Fox News fires Ed Henry after sexual misconduct investigation

What a surprise, top talent at Fox News fired for sexual misconduct. Again. Read the rest

VOA to be run by Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Trump CEO pick Michael Pack, so two top VOA directors just quit

• Voice of America's director and assistant director resign

• White House April 10 newsletter falsely accused VOA of using taxpayer dollars to "promote foreign propaganda"

• Two miserably failed right-wing filmmakers are taking control of VOA, four months before the 2020 election, and they're bringing Sebastian Gorka in. What could possibly go wrong? Read the rest

Funny (and true) PSA about helping kids understand that porn isn't reality

"Many young Kiwis are using porn to learn about sex."

The New Zealand Government released this PSA as part of their "Keep it Real Online" campaign.

Read the rest

New York Times opinion editor out

Opinion Editor James Bennet is out at the New York Times, resigning after the backlash to Sen. Tom Cotton's column calling for a military crackdown on Americans protesting* police brutality.

Mr. Bennet’s swift fall from one of the most powerful positions in American journalism comes as hundreds of thousands of people have marched in recent weeks in protest of racism in law enforcement and society. The protests were set in motion when George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, died last month after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white police officer’s knee.

The foment has reached other newsrooms. On Saturday night, Stan Wischnowski resigned as top editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer days after an article in the newspaper about the effects of protests on the urban landscape carried the headline “Buildings Matter, Too.” The headline prompted an apology published in The Inquirer, a heated staff meeting and a “sickout” by dozens of journalists at the paper.

The fascist politics of Cotton's column were revolting and inappropriate for promotion by the Times, but Bennet's resignation can be overthought. He jumped on Twitter to lecture readers about appreciating "counter-arguments" and "public scrutiny", but it turned out he hadn't even read it himself before it was published. Performing this level of sanctimonious incompetence in public would be humiliating even if the column were about Spongebob Squarepants.

* UPDATE: Cotton's press secretary writes to stress that the senator only wants military force used on those "rioting and looting." Read the rest

Fox News graphic: police killing and beating black people is good for the stock market

This was on Fox News, as reported by a number of reporters and viewers: a chart showing upticks in the S&P 500 stock index after killings of black people and the acquittal of the police offers filmed beating Rodney King. The defense is that it's a fact. Facts can't be racist, can they? There's no element of choice in how facts are identified, put in context and presented, is there? Maybe Fox News is actually critiquing capitalism!

I have revised the old joke from The Simpsons to bring it up to date. ↓

Read the rest

On anniversary of Tiananmen Square massacre, a call for blood in America

The New York Times today printed a call for the U.S. military to crush protests against police brutality. Today is also the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, when the Chinese government sent tanks in to clear demonstrators and showed the world what happens when military power is turned against against the public. Embedded below is NBC News's coverage of the slaughter.

Reporters at the Times understand the cost in human life and suffering that a military crackdown on U.S. soil would entail. Many of them have spoken out against the publication of the piece. They know that the Times' published call for violence may well be answered (President Trump himself openly praised what happened in Tiananmen Square). And they know that their lives—and most especially the black lives of Times workers—have been put at risk.

The leadership of the Times could not care less. They live in a floating world far from the contemporary anguish of American life or even the fears of their own employees. They stay close to power and avoid detail in favor of abstraction at all costs. Americans will die for their narcissitic and mendacious belief that until something is published by the paper of record, it hasn't been given enough exposure for others to reject.

So dream of something you know it would not publish. Let it consume you, no matter how furious or ferocious or dreadful. Hammer it into the stone of your mind and remember that this is what was meant when we were told the revolution would not be televised. Read the rest

Watch all these local TV newsreaders chant the same Amazon puff piece (Update: Amazon statement)

At least 10 local TV stations ran a "news" report written and produced by Amazon, reports The Courier-News. The video was provided by Amazon, and only one station disclosed that the "reporter" was an Amazon spokesman. The report, as you have perhaps guessed, praises Amazon effusively.

While most TV news professionals have scoffed at the idea of running Amazon-provided content as news, at least 10 stations across the country ran some form of the package on their news broadcasts. The package—you can view the script Amazon provided to news stations here—was produced by Amazon spokesperson Todd Walker. Only one station, Toledo ABC affiliate WTVG, acknowledged that Walker was an Amazon employee, not a news reporter.

