Media matters 2019

Written by  //  May 9, 2019  //  Media  //  No comments

2018 World Press Freedom Index
RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War
How the Kremlin built one of the most powerful information weapons of the 21st century
— and why it may be impossible to stop
.
The Digital News Report
Pew Research: State of the News Media

Does Journalism Have a Future?
In an era of social media and fake news, journalists who have survived the print plunge have new foes to face.
By Jill Lepore
(New Yorker Magazine) By the what-doesn’t-kill-you line of argument, the more forcefully Trump attacks the press, the stronger the press becomes. Unfortunately, that’s not the full story. All kinds of editorial decisions are now outsourced to Facebook’s News Feed, Chartbeat, or other forms of editorial automation, while the hands of many flesh-and-blood editors are tied to so many algorithms. For one reason and another, including twenty-first-century journalism’s breakneck pace, stories now routinely appear that might not have been published a generation ago, prompting contention within the reportorial ranks.
There’s plenty of room to argue over these matters of editorial judgment. Reasonable people disagree. Occasionally, those disagreements fall along a generational divide. Younger journalists often chafe against editorial restraint, not least because their cohort is far more likely than senior newsroom staff to include people from groups that have been explicitly and viciously targeted by Trump and the policies of his Administration, a long and growing list that includes people of color, women, immigrants, Muslims, members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, and anyone with family in Haiti or any of the other countries Trump deems “shitholes.” Sometimes younger people are courageous and sometimes they are heedless and sometimes those two things are the same.
The broader problem is that the depravity, mendacity, vulgarity, and menace of the Trump Administration have put a lot of people, including reporters and editors, off their stride. The present crisis, which is nothing less than a derangement of American life, has caused many people in journalism to make decisions they regret, or might yet. In the age of Facebook, Chartbeat, and Trump, legacy news organizations, hardly less than startups, have violated or changed their editorial standards in ways that have contributed to political chaos and epistemological mayhem. (28 January 2019)

Sarah Sanders leads “mass purge” of White House reporters with new press-room rules
New rules on press access, imposed by Sanders, could disqualify “almost the entire White House press corps”
(Salon) The White House imposed new rules on reporters’ press access that some journalists say may disqualify “almost the entire White House press corps.”
The White House press office implemented a new policy this week that aims at cutting down the number of journalists who can have a “hard pass,” a two-year press pass that allows reporters entry to the White House grounds, The Washington Post reported. Under the new rules, only journalists who have entered the White House grounds at least 90 days of the last 180 can renew their hard pass. Reporters who do not have a hard pass must apply for a new pass each time they need access.
The new rules were announced in March and came after the White House revoked CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass over a combative exchange with President Trump at a news conference. A Trump-appointed federal judge ordered the White House to restore Acosta’s press pass, noting that the White House did not go through any formal process before making the decision.
Sanders denied that the new policy was related to Acosta and claimed that “no one’s access is being limited” under the new rules. She said that the White House Correspondents’ Association was consulted on the new policy.
But the Post’s Dana Milbank points out that Sanders failed to mention that she went ahead with the policies “over objections” from both the White House Correspondents’ Association and numerous news outlets.
The new rules set a “nearly-impossible” standard for journalists, Milbank wrote, noting that it appears that “most of the White House press corps didn’t qualify for credentials under the new standard.” … The new policy also comes as the White House has gone out of its way to limit press access to the point where it is impractical for a journalist to spend 50 percent of their days at the White House.
Sanders has held just two press briefings this year and has instead held unscheduled “gaggles” in front of the White House. (See: Donald Trump says he told Sarah Huckabee Sanders “not to bother” with White House press briefings

7 May

Two Reuters reporters freed in Myanmar after more than 500 days in jail

(Reuters) The two reporters, Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had been convicted in September and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a case that raised questions about Myanmar’s progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.
They were released under a presidential amnesty for 6,520 prisoners on Tuesday. President Win Myint has pardoned thousands of other prisoners in mass amnesties since last month.
Myanmar’s Supreme Court had rejected the journalists’ final appeal in April. They had petitioned the country’s top court, citing evidence of a police set-up and lack of proof of a crime, after the Yangon High Court dismissed an earlier appeal in January.

30 April
CNN Drops 26% In Prime Time As Fox News Dominates April Cable Ratings
(Forbes) Among prime time cable news shows, Fox News’ Hannity led with a total audience of 3.086 million, followed by FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight (2.834 million) and MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show (2.630 million). None of CNN’s prime time hours finished among the top five shows overall. CNN’s top-rated hour, Cuomo Primetime, finished in 26th place.

