefully choreographed carrot-and-stick approach.” Lara Jakes, who covers the State Department, points out that Biden and Putin have known each other for years and that their relationship, for all of the tension, is characterized by “pragmatism and a fair bit of predictability.”
Perhaps Biden’s biggest goal is to create a stable relationship in which Putin decides that he has more to lose than to gain from confrontation. And that’s not easy.
Russia, as The Economist recently wrote, is already “the single most prolific stoker of instability on Europe’s borders, and arguably the most energetic troublemaker in rich democracies, funding extremist parties, spreading disinformation and discord.” But of course Russia could still cause even more trouble, as Putin is now demonstrating in Ukraine.
made his mother a promise. Twenty years later, he made good.
Modern Love: A silly dance connects a mother and daughter.
A Times classic: Are you rich?
Lives Lived: After finally convincing her male editors that a female journalist could handle big news stories, Lucinda Franks became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She died at 74.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Musk’s repeated tweeting of misinformation about the pandemic. Some cast members have expressed their displeasure, or as The Times’s Dave Itzkoff writes, “their befuddlement.”
The casting is an example of how “the ecosystem of fame has shifted,” the AV Club writes. Musk’s social media presence has earned him an unusual fan base for a C.E.O. It’s also a throwback to the early seasons of “S.N.L.,” when the show chose hosts based less on movie openings. Some of them also generated criticism, at the time or later:
In 1978, O.J. Simpson was not just a football player but also one of the country’s biggest stars. “Having him host an episode was a no-brainer,” Thrillist reports.
Rudy Giuliani hosted in 1997, when he was mayor of New York City. To this day, he is considered “one of its worst hosts,” Insider writes.
Lance Armstrong hosted in 2005 when he was facing doping allegations. The show later called him “the most despicable, vile human being ever to set foot on planet Earth.”
In 2015, Donald Trump, then a candidate for president, took the stage. “S.N.L.” staff members have since said they regret giving Trump the platform.
In Musk’s case, the polarized response is part of the appeal. Michael Che, one of the show’s head writers, said: “I like when the show has some edge.”
Facebook’s suspension of Donald Trump will continue for now, the company announced yesterday. But it still has not resolved the central problem that Trump has created for social media platforms and, by extension, American democracy.
The problem is that Trump lies almost constantly. Unlike many other politicians — including other recent presidents, from both parties — he continues to make false statements even after other people have documented their falseness. This behavior undermines the healthy functioning of American democracy, particularly because Trump has such a large following.
His lies about the 2020 election are the clearest example. They have led tens of millions of people to believe a made-up story about how Joe Biden won. They have become a loyalty test within the Republican Party.
In Congress, Republicans are moving to oust Liz Cheney as one of their leaders after she said that people who repeated Trump’s “big lie” were “turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.” In several states, Republican legislators are using Trump’s made-up story to justify new laws that make voting more difficult, especially in heavily Democratic areas. There is a direct connection between Trump’s lies about the election and the weakening of voting rights.
justified its suspension of Trump in January not based on his lies but instead on his incitement of violence, before and during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. Facebook continues to allow politicians to spread many falsehoods, saying it does not want to police truth. Distinguishing among truth, opinion and falsehood can indeed be tricky — but Trump’s claims about electoral theft are not a nuanced case.
The issue here isn’t the enduring philosophical question of what constitutes truth; it’s whether Facebook is willing to tolerate obvious and influential lies. So far, the company has decided that it is. It has drawn a line somewhere between blatant untruths and incitement to violence.
“Facebook’s approach to Trump’s attempts to undermine confidence in the integrity of the election was weak and ineffective,” Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, told me. When Trump last year falsely described mail-in voting as corrupt, for example, Facebook left up the post and instead added a link to a website where people could find general election information, as Hasen describes in his forthcoming book, “Cheap Speech.” Twitter, he notes, has taken a more aggressive position.
Yesterday’s decision officially came from a Facebook-appointed panel of speech experts that the company calls its Oversight Board. The board has no actual power to regulate the company, but it may have some influence on Facebook executives. In their statement, board members criticized Facebook for levying an indefinite suspension on Trump and said it should choose in the next six months between a permanent ban and a time-limited one: “In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities,” the board wrote.
points out in her latest newsletter). The board wrote:
… context matters when assessing issues of causality and the probability and imminence of harm. What is important is the degree of influence that a user has over other users. When posts by influential users pose a high probability of imminent harm, as assessed under international human rights standards, Facebook should take action to enforce its rules quickly.
