On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast:
Elon Musk is under fire for a controversial series of suspensions. What’s next for journalism and Twitter?
The January 6 House committee will vote on urging the Department of Justice to charge former President Donald Trump.
USA TODAY Money Reporter Bailey Schulz explains how many pharmacies are cutting hours.
Bowl game executives were paid well despite a college football money meltdown during COVID-19.
USA TODAY Sports Columnist Nancy Armour previews the World Cup Final.
(Audio: Associated Press)
Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.
Taylor Wilson: Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know, Saturday the 17th of December 2022. Today, what’s next for journalists on Twitter after a wave of suspensions? Plus the January 6th House Committee will vote on recommending charges for former president Donald Trump. And we take a look ahead at tomorrow’s World Cup Final.
Elon Musk abruptly suspended the accounts of several journalists on Thursday. They include reporters with the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America, and other organizations and suspensions continued yesterday with the account of a Business Insider columnist who previously highlighted what she called dangerous Tesla manufacturing shortcomings. Musk said their posts were a direct violation of Twitter’s terms of service and tweeted, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.”
Doxxing refers to revealing someone’s identity, address, or other personal details that violate their privacy. Musk said a family member had been stalked earlier in the week and several of the suspended journalists had written about a suspended Twitter account that tracked Musk’s private jet using publicly available data. Jodie Ginsberg, President of the Committee to Protect Journalists told the AP that Musk’s decisions surrounding journalists on Twitter can have major implications for press freedom.
Jodie Ginsberg: When you create an environment in which essentially you are saying, “Journalists I don’t like can’t report,” it’s not just those journalists from those big organizations who are effective. It creates a knock-on effect. It creates an enabling environment in which frankly governments feel enabled and empowered to shut down reporting. And so what the owners of platforms like Twitter do has a huge knock-on effect on press freedom more widely.
Taylor Wilson: Beyond the media world, the United Nations weighed in with a UN spokesman saying the suspensions, “Set a dangerous precedent at a time when journalists all over the world are facing censorship, physical threats and even worse.”
The House committee investigating the January 6th Capitol attack will vote Monday on recommending that the Justice Department charge former President Donald Trump for his role. Charges to be voted on alleged insurrection, obstruction of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the United States according to Politico, ABC News and the New York Times. Through a series of nine hearings this year, the committee found that the riot was part of a widespread conspiracy and not a spontaneous event. Witnesses testified that Trump knew he lost the 2020 election and continued to pressure state officials along with the Justice Department and then Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results, and that Trump directed the armed mob from his rally near the White House to the Capitol building. Trump is running for president again in 2024 and said he did nothing wrong, criticizing the House committee as a partisan hoax. The panel’s criminal recommendations are not binding and the Justice Department already has a special counsel investigating potential charges against Trump. Still, legal experts say the recommendations will lay out a roadmap of where evidence might lead to criminal charges.
Pharmacies across the country have been cutting back hours and closing stores, which may hurt access to prescriptions. Producer PJ Elliot spoke with USA Today Money Reporter, Bailey Schulz to find out why.
PJ Elliot: Bailey, thanks for hopping on 5 Things today.
Bailey Schulz: Yeah. No thanks for having me.
PJ Elliot: So why are pharmacies cutting hours?
Bailey Schulz: So with the hours being trimmed, that really has to do with this national labor shortage is what the pharmacies are saying. So we are just seeing a shortage of people wanting to work as pharmacists in retail pharmacies, and so that is really making it hard to keep all of these different retail storefronts operating as many hours as they had been before.
PJ Elliot: So there’s some that are cutting hours, but are some that are actually closing the doors?
Bailey Schulz: Yeah. So it’s kind of interesting because the pharmacies are saying these are two very separate issues where for the cutting of hours, that is really something that has direct ties to this labor shortage where the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts about over 13,000 job openings for pharmacists each year on average for the next decade. So seeing a lot of openings in this area as we have with other jobs in the healthcare industry. And then as far as pharmacies closing, we are seeing some of the bigger chains come out with announcements with closures as well, where CVS told me that they’re on track to close 300 stores this year and this is them being on their way to close 900 stores over the next three years.
Rite Aid has closed more than 150 stores across 17 states since late 2021. And so this is sort of a trend that we’re seeing across some of these bigger chains.
PJ Elliot: Who is affected the most by these decisions to close or cut hours?
Bailey Schulz: Yeah, so what experts say is that this is something that really affects people with low socioeconomic status, where if the pharmacy close to you closes and you don’t have the transportation to go somewhere further out, you might just not pick up your medication. So we’re seeing people like that be greatly affected, research points to independent pharmacies in rural areas or those with more low income residents really being affected just because those sort of reimbursement rates I talked about earlier where pharmacies make lower reimbursement rates if their patients are on public health insurance like Medicare or Medicaid according to research.
