Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Thursday, 1 March 2018

No need to worry about the possibility that a Liberal-Nationals Federal Government will impose censorship on the free press in Australia

The time to fret over the possibility of government censorship of the media is over because in February 2018 it ceased being a distant possibility and became fact.

This is what the Australian Press Council stated about the News Corp online article….

Australian Press Council (APC):   

The Press Council has considered whether its Standards of Practice were breached by an article published in on 31 May 2017, headed “Islamic State [IS] terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay”.

The opening paragraph read: “ISLAMIC State has released a step-by-step guide on how to murder nonbelievers, which includes how to lure targets via fake ads on Gumtree and eBay”. The article proceeded to relay in detail how an article in “[t]he latest edition of the terror group’s English-language propaganda magazine … encourages would-be terrorists to advertise products on second-hand selling sites … to lure victims and assassinate them”. The article mostly comprised extracts from the source material describing the steps necessary to perform such acts.

The Council considered that the article did publish much of the source material from IS verbatim, with limited accompanying analysis or context, such as comments from experts and websites such as Gumtree. The Council accepted there was no intention to encourage or support terrorism, but considered that republishing content from terrorist entities in this manner can perpetuate the purpose of such propaganda and give publicity to its ideas and practices.

However, the Council accepted the public interest in alerting readers to potential risks to their safety. It considered that on balance, the public interest in alerting readers to the dangerous content of the terrorist propaganda and its instructional detail was greater than the risk to their safety posed by the effective republication of terrorist propaganda content. Given this, the Council concluded that the public interest justified publication of the article. Accordingly, the publication did not breach General Principle 6.

The Council noted that great care needs to be exercised by publications when reporting on terrorist propaganda to ensure that public safety is not compromised. In particular, effectively republishing source material comprising instructional detail in how to carry out particular terrorist acts could pose a risk to public safety, and reasonable steps should be taken to prevent such an outcome.

This is what the Turnbull Government did……., 28 February 2018:

…the article titled “Islamic State terror guide encourages luring victims via Gumtree, eBay” no longer exists.

A week after it was published on May 31, 2017, the Attorney-General’s office contacted to demand it be taken down, saying the Classification Board had ruled it should be refused classification as it “directly or indirectly” advocated terrorist acts.

It appears to be the first time section 9A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 has been used to censor a news report, since it was first added in 2007.

The action has alarmed the publisher of as Australian media in general were not informed the Classification Board had the power to ban news stories or that the eSafety Commissioner had the power to instigate investigations into news articles.

“The first knew of this matter was when contacted by the Attorney-General’s Department and advised of the Classification Board decision,” argued as part of a separate Press Council investigation into the article.
“The department, board and the eSafety Commissioner did not contact beforehand to advise of the investigation. Consequently, was not given the right to make submissions or a defence in regard to the article.” removed the article as it was facing legal penalties from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) if it refused, including fines or even civil or criminal legal action.
In justifying its decision, the Classification Board noted the article contained “detailed references and lengthy quotations from Rumiyah (Islamic State’s propaganda magazine)” with limited author text to provide context. asked the board why there was no opportunity for news organisations to defend the article based on public interest grounds but a response provided by a spokesman for the eSafety Commissioner did not directly address this.

The spokesman said the board did consider whether the material could “reasonably be considered to be done merely as part of public discussion or debate, or as entertainment or satire” before making its decision.

He also acknowledged this may have been the first time a news article had been censored using this section.

However, as a government which to a man fails to grasp how the Internet works their well-laid plans seldom go off without a hitch and, the article that Turnbull & Co wish to erase from memory remains on national and international news sites as I write.

Friday, 19 January 2018

In response to Trump's fake news awards the Committee to Protect Journalists announced Press Oppressors awards

After a couple of date deferrals, well-known right wing ratbag US President Donald J Trump finally released his so-called 2017 Fake News Awards on a Republican web site on 18 January 2017 (Sydney time) announcing "the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media".

As one has come to expect from this inadequate man it was an eleven point non-event with no red carpet, no 'ceremony', absolutely no evidence of corruption being presented and containing a number of distortions of fact.