That passage highlights the crux of the issue. Facebook has evidently decided that undermining the credibility of democratic elections does not violate international human rights standards. If it maintains that position, Trump may be back on Facebook six months from now.
What is the Facebook Oversight Board? Cecilia Kang has written an explainer, and Ben Smith has written a column.
The board’s message to Facebook’s C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg: “This problem is yours,” Kevin Roose writes.
Nick Clegg, a former deputy prime minister in Britain, is steering the company’s response. Read a profile of him.
How the suspension has mattered: Politico’s Michael Kruse traveled to Ohio recently and was struck by how little many Republican voters knew about Trump’s recent comments.
THE LATEST NEWS
The Biden administration supported waiving patents for Covid vaccines to boost supply in lower-income countries.
Support from the White House is not a guarantee that a waiver will be adopted. It needs support from all members of the World Trade Organization.
The E.U. is considering whether to follow the Biden administration’s decision.
Supporters cast the move as a moral imperative that would get shots to India and other countries.
Pharmaceutical companies reacted angrily, saying it would hamper future vaccine development and do little to increase short-term supply.
Jim Geraghty and the political scientists Frances Lee and James Curry in The Atlantic.
Biden’s economic plans address one of the New Deal’s glaring omissions: women, Binyamin Appelbaum writes in The Times.
Lost and Found: His ship vanished 176 years ago. DNA offered his descendants a clue.
A Times Classic: What happened to Bob Ross’s paintings? We found them.
Lives Lived: Tamara Press was a dominant Soviet shot-putter and discus thrower in the 1960s. But amid questions about her physique, she pulled out of a major event that required sex testing. She died at 83.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Amanda Hess writes in The Times: The former “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings infused shows with a Trebek-like intellect, while the Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers brought an outsider’s earnestness. Others, like Dr. Mehmet Oz, have worked less well, trying to outshine the show with stories and jokes.
petition calling for LeVar Burton, the former star of “Reading Rainbow,” to be the next host received more than 250,000 signatures — and helped get him a guest spot beginning July 26.
One strategic wrinkle: Contestants seem to be struggling to adapt to the variation in the hosts’ speaking styles and aren’t sure exactly when to buzz in, Claire McNear notes in The Ringer. That has created a randomness that has prevented any long winning streaks.
Regardless of who gets the permanent job, Hess argues that the clues, “which are precisely written and briskly dealt,” are the show’s real draw.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Vuitton of fashion (five letters).
If you’re in the mood to play more, find all our games here.
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David
P.S. Tuesday night’s episode of “Jeopardy!” featured an answer about The Times. (Scroll to the bottom for the solution.)
Facebook wanted Mr. Clegg to help repair its relationships with regulators, political leaders and the media after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when data improperly pulled from Facebook was used to create voter profiles. Mr. Clegg’s international experience and comfort in five languages — English, Spanish, French, German and Dutch — appealed to the American-centric company.
Friends said Mr. Clegg had initially been reluctant to join Facebook, one of the world’s most polarizing corporations. But he wanted to be back at the center of important political and policy debates. In a memo outlining how he envisioned the role, he argued that it was unsustainable for a private company like Facebook, rather than democratically elected governments, to have so much power, especially on speech-related issues.
“My advice was strongly to go for it,” said Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, whom Mr. Clegg spoke with before taking the job, “because you’re going to be part of one of the most powerful companies in the world at a moment of enormous change in the world, and when technology is at the heart of that change.”
Inside Facebook, where Mr. Zuckerberg leans on a group of friends and early employees for counsel, Mr. Clegg earned the trust of his new boss. At the company’s headquarters, where proximity to Mr. Zuckerberg is power, Mr. Clegg’s desk was placed nearby. He orchestrated a trip through Europe with Mr. Zuckerberg, meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels and President Emmanuel Macron of France in Paris.
Since Mr. Clegg’s arrival, Facebook has shifted some of its policy positions. It now appears more accepting of regulation and higher taxes. He overcame reluctance from Mr. Zuckerberg and others in the company to ban political ads in the weeks before Election Day last year. And he was the main internal supporter for recently announced product changes that give users more control over what posts they see in their Facebook feeds.