Bad as it is, TV (and especially radio) news has always been like this. They're studios, not newsrooms. They get content from newswires, parent companies, any old source that has it nicely packaged. When I was a smalltown reporter, you'd hear the newspaper rustling as they read it on air.

It's true that it's getting worse, perhaps because of consolidation: Watch countless American news anchors mindlessly intone the same propaganda script

UPDATE: Amazon's Alyssa Bronikowski emailed a statement, reproduced below:

Statement – “We welcome reporters into our buildings and it’s misleading to suggest otherwise. This type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures we’ve rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren’t able to come tour one of our sites themselves.”

Read the rest

Watch the best news bloopers of the month, COVID-19 edition!

Keep fucking that chicken! Read the rest

Fox News ditches Diamond and Silk

Diamond and Silk are sibling vloggers famous for supporting Trump. They often appear on Fox News, a TV network that currently offers a round-the-clock diet of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience about the coronavirus pandemic. After relentlessly hyping a deadly quack remedy, chloroquine, that killed a number of covid-19 sufferers in quickly-abandoned trials, Fox News is feeling the heat. So today it fired Diamond and Silk, blaming them for the tenor of coverage it expected of them and duly received.

The sudden split comes after the Trump-boosting siblings have come under fire for promoting conspiracy theories and disinformation about the coronavirus. “After what they’ve said and tweeted you won’t be seeing them on Fox Nation or Fox News anytime soon,” a source with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast. ... “Kudos if you make your vaccines for people and you want to help people,” Diamond exclaimed. “But I have a problem receiving any vaccine from any entity, especially anybody like Bill Gates who pushed for population control. The same thing that Margaret Sanger pushed for.”

“Abortions! Genocide!” Silk shouted in response.

Read the rest

Trump calls Voice of America's work “disgusting”, threatens to adjourn Congress so he can put a crony in charge of VOA

• State propaganda declared insufficiently enthusiastic about regime. —@coreypein

Trump's pissed off at Voice Of America, the United States of America's official government publication. Must be because the great news reporters at VOA like Steve Herman are doing their jobs. Read the rest

Pence won't let public health officials appear on CNN unless Trump's disinfo briefings run in full

CNN reports that Vice President Mike Pence's office says it will ban top health officials from appearing on CNN to discuss the novel coronavirus unless the network carries the White House's 2+ hour daily disinformation briefings in full. Read the rest

Leaked Twitter demo shows red banners to indicate lies and disinformation under tweets

A leaked demo has bright red and orange marks on 'harmfully misleading' tweets

Fake news network stole from legit sites, flooded Google News and Alerts. Report blames NASDAQ & Thomson Reuters ex-employees.

“As they stole stories from real newspapers, these sites baffled scientists, activists, and journalists. Until now.”

TeenVogue/Facebook/2020 Election Security thing blows up badly

Wow, this blew up and imploded and tried to disappear quickly and totally did not disappear at all. Read the rest

Bloomberg and Trump to buy competing $10 million Super Bowl ads

Yes, it has come to this. Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg and acting U.S. president and warmongering dumbass Donald Trump are both buying duelling $10 million dollar campaign ads to run against each other during the Super Bowl. Read the rest

Hundreds of journalists are sharing their salary information in a spreadsheet

I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer.

So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough).

As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. Read the rest

Florida county commissioners against renewal of library's New York Times subscription because it's "fake news"

The Board of County Commissioners in Citrus County, Florida opposed the renewal of the regional public library's digital subscription to the New York Times. Why? "Fake news," said the board's second vice chairman Scott Carnahan. "“I agree with President Trump. I will not be voting for this. I don’t want The New York Times in this county.” From Reuters:

Carnahan was joined by Commissioners Ronald Kitchen, who balked at the annual cost of about $2,700, and Jimmie Smith, who wondered, “why the heck would we spend money on something like that?”

Reading the room, First Vice Chairman Brian Coleman withdrew the motion he made to approve the funding request...

The (Citrus County) Chronicle, noting that the decision would affect some 70,000 library card holders, reported that its readers “reacted strongly” to the commissioners’ decision, with “most but not all” critical of it.

The county already pays about $3,000 a year to supply its four regional libraries with the print edition of The Times, Library Services Director Eric Head told the newspaper.

Graphic above borrowed from this fantastic t-shirt. Read the rest

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