review bombed” in the fall because it depicted a gay superhero kissing his husband, with online trolls flooding the Internet Movie Database with hundreds of homophobic one-star reviews. In January, Disney was accused by the actor Peter Dinklage and others of trafficking in stereotypes by moving forward with a live-action “Snow White” movie — until it was revealed that the company planned to replace the seven dwarfs with digitally created “magical creatures,” which, in turn, prompted complaints by others about the “erasure” of people with dwarfism.

Disney executives tend to dismiss such incidents as tempests in teapots: trending today, replaced by a new complaint tomorrow. But even moderate online storms can be a distraction inside the company. Meetings are held about how and whether to respond; fretful talent partners must be reassured.

As Disney prepared to introduce its streaming service in 2019, it began an extensive review of its film library. As part of the initiative, called Stories Matter, Disney added disclaimers to content that the company determined included “negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures.” Examples included episodes of “The Muppet Show” from the 1970s and the 1941 version of “Dumbo.”

“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the disclaimers read.

The Stories Matter team privately flagged other characters as potentially problematic, with the findings distributed to senior Disney leaders, according to two current Disney executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information. Ursula, the villainous sea witch from “The Little Mermaid” (1989), was one. Her dark color palette (lavender skin, black legs) could be viewed through a racial lens, the Stories Matter team cautioned; she is also a “queer coded” character, with mannerisms inspired in part by those of a real-life drag queen.

changing of the guard, with Mr. Iger stepping down as executive chairman in December.

Mr. Iger occasionally spoke out on hot-button political issues during his time as chief executive. His successor, Bob Chapek, decided (with backing from the Disney board) to avoid weighing in on state political battles. Disney lobbyists would continue to work behind the scenes, however, as they did with the Florida legislation.

gently explored gender identity. Gonzo donned a gown, defying a directive from Miss Piggy “that the girls come as princesses and the boys come as knights.” Out magazine wrote that the episode “just sent a powerful message of love and acceptance to gender-variant kids everywhere!” And a far-right pundit blasted Disney for “pushing the trans agenda” on children, starting an online brush fire.

Around the same time, some L.G.B.T.Q. advocates were criticizing Disney over “Loki,” a Disney+ superhero show. In the third episode of “Loki,” the title character briefly acknowledged for the first time onscreen what comic fans had long known: He is bisexual. But the blink-and-you-missed-it handling of the information angered some prominent members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community. “It’s, like, one word,” Russell T. Davies, a British screenwriter (“Queer as Folk”), said during a panel discussion at the time. “It’s a ridiculous, craven, feeble gesture.”

The fighting will undoubtedly continue: The Disney-Pixar film “Lightyear,” set for release in June, depicts a loving lesbian couple, while “Thor: Love and Thunder,” arriving in July, will showcase a major L.G.B.T.Q. character.

Last month, when Disney held its most recent shareholder meeting, Mr. Chapek was put on the spot by shareholders from the political left and right.

One person called Disney to task for contributions to legislators who have championed bills that restrict voting and reproductive rights. Mr. Chapek said that Disney gave money to “both sides of the aisle” and that it was reassessing its donation policies. (He subsequently paused all contributions in Florida.) Another representative for a shareholder advocacy group then took the microphone and noted that “Disney from its very inception has always represented a safe haven for children,” before veering into homophobic and transphobic comments and asking Mr. Chapek to “ditch the politicization and gender ideology.”

In response, Mr. Chapek noted the contrasting shareholder concerns. “I think all the participants on today’s call can see how difficult it is to try to thread the needle between the extreme polarization of political viewpoints,” he said.

“What we want Disney to be is a place where people can come together,” he continued. “My opinion is that, when someone walks down Main Street and comes in the gates of our parks, they put their differences aside and look at what they have as a shared belief — a shared belief of Disney magic, hopes, dreams and imagination.”

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Chris Wallace Says Life at Fox News Became ‘Unsustainable’

“Before, I found it was an environment in which I could do my job and feel good about my involvement at Fox,” Mr. Wallace said of his time at the network. “And since November of 2020, that just became unsustainable, increasingly unsustainable as time went on.”

Still, he acknowledged that some viewers may wonder why he did not leave earlier.

