The state of the Fourth Estate—and who can save it.
Brittany Karford Rogers writes: If hashtags had been a thing, these would have been some #FakeNews whoppers.
The 32 BC Mark Antony takedown: it began with a fake-news campaign masterminded by Octavian, complete with Tweet-like proclamations on ancient coins.
The Simon of Trent humdinger: in 1475 a prince-bishop in Italy set off a story that local Jews murdered missing 2-year-old Simon—and used his blood for rituals. Fifteen Jews burned at the stake.
The Benjamin Franklin special edition: he concocted an entire 1782 newspaper, peddling a fake story about Native Americans scalping 700 men, women, children, and infants.
In short, fake news is old news.
For all the handwringing over fake news today, BYU journalism professor Joel J. Campbell’s (BA ’87) response is more “meh.” It’s another punch for a profession that’s been in the ring for the better part of a decade. Trust in news media is at an all-time low. Revenue models are upended. Reporters are exhausted. Readers are fragmented. And that’s just a short list of jabs.
Looming larger in Campbell’s eyes are analytics-driven newsrooms and disenfranchised readers, who, flooded with content, are living in information silos or, worse, opting out altogether.
So how does one make sense of the crowded, increasingly polarized news landscape? And what’s left of journalism as we knew it?
BYU faculty and alumni practitioners—their collective résumés spanning Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN, the Atlantic, and more—have some ideas.
Before you throw your hands up, consider the forces at play, take heart in journalists’ earnest self-searching, and look in the mirror—because the finger pointing goes all the way around.
It’s worth asking, “Is journalism still doing its job?” But as our panel of experts chimes, there’s an equally important question: “Do the citizens of this country have the will to save it?”
A Happy Accident
Journalism has a lofty goal—one epitomized by the career of R. John Hughes.
The emeritus BYU professor won the Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for his coverage of an attempted communist coup and its bloody aftermath in Indonesia. Over his career as a writer for and then editor of the Christian Science Monitor, he covered revolutions and interviewed world leaders.
“Journalism was almost like a religion to me, to get the story, and get it right, to help evince change,” Hughes says. “It’s a kind of love affair for most journalists, shining light in dark corners.”
Journalists call themselves the watchdogs, the truth seekers. The press is dubbed the Fourth Estate after all, the final check on all three branches of government. Democracy requires informed citizens; the press make up the informants. “Democracy Dies in Darkness” goes the new Washington Post tagline.
That’s the why of modern journalism.
The how—being objective, non-partisan—“is rather a new phenomenon in the history of news,” says Campbell.
It has always depended on who’s paying.
Wealthy traders and merchants underwrote the first news in the Americas, and it was all route intel. In the colonial period political parties footed the bill for most papers—party organs that were far more partisan and acrimonious than what we cry foul at today. It wasn’t until the penny-press era—the 1830s on—that a new funding model developed: scale up the circulation, then sell readers’ attention to advertisers. That advertising revenue could bring the cost of the paper down to something many could afford.
Writing to a mass audience, publishers began to recognize there was a market for real, honest news that could cross political divides and speak with a relatively neutral voice. This paved the way for professional journalism standards. And for most of the 20th century, it made newsrooms the information power brokers.
Then the internet smashed the model.
“For the last decade, we have seen a steady erosion of the advertising economy for newspapers,” says Campbell. That’s the nice way of saying it. Revenue streams have been gutted.
Department stores and auto malls, the go-to advertisers, cut back on ads, facing their own disruptions: e-commerce competition and recession. Craigslist happened to the classifieds. And reader eyeballs, once concentrated among a few media outlets, are now diverted to Facebook, YouTube, and that thing you just Googled—and the bulk of advertising has followed them.
As they say in the industry, the digital transition traded print dollars for digital dimes and, in turn, digital dimes for mobile pennies.
