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The media industry and CNN viewers were stunned Thursday when legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned for the first time since his Zoom masturbation incident in October, prompting questions about standards and accountability at the liberal network. 

Toobin, who was swiftly fired from The New Yorker last year after he exposed himself on the video conferencing service, will receive a second chance from CNN, where he's been an analyst for nearly 20 years.

Toobin’s awkward return came weeks after the network decided not to punish anchor Chris Cuomo after it was reported he offered political advice to his brother, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid his sexual misconduct scandal. 

"Liberals can say and do anything at CNN without getting fired," Independent Women’s Voice senior policy analyst Kelsey Bolar told Fox News. 

Jeffrey Toobin and Chris Cuomo have managed to keep their jobs despite humiliating CNN.  (Getty Images/Photo illustration)

CNN'S JEFFREY TOOBIN ADDRESSES ZOOM MASTURBATION SCANDAL IN AWKWARD RETURN TO NETWORK: 'I WASN'T THINKING'

"As a believer in forgiveness and redemption, I don’t support ‘cancelling’ Jeffrey Toobin for good. However, after performing this lewd act and becoming notorious for it, there are undoubtedly hundreds, if not thousands of better-qualified candidates, for the role of a public-facing CNN legal analyst," Bolar said. "It says a lot about the network’s values that it would choose to rehire a man who masturbated on a Zoom call in front of his colleagues -- would the same happen if it were a woman? Or, if his name were Rick Santorum? Of course not."

Santorum lost his job last month as the network’s token Republican for telling a conservative crowd that immigrants had created a nation "from nothing" based on Judeo-Christian values. The Republican political commentator was shown the door over comments that offended some liberals, while Toobin and Cuomo have kept their jobs despite embarrassing CNN with their conduct. 

Industry observers felt Cuomo was safe all along since he’s the most-watched host on the ratings-challenged network, and CNN had already stood by him amid a laundry list of scandals over the past year. But the return of Toobin caught people off guard.  

"There are plenty of other opportunities Toobin could pursue where CNN employees and viewers wouldn’t be subjected to memories of his gross and dishonorable actions. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised," Bolar said. "We all knew that Jeffery Toobin was too obsessed with stroking his own ego to ever leave TV for good. And apparently, CNN’s standards are so high, even a Zoom masturbator can make it back." 

CNN ADMITS CHRIS CUOMO INAPPROPRIATELY PROVIDED BROTHER ADVICE ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDAL

Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson felt the situations were different and the retainment of Cuomo was more shocking. 

"Toobin's conduct was not at CNN, much less on air at CNN. By contrast, Chris Cuomo has embarrassed CNN on air repeatedly by failing to keep a professional distance from his brother the Governor, while also serving as an undisclosed adviser. That CNN tolerates Chris Cuomo's journalistic misbehavior is the outrage here, not that CNN cut a break to a guy who had a personal problem at another employer," Jacobson told Fox News. 

Indeed, Toobin was caught masturbating during a Zoom call with his colleagues from The New Yorker, not his peers from CNN. But Santorum was canned over comments he made to Young America's Foundation, not on CNN.

University of North Carolina ethics guru Lois Boynton said there have been several personnel incidents at CNN that call into question how the network determines discipline for wayward employees.

"Inconsistencies in how organizations appear to reprimand public-facing employees can raise eyebrows and lower trust," Boynton told Fox News, noting that CNN doesn’t need to explain why it kept Toobin around but the decision comes with consequences. 

"While a high-profile organization does not need to share details of its personnel procedures, it should be aware of public perceptions and how those perceptions affect public trust and loyalty," she said. 

JEFFREY TOOBIN WILL ‘PROBABLY’ RETURN TO CNN AFTER MASTURBATION SCANDAL DIES DOWN, INSIDERS SAY

CNN’s own media reporters noted the network’s anchors and hosts wanted Toobin to return, while others have reported that friends of the troubled legal analyst lobbied CNN president Jeff Zucker to grant him a second chance. Some joked that Toobin must "have something" on Zucker, but Grabien Media founder Tom Elliott correctly predicted the outcome months ago. 

"Any normal corporation would have fired Toobin approximately 12 seconds after this incident occurred. I don’t expect CNN ever will," Elliott told Fox News when the incident first occurred. 

Elliott explained his thought process when reached for a follow-up comment on Thursday.

"CNN viewers are already well aware the network only pretends to have standards when their conservative contributors are under fire. Jeffrey Lord mockingly invoked a Nazi slogan during a Twitter exchange and was promptly dispatched. Santorum made a comment CNN didn't seem to understand, and he was likewise let go," Elliott told Fox News. "These are absolutely nothing compared to what Cuomo and Toobin were caught doing." 

The Grabien Media founder said it all boils down to politics. 

"Of course we know why these personalities are treated differently. CNN views journalism as an ancillary concern; its main focus is serving as the Democratic Party's PR wing," Elliott said. 

CNN'S DON LEMON LOSES IT OVER COMMENTS BY RICK SANTORUM ON COUNTRY'S FOUNDING: 'NATIVE AMERICAN LIVES MATTER'

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NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck agreed the partisan network wouldn’t dare tarnish the reputation of a prominent liberal. 

