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The Purrrresident
The Purrrresident
Jillian Deutsch

-Essay-

PARIS — Barack Obama's family searched the country for a dog at the beginning of his presidency. Bo's first paw steps turned the Obama White House into a home. Is it time now that his successor, President Donald Trump, should also acquire a pet?

Caitlin Gibson wrote in the Washington Post that getting a dog would generate good press for the president; it would make him more likeable, bridge political divides, lower stress and satiate Trump's need for loyalty. Remember Richard Nixon's infamous "Checkers speech" in 1952 that mentioned the family cocker spaniel? Nixon, then a senator accused of abusing a political expense fund, turned around public opinion when he referred to the "black-and-white, spotted" dog.

Could this work for Trump? Unlike Nixon, Trump doesn't have just one financial scandal to distract his audience from right now. He'd need a pack of dogs for the number of controversies he's embroiled in: tax compliance, antitrust violations, Trump University court cases, four bankruptcies. And those are just those related to his finances.

Gibson's suggestion has stirred debate. Trump's temperament could be compared to that of a dog. When a dog barks, it won't stop until it gets your attention. But it could also be argued that a cat is a better fit for the president considering his feline attributes. He is known to have late-night spurts of energy scratching on Twitter; he also has the same orange and yellow coloring as Garfield.

Photo: acatnamedrupert via Instagram

But Trump is not likely to be able to look after a cat. Cats take time to win over. They don't like loud, boisterous humans chasing after them; they prefer to cuddle up to the one person who ignores them. If you want a cat to like you, the best strategy would be to act aloof and pretend to be uninterested. Such subtlety isn't really the Trump administration's style. For instance, confronted with North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the country that U.S. would consider military action. So much for playing coy.

It doesn't look like Trump is well suited for a dog or a cat. Maybe he should leave animals alone. Humans too.

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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