One thing is certain: it’s a fascinating time to study the news. Alum Seth C. Lewis (BA ’02) holds the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media at the University of Oregon and is a leading scholar on the digital transformation of journalism.
“We’ve gone from media monopoly to media disruption and ubiquity,” says Lewis. And in ubiquity, no one gets a sizable piece of the economic pie.
Lewis suggests that maybe the last century of advertising-based news subsidy—which fostered these objective, non-partisan notions—“was just a happy accident. Maybe instead we’re returning to other forms of funding and thinking about the news.”
‘B’ Sci-Fi Cult Entertainment – Astronauts land on Venus and discover prehistoric monsters and a race of beautiful women.
Directed by …Peter Bogdanovich? Yep, that’s Peter Bogdanovich!
A YouTube video circulating on the Internet features 22 children aged 5 – 12 singing original songs to contribute to the Obama campaign. According to the Web site for the group Sing for Change these non-voting children believe that their very best contribution to the Obama campaign is to sing. Is it cute or creepy?
Imagine consuming nitrous oxide, helium, and cocaine, then explaining Japanese history. What’s not to like? A funny video that compresses a lot of information into an entertaining, easy-to-unpack container.
PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 23 (UPI) — An Oregon man was filmed doing his part to keep Portland weird by dressing up as a Scottish Santa and playing flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle.
Brian Kidd, aka The Unipiper, posted a video to YouTube showing him ringing in the holiday season in a festively eccentric fashion.
The video shows Kidd riding a unicycle while dressed as Santa from the waist up and a kilt-sporting Scotsman from the waist down. Read the rest of this entry »
Mediate reports that “John Stossel will step down from hosting his weekly Fox Business program, Stossel, this month.” Separately, Stossel announced on Facebook that the special he is airing on Friday, 12/16 will be his last show on Fox Business.
Mediate adds, however, that Stossel will “be working with ReasonTV to start up a libertarian-themed internet platform. He’ll also serve as an educator with the Charles Koch Institute’s new Creative Fellows Program.” Stossel has been a prolific libertarian documentary filmmaker, and a few of his documentaries were reviewed over the years at MissLiberty.com. Many Stossel clips can be found on YouTube.
The Japanese city of Beppu is known for its countless hot springs and spas that pop up around them. So much so, that the city’s mayor, Yasuhiro Nagano, pledged to build an entire spa-themed amusement park—although it might not be quite as awesome as the one featured in this promotional video.
The “spamusement” park’s development hinged on this promo video hitting a million views, which it did just a few days after hitting YouTube. The city’s mayor has since announced plans to begin planning and development of the park, and we’re really hoping that bathtub roller coaster makes the cut…(more)
[VIDEO] Pikotaro Sweeps the World with Comic Song: ‘Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen’ Viewed 67 Million TimesPosted: November 16, 2016
The slim, bespectacled man in leopard print looks a little strange, but he has swept across the world. A music video featuring him singing a song titled “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” (PPAP) while swaying his body has even impressed Canadian superstar Justin Bieber. His name is Pikotaro, a fictional character created and directed by entertainer Kosaka Daimao, according to a statement by Kosaka. In fact, Kosaka himself plays Pikotaro, but keeps it secret.
In the latest development, the song debuted at number 77 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts on Oct. 19.
The song’s English lines are simple and nonsensical, but catchy and even addictive. Once you listen to it, it will probably become an earworm.
Because of its popularity, Kosaka’s video of “PPAP,” along with three other songs sung by Pikotaro, were distributed simultaneously in 134 countries and territories earlier this month by entertainment management agency Avex, to which Pikotaro belongs.
This number is the largest ever for the agency. Although they represent many other popular artists, several dozen countries and territories were at most for this kind of reach, according to Avex.
The video only lasts about a minute and features Pikotaro singing phrases such as “I have a pen,” “I have an apple” and “Pineapple pen” to rhythmical dance music while dancing and miming sticking a pen into an apple and a pineapple.
