Beyoncé Birthday, Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation, Monica Lewinsky: Broadsheet September 5
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing turns into protest central, New Zealand’s PM faces criticism for accommodating her 11-week-old, and Sheryl Sandberg appears before Congress. Have a great Wednesday.
• Sandberg speaks. Sheryl Sandberg will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, where she’s expected to be quizzed about election-related abuse of Facebook’s platform—and what steps the tech giant has taken to curb such behavior in the run-up to the 2018 election.
Yesterday, the Facebook COO released the text of her opening statement, which outlines what the company has done thus far (new ad policies, using AI to find “bad actors,” and removing “hundreds of Pages and accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior”). Read the full statement here.
How will she fare in front of the senators? Recode’s Peter Kafka, who has watched his fair share of tech execs take the Congressional hot seat, predicts: “You know how Mark Zuckerberg did just fine answering questions from Congress last spring? Imagine that performance, but smoother.” He does note, however, that GOP lawmakers could throw Sandberg a curve ball by steering the questions away from foreign interference and toward what some consider to be Facebook’s anti-conservative bias.
For a deeper look into what role Sandberg may have played in enabling the misbehavior that went down on Facebook in the last election—and her new Mark Zuckerberg-designated responsibility, leading “the company’s efforts to identify and prevent future blowups on the platform”—I recommend this fascinating Wall Street Journal story. It’s worth reading in full, but here are a few nuggets that jumped out at me:
— Some (unnamed) sources tell the WSJ that Sandberg has “been displaced as the second-most-powerful figure by Chris Cox,” who now oversees all of the company’s apps. (Others—including Zuck himself—dispute this idea.)
— According to some current and former Facebookers, Sandberg’s “deliberate management style made it difficult to resolve issues and bring them to a close and at times obscured the big picture.”
–Her new gig heading off any future Cambridge Analytica-style disasters on the platform is as vital as it is risky. The role, according to the WSJ, is “likely to be complex, expensive and thankless, people close to the company say, with any failures very public.”
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Protesting Kavanaugh. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing brought protesters to the Senate Judiciary Committee early Tuesday morning. Nearly two dozen protesters—many of them from abortion rights groups—were arrested for disorderly conduct. Others stood outside the confirmation hearing dressed as handmaids from The Handmaid’s Tale. Fortune
• Full court Pressley. Another female Democratic challenger has upset a longtime incumbent. In the mold of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley has defeated 10-term Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano in Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District. If victorious in November, she’ll be the first black woman to represent Massachusetts in the state’s congressional history. “It’s not enough for Democrats to be back in power,” she said last night. “It matters who those Democrats are.” NPR
• Working mom problems. New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden had to make a trip to Nauru to attend the Pacific Islands Forum. The catch: Arden couldn’t bring her 11-week-old to the full three-day meeting because the baby is too young to receive vaccinations required to visit Nauru, and she couldn’t be away from her breastfeeding daughter for three days. Arden is facing some criticism over the $33,000 to $65,000 in costs to New Zealand taxpayers for a one-day visit while her deputy stays on at the meeting, but says this is a one-time situation because her baby is so young. The Guardian
• Enough about Bill. Monica Lewinsky walked offstage during a live interview in Jerusalem Monday night after the interviewer asked her if she expected a personal apology from President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky, now an activist against online bullying, had agreed to the interview on her usual condition that the Clintons be kept out of it. CNN
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Breed cleans up. New San Francisco Mayor London Breed is starting off her term by cleaning up litter and waste throughout the city, a problem that has grown due in large part to the Bay Area’s housing and homelessness crises. Breed, a lifelong San Franciscan, is the first African-American woman to lead the city. Washington Post
• Controversial diagnosis. A Plano, Texas physician might have lost himself some patients after telling the Dallas Medical Journal that female physicians “do not work as hard.” The doctor said that women in his profession do not see as many patients, so any gendered gap in pay is the result of that difference in work ethic. The doctor says his words were taken out of context—judge for yourself whether you buy that defense: Dallas Morning News
• November ready. TheSkimm is ready for the midterms. The popular daily newsletter, founded by co-CEOs Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, is trying to get 100,000 of its 7 million readers to vote in November’s midterm elections with a new campaign, No Excuses 2018. The newsletter launched a similar campaign, Skimm the Vote, before the 2016 presidential election. Today Show
• Safe in Sweden. A music festival in Sweden is the first designed for women and nonbinary people. The festival this past weekend didn’t allow any cisgender men to attend. The event was intended to give festival-goers an opportunity to enjoy music without dealing with the sexual harassment that can run rampant at such gatherings. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
Classicist Mary Beard on feminism, online trolls and what Ancient Rome can tell us about Trump Time
Why men experience postpartum depression too MEL Magazine
CoverGirl’s Ukonwa Ojo wants beauty to be more empathetic The Cut