31.99 +0.11 (0.35%)
After hours: 5:43PM EDT
|Bid||31.87 x 1000|
|Ask||31.94 x 2900|
|Day's Range||30.84 - 32.10|
|52 Week Range||20.00 - 45.86|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.78|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||19.80|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
As riots and protests break out throughout the country, companies like Nike, Apple and Amazon have expressed their support in those protesting racial inequality. Yahoo FInance’s Melody Hahm joins The Final Round panel to discuss.
Over the three days last week in which the battle between Twitter and President Donald Trump blew up, Twitter stock fell 10% and Facebook slipped 3%. Both outperformed the market on Monday.
‘Imagine if former President Bush, as Trump’s most recent Republican predecessor, backed a Democrat. Bush’s voice has the singular power to reach moderate Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters, freeing them to walk away from the Party of Trump.’ “If he announces he is voting for Biden, it will change some votes,” Williams said, pointing to the possibility amid a simmering feud between the former and current president.
Dozens of Facebook Inc. employees staged a virtual walkout Monday morning to protest executives’ decision not to challenge President Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts, part of what appears to be a movement to challenge the leadership of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.
In England, thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square and chanted ‘No justice! No peace!’ before marching to the American embassy.
Although Elon Musk was celebrating SpaceX’s first successful manned launch into space over the weekend, he remained well-aware of the civil unrest on the ground. The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX addressed the protests that have escalated in the week since George Floyd, an African-American man, died after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for several minutes, which was caught on a citizen video that went viral. While Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter last Friday, the other three police officers who stood by while Floyd said, “I can’t breathe,” still have not been charged.
Microsoft’s CEO urged ‘empathy and compassion, Uber’s CEO announced $1 million for social-justice groups, and Facebook pledged $10 million.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. shoppers are buying up pepper spray as demonstrations continue around the country and self-defense becomes top-of-mind for some Americans.A $9.48 canister of Sabre “max police strength” pepper spray shot up to the top-selling rank in Amazon’s sports and outdoors category Monday morning, supplanting normal best-sellers such as shorts and t-shirts, according to Marketplace Pulse, which monitors the site. A neck gaiter, which can cover the nose and mouth and became popular during the pandemic, is No. 2.One Amazon shopper named “Bill” left a 5-star review for the pepper spray May 31 and said “Put the cops down when they mess with you.” People are swapping recommendations for self-defense products on social-media platforms like Twitter, where users are posting links to Sabre pepper spray on Amazon.Protests have rocked U.S. cities since the killing in police custody of George Floyd, who was black. The authorities have charged police officer Derek Chauvin with Floyd’s murder. Some demonstrations have turned violent, with businesses looted and buildings and vehicles set ablaze.Sabre, which also makes stun guns and other products used by law enforcement, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A customer representative said all company executives were in a meeting. According to customer reviews, the pepper spray can be used for self-defense.An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment. Amazon became a pipeline for household essentials such as toilet paper and disinfecting wipes for shoppers hunkered down at home to avoid contracting Covid-19. The spike in pepper spray sales shows how protests around the country are influencing consumer demand. Amazon’s best-seller product rankings provide a real-time gauge for sudden swings in consumer demand.(Updated with company’s decline to comment.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The number of global cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 6 million on Monday, after a weekend dominated by protests across the U.S. at the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis last week.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. employees became increasingly bold in expressing their dismay at Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to take action on incendiary comments posted to the social network by U.S. President Donald Trump, tweeting out criticisms and staging a virtual walkout.After the president tweeted a message with the words “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Twitter Inc. for the first time obscured one of his posts, marking it with a warning that it breached service rules by glorifying violence. Facebook’s response to the same content, in a post from Zuckerberg on Friday, was to say, “We think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.”Several senior figures at Facebook declared their strong disagreement online over the weekend, and some employees -- working from home because of the pandemic -- held a virtual walkout, deciding not to log in to work on Monday in protest.“Mark is wrong, and I will endeavor in the loudest possible way to change his mind,” said Ryan Freitas, director of product design for Facebook’s News Feed. “I apologize if you were waiting for me to have some sort of external opinion. I focused on organizing 50+ likeminded folks into something that looks like internal change.”“Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy,” wrote Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook’s Portal product line.Joining them with individual messages against the passive policy were Design Manager Jason Stirman, Director of Product Management Jason Toff and Product Designer Sara Zhang, who tweeted that “Internally we are voicing our concerns, so far to no avail.”Read more: Facebook Appeases Trump as Twitter Spars With Him Over PostsIn a post late Sunday, Zuckerberg said Facebook is committing “an additional $10 million to groups working on racial justice.” Noting that the company “has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” the CEO did not address the concern surrounding Trump’s posts on the platform.It’s rare for Facebook employees to speak publicly about internal activity unless they have permission from the communications team. The company in the past has punished and discouraged leaking. Now, Facebook has changed that approach.“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community. We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said Monday in a statement. “As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With half of the world's population in isolation for the better part of two months, businesses are slowly starting to come back online. But one industry that never stopped during this crisis was social media. Unlike the global economy, these companies were anything but on a virtual standstill, proving that short of a mass power outage, social media will always be on. Facebook Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)'s announcement of its Shops platform came at a time when small businesses need a lifeline. By launching Shops, Facebook not only helped many small businesses in need, but this major new push into e-commerce is also helping economic recovery as we still don't know the end of the pandemic. Other e-commerce platforms have benefited from the crisis, as Etsy Inc's (NASDAQ: ETSY) sales have doubled from three years ago and Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) became Canada's most valuable company during the pandemic. Facebook has taken a series of steps to ensure its user base remains intact. Although the company warned of "unprecedented uncertainty" for the future of its ad business, it witnessed a significant spike in the number