The Word ‘They’ Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

Just because 2019 is finally winding down doesn’t mean the flurry of activity in the world is slowing one bit. In the past seven days alone there’s been a shooting in Jersey City, a new trailer for In the Heights, and an announcement from Nike that the company is now making shoes just for health care professionals. In other news, Lizzo is amazing and can wear whatever she wants. (Related: Good for you, Houston Rockets.) Also, the UK had a historic election. But that’s just the beginning. It’s time we got going telling you about all the rest.

Articles of Impeachment

What Happened: The Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives introduced two articles of impeachment against President Trump.

What Really Happened: We begin with an update on the impeachment of President Trump. The official announcement that articles of impeachment were being issued came just over a week ago, followed by Trump’s refusal to participate in the proceedings.

As last week began, then, there was a lot of speculation about what the timeline of the process would look like, and just what awaited the president. By Monday, a pretty clear picture emerged, with two articles of impeachment being rumored for Tuesday. Just days earlier, people had been suggesting as many as eight potential articles of impeachment. What changed in the meantime?

Right on cue, Tuesday morning arrived and the House Judiciary Committee introduced two articles of impeachment, right on schedule.

One of those watching the press conference officially announcing the articles? None other than the president himself.

Shortly after those tweets went out, the White House stepped in to provide a more official response.

With this development, Donald Trump has become only the fourth president in US history to face possible impeachment. Of course, the impeachment isn’t official official yet. There’s still a vote coming on the matter next week.

Once passed, the whole thing goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it’ll likely face opposition.

The Takeaway: For anyone wondering what else happened on the day the House announced the articles of impeachment, here you go.


What Happened: If one word sums up the past 12 months, what could it be? Merriam-Webster has the answer, and it’s something unexpectedly heartwarming.

What Really Happened: It’s beginning to look a lot like the time of year when people start thinking about the previous 12 months looking for larger themes and meanings. For example, what would you think the word of 2019 was, according to Merriam-Webster?

Yes, exactly. “They”! Who saw that coming? (The only acceptable answer to this is, “them,” by the way.) The announcement made headlines as it always does

—but it was also an important moment of recognition for a lot of people, and was welcomed as such by members of the queer community.

If this year’s M-W Word of the Year felt like a statement of sorts, it wasn’t necessarily the first time folks thought that it might be (although we’ll get to whether or not it was a statement soon enough).

As it turned out, those concerns were noted by others, as well.

Elsewhere, some wondered about a surprising commonality in the reporting of this particular piece of news.

But back to the meaning of “they” as the Word of the Year: In case you’re wondering if there’s someone sitting in Merrian-Webster’s offices just randomly choosing these words that’s actually not the case at all, as it turns out.

Also, if you’re also wondering what almost made the cut, then perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to the news.

The Takeaway: The more you know…

Greta Thunberg Is Time‘s Person of the Year

What Happened: Greta Thunberg was named as Time’s Person of the Year. Not everyone is happy about it.

What Really Happened: If Merriam-Webster is talking about the Word of the Year, then that means it’s time for another all-important “of the Year” to be announced. Namely, Time’s Person of the Year. But, with Baby Yoda being more of a mix between a puppet and CGI character, what figure could shoulder the burden of 2019?

Yes, climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Person of the Year by the magazine, and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal wanted to explain why.

Of course, the announcement made headlines across the internet. Overall, the reaction to the news was positive.

Thunberg took to social media to respond to the plaudit.

There were, however, some detractors.

Even President Trump weighed in.

We’ve seen this before. We know what happens here. Greta?

The Takeaway: Welp.

Bette Middler’s Art Critique

What Happened: Bette Midler critiqued smartphone usage; the internet responded.

What Really Happened: While Bette Midler would likely hate to be lumped in with Donald Trump in anyway whatsoever, we go from the president telling Greta Thunberg to chill to another example of someone criticizing young folks on Twitter.

The law of the internet maintains that when a celebrity asks a question on Twitter, everyone has to answer, and this was certainly the case here. However, it’s probably safe to say that the answers weren’t what Midler was expecting.

The kerfuffle caused a minor upset in mainstream media, but at least one museum had a far smarter take on what to do with the situation.

This weekend, maybe you should go to a museum. Just remember to take your phone.

The Takeaway: Really, this says it all.

The Justice Department Inspector General’s Report

What Happened: The Justice Department’s independent inspector general found the FBI had reason to investigate connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign. Attorney general Bill Barr, meanwhile, took issue with that.

What Really Happened: Cast your mind back to when everyone was talking about President Trump and Russia, instead of Trump and Ukraine. Remember when there was an FBI investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign, one that the president was convinced was part of a conspiracy against him? Well, guess what? On Monday, Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice’s independent inspector general, issued a report on the matter and it wasn’t good for those looking for a Deep State plot.

That’s probably not what conspiracy theorists were hoping for. But everyone had their own take on what the report said.

To be fair, Horowitz’s report did point to serious errors in the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Trump campaign, even as it made it clear that there was no evidence of a conspiracy theory to take Trump down, nor spies placed in the campaign; as Horowitz himself said later in the week, the report didn’t make anyone look good. At least FBI director Christopher Wray, handpicked by President Trump himself, stood up to the charges responsibly.

President Trump’s response? Read on.

Meanwhile, attorney general Bill Barr had his own response to the report from his department.

The Takeaway: Maybe it’s this?

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