America's largely romantic view of its tech giants — Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. —is turning abruptly into harsh scrutiny. Silicon Valley suddenly faces a much more intrusive hand from Washington, based on rapidly accumulating vulnerabilities in nine big areas:
Big tech, already facing billions in fines from European regulators, is an increasing target of both U.S. political parties:
When I showed a draft of this item to my tech colleagues at Axios, they pointed out that many of the giants have been trying to recalibrate their Washington operations for the Trump era:
Be smart: Today's conditions — populist rage in the country, combined with growing suspicion of corporate behemoths — closely mirror those that gave us Teddy Roosevelt's trust-busting of oil and steel at the turn of the 1900s, and the progressive reforms that ushered in today's antitrust protections.
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Recode's Kara Swisher writes that Google's firing of the engineer who sent an explosive manifesto on women and tech "is sure to attract a firestorm of criticism on both sides, putting the search giant in the crosshairs of a wider debate about gender issues ... in Silicon Valley and across the country":
With climate scientists worried that the Trump administration might suppress a major report, the N.Y. Times gets a leak and posts the full text. It's the lead story of the paper, "Climate Report Full of Warnings Awaits President," by Lisa Friedman:
Snapchat's first original program, "Good Luck America" — which CNN alumnus Peter Hamby began as an election show, then was extended because of Trump — averaged over 5 million unique viewers per episode in its second season, Axios' Sara Fischer reports:
"The Next Billion Mobile Users Will Rely on Video and VoiceTech" — Wall Street Journal front-pager by Eric Bellman:
A forward-looking installment of Axios Sourced, our take-you-there video series, with deputy health-care editor Sam Baker: "[A] bombshell that Trump absolutely could drop any day now ... [is] if the Trump administration decides it's gonna stop paying these cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies."
The N.Y. Post's Marisa Schultz talked to New York congressmen who were aboard Air Force One on July 28, returning from a gang event on Long Island, when Trump shook up his staff:
"Specter of coup, surge in violence haunt Venezuela," per Reuters: "Venezuela appears to be sliding toward a more volatile stage of unrest after anti-government forces looted weapons during a weekend raid on a military base and frustration over what some see as an ineffectual opposition leadership boils over."
The Trump International Hotel's managers "press conservative, Republican and Christian groups to do business where they can rub shoulders with Trump's Cabinet," the WashPost's Jonathan O'Connell writes in a front-pager:
For the first time in presidential history, a profit-making venture touts the name of a U.S. president in its gold signage. And every cup of coffee served, every fundraiser scheduled, every filet mignon ordered feeds the revenue of the Trump family's private business. ...
There are no signs in the lobby to direct guests to daily events, velvet ropes block the public from meeting areas, and some groups holding conventions and banquets omit references to Trump's name in their promotional materials. ...
The Post spent part of every day in May in the hotel's bars, restaurants and lobby. What reporters saw ranged from events hosted by foreign groups with policy priorities to Republican glitterati ... White House aide Omarosa Manigault conferring with the former producer of "The Apprentice"; former Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski plopping into a black leather chair marked "Reserved"; then-press secretary Sean Spicer. scrolling through his phone on a plush blue sofa in the lobby.
"What Music Do Americans Love the Most? 50 Detailed Fan Maps," by N.Y. Times Upshot's Josh Katz: