Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Journalism

Alabama newspaper editor incites murder. Calls on KKK to go to Washington to lynch Democrats

The New York Times reports: The editor and publisher of a small Alabama newspaper called for the Ku Klux Klan “to night ride again” against tax-raising politicians, prompting a fierce backlash and calls for his resignation. The editor, Goodloe Sutton, published the editorial in the Thursday edition of The Democrat-Reporter, a weekly newspaper in Linden, Ala., that had about 3,000 subscribers in 2015. The editorial went largely unnoticed until Monday,

Egypt turns back veteran New York Times reporter

The New York Times reports: Egyptian officials detained a New York Times correspondent after he arrived in Cairo on Monday, holding him incommunicado for hours before forcing him onto a flight back to London without explanation. The move against the correspondent, David D. Kirkpatrick, is an escalation of a severe crackdown against the news media under Egypt’s strongman leader, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egyptian journalists have borne the brunt of

Private eyes detail inner workings of National Enquirer ‘blackmail’ machine

The Daily Beast reports: It may have shocked the world when the publisher of the National Enquirer allegedly tried to use nude pictures to coerce Jeff Bezos. But it came as no surprise to three veterans of the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc. “The threats, the blackmail, that’s their business model,” one former National Enquirer staffer told The Daily Beast. That model burst out into public view on Thursday

Ronan Farrow says he also faced ‘blackmail efforts from AMI’ for reporting on the National Enquirer, Trump

The Washington Post reports: Ronan Farrow said Thursday that he and “at least one other prominent journalist” who had reported on the National Enquirer and President Trump received blackmail threats from the tabloid’s parent company, American Media Inc., over their work. Farrow’s allegation came just hours after Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos published a remarkable public post on Medium accusing the National Enquirer of attempting to extort and blackmail

Why I’m suing Max Blumenthal and Benjamin Norton

Sulome Anderson writes: Reporting as close to the truth as possible and correcting inaccuracies when they occur are hallmarks of real journalism. Knowingly publishing lies to serve a political purpose is not journalism. It’s propaganda, and people who deal in that kind of information are not journalists. When their lies put others in danger, there should be consequences. That’s why I’m about to do something that makes me uncomfortable, as

Why do people fall for fake news?

Gordon Pennycook and David Rand write: What makes people susceptible to fake news and other forms of strategic misinformation? And what, if anything, can be done about it? These questions have become more urgent in recent years, not least because of revelations about the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 United States presidential election by disseminating propaganda through social media platforms. In general, our political culture seems to be increasingly

Journalists faced ‘unprecedented’ hostility this year, report says

CNN reports: More journalists were killed, abused and subjected to violence in 2018 than in any other year on record, with those in the profession facing an “unprecedented level of hostility,” a new report has found. Murder, imprisonment, hostage-taking and enforced disappearances of journalists all increased compared to last year, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who criticized politicians and public figures for encouraging disdain for the news media. A

U.S. added to list of most dangerous countries for journalists for first time

Reuters reports: The murder of the Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi — in a year when more than half of all journalists who were killed around the world were targeted deliberately — reflects a hatred of the media in many areas of society, a free-press advocacy group said Tuesday. At least 63 professional journalists were killed doing their jobs in 2018, a 15 percent increase over last year, said the group,

Facebook’s fake concern about fake news evident to its factcheckers

The Guardian reports: Journalists working as factcheckers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership with the social network, saying the company has ignored their concerns and failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation. Current and former Facebook factcheckers told the Guardian that the tech platform’s collaboration with outside reporters has produced minimal results and that they’ve lost trust in Facebook, which has repeatedly refused to release

The Hungarian website that shows how a free press can die

The New York Times reports: Hungary’s leading news website, Origo, had a juicy scoop: A top aide to the far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, had used state money to pay for sizable but unexplained expenses during secret foreign trips. The story embarrassed Mr. Orban and was a reminder that his country still had an independent press. But that was in 2014. Today, Origo is one of the prime minister’s most

Trump’s lies are a virus, and news organizations are the host

Derek Thompson writes: The news media today face an epistemic crisis: how to publish the president’s commentary without amplifying his fabrications and conspiracy theories. One flashpoint came several weeks ago, when President Donald Trump told Axios reporters that he planned to use an executive order to end birthright citizenship because, as he put it, “we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby,

Marie Colvin: Lindsey Hilsum’s revealing biography of courageous war reporter is compelling stuff

Marie Colvin, who died after being targeted in a shell attack in Homs, Syria, in 2012. Wikipedia By Idrees Ahmad, University of Stirling For Marie Colvin, it was Lebanon’s War of the Camps that brought home the power of journalism. In April 1987 Burj al Barajneh, a Palestinian refugee camp, was besieged by Amal, a Shia militia backed by the Syrian regime. Colvin and her photographer Tom Stoddart paid an

Words and walkouts aren’t enough. CNN should sue Trump over revoking Acosta’s press pass

Margaret Sullivan writes: CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta is a smart, tough reporter. He can also be a grandstander who seems to thrive on conflict with President Trump and doesn’t always know when to stop his aggressive questioning. But whether you like Acosta’s style, it’s clear the White House crossed a bright line Wednesday when it took away Acosta’s “hard pass,” which allows him the access he needs to

Trump’s attacks on the press are illegal. We’re suing

Suzanne Nossel writes: President Donald J. Trump’s frequent threats and hostile acts directed toward journalists and the media are not only offensive and unbecoming of a democratic leader; they are also illegal. In the Trump era, nasty rhetoric, insults and even threats of violence have become an occupational hazard for political reporters and commentators. To be sure, a good portion of President Trump’s verbal attacks on journalists and news organizations

Woodward missed everything that matters about the Trump presidency

David Frum writes: The alleged killing of a Washington Post columnist on the orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has triggered many rethinks—and not least a rethinking of the lavishly flattering journalism that hailed the crown prince’s rise to supreme power. Among the biggest media boosters of the Saudi crown prince was Bob Woodward in his new book, Fear. Woodward observed that a National Security Council staffer,

To tackle the climate crisis, human civilization must transform faster than ever before

The New York Times reports: A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of