Michael Luo Profile picture
editor of https://t.co/79xml0B0zf; overseer of digital stuff @newyorker; occasional writer, mostly on politics and media; previously investigations @nytimes
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17 Mar
“If we continue to permit the introduction of this strange people, w/ their peculiar civilization, until they form a considerable part of our population, what is to be the effect upon the American people and Anglo-Saxon civilization?” -Sen John F. Miller, of California, 2/28/1882
“Can these two civilizations endure, side by side, as two distinct and hostile forces? Is American civilization as unimpressible as Chinese civilization? When the end comes for one or the other, which will be found to have survived?"
"Can they meet halfway, and so merge in a mongrel race, half Chinese and half Caucasian, as to produce a civilization half-pagan, half-Christian, semi-Oriental, altogether mixed, and very bad?” -Miller, introducing what would become the Chinese Exclusion Act
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb
NEW from @ericlach: Ron Kim was bathing his 3 kids when phone rang. The governor was so loud that Kim’s wife and daughters grew upset. “I will go out tomorrow and start telling the world how bad of an Assembly member you are, and you will be finished.” newyorker.com/news/our-local…
Neither Kim nor his wife slept that night...Cuomo kept up the pressure through the weekend. That Saturday, Cuomo’s aides and other intermediaries called Kim, trying to get him to talk to the governor.
“It’s Lunar New Year—I’m with my family,” Kim told me. “I felt extremely uncomfortable.” Kim believes that Cuomo was trying to silence him. “I realized if I changed course, I’m complicit,” Kim said. “And then, politically, he owns me.”
Read 5 tweets
12 Feb
EXCLUSIVE: @klonick spent 18 months reporting on the making of Facebook’s Oversight Board. Its decisions are binding, but its power is quite circumscribed in a lot of ways. Soon after it started hearing cases, it got the biggest one of all: Trump. newyorker.com/tech/annals-of…
“...Trump personally called Zuckerberg to say that he was unhappy with the makeup of the board. He was especially angry about the selection of Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law professor who had testified against him during his first impeachment.”
“He used Pam as an example of how the board was this deeply offensive thing to him,” the person familiar with the process said. Zuckerberg listened, and then told Trump that the members had been chosen based on their qualifications.
Read 4 tweets
20 Jan
Take a bow ⁦@sbg1⁩. Her final “Letter from Trump’s Washington.” Incredible run. Tomorrow, her weekly column becomes “Letter from Biden’s Washington.” newyorker.com/news/letter-fr…
This, more than anything, might have been the most surprising thing about Trump’s tenure: his ability to turn one of America’s two political parties into a cult of personality organized around a repeatedly bankrupt New York real-estate developer.
And so we are ending these four years having learned not that Donald Trump is a bad man—the evidence of that was already voluminous and incontrovertible before he entered politics...
Read 7 tweets
18 Jan
Very helpful @benwallacewells piece: "...a general pattern has become clear across the extremist factions: far-right and conspiratorial movements were, in effect, “mainstreamed and normalized” as they were channelled into the protests over the election..." newyorker.com/news/our-colum…
“We see a spike in activity after every major war. Spikes in Klan membership align with the aftermath of warfare; the early militia movement aligns with the aftermath of warfare,” @kathleen_belew told @benwallacewells.
These observations—of the central presence of women, and of the vivid white-power imagery—are even more interesting in combination. They suggest a coalition that has been able to broaden without, so far, being forced to change.
Read 5 tweets
17 Jan
NEW: Luke Mogelson’s remarkable video footage of the Capitol invasion, from breaching the first barricades to rummaging through desks on the Senate floor. Stunning, frightening, revolting. newyorker.com/news/video-dep…
“Is this the Senate?”
“Where the f—- are they?”
“While we’re here, we might as well set up a government.”
“Where the f—— is Nancy?”
Read 7 tweets
15 Jan
NEW from next week’s issue of @newyorker: Luke Mogelson, who has been reporting on MAGA protesters for months, provides a firsthand account of the Capitol invasion. newyorker.com/magazine/2021/…
After this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you,” Trump told the crowd. The people around me exchanged looks of astonishment and delight.
There was an eerie sense of inexorability, the throngs of Trump supporters advancing up the long lawn as if pulled by a current. Everyone seemed to understand what was about to happen.
