CNN sues Trump and White House aides over Jim Acosta ban

CNN is suing President Donald Trump and various White House aides over the administration's ban on chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Read the rest

Trump White House suspends credentials for CNN's Jim Acosta UPDATE: Sanders uses Prison Planet video as "proof"

The White House has suspended the press credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta after President Trump clashed with the reporter during today's batshit crazy press conference. Read the rest

Trump: Justice Dept should investigate identity of anonymous NY Times op-ed writer, because national security

Speaking on the never-ending campaign trail for his insatiable ego, Donald Trump today called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to harness the full power of the Justice Department to go after whoever wrote the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times that said all those mean things about him. Read the rest

Report: Freedom of the Press in decline around the world

While it should come as no surprise to anyone that follows the news or gets depressed by Twitter on a regular basis, freedom of the press – an important check against corruption and the misuse of power in a democracy – is on the decline.

We've been seeing it daily of late: political leaders spewing targeted hate at particular journalists or the outlets they work for. Pundits calling the facts uncovered during deep-dive investigative reporting lies, or alternate versions of the truth, instead of trying to defend their viewpoints or confessing to their bullshit once they've been caught. Hell, Trump went so far as to call journalists "enemies of the people." That's a term that Stalin was fond of.

The assault on the media doesn't stop there, either. With increasing frequency, journalists around the world are facing charges and incarceration for nothing more than doing their jobs. As insane as it is, those are the lucky ones. In some locales, being a journalist can get you killed. It's been common, in recent years, for reporters in Mexico to vanish or to wind up dead – their work to bring the truth to light displeasing to drug cartels and corrupt local officials. And then there's this, from Reporters Without Borders:

The line separating verbal violence from physical violence is dissolving. In the Philippines (down six at 133rd), President Rodrigo Duterte not only constantly insults reporters but has also warned them that they “are not exempted from assassination.” In India (down two at 138th), hate speech targeting journalists is shared and amplified on social networks, often by troll armies in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pay.

Read the rest

Department of Homeland Security wants to build a database to track journalists and their sources

Well, this is creepy: According to Bloomberg Law, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is currently shopping for a contractor that can help it compile a list of editors, journalists, and online "media influencers." Additionally, they're looking for goons to help them identify all social media coverage that relates to the agency or events that the agency may be involved in.

From Bloomberg:“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the statement. DHS agencies have “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners,” it said.

The plan, according to DHS, is to set up a database of influential journalists, publications and online influencers. Those with access to the database--you can go ahead and read that as Big Brother--will be able to browse “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.”

So, kind of like Mudrack, but for spooks.

The proposed database could be searchable by factors such as what beat a writer covers, where they're located, what publications they work for, and whether they rely on local or international sources in their work. Now, here's where it gets ugly. One of the other points that DHS wants to be able to search is the "sentiment" of a story. Was a writer's take on events pro-America or not? Read the rest

Federal judge throws out Palin's defamation suit against the NY Times

A small ray of sunshine as the current Administration continues its war on journalism. A defamation lawsuit brought by former Vice-Presidential candidate and national laughing stock Sarah Palin, against The New York Times, has been dismissed.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin against The New York Times, saying Ms. Palin’s complaint failed to show that a mistake in an editorial was made maliciously.

“What we have here is an editorial, written and rewritten rapidly in order to voice an opinion on an immediate event of importance, in which are included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs. Palin that are very rapidly corrected,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan said in his ruling. “Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not.”

Via The New York Times, natch. Read the rest

Reuters editor-in-chief instructs journalists on how to cover the new Administration

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler is proud of the way his news organization is able to provide high-quality, fact-based journalism in oppressive places like Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, "nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists." Here's his list of dos and don'ts for staffers:

Do’s:

--Cover what matters in people’s lives and provide them the facts they need to make better decisions.

--Become ever-more resourceful: If one door to information closes, open another one.

--Give up on hand-outs and worry less about official access. They were never all that valuable anyway. Our coverage of Iran has been outstanding, and we have virtually no official access. What we have are sources.

--Get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us.

--Keep the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles close at hand, remembering that “the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved.”

Don’ts:

--Never be intimidated, but:

--Don’t pick unnecessary fights or make the story about us. We may care about the inside baseball but the public generally doesn’t and might not be on our side even if it did.

