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The federal government puts warnings on tobacco and alcohol. Is social media next? : Consider This from NPR

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The federal government puts warnings on tobacco and alcohol. Is social media next? : Consider This from NPR

Social media platforms are part of what the U.S. Surgeon General is calling a youth mental health crisis.

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Social media platforms are part of what the U.S. Surgeon General is calling a youth mental health crisis.

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Emma Lembke was only 12 years old when many of her friends started using phones and social media.

“Each one of them, as a result, was getting pulled away from kind of conversation with me, from hanging out with me, from even, like, playing on the playground, hanging out outside at school. It felt as though my interactions were dwindling,” Lembke told NPR.

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It wasn’t just her experience. On average, teens in the U.S. are spending nearly 5 hours on social media every single day.

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And the children and adolescents who are spending these hours on social media seem to be paying the price.

Those who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media have double the risk of mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Clinical psychologist Lisa Damour, who specializes in adolescent anxiety says the more time a teen spends on their phone, the less likely they are to be focusing on other aspects of their life.

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“Too much time on social media gets in the way of things that we know are good for kids, like getting a lot of sleep, spending time with people and interacting face to face, being physically active, focusing on their schoolwork in a meaningful way,” Damour told NPR. “So that’s one place that we worry about that they are missing out on things that are good for overall growth.”

The Surgeon General’s call to action.

Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General, has called attention to what he has called the “youth mental health crisis” that is currently happening in the U.S.

This week, he published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for social media warning labels like those put on cigarettes and alcohol, in order to warn young people of the danger social media poses to their mental wellbeing and development. He cites the success of the tobacco and alcohol labels that have discouraged consumption.

“The data we have from that experience, particularly from tobacco labels, shows us that these can actually be effective in increasing awareness and in changing behavior. But they need to be coupled with the real changes, [like] the platforms themselves,” Murthy said in conversation with Consider This host Mary Louise Kelly.

“Right now, young people are being exposed to serious harms online, to violence and sexual content, to bullying and harassment, and to features that would seek to manipulate their developing brains into excessive use.”

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Part of Murthy’s guidance includes keeping children off of social media platforms until their critical thinking skills have had more time to grow and strengthen against what the algorithms might be showing them.

“Imagine pitting a young person, an adolescent, a teenager against the best product engineers in the world who are using the most cutting edge of brain science to figure out how to maximize the time you spend on a platform. That is the definition of an unfair fight, and it’s what our kids are up against today.”

New guidelines moving forward.

Damour says that the Surgeon General’s call for a label is a great start to addressing the larger issue of how phone addictions are affecting young people.

“The other thing that is really important about the Surgeon General’s recommendation is that he’s calling for legislation. He’s calling for congressional action to get in there and help with regulating what kids can be exposed to, she said. “And I think this is huge right now. This is entirely in the laps of parents, and they are left holding the bag on something that really should be managed at a legal congressional level.”

Both Murthy and Damour say that raising awareness of certain strategies for parents can also help teenagers maintain more balanced lives.

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This can include:

  • Waiting until after middle school to let kids get social media profiles.
  • Using text messages as an intermediary step in allowing teens to keep in touch with their peers.
  • And maintaining “phone free zones” around bedtime, meals, and social gathering.

This episode was produced by Marc Rivers, Kathryn Fink and Karen Zamora, with additional reporting from Michaeleen Doucleff. It was edited by Courtney Dorning and Justine Kenin. Our executive producer is Sami Yenigun.

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Joe Biden drops out of US election and endorses Kamala Harris

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Joe Biden drops out of US election and endorses Kamala Harris

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US President Joe Biden has abandoned his re-election bid following overwhelming pressure from fellow Democrats and endorsed his vice-president Kamala Harris to succeed him, saying it was “in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down”.

The president announced his decision to quit the race in a letter published to social media on Sunday, throwing this year’s White House contest into turmoil with less than four months to go until voters in the world’s biggest economy elect their new leader on November 5.

“It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve as your president,” Biden said. “And while it has been my intention to seek re-election, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as president for the remainder of my term.”

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The president added that he would speak to the country “later this week in more detail about my decision”. Biden has not been seen in public since Wednesday, when he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

He said in a second social media post that he would “offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year”.

“Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump,” Biden added. “Let’s do this.”

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Harris later issued her own statement saying she was “honoured” to have Biden’s endorsement, adding: “My intention is to earn and win this nomination.

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“I will do everything in my power to unite the Democratic party — and unite our nation — to defeat Donald Trump,” she added.

Harris, who would become the country’s first female president should she win, quickly picked up the backing of several influential Democrats.