“He has a track record of knowing what it’s like to work inside a cabinet that needs to make decisions quickly and move at the speed of a country, or in this case a platform,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, who worked with Mr. Clegg on the user-control changes.
PARIS — Jacques Chirac couldn’t stand him. Nicolas Sarkozy kept his distance. François Hollande shunned him. But on the 200th anniversary this week of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death, Emmanuel Macron has chosen to do what most recent presidents of France have avoided: honor the man who in 1799 destroyed the nascent French Republic in a putsch.
By choosing to lay a wreath Wednesday at Napoleon’s tomb under the golden dome of Les Invalides, Mr. Macron is stepping into the heart of France’s culture wars. Napoleon, always a contested figure, has become a Rorschach test for the French at a moment of tense cultural confrontation.
Was Napoleon a modernizing reformer whose legal code, lycée school system, central bank, and centralized administrative framework laid the basis for post-revolutionary France? Or was he a retrograde racist, imperialist, and misogynist?
By paying his respects to Napoleon, Mr. Macron will please a restive French right dreaming of lost glory and of a moment when, under its turbulent emperor, France stood at the center of the world. The French obsession with the romantic epic of Napoleon’s rise and fall is undying, as countless magazine covers and talk shows have underscored in recent weeks.
Mr. Macron is taking a risk. Officials close to him have portrayed his planned speech as an attempt to look Napoleon “in the face,” light and shadow. Others, however, insist Napoleon should be condemned rather than commemorated.
“How can we celebrate a man who was the enemy of the French Republic, of a number of European peoples, and also the enemy of humanity in that he was an enslaver?” Louis-Georges Tin, an author and activist, and Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison, a political scientist, wrote last month in Le Monde.
particularly in Algeria, and a vigorous debate has begun on whether the country’s purportedly colorblind universalist model masks widespread racism.
Josette Borel-Lincertin, the Socialist president of the departmental council in Guadeloupe, told Le Monde that her community would not participate in tributes to Napoleon, whom every Guadeloupian knows reestablished slavery. “We can only send from this side of the ocean the echo of our pain,” she said.
a letter last month from 20 retired generals that described France as being in a state of “disintegration” and warned of a possible coup. Marine Le Pen, the rightist leader who is the strongest challenger to Mr. Macron in next year’s presidential election, applauded it.
This is the delicate context of Mr. Macron’s tribute to a man who came to power in a coup. On May 9, he will mark Europe Day, a celebration of unity in the Europe that Napoleon reduced to the carnage perhaps best captured by Goya’s depiction of an execution in “El Tres de mayo.” The next day, May 10, Mr. Macron will commemorate the law passed in 2001 that recognized slavery as a crime against humanity.
Gabriel Attal, the government spokesman, said: “To commemorate is to have your eyes wide open on our history and look it in the face. Even with respect to choices that today look questionable.”
Mr. Macron’s choice is both political and personal. With the left in tatters, his main challenge is from the right, so laying a wreath at Napoleon’s tomb is also a way to counter Ms. Le Pen. But his own fascination with Napoleon — like him, a young provincial upstart who came to power from nowhere with a mission to remake France and change Europe — has long been evident in his recurrent musings on France’s need for “renewed ambition and audacity.”
“Macron is Rastignac,” said Nicole Bacharan, a political scientist, alluding to the hero of a Balzac novel who conquers Paris with his charm and guile. “And in the literary, political, strategic, military and intellectual range of Napoleon he finds a source of inspiration.” So, too, in the fact that France was then “the center of the world, for better or worse.”
Mr. Macron took former President Donald Trump to Napoleon’s crypt in 2017 — French presidents have tended to avoid accompanying foreign leaders there because Hitler paid homage to Napoleon at Les Invalides in 1940. If this was a history lesson, it had mixed results. “Napoleon finished a little bad,” was Mr. Trump’s summation.
A president born after the trauma of the Algerian war of independence, Mr. Macron wants to confront difficult history because he believes that openness will heal. This determination has prompted much-needed debate, even within his own government.
