Category Archives: MSM

John Oliver nails the crisis in U.S. journalism

The latest edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver offers a most brilliant, incisive picture of everything that’s wrong with American journalism in our brave, new digital age.

Its both hilarious and tragic, and incorporates many of the themes we’ve been featuring here at esnl.

And most importantly, the segment hammers on one of our favorite themes: The bedrock roll played in all journalism by the community newspaper.

Oh, and, yeah, without that foundation, corruption flourishes.

The segment also features the Las Vegas Review Journal, the paper where we got our start in daily journalism, and Sam Zell, the former Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune owner [among others] who is now the biggest apartment owner here in Berkeley.

From Last Week Tonight:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Journalism

Program notes:

The newspaper industry is suffering. That’s bad news for journalists — both real and fictional.

Headline of the day: A true Man of the People

From the Intercept:

Donald Trump Admits He Gets Confused and Makes Things Up After Watching Fox News

Donald Trump is not seeing things that do not exist, he is just ill-informed, confused and highly imaginative about what he sees on television.

Hollywood seeks a kill switch on your videos

Following up on today’s earlier Headlines of the day, Cory Doctorow of Boing Bong documents the latest corporate move to track and control your media use:

20 years ago, Congress ordered the FCC to begin the process of allowing Americans to buy their pay TV boxes on the open market (rather than every American household spending hundreds of dollars a year renting a trailing-edge, ugly, energy-inefficient, badly designed box that is increasingly the locus of networked attacks that expose both the home LAN and the cameras and mics that are more and more likely to be integrated into TVs and decoder boxes) — now, at last, the FCC is doing something about it.

Right from the get-go, the entertainment industry has hated this: the pay TV companies want to keep that sweet $200+/year/customer paycheck rolling in, and the studios want to keep DRM intact, allowing them to continue to restrict the features in your home theater, far beyond anything that copyright allows (and since removing DRM, even for legal reasons, is legally fraught, these restrictions gain the force of law, even though Congress has never passed a copyright law giving rightsholders the power to control those uses).

Now, the Copyright Office (one of the most thoroughly captured agencies in the federal government) has jumped into the fray, taking the legally nonsensical — and drastically anti-public-interest — position that copyright gives the rightsholder the power to minutely control the public’s conduct while they are in the presence of a copyrighted work.

For example, I was once in a digital TV DRM standards meeting where the MPA’s rep argued vehemently for a flag that would cause a set-top box to switch off any outputs that led to a remote screen (for example, a wireless retransmitter that let you watch TV that was being decoded in your living room on a set that was in your bedroom). He argued that “being able to watch a TV show in one room that’s being received in another room has value, and if it has value, we should be able to charge for it.” He made similar arguments about limiting the length of time that a viewer could pause a show, arguing that while a 15-minute pause to go to the bathroom could be had for free, longer pauses (say, to settle a crying baby, cook dinner, or helping your kids with their homework) should be monetizable.

This is the view that the Copyright Office has endorsed. It’s wrong as a matter of law — copyright does not give rightsholders the privilege of “minutely specifying” (Hollywood’s term!) the experience of viewing, listening, reading or playing. It’s also a disaster as a matter of public policy. The Copyright Office should know better.

Read the rest.

Chart of the day: The message of the medium

From Tivo Research, partisan televisual preferences:


Headlines of the day II: Medium sends a message

Back in June, the Trump campaign banned the Washington Post from covering campaign events, but that seems to have backfired, judging from this screencap from the paper’s homepage as we write showing links to their top four op-ed posts:

BLOG Trump

Mexican NGO created to save journalists

A Mexican non-profit has been launched to protext one of the nation’s endangered species — its own journalists.

It’s a job Mexico’s government has been unwilling — or worse — to provide.

The story from Agence France Presse:

When photojournalist Ruben Espinosa felt harassed by the authorities in eastern Mexico, he fled to the capital. Without protection, he was shot dead in a case still unsolved a year later.

Now, a group of journalists is about to open a secret shelter in Mexico City to protect colleagues like Espinosa in one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a reporter.

“It’s a house where we want them to have food, with all the basic services, where they are safe and they have psychological help,” Judith Calderon, president of the House of Rights of Journalists, told AFP.

Journalists who face threats can request government protection in Mexico, but the hideout will give another option for those who don’t trust the authorities, who sometimes are the tormentors.

The organization refused to reveal the shelter’s location for security reasons, but said that it will be able to house a dozen people when it opens in the coming weeks.

The group already has a waiting list.

More from teleSUR English:

A recent report by Article 19 found that attacks on members of the press took place approximately every 22 hours, while another report by the organization found that 23 Mexican journalists had been forcibly disappeared since 2003.

Mexico is widely considered one of the most dangerous places for journalists. Often the threats come from individuals with ties to the state itself, leaving few options for those who fleeing for their lives.


Journalists often relied on informal networks when fleeing credible threats, choosing not to rely on government assistance due to mistrust of public officials.


The federal government created a special program to purportedly protect journalists, though results have left many wanting.

Mexican journalist Pedro Rosas Tamayo, who specialized in police reporting, was killed outside his home earlier this month, despite having state-sponsored protective measures.

In its report, Article 19 specifically criticized the Mexican Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression, for having actually “fomented impunity,” rather than having help secure justice.

Steve Breen: The Donald, bombastic bombardier

From the editorial cartoonist of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

BLOG Breen

And on the subject of Trumpian bomb-dropping, from Politico:

Donald Trump suggested that his campaign may take away press credentials from The New York Times, his latest attack on the media over the course of his presidential campaign.

At a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, Monday, the Republican presidential nominee called the Times’ coverage of him “very dishonest” and suggested adopting the same ban on the newspaper as he has on The Washington Post. Trump revoked the Post’s press credentials in June after the newspaper published an article critical of Trump’s statements about a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

“It’s gotten a little better,” he said about the Post’s coverage. “I should do it with the Times.”

Over the course of the election, Trump’s campaign has banned nearly two dozen news organizations from campaign events, including POLITICO, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Univision and The Des Moines Register. The bans, which have been criticized on First Amendment grounds, have been enforced unevenly. Trump has told CNN that, if elected president, he would not interfere with the White House press credentialing process.