The Chompsky Weekly #62
In which China does a better job of protecting children online.
This week I wrote about one of the best books I’ve read in ages: Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (and Everything Else). Author and philosopher Olúfẹmi O. Táíwò spoke to me about the way socially advantaged people tend to gain control over benefits meant for everyone—in all areas of life, from grassroots independence movements to Twitter clout:
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It’s Sunday May 8th, 2022
Following the news that 96% of the 56,000 respondents to the government’s consultation were in favour of Channel 4 remaining publicly owned, the broadcaster has released plans it made for an alternative to privatisation. In an effort to appeal to the government’s ‘levelling up’ rhetoric, the plan suggests moving Channel 4 out of London entirely and creating thousands more jobs throughout the rest of the country. (The Guardian/Channel 4)
New Facebook whistleblowers claim the company lied about “inadvertently” shutting down hospital and emergency services pages last year. In response to the creation of Australia’s News Bargaining Code (the legislation that would force it to pay to host news content) they shut down a number of pages, claiming some were closed by mistake. The whistleblowers allege the company did this purposely as a “negotiating tactic”. (WSJ)
The latest diversity report by the National Council for the Training of Journalists has shown “progress” in diversity of the workforce, in all measured demographics except class. In 2022, 80% of journalists come from “professional and upper class backgrounds” up from 72% in 2016. (NCTJ)
The leaked Supreme Court documents revealing the judiciary are considering overturning Roe v Wade gave Politico their biggest audience since launch, with 11 million views. (CNN)
In scenes reminiscent of GB News’ launch, Murdoch’s rival channel talkTV has been rated as having “zero” viewers during primetime. The audience for its flagship news show with Piers Morgan fell by 80% after its opening broadcast. (The Guardian)
China is clamping down on the country’s social platforms on the protection of children, demanding apps such as Bytedance (owner of TikTok and its equivalent platform for Chinese audiences) step up controls to “stop underage users from tipping livestreamers or becoming livestreamers themselves without guardian consent”. (Reuters)
Veteran newsreader Huw Edwards has spoken out about his history of depression, and noted the mixed response within the “bureacracy” of the BBC. He revealed a colleague told him “the BBC doesn’t want people to think there’s a nutter reading the 10 o’clock news” after he confided in them. (The Guardian)
Shareholders of Netflix have filed a lawsuit accusing the streaming giant of “misleading the market” about its ability to continue attracting new subscribers. (Reuters)
After the March announcement of severe cuts to their newsroom, the Buzzfeed Union has ratified a contract with management securing, among other things, a $20k salary floor increase and guaranteed annual wage increases:
Campaigns + Content
Tristan (pronounced Triss-tahn) Harris used to work at Google, until he realised that their founding motto ‘Don’t Be Evil’ was ironic.
Since leaving he has dedicated his time to building the Centre for Humane Technology (you may have seen their documentary The Social Dilemma). I thought this TED-style chat about the ‘wisdom gap’ (the result of technology simultaneously increasing the world’s complexity, and decreasing our ability to comprehend that complexity) was a good layman’s terms intro for their work.
In response to Tory budget cuts and stated plans to scrap the license fee, the BBC has commissioned a study to show what life without the broadcaster would be like:
“After just nine days of living without any BBC services, 70% of the households hostile to paying the full license fee had changed their minds.”
NiemanLab has the full story:
Nick Cohen at The Guardian argues:
I found this thread about why journalists aren’t covering climate change like it’s the biggest story of all time:
That’s all folks.
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