06 Aug

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

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World Politics

United States

National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch rejects claim that the video – ‘the shot across your proverbial bow’ – can be interpreted as a violent threat

in New York

The largest gun lobby in the US has said in a video ad it is “coming for” the New York Times.

National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson Dana Loesch, a prominent conservative media personality, attacked the newspaper in the video and called it an “untrustworthy, dishonest rag”.

In response to claims that the ad was a call to arms and a threat against the safety of Times reporters, Loesch said anyone who interpreted the video that way was projecting “their violent fantasies on to others”.

Pressed about her comment that the NRA was “coming for” the Times, and asked how it could be interpreted as anything other than a threat, Loesch said it was a call to action “in the battlefield of ideas”.

Loesch, who rose to prominence through a newspaper column about motherhood and by hosting a “conservative alternative” radio show, was also the face of an NRA recruitment video released in June, in which she argued that people should join the group to defend the country against liberals.

In the New York Times video, published to the gun lobby’s Twitter account on Friday night, Loesch accused the newspaper of making a “pretentious” claim that it provided accurate, fact-based journalism.

The impact of her statement, however, became muddled by her deployment of a little-used word, “fisk”.

“Consider this the shot across your proverbial bow,” Loesch warned. “We’re going to fisk the New York Times.”

After many heard the word as “fist”, Loesch said in a Facebook post that “fisk” was a “common, causal term for thoroughly debunking something”.

The word is common to people familiar with the blogging culture of the early 2000s. It is thought to derive from the surname of the British columnist Robert Fisk, whose columns about US foreign policy were dissected by bloggers, leading to the creation of the term “fisking” to describe a thorough, point-point rebuttal of an argument.

The New York Times is not the first media company to find itself the target of Loesch’s ire. In 2012, she sued the parent company of the conservative website Breitbart, where she was a writer and editor.

Loesch claimed she was forced to terminate her contract because of an “increasingly hostile” work environment. White House adviser Steve Bannon was helping lead the website at the time.

“The external success of Loesch and masked the emerging internal difficulties the new company had with managing the media ‘empire’,” the lawsuit said. “For reasons that may just as easily be attributed to basic ideological conflicts, the working environment for Loesch became increasingly hostile.”

Loesch sought at least $75,000 in damages. The case was dismissed in June 2013.


Injury took its toll and perhaps his last 100m was one too many – a poignant end for a peerless competitor


Bolt will be remembered and revered as one of the greatest athletes ever.
We will miss his running, his personality and showmanship. His 9.58 in the hundred is the single most jaw dropping thing I’ve seen in sport in a life time of watching.
A great athlete, jovial man, and he knows what the truth in sport is all about.
Good luck to the fast man as he goes on, perhaps coaching, managing, certainly encouraging the young.

The McGlynn


The roar was not the same. This time around the cacophony of Super Saturday had a sadder, even an angrier note. Five years on from securing his legend at the 2012 Olympics, Usain Bolt had hoped to bow out of the sport he has for so long electrified, with one last trademark burst of unanswerable speed and joy. In the event, his last act as a solo athlete was to take a bronze medal behind his long-time rival, the American Justin Gatlin.

Few athletes know more about time than Bolt. Having chased it down and exploded it into unlikely tenths and hundredths for more than a decade, it finally caught up with him. His sweatshirt coming into the stadium before this final 100m race of a peerless career bore the motto“forever faster”, but his eyes and his manner told a slightly different story. He went through the motions of his pre-race hype routine, striking the poses, but his heart wasn’t quite in it.

No doubt, in some ways, he had seen this final defeat coming: it was the one attitude – gracious loser – he had never had to display, but he performed it with just as much aplomb as all the others. Bolt had come to the London World Championships having only once run under 10 seconds this year, and nursing another round of back problems that had necessitated a visit to the German doctor Hans Müller-Wohlfahrt in Munich. Qualifying was shaky in the first round on Friday when he tugged at his prophet’s beard and complained about the starting blocks being “the worst he had ever seen”. His semi-final, earlier in the evening, saw him beaten for the first time at that stage in a major championship since his golden run began in 2008. Even so, the feeling around the stadium, and the world, was that he would have enough for one last hurrah.

One of the many things that Bolt has brought to this shortest of all sporting dramas is a sense of unfolding narrative. Because of his size, he has routinely started behind his competitors, and then inexorably reeled them in, running 41 giant strides to their 45 or 46. What used to happen at 50 metres, however, this time didn’t quite happen at 95. For the first time, as he neared the line, the strain showed on his face: he looked like all the others. But the grimace was quickly replaced by a broad grin of gratitude and relief.

Bolt said farewell to Jamaica, where it all started, in June, but it was fitting that he should end the greatest solo athletic career on this particular back straight. London 2012 wasn’t his first Olympic triumph: that came in Beijing. It wasn’t the scene of his most extraordinary feat: that was the “triple double” gold in Rio. But it was the place where his legend was most memorably forged. In that most joyous of Olympics, I was lucky enough to be at the end of the home straight for much of the fortnight; nothing took the breath away quite like Bolt making good on his boasts.

Even then his career was not so much about breaking records as about proving himself the consummate competitor: did anyone really have the nerve, the confidence, the hubris to run past him, the greatest ever? It is eight years since Bolt ran his historic 9.58-second world record in Berlin; he has spent those years losing hundredths of a second, waiting for the rest to catch up. Perhaps inevitably it was Gatlin, 35 years old, the haunted pantomime villain to his prince charming, who emerged to deliver the farewell coup de grace.