Trump's awards had been left in the shade weeks ago by Stephen Colbert's mocking off Times Square billboard and the Committee to Protect Journalists' pre-emptive strike.

Shareblue Media, 9 January 2018:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Monday released a list of the world’s worst press oppressors — and Donald Trump took home the top honor, beating out dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The list of global press oppressors recognizes world leaders “who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media.” It was released in response to Trump’s upcoming “fake news” awards ceremony.

Trump was named the winner of the “Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom” award for going “above and beyond to silence critical voices and weaken democracy.”
Among other things, Trump has popularized the term “fake news,” using it to describe any news that he doesn’t like — at times, even his own words. He uses the bully pulpit to openly promote Fox News as his personal propaganda arm while denigrating other news sources and calling for the firing of journalists who make honest mistakes.

Most recently, Trump called for banning the book “Fire and Fury” because he doesn’t like its unflattering portrayal of his first year in office.

Most Thin-skinned - Winner: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, Runner-Up: President Donald Trump, United States

Most Outrageous Use of Terror Laws Against the Press - Winner: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey, Runner-Up: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt

Tightest Grip on Media (This category excludes countries with no independent media, such as North Korea and Eritrea)  - Winner: President Xi Jinping, China, Runner-Up: President Vladimir Putin, Russia

Biggest Backslider in Press Freedom - Winner: State Counselor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar, Runner-Up: President Andrzej Duda, Poland

Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom - Winner: President Donald Trump, United States

The United States, with its First Amendment protection for a free press, has long stood as a beacon for independent media around the world. While previous U.S. presidents have each criticized the press to some degree, they have also made public commitments to uphold its essential role in democracy, at home and abroad. Trump, by contrast, has consistently undermined domestic news outlets and declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders such as Xi, Erdoğan, and Sisi. Authorities in ChinaSyria, and Russia have adopted Trump's "fake news" epithet, and Erdoğan has applauded at least one of his verbal attacks on journalists. Under Trump's administration, the Department of Justice has failed to commit to guidelines intended to protect journalists' sources, and the State Department has proposed to cut funding for international organizations that help buttress international norms in support of free expression. As Trump and other Western powers fail to pressure the world's most repressive leaders into improving the climate for press freedom, the number of journalists in prison globally is at a record high.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

In Australia 90% of the population read news media


The Australian Financial Review’s weekday edition increased its print readership by 14.9 per cent to 347,000 people during the 12 months ending in August. The AFR Weekend rose 4.8 per cent to 130,000 people. The weekday Australian increased its print readers by 5.6 per cent in the past 12 months. The paper’s weekday audience rose 26,000 to 494,000, while the Weekend Australian was up 2.8 per cent to 590,000 for the 12 months ending in August, according to the Enhanced Media Metrics Australia statistics.

The Sydney Morning Herald fell 3.5 per cent to 640,000 people Monday to Friday, while its Saturday edition was down 8.4 per cent to 655,000. In Melbourne, weekday print readership of News Corp’s Herald Sun fell 5.1 per cent to 1.190 million, while the paper’s Saturday edition dropped 7.3 per cent to 974,000 readers. The Age fell 8.7 per cent to 549,000 readers, with the Saturday edition down 11.4 per cent to 522,000.

The Australian’s total combined audience across print and digital platforms was 3.159 million, down 4.1 per cent on the year. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was the best performing of the state-based News Corp papers, with its Monday-to-Friday edition up 1 per cent to 1.003 million readers; its Saturday edition rose 4.7 per cent to 798,000 readers. The Sunday Telegraph print readership fell 5 per cent to 1.027 million readers.

Emma found 13.1 million Australians — 70 per cent of the population — read news media electronically on smartphones, tablets, mobiles or computers. Across all platforms, including print, news media was read by 16.7 million people, 90 per cent of the population.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Senate estimates hearing accidentally exposed the pro-government bias of Registered Organisation Commission's senior management

The Mandarin, 1 December 2017:

Two federal statutory officials have admitted to making comments that Labor has seized on as raising doubts about their agency's independence.

The comments were made during a break in an Employment portfolio estimates hearing this morning exploring the Australian Federal Police raid on a union headquarters and involvement of Employment Minister Michaelia Cash's office.

