Day 6

From NAFTA to Paul Manafort: A look back at the summer's long, hot, nonstop news cycle

Summertime and the livin’ is easy — except in 2018. Day 6 panelists Parker Molloy and Jeet Heer take us back through the biggest stories of this season's sweltering, head-spinning news cycle.

Among the summer's losers and winners: Elon Musk, Michael Cohen and Bruno the cat

From NAFTA talks to Paul Manafort, it was a busy summer when it came to news. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press, Andrew Harnik/Associated Press, Wright-Way Rescue/Facebook, Joshua Lott)
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While many think of the summer as a slow news season, this year it has been anything but.

From the NAFTA negotiations, to the B.C. wildfires, to all the drama within U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, it has been a busy season of headlines. Not to mention all the drama in Canadian politics.

To break down some of the summer's biggest stories, Day 6 guest host Rachel Giese was joined by Jeet Heer, a staff writer with the New Republic and Parker Molloy, a freelance writer in Chicago.

They named the biggest winners and losers that made headlines, along with the stories they felt deserved more attention.

The biggest losers

While Heer thinks Justin Trudeau has had a difficult summer with NAFTA negotiations, the biggest loser in his opinion is Elon Musk.

In July, the Tesla CEO offered to help rescue a group of boys and their soccer coach, who were trapped in a Thailand cave, by providing a submarine. The request was eventually turned down.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

However, that only led Musk to lash out on social media,where he posted a series of tweets about how his "mini-sub" would have worked. He also called British diver Vernon Unsworth, who was involved in the rescue efforts, a "pedo."

"He started accusing one of the divers of being a pedophile completely without justification," Heer said.

Musk was widely criticized for his comments, with Unsworth even stating that he was considering legal action against him. But while Musk eventually apologized, it was enough for Heer to place him as one of the summer's biggest losers.

"And then further, [he's] just tweeting in ways that anybody who's invested in [Tesla] is starting to panic. He's just had a really public meltdown."

On the other hand, Molloy​ had trouble deciding who the summer's biggest loser was, so she nominated both Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

U.S. President Donald Trump, centre, is facing political turmoil after his ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, right, was convicted on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, left, copped a plea deal during which he implicated the president on campaign finance violations. (Craig Ruttle/Associated Press, Oliver Contreras, Mandel Ngan/Getty Images )

Earlier this month, Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to eight counts, including tax evasion and making a false statement to a financial institution. He claimed that he and Trump arranged to pay hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her from exposing her alleged affairs with Trump, and to avoid her influence on the 2016 election.

On the same day, Manafort, Trump's former campaign chair, was found guilty on eight counts in a financial fraud trial. The judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts after jurors weren't able to reach a consensus.

For Molloy​, that was enough to nominate both Manafort and Cohen as the summer's biggest losers.

"[Manafort] has another trial coming up in September, so he could spend the rest of his life in prison," Molloy​ said. "So hopefully these guys had a very nice, relaxing summer '18 because it might be the last one."

Stories that deserve more attention

Natural disasters like Hurricane Maria and the wildfires in British Columbia have made headlines this summer, but both Heer and Molloy​ believe those stories warranted more coverage.

Verne Tom looks stops to check on a wildfire burning on a logging road approximately 20 km southwest of Fort St. James, B.C., on Aug. 15, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

As of this week, wildfires continue to burn in British Columbia. Already this year, close to 13,000 square kilometres of the province has burned, breaking the record set in 2017. As of Wednesday morning, 534 fires continued to burn on, with the province announcing that it has extended the state of emergency through to the end of the day on Sept. 12.

However,  Heer thinks the full story — of the link between the B.C. wildfires and climate change — hasn't been reported enough.

"We're certainly seeing some of the hottest weather ever, and I think this is still the biggest story in the world and something that we as a planet, as a species aren't coming to grips with."

For Molloy​, she said she's disappointed that she hasn't heard more about Puerto Rico`s recovery from Hurricane Maria.

Melanie Oliveras stands on her front porch near a handful of electric cables knocked down by the winds of Hurricane Maria. (Carlos Giusti/The Associated Press)

The official death toll after the disaster was 64, which Molloy​ called "laughably low." But earlier this week, Puerto Rico's government updated the death toll to nearly 3,000, after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the months after the storm had been severely undercounted.

"It's a major tragedy and unfortunately, Donald Trump sucks up so much of the air when it comes to any sort of news," she said.

"These stories, we just don't talk about them the way that we might have talked about Hurricane Katrina or other storms like that."

The winner: Bruno the 'Thicc cat' 

Bruno the cat became a social media star after photos of him standing on his hind legs went viral. Many dubbed him "The Thicc Cat." (Wright-Way Rescue/Facebook)

In lighter news, Molloy​ said her favourite story of the summer was about a cat named Bruno.

In August, an Illinois animal rescue posted photos of the cat on their Facebook page saying he was available for adoption.

Bruno, who weighs 25 pounds, is polydactyl, which means he has a few extra toes. However, it was his strange habit of standing on his hind legs that made him an instant social media star. Many dubbed him "Thicc cat." 

"I just love that story because it was just such a time out, such a break, such a relief from everything else going on in the world," Molloy​ said about why she loved this story. "There was no way to inject politics."


To hear the full conversation with Jeet Heer and Parker Molloy, download our podcast or click listen above.

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