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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times

South by Southwest is going Gaga.

Pop music provocateur Lady Gaga will headline snack brand Doritos’ lineup at the music conference and festival in Austin, Texas. Her concert at the restaurant and music venue Stubb’s Bar-B-Q on March 13 will mark the “ARTPOP” singer’s first performance at the annual event.

After Gaga’s performance at Stubb’s, the brand will host the next two nights of music at its 52-foot-tall, 500-person venue made to resemble a giant vending machine. The city of Austin denied a permit for Gaga to play the vending machine stage, citing safety concerns.

Those who want to attend won’t need to buy tickets. Instead, Doritos, a brand of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, is inviting consumers to compete in challenges to win admission.

Entrance to the 2,000-capacity show will require an act of Gaga-esque unconventional behavior on social media in the days leading up to the concert.

With the tasks, which the company is calling “bold missions,” Doritos is once again turning to the public to assist in its marketing efforts. For the first challenge, the company is calling on Gaga fans to upload photos and videos of themselves expressing their individuality through a “bold action.”

“I believe being an individual and speaking your mind is one of the boldest things you can do,” Gaga said in a video announcing the contest.

Doritos has a history of using advertisements made by fans and has invited people to submit their own Super Bowl commercials for the last eight years. The most recent “Crash the Super Bowl” contest drew about 5,400 submissions.

This is the third year Doritos has hosted a stage for musical performances at SXSW, and Gaga is the company’s biggest headliner yet, said Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay.

“We’ve never done anything with this scale,” Krishnan said.

A portion of the money paid to Gaga for the SXSW performance will go to her non-profit organization, the Born This Way Foundation, which aims to combat bullying and promote acceptance of differences.

The company’s past lineups have included artists such as LL Cool J and Ice Cube.

Photo: Alan Picard via Flickr

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was forced to defend President Donald Trump's recent attacks on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, an unenviable task she nevertheless intentionally signed up for. She desperately tried to divert the attention back to Scarborough — without engaging in the president's conspiracy theorizing — but offered no credible defense of the president's conduct.

Trump has been spreading the debunked theory that Scarborough killed a staffer in 2001 while he was in Congress, even though it was determined she died of natural causes. The staffer's widower wrote a released a letter on Tuesday pleading with Twitter to take down the president's offensive tweets promoting the thoery. He said he was "angry," "frustrated," and "grieved" by the president's promotion of the harmful allegations. Trump is perverting his late wife's memory, he said, and he fears her niece and nephews will encounter these attacks.When asked about the letter, McEnany said she wasn't sure if the president had seen it. But she said their "hearts" are with the woman's family "at this time." It was a deeply ironic comment because the only particularly traumatizing thing about "this time" for the family is the president's attacks, which come nearly two decades after the woman's death.

McEnany refused to offer any explanation of Trump's comments and instead redirected reporters to a clip of Scarborough on Don Imus's radio show in 2003. In that show, Imus made a tasteless joke obliquely referring to the death, and Scarborough laughed at it briefly.

"Why is the president making these unfounded allegations?" asked ABC News' Jonathan Karl. "I mean, this is pretty nuts, isn't it? The president is accusing someone of possible murder. The family is pleading with the president to please stop unfounded conspiracy theories. Why is he doing it?""The president said this morning, this is not an original Trump thought. And it is not," she said, bringing up the Imus clip. But she made no mention of why the president is bringing up the issue 17 years later and with a much larger platform.

When pressed further on the president's conduct, she again diverted blame to Scarborough, saying his morning show unfairly criticizes the president. But again, she offered no substantive defense of Trump.

After McEnany had moved on, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor brought it up again: "Why won't the president give this widower peace and stop tweeting about the conspiracy theory involving his wife?"

McEnany said she had already answered the question, which she hadn't, and said the onus is on Scarborough to explain the Imus clip."The widower is talking specifically about the president!" Alcindor shot back. But McEnany called on Chanel Rion, with the aggressively pro-Trump outlet OAN, who changed the subject to conspiracy theories about the origins of the Russia investigation.

"Are you not going to answer that?" Alcindor called out, still trying to get a substantive response to her question, but Rion spoke over her.

At the end of the briefing, another reporter asked whether Trump was looking for any actual law enforcement steps be taken in response to his conspiracy theory. But McEnany had nothing to add, and simply told people to listen to the Imus clip again. As she hurried out of the briefing room, a reporter asked if Trump would stop promoting the theory — but she left without answering.

Watch the exchange about Klausutis, which begins at 48:45.