of new users with nearly 3 billion people using at least one of Facebook's apps during the quarter. It comfortably surpassed estimates for its first-quarter revenues of $17.74 billion as they rose 17.6% on a year-over-year basis.TwitterFor many, the pandemic only made the need for Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) even stronger, though the company now finds itself in the political crosshairs. On Thursday, it set the model for proper "content moderation" on its platform after President Trump called for violence against American citizens. Twitter has covered the tweet with a warning. Those who were determined to read it regardless could not "like" it or reply to it, thus slowing its expansion throughout the system and somewhat limiting its reach. On April 30, Twitter surpassed estimates by 10% when it reported first-quarter 2020 non-GAAP earnings of $0.11 per share with revenues growing 2.6% year over year to reach $807.6 million, which also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.5%. The company's expected earnings growth rate for next year is 43.9%.SnapSnap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) which also enjoyed a surge in users saw its shares jump 5% last Thursday. The company's famous app Snapchat gained 11 million daily active users during the first-quarter of 2020, which is a 20% rise from 2019 thus taking the total user count to 229 million. The time spent on voice and video calls grew more than 50% in late March as compared to the month-ago period. The majority of the application's users are Generation Z, which includes individuals between 13 and 24 years of age. First-quarter revenues surged 44% from the year-ago quarter to $462.5 million, beating the consensus mark by 9.1%.Don't dismiss Pinterest Just YetDespite trading well below its 52-week highs, Pinterest's (NYSE: PINS) potential remains intact. Pinterest is a unique medium. Unlike Amazon, which gives its users what they want, Pinterest helps users discover new things in the range of their interests. This unique platform is about discovering and getting inspired so this remains a powerful appeal to advertisers.Its ad load is still significantly below peers like Facebook, and the company is still in the early stages of finding ways on monetizing the relationship between pinners and advertisers. And it has a lot of room to do so.Pinterest is growing aggressively into that opportunity with 51% revenue growth last year to $1.14 billion, while monthly active users (MAUs) grew 26% to 335 million. So despite the setback in advertising spend, the important growth objective to expand and engage users which can be later monetized on was achieved during the crisis. Pinterest is growing faster than both Facebook and Twitter.Whether you love social media or hate it, no one can deny it has became an integral part of our lives. Between Facebook's 2.6 billion MAUs, to YouTube's 2 billion, Instagram's 1 billion and Twitter's 330 million, social media looks like it's getting bigger. This article is not a press release and is contributed by Ivana Popovic who is a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . Ivana Popovic does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases - If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors - IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you're interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: email@example.com Questions about this release can be send to firstname.lastname@example.orgThe post Social Media Stock That Managed to Beat the Pandemic appeared first on IAM Newswire.Photo by Sara Kurfeß on UnsplashSee more from Benzinga * HP and Dell At Least Managed to Top Estimates * COVID-19 Seems To Be Speeding Up The Cannabis Revolution * Earnings Results Show Discount Retailers Have An Edge In The COVID-19 Era(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump’s inability to perform his job is a tragedy for the nation. But his wide-ranging incompetence — whether it’s his flailing in the face of police brutality and violent protests or his delusions as the coronavirus approached — is showing America that it has other leaders, many of whom are women or black (or black women), who can fill the void.While Trump thrashes like a shark trapped in the sandy shallows of Twitter, these other leaders are rising. I was not expecting a rapper named “Killer Mike” to be the voice of reason in Trump’s inflamed America, but there he was last week, stepping in front of cameras at a news conference to denounce violence in Atlanta.“I woke up wanting to see the world burn yesterday, because I’m tired of seeing black men die,” said Killer Mike, the son of an Atlanta police officer. “I am duty-bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy.”Instead, he said, “Now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize.”Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms outshone the rap star at the press conference, alternately pleading for peace and demanding an end to chaos. “I am a mother to four black children in America, one of whom is 18 years old. And when I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt,” Bottoms said. “So, you're not going to out-concern me and out-care about where we are in America.”Bottoms also praised the city’s white female police chief, Erika Shields, who had had her own viral moment last week when she waded into a crowd and was filmed patiently listening to, and reassuring, a distraught black mother.CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Bottoms Sunday about Trump’s unique qualities. Her response bears repeating:This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet. Or, if he can’t be silent, if there is somebody of good sense and good conscience in the White House, put him in front of a teleprompter and pray that he reads it and at least says the right things.Bottoms’ emphasis on says was political realism. Perhaps someone could script some words for Trump and, provided he didn’t deviate and say what he really thinks, Trump could pretend to lead.A few weeks back, while Trump was botching the response to the pandemic, LeBron James and Barack Obama did what mature grown-ups do: They tried to make the kids feel better. The two black American icons starred in a televised commencement program for high school seniors whose ritual had been stolen by the virus.It’s the sort of thing Trump would never be able to pull off. In the long run, however, the current president may do as much or more than the previous one to encourage women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and others on the path to leadership. The 2018 midterm election was a fierce reaction against Trump featuring highly competent and racially diverse female candidates. Likewise, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose management of the pandemic contrasts well with Trump’s, has been elevated by Trump’s attacks on her. Val Demings, a black, female, former police chief who now serves in Congress, is poised to gain a national spotlight in part due to Trump’s incapacity.It wasn’t supposed to be this way. MAGA is premised on stopping the erosion of white male power and cementing in place its economic, social and political preeminence. It appears that, along with so much else, Trump is poised to destroy that ugly dream as well.(Corrects Jake Tapper’s network affiliation in seventh paragraph.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Francis Wilkinson writes editorials on politics and U.S. domestic policy for Bloomberg Opinion. He was executive editor of the Week. He was previously a writer for Rolling Stone, a communications consultant and a political media strategist.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has triggered protests in multiple U.S. cities. While mostly peaceful, demonstrations grew violent in some cities, promoting the deployment of the National Guard as some protestors set vehicles and buildings on fire, engaged in acts of vandalism and looted stores. U.S. Google & YouTube homepages said, "We stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.""For those feeling grief, anger, sadness & fear, you are not alone," said CEO Sundar Pichai in a statement.