Former president Bill Clinton and the party’s 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton issued a joint statement saying they were “honoured to join the president in endorsing vice-president Harris”, adding they would “do whatever we can to support her”.

Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer — both considered possible presidential candidates themselves — were also expected to endorse Harris, said three prominent Democratic party donors and operatives with direct knowledge of the matter. Representatives for Newsom and Whitmer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Barack Obama, who selected Biden as his own vice-president in 2008, issued a statement calling him “one of America’s most consequential presidents, as well as a dear friend and partner”. Obama stopped short of endorsing a successor, but said he had “extraordinary confidence that the leaders of our party will be able to create a process from which an outstanding nominee emerges”.

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Democrats will need to rally behind a new presidential candidate in the weeks before the party’s official nominating convention on August 19. Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison on Sunday said the party would “in short order” lay out the “next steps and the path forward for the nomination process”.

Biden’s unprecedented decision will reverberate across the globe, injecting new uncertainty into US policy at a moment of acute geopolitical tension, from the Indo-Pacific to Ukraine to the Middle East.

Biden’s announcement follows more than three weeks of wrenching debate among Democrats about his candidacy after a disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump reignited concerns about the 81-year-old’s mental acuity and damaged his standing among American voters. An Associated Press poll out last week found nearly two-thirds of Democratic voters said Biden should drop out of the race.

Trump had opened up a significant polling lead over Biden in national and swing state surveys in recent weeks. In a statement posted to his Truth Social platform on Sunday he said Biden was “not fit to run for president” and “certainly not fit to serve”.

Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson issued a statement calling for Biden’s immediate resignation from the presidency.

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“If Joe Biden is not fit to run for president, he is not fit to serve as president,” Johnson said.

But Biden’s decision earned him immediate praise from several top Democrats, including Senate leader Chuck Schumer, who described him as a “great president . . . a great legislative leader” and “a truly amazing human being”.

“His decision of course was not easy, but he once again put his country, his party, and our future first.”

Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic House leader, said the country would be “forever grateful” to Biden for his leadership.

The decision by the 46th American president not to seek a second term marks the beginning of the end of one of Washington’s most storied political careers. Biden entered the Senate in 1973, became vice-president to Obama in 2009, and gained the Oval Office in 2020 in an era marked by a global pandemic, economic recovery, inflation and war.

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Some Republicans call on Biden to resign the presidency too after ending his 2024 campaign

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Some Republicans call on Biden to resign the presidency too after ending his 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON — Some Republicans reacted immediately to President Joe Biden’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election in November by demanding that he resign the presidency as well.

“If Joe Biden is not fit to run for President, he is not fit to serve as President. He must resign the office immediately. November 5 cannot arrive soon enough,” House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a statement shortly after Biden revealed his decision.

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, the conference chair and fourth-ranking House Republican, added: “If Joe Biden can’t run for re-election, he is unable and unfit to serve as President of the United States. He must immediately resign.”

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It was a widespread response within the Republican Party, with multiple others reacting similarly, including Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas:

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Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., the chair of the Senate GOP campaign arm, said he is “formally calling on President Biden to resign from office … out of concern for our country’s national security.”

“If Joe Biden is no longer capable of running for re-election, he is no longer capable of serving as President. Being President is the hardest job in the world, and I no longer have confidence that Joe Biden can effectively execute his duties as Commander-in-Chief,” Daines said in a statement.

Biden said in his Sunday statement that he will “stand down” from the presidential race and “focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term.” While many Democrats called on Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race, none have pushed for him to quit the presidency early. The skeptical Democrats have not taken issue with Biden’s ability to do the job, but rather with his declining communication skills and ability to wage a vigorous campaign leading into November after his poor debate performance.

Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., proposed that Biden be forcibly removed from office through the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which governs succession if a president cannot fulfill his duties.

“If Joe Biden is unfit to run for re-election, he is unfit to carry out his term,” Mullin said on X. “25th Amendment.”

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Far-right Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said: “How is he strong enough to continue serving as Commander in Chief of the strongest nation in the world? Joe Biden ought to step down.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Democrats of contradicting the will of voters who chose Biden as their nominee in a statement, adding, “We cannot afford four more years of failure.”

But McConnell, 82, a longtime friend of Biden’s who is himself stepping down at the end of this term, did not join GOP calls for the president to resign before his term ends.

Some Republicans, including Johnson, slammed the Democratic Party for Biden’s decision to withdraw and endorse Vice President Kamala Harris to be the standard-bearer this fall.