“Some people might have drawn the line earlier, or at a different point,” he said, adding: “I think Fox has changed over the course of the last year and a half. But I can certainly understand where somebody would say, ‘Gee, you were a slow learner, Chris.’”

Fox News declined to comment.

Mr. Wallace said his new CNN+ series, which airs at 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, was inspired by the work of famed interviewers like Larry King and Charlie Rose. (His father, the “60 Minutes” legend Mike Wallace, hosted a versatile interview program of his own in the late 1950s, with guests ranging from Henry Kissinger to the actress Jean Seberg.)

The set of the show is sparse, just Mr. Wallace and a guest sitting on either side of a Plexiglas table — a more brightly lit version of Mr. Rose’s long-running PBS format. Mr. Wallace said he hoped “to have the kind of intimate, thoughtful conversation where we forget we’re on camera in a studio.”

Marketing materials for CNN+ prominently feature Mr. Wallace alongside younger hosts like the former NPR host Audie Cornish, the chef Alison Roman and the actress Eva Longoria. The advanced ages of some of his early guests — Ms. Collins is 82, and Mr. Shatner just turned 91 — also suggest that Mr. Wallace’s program might complement more millennial-focused fare.

The service, which costs $6 a month, debuts on Tuesday, years after the arrival of streaming competitors like Fox Nation and the CBS News Streaming Network. CNN executives view it as a major effort to gain a foothold with viewers who are abandoning cable subscriptions in favor of online alternatives for news.

The stakes are high for CNN, which is undergoing wrenching change. The channel’s parent company, WarnerMedia, is expected to be acquired by Discovery Inc. in the next few weeks. A new president, Chris Licht, is taking over CNN after the network’s longtime leader, Jeff Zucker, resigned in February over an undisclosed relationship with a colleague.

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Russia and Far-Right Americans Find Common Ground With Ukraine War

When Victoria Nuland, an under secretary of state, was questioned in the Senate this month over whether Ukraine had biological weapons, she said laboratories in the country had materials that could be dangerous if they fell into Russian hands. Jack Posobiec, a far-right commentator, insinuated on his March 9 podcast that Ms. Nuland’s answer bolstered the conspiracy theory.

“Everybody needs to come clean about what was going on in those labs, because I guarantee you the Russians are about to put all of it onto the world stage,” said Mr. Posobiec, who did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Russian officials also latched on to Ms. Nuland’s comments. “The nervous reaction confirms that Russia’s allegations are grounded,” the country’s official account for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on Twitter.

Beyond the bioweapons conspiracy theory, Joseph Jordan, a white nationalist podcaster who goes by the pseudonym Eric Striker, repeated Russia’s claim that a pregnant woman who was injured in the bombing of a Ukrainian maternity hospital had faked her injuries. In his Telegram channel, Mr. Jordan told his 15,000 followers that the hospital photos had been “staged.” He did not respond to a request for comment.

Some Russians have publicly commented on what appears to be common ground with far-right Americans. Last week on the Russian state-backed news program “60 Minutes,” which is not connected to the CBS show of the same name, the host, Olga Skabeeva, addressed the country’s strengthening ties with Mr. Carlson.

“Our acquaintance, the host of Fox News Tucker Carlson, obviously has his own interests⁠,” she said, airing several clips of Mr. Carlson’s show where he suggested the United States had pushed for conflict in Ukraine. “But lately, more and more often, they’re in tune with our own.”

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Ukraine Live Updates: 3 European Leaders Say They’re in Kyiv in Show of Support

Shortly after Russia passed a new censorship law that effectively criminalized accurate reporting on the war in Ukraine, CNN executives on two continents gathered for an emergency video call to figure out what would happen next.

The 24-hour news network had employed numerous correspondents in Russia since the latter years of the Soviet Union. Now their future in the country, and perhaps their safety, were up in the air.

Senior producers in New York and London conferred with lawyers at CNN headquarters in Atlanta and reporters in Moscow about the new law, which raised the prospect of 15-year prison terms for journalists who called the war in Ukraine a “war.” Within hours, the network ceased broadcasting in Russia, joining other Western news outlets — including the BBC, Bloomberg News and ABC News — that temporarily or partly suspended their Moscow-based operations.