President Donald Trump held discussions with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg over the phone the day after he had signed an executive order targeting social media legal immunity, Axios reported Sunday.What Happened Both sides described the conversation as "productive," according to Axios, but more details on the conversation couldn't be ascertained at press time. CNBC independently confirmed that the president held a discussion with the Facebook CEO.Trump was involved in a spat with Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) after the latter labeled one of the president's tweets on mail-in ballots as possible misinformation.The president claimed that the social media company was biased against him and other conservative voices, and signed an executive order last Thursday that aims to expose social media companies to lawsuits related to third-party content on their platforms.Following the move, Twitter hid one of Trump's tweets, saying it was calling for violence.The president had referred to protestors in the case of George Floyd's death at the hand of Minneapolis police as "thugs," and said, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."Facebook Chooses To Enable 'As Much Expression As Possible'Zuckerberg has taken a decisively different stand than Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey on the matter. Both of Trump's contentious posts are up on Facebook's platform without any warning or label."I know many people are upset that we've left the President's posts up, but our position is that we should enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers spelled out in clear policies," the Facebook CEO said in a statement Friday."I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open," he added.Price Action Facebook shares closed 0.16% lower at $225.09 on Friday and inched slightly higher in the after-hours session at $225.41.Twitter shares closed nearly 2% lower at $30.97 the same day and were trading slightly higher at $31.07 after-hours.Image Credit: Courtesy of the White House.See more from Benzinga * UK Supply Chain Startup Beacon Raises M From Amazon CEO, Others * Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Other Retailers Shutter Stores, Scale Back Operations In Areas Worst Hit With Protests * 20 Tesla Employees Worked At SpaceX Ahead Of NASA Astronauts Launch(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg) -- In his quest to expand U.S. mobile broadband capacity, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai hasn’t been afraid to anger colleagues in government.He’s taken on the Pentagon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as the departments of Transportation and Energy. Those agencies have warned that his plans to reallocate spectrum could endanger national security, harm weather forecasts, loosen control of the electrical grid and degrade vehicle safety.So far, Pai has prevailed.“Pai is willing to get himself on the hot seat,” said Doug Brake, telecom policy director for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based policy group that works to accelerate innovation.The fights are worth billions of dollars as industries jockey for rights to airwaves, riding a boom in usage for such things as online shopping, streaming television and social media. Appetite for gadgets and the airwaves on which to run them is only growing: the U.S. will have 1.2 billion mobile connected devices by 2023, up from 560 million in 2018, according to a forecast by Cisco Systems Inc.Pai’s independence may be tested in coming months as President Donald Trump has ordered the FCC to draw up regulations to keep social media companies such as Twitter Inc. from censoring political speech.“This debate is an important one,” Pai said in a statement. “The Federal Communications Commission will carefully review any petition for rulemaking filed by the Department of Commerce.”Pai, whose office didn’t reply to requests for comment, has an insiders’ profile that doesn’t suggest a penchant for inter-agency skirmishing. He is a former FCC commissioner, agency staff lawyer and U.S. Senate aide, and before that an attorney for Verizon Communications Inc. President Donald Trump elevated him three years ago to chairman of the commission, which was created in 1934 to keep radio signals straight and now doing the same with wireless broadband.Pai, 47, presents a whimsical public face for an agency steeped in arcane technical policy making. He spices his remarks with pop-culture references, citing the TV sitcom “The Office” and the film “The Big Lebowski.” His Twitter feed branches from telecom policy into philosophy, architecture and sports teams from Kansas City, not far from his childhood home in Parsons, Kansas.As chairman, he has made priorities of pruning regulations and pushing for more mobile broadband to feed the nation’s insatiable appetite. With backing from the agency’s Republican majority, he’s compiled a series of victories for the wireless industry -- and at times setbacks for older uses of airwaves.NOAA, for example, said the FCC’s push to reallocate some spectrum would set back satellite-assisted weather forecasting decades. The Transportation Department warned about road safety when a patch of airwaves set aside for driverless cars was reassigned. The Energy Department opposed taking spectrum used by the power companies.Perhaps most memorably, the Defense Department raised alarms about the FCC’s April 20 approval of a mobile broadband network, saying the service will interfere with military and civilian GPS.Wins and losses are closely linked in airwaves policy because of the nature of spectrum -- the invisible electromagnetic waves that carry communications. Each slice of airwaves can carry one use; a second use on the same frequencies threatens interference, just as a shouted conversation in a room can drown out a quiet chat.To avoid conflicts, regulators including the FCC put different services on separate airwaves. Antennas listen for the chatter on their assigned channels, and don’t pick up signals at higher and lower frequencies, which in turn are left to other users.Assignments, including some set decades ago, have come under question as the mobile broadband revolution deepens, bringing fresh demand for airwaves to handle booming wireless traffic. Old services are being forced to move to different airwaves or share their frequencies with new arrivals.Pai’s FCC has worked to set up frequencies for more Wi-Fi and the high-speed gadgetry that will combine to form the 5G revolution of fast, ubiquitous wireless connections -- a priority for the White House and big tech and telephone companies. The changeover promises such wonders as remote surgery, autonomous cars, rich virtual reality video feeds, and factories humming with connected equipment.Pai takes credit for rearranging a dozen swaths of spectrum. The amount of airwaves affected is more those used by all U.S. mobile broadband providers, Pai said in a video posted on the agency website last year.Friction is inevitable as broadband and other wireless technologies vie for space in the crowded tableau of airwaves swaths, known as bands.“Finding new bands or new opportunities to reallocate for new purposes is more difficult than ever before,” said FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, a Republican. “There’s no greenfields to pick from. And so finding new spectrum for a new purpose means reallocating someone who already exists there.”To others, the FCC’s airwaves fights show lax management by the Trump administration, leaving cabinet officers to push their own airwaves priorities.