Elisabeth Moreno, the minister of equalities in France, has called Napoleon “one of the great misogynists.” The Napoleonic Code, long since amended, said “a woman owes obedience to her husband,” not an uncommon view at the time.
François-René de Chateaubriand, the 19th-century French writer and diplomat, observed of Napoleon that, “Living, he failed the world. Dead, he conquered it.” Something in his extraordinary orbit from imperial glory to the windswept island of his death will not let the French imagination be. The reason may be Napoleon’s hard-earned realism, as expressed on St. Helena to his secretary, Emmanuel de Las Cases.
“Revolution is one of the greatest ills with which the heavens can afflict the earth,” Napoleon told his aide. “It is the scourge of the generation that makes it; any gains it procures cannot offset the distress it spreads through life. It enriches the poor, who are not satisfied; it impoverishes the rich, who will never forget it. It overturns everything, makes everyone unhappy, and procures happiness for nobody.”
For Napoleon, as for all human beings, it proved impossible to escape the times he lived in.
Business lobbyists and conservative think tanks are not big fans of President Biden’s proposed tax increases on the wealthy.
The Tax Foundation has said that Biden wants to raise the capital gains tax to “highs not seen since the 1920s.” Suzanne Clark of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the same plan “outrageous.” Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers called the proposed increase in the corporate tax rate “archaic.” And Brendan Bechtel, the chief executive of the construction company that bears his family name, said that “it doesn’t feel fair.”
All of this rhetoric has obscured a basic fact about Biden’s tax plan: It would not actually raise tax rates on the rich to high levels, historically speaking.
If all of Biden’s proposed tax increases passed — on the corporate tax, as well as on investment taxes and income taxes for top earners — the total federal tax rate on the wealthy would remain significantly lower than it was in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. It would also remain somewhat lower than during the mid-1990s, based on an analysis that Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley, did for The Morning.
just how far taxes on the wealthy have fallen over the past 70 years. In the decades just after World War II, many corporations paid about half of their profits in federal taxes. (Shareholders, who are disproportionately affluent, effectively pay those taxes). Today, corporate taxes are only about one-fourth as large, as a share of G.D.P., as they were in the 1950s and ’60s.
The declines are not all ancient history, either. For most of the past quarter-century, taxes on the affluent have continued falling, including the rates on corporate profits, personal income, stock dividends, stock holdings and inheritances. Barack Obama reversed some of the declines, but only some. “The net effect over the past 25 years of federal income tax policy has been to reduce the overall revenue collected from top earners,” Owen Zidar, a Princeton University economist, told me.
Whether you like Biden’s plan or dislike it, it is not radical. For that reason, it is highly unlikely to have the harmful effects on economic growth that its critics are claiming. Remember: In the 1990s, the last time tax rates were as high as the ones Biden has proposed, the economy boomed. It also grew rapidly after World War II, when tax rates were higher yet.
History suggests that tax rates on the wealthy are not the main determinant of economic growth (and, if anything, higher taxes on the rich can sometimes lift growth). The main effect of Biden’s tax plan probably won’t be on the level of G.D.P. It will instead be on the relative tax burden that wealthy people pay. When they criticize the plan as unfair, archaic and outrageous, they are really saying that they enjoy paying low tax rates.
admit up to 62,500 refugees in the next six months, reversing his decision to keep a lower limit set by Donald Trump.
The E.P.A. plans to limit a class of climate-warming chemicals used in air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Richard Cordray, an ally of Senator Elizabeth Warren, will oversee federal student aid, putting him at the center of Democratic disagreements over forgiving debt.
Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, accused Trump of “poisoning our democratic system” by making false claims of voter fraud.
The country’s increasing diversity isn’t doing as much to help Democrats as liberals hope, Nate Cohn explains.
Business and Media
Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing, raising questions about the future of their philanthropic foundation.
Verizon will sell Yahoo and AOL to the private equity firm Apollo for $5 billion, about half the amount it paid to buy the companies.
Pandemic disruptions have led to shortages of — and price increases for — lumber, cleaning products, microchips and other commodities.
The Los Angeles Times announced its next top editor: Kevin Merida, previously of ESPN and The Washington Post.
Other Big Stories
When the World Trade Organization meets this week, should it waive Covid vaccine patents to increase access for poorer countries?