“When it comes to a potential threat to somebody, that far and away outweighs everything else in the consideration,” Michael Bass, CNN’s executive vice president of programming, said in an interview. “It would be better for our reporting and our coverage of the story to continue reporting every single day and multiple times a day from Russia, but an assessment had to be made of what can be done for your people.”

Credit…CNN

In an echo of the exodus of journalists from Afghanistan after the Taliban swept through the country last year, media executives and editors are engaged in a high-stakes debate about risk in Russia. Is it prudent, they ask their reporters over secure apps each day, to gather news in an increasingly hostile and isolated country? If not, is it feasible to continue from outside its borders?

“There is a constant minute-to-minute triage of that balance,” said Matthew Baise, director of digital strategy at Voice of America, the U.S. government broadcaster, which until recently employed several journalists reporting from Russia. “Every day, we’re attempting to adapt to the situation there while not jeopardizing people’s lives, but we also have to have a way to get reporting out of the country.”

Now a dozen Voice of America employees have left Russia. and others are lying low, Mr. Baise said.

Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent, said in an interview from Kyiv, Ukraine, that “it’s a huge blow to not be able to do the kind of journalism we all aspire to do in Russia at the moment.”

“It’s not just a global audience — there are a lot of Russians inside Russia who look to international news outlets to get a more well-rounded perspective,” said Ms. Ward, who has been reporting from Ukraine for nearly two months. One crucial perspective that can be lost, she said, is “how Russia is viewing this war, what ordinary Russians think about it.”

Inside Ukraine, journalists are facing more direct — and potentially lethal — risks. Brent Renaud, an American documentary filmmaker, was fatally shot in the head on Sunday in a suburb of Kyiv. On Monday, a Fox News correspondent, Benjamin Hall, was hospitalized after he was injured outside Kyiv.

Days earlier, Ms. Ward described via telephone how she and her CNN crew work from 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. each day, starting by assessing whether it is safe to travel outside their hotel. Often, spotty cellular service and security concerns force them to improvise: A 15-minute live dispatch from a subway station, where hundreds of Ukrainians were sheltering from a bombardment, was filmed on a producer’s phone.

For now, in Russia, the threat to journalism is statutory, but still dire: Under the new law, many correspondents there face the prospect of yearslong prison terms for doing their jobs. That has led to a stunning disintegration of Russia’s independent media, and left international news outlets racked with uncertainty.

Amnesty International said on Thursday that 150 journalists had fled the country to avoid the new law, which Marie Struthers, the group’s director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, called “a scorched-earth strategy that has turned Russia’s media landscape into a wasteland.”

Amid the strangled flow of outside news, some have gone to great lengths to disrupt the information blackout inside Russia. On Monday, a state television employee burst onto the live broadcast of Russia’s most-watched news show, yelling, “Stop the war!” and holding up a sign that said, “They’re lying to you here.” The employee, Marina Ovsyannikova, was detained after the protest.

A bill introduced last week would create a register of anyone involved, currently or in the past, with media outlets or other organizations that Russia has deemed a “foreign agent.”

Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

News organizations have scrambled to find a working solution as the cohort of credible outlets shrinks and threatens to leave audiences inside and outside the largest nation in the world blind to its dealings.

“There are many other parts of the world where it is unsafe to be a journalist and where newsrooms are having these debates and discussions,” said Damian Radcliffe, a journalism professor at the University of Oregon. “But what’s different here is that this is such a huge, high-profile story that those internal debates are playing out in the public domain in a much more overt way.”

Last week, The New York Times said it would move its editorial staff out of Russia, and The Washington Post said it would protect Moscow-based journalists by removing bylines and datelines from certain stories. Condé Nast said it had suspended its publishing operations there. Correspondents for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation left Russia on March 6.

“It’s definitely a balancing act, and that’s why we are monitoring the situation closely and taking the necessary time to fully understand the new law,” said Chuck Thompson, a spokesman for the Canadian broadcaster.

Some outlets decided to stay put. The German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF said they planned to resume reporting from Moscow after a suspension. But the coverage will focus on the political, economic and social situations in Russia — such as the effects of economic sanctions on civilians — while the war in Ukraine will be covered from outside the country.

The BBC said last week that “after careful deliberation” it would restart its English-language reporting from Russia. (Its Russian-language correspondents have stopped working.) The broadcaster appointed Steve Rosenberg, its longtime Moscow correspondent, to be its Russia editor, and produced segments on public sentiment and McDonald’s closing its stores.