“This is a result of running the administration as if it were an episode of ‘The Apprentice,’” said Harold Feld, senior vice president with the policy group Public Knowledge. “The federal agencies have just stopped cooperating.”Space Force Commander General John Raymond said in a May 6 congressional hearing that Ligado Networks LLC’s plans for a mobile broadband network would interfere with GPS receivers, which rely on faint signals from satellites, and harm training.The FCC shot back that it wouldn’t be moved by “baseless fear mongering.”In a May 26 letter to Representative Adam Smith, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Pai defended the Ligado decision, saying it “included strict conditions to ensure that GPS operations continue to be protected from harmful interference.”In a teleconference with lawmakers on May 19, Pai said “America needs to lead in 5G and that requires us to think creatively about a variety of different spectrum bands.”Changes keep coming. The FCC in April voted to allow Wi-Fi on the 6 gigahertz airwaves, despite an expression of concern from the Energy Department. Utilities said the change risks interference to electric, water, and gas transmission and distribution systems. Chipmaker Broadcom Inc. called the action “momentous” and “a definitive moment in U.S. wireless history.”Airwaves AuctionMobile providers will get more opportunities in an auction slated to begin in July. Another, potentially larger airwaves sale is to begin Dec. 8 as the FCC offers a wide swath of prime airwaves now used by satellite providers such as Intelsat SA and SES SA. The satellite providers will move aside, keeping enough frequencies to serve current customers; new users will offer mobile broadband.Bidders may include largest U.S. providers Verizon, AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc., who all snapped up airwaves in earlier FCC auctions.“It isn’t easy to get the government to move quickly on anything,” Meredith Attwell Baker, president of CTIA, a wireless industry trade group with members including AT&T and Verizon, said in an email. Pai “deserves tremendous credit for making sure wireless providers have the spectrum they need to meet our nation’s 5G ambitions.”Not easy, and not without turmoil. The debate with NOAA concerned power levels for an airwaves swath that Verizon won in an FCC auction. The disagreement persisted for much of 2019 before agencies, working with the State Department, arrived at a unified position. The result was a lower power level than the FCC wanted, and more than NOAA preferred.Bipartisan leaders of both the House Science Committee and the Commerce Committee have asked the Government Accountability Office to probe how the NTIA and other federal agencies interact to resolve spectrum disputes.“Under the Trump administration, spectrum coordination efforts have repeatedly failed,” Democratic Representative Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, the Commerce Committee chairman, said in an email.Representative Greg Walden, of Oregon, the Commerce Committee’s top Republican, in an email said that “not everyone will be satisfied all of the time” as spectrum allocations are made.Others see confusion.“In this administration, instead of having everyone pull in the same direction, we have disputes that are pulling us apart,” said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the agency’s senior Democrat.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The Minneapolis Police Department’s website has shown signs of a cyber-attack since late Saturday, days after a video purported to be from the hacktivist group Anonymous promised retribution for the death of George Floyd during an arrest.Websites for the police department and the city of Minneapolis were temporarily inaccessible on Saturday as protesters in cities around the U.S. marched against police violence aimed at black Americans.By Sunday morning, the pages sometimes required visitors to submit “captchas” to verify they weren’t bots, a tool used to mitigate hacks that attempt to overwhelm pages with automated requests until they stop responding.Officials with the police department and the city didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Anonymous posted a video on their unconfirmed Facebook page on May 28 directed at the Minneapolis police. The post accused them of having a “horrific track record of violence and corruption.”The speaker, wearing a hoodie and the Guy Fawkes mask that’s a well-known symbol of the group, concludes the video with, “we do not trust your corrupt organization to carry out justice, so we will be exposing your many crimes to the world. We are a legion. Expect us.”The video was viewed about 2.7 million times on Facebook, during a weekend in which violence swept the U.S. as protesters clashed with law enforcement and National Guard troops.While many demonstrations have been peaceful, others have devolved into rioting. Several cities issued curfews and police have at times turned their rubber bullets and mace on the activists and on journalists covering the protests.President Donald Trump on Sunday cast blame on the media for stoking the violence that’s followed the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minnesota police custody.Anonymous began appearing as a loose collective of hacktivists around 2003, emerging from message boards like 4chan, and launching attacks against organizations from the Church of Scientology to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the terrorist group ISIS. Among their other targets were Mastercard Inc., white supremacists and members of the Ku Klux Klan.During the Arab Spring in 2011, its hackers took down government websites in Tunisia and Egypt and would go on to infiltrate government websites with distributed denial of service attacks in Malaysia, India, Syria, China and Nigeria.A 2012 cyber attack on PayPal in retaliation for shutting off service to Julian Assange’s Wikileaks cost the company millions.In 2014, Anonymous attacked Ferguson City Hall’s website after Michael Brown was shot and killed, prompting riots throughout the city. The group threatened the St. Louis County police chief with the public release of his personal family information if he didn’t release the name of the police officer who shot Brown. A member of the group initially misidentified the officer. The group then went on to threaten police and the local government with cyber-attacks if protesters were abused or harassed.In the years since several of its members have been arrested and charged with computer crimes and hacking attacks. Among them was Deric Lostutter, who in 2017 was sentenced to two years in federal prison for hacking a high school football team’s website in connection with a 2012 rape case.Last November, James Robinson was sentenced to six years in prison for distributed denial of service attacks on police and local government in Akron, Ohio in 2017.(Updates with Anonymous background from 10th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Fallout from Twitter’s decision to apply two fact-checks and one warning to tweets by President Trump has been as baffling as it is bombastic. The president’s executive order calls for a review of federal advertising; for regulators to police social media companies for bias; and a potential revocation of Section 230, which stops online platforms being treated like publishers. Spooked investors sent shares in Twitter down 5 per cent in the past week.