One of the participants, Registered Organisation Commission's executive director Chris Enright (pictured), strongly hit back at claims he is not independent, or has questionable ethics through his 40 years of service in government and police roles.

Media present in an estimates hearing overheard the comments, including Buzzfeed reporter Alice Workman, who tweeted part of the exchange:

Alice Workman
Labor has called for the clerk so meeting resume for a few seconds but is suspended again. This is going to go on for a while. Cash seems very cheery as she uses break to leave the room, greeting people#estimates

Alice Workman
Overheard as committee on break: ROC and FWO officials joking that "this has been a very productive half hour" and "they could do this all day" as Labor's "getting pretty desperate" #estimates

That tweet enraged Labor senators when the hearing resumed. The Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James was not involved in the exchange. However, two officials owned up the exchange, Registered Organisations Commissioner Mark Bielecki and Chris Enright, ROC's executive director.

"How can you ever be regarded as independent [public servants] after the comments you just made?" asked a visibly angered Senator Doug Cameron.

The officials could not respond as Senator Ian Macdonald interjected, claiming the question was bullying the officials.

The chair Senator Linda Reynolds reminded officials that audio-visual Hansard rules do not apply during breaks and journalists may report anything they hear or observe in the building.

Cash directed officials to cover any documents they had brought from sight of journalists or cameras.

Alice Workman
To clarify: I did not listen in to any private convo. I was in room with my media pass and heard what everyone else around me did. 

The full comments cannot be verified without an investigation as Hansard rules do not permit the release of committee records when the hearing is not in session....

Also on Twitter was this plaintive tweet from the journalist mentioned above:
And this from the twitterverse:

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Quote of the Week

“Trump is 71; Murdoch is 86, and the median age of a prime-time Fox News viewer is 68. Anyone can see where this is going. The grim reaper has become a Democratic poll watcher.”  [Journalist Richard Cohen  writing in The Washington Post, 13 November 2017]

Monday, 23 October 2017

Australian politics, law, justice and eligibility to sit as a federal parliamentarian

Excerpt from Ingrid Matthews’ article in Independent Australia, Hurrah! It's Section Forty-Forganza Week!, 12 October 2017:

There are two other general points to make about the media framing of this case. 
The first is the oft-foreshadowed possibility that those MPs who have not done so may be "forced to resign". This is supremely irritating, because no force is involved (unlike, say, how police handled a child here). Any resignation would be a function of the MP failing to comply with our Constitution and of the High Court doing its job.
The absence of force is important, because the biggest claim that common law liberal democracies like Australia make for our system is this: legal and political conflicts are settled in a "civilised" manner. With words, not fists. With elections, not coups. Using evidence and argument, not violence and vigilantism.
The rituals of legal process are imbued with this pretension to courteous resolution. But that is not how the law looks to Black people in prison cells and their families. Or to welfare recipients sent AFP-branded debt notices by Centrelink. We pay Barnaby Joyce over $1 million per three-year term, and thousands more in expenses, while aggressively pursuing the poorest people in society for petty or non-existent offences and debts.
This is not justice.
Similarly, the notion that the "High Court could bring down the Government" is erroneous. If Joyce is disqualified, it would be a product of Joyce’s oversight and not because the High Court exercised some previously unrealised prerogative power in a curial coup. Plus, there are crossbenchers in the Lower House. The member for Indi will support the Government on confidence and supply. Thus a shift from a majority to a minority government does not "bring down a government". Such a narrative is misleading and frankly embarrassing, given we had a minority government a mere four years ago.
In my view, if Joyce could discover and renounce New Zealand citizenship in 2017, he could have done so in 2004 when he nominated for the Senate, or in 2013 for the seat of New England (Wiki history here). This position is based in law and morality. To me it is simply wrong of Joyce to not ensure his eligibility to sit in the Australian Parliament when he receives such enormous largesse from the Australian public to do so. I say largesse because I can not see any value-add to the national interest, any return on our investment, in Joyce and his travels.
So yes, the politics of this case are fascinating, but not necessarily in the ways that are offered up by political reporters. Constitutional law is a serious business, and the law is not a game.
Ingrid Matthews is a sessional academic who teaches law and human rights. You can follow Ingrid on Twitter at @iMusing or via her blog oecomuse.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pollie dripping venom at taxpayers' expense

Federal Labor MP for Melbourne Ports since 1998 Michael Danby may have let his website lapse on 14 September 2017, however his venom is still dripping at taxpayers’ expense and is now pointedly directed at an ABC journalist.