Still, BBC correspondents “have to be wary and careful about what language they use,” said Jamie Angus, a top executive who oversees news output.

On the air, Mr. Rosenberg describes the fighting as “what the Russians are calling a special military intervention.” Analysis that refers more explicitly to a war or an invasion can be delivered from London, Mr. Angus said.

The BBC has begun broadcasting through alternative channels like shortwave radio and TikTok in hopes of eluding Russian censors. Voice of America said that one day last week, 40 percent of its Russian audience had reached its coverage through censor-evading apps such as Psiphon and nthLink. Its Facebook page has also gotten an unusual surge in traffic from Italy, a sign that some Russian citizens may be using VPN services to bypass information blockades.

“There are no challenges that are insurmountable today in the digital world — we just need to be agile,” said Alen Mlatisuma, the managing editor of Voice of America’s Eurasia division.

Credit…Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Associated Press

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s state-owned broadcaster, had 35 people working in Russia, which was also the hub for coverage of Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan and other former Soviet republics.

Last month, the Russian government withdrew the broadcaster’s accreditation and shut down its Moscow studio. Deutsche Welle’s website is now blocked in Russia, and viewership for its Russian Facebook channel plunged. The outlet has pulled all of its reporters out of Russia, said a spokesman, Christoph Jumpelt.

“The fact that they have revoked our credentials and physically kicked us out of the country, and made it impossible to work inside Russia as officially credentialed journalists, doesn’t mean that we cannot continue to cover Russia from inside Russia,” Mr. Jumpelt said. “There are many, many ways to get access to information.”

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Live Updates: Russian Strikes Continue With Peace Talks Underway

LVIV, Ukraine — Hundreds of people escaped the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol by car on Monday, according to the local government, even as a convoy of vehicles carrying food, water and medicine slowly tried to find a safe path through the battle raging around the city.

Relatives of those still living in Mariupol said fleeing seems to offer the best, and perhaps only, chance for survival.

“I do not believe the humanitarian convoy will be a big help,” said Oleksandr Kryvoshapro, a humanitarian activist whose parents are in Mariupol. “Too many people are still there. And this once beautiful, big and constantly developing city is now completely destroyed. It is not possible to live there anymore. All people need to be evacuated.”

An estimated 400,000 people are trapped in the city, which is entering its second week without heat, food or clean water. Attempts to reach the city and evacuate people have failed day after day amid heavy fighting. The convoy on its way Monday was carrying 100 tons of relief supplies, officials said.

Russia has been laying siege to the city, a major industrial hub on the Azov Sea, creating a humanitarian catastrophe that led the International Committee of the Red Cross to issue an urgent appeal for a cease-fire to assist the hundreds of thousands of people with no access to clean water, food or heat.

“Dead bodies, of civilians and combatants, remain trapped under the rubble or lying in the open where they fell,” the I.C.R.C. said.

The Ukrainian government estimated on Sunday that more than 2,000 people have died — nearly double the estimate from just a day earlier.

The hundreds who managed to get out on Monday morning left the city in 160 cars and their escape was kept secret until they were deemed a safe distance away, according to Ukrainian officials. They were still on the move Monday afternoon, its exact location and route a guarded secret.

The group was expected to reach the city of Zaporizhzhia, where they will be given access to first aid and accommodations. If they do get there, it would offer a glimmer of hope.

With mass graves now being used to bury the dead in Mariupol and international aid groups warning that large numbers of people are on the verge of starvation, it remains exceedingly difficult to get an accurate picture of what was happening there as nearly all communication has been severed.

Mr. Kryvoshapro, the activist, said his contact with people inside lasts a few seconds each day when they “go out into a dangerous location where they can find a signal.”

This morning, he got some positive news.

“My friends were able to bring my parents some bread today,” he said. “So as of 10 a.m., I know they were alive.”

In that way, he said, he was fortunate. “So many people now cannot get in touch with their relatives,” he said.

Halyna Odnoroh, who is from Mariupol but is now in Zaporizhzhia, said she had gotten word from one of the people who escaped on Monday.

“My colleague has a friend who is one of the drivers there, and all he could say is that they keep moving and keep trying,” she said.