Yes: Biden should support a waiver to save lives, Walden Bello writes in The Times. Doing so would also guard against the emergence of deadlier variants, Michelle Goldberg notes.
No: Vaccines are hard to make, so waivers alone won’t lift supply, the Center for Global Development’s Rachel Silverman and others argue. And companies have shown they will work voluntarily to increase doses, Andrei Iancu writes in Stat.
A Times classic: Can you guess whether these neighborhoods voted for Biden or for Trump?
Lives Lived: He was born Joseph Jacques Ahearn, but his mother thought Jacques d’Amboise would be better suited to the ballet world. After he became a dancer, d’Amboise found stardom in New York and Hollywood. He died at 86.
ARTS AND IDEAS
the critic Jesse Green writes in The Times.
The album, “All the Girls,” also featuring the soprano Sally Wilfert, came out two days after Luker’s death in December. Green calls it beautiful and funny. (It includes this song, which is worth watching.)
Tonight, Luker’s colleagues and friends will tell stories and sing songs from her career at a fund-raising concert you can stream. — Claire Moses, Morning writer
Más de 600 millones de personas en todo el mundo han sido vacunadas, al menos parcialmente, contra la COVID-19, lo que significa que más de 7000 millones aún están sin vacunar. Es un logro sorprendente a la sombra de un reto asombroso.
La mitad de todas las dosis suministradas hasta ahora han ido a parar a los brazos de personas de países donde vive una séptima parte de la población mundial, principalmente Estados Unidos y naciones europeas. Decenas de países, especialmente en África, apenas han comenzado sus campañas de inoculación.
tener todas las cartas en la mano.
Pero gran parte de la cuestión se reduce a la mera logística.
Inmunizar a la mayor parte de la humanidad en poco tiempo es una tarea monumental, nunca antes intentada, y que, según los expertos, el mundo no estaba preparado para afrontar. Señalan que las cosas ya se han movido con una velocidad sin precedentes: hace un año y medio, la enfermedad era desconocida, y las primeras autorizaciones de vacunas ocurrieron hace menos de seis meses.
Pero queda mucho camino por recorrer. He aquí un panorama de las razones del déficit de vacunas.
La capacidad mundial es limitada
Sarah Schiffling, experta en cadenas de suministro farmacéutico y ayuda humanitaria de la Universidad John Moores de Liverpool, Gran Bretaña. “Estamos añadiendo esto al otro trabajo. Básicamente estamos duplicando la producción. Las cadenas de suministro de esta magnitud suelen tardar años en llevarse a cabo”.
El mayor fabricante de vacunas del mundo, el Serum Institute de India, fabrica la vacuna para la COVID-19 desarrollada por AstraZeneca y la Universidad de Oxford, y prevé una producción de mil millones de dosis este año, además de los aproximadamente 1500 millones de dosis que fabrica anualmente para otras enfermedades. Pero ha tardado meses en alcanzar ese ritmo.
Con una fuerte inversión de los gobiernos, las empresas han revisado las fábricas, han construido otras nuevas desde cero y han formado a nuevos empleados, un esfuerzo que comenzó el año pasado y que aún está lejos de completarse.
Los países ricos podrían hacer más por los pobres
Covax, el esfuerzo global para suministrar vacunas al mundo en desarrollo a bajo costo o de forma gratuita.
Pero algunas de las promesas aún no se han cumplido. Y, en cualquier caso, suponen una pequeña fracción de lo que las naciones ricas han gastado en sí mismas, y una pequeña fracción de la necesidad mundial.
La campaña Covax también perdió algo de terreno cuando surgió la preocupación de que la inyección de AstraZeneca —que se esperaba que fuera la columna vertebral del esfuerzo— podría estar relacionada con efectos secundarios muy raros pero graves. Esto provocó cierta desconfianza en el público respecto a su uso.
compartir sus propios procesos patentados con el resto del mundo. Ningún productor de vacunas lo ha hecho voluntariamente, y ningún gobierno ha indicado que vaya a avanzar en esa dirección.
Dada la limitada capacidad de producción del mundo, y lo recientes que son estas vacunas, es posible que compartir las patentes no aumente significativamente la oferta en este momento. Pero más adelante, a medida que la capacidad se amplíe, podría convertirse en un factor importante.