Australian Jewish News, via Twitter, 1 October 2017, half-page advertisement

Australian Jewish News, 5 October 2017, half-page advertisement

Australian Jewish News, 14 September 2007 via Media Watch

However, the recent increased criticism might be because Mr. Danby may no longer be hopeful of retaining Labor Party preselection ahead of the next federal election.

The Opposition Leader is not the only one deeply unimpressed by Danby’s attack ads.

Perhaps the party’s over for this parliamentarian?


On 16 October 2017 ABC News reported that Danby took a week's sick leave in 2016 but rather than take to his bed he took off for Israel instead.

Wonder if that trip was also at taxpayer expense?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

"You're an absolute disgrace" Coalition and One Nation senators

Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the floor of the Australian Senate, 14 September 2017.

Senate Hansard,  12 September 2017:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (13:56): The government wants One Nation support for this package so badly that it has agreed to invite a razor gang into the books of the ABC. And it wants Nick Xenophon's support for the package so badly that it has agreed not to embarrass him into being forced to vote in support of One Nation's proposal. But make no mistake, voting for this bill means voting for One Nation's deal. I know that, One Nation knows that and you can bet your last dollar that Nick Xenophon and his team know that, too. As for what the details are, we still don't know. The government won't tell us and they won't tell us. All we know is that it commits the government to review the ABC and ask if it is reducing the profitability of its commercial rivals. Guess what? The job of the ABC isn't to make money for its commercial rivals. Its job is to guarantee all Australians have access to news, programming and information that affects their lives, no matter where they live or how wealthy they are. The deal the government has made isn't designed to improve the ABC; it is designed to defund it. It's a deal to set up a rigged kangaroo court that is determined to find the ABC guilty and lay the groundwork for slashing the budget of the most trusted news source in the country—or, as I like to refer to it, the eighth great wonder of the world. That is the deal that is before us. That is the vote we are taking—to defend the ABC or to defund it. No amount of tax breaks or inquiries into tech giants can change that. As the old saying goes, if you don't know all the details of the deal, don't vote for it. If you knew all the details of the deal, you probably wouldn't vote for it anyway. A vote in favour of this package is a vote in favour of all the strings that come attached to it. The government could have opted to put the full details of the deal in the legislation, but it decided not to because it is embarrassed by what it has agreed to. And if something is so embarrassing that not even this government would be willing to put its name to it, then it says something about all those who are voting to support it. No matter what else is said, no matter who says it, there's only one thing you need to remember: if you are proud of something, you don't hide it. The deal that has been made between One Nation and the Turnbull government doesn't go ahead unless this vote passes. What we're doing by voting for this media reform package is actually voting for a dirty deal, because the government decided to link the two. We are voting for something on paper and another thing altogether in practice. We're choosing whether to defend the ABC or to defund it. I will not endorse this deal. I am willing to vote to help the commercial players by doing away with outdated media ownership regulations but I refuse to vote for a package that hurts journalism in rural and regional Australia. The bill before us is only half the deal. The other half will not be put to the vote. This is the vote—for the visible half and for the invisible other. It is the only opportunity we will have to oppose the dirty deal the government has made to let loose the razor gangs on the budget of the ABC for the crime of doing exactly what the public needs a public broadcaster to do. I won't be supporting this bill and I am disappointed that I can't. I'm disappointed that I can't support this bill, because I support what it's trying to achieve in principle. The media landscape is changing fast and— The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Lambie. You are in continuation. It being 2pm, we move to question without notice.
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (18:27): The media landscape is changing fast. The industry is changing and the industry's regulation needs changing too. It's ridiculous to say that the only way to defend a struggling industry is to defend the regulation that's preventing it from defending itself against new and enormous threats. But concerns around the potential loss of media diversity as a result of the changes posed are real and valid. It is important that any deal to change regulation also protects media diversity in the process. Nobody wants any one media baron to have excessive power over the political landscape, and the best way to address concerns about private media ownership is to invest in publicly owned media. The government, with courage, would put whatever it's proposing to a vote. That's not what it has agreed to. Instead, reports suggest that the government has made some sneaky handshake deal in a back room somewhere to undermine the operations of the ABC, and it has gone behind the back of the Senate to do it. I won't be supporting this bill, and I'm disappointed that I can't. I'm disappointed that I can't support this bill because I support in principle what it's trying to achieve, but I will not be a part of taking a pitchfork to the ABC.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Study finds Trump, right-wing extremism and fake news won the media battle during the 2016 US presidential election campaign