It all started out with the short video posted online on Aug. 25 that gradually gained popularity.
Bieber featured the video on Twitter on Sept. 28, introducing it to his more than 88 million followers. As a result, the video immediately spread around the world. Its official video has been viewed more than 67 million times on YouTube.
At least 36,000 videos that use images and sounds from “PPAP” have been confirmed.
Read the rest of this entry »
Web freedom declined across the globe for the sixth consecutive year, according to a new report.
Amar Toor reports: Two-thirds of the world’s internet users live under regimes of government censorship, according to a report released today. The report from Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, finds that internet freedom across the globe declined for a sixth consecutive year in 2016, as governments cracked down on social media services and messaging apps.
“Although the blocking of these tools affects everyone, it has an especially harmful impact on human rights defenders, journalists, and marginalized communities who often depend on these apps to bypass government surveillance.”
— Sanja Kelly, director and co-author of the Freedom on the Net 2016 report
The findings are based on an analysis of web freedom in 65 countries, covering 88 percent of the world’s online population. Freedom House ranked China as the worst abuser of internet freedom for the second consecutive year, followed by Syria and Iran. (The report does not include North Korea.) Online freedom in the US increased slightly over the year due to the USA Freedom Act, which limits the bulk collection of metadata carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies.
“Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.”
This year saw a notable crackdown on secure messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. WhatsApp was blocked or restricted in 12 countries over the course of the year — more than any other messaging app — including in Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia, where authorities blocked it in response to civilian protests. Telegram faced restrictions in four countries including China, where the government blocked the encrypted messaging service due to its rising popularity among human rights lawyers.
Read the rest of this entry »
It’s not just Amy Schumer…
Nearly two dozen videos put into ‘restricted mode.’
Jennifer Kabbany reports: YouTube has placed 21 PragerU videos on “restricted mode,” a category meant for inappropriate and objectionable adult and sexual content.
“We’ve worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public.”
PragerU stands for Prager University. Its four- to five-minute videos promote Judeo-Christian values and principles and are ideal for young people as they distill complex issues into concise bullet points with stimulating graphics.
“There is no excuse for Google and YouTube censoring and restricting any PragerU videos, which are produced with the sole intent of educating people of all ages about America’s founding values.”
“We’ve worked quietly behind the scenes for months to resolve this, but YouTube’s censorship continues, leaving us with no option but to go public,” PragerU announced Tuesday on its Facebook page.
[PragerU has also launched a petition on the matter]
YouTube is owned by Google, and PragerU states on its website that “in response to an official complaint we filed, Google specialists defended their restriction of our videos, and said, ‘We don’t censor anyone,’ although they do ‘take into consideration what the intent of the video is….(read more)
Here’s a list of the 21 videos PragerU has requested YouTube remove immediately from restricted mode, some of which are directly related to higher education topics:
Are The Police Racist?
Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?
Why Did America Fight the Korean War?
Who’s More Pro-Choice: Europe or America?
What ISIS Wants
Why Are There Still Palestinian Refugees?
Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?
Islamic Terror: What Muslim Americans Can Do
Did Bush Lie About Iraq? Read the rest of this entry »
The only way to find out is to ask a random sampling of travelers on the streets!
Some of the best ways to get some honest opinions is to ask a random stranger what they think. YouTube channel Ask Japanese has asked strangers on the street some pretty interesting questions like what they thought about Japanese men, and they just released a new video asking foreigners if they think Japanese people are shy or not…
It’s a little hard to get a definitive answer to the question given how little interaction some of the people seem to have had with Japanese people during their stay. Read the rest of this entry »
Remy is back to highlight what CNN considers news.
Written and performed by Remy. Music Mastered by Ben Karlstrom. Shot and Edited by Austin Bragg.
About 2 minutes.
Finally, what has gotten into Russia’s top Olympian?
More on that later as we yield for Breaking News.