The hardest part to comprehend, she added, is that there are so many people struggling to survive. Even if the convoy arrives, hundreds of thousands will still be in urgent need of help.

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Where Fox News and Donald Trump Took Us

Over Memorial Day weekend in 2011, a caravan of journalists chased her up the East Coast during a six-day trip from Washington to New Hampshire, believing she might use the occasion to announce that she would run against Mr. Obama. The trip also included a dinnertime stop at Trump Tower, where she and its most famous resident stepped out in front of the paparazzi on their way to get pizza.

She wouldn’t reveal her intentions until later that year, in October. And when she did, she broke the news on Mark Levin’s radio show — not on Fox News. It was a slight that infuriated Mr. Ailes, who had been paying her $1 million a year with the expectation that it would pay off with the buzz and big ratings that kind of announcement could generate.

There were signs at the time that Mr. Trump was starting to fill the void in Fox’s coverage — and in conservative politics — that would exist without Ms. Palin center stage. He had been getting a considerable amount of coverage from the network lately for his fixation on wild rumors about Mr. Obama’s background.

One interview in March 2011 on “Fox & Friends” — the show known inside the network to be such a close reflection of Mr. Ailes’s favorite story lines that staff called it “Roger’s daybook” — was typical of how Mr. Trump used his media platform to endear himself to the hard right. He spent an entire segment that morning talking about ways that the president could be lying about being born in the United States. “It’s turning out to be a very big deal because people now are calling me from all over saying, ‘Please don’t give up on this issue,’” Mr. Trump boasted.

Three days after that interview, the network announced a new segment on “Fox & Friends”: “Mondays With Trump.” A promo teased that it would be “Bold, brash and never bashful.” And it was on “Fox & Friends” where Mr. Trump appeared after his pizza outing with Ms. Palin in the spring, talking up his prospects as a contender for the White House over hers.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Ailes were, at first, seemingly well matched.

Though he had financial motivations for promoting sensational but misleading stories, Mr. Ailes also seemed to be a true believer in some of the darkest and most bizarre political conspiracy theories.

In 2013, Mr. Obama himself raised the issue with Michael Clemente, the Fox News executive vice president for news, asking him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner whether Mr. Ailes was fully bought-in on the conspiracies over the president’s birthplace. “Does Roger really believe this stuff?” Mr. Obama asked. Mr. Clemente answered, “He does.”

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Can CNN’s Hiring Spree Get People to Pay for Streaming News?

A couple of months ago, CNN’s forthcoming streaming channel was perceived as little more than a curiosity in the television news business: just another cable dinosaur trying to make the uneasy transition into the digital future.

In fact, the plan to start CNN+, which is expected to go live by late March, amounted to a late arrival to the subscription-based streaming party, more than three years after Fox News launched Fox Nation.

Then the hirings began.

In December, Chris Wallace, Fox News’s most decorated news anchor, said he was leaving his network home of 18 years for CNN+. Next came Audie Cornish, the popular co-host of “All Things Considered” on NPR, who said in January that she was leaving public radio to host a weekly streaming show.

notably violent language in urging a gathering of conservatives to publicly confront Dr. Anthony Fauci.

  • Jan. 6 Texts: Three prominent Fox News hosts — Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade — texted Mark Meadows during the Jan. 6 riot urging him to tell Donald Trump to try to stop it.
  • Chris Wallace Departs: The anchor’s announcement that he was leaving Fox News for CNN came as right-wing hosts have increasingly set the channel’s agenda.
  • Contributors Quit: Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes quit the network in protest over Tucker Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” special.
  • He is gambling that CNN+ can entice new viewers — and bring back some old ones. CNN’s traditional broadcast viewership has dropped significantly from a year ago, thanks to a post-Trump slump and waning audience interest, and the network recently fired its top-rated anchor, Chris Cuomo, amid an ethics scandal.

    Mr. Zucker is turning to a strategy honed during his days as the executive producer of NBC’s “Today” show in the 1990s, mixing hard news with a heavy dose of lifestyle coverage and tips on how to bake a pear cobbler. In marketing materials, CNN+ has urged viewers to “grab a coffee” while flipping on shows promoted as “never finicky” and “the silver lining beyond today’s toughest headlines.”

    struggled to find success with shows that riff on current events. One Netflix executive conceded in 2019 that topical programming was “a challenge” when it came to on-demand, watch-at-your-own-pace streamers.

