The last few days haven't amounted to the best week for a lot of people, what with the collapse of healthcare looming over America and all. But that doesn't mean there was no good news. Justin Bieber's "Sorry" was dethroned as the most streamed song of all time and a dog saved a baby deer. Everything else, though? Well, it was seven days' worth of ups and downs, with just a smidgen of schadenfreude. Don't believe us? Let's take a trip together through what people were talking about this week. You'll be glad you did—unless you're Ann Coulter.
Trump and Putin: Chattier Than You Thought!
What Happened: Turns out President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked longer than folks originally thought during the recent G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. But that's not a big deal, right? Well… maybe.
What Really Happened: For a while, it seemed as if the first official meeting between Trump and Putin didn't really provide much insight into whether or not there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election (although it did assist the body language analysis industry, so it wasn't a total loss). This week, however, questions about Trump's relationship with Putin were raised anew when reports surfaced that the two had a previously undisclosed second meeting that lasted around an hour, with no one present except for Trump, Putin, and a Russian translator. Sounds a little strange, right? Twitter certainly seemed to think so:
Of course, lots of folks were convinced there was nothing to see here. (It might even be called a nothing burger, if only that term hadn't been tarnished recently.) The White House downplayed the meeting, confirming that it happened but describing it as a casual post-dinner chat, and that was enough for some folks:
The president, as is his wont, took to Twitter to set the record straight. Well, you know, kind of.
Of course, he was moving the goal posts with this complaint, which didn't go unnoticed:
But really, maybe everyone is getting upset over nothing! Perhaps there was an entirely reasonable explanation for this chat, and also the reason that it had not been previously disclosed to the media! That's perfectly possible, right?
Exactly. Nothing to see here, people. Apart from, you know, all the suspicious stuff.
The Takeaway: In case you're wondering, the fact that all this happened at the same time it was revealed Donald Trump Jr.'s now-infamous June 16 meeting with a Russian lawyer had also included a former Soviet military officer didn't go unnoticed, either.
What Happened: Delta gave away Ann Coulter's seat on a flight, finally giving the internet reason to rally behind an airline.
What Really Happened: It's been a rough year to work in airline public relations. Every time you turn around people are upset about passengers being dragged off planes or families being forced off flights. Lately, it's seemed as though nothing could get the public back on the side of airlines. And then this happened:
Yes, that's right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, upset that Delta had given her assigned seat to another passenger and sharing her outrage with the world. (To be fair, that last part is kind of her brand in general.) What happened, according to a later statement from the airline, was that Coulter had booked a flight, then changed her seat at the last moment to get an aisle seat… except that she was given seat 15A instead of seat 15D by accident. This was apparently so upsetting to Coulter that she was still talking about it a day later.
Twitter was not sympathetic.
Then Delta responded.
The airline also released a longer statement, which read: "We are sorry that the customer did not receive the seat she reserved and paid for. More importantly, we are disappointed that the customer has chosen to publicly attack our employees and other customers by posting derogatory and slanderous comments and photos in social media. Her actions are unnecessary and unacceptable. Each of our employees is charged with treating each other as well as our customers with dignity and respect. And we hold each other accountable when that does not happen. Delta expects mutual civility throughout the entire travel experience. We will refund Ms. Coulter's $30 for the preferred seat on the exit row that she purchased."
Seems fair, right? Well, not according to Coulter, who seemed offended at the very idea that she had only paid $30 for the seat change.
Once again: Coulter flew on the flight she had booked. All that had happened was that she was seated two seats away from where she had changed her seat to after the fact. But that, apparently, was worth $10,000.
Yeah, that seems right.
The kerfuffle played out publicly all week as Coulter became increasingly paranoid about the whole affair. On the plus side, Delta seemed to enjoy the attention, which must be a novel experience in 2017.
The Takeaway: The lesson from this whole thing? Probably that Ann Coulter has mastered the art of hypocrisy.
Trump Will Eventually Get Something Done, Says Fox News
What Happened: Even Fox News seems to be getting fed up with the slow progress of President Trump's agenda. Or, at least, that's what it looks like. Is Trump's one beloved network turning on him?
What Really Happened: With the Senate's attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare seemingly dead in the water, President Trump talked to the press about how disappointed he was last Tuesday—commentary that was broadcast via Fox News.
But, wait: What was that chyron on the screen at the 2:53 mark?
Twitter, surely you have something to say about all this.
The media couldn't help but notice that Fox, of all networks, had finally unveiled the chyron that accidentally said it all.
Given recent Fox News activity—which seems to have launched a Fox civil war of sorts—perhaps folks shouldn't be that surprised at what appeared onscreen. Then again, it's still pretty remarkable.
The Takeaway: Of course, maybe Fox wasn't throwing shade. Maybe the network was just looking at the whole thing through a particularly philosophical lens?
I Would Answer Anything For Love, But I Won't Answer That
What Happened: A political pundit told the internet to ask him anything, and the internet took him at his word. Unfortunately for him.
What Really Happened: To say that Chris Cillizza is not well-liked by the political internet would be an understatement; from his time at the Washington Post to his current berth at CNN, his particular brand of analysis—heavy on the hot takes and horse race comparisons—has won him more than his fair share of criticism. Which might have made this seem like a bad idea:
Ah, the Reddit AMA! Where you open yourself up to any kind of feedback: positive, negative, and somewhere in between! It's a risky proposition at the best of times, but the promotional benefit can often outweigh any blowback. After all, how bad could it get?
Turns out, the answer is, "pretty bad."
Indeed, things got so bad that Cillizza's reception quickly became a story in its own astonishingly awkward right. But at least celebrities and other public figures now have a new cautionary tale about AMAs to go to when they want an excuse not to talk to the public.
The Takeaway: Cillizza seemed to take the whole thing in his stride. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that's kind of impressive.
What Happened: As if to prove that 2017 is a year penned by bad screenwriters, last week reports circulated that there's a Tropical Storm Don. Oh, and a Tropical Storm Hilary, too. (One "L," though.)
What Really Happened: For those feeling as as though 2017 couldn't be any more surreal—or be any more shot through with politics—here's a funny story. (The number of LoLs you'll get out of this largely depends on your definition of "funny," though.)
Yes, there really is a tropical storm called Don. The name isn't an intentional jab at President Trump; it's genuinely a coincidence, being pulled from a pre-determined list of storm names chosen by the World Meteorological Organization. But that didn't mean that people couldn't, or wouldn't, make jokes.
And then, of course, there was this:
That is, perhaps surprisingly, not as much of a joke as it seems, because there really is a Tropical Storm Hilary brewing at the same time as Tropical Storm Don. (Technically, Hilary is a Tropical Depression, as of this writing.) This Hilary, at least, has one "L," so it's at best a vaguely veiled reference to the former First Lady and winner of the popular vote in last year's election.
But is the reference veiled enough to stop Twitter? Of course not.
For those reading along and wondering: No, you're really not alone.
The Takeaway: Seriously, what are the odds that all this is happening by coincidence? Is this the Matrix? Is it glitching? Should we be looking for a cat reappearing all the time?