In which Facebook Inc is identified as a major commercial player in the media landscape and a significant purveyor of fake news, as well as giving page space to highly partisan and clickbait news sites.

Excerpts from Harvard University, Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society, Rob Faris et al, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, 16 August 2017:

Both winners and losers of the 2016 presidential election describe it as a political earthquake. Donald Trump was the most explicitly populist candidate in modern history. He ran an overtly anti-elite and anti-media campaign and embraced positions on trade, immigration, and international alliances, among many other topics, that were outside elite consensus. Trump expressed these positions in starkly aggressive terms. His detractors perceived Trump’s views and the manner in which he communicated them as alarming, and his supporters perceived them as refreshing and candid. He was outraised and outspent by his opponents in both the primary and the general election, and yet he prevailed—contrary to the conventional wisdom of the past several elections that winning, or at least staying close, in the money race is a precondition to winning both the nomination and the election.

In this report we explore the dynamics of the election by analyzing over two million stories related to the election, published online by approximately 70,000 media sources between May 1, 2015, and Election Day in 2016. We measure how often sources were linked to by other online sources and how often they were shared on Facebook or Twitter. Through these sharing patterns and analysis of the content of the stories, we identify both what was highly salient according to these different measures and the relationships among different media, stories, and Twitter users.

Our clearest and most significant observation is that the American political system has seen not a symmetrical polarization of the two sides of the political map, but rather the emergence of a discrete and relatively insular right-wing media ecosystem whose shape and communications practices differ sharply from the rest of the media ecosystem, ranging from the center-right to the left. Right-wing media were centered on Breitbart and Fox News, and they presented partisan-disciplined messaging, which was not the case for the traditional professional media that were the center of attention across the rest of the media sphere. The right-wing media ecosystem partly insulated its readers from nonconforming news reported elsewhere and moderated the effects of bad news for Donald Trump’s candidacy. While we observe highly partisan and clickbait news sites on both sides of the partisan divide, especially on Facebook, on the right these sites received amplification and legitimation through an attention backbone that tied the most extreme conspiracy sites like Truthfeed, Infowars, through the likes of Gateway Pundit and Conservative Treehouse, to bridging sites like Daily Caller and Breitbart that legitimated and normalized the paranoid style that came to typify the right-wing ecosystem in the 2016 election. This attention backbone relied heavily on social media.

For the past 20 years there has been substantial literature decrying the polarization of American politics. The core claim has been that the right and the left are drawing farther apart, becoming more insular, and adopting more extreme versions of their own arguments. It is well established that political elites have become polarized over the past several decades, while other research has shown that the electorate has also grown apart. Other versions of the argument have focused on the internet specifically, arguing that echo chambers or filter bubbles have caused people of like political views to read only one another and to reinforce each other’s views, leading to the adoption of more extreme views. These various arguments have focused on general features of either the communications system or political psychology—homophily, confirmation bias, in-group/out-group dynamics, and so forth. Many commentators and scholars predicted and measured roughly symmetric polarization on the two sides of the political divide.