    Symone D. Sanders, a former adviser to President Biden. (NBC News also has separate digital offerings for hard news and lifestyle coverage.)

    For news executives, finding a winning formula in the streaming game is now an urgent priority.

    Streaming has supplanted cable as the main home delivery system for entertainment, often on the strength of addictive series like “Squid Game.” For a while, though, old-fashioned cable news clung on, with CNN, MSNBC and Fox News attracting record audiences in recent years. In case of emergency — a pandemic, civil unrest, a presidential election, a Capitol riot — viewers still tuned in en masse.

    After former President Donald J. Trump left office, news ratings nose-dived and cable subscriptions continued to plummet — an estimated four million households dropped their paid TV subscriptions last year, according to the research firm MoffettNathanson.

    Fox Nation and CNN+ both rely on a business model dependent on paid subscriptions, hence the efforts by both to generate a wide variety of programming.

    “A subscriber every month only has to find one thing that they want,” Mr. Zucker said in the interview. “We don’t need the subscriber to be interested in everything we’re offering, but they need to be interested in something.”

    Mr. Zucker said CNN+ was aiming at three buckets of potential subscribers. He is seeking to entice loyal CNN viewers into paying for streaming programs featuring hosts familiar from the cable channel: Anderson Cooper will have two, including one on parenting; Fareed Zakaria is helming a show examining historical events; and Jake Tapper will host “Jake Tapper’s Book Club,” in which he interviews authors.

    The other would-be subscribers, Mr. Zucker said, are news and documentary fans who want more nonfiction television, as well as younger people who don’t pay for cable.

    CNN, though, is not ignoring the needs of its flagship cable network, which ranked third last year behind Fox News and MSNBC in total audience.

    Mr. Zucker recently reached out to representatives for Gayle King, the star CBS News anchor, about the prospect of her taking over the weekday 9 p.m. hour on CNN, said two people with knowledge of the approach. CNN has not named a permanent anchor for the prime-time slot since Mr. Cuomo was fired in December after revelations that he assisted with the efforts of his brother, former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, to fend off sexual harassment allegations.

    CNN+ is also expected to include the breaking news and political coverage that CNN viewers are accustomed to — a feature that could pose difficulties for the network down the road. CNN commands a high price from cable distributors, who may cry foul if CNN+ includes too much news programming that potentially competes with the cable offering. For instance, Wolf Blitzer, the host of “The Situation Room” on CNN at 6 p.m., will also appear on CNN+ to anchor a “traditional evening news show with a sleek, modern twist.”

    CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, which is on the verge of a megamerger with Discovery Inc., appears willing to take the risk. The company is placing a significant financial bet on CNN+, budgeting for 500 additional employees, including producers, reporters, engineers and programmers, said Andrew Morse, CNN’s chief digital officer. The company is also renting an additional floor of its headquarters in Midtown Manhattan to accommodate the hires.

    “What we’re building at CNN+ is not a side hustle,” Mr. Morse said.

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    For third day, COVID-19 crimps Americans’ holiday travels

    WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Dec 26 (Reuters) – U.S. airlines canceled more than 1,300 flights on Sunday as COVID-19 thinned out the number of available crews, while several cruise ships had to cancel stops after outbreaks on board, upending the plans of thousands of Christmas travelers.

    Commercial airlines had canceled 1,318 flights within, into or out of the United States by mid-afternoon, according to a tally on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.

    At least three cruise ships were also forced to return to port without making scheduled port calls after COVID-19 cases were detected on board, according to multiple media reports.

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    It was the third straight day of pain for some Americans traveling over the weekend as the Christmas holidays, typically a peak time for travel, coincided with a rapid spread of the Omicron variant nationwide.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, warned of rising U.S. cases in coming days and potentially “overrun…hospitals, particularly in those regions in which you have a larger proportion of unvaccinated individuals.”

    “It likely will go much higher,” he said of the Omicron-driven surge even as President Joe Biden last week unveiled new actions aimed at containing the latest wave and continued urging vaccinations and other prevention strategies.

    With rising infections, airlines have been forced to cancel flights with pilots and cabin crew needing to quarantine while poor weather in some areas added to travelers woes.