And so some of these experts are pulling to closures in these sort of areas with low income residents and saying that they’re… Just the structure of the system and how pharmacies are reimbursed is really hurting some of these customers.
PJ Elliot: Bailey, thanks so much for your time. Really appreciate it.
Bailey Schulz: Yeah. No, thank you for having me on.
Taylor Wilson: The COVID-19 pandemic has hit sports hard. That was never more true than in 2020, especially for college football. 19 of the 44 scheduled post-season Bowl games were canceled that year and most others had severely restricted attendance. Many non-profit Bowl game organizations turned to the federal government for relief, taking in nearly $4 million in combined PPP funds according to government records, but that didn’t stop many of the executives who run those tax exempt Bowl organizations from continuing to get paid substantial sums. That’s according to federal tax records from the Bowl organizations obtained by USA Today Sports, and some even made more money in 2020 than they did before.
Five of the 18 CEOs tracked by USA Today Sports saw their compensation increase and nine others had their compensation cut by 10% or less. Those with compensation gains included CEOs from the Sugar Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Citrus Bowl. All of this came while college athletic departments were laying off employees, giving pay cuts and reworking coaches contracts. The compensation of Bowl executives had already been under fire for years. Many of them put on one or two games a year while division one college athletics directors make less money running year round programs and games in multiple sports. For more on this story, you can find a link in today’s show notes.
The World Cup Final is tomorrow in Qatar. Defending champions from the Last World Cup in 2018, France take on Argentina. The Argentine side is looking for its first World Cup title since 1986 and its superstar, one of the best soccer players of all time, Lionel Messi is fighting for his first. USA Today Sports columnist, Nancy Armour looks ahead from Doha.
Nancy Armour: There’s history to be made for both Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Obviously, everybody knows with Messi, the World Cup is the one title he hasn’t won. His seven Ballon d’Ors are more than any other player. He’s won the Champions League, he set scoring records. So this is the one hole in his resume and he’s already said this is his last World Cup, that he doesn’t think he’ll be able to play in four years or keep to this level for four more years. So this is it and he’s made no secret of how badly he wants to win this. And it’s clear that Argentina wants to win this for him too. This would give them three titles which puts them in pretty select company, but it’s more about getting Messi this World Cup.
And for Mbappe, he was part of the France team that won four years ago. So if France would win on Sunday, he would be the youngest player since Pele to win two World Cups. Now, Pele had done it before his 21st birthday and Mbappe is already 23, so old, but that’s pretty good company to be in for again, a guy who’s only 23. He is tied with messy for the lead in terms of goals at this World Cup and he is not even close to the ceiling of his career. So for him to get a second title before his 25th birthday would just be amazing.
For Argentina, I think obviously it starts with Messi of course, but some of the young players have really come into their own and it’s the one that I find to be so fun is Julian Alvarez. You’ve probably seen there’s a photo of Alvarez when he was 12, so a decade ago of him with Messi. He said that Messi has been his idol since he was a small child. His entire family loves Messi. And so the idea that he is playing in his first World Cup with Messi, that he is… Messi has set him up on a couple of goals. Alvarez drew the penalty on which Messi scored the other day. Just the links between these two is really, really fun.
On the flip side for France, one of the older players is Antoine Griezmann who before the tournament, I think a lot of people thought that he was on the downswing of his career, that he was maybe not going to be that big of a factor in this tournament and he’s been tremendous. He has been as important for France’s any other player. He draws defenders, he does some of the dirty work that frees Mbappe up or Giroud up.
Now, with France, people have had to step up because they have lost so many players to injury. You got to remember, this is a team that is without Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and they’ve been without Kareem Benzema who, reminder, in October won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world. There is some thought that they might get him back for the final. I think it’s an interesting dilemma for them. Obviously, he’s a player with so much quality and who can be so dangerous, but he hasn’t been part of this squad for the last month. So do you mess with the chemistry? Do you mess with the rhythm? It’s a tough call and I’m glad it’s a decision I don’t have to make.
I would urge anybody to go to a World Cup if they ever can, because it’s just an incredible event. And if you can, if you can go to an Argentina game, do it because listening to the Argentina fans, I don’t want to say sing, I probably should say shout the national anthem, it gives me goosebumps. They are so passionate about their team. It’s not just that they all show out in the blue and white jerseys and they’re singing for an hour, 90 minutes before the game and then long into the night. They’ve really turned every stadium in Qatar into making it feel like it’s Buenos Aires.
Taylor Wilson: You can find more great World Cup coverage from USA Today Sports and you can tune into tomorrow’s match at 10:00 AM Eastern time on Fox. As always, you can find 5 Things every morning of the year right here, wherever you’re listening right now. James Brown is back with the Sunday edition tomorrow and I’ll see you Monday with more of 5 Things from USA Today.