Our observations of the 2016 election are inconsistent with a symmetric polarization hypothesis. Instead, we see a distinctly asymmetric pattern with an inflection point in the center-right—the least populated and least influential portion of the media spectrum. In effect, we have seen a radicalization of the right wing of American politics: a hollowing out of the center-right and its displacement by a new, more extreme form of right-wing politics. During this election cycle, media sources that attracted attention on the center-right, center, center-left, and left followed a more or less normal distribution of attention from the center-right to the left, when attention is measured by either links or tweets, and a somewhat more left-tilted distribution when measured by Facebook shares. By contrast, the distribution of attention on the right was skewed to the far right. The number of media outlets that appeared in the center-right was relatively small; their influence was generally low, whether measured by inlinks or social media shares; and they tended to link out to the traditional media—such as the New York Times and the Washington Post—to the same extent as did outlets in the center, center-left, and left, and significantly more than did outlets on the right. The number of farther-right media outlets is very large, and the preponderance of attention to these sources, which include Fox News and Breitbart, came from media outlets and readers within the right. This asymmetry between the left and the right appears in the link ecosystem, and is even more pronounced when measured by social media sharing…..

Our data suggest that the “fake news” framing of what happened in the 2016 campaign, which received much post-election attention, is a distraction. Moreover, it appears to reinforce and buy into a major theme of the Trump campaign: that news cannot be trusted. The wave of attention to fake news is grounded in a real phenomenon, but at least in the 2016 election it seems to have played a relatively small role in the overall scheme of things. We do indeed find stories in our data set that come from sites, like Ending the Fed, intended as political clickbait to make a profit from Facebook, often with no real interest in the political outcome…..

Our observations suggest that fixing the American public sphere may be much harder than we would like. One feature of the more widely circulated explanations of our “post-truth” moment—fake news sites seeking Facebook advertising, Russia engaging in a propaganda war, or information overload leading confused voters to fail to distinguish facts from false or misleading reporting—is that these are clearly inconsistent with democratic values, and the need for interventions to respond to them is more or less indisputable. If profit-driven fake news is the problem, solutions like urging Facebook or Google to use technical mechanisms to identify fake news sites and silence them by denying them advertising revenue or downgrading the visibility of their sites seem, on their face, not to conflict with any democratic values. Similarly, if a foreign power is seeking to influence our democratic process by propagandistic means, then having the intelligence community determine how this is being done and stop it is normatively unproblematic. If readers are simply confused, then developing tools that will feed them fact-checking metrics while they select and read stories might help. These approaches may contribute to solving the disorientation in the public sphere, but our observations suggest that they will be working on the margins of the core challenge……  

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. We document that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Donald Trump’s agenda: when reporting on Hillary Clinton, coverage primarily focused on the various scandals related to the Clinton Foundation and emails. When focused on Trump, major substantive issues, primarily immigration, were prominent. Indeed, immigration emerged as a central issue in the campaign and served as a defining issue for the Trump campaign.

We find that the structure and composition of media on the right and left are quite different. The leading media on the right and left are rooted in different traditions and journalistic practices. On the conservative side, more attention was paid to pro-Trump, highly partisan media outlets. On the liberal side, by contrast, the center of gravity was made up largely of long-standing media organizations steeped in the traditions and practices of objective journalism.

Our data supports lines of research on polarization in American politics that focus on the asymmetric patterns between the left and the right, rather than studies that see polarization as a general historical phenomenon, driven by technology or other mechanisms that apply across the partisan divide.

The analysis includes the evaluation and mapping of the media landscape from several perspectives and is based on large-scale data collection of media stories published on the web and shared on Twitter……

Immigration emerged as the leading substantive issue of the campaign. Initially, the Trump campaign used a hard-line anti-immigration stance to distinguish Trump from the field of GOP contenders. Later, immigration was a wedge issue between the left and the right. Pro-Trump media sources supported this with sensationalistic, race-centric coverage of immigration focused on crime, terrorism, fear of Muslims, and disease.

While coverage of his candidacy was largely critical, Trump dominated media coverage…..

Conservative media disrupted.
Breitbart emerges as the nexus of conservative media. The Wall Street Journal is treated by social media users as centrist and less influential. The rising prominence of Breitbart along with relatively new outlets such as the Daily Caller marks a significant reshaping of the conservative media landscape over the past several years…..  