    Enjoli Rodriguez, 25, whose Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) flight from Los Angeles to Lexington, Kentucky, was canceled on Christmas Eve, was one of thousands still stranded on Sunday.

    Delta rebooked Rodriguez through Detroit, but that flight was delayed so she missed the connection.

    Speaking from the Detroit airport on Sunday, Rodriguez said she was surrounded by angry passengers, flustered airline representatives and families with young children in limbo.

    “I’ve run into a lot of people sharing their horror stories here. We’re all just stuck in Michigan, Detroit, heading different places,” Rodriguez, who was rebooked on a later flight to Kentucky, told Reuters.

    A total of 997 flights were scrapped on Christmas Day and nearly 700 on Christmas Eve. Thousands more were delayed on all three days.

    A Delta Airlines spokesperson said “winter weather in portions of the U.S. and the Omicron variant continued to impact” its holiday weekend flight schedule but that it was working to “reroute and substitute aircraft and crews.”

    United Airlines also said it was working to rebook impacted passengers, while a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said its cancellations were all weather related.

    Passengers line up at John F. Kennedy International Airport during the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Queens, New York City, U.S., December 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

    Overall, U.S. airports most heavily impacted were in Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and JFK International in New York.

    A White House official, who asked not to be named, said the administration was monitoring the delays closely but noted that while they can disrupt plans “only a small percentage of flights are affected.”

    Delta on Sunday canceled 167 flights or 6%; United canceled 115 flights or 5% and American canceled 83 flights or 2%, according to FlightAware.

    Globally, 3,023 flights were called off and more than 13,742 were delayed, as of 8:15 p.m. EST on Sunday (0015 GMT Monday), FlightAware data showed.

    COVID HITS CRUISES

    Meanwhile, a Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) cruise ship turned back to Ft. Lauderdale, CNN reported, and on Sunday a Carnival Corp (CCL.N) ship returned to Miami after COVID was detected onboard, although it was unclear if the cases were Omicron.

    Carnival said “a small number on board were isolated due to a positive COVID test” on board its Carnival Freedom ship, which again left Miami later on Sunday for its next trip with another round of passengers.

    “The rapid spread of the Omicron variant may shape how some destination authorities with limited medical resources may view even a small number of cases, even when they are being managed with our vigorous protocols. Should it be necessary to cancel a port, we will do our best to find an alternative destination,” it said in a statement.

    A Holland America ship also returned to San Diego on Sunday after Mexican authorities banned it from docking in Puerto Vallarta citing onboard cases, NBC News and Fox News reported. Carnival, which owns Holland America, did not address that reported incident in its statement.

    Representatives for Royal Caribbean did not respond to a request for comment.

    Overall, COVID-19 outbreaks altered at least six sailings in the past week, the Washington Post reported, echoing the turmoil facing the industry after COVID erupted in early 2020.

    Testing woes have compounded the travel angst, as many Americans scrambled for their status amid long lines and lack of at-home test kits amid the holiday travels.

    “We’ve obviously got to do better. I mean, I think things will improve greatly as we get into January, but that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow,” Fauci told ABC’s “This Week.”

    Meanwhile, some states are already bracing for the upcoming New Year’s holiday weekend, warning residents to reduce potential exposure to the virus.

    “Omicron is surging statewide,” Louisiana’s health department tweeted on Sunday, noting Omicron-related hospitalizations had doubled in the past week. “We are urging everyone to take safety precautions ahead of New Year’s Eve.”

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    Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Gabriella Borter; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh, Diane Bartz and Karen Brettell; additional writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Kieran Murray, Daniel Wallis, Mark Porter and Diane Craft

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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    Fox News Hosts Sent Texts to Meadows Urging Trump to Act as Jan. 6 Attack Unfolded

    Three prominent Fox News anchors sent concerned text messages on Jan. 6 to Mark Meadows, the last chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, urging him to persuade the president to take the riot seriously and to make an effort to stop it.

    The texts were made public on Monday, shortly before the House committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol voted 9-0 in favor of recommending that Mr. Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress. Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, read the text messages aloud.

    The texts, part of a trove of 9,000 documents that Mr. Meadows had turned over before he stopped cooperating with the inquiry, were sent to the former White House chief of staff by Laura Ingraham, the host of the nighttime show “The Ingraham Angle”; Sean Hannity, a longtime prime-time host who once appeared onstage with Mr. Trump at a campaign rally; and Brian Kilmeade, a host of the morning show “Fox & Friends.”