Read 9 tweets
28 Dec 20
Earlier this year, I read @lawrence_wright’s new thriller about a global pandemic, “The End of October,” and was dumbfounded at its prescience. Now he’s out with the definitive account of Covid-19,
taking up most of this week’s @newyorker. newyorker.com/magazine/2021/…
From the "lost February": "Without the test kits, contact tracing was stymied; without contact tracing, there was no obstacle in the contagion’s path. America never once had enough reliable tests distributed across the nation, with results available within two days."
"By contrast, South Korea, thanks to universal public insurance and lessons learned from a 2015 outbreak of mers, provided free, rapid testing and invested heavily in contact tracing, which was instrumental in shutting down chains of infection."
Read 22 tweets
20 Dec 20
As Christians prepare anew to celebrate the Incarnation, I revisit early church history as a reminder of the devotion to the common good Jesus can inspire and lament how this has been, to a distressing degree, an ignominious year for the church in America. newyorker.com/news/daily-com…
This is the fourth Sunday of Advent. The sense of weighty expectation feels heightened this year. The collect in the Book of Common Prayer reads as a collective yearning: “O Lord, raise up (we pray thee) thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us.”
Many Christians certainly took seriously Jesus’ parable in the Gospel of Matthew about how he would separate believers from unbelievers on Judgment Day. My colleague @JonathanBlitzer profiled Juan Carlos Ruiz, a 50 yo Mexican pastor in Bay Ridge. newyorker.com/magazine/2020/…
Read 17 tweets
17 Dec 20
Important caveat from @DhruvKhullar: "we know for sure that the vaccines...prevent severe illness in almost all people who are inoculated...we’re not yet certain that the vaccines can prevent people from becoming infected or infecting others." newyorker.com/science/medica…
"Moderna tested volunteers for the virus before the second dose, and found fewer asymptomatic cases among those who'd received it compared with those who hadn't––an encouraging, but by no means conclusive, sign of interrupted viral transmission."
"Early in the pandemic, we knew that wearing a mask made you less likely to spread the virus; it took time to confirm that masks protect wearers, too..."
Read 6 tweets
10 Dec 20
.@JaneMayerNYer "they say her short-term memory has grown so poor that she often forgets she has been briefed on a topic, accusing her staff of failing to do so just after they have. They describe Feinstein as forgetting what she has said & getting upset." newyorker.com/news/news-desk…
One aide to another senator described what he called a “Kabuki” meeting in which Feinstein’s staff tried to steer her through a proposed piece of legislation that she protested was “just words” which “make no sense.”
Feinstein’s staff has said that sometimes she seems herself, and other times unreachable. “The staff is in such a bad position,” a former Senate aide who still has business in Congress said. “They have to defend her and make her seem normal.”
Read 7 tweets
8 Dec 20
I wish everyone in America could read @DhruvKhullar's really thoughtful, measured piece. "The balancing of individual liberty and public health may now be the most contentious issue in American life." He talks to people from his hometown in Ohio. newyorker.com/science/medica…
Meet Andrew Sigler, who works at a software company in northeastern Ohio, who is living a “relatively at-risk” life style. But then his 93-year-old grandfather got Covid. Did that change his views? Worth reading.
Meet John Emmert, a 60-yo Army veteran who runs a family-owned grocery store, who argues: "Lockdowns are going to kill more people than the virus could hope to kill on its best day."
Read 10 tweets
4 Oct 20
NEW from ⁦@praddenkeefe⁩: While opioid deaths have surged during the pandemic, the Sackler family has been quietly staging an end game in which it will keep most of its fortune—and be released from all future liability. newyorker.com/news/news-desk…
“The Sacklers may be embattled, but they have hardly given up the fight. And a bankruptcy court in White Plains, it turns out, is a surprisingly congenial venue for the family to stage its endgame.”
Behind the scenes, lawyers for Purdue and its owners have been quietly negotiating w/ Donald Trump’s Justice Department to resolve all the various federal investigations in an overarching settlement, which would likely involve a fine but no charges against individual executives.
Read 9 tweets
3 Oct 20
Remnick's first piece on Trump's positive test posted at 3:45 a.m. on Friday. Then, he proceeded to rewrite Comment for next week's @newyorker. Closed last night. Worth studying his summation of this moment. For history. newyorker.com/magazine/2020/…
The contrast between Trump’s airy dismissals of the pandemic’s severity and the profound pain and anxiety endured by so many Americans has helped define the era in which we live.