Donald Trump succeeded in shaping the election agenda. Coverage of Trump overwhelmingly outperformed coverage of Clinton. Clinton’s coverage was focused on scandals, while Trump’s coverage focused on his core issues.
Figure 1: Number of sentences by topic and candidate from May 1, 2015, to November 7, 2016

On the partisan left and right, the popularity of media sources varies significantly across the different platforms. On the left, the Huffington Post, MSNBC, and Vox are prominent on all platforms. On the right, Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Caller, and the New York Post are popular across platforms.

Table 1: Most popular media on the right from May 1, 2015, to November 7, 2016

Table 2: Most popular media on the left from May 1, 2015, to November 7, 2016

Disinformation and propaganda are rooted in partisanship and are more prevalent on social media.

The most obvious forms of disinformation are most prevalent on social media and in the most partisan fringes of the media landscape. Greater popularity on social media than attention from media peers is a strong indicator of reporting that is partisan and, in some cases, dubious.

Among the set of top 100 media sources by inlinks or social media shares, seven sources, all from the partisan right or partisan left, receive substantially more attention on social media than links from other media outlets.

These sites do not necessarily all engage in misleading or false reporting, but they are clearly highly partisan. In this group, Gateway Pundit is in a class of its own, known for “publishing falsehoods and spreading hoaxes.”

Disproportionate popularity on Facebook is a strong indicator of highly partisan and unreliable media.

A distinct set of websites receive a disproportionate amount of attention from Facebook compared with Twitter and media inlinks. From the list of the most prominent media, 13 sites fall into this category. Many of these sites are cited by independent sources and media reporting as progenitors of inaccurate if not blatantly false reporting. Both in form and substance, the majority of these sites are aptly described as political clickbait. Again, this does not imply equivalency across these sites. Ending the Fed is often cited as the prototypical example of a media source that published false stories. The Onion is an outlier in this group, in that it is explicitly satirical and ironic, rather than, as is the case with the others, engaging in highly partisan and dubious reporting without explicit irony.

Asymmetric vulnerabilities: The right and left were subject to media manipulation in different ways.

The more insulated right-wing media ecosystem was susceptible to sustained network propaganda and disinformation, particularly misleading negative claims about Hillary Clinton. Traditional media accountability mechanisms—for example, fact-checking sites, media watchdog groups, and cross-media criticism—appear to have wielded little influence on the insular conservative media sphere. Claims aimed for “internal” consumption within the right-wing media ecosystem were more extreme, less internally coherent, and appealed more to the “paranoid style” of American politics than claims intended to affect mainstream media reporting.

The institutional commitment to impartiality of media sources at the core of attention on the left meant that hyperpartisan, unreliable sources on the left did not receive the same amplification that equivalent sites on the right did.

These same standard journalistic practices were successfully manipulated by media and activists on the right to inject anti-Clinton narratives into the mainstream media narrative. A key example is the use of the leaked Democratic National Committee’s emails and her campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, released through Wikileaks, and the sustained series of stories written around email-based accusations of influence peddling. Another example is the book and movie release of Clinton Cash together with the sustained campaign that followed, making the Clinton Foundation the major post-convention story. By developing plausible narratives and documentation susceptible to negative coverage, parallel to the more paranoid narrative lines intended for internal consumption within the right-wing media ecosystem, and by “working the refs,” demanding mainstream coverage of anti-Clinton stories, right-wing media played a key role in setting the agenda of mainstream, center-left media. We document these dynamics in the Clinton Foundation case study section of this report.

The New York Times, 6 September 2017:

Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100,000 in Political Ads

Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.

Most of the 3,000 ads did not refer to particular candidates but instead focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control and immigration, according to a post on Facebook by Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer. The ads, which ran between June 2015 and May 2017, were linked to some 470 fake accounts and pages the company said it had shut down.

Facebook officials said the fake accounts were created by a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency, which is known for using “troll” accounts to post on social media and comment on news websites.

The disclosure adds to the evidence of the broad scope of the Russian influence campaign, which American intelligence agencies concluded was designed to damage Hillary Clinton and boost Donald J. Trump during the election. Multiple investigations of the Russian meddling, and the possibility that the Trump campaign somehow colluded with Russia, have cast a shadow over the first eight months of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Facebook staff members on Wednesday briefed the Senate and House intelligence committees, which are investigating the Russian intervention in the American election. Mr. Stamos indicated that Facebook is also cooperating with investigators for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, writing that “we have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary.”….

