Media

Great get from The Sun

Friday, 13 July, 2018

It’s the lead story on Bloomberg, the BBC, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and lots of other global media outlets. It’s President Donald Trump’s “world exclusive” interview with Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun. This is classic tabloid stuff filled with one-sentence paragraphs that snap, crackle and pop:

In an extraordinary intervention timed to coincide with his UK visit, Mr Trump said Theresa May ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy.

And he warned her any attempts to maintain close ties with the EU would make a lucrative US trade deal very unlikely.

Mr Trump said: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”

The Sun


McLuhan’s prediction of World War III was spot on

Saturday, 30 June, 2018

1970. What a year: The Beatles released their 12th and final album, Let It Be; Brazil defeated Italy 4–1 to win the World Cup in Mexico; Soviet author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature; Hafez al-Assad seized power in Syria; Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died; Ted Cruz and Rachel Weisz were born, and the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City was topped out at 1,368 feet (417 metres), making it the tallest building in the world.

And Marshall McLuhan’s Culture Is Our Business was published in 1970. Due to the adventurous layout of the book, this collection of quotes and ideas met with mixed reviews and it has dated considerably since publication, but the gems still shine:

“Privacy invasion is now one of biggest knowledge industries.” (page 24)

“World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” (page 88)

Who, in 1970, anticipated the business models of Facebook and Google? Who in 1970 would have imagined a world of data thieves like Snowden, disinformation channels like Russia Today, charlatans like Assange, battlefields like Twitter and the cyberspace battlegrounds of World War III…? Only one person did and he was Marshall McLuhan. The Canadian philosopher, professor of English literature, cultural critic and communications theorist coined the expression “the medium is the message” and his work is rightly regarded as a cornerstone of media theory study.

Culture Is Our Business


What did Rob Cox tweet and delete?

Friday, 29 June, 2018

Here’s the statement issued last night by Steve Adler, Editor-in-Chief, Reuters:

“Earlier this evening, Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox tweeted about the shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. He has since deleted the tweet and apologized. Mr. Cox’s actions were inconsistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles requiring journalists to maintain freedom from bias. We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action.”

So what did Rob Cox say following news of the fatal shootings at the Capital Gazette by Jarrod Ramos, who had sued the paper for defamation six years ago and lost his case in 2015? Here is what Cox tweeted and later deleted:

This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people. Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul.

At least four people killed in Maryland newspaper shooting: reports https://t.co/BXNOhj5BDx

— Rob Cox (@rob1cox) June 28, 2018

Cox is, clearly biased and deranged. Credit due to Steve Adler for responding promptly.


TIME: The fake but accurate magazine

Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Here’s the explainer: “The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.”

That’s the correction TIME Magazine added to this week’s controversial anti-Trump cover story:

Headline: “‘All I Wanted to Do Was Pick Her Up.’ How a Photographer at the U.S.-Mexico Border Made an Image America Could Not Ignore”

Sub-head: “‘This one was tough for me. As soon as it was over, they were put into a van. I had to stop and take deep breaths,” Getty photographer John Moore said'”

It should be a big story when TIME Photoshops, misleads and the apologizes, but journalism isn’t what it used to be and the TIME has adopted a new low standard: fake but accurate.

TIME


They were against McCain before they were for him

Sunday, 13 May, 2018 0 Comments

Suddenly, the gallant old naval pilot, John McCain, is a Hero of The Left. This might have to do with a surge in leftist support for McCain’s belief in the importance of the warrior to the defence of freedom and the West, or it may be connected to McCain’s opposition to many of President Trump’s policies. The reader must decide.

But there’s more to this new wave of admiration for the man who fought Hanoi Jane Fonda’s bestie, Ho Chi Minh, than meets the eye. If we scroll back to late 2008, when John McCain was running against Barack Obama for the presidency of the USA, we can learn a lot from how the media apparatus treated him then. Consider the role of that bastion of liberal ideals, The Atlantic. Its October 2008 cover story was titled “Why War is His Answer – Inside the Mind of John McCain” and the author was one Jeffrey Goldberg, who went to become an Obama administration sycophant for eight years. But a picture is worth more than ten thousand of Goldberg’s words so the snapper hired to do the (hit) job on McCain was a famous “#Resistance” operative named Jill Greenberg. Here’s how she deployed her skills to take the photo that helped sink the McCain campaign:

When The Atlantic called Jill Greenberg, a committed Democrat, to shoot a portrait of John McCain for its October cover, she rubbed her hands with glee…

After getting that shot, Greenberg asked McCain to “please come over here” for one more set-up before the 15-minute shoot was over. There, she had a beauty dish with a modeling light set up. “That’s what he thought he was being lit by,” Greenberg says. “But that wasn’t firing.”

What was firing was a strobe positioned below him, which cast the horror movie shadows across his face and on the wall right behind him. “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds.

So, when you hear any of this lot eulogising John McCain, reach for the vomit bag.

John McCain


The decline and fall of grammar and style at Inc.

Tuesday, 24 April, 2018 0 Comments

“One of the most common conversations among business travelers have among each other is to discuss how to pack optimally for your next trip. As someone with more than two million miles of experience under by belt, I have developed several tricks and hacks to pack light…”

Wut? You might be inclined to think such a rubbish sentence was created by some badly programmed AI, but it wasn’t. In fact, it’s the opening of an article published by Inc. that’s so riddled with grammatical and stylistic errors that it’s comically unreadable. “How Many Pairs of Underwear Should You Pack On Your Business Trip? 2 Million Miler Packing Secrets” is the title of this gem and it was “written” by one Jim Schleckser, who styles himself “CEO, Inc. CEO Project”.

