The Chompsky Weekly #61
In which Chomsky supports UK climate activists.
Good evening folks,
Good LORD, TikTok is addictive. Why did no one warn me?
Still, you get to make funny videos exposing GB News’ horrendous child labour practices:
It’s Sunday May 1st, 2022
Elon Musk appears set to take over Twitter. He reportedly told banks that agreed to help fund his $44 billion acquisition that he “could crack down on executive and board pay at the social media company”, and “would develop new ways to monetize tweets”, including charging websites to embed viral or otherwise notable tweets. Organisations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP have publicly expressed concern that Musk’s libertarian approach could increase toxicity and abuse, leading to the company approaching its advertisers to “assure” them they won’t need to pull their funding. (Reuters/FT)
Motherboard has obtained an internal document from Facebook stating that the company is worried about the “tsunami” of privacy regulations it is facing globally because Facebook “has no idea where all of its user data goes, or what it’s doing with it”. (VICE)
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, in a joint investigation between BBC and The Guardian. The story has resulted in the DJ leaving the channel, and has also highlighted the difficulties in reporting abuse stories. Meirion Jones, an editor who was blocked from publishing the well-reported allegations against Jimmy Saville, has written an op-ed this week about the UK’s libel laws making the reporting of abuse so difficult. (BBC/The Guardian)
CNN’s new streaming service CNN+ will close down a month after its launch, after the broadcaster’s parent company Warner Media merged with Discovery to form Warner Bros. Discovery. The news management team wants to amalgamate all its streaming services under one platform. (CNN Business)
Director general of the BBC Tim Davie says he will cut the number of programmes the broadcaster makes and consider turning more of its television and radio stations into “archive services” that broadcast old but popular content. (The Guardian)
In a rare display of deference to the public benefit, culture secretary Nadine Dorries has warned she “may intervene” to prevent news conglomerate Newsquest’s takeover of rival Archant, citing plurality concerns. (Press Gazette)
Elahe Izadi and Paul Farhi at WaPo have raised concerns about an increase in the targeting of journalists by government officials in the US, quoting an official calling the latest instances “steps towards autocracy”. (WaPo)
David Dillon, editor of the Mail on Sunday, has rejected a meeting called by the House of Commons speaker, claiming he is upholding ‘freedom of the press’. The speaker called the meeting after MoS printed a story, widely condemned as sexist by MPs of all political parties, accusing front bench Labour MP Angela Rayner of “distracting” Boris Johnson by crossing her legs in parliament. (The Guardian)
Phone hacking revelations just keep on coming this year. The High Court has been told that The Sun hacked the phones of several victims of the 7/7 London bombings. (Byline Investigates)
Adam McKay, Mark Ruffalo and Rosario Dawson are some of the Hollywood players who are supporting the Playbook, “a new resource aimed to inform and inspire creatives to represent climate change in TV and movies.” (Entertainment Weekly)
Stuart McGurk has written a profile of GB News as it nears the end of its first “tumultuous” year of broadcasting. Employees past and present, speaking on condition of anonymity, have told him “the project was not all they had been promised”. (New Statesman)
In a landmark ruling, the US’s Federal Election Commission has “unanimously rejected allegations” that a progressive news network was a political outfit to promote the Democratic Party. Axios says the decision ”reaffirms that even biased or ideologically driven news reporting can’t be regulated as “political activity.” (Axios)
A study from the University of Illinois has found that news funded by philanthropic backers, often called ‘nonprofit’ (as opposed to commercial) outfits, is more effective at holding powerful institutions to account than mainstream news. (Nikki Usher on Twitter)
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