In its review of election-related advertising, Facebook said it had also found an additional 2,200 ads, costing $50,000, that had less certain indications of a Russian connection. Some of those ads, for instance, were purchased by Facebook accounts with internet protocol addresses that appeared to be in the United States but with the language set to Russian.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

CBS Corporation announces deal to buy Network Ten

CBS Corporation, media release, 27 August 2017:

 Deal to Buy Network Ten Will Accelerate CBS’ Global Growth Strategy in Key English-speaking Market
Acquisition Also Paves the Way to Launch
CBS All Access in Australia

SYDNEY, AMSTERDAM AND NEW YORK – August 27, 2017 – CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) has agreed to acquire Network Ten, one of three major commercial broadcast networks in Australia, it was announced today by Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves. This transaction adds Network Ten to CBS Corporation’s global content and distribution portfolios. In addition to core linear channel TEN, the deal includes digital terrestrial television channel (DTT) ELEVEN, which CBS already owns a 33 per cent stake, the DTT channel ONE and Network Ten’s rapidly growing digital platform, TENPLAY.

At the same time, by leveraging Network Ten’s linear and digital assets, CBS will also launch CBS All Access, the Company’s digital subscription video on-demand service, in the Australian market. This marks another international territory announced for CBS All Access this month. The Company recently unveiled plans to make the service available in Canada next year.
“Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation. “We have been able to acquire it at a valuation that gives us confidence we will grow this asset by applying our programming expertise in a market with which we are already familiar.”

“Network Ten and CBS have enjoyed a close working relationship for nearly two decades, and now CBS will continue to provide Network Ten with access to the very best in U.S. content. We also look forward to working with the outstanding team at Network Ten to enhance and expand on its great legacy of Australian news, drama, reality and sports programming,” said Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Studios International. “This acquisition not only presents CBS with considerable broadcasting opportunities in Australia, but also allows for further multi-platform distribution and growth.”

The transaction will be completed in accordance with the Australian voluntary administration process and is subject to certain regulatory approvals.

About CBS Corporation:

CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) is a mass media company that creates and distributes industry-leading content across a variety of platforms to audiences around the world. The Company has businesses with origins that date back to the dawn of the broadcasting age as well as new ventures that operate on the leading edge of media. CBS owns the most watched television network in the U.S. and one of the world’s largest libraries of entertainment content, making its brand — “the Eye” — one of the most recognized in business. The Company’s operations span virtually every field of media and entertainment, including cable, publishing, radio, local TV, film, and interactive and socially responsible media. CBS’ businesses include CBSTelevision Network, The CW (a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment), CBS Television Studios, CBS Studios International, CBS Television Distribution, CBS Consumer Products, CBS Home Entertainment, CBSInteractive, CBS Films, Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, Pop (a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Lionsgate), Smithsonian Networks, Simon & Schuster, CBS Television Stations, CBS Radio and CBS EcoMedia. For more information, go to

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Friday, 28 July 2017

The American Resistance has many faces and this journalist is one of them (12)

In June 2017 the U.S. White House banned cameras from its regular press briefings. The last live on-camera White House briefing was on 29 June and live audio-only ceased at some point after that.

At first news agencies were reduced to the absurd – painting short word pictures or using sketch artists to depict action.

In July ABC (USA) began showing "The Briefing Room" with its in-house political team analysing the now 'invisible' press briefings.

Then the dam wall was breached......

The Washington Post, 19 July 2017:

It was only a matter of time.

At every White House news briefing since June 29 — and many before, too — President Trump's spokesmen have ordered a room full of smartphone-toting journalists not to film the session or even broadcast live audio. On Wednesday, one reporter defied the White House by streaming live sound of the briefing online.

Ksenija Pavlovic, a former political science teaching fellow at Yale who founded a news site called Pavlovic Today, used the Periscope app to stream audio of Wednesday's briefing. She tweeted a link to the feed:
PBS News Hour followed suit as did ABC News (USA) with delayed audio posted on YouTube.

It is noted that two days later the White House announced an on-camera press briefing with Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

Well done Ksenija!