15 April
Pulitzer Prizes Honor Journalists Under Threat With New Crop Of Winners
(NPR) Dana Canedy kept her remarks brief Monday. But by the time the Pulitzer Prize administrator left the lectern at Columbia University, she had significantly altered the careers and prospects of a host of journalists, artists and scholars across nearly two dozen categories.
With their $15,000 in award money, each is receiving a new laurel that’ll likely prove more valuable: the title “Pulitzer Prize winner.”
A range of journalism fields — including breaking news and investigative reporting, criticism and cartooning — account for 14 of the prizes Canedy is announcing Monday. The other seven are reserved for the arts and scholarship: fiction, music, history and several others.
This year, Canedy deviated from the usual plan in order to honor two more recipients. The Pulitzer board recognized the staff of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., which suffered a gunman’s deadly attack last year. Along with the honor, the staff of the paper is receiving a $100,000 bequest to support its work.
International Reporting: split between: the staff of Reuters, including the imprisoned journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo; and Maggie Michael, Maad al-Zikry and Nariman El-Mofty of The Associated Press. Click this link to jump to the full list of winners

10 April
More Than a Data Dump
Why Julian Assange deserves First Amendment protection
By James C. Goodale
(Harper’s April edition/paywall) If reporters can be indicted for talking to their sources, it will mean that the government has created the equivalent of a UK Official Secrets Act—through judicial fiat, without any legislative action.
Given the threat the Justice Department’s actions against Assange pose to the First Amendment, why haven’t more journalists, press organizations, and editorial boards jumped in to support him? Principally it is because journalists dislike what he is doing; they don’t believe he is a “real” journalist and therefore do not see him as entitled to the same protections they enjoy.
But he’s not just a data dumper. He edited the Manning leaks initially, holding back some material. He may have done the same thing with his other leaks, including the Vault 7 releases. For better or for worse he seeks out information to be published on his website the way other journalists do for their publications. He is a publisher and is entitled to the same First Amendment protections as any other. Nonetheless, in the eyes of establishment journalists he remains a dumper, as well as a rapist, a liar, a thief, and a Russian agent.
One wonders whether the real reason journalists will not support Assange is that they simply don’t get it. They don’t understand how a successful prosecution of Assange would threaten their ability to report. I would suggest that the focus of the mainstream press should not be on whether Assange meets the usual definition of a journalist or whether they approve of what he does. That’s not the point. The point is that he carries out the functions of a journalist, has First Amendment protections (as they do), and should not be prosecuted for what he does. If he is, we are all worse off for it.

3 April
6 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Rupert Murdoch and His Family
Using 150 interviews on three continents, The Times describes the Murdoch family’s role in destabilizing democracy in North America, Europe and Australia.
A six-month investigation by The New York Times covering three continents and including more than 150 interviews has described how Mr. Murdoch and his feuding sons turned their media outlets into right-wing political influence machines that have destabilized democracy in North America, Europe and Australia.
Here are some key takeaways from The Times’s investigation into the Murdoch family and its role in the illiberal, right-wing political wave sweeping the globe.
How Rupert Murdoch’s Empire of Influence Remade the World
Murdoch and his children have toppled governments on two continents and destabilized the most important democracy on Earth. What do they want?
By JONATHAN MAHLER and JIM RUTENBERG
(NYT Magazine) Few private citizens have ever been more central to the state of world affairs… . As the head of a sprawling global media empire, he commanded multiple television networks, a global news service, a major publishing house and a Hollywood movie studio. His newspapers and television networks had been instrumental in amplifying the nativist revolt that was reshaping governments not just in the United States but also across the planet. His 24-hour news-and-opinion network, the Fox News Channel, had by then fused with President Trump and his base of hard-core supporters, giving Murdoch an unparalleled degree of influence over the world’s most powerful democracy. In Britain, his London-based tabloid, The Sun, had recently led the historic Brexit crusade to drive the country out of the European Union — and, in the chaos that ensued, helped deliver Theresa May to 10 Downing Street. In Australia, where Murdoch’s power is most undiluted, his outlets had led an effort to repeal the country’s carbon tax — a first for any nation — and pushed out a series of prime ministers whose agenda didn’t comport with his own.
Murdoch has carefully built an image during his six decades in media as a pragmatist who will support liberal governments when it suits him. Yet his various news outlets have inexorably pushed the flow of history to the right across the Anglosphere, whether they were advocating for the United States and its allies to go to war in Iraq in 2003, undermining global efforts to combat climate change or vilifying people of color at home or from abroad as dangerous threats to a white majority.

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