(Bloomberg) -- Two American astronauts boarded the International Space Station from a SpaceX capsule, marking the first time humans have traveled to orbit on a commercially developed craft, forging a new era for NASA and visionary billionaire Elon Musk.The Dragon craft carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley arrived at the orbiting lab at 10:16 a.m. Eastern time Sunday, about 19 hours after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. They entered the station at 1:22 p.m. after completing a series of arrival checklists.“We have to congratulate the men and women of SpaceX,” Hurley said after the docking. “Their incredible efforts over the last several years to make this possible cannot go overstated.”The milestone flight is the first time American astronauts have flown from U.S. soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. The achievement comes 18 years after Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp. with the ultimate goal of populating other planets. Hurley called it “an incredible time to be at NASA,” with three manned-vehicle programs in the works and progress toward a return to the moon.“Welcome to Bob and Doug,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the astronauts from Mission Control in Houston shortly after the two men entered the station. “The whole world saw this mission and we are so, so proud of everything you have done for our country and to inspire the world,” he said.QuickTake: Why U.S. Astronauts Hitched Historic Ride With SpaceXThe highest-profile U.S. rocket launch in decades captured interest around the globe, watched live on Saturday by approximately 10 million people. The flight comes at a time when people are clamoring for good news amid the Covid-19 pandemic, surging unemployment and growing U.S. protests against police violence.“This is just one effort that we can show for the ages in this dark time that we’ve had over the past several months to kind of inspire, especially the young people in the United States, to reach for these lofty goals and work hard and look at what you can accomplish,” Hurley said from the space station.‘So Proud’President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among those who gathered with Musk to watch the spectacle. Trump spoke with the two astronauts prior to the launch and, in a brief exchange with reporters, referred to Musk as one of the “great brains,” according to a pool report.The rooftop shook as the rocket rumbled to orbit, according to the report. Within seconds, Elton John’s “Rocket Man” -- a Trump rally classic -- began to play over speakers, the report said.“They have a long way to go but that’s a very dangerous part of it there,” Trump said. “I’m so proud of the people, of NASA, public and private. When you see a sight like that, it’s incredible. When you hear that sound — the roar — you can imagine how dangerous it is.”The launch and the initial phases of the journey proceeded smoothly. The main rocket booster flew back to Earth and stuck the landing on a drone ship -- a once-remarkable feat that has become routine for SpaceX.The two astronauts joined the Expedition 63 crew members already in residence on the space station. Their voyage, known as Demo-2, is the final major test of SpaceX’s human spaceflight system before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certifies it to fly working missions to the space station.Boeing Co. is also preparing to carry people to the orbiting lab as part of the same Commercial Crew program at NASA.Weather ClearsThe SpaceX launch was originally slated for May 27, but was scrubbed due to bad weather. While rain showers earlier Saturday briefly raked launch complex 39A, the weather cleared and SpaceX loaded fuel onto the Falcon 9 rocket and moved through a final check of its systems.Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and chief operating officer, said she was “super-nervous, stomach-in-throat,” in a television interview from SpaceX headquarters minutes before lift-off. Shotwell and her team monitored the mission from the company’s control center in Hawthorne, California, wearing masks and sitting at carefully spaced terminals.Successfully carrying humans to space would mark the latest breakthrough for a company known for setting audacious goals. In the decade since the first Falcon 9 rocket reached orbit, SpaceX has eclipsed rivals like Europe’s Arianespace and United Launch Alliance, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin Corp. venture, to grab the lead of commercial launches.“Launching satellites is nice and we got to bring in more money than we spend, this is important, but ultimately this is life beyond earth,” Musk said at a briefing after the launch, where he recalled how he developed SpaceX with funds he got from PayPal. “Hopefully this is the first step on that journey” for “life becoming multi-planetary for the first time.”Musk’s space company is valued at about $36 billion, and its bravado and reusable rockets have inspired other entrepreneurs. The competition could get fierce this decade as Blue Origin, founded and funded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, Northrop Grumman Corp., ULA and Sierra Nevada Corp. all bring new spacecraft to market.‘Numerous Providers’At least that’s the dream for Bridenstine, the NASA administrator. The U.S. space agency is seeking to change the notion that government must create both demand and supply for spaceflight. He said at a post-launch briefing that NASA is seeking a business model where it’s not the only customer.“We want to have numerous providers competing on cost, innovation and safety,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV on May 27.Commercial spaceflight has taken a long time to evolve since 2001, when engineer and entrepreneur Dennis Tito, founder and CEO of Wilshire Associates, became the first private individual to buy a seat to space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.Now, with the financial disruption from Covid-19 injecting fresh uncertainty into the industry’s immediate future, Bridenstine vowed to push ahead. He said he hoped the moment would be a bright spot amid the nation’s many challenges.“I was praying for Bob and Doug, I was praying for their families, I was praying for their safe return,” he said. “If this can inspire a young child to become the next Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos or Sir Richard Branson, then this is what this is all about.”(Updates with entry to space station and comments in first six paragraphs)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