La gestión de Joe Biden anunció apoyo financiero a una empresa india, Biological E, para que aumente la producción en masa de la vacuna de Johnson & Johnson destinada a personas de otras partes del mundo. Y el gobierno dijo esta semana que enviaría hasta 60 millones de dosis de la vacuna de AstraZeneca —que Estados Unidos compró, pero no está usando— a otros países.
Pero Estados Unidos sigue muy por detrás de China y Rusia en este tipo de “diplomacia de las vacunas”.
covid hace estragos en ese país a una escala que no se ha visto en ningún otro sitio. El propio gobierno de India ha prohibido las exportaciones de vacunas, lo que obstaculiza los esfuerzos de inmunización en África.
La semana pasada, el gobierno de Biden dijo que relajaría los controles de exportación para India.
Los gobiernos podrían presionar más a las farmacéuticas
controla una patente crucial sobre un proceso utilizado en la fabricación de vacunas, y sus Institutos Nacionales de Salud ayudaron a desarrollar la vacuna de Moderna.
Todo ello da a los gobiernos un enorme poder para obligar a las empresas a trabajar más allá de las fronteras, tanto corporativas como nacionales, pero se han mostrado reacios a utilizarlo. En Estados Unidos, esto ha empezado a cambiar desde que el presidente Biden asumió el cargo en enero.
“El gobierno tiene una enorme influencia, en particular sobre Moderna”, dijo Tinglong Dai, profesor asociado de la escuela de negocios de la Universidad Johns Hopkins, especializado en gestión de la salud.
Las patentes son un área en la que los gobiernos podrían ser más agresivos a la hora de utilizar su influencia. Pero a corto plazo, dijo Dai, lo que habría tenido un mayor impacto es que los funcionarios hubieran actuado antes y con más fuerza para insistir en que las empresas que desarrollan vacunas lleguen a acuerdos con sus competidores para aumentar la producción en masa.
Ese tipo de cooperación ha resultado ser esencial.
Varias empresas indias aceptaron fabricar la vacuna rusa Sputnik. Sanofi, que ya participa en la producción de las inoculaciones de Pfizer-BioNTech y Johnson & Johnson, llegó recientemente a un acuerdo con Moderna para trabajar también en su vacuna. Moderna ya tenía acuerdos con otras tres empresas europeas.
El gobierno de Biden presionó a Johnson & Johnson para que en marzo reclutara a su competidor, Merck, para producir su vacuna, y el gobierno se comprometió a destinar 105 millones de dólares para acondicionar una planta de Merck en Carolina del Norte con ese fin.
El expresidente Donald Trump se negó a invocar la Ley de Producción de Defensa para dar a los fabricantes de vacunas un acceso preferente a los materiales que necesitaban, un paso que Biden ha dado.
AstraZeneca como Johnson & Johnson, dos de las mayores empresas farmacéuticas del mundo, se encontraron con graves problemas de producción con sus vacunas para la COVID-19, lo que supone una lección de los retos que supone pasar de la nada a cientos de millones de dosis.
Además, las vacunas de Pfizer-BioNTech y Moderna se basan en un fragmento del código genético del coronavirus llamado ARN mensajero o ARNm. Hasta el año pasado, este proceso nunca se había utilizado en una vacuna de producción masiva. Requiere equipos, materiales, técnicas y conocimientos diferentes a los de las vacunas estándar.
Las vacunas de ARNm encierran el material genético en “nanopartículas lipídicas”, burbujas microscópicas de grasa. Pocas instalaciones en el mundo tienen experiencia en la producción en masa de algo comparable. Las vacunas también requieren temperaturas ultrafrías, lo que, según los expertos, limita su uso —al menos por ahora— a los países más ricos.
Muchas empresas farmacéuticas insisten en que podrían asumir esa producción, pero los expertos afirman que probablemente necesitarían mucho tiempo e inversión para prepararse, algo que Stéphane Bancel, director ejecutivo de Moderna, señaló en febrero en una audiencia del Parlamento Europeo.
Incluso contratando a empresas muy avanzadas para hacer el trabajo, dijo Bancel, Moderna tuvo que pasar meses esencialmente desbaratando sus instalaciones, reconstruyéndolas según las nuevas especificaciones con nuevos equipos, probando y volviendo a probar ese equipo y enseñando a la gente el proceso.