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The Chompsky Weekly #46
A private-jet-press-release prank: #YASAVA!
As COP26 comes to a close, I am dumbfounded that The Yes Men’s elaborate double-bluff private-jet-press-release prank hasn’t had more attention.
I thoroughly enjoyed their return this week for their latest climate action since I interviewed them in June. I also managed to catch up with activist Scott Tully of Glasgow Calls Out Polluters (GCOP) who planned the action with them, for the full story of how it came about.
Read the whole story here:
To give them (and me) more attention, please share it with your networks using hashtag #YASAVA.
That said, I’m not sure I will ever need any more attention now my ego dreams have been fulfilled:
Also, my latest piece for the local paper was published this week, I’d love it if you’d give it a read!
It’s Friday 12th November, 2021
Tech culture magazine The Verge has announced a significant update to its ethics policy: when reporters seek information from sources they will, by default, be assumed to be ‘on the record’. In a post the company stated: “big tech companies in particular have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives”. (The Verge)
Myanmar’s junta has charged US journalist Danny Fenster, who was arrested in May during the military coup, with sedition and terrorism. He is facing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. (The Guardian)
Internal legal documents for conservative activist group Project Veritas obtained by The New York Times reveal “the extent to which the group has worked with its lawyers to gauge how far its deceptive reporting practices can go before running afoul of federal laws.” The group is being investigated by the FBI after allegations its members stole a diary belonging to President Biden’s daughter, and has been accused of “political spying” while posing as a media outlet. (NYT)
YouTube will no longer display the dislike count on its videos, to reduce the impact of ‘dislike attacks’ on small creators’ videos. The button itself will remain. (YouTube)
Meta has announced that from 2022 it will “no longer allow advertisers to select terms for ad targeting related to sensitive identifying traits, such as race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.” (Axios)
The Ozy saga continues: the company is now being investigated by the Dept of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. (NYT)
Illinois has become the first US state to require media literacy classes for high school students. (Axios)
In “the first of what is expected to be many” lawsuits, the gaffer from the crew of Rust has filed a complaint of general negligence against the production and its financiers, plus numerous individuals including actor Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, first Assistant Director David Halls, prop master Sarah Zachry, and armorer mentor Seth Kenny. (Deadline)
A new media platform, Workweek, has been launched to provide business journalists with a home outside paywalled sites such as white papers and trade publications. "Influential business content is no longer limited to Wall Street Journal articles or Gartner white papers, but also comes in the form of Tweets, product reviews, YouTube clips, newsletters, and more," the COO has explained. The company plans to take a cut of journalists’ revenue, but offers benefits rare for US workers, including 120 days of parental leave. (Axios)
Channel 4 and Instagram are collaborating on a “world first real-time reality series” which will be broadcast via Instagram’s native functions such as reels, stories and feed videos. (Campaign Live)
A Swedish production company is making a TV series about the history of torrent site The Pirate Bay. (Torrent Freak)
Gadget reviewers for NYT’s Wirecutter imprint have announced they are planning a strike around one of their busiest annual events, Black Friday, over pay. (Bloomberg)
Magazine publisher Hearst has announced that it will change its policy of charging freelancers for prompt payment, after author Roxane Gay called them out on it on Twitter. (Off the Record)
Campaigns + Content
Struggling to understand what’s happened at COP26?
Check out this thread:
The Media Reform Coalition has just published their Manifesto for a People’s Media, which you may have contributed to over the summer:
“The 2020s are set to be a decade of huge challenges, and much of the UK’s media is unable to support the transformations we need. We urgently need media which is owned by us, accountable to us, where we all get to play a part in creating it: we need to build a media commons. What this could mean is explored in our Manifesto for a People Media, published today as part of the MRC’s BBC and Beyond campaign.
The manifesto draws on conversations with dozens of organisations and individuals, and 9 Town Hall events attended by nearly 30,000 people. It includes proposals for a People’s BBC and Channel 4, which would be radically transformed to become far more devolved and participatory. And it includes proposals for an Independent Media Commons – a thriving ecology of participatory newsrooms, community radio stations, digital innovators and cultural producers, supported by democratically-controlled public resources to tell the stories of all the UK’s communities.”
Now that climate denial is untenable, those who continue to work against climate activism have had to find a new strategy: decrying it as ‘elitist’ | Meet the ‘inactivists’, tangling up the climate crisis in culture wars
Find out how a reporter at ProPublica with a background in “bioinformatics” (no idea) tracked a once-rare salmonella strain’s spread through the US chicken industry | How ProPublica Used Genomic Sequencing Data to Track an Ongoing Salmonella Outbreak
Conflicts of Interest at NYT’s Media Dept
Check out NYT media columnist Ben Smith’s latest: Why the Media Loves Labor Now
…and then this VICE piece on Smith’s conflicts of interest in reporting on the US’s preeminent news union, the NewsGuild: At the Times, Star Columnist Covers Union Without Mentioning He Worked Against It
Tweet of the week:
Don’t forget to tweet about #YASAVA!