President Donald Trump’s increasingly heated feud with Twitter may be good for social media impressions, but may not be legally enforceable, according to experts.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As the coronavirus forced the western world into lockdown in March, humans were confronted with a moral test. Drawing on centuries of philosophical thought that produced the world’s competing modern value systems, each person had to decide which measures were justified to limit the medical and economic carnage. There was plenty of possibility for discord.Initially, people and leaders coalesced around a version of the biblical philosophy of the “golden rule” — that we should not do to others what we wouldn’t want done to ourselves. That was the basis for asking everyone to make personal and economic sacrifices to limit the death and suffering of the weakest and oldest. Governments of the left and the right made that choice, strongly supported by religious leaders up to and including the Pope.At the time, I wrote, “We are all Rawlsians now,” invoking the Harvard philosopher John Rawls who 50 years ago put a version of the golden rule at the heart of his influential theory of justice.I was wrong. Now the brief weeks of Rawlsian unity have given way to a bitter factional and cultural battle, with rival moral principles hurled like metaphysical grenades. Different countries have taken antithetical approaches while the U.S. has split itself almost into two nations, divided between those who wear masks and those who do not.“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an unmasked protester in Michigan proclaimed to Fox News.Masks, which were not at first recommended by the public-health authorities in the U.S., have created the deepest fault line. “Mask-shaming” started as a tactic by government-supporting mask-wearers. Early in the lockdowns, Jorge Elorza, a law professor who serves as the Democratic mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, encouraged people to speak up if they saw someone in public without a face mask. “You should socially shame them, so they fall in line,” he said.Meanwhile in Texas, chat-show host Brenden Dilley donned a Trump 2020 cap and took to Twitter to explain why he was not wearing a mask. “Better to be dead than a dork,” he said, throwing in some F-bombs for emphasis. “Yes, I mean that literally. I’d rather die than look like an idiot right now, you weakling.”It took North Dakota’s Republican governor Doug Burgum to remind citizens tearfully that those wearing masks might be doing so to protect a loved one who was vulnerable.What has gone wrong? What has the virus revealed about the moral principles that motivate us? The story can be told with the aid of an allegory, a novel by Steven Lukes, a British political philosopher who now teaches at New York University, called "The Curious Enlightenment of Professor Caritat."Professor Caritat’s JourneyLukes’s allegory is simple but devastatingly effective. Professor Caritat is an expert in enlightenment philosophy in the country of Militaria, which emphasizes order above all else, and sounds like contemporary China. He is imprisoned for his subversive beliefs. Members of the opposition spring him from jail and send him on a trek through the neighboring countries of Utilitaria, Communitaria and Libertaria in search of the best way to run society. Everybody knows that they hate the military government, but what should they replace it with?These countries follow three great schools of moral thought:Utilitarians, following the Victorian reformer Jeremy Bentham, who believe in pursuing the greatest good for the greatest number, even if such an approach may bring harm to some. Communitarians, who believe that the sense of moral duty is rooted in a sense of community, and look for a concept of “common good.” Libertarians, who believe that individual freedom is paramount, and therefore resist attempts at paternalism or coercion. In Lukes’s words, “Each of these countries takes one of these ideas to an extreme to the exclusion of the others, and each one is a dystopia.”In Utilitaria, which is gleaming and prosperous, the elderly are routinely put to a humane death. Abortion is legal but decided on by the government, which rules whether any given birth would aid the general happiness.In Communitaria, everyone is divided into narrow camps, and it is almost impossible to do or say anything without causing offense (which will be punished as a crime).In Libertaria, which calls the contemporary U.S. to mind, citizens are left alone, which means that many are left to sleep on the street, city centers are full of sleaze, and a few rich people benefit from gambling.It is a brilliant tour of moral thought, and Lukes told me the book was most influenced by Isaiah Berlin, the 20th-century British philosopher and essayist. Both Berlin and Rawls were present at the lectures in which Lukes first told the fables of the different countries that would become the novel.“The book is really about pluralism: Is there an irreducible conflict between these values?” Lukes said. “Rawls is an attempt to somehow bring them together to give an overarching theory that somehow encompasses everything. You could contrast that with Berlin’s position that these are irreducible conflicts that aren’t going to be resolved, because that’s what life is. Instead you just have to choose what your ultimate values are.”By the end of Lukes’s allegory, Professor Caritat has come around to the Berlin point of view: The conflicts between these competing moral systems can’t be resolved.And looking at the real-life allegory acting itself out in the U.S., Berlin again seems to have been proven right. We are not arriving at a position of moral coherence, but instead confront moral conflict. How did this happen?Rawlsian PhantomsIt’s evident now that those early days of Rawlsian unity were an illusion. Yes, the calls for sacrifice to protect the elderly certainly sounded as though motivated by the golden rule. But in the months since, the scandal of those abandoned to die in nursing homes on both sides of the Atlantic has only grown.Moreover, getting people to sacrifice in the name of the golden rule requires trust in governments to make sure that those sacrifices are not wasted. In many places, that doesn’t exist. The deepening inequality across the western world would have been anathema to Rawls. In the U.S., long-standing casualties of inequality such as African-Americans and Native Americans turned out to be particularly susceptible to the virus, so the pandemic began to reinforce existing feelings of injustice.Other than in countries where the state could rely on its ability to coerce people, like China, lockdowns worked most effectively under governments perceived to be trustworthy and efficient, like Germany or Norway. In Norway, people believed that enforced self-isolation would pay off. In the U.S., public-health failures blazed a trail of skepticism.When governments are perceived to be unfair or inconsistent, Rawlsian discipline breaks down. Exhibit A is the remarkable story of Dominic Cummings, the Svengali-like political adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Britain has a strong tradition of accepting authority, and the population had complied with a strict lockdown with minimal protest — until it was revealed that Cummings had broken the lockdown rules to drive 260 miles with his wife and child when he thought the family might have contracted Covid-19. It led to an outcry, especially as Johnson refused to dismiss him, claiming that Cummings had been concerned for his family and was entitled to use his discretion (opening the way for many more Britons to stop social distancing), and Cummings refused