Because of his ineptitude and his deceit, because he has encouraged a culture of heedlessness about the wearing of masks and a lethal disrespect for scientific fact, he bears a grave responsibility for what has happened in this country.
Read 10 tweets
2 Oct 20
.@DhruvKhullar: "Trump’s schedule of events—and his refusal to adhere to basic public-health guidance—makes him a potential super-spreader." newyorker.com/science/medica…
For Americans in their seventies, the case fatality rate—a measure of a person’s chance of dying after being diagnosed—is around ten per cent.
At six feet three and two hundred and forty-three pounds, the President is also obese, which increases the risk of hospitalization, I.C.U. admission, and death.
Read 5 tweets
1 Oct 20
NEW from @JaneMayerNYer: Kimberly Guilfoyl's assistant said that she was frequently required to work at her apartment while the Fox News host displayed herself naked, and showed her photographs of the genitalia of men with whom she’d had sexual relations. newyorker.com/news/news-desk…
Guilfoyle told her assistant that, "in exchange for demonstrating what Guilfoyle called loyalty, she would work out a payment to take care of her—possibly, she said, with funds from Bolling.
The assistant alleged that Guilfoyle mentioned sums as large as a million dollars, and also other inducements, including a private-plane ride to Rome, a percentage of Guilfoyle’s future speaking fees, and an on-air reporting opportunity.
Read 5 tweets
28 Sep 20
"the newspaper hired Edwin Chen, the first Asian American reporter to join the paper’s Metro staff. Chen, hired as a science writer in 1979, remembers being met by an editor on his first visit to the Metro newsroom with the greeting, “It’s Charlie Chan!” latimes.com/opinion/story/…
"we can’t rely only on Asian Americans to cover the full breadth of Asian America. For one thing, not everyone wants that job."
"Chen, for instance...aspired to join our Washington bureau to pursue his passion for government and politics. He got there in 1989 and subsequently covered science, the Iraq war, presidential campaigns and the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations..."
Read 5 tweets
11 Sep 20
On 9/11, I think back on those I wrote about that day and in the days after. Near Ground Zero, I encountered a firefighters union official who told me he feared 1/2 of the 400 FDNY who responded were dead. I called it in and @AP sent a bulletin. The number turned out to be 343.
I met Marcos Velazquez, whose brother, Jorge, was a security guard for Morgan Stanley on the 44th floor of the South Tower. azdailysun.com/a-waiting-fami…
I met Karen Carlucci, whose fiance, Peter Frank, worked for Fred Alger Management on the 93rd floor of the north tower. 9/11 turned her into a widow before she could become a bride. the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/J…
Read 5 tweets
8 Sep 20
Comprehensive look by @DhruvKhullar on where we stand. "Three kinds of therapies currently in development—antiviral drugs, antibodies, and immunomodulators—may be ready soon. Alone or in combination with a vaccine, they could help us turn the tide." newyorker.com/science/medica…
"...a silver-bullet vaccine may not be in the cards, at least not right away."
giving antivirals to those who never require hospitalization that could change the course of the pandemic. Treated people will walk around shedding less virus, reducing the chance that they’ll pass it to others. Treatment, if it’s given early enough, becomes a form of prevention.
Read 8 tweets
2 Sep 20
I wrote about the racist attitudes embedded in American Christianity, a problem that has long festered in the church, and the difficulty of dislodging them. I end with some thoughts on what Jesus's call for his people to be peacemakers might demand today. newyorker.com/books/under-re…
The piece takes in @robertpjones's "White Too Long," @JemarTisby's "The Color of Compromise," @esaumccaulley's "Reading the Bible While Black," and @ndrewwhitehead @socofthesacred's "Taking America Back for God." All vital reads in this moment.
.@robertpjones lays out a startling case in his book that “the more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian.”
Read 10 tweets
26 Aug 20
New from ⁦@spulliam: “I asked the Falwells, as a personal favor to me, to assist with the lagging Trump campaign in Iowa,” Cohen wrote in a text. washingtonpost.com/education/2020…
Falwell confirmed Tuesday that Cohen had helped him. He did not say who was threatening to circulate the images, only that someone had stolen photos from his phone — of he and Becki in their backyard — and Cohen spoke to the person’s lawyers and threatened to contact the FBI...
They weren’t fully nude,” Falwell said of the images. “They were just pictures of my wife. I was proud of how she looked.”
Read 4 tweets