The Atlantic Daily: Media Messages

Fox News settled with Gretchen Carlson, machines foreshadowed a surplus of labor, Harambe became the perfect meme, and more.

Mike Segar / Reuters

What We’re Following

Justice Onscreen: Fox News has publicly apologized to Gretchen Carlson over her allegations that former network chief Roger Ailes fired her for complaining about sexual harassment and resisting his sexual advances. The network will reportedly pay Carlson a $20 million settlement. Meanwhile, a trial date has been set for comedian Bill Cosby, who is accused of drugging and raping a woman in 2004. Cosby, who denies any wrongdoing, will appear in court on June 5, 2017.

His Word, His Bond: Did Donald Trump pay to prevent Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi from investigating Trump University? The timeline of his 2013 donation to a group backing Bondi’s reelection—followed by Bondi’s decision not to pursue the Trump U case—suggests he did. Both Trump and Bondi deny the connection. But even if that’s true, Trump has claimed in the past that he routinely buys off politicians—which means that either way, somewhere along the line, he hasn’t been telling the truth.

The End of Manpower: What happens when self-driving cars, caregiving robots, and many more intelligent machines join humans in the workforce? Ryan Avent, author of a new book on how technology is changing the nature of work, says the digital revolution could create a surplus of workers—forcing humans to renegotiate the landscape of labor. “That process will be long and drawn out,” says Avent. “It will involve intense ideological conflict, and history suggests that a lot will go wrong.” Read the full interview here.


Native American protesters and their supporters confront bulldozers and security at a construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline. See more photos here. (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty)

Who We’re Talking To

Today we interviewed:

Alice Mattison, a novelist and poet.

Mohamed Zaker, a janitor at Harvard University.

The Latino drag queens competing at the Miss Hispanidad Gay 2016 pageant in North Carolina—a state that, in the words of one pageant organizer, “has done practically everything possible to put us down.

Evening Read

Venkatesh Rao on how Harambe the gorilla became the perfect meme:

The Harambe episode was too edgy for marketers to co-opt, and too dank for memesters looking to provoke predictable sentiments. But a flood of memes emerged anyway: the late Muhammad Ali towering over a knocked-out Harambe, an oddly lewd one featuring actor Danny Trejo, and one featuring Harambe in a version of the trolley problem. Harambe memes have spanned the gamut from darkly humorous to poignant, from logical to surreal. There is, it appears, no limit to the range of non-sequiturs that can ride the Harambe meme.

During its summer peak, merely dropping the word “Harambe” into an online conversation was sufficient to manufacture a surreal moment.

Harambe, in other words, is the perfect meme. In a reversal of Marshall McLuhan’s classic dictum, Harambe is the message that became a medium, capable of carrying any signal, without becoming identified with any of them. … It is neither worth spreading the way a TED talk aspires to be, nor particularly worth resisting. It spreads because it can.

Keep reading here.

What Do You Know?

1. ____________ percent of Americans believe that increasing diversity makes their country better—compared to 36 percent of people in Sweden and 26 percent of people in France.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. By pushing back the state’s ____________, Maryland’s governor expects to increase state and local tax revenue by $7.7 million.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. In 2012, ____________ retired military leaders announced their support for Mitt Romney.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Reader Response

How can schools help kids who sit alone? A reader writes:

I was one of those kids who sat alone almost every day. … I was extremely shy and didn't know how to break out of my shell. The experience was extremely distressing, since I wanted nothing more than to make friends and fit in but I was completely clueless on how to do that, or who/how to ask for help. So I suffered in silence, for basically my whole childhood at school. … Mathematically, I could do calculus, but socially, I couldn’t do 1 + 1.

I think it’s ludicrous that schools don’t take into account social and emotional development as being equally important, if not more important, than academic development. Pushing kids into the deep end and not helping them when they start drowning does not help them learn to swim.

Read more here. Do you have a similar story, or a suggestion for how schools can help? Share your own experience at

Look Back

On this day in 1847, Atlantic contributor Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond to move in with Atlantic co-founder Ralph Waldo Emerson. In our August 1862 issue, Emerson wrote of his former roommate:

There was somewhat military in his nature not to be subdued, always manly and able, but rarely tender, as if he did not feel himself except in opposition. … It seemed as if his first instinct on hearing a proposition was to controvert it, so impatient was he of the limitations of our daily thought. This habit, of course, is a little chilling to the social affections; and though the companion would in the end acquit him of any malice or untruth, yet it mars conversation. Hence, no equal companion stood in affectionate relations with one so pure and guileless. “I love Henry,” said one of his friends, “but I cannot like him; and as for taking his arm, I should as soon think of taking the arm of an elm-tree.”


Candidate coughs, pandas protected, stone tower toppled, devils rebound, roast uncool.