"CNN only further revealed itself to have an aversion to ethics, decency, and journalistic principles by having Jeffrey Toobin back. Add in the Chris Cuomo scandal and even minor incidents of yesteryear such as Anderson Cooper's Twitter account and you have a Jeffrey Zucker-led operation that will circle the wagons to protect their own at any cost," Houck told Fox News. 

DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall told Fox News that "CNN's standards for accountability have been difficult to assess" and decisions made by the network regarding Cuomo and Toobin have been confusing as the organization has seen a sharp drop in ratings.

"It would seem CNN should focus most on accountability for the ratings of its shows. Even by post-election year ratings standards, the channel is struggling to find viewers," McCall told Fox News. "CNN should do some soul-searching to determine why viewers have departed and hold both on-air and off-air decision-makers accountable for the poor ratings."   

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Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report. 

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

News Source: FOX News

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Father and son, 7, join volunteer team and help discover two new gaseous planets orbiting a star 1.5times the size of the sun more than 350 light-years away - by pouring over NASA data

Two exoplanets orbiting a star larger than the sun that is 352 light-years from Earth have been spotted by a group of citizen scientists, including a father and his seven-year-old son.

The star, known as HD 152843, is host to two planets - b and c - and is a bright G dwarf star, which has an extreme surface temperature ranging between 5,300 and 6,000 Kelvin. It has a similar mass to our sun (which is also a G star), but is 1.5 times bigger and 'slightly brighter,' NASA said. 

Planet b is roughly the size of Neptune - 3.4 times the size of the Earth - and orbits HD 152843 once every 12 days. 

Planet c is approximately 5.8 times as large as Earth and spends anywhere between 19 and 35 days orbiting HD 152843.

For comparison purposes, Mercury, the closest planet to the sun in the solar system, has an orbit of 88 days.

Citizen scientists have discovered two gaseous planets orbiting the star HD 152843 

Cesar Rubio (right) and his son seven-year-old Miguel (left) enjoy talking about space together

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Planet b has a mass roughly 12 times that of Earth, while planet c's mass is roughly 28 times. 

The citizen scientists - of which there are 15, including Cesar Rubio and his son Miguel - were able to make the discoveries thanks to Planet Hunters TESS - NASA's funded project that brings together astronomers and members of the public to find exoplanets - planet's outside the solar system.

'Studying them together, both of them at the same time, is really interesting to constrain theories of how planets both form and evolve over time,' said the study's lead author, Nora Eisner, a doctoral student in astrophysics at the University of Oxford, in a statement. 

Rubio, a machinist from Pomona, California, said he felt like was making a contribution to science by being a part of Planet Hunters TESS.

'I feel that I'm contributing, even if it's only like a small part,' Rubio explained, noting that the father and son sometimes look at the TESS website together. 

'Especially scientific research, it's satisfying for me.' 

More than 29,000 people around the world analyze data from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in search of exoplanets.

The $200 million TESS launched in April 2018 and discovered its first Earth-sized exoplanet in April 2019, HD 21749c, 53 light-years from Earth.

In January 2020, it discovered its first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone, TOI 700 d, almost 102 light-years from Earth.

The 15 citizen scientists looked at a plot of HD 152843 showing its brightness and light curve after being observed by TESS for one month. 

The curve showed three dips, signifying at least one planet orbited the star and ultimately two transits were flagged, resulting in an inner planet and an outer planet. 

The planets are too hot and too gaseous to support life - as they are located inside the star's habitable zone - but the researchers hope to learn more about them, including getting a definitive answer about their masses, thanks to the James Webb Telescope, set to launch later this year. 

'We're taking baby steps towards the direction of finding an Earth-like planet and studying its atmosphere, and continue to push the boundaries of what we can see,' Eisner added. 

 The study was recently published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE: THE NEXT BIG ORBITAL OBSERVATORY DEPLOYED TO SEARCH FOR ALIEN LIFE 

NASA and partners plan to launch their next major space telescope later this year and it will serve as the natural successor to Hubble.

Primarily an infrared telescope, it will have a wider spectrum view than Hubble and operate further out from the Earth, in a solar orbit, rather than an Earth orbit. 

Research by Ohio State University claims that within five years of it coming online, James Webb will have found signs of alien life on a distant world.

Graduate student Caprice Phillips calculated that it could feasibly detect ammonia created by living creatures around gas dwarf planets after just a few orbits. 

The James Webb telescope has been described as a 'time machine' that could help unravel the secrets of our universe.

The telescope will be used to look back to the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago.

It will also observe the sources of stars, exoplanets, and even the moons and planets of our solar system.

The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of roughly 40 Kelvin.

This is about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius). 

Officials from the space agencies responsible for the telescope say the cost may exceed the $8 billion (£5.6 billion) program cap set by Congress.

NASA has already poured $7 billion (£5 billion) into the telescope since it was first proposed as a replacement for the long-running Hubble space telescope.

When it is launched in 2021, it will be the world's biggest and most powerful telescope, capable of peering back 200 million years after the Big Bang.

James Webb is designed to last for five years but NASA hopes it will operate for a decade or more, although due to its distance from Earth it can't be easily repaired.

It is 66ft by 46ft and will operate at the Sun-Earth Lagrange point about 930,000 miles from the Earth - almost four times further out than the moon. 

The telescope is set to launch on a European workhorse Ariane-5 rocket at the end of October 2021, with the first observations expected in 2022.

Read more:
  • arxiv.org/abs/21...
  • Citizen Scientists Discover Two Gaseous Planets | NASA

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