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A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Hats off to Paul Manafort and Judge T.S. Ellis: They’ve jump-started a conversation about why white collar criminals are treated differently than other law-breakers.

One of the banners on “Cuomo Prime Time” said “MANAFORT SENTENCE SHOCKER: LESS THAN FOUR YEARS.” The headline on the front page of Friday’s NYT reads “MANAFORT GIVEN LESS THAN 4 YEARS; FACED LONG TERM.”

“Simply put, Judge Ellis’s sentence is an injustice,” CNN legal analyst Elie Honig wrote Thursday night. “It fails to adequately punish Manafort for committing a series of deliberate crimes over many years” and it “sends a corrosive two-pronged message to the American public.”

MSNBC’s Ari Melber weighed in with a similar POV: The sentence “is a reminder of the blatant inequities in our justice system that we all know about, because they reoccur every week in courts across America.”

Try to imagine this alternative reality

“To be clear, the charges have nothing to do with the president,” Fox’s Laura Ingraham said Thursday night.

Okay, but… Consider what Neal Katyal tweeted before his CNN appearance: “47 months for Trump’s top campaign official is a big deal, even if guidelines called for more. If Obama’s top person went to jail for even a day, we would never stop hearing about it…”

>> MORE TO COME: “Manafort’s next stop will be the federal courthouse in DC. He is due to be sentenced in DC next Wednesday for more felonies,” Rachel Maddow noted (with a tinge of excitement?) Thursday…

WaPo wants court to unseal records

“Objecting to an abundance of sealed and redacted records in the criminal case against Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman, The Washington Post petitioned a federal court Thursday to open those records to public view,” the Post’s Richard Leiby reported Thursday…

FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE

– Coming Friday: BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s annual memo about BuzzFeed and the internet… He is sharing it at SXSW… Hear more from him on the “Reliable” podcast Friday evening…

– If you’re at SXSW, you can find me answering Q’s here at 12:30 and asking Q’s here at 5 p.m. CT…

– Days after Steve Clemons said he was leaving The Atlantic for Axios, he told WaPo’s Erik Wemple that he changed his mind. Wemple explains the unfortunate series of events (and accusations) that may have caused Clemons to reconsider… (WaPo)

– Holly Bailey is jumping from Yahoo News to WaPo, where she will play a “leading role” in 2020 coverage… (WaPo)

– Fourteen staffers at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have signed up for buyouts… (Riverfront Times)

The life-saving power of local TV

Another reminder about the power of local TV and radio during emergencies:

The meteorologists at WSFA, the NBC affiliate in Montgomery, Alabama, are being lauded for their “calm-but-serious” approach and “clear but convincing” graphics while covering Sunday’s tornado outbreak.

“It was coverage that probably proved lifesaving for many Alabama residents, and it blew away veteran broadcast meteorologists with its clarity, thoroughness and calm-yet-serious tone,” Matthew Cappucci of WaPo’s Capital Weather Gang wrote here…

State Dept. rescinds “Women of Courage Award”

Katie Pellico emails: The State Dept. recently rescinded the International Women of Courage Award it had offered to Finnish investigative journalistJessikka Aro, after reportedly unearthing some old anti-Trump tweets. Foreign Policy reported Thursday that Aro was “originally chosen for the award because of her investigative work exposing Russian troll factories,” and had “regularly tweeted criticism about Trump’s sharp political rhetoric and attacks on the press.”

An email to Aro stated the initial award offer had been an “error,” but FP reports unnamed officials “suggested the decision came from lower-level State Department officials wary of the optics of [Sec.] Pompeo granting an award to an outspoken critic of the Trump administration.” The awards were announced by Melania Trump in a ceremony that took place on Thursday.

>> Aro wrote on Twitter, “This unbelievable but true story is such a disgrace and violates freedom of speech. Please read and share.” You heard her…

Dems want more info about Trump admin’s handling of AT&T deal

WaPo’s Brian Fung and Tony Romm with the scoop on Thursday: “House Democrats pressed the Trump admin on Thursday over its handling of the AT&T-Time Warner merger, requesting information from the W.H. and the DOJ that could shed light on whether President Trump or his allies interfered in regulators’ review of the $85 billion deal.”

“We write to underscore our serious concerns regarding allegations that President Trump attempted to interfere with antitrust law enforcement,” Jerry Nadler and David Cicilline wrote Thursday. CNN’s Tom Kludt has more here…

Supreme Court justices still skeptical of TV cameras

Will this EVER change? “Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan, appearing before House lawmakers Thursday, continued to voice the court’s entrenched opposition to televising oral arguments,” CNN’s Joan Biskupic wrote. “They said the possibility of cameras at hearings on cases — long advocated by many members of Congress and public interest groups — had not even been discussed among the nine justices in recent years.” Details here…

FOR THE RECORD, PART TWO

– “An Amazon-led group of investors that includes the New York Yankees is ready to sign a deal to buy YES Network — one of NY’s most prominent cable sports channels — for roughly $3.5 billion…” (NYPost)

– Seth Fiegerman and Kaya Yurieff’s latest: “Facebook’s plan to put ‘privacy first’ could create new problems…” (CNN)

Read more of Thursday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

– Mathew Ingram asks, “Is Facebook making changes because they are better for users, or because they make life easier for Facebook?” (CJR)

Media outlets marking International Women’s Day

Katie Pellico writes: Ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday, here’s a sampling of the special content that newsrooms and networks are promoting:

– Twitter’s official hashtags are #IWD2019 and #BalanceForBetter…

– Read CNN’s Melissa Mahtani on “the global sisterhood of empowerment…”

– NBC’s “Today” plans to kick off the day with a series of interviews with women “breaking barriers in their fields,” followed by a special concert fromMaren Morris…

– iHeartMedia has been spotlighting outstanding women in music on radio waves and the web all week, culminating in a “Women Who Rock” event Friday at 10 p.m. ET…

– Harper’s BAZAAR is launching its first-ever podcast, hosted by Olivia Wilde, on Friday. The first episode of “Dare I Say” features Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen…

– The “VH1 Trailblazer Honors” air Friday at 9 p.m. ET on VH1 and Logo, with honorees such as Nancy Pelosi and Ava DuVernay, and “#GirlPower” galore…