Ever since Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion, returned to the sport after his second doping ban in 2010, he has played a shadowy Moriarty to Bolt’s effortless Holmes. The more fans have cheered Bolt, running clean, the more they have heckled Gatlin, for having run dirty. This potent morality play had its last twist here. Gatlin was booed into the stadium and booed across the line. It fell to Bolt himself to provide some comfort to the world champion, with a hug, and some whispered words of congratulation as the crowd howled its displeasure.

One of the reasons for his global popularity is that Bolt has always understood that sport has never been worth selling your soul for. Having won the world junior games 200m at 15 (apparently so nervous that he had his track shoes on the wrong feet) Bolt had many lucrative offers to join US college track teams. He turned all of them down, and did his training, and his partying, back home.

He has never been shy of calling himself the best – the figures don’t lie – but he has worn that mantle with a degree of humility and a generous heart. The greatest sportsmen and women remind us that even at the pinnacle of achievement it is all still a game, something you play at; they let us in on the thrill of their mastery even as they are experiencing it. Muhammad Ali could do that. Pele could do that. And Bolt has done that. The picture that will live down the ages is that of the sprinter apparently having time for a grin to the camera, when the second and third and fourth fastest men in the world are straining every muscle to even be in the same photo frame.

In the recent BBC documentary I Am Bolt, the sprinter confessed that the 10 seconds of glory no longer quite compensated for the 365 days of merciless work that allowed them. “It’s not as fun as it used to be,” he said. “The older I get, the less fun it is.” But for all the medals and the records, it is fun in its broadest sense, the indomitable overflow of pleasure, for which Bolt will be remembered. He has dramatised all that human bodies might be capable of, and done so in a spirit not of “focus” but of celebration. As Bolt’s fellow Jamaican great, Bob Marley, once expressed it: life is worth much more than gold.


Justin Gatlin’s 100m medal ceremony moved to avoid booing

American and Usain Bolt will receive medals before start of evening session



Sunday night’s world championships 100m medal ceremony has been switched because athletics chiefs do not want to see a full stadium booing Justin Gatlin and the American national anthem.

The ceremony was originally due to be held at 8pm but has now been moved to 6.50pm before the evening programme starts. The International Association of Athletics Federations has officially insisted that the switch has “nothing to do with the result”, however their denials were met with scepticism by most observers inside the London Stadium.

Meanwhile Sebastian Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, says he will congratulate the new world 100m champion Justin Gatlin if he sees him in London this week – but admits he was far from “eulogistic” to see the twice-banned American sprinter win gold. In what was Usain Bolt’s final individual race before retirement, the 11-times world champion could only take third place, behind the US sprinters Gatlin and Christian Coleman.

“Sport rarely settles upon the perfect script. Life’s just not like that,” Lord Coe said. Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek, Coe added: “It’s not the worst result ever. I’m hardly going to sit here and tell you I’m eulogistic that somebody that has served two bans in our sport would walk off with one of our glittering prizes, but he is eligible to be here.”

Coe said that as head of the IAAF he would have to congratulate Gatlin if their paths crossed in London. “I will say: ‘You were eligible to compete here and frankly’ – as Usain Bolt said to him last night – ‘you have worked hard for what you have achieved,’” Coe said. “I think the journey to that point is not a comfortable one for me.”

Coe stressed the IAAF tried in effect to end Gatlin’s career following his second failed drugs test, in 2006, only for court action to lead to the reduction of his suspension. “There have been two bans in the past, one which got watered down which made it very difficult for the second ban,” Coe said. “The second ban we went for an eight-year ban which would have in essence been a life ban – we lost that. So these things are suffused in legality.”

Coe said he was “never going to close the door” on the prospect of life bans for drug offenders, saying “the majority” in athletics would favour them being available as a punishment. “We have tried it, we’ve constantly tried it,” he said. “We’ve lost it in a mixture of courts and particularly the court of arbitration [for sport].”

Meanwhile the Jamaican prime minister, Andrew Holness, has reacted to Gatlin’s victory by calling for athletes who fail drug tests to receive life bans. “I think there should be very stringent penalties for people who use performance-enhancing drugs in sport,” he said. “It’s the only way you’re going to fully ensure that people don’t cheat in the sport.”

Holness added of Bolt: “What I’m particularly proud of is he did the work, he stuck with the sport, he worked very hard, he followed the advice of his coach, but more than that, he kept clean.

“I think that adds so much to the value of what he has managed to achieve, being a sportsman who has managed to achieve all these things without even the slightest suggestion of any performance-enhancing. That is the value of his contribution, that he can do all these great things, all these superhuman things, without any performance enhancement, no suggestion of cheating, I think that has capped his career.”

Bolt himself took umbrage when a journalist pointed out that this was the slowest 100m winning time since 2003, before adding: “The marks in general were much slower than the last edition of the world championships, and I’d like to know from you guys if you think there is any kind of relationship from a stronger anti-doping control.” Bolt interjected: “Woah what? What’s she saying?” The journalist then explained there were 21 sub-10 second times at the Beijing worlds championships in 2015 and fewer than 10 here. As she was explaining herself, Bolt signalled to the other two medallists that he wanted to answer the question.



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The O'Leary

Bolt, the Great. I will miss him.

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