--Don’t vent publicly about what might be understandable day-to-day frustration. In countless other countries, we keep our own counsel so we can do our reporting without being suspected of personal animus.

Read the rest

News groups sue FBI for iPhone hacking details in San Bernardino case

VICE Media, USA Today owner Gannett, and the Associated Press today announced a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the FBI. The news organizations want to how much and who the government paid to hack into the San Bernardino shooters' iPhone, during the government's investigation into last year's mass shooting. Read the rest

Some questions for those who are cheering Gawker's demise

Gawker.com, the pioneering and controversial media blog, officially died yesterday. It was killed by billionaire Peter Thiel in his successful quest to bankrupt Gawker Media Group through a series of lawsuits he funded – most notably wrestler Hulk Hogan, who sued over the publication of a portion of his sex tape four years ago. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning, after suicide attempt: 'Your incredible love and support is lifting my spirits.'

Imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning is suffering from severe mental health challenges in prison, directly related to her treatment in prison. She isn't getting the care she needs, and she recently tried to take her own life.

Chelsea is a transgender woman who, despite her gender identity being acknowledged by the world, is forced by the U.S. to serve out her sentence in an all-male maximum security prison. To be a woman imprisoned among men is a most gendered form of cruel and unusual punishment, but America's hatred and misunderstanding of trans people allows this to be the norm. Read the rest

Dozens of news orgs demand DOJ release its secret rules for targeting journalists with secret National Security Letters

Freedom of the Press Foundation recently filed a huge brief in the organization's case demanding that the Justice Department release its secret rules for targeting journalists with National Security Letters. And in related news, a coalition of 37 news organizations - including the New York Times, The Associated Press, USA Today, Buzzfeed, and tons more - filed an amicus brief in support of the Freedom of the Press Foundation case, demanding that the Department of Justice do the same. Read the rest

What Amazon's Jeff Bezos thinks about Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker

In this video from the Recode conference, an interesting reveal of what Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos thinks of the legal battle between Peter Thiel and Gawker, with Hulk Hogan as a most unfortunate proxy. Bezos is full of surprising insights here, and offers Thiel some tough love.

The only effective defense public figures like Thiel have against their critics, says Bezos: “Develop a thick skin.” Read the rest

Gawker lost. Hulk Hogan wins $115M verdict against Gawker in sex tape trial

A Florida jury today ruled in favor of Hulk Hogan's privacy claims instead of Gawker's arguments for press freedom. The court handed the former wrestling star a $115 million verdict against Gawker Media over a 2012 gawker.com blog post about the now-infamous Hulk Hogan sex tape. Read the rest

New documents shed light on secret DoJ rules for targeting journalists with National Security Letters

In July 2015, Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the Justice Department (DOJ) over the agency’s secret rules governing how the FBI can target members of the media with due process-free National Security Letters, and we have just received documents back in the ongoing lawsuit. Read the rest

Missouri student files complaint against Melissa "Muscle" Click

Above: a longer video that shows Professor Click's attempts to block and eject University of Missouri student Mark Schierbecker after she called for "muscle."

Professor Melissa Click says she can't recall pushing University of Missouri student Mark Schierbecker, who recorded her calling for "muscle" to remove him from a campus protest. But Schierbecker says she did push him and he has filed a complaint with the with campus police, reports USA Today.

Schierbecker said he met with Click at her office on Tuesday, but that he found her apology "lacking." He said that he's made further attempts to contact Click to speak to her about his grievances with her, but she has refused to engage him.

"I am just left with the feeling that she doesn't care," Schierbecker told USA TODAY.

It's interesting that Schierbecker had to go to Professor Click's office to receive her apology. If she really cared, she would have gone to Schierbecker's home. But maybe she's afraid to leave her office. She told faculty members that she's received "2,000 threatening e-mails since Monday's incident."

See also: Dear Melissa Click: Your Apology Is Bullshit Read the rest

Egypt sentences 3 Al Jazeera reporters to 3 years in prison

They are sentenced to three years in prison, on charges widely believed to be politically motivated and otherwise baseless.

Journalists around the world voice support for Netzpolitik after outrageous 'treason' investigation

Reporters and press freedom advocates from around the world have signed on to support Netzpolitik and condemn the German government's outrageous investigation.

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