Ever since last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead, much of the internet’s attention has been focused on that tragedy. But that hasn’t been the only thing taking up bandwidth. For one thing, there was internet uproar over a New York Times op-ed writer, Mitt Romney making his expected, if not exactly welcome, comeback, and what might be the real fascination of the internet all week, the release of Marvel’s Black Panther, which, well, Wakanda forever. And then, of course, there were all these other blips on the radar, too.
Whither the Special Sauce?
What Happened: Say goodbye to your cheeseburger, Happy Meals fans.
What Really Happened: Before we get into the really heavy stuff of the last week, let’s take a moment to reflect on the very strong reaction the internet had to news that McDonald’s is removing the cheeseburger from the Happy Meal menu.
Of course, not everyone felt the pain.
Meanwhile, the more conspiratorial corners of the internet saw the truth: This was all an attempt to get people to spend more money at McDonald’s.
And then there are those who went dark, but not wrong…
The Takeaway: Where will this end?!?
Well, that’s definitely an end, sure.
All Talk, No Action, Part 1
What Happened: The online response to the Parkland shooting centered around gun control, the NRA, and the inactivity of politicians.
What Really Happened: News from Florida last week was heartbreaking, as more information about the Parkland school shooting came to light. As might be expected, the initial response from politicians was somewhat underwhelming.
And the lack of actual substance in the political responses didn’t go unnoticed.
It especially didn’t go unnoticed by those directly affected by the tragedy.
As is, by now, traditional in this kind of situation—and, really, how terrible is it that there is a “this kind of situation” now?—a hashtag appeared, calling for more gun control.
After all, it wasn’t like the gun used—an AR-15 semi-assault rifle—was obtained illegally.
The contributions—both rhetorically and financially—of the NRA also came under the microscope in the aftermath of the shooting.
All of this led to a surprising trending topic on Twitter, “The NRA can be beat,” which spun out of a New York Times op-ed.
The Takeaway: Let’s put this horror into perspective, shall we?
All Talk, No Action, Part 2
What Happened: As promised, the Senate spent last week talking about immigration reform. As (some) expected, it still ended up being mostly just talk.
What Really Happened: Remember when the government shut down last month, only to re-open when the Senate agreed to spend a week discussing immigration? Last week was that period of discussion, and if anyone believed that it might lead to the kind of bipartisan solution that could save DACA recipients from being deported when the program ends next month… Well, that hope went unfulfilled.
That turned out to be not that supportive, as you can see. But it wasn’t just Trump who was complicating matters.
Even some Republicans couldn’t stand for this.
Others couldn’t help but remember the good old days of … last month.
What a change can happen in just a few weeks, it seems.
As it turned out, Trump didn’t need to veto a bill; the Senate ultimately failed to pass anything—democracy in action, or democracy inaction? You decide—but that included the bill that the White House had been hoping for, as well.
In the end, nothing changed. Not that the president saw it as a total loss.
The Takeaway: If there is something to be learned here, it might be that the White House needs to stop getting in its own way.
From NDA to DNA in Just Seven Days
What Happened: In continuing Presidential Affairs news, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer managed to resurrect the Stormy Daniels story.
What Really Happened: So, remember the whole Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels affair, where the press found out that the actress had been paid $130,000 and everyone around the president said it was definitely not hush money to cover up an affair because they definitely hadn’t had an affair despite previous on-the-record confirmation from Daniels that, in fact, they had? Happy times. This week, it took another turn.
Actually, it turns out there’s more than one question.
Let’s go and ask the other side of this Non-Disclosure Agreement, shall we?
So perhaps this really was a big deal. Especially after the latest twist, which was a reminder that history repeats itself, only dumber.
The Takeaway: Speaking of history repeating itself…
Flippie to the Floppie, You Don’t Stop
What Happened: Everyone hoping that special counsel Robert Mueller isn’t going to find any dirt on the Trump campaign might be a little upset by the latest developments in the ongoing investigation.
What Really Happened: Meanwhile, in the ongoing Mueller investigation…
Well, that seems pretty earth-shattering. (Certainly, other media outlets seemed to agree.) If he ends up flipping, Rick Gates—a Trump campaign advisor who Mueller indicted last year—would be the third known person to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation. Twitter was certainly excited.
Still, surely there are those who are convinced nothing is happening…
Somewhere, the president is probably hoping that the last tweet reflects reality more than everything else that came before.
The Takeaway: Really, though, three plea deals indicate that this investigation is far from a nothing burger.