to apologize.For the many Britons who had gone without funerals or visits to elderly parents, this was a fatal philosophical blow. If Cummings had broken the golden rule, and the government had supported him, there was no reason why they should follow. The ministers defending Cummings were “telling the nation that Dom’s only crime was loving his family too much — and so implicitly telling every Briton who obeyed the rules that they loved their family too little,” the columnist Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian.A final problem for self-sacrifice a la Rawls was that people felt that governments were asking too much, stretching the golden rule too far. Ashley Radcliffe, a stay-at-home mother from the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods put it this way in an interview with the Detroit Free Press:The restrictions are too much. People want to work. They want their lives back. In the first couple weeks I was like, 'We're all staying in.' And we all did. Then that kind of wore off. She has restarted neighborhood play dates for her 5-year-old son. Liberty? Which Kind?Resisting authority is one thing. Fighting for liberty is another. Much depends upon exactly what liberty means, and Isaiah Berlin framed that moral debate. In a famous 1959 essay called "Two Concepts of Liberty," Berlin suggested that libertarians practiced either “positive” liberty, which entails the active freedom to do something, or “negative” liberty, which is freedom from interference. His point was that these two kinds of liberty are different. The U.S. Constitution is rooted in negative liberty, the freedom to be left alone. But the protesters who entered the Michigan capitol in Lansing with assault rifles in April and May were plainly pursuing positive liberty. Berlin, who was born in Latvia in 1909 when it was part of the Russian empire, believed that opened doors to totalitarianism.What, in any case, do the protesters want? A mandatory lockdown clearly violates any definition of liberty, but can this really be said of requiring people to wear a mask when entering a shop? In one incident, a man was caught on video demanding the right to enter a Costco unmasked “because I woke up in a free country.” In Albany, Minnesota, chanting protesters tried to pull the mask off a reporter, asserting their positive liberty to violate his negative liberty. Various people have been caught on camera deliberately coughing or spitting on people asking them to put on a mask.Libertarians often face criticism that they are justifying selfishness, and disregard for others. Such incidents confirm the stereotype and embarrass many libertarians. Resistance against incursions by an untrustworthy state does not justify violence against people who wear masks, or even going maskless in public. As Lukes put it: “You are putting other people in danger and you are putting yourself in danger. If liberty just means no restraint on something we might want to do, there are obvious deprivations of liberty that are totally justified. Like driving drunk.”Positive liberty also violates many American conservatives’ respect for their community and its norms, even if they share an instinctive distrust of over-reaching governments. Gary Adkisson, publisher of the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, wrote of how he would arrive dirty from work in the fields at a store with a “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” sign: There were rarely any other shoppers there, but my grandfather or uncles would not let us go inside shirtless or shoeless. It didn’t matter that no one else was there, or that the shirts were no cleaner than our skin, or that we would take them off as soon as we left. We wore them because that’s what the proprietor required. It was a matter of respect.Opposition to lockdowns and masks is led by libertarians, but — much as Berlin might have predicted — self-isolation also runs afoul of communitarian and utilitarian ideals. Communitarians, on the right as well as the left, sense that lockdowns violate traditions and harm the community. Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, was articulating a communitarian spirit when he said on a Sunday talk show: “We take the virus very seriously. It’s a risk. It causes death. But you can’t cloister yourself at home. That is just contrary to the American spirit.”And of course there is the powerful utilitarian argument that lockdowns are wrecking the economy. That can be attacked as preferring profit to people, but record unemployment numbers suggest a real risk of a mental health crisis that could counterbalance the public-health benefits of reducing the Covid-19 death toll. In Italy, where the disease swamped hospitals for a time, doctors resorted to utilitarian rationing of care.None of the great schools of philosophy appears to have been deemed adequate on its own for the great test posed by the pandemic. Principles and TribesIf no version of moral philosophy has triumphed, what ideas are left standing? Is rhetorical allegiance to principles, such as the golden rule, liberty or the “American way,” just a cover for tribalism? As the virus has so far hit the geographical regions where one tribe of Americans lives, while mostly sparing the other, principles tend to rationalize behavior instead of guiding it. For people in the densely populated cities of the Acela corridor, who tend to be politically liberal, wearing masks and following government instructions seems like a good idea. For the more sparsely populated states in the middle of the country, whose citizens are philosophically more inclined to distrust the government, it is different.“People can vote or take political positions for a whole variety of motives,” said Lukes. “But nevertheless, when it comes to justifying their ideas they reach out for principles. Whether those principles are truly important to them is different.”And that is what has happened. Governments, with some exceptions, couldn’t persuade their people that they were really following the golden rule and treating everyone with equal respect. They also failed to prove that it was worth doing so. Protesters lost their patience, and misused the notion of liberty as a cudgel against lockdowns, while also bringing valid utilitarian, communitarian and libertarian criticisms into the fray. All may claim to be motivated by principle. But in the U.S., at least, people seem to be taking refuge in tribes, and joining those with whom they already share grievances.At this point, it looks as though Isaiah Berlin has been proven right.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The company does not expect to need additional staff for the undertaking, Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley said on Saturday. Fact-checking groups said they welcomed Twitter's new approach, which adds a "get the facts" tag linking to more information, but said they hoped the company would more clearly lay out its methodology and reasoning. On Friday, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey acknowledged the criticism, saying he agreed fact-checking "should be open source and thus verifiable by everyone."
Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) changed its profile pictures to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as protests raged across the United States over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died after a policeman restrained him with a knee on the neck.What Happened The microblogging website changed its profile photo and background image and added the BlackLivesMatter hashtag to its profile description. The main Twitter account also retweeted a thread from Twitter Together, an account that promotes diversity, saying, "Racism does not adhere to social distancing." It further stated, "Amid the already growing fear and uncertainty around the pandemic, this week has again brought attention to something perhaps more pervasive: the long-standing racism and injustices faced by Black and Brown people on a daily basis."Why It Matters Currently, Black_Lives_Matters is trending on twitter at the number 3 spot in the United States with nearly a million tweets containing the hashtag. Twitter and President Donald Trump are on a collision course after the leader tweeted about Floyd and the Minnesota riots. Trump threatened to send the National Guard and accused the protestors of being "THUGS" who were "dishonoring the memory of George Floyd," adding that he "won't let that happen." He raged, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." The social media company put a warning on the tweet saying it violated its rules about glorifying violence.The president has been less than happy over being fact-checked and had previously warned that he would not allow the social media company to stifle free speech.Trump then went on to sign an executive order that ends social media legal immunity for third-party content on Thursday.Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken a divergent view on content curation, saying, "private companies shouldn't be the arbiter of truth."Twitter Price Action Twitter shares traded 0.32% higher at $31.07 in the after hours session on Friday. The shares had closed the regular session 1.96% lower at $30.97.Image Credit: Courtesy of Twitter.See more from Benzinga * Lear Corporation Workers Afraid To Work At Mexican Factory After It Suffered Reportedly The Worst Coronavirus Fatalities In The Americas * Uber To Donate M To Groups That Make 'Criminal Justice In America More Just,' Says CEO Khosrowshahi * 15 US Banks Facing Currency Rigging Lawsuit Brought By Large Investors(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Like so many Americans, I didn’t get much sleep Friday night. All night long, I kept refreshing my Twitter feed, watching and re-watching the videos of the rioting that took place in cities nationwide in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week.I saw a New York police officer throwing a young protester to the ground, calling her a vile name as he did; a police car going up in flames in Dallas; an assault on the CNN building in Atlanta; a police officer in Louisville, Kentucky, shooting a pepper-spray ball at a camera operator. And on and on.My feelings watching the riots unfold weren’t much different from most people’s: horror, revulsion and a powerful sadness that this is what it had come to, perhaps inevitably, three and a half years into the presidency of Donald Trump. I recalled watching the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. I thought about Ferguson, Missouri, and about the way so many police forces across the country seem to operate with impunity. I thought about that appalling tweet the president sent earlier on Friday: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”And I thought about one other thing: Philadelphia in late September 1918. The U.S. had entered World War I the year before, and the city had planned an enormous parade — It would stretch two miles — to raise money for the war effort. The 1918 pandemic, which would eventually kill an estimated 675,000 Americans, was in its early stages, just beginning to jump from military bases, where it began, to the broader population.Several doctors urged the city to cancel the parade because the hundreds of thousands of onlookers it would attract would surely cause the virus to spread widely. John M. Barry, in “The Great Influenza,”(1) describes what happened in the city after the parade:On October 1, the third day after the parade, the epidemic killed more than one hundred people — 117 — in a single day. That number would double, triple, quadruple, sextuple. Soon the daily death toll from influenza alone would exceed the city’ average weekly death toll from all causes — all illnesses, all accidents, all criminal acts combined.On Friday night, the current pandemic seemed to be forgotten. Most police officers either wore face shields or masks, but most protesters did not. They crowded together, stumbled over one another as they ran from the police, engaged in shoving matches and more, ignoring weeks of warnings about the importance of social distancing.In the heat of the moment, it’s understandable, I suppose, that angry protesters would forget that we are in the midst of a pandemic. But the consequence is likely to be severe. In many of the cities where the rioting took place, it had begun to seem as if the worst was behind them, with the number of hospitalizations and deaths declining steadily. There is no question that adherence to social-distancing guidelines, the use of masks, regular hand-washing and the cancellation of professional sports and other events that draw crowds have played a huge role in getting the pandemic under some semblance of control.Over the next two weeks, as those infected during the riots show symptoms — and spread the virus to others — those gains are likely to be reversed. People have a right to be angry about Floyd’s needless death. But an upsurge in Covid-19 deaths is likely to be a result of the riots. It may not be as bad as Philadelphia in 1918, but it’s not going to be good.I spent a good portion of last week reading papers by economists that attempted to calculate how the country can reopen in a way that would maximize economic activity while minimizing Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Although the papers didn’t necessarily agree on the best way to proceed, they collectively offered hope — that we were far enough along that we could start calculating the best way to get back on our feet. Now, after the riots, those papers may have been wasted effort.I’ve seen suggestions on Twitter that the lockdown was part of the reason the riots took place. “When the only party youth is permitted to attend is a riot, we shouldn’t act surprised when they all show up,” read one tweet. I’m no fan of full-fledged lockdowns, but I don’t think that had much to do with the riots.But I do think Trump’s lack of leadership since the beginning of the pandemic played a role. His refusal to wear a mask or insist on social distancing at his press conferences; his urging red states to reopen well before it was safe; his support of the armed citizens in Michigan who invaded the statehouse because they didn’t want to have their “freedom” curtailed — they all sent a message that he viewed the measures being urged by scientists as examples of “political correctness.” A real leader would have reinforced the message that measures aimed at tamping down a killer virus, however inconvenient, were in the best interest of everyone.Without that reinforcement from a trusted leader, it’s been all too easy for angry protesters to forget that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and that people who don’t take precautions can still die. Some surely will in the coming weeks.(1) The full title is: “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Joe Nocera is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. He has written business columns for Esquire, GQ and the New York Times, and is the former editorial director of Fortune. His latest project is the Bloomberg-Wondery podcast "The Shrink Next Door."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.