    “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Ms. Ingraham wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”

    the false theory that members of antifa were involved.

    “From a chaotic Washington tonight, earlier today the Capitol was under siege by people who can only be described as antithetical to the MAGA movement,” Ms. Ingraham said on the Jan. 6 episode. “Now, they were likely not all Trump supporters, and there are some reports that antifa sympathizers may have been sprinkled throughout the crowd.”

    Ms. Ingraham went on to cite “legitimate concerns about how these elections were conducted,” while adding that any dissatisfaction with the vote should not have resulted in violence.

    Mr. Hannity, a onetime informal adviser to Mr. Trump, condemned the attack, saying at the top of his Jan. 6 show, “Today’s perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” He also said that the nation must do more to protect law enforcement and political representatives.

     Mr. Trump to keep personal records secret and the indictment of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, here’s a breakdown of executive privilege:

    Last month, Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host with the largest audience, produced a three-part documentary, “Patriot Purge,” for the Fox Nation streaming platform that contained the false claim that the Jan. 6 attack was a “false flag” operation meant to demonize the political right.

    More than 500 people have been arrested in relation to the pro-Trump riot at the Capitol. Mr. Carlson falsely claimed in the documentary that “Jan. 6 is being used as a pretext to strip millions of Americans — disfavored Americans — of their core constitutional rights.”

    Chris Wallace, the longtime anchor, resigned from Fox News on Sunday after 18 years to take a job at CNN. Before his abrupt exit, he expressed concern about the documentary in talks with management.

    Two longtime Fox News contributors, the conservative commentators Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, quit last month in protest of the Carlson special, calling it “totally outrageous” and saying that it “will lead to violence.”

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    Tucker Carlson’s ‘Patriot Purge’ Special Leads Two Fox News Contributors to Quit

    For his part, Mr. Goldberg said he has been thinking about William F. Buckley, the late founder of National Review, who saw as part of his mission “imposing seriousness on conservative arguments” and purging some extreme fringe groups, including the John Birch Society, from the right.

    “Whether it’s ‘Patriot Purge’ or anti-vax stuff, I don’t want it in my name, and I want to call it out and criticize it,” Mr. Goldberg said. “I don’t want to feel like I am betraying a trust that I had by being a Fox News contributor. And I also don’t want to be accused of not really pulling the punches. And then this was just an untenable tension for me.”

    Now, their views have put them outside the current Republican mainstream, or at least outside what mainstream right-wing institutions and politicians are willing to say out loud. But while in recent years both appeared occasionally on the evening show “Special Report” and on “Fox News Sunday,” which the network classifies as news, it’s been years since they were welcome on Fox’s prime time, and Mr. Goldberg clashed bitterly with the prime-time host Sean Hannity in 2016. (Mr. Hayes and Mr. Goldberg emailed their readers Sunday to announce their departure.)

    Despite the former contributors’ hopes, Fox’s programming has hewed to Mr. Trump’s line, as have its personnel moves. The network, for instance, fired the veteran political editor who accurately projected Mr. Biden’s victory in the key state of Arizona on election night, and has hired the former Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

    Mr. Hayes and Mr. Goldberg are the first members of Fox’s payroll to resign over “Patriot Purge,” but others have signaled their unhappiness. Geraldo Rivera, a Fox News correspondent since 2001, captured the difficulty of internal dissent at the network when he voiced cautious criticism of Mr. Carlson and “Patriot Purge” to my colleague Michael Grynbaum. “I worry that — and I’m probably going to get in trouble for this — but I’m wondering how much is done to provoke, rather than illuminate,” he said.

    On air, two programs with smaller audiences than Mr. Carlson’s scrambled after his special to rebut the false theories presented in “Patriot Purge.” “Special Report” called in a former C.I.A. officer on Oct. 29 to debunk “false flag” theories. And on “Fox News Sunday,” Chris Wallace turned the same question over to one of Mr. Trump’s few foes in the Republican congressional delegation, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

    Mr. Carlson called Mr. Hayes’s and Mr. Goldberg’s resignations “great news” in a telephone interview on Sunday. “Our viewers will be grateful.”

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