Ed? Thank You.
Breaking news that’s horribly tragic
and if your children are watching, we warn you, it’s graphic
our lead story tonight atop the report
was Donald Trump eating chicken with a knife and a fork?
Plus, this Trump supporter is 11 years old
so what are his thoughts on the–are you reading the scroll?
who he thinks is best fit to lead us
and would he have voted for Obamacare he was a fetus?
Look, I really don’t mean to step on your staging
but it seems like there’s war and some battles are raging
reporting the news–is that not our vow?
You know what, you’re right. I’ll cover it now
Well the war continues (yes!) on Twitter as planned (no…)
between Donald Trump and a Littleton man
The fighting is fierce, no sight of the end
follow it all on our app–you’re watching CNN
What I mean’s while we’re reading these trivial mysteries
people are dying, we’re losing our liberties
They’re inside our…wow…isn’t that banned?
Inside our hardware. I understand.
They could be in your phone at this very moment
Pokemons! This town is Pokemon Go-ing
Plus, this expensive beer–how hoppy’s the taste?
Fareed Zakaria is here to copy and paste.
Look, I really just think that there’s stuff that we missed
Like, holy crap, is that true? Does that list exist?
Cover the news. Shake up the ranks.
Yes! Do that. I’d lost my way. Thanks.
Well it’s a hidden document upon which fates swing
Fortune cookie fortunes–who’s writing those things!?
Plus, a man with no parachute just took a dive
in today’s most newsworthy instance of one flung from the sky
I know this is tough so forgive the belittling
Rome is engulfed and we’re sitting here fiddling
executive orders, economy stuttering
these are the stories we’re sitting here covering?
War in Afghanistan, hurt in Iraq
you’d need $5 foot-longs for Turkey this bad
Can we cut his mic?
Well, the war on whistleblowers continued today
we’ll update the condition of that Little League referee
Plus, it took the Olympics by storm, but what is it like to cup someone?
Frank Ippolito unveils another dream build! His Han Solo in Carbonite refrigerator is exactly the kind of brilliant idea that’s not easy to execute. We walk through the build process and show how Frank sourced accurate parts from the Star Wars replica prop community and added awesome features like glowing lights!
In 2014, after almost 30 years as CEI’s president, Smith became director of the group’s Center for the Advancement of Capitalism, which champions free markets as the best means to create a fair, prosperous, and future-oriented society. Libertarians, says the one-time federal bureaucrat, have always had a difficulty communicating their ideas to a wider public, even to the entrepreneurs and business leaders who radically improve our lives on a daily basis by providing better and better goods and services at lower and lower prices. “We need to re-calibrate our arguments so they reach the people we need to have as allies. That means businessmen.”
Reason‘s Nick Gillespie sat down with Smith to talk about the liberating history of capitalism, the regulatory war on innovation, whether millennials are socialists or capitalists, and the morality of market exchanges. “The market not only creates a web of voluntary economic interactions,” says Smith. “It is the best facilitator for creating the social networks that encompass the modern world.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Google Transparency Project, the work of Campaign for Accountability, poured over reams of data to find 258 instances of ‘revolving door activity’ between Google or its associated companies and the federal government, national political campaigns and Congress since 2009.
The Google Transparency Project, the work of Campaign for Accountability, poured over reams of data to find 258 instances of “revolving door activity” between Google or its associated companies and the federal government, national political campaigns and Congress since 2009.
Much of that revolving door activity took place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where 22 former White House officials went to work for Google and 31 executives from Google and related firms went to work at the White House or were appointed to federal advisory boards by Obama. Those boards include the President’s Council on Science and Technology and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Regulation watchdogs may be just as keen about the moves between Google and the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission. Those government bodies regulate many of the programs that are at the heart of Google’s business, and there have been at least 15 moves between Google and its lobbying firms and those commissions.
The research also shows that 25 officials in national security, intelligence or the Department of Defense joined Google, and three Google executives went to work for the DOD.