“Having invalidated the votes of more than 14 million Americans who selected Joe Biden to be the Democrat nominee for president, the self-proclaimed ‘party of democracy’ has proven exactly the opposite,” Johnson said in his statement, seeking to undercut a major Democratic attack line against Donald Trump this campaign season — that the former president has worked to undermine U.S. democracy.

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“The party’s prospects are no better now with Vice President Kamala Harris,” Johnson added.

Other Trump allies responded by saying Trump has been running against not just Biden, but an entire party and system.

“Presidents Trump has never just been running against Joe Biden. He’s been running against the destruction of America brought by Democrats and their policies,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said on X, adding that Democrats waged “a coup” against Biden.

Vivek Ramaswamy, a former presidential contender and Trump supporter, said: “We’re not running against a candidate. We’re running against a system.”

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Deadline looms for Warner Bros Discovery with NBA broadcasts on the line

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Deadline looms for Warner Bros Discovery with NBA broadcasts on the line

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Warner Brothers Discovery has until Monday to match proposals for purchasing the next round of broadcast rights to the US National Basketball Association, which are set to more than double in value to roughly $75bn over 11 years.

The negotiation between the league and media company, whose TNT network has aired NBA games since the 1980s, has become a referendum on the future of live sports rights. For WBD the stakes are high: it is at risk of losing its cornerstone live sports programming amid changes in the broader media landscape.

Last week NBA team owners approved proposals from Disney, Amazon Prime Video and Comcast’s NBC for broadcast rights beginning with the 2025-26 season. WBD’s current contract gives it a chance to match any third-party offers — in this case, those from Amazon and NBC. It has until Monday evening to furnish its own proposal. 

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People familiar with the discussions, which are ongoing and subject to change, told the Financial Times the definition of what terms constitute a “matching offer” is complex in the current landscape, as traditional cable and linear companies compete directly with tech platforms.

In this case, WBD is more likely to target the proposal by Amazon, the people said, in part because the $1.8bn average annual value for its proposed rights is closer to the $1.2bn per year WBD pays now. The proposal from NBC is worth roughly $2.5bn per year.

It is unclear what could happen next, depending on WBD’s response. One person familiar with the process stressed that WBD would match one of the offers or not, but “this is not a bidding war”.

A spokesperson for TNT Sports said the company had received the proposals from the NBA and was “preparing a response in view of our matching rights”. The NBA, NBC and Amazon all declined to comment.

People familiar with the league and WBD agreed that dollar figures would not be the only criterion evaluated for determining who will prevail. Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, said last week the league’s goals in negotiating the next round of media rights were partly economic and partly fan services, including offering a mix of broadcast and streaming options as well as international capabilities.

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“That’s something that we’ve been very focused on in these deals, not just reach in the United States but reach globally as well,” Silver said, adding that details needed to be worked through “with existing partners” before the contracts could be finalised.

One point the stakeholders are quibbling over is the size and reach of streaming platforms. Amazon Prime Video has more than 200mn monthly viewers as of last year, while WBD’s direct-to-consumer streaming has reached nearly 100mn subscribers through the first quarter of 2024. That includes Max, where US viewers were able to watch simulcasts of NBA games on TNT this season.

A person familiar with WBD noted the disparities between the two companies’ streaming subscriber bases but said any assessment of the NBA rights in question — for domestic US distribution — should be limited to domestic comparisons.

The discussions come at a critical time for WBD, whose executives have weighed a potential break-up of the company as it contends with a $39bn net debt load. Its market capitalisation has fallen by a third to $20.8bn over the past year. 

Those circumstances, particularly the market capitalisation, are a consideration for the league, one of the people said. 

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People on all sides of the negotiations stressed “unknowns remain unknown”, as one person put it — meaning the final rights contracts will not be determined until WBD submits its counterproposal. When all is said and done, however, the overall value of the rights package is set to double, in a reflection of how important live sports are to keeping cable and streaming subscribers.

Analysts at MoffettNathanson wrote this spring that “having the NBA has been a significant source of leverage in driving [affiliate] rates for TNT and across WBD’s broader linear portfolio”.

Some of TNT’s A-list talent have also been outspoken about wanting to keep NBA games on the network, including Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, a co-host of the company’s flagship basketball programme, Inside the NBA. In interviews in recent months, he has criticised WBD chief executive David Zaslav for publicly equivocating over the decision to keep the rights.

“When we merged [with Discovery in 2022], that’s the first thing our boss said, ‘we don’t need the NBA’,” Barkley said on The Dan Patrick Show in May. “Well, he don’t need it, but the rest of the people [on TNT], we need it.”

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