Inc.

History: Inc. was founded in Boston in 1979 by Bernie Goldhirsh, an MIT-trained engineer who had worked at Polaroid before founding Sail magazine, which he sold for $10 million. He used the profits to launch Inc.

In 2000, the terminally ill Goldhirsh sold Inc. to German publisher Gruner + Jahr for a reported $200 million. It was the peak of the dot com mania, after all. In 2005, after sobering up, Gruner + Jahr offloaded Inc. for $35 million to Joe Mansueto, CEO of Morningstar. Now, apparently, Joe the billionaire cannot afford to employ copy editors.


Side effects of the global drug

Tuesday, 3 April, 2018 0 Comments

“Social media is tailor-made to soothe the anxieties of a population in turmoil, unite a society fractured by change,” says the British creative Chris Cousins. But he’s come to regard “ubiquitous” social media as a “global drug” and, he notes, “As with any new drug, there can be side effects.” Hence, his video clip titled “Side Effects.”

By the way, the drum machine track for this clip was made “using DM1 on an iPad,” says Cousins. What’s DM1? It’s “an advanced vintage Drum Machine. It turns your iPad into a fun and creative beat making machine. Easy and fast to use, loaded with 99 superb electronic drum kits and beautiful hyper-realistic graphics, DM1 has been designed for a lot of instant fun.” Addictive. Almost.


Execrable Valentine from CNN to Kim Yo-Jong

Sunday, 11 February, 2018 1 Comment

The decline of the press is summed up in one repulsive CNN tweet about Kim Yo-Jong, the sister of the tyrannical, murderous North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. The writers of the CNN puff piece should have asked her if she’s now over her dictator brother’s murder of her other brother, but they didn’t.

CNN depravity

Human Rights Watch: “North Korea remains one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world, ruled for seven decades by the Kim family and the Worker’s Party of Korea. During his fifth year in power, Kim Jong-Un continued to generate fearful obedience by using public executions, arbitrary detention, and forced labor; tightening travel restrictions to prevent North Koreans from escaping and seeking refuge overseas; and systematically persecuting those with religious contacts inside and outside the country.”


Social media cliché cont’d: Grammable travel

Saturday, 3 February, 2018 0 Comments

“While the era of mass world tourism and global world travel opened up in the 60s and 70s with the development of Jumbo Jets and low cost airlines, there is a new trend that consists of taking pictures everywhere you go to share it on social networks. During my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones. As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.”

So writes Oliver Kmia, who specializes in aerial video and photography. After watching the video on social media cliché made by Hiérophante, which was featured here yesterday, Oliver Kmia decided to do something similar, but focussing on mass tourism:

“I came up with this idea last year while traveling in Roma. I wanted to take a look at the popular Trevi Fountain but I never managed to get close to it. The place was assaulted by hundreds of tourists, some of them formed a huge line to get a spot in front of the Fountain. Needless to say that I was very pissed by this sight and left for the not less crowded Pantheon.”


A selfie cliché is a selfie cliché is a selfie cliché

Friday, 2 February, 2018 0 Comments

“I took advantage of our tendency to be unoriginal on social media to make this animation,” says Hiérophante, who adds: “Some people point out to me that some similar videos already exists so it seems that making a video about clichés is a cliché too.” The most popular clichés include, #selfie, #peacesign, #latte, #tattoo and #sixpack, and these homogenized variations on a theme here are as trite as their creators.

PS Remember last week’s media narrative about iPhone X being less popular than expected? Here’s Apple CEO Tim Cook on the firm’s latest results:

“We’re thrilled to report the biggest quarter in Apple’s history, with broad-based growth that included the highest revenue ever from a new iPhone lineup. iPhone X surpassed our expectations and has been our top-selling iPhone every week since it shipped in November.”


Jordan Peterson vs. Cathy Newman

Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 0 Comments

Will future historians of the culture wars see it as the tipping point? You know, the moment when the balance shifted, when the tide ebbed? The combatants were University of Toronto professor of psychology Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News presenter. What made the encounter so significant is that whenever Peterson said something, Newman restated what he purportedly had said to make it seem as if his positions were absurd and offensive. And the more Peterson explained his stances, rationally and calmly, the more Newman ratcheted up her rage and ignored what he was saying. Watch the whole thing.

Newman: Is gender equality a myth?

Peterson: I don’t know what you mean by the question. Men and women aren’t the same. And they won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be treated fairly.

Newman: Is gender equality desirable?

Peterson: If it means equality of outcome then it is almost certainly undesirable. That’s already been demonstrated in Scandinavia. Men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories if you leave them to do it of their own accord. It’s 20 to 1 female nurses to male, something like that. And approximately the same male engineers to female engineers. That’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are ineradicable differences––you can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure, and tyranny, but if you leave men and women to make their own choices you will not get equal outcomes.

Newman: So you’re saying that anyone who believes in equality, whether you call them feminists or whatever you want to call them, should basically give up because it ain’t going to happen.

Peterson: Only if they’re aiming at equality of outcome.

Newman: So you’re saying give people equality of opportunity, that’s fine.

Peterson: It’s not only fine, it’s eminently desirable for everyone, for individuals as well as societies.

Newman: But still women aren’t going to make it. That’s what you’re really saying.

Except, of course, that’s not what he’s “really saying.” In the end, Jordan Peterson dispatches Cathy Newman with the help of lobsters. It’s come to that.