Eighteen former State Department officials became Google employees, and five Google staffers became employed at the State Department.
Friends in high places
Former Google employees occupy several key slots in the federal government. These include:
- Megan Smith, vice president new business development at Google 2003-12, vice president of Google 2012-14, chief technology officer at the Office of Science and Technology Policy 2014-present.
- Alexander Macgillivray, deputy general counsel at Google 2003-09, general counsel at Twitter 2009-13, deputy chief technology officer at OSTP 2014-present.
- Nicole Wong, vice president and deputy general counsel at Google from 2004-11 and deputy chief technology officer at OSTP 2013-14.
- Jannine Versi, product marketing manager in Middle East and North Africa for Google 2010-2012, White House National Economic Council 2013-14, chief of staff International Trade Administration at U.S. Department of Commerce 2014-present.
- Michelle Lee, deputy general counsel at Google 2003-12, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2012-present.
- Mikey Dickerson, site reliability manager at Google 2006-13, administrator U.S. Digital Service 2014-present. Dickerson also assisted with election day monitoring and modeling with Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and helped repair the broken HealthCare.gov website.
At least 18 former Google employees work or have worked for the U.S. Digital Serviceand its General Services Administration sidekick, 18F. USDS operates under the Executive Office of the President, consulting on big federal information technology projects.
The door revolves
Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan group that exposes abuses of power in government, said it’s hard to know for sure how more than 250 people moving between Google and the federal government since 2009 compares to other corporations, but “it sounds like it’s a very significant number.”
“It’s very hard to get information about the quantity of people who go in and out of government service,” Amey told Watchdog.org.
Google didn’t return an email seeking comment for this story.
Analysts at Google Transparency Project compiled the revolving-door data by using public information that includes lobby disclosure records, news stories, LinkedIn profiles and reports from Open Secrets. Campaign for Accountability notes the analysis is “an evolving representation of the scale of the revolving-door relationship between Google and government” rather than a comprehensive tally.
In other words, the total could be higher.
SCHMIDT: The Google chief executive
SCHMIDT: The Google executive chairman’s company Civis Analytics was a key ally of Obama during his re-election campaign.
The project’s analysis included affiliates of Google, such as YouTube, as well as key law firms and lobbyists.
It also includes Civis Analytics, whose sole investor is Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet Inc.
At least 27 people who worked on Obama’s 2012 presidential re-election campaign went to work for Civis Analytics after the election. Google Transparency Project said “those employees are then deployed by the White House to work on President Obama’s top policy priorities.”
Those policies include federal technology acquisition reform, national security matters and health care reform – Civis Analytics employees worked with Google engineers to fix the broken HealthCare.gov website in 2013, Campaign for Accountability reports. Read the rest of this entry »
1905 81 key Marenghi Organ playing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Original Arrangement written by Alexey Rom.
Pizza Rat’s on a roll! Pranksters paid homage to the iconic Big Apple rodent — by building a robot version of it.
Source: New York Post
Interesting that National Review and Playboy were founded at about the same time. https://t.co/yXjGLE9z7J
— Kevin D. Williamson (@KevinNR) November 2, 2015
h/t , Twitter
“Your experts knew the truth, your spokesperson knew the truth, Greg Hicks knew the truth,” Jordan said during a House Benghazi Committee hearing. “But what troubles me more is I think you knew the truth.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) relentlessly questioned former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday over why she and other administration officials initially blamed a YouTube video for the Benghazi terror attacks, a claim contrary to available intelligence at the time.
“The American people want to know why. If you look at the statement that I made, I clearly said it was an attack. Calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue — of course it was an attack.”
“Your experts knew the truth, your spokesperson knew the truth, Greg Hicks knew the truth,” Jordan said during a House Benghazi Committee hearing. “But what troubles me more is I think you knew the truth.” Jordan accused Clinton of telling the president of Libya, Egyptian prime minister and even family members that terrorists were behind the attack, but later suggested an anti-Muslim video sparked the attack.
“The American people want to know why,” Jordan added. “If you look at the statement that I made, I clearly said it was an attack,” Clinton replied. “Calling it an attack is like saying the sky is blue — of course it was an attack,” Jordan shot back.
At one point, Clinton looked visibly annoyed by Jordan’s line of questioning….
A recent video shows the teeniest, tiniest miniature horse — only 3 days old — chasing after one of his carers, whom he’s apparently decided is his new best friend. And it might just be the cutest thing in the history of the universe.
Wherever his new friend runs, the tiny horse follows. And when he finally catches him and get some well-deserved pets, he wags his little horse tail just like a puppy….(read more)
It’s rare to see Western singers attempt to sing in Chinese.
“I started to really feel like ‘where do I belong, who am I?’ And I was like, ‘maybe I’m not one of these people.’ So I thought ‘well, maybe I better just be a Westerner like the rest of the Westerners’ or something.”
Dion’s appearance may have been a one-off event, but in Hong Kong, there’s a Western singer named Corinna Chamberlain who’s fully committed to having a career in one of the city’s most famous exports, Cantopop (Cantonese popular music).
Her song “Yi Jung” opens with lyrics that are unlike any other Cantopop song. She sings that she feels like an “Alien from Mars” who’s landed on Earth.
“In a body with this skin color,” she continues, “I’m not quite like them. In fact, what kind of race am I?”
“Yi Jung” translates as “Different Breed,” which Chamberlain, also known as Chan Ming Yan (陳明恩) — is.
“I know it’s really not easy for a Westerner to have that kind of acceptance in Hong Kong. Westerners are accepted as Westerners, but as one of your own? That’s something really touching for me.”
Her parents are from Australia and New Zealand; she’s white and has long, curly blonde hair. But unlike most Westerners here, she grew up in a remote part of Hong Kong, far from any ex-pat enclave. She attended local schools and speaks fluent Cantonese.
Growing up immersed in local culture caused something of an identity crisis for Chan. In high school, she had many friends. But not necessarily close friends.
“When it comes, like, especially to the girls in Hong Kong, to have your best, best friend, it’s always somebody who is the same as them,” Chan says. “Somebody who likes Hello Kitty, somebody who likes Snoopy as much as them.”
A best friend who’ll go everywhere with you — everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »
If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that there will always be more awesomely weird and wonderful things to learn about Japan. Today we learned about the annual Pikachu invasion/festival that takes place in Yokohama. For one week in August countless giant Pikachu swarm that Minato Mirai district.
They parade through the streets in perfectly synchronized formation, always smiling and never blinking, a cute yet frightening spectacle as only Japan could create:
If there weren’t so many images of this kawaii spectacle all over the Internets, we’d think we were dreaming. Head over to RocketNews24 for even more photos and videos of packs of people in Pikachu costumes plotting world domination parading and dancing around Yokohama this year and last year.
Jon Stewart has been a major cultural and political commentator for the past 16 years. He liked to take down the powerful—at least, when his head wasn’t shoved up Uncle Sam’s ass.
As “The Daily Show” host ends his run, reminisce with Reason TV the top five ways Jon Stewart was full of shit.
Approximately 5 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
“In Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most folks.”
Cruz is seen wrapping bacon around the barrel of a machine gun prior to firing away at a shooting range. The video was released Monday by the Independent Journal Review.
“There’s grease comin’ down…Mm… machine gun bacon!”
Stephen Coyle was flying his DJI Phantom 3 drone near a Letterkenny, Ireland, school when he spotted a few kids running on the roof and seemingly up to no good. In a video posted to YouTube, Coyle writes that the kids spotted the drone and mistakenly assume it was after them, causing a comedy of errors that led the kids to where he was piloting the drone….(read more)