Thursday, 5 October 2017

Media Quotes of the Week: From digital giants help the spread of false news about Las Vegas shooting to the Clare Balding copy control saga

Alexis C. Madigral in The Atlantic: "In the crucial early hours after the Las Vegas mass shooting, it happened again: Hoaxes, completely unverified rumors, failed witch hunts, and blatant falsehoods spread across the internet. But they did not do so by themselves: They used the infrastructure that Google and Facebook and YouTube have built to achieve wide distribution. These companies are the most powerful information gatekeepers that the world has ever known, and yet they refuse to take responsibility for their active role in damaging the quality of information reaching the public."

Kevin Roose in The New York Times: "When they woke up and glanced at their phones on Monday morning, Americans may have been shocked to learn that the man behind the mass shooting in Las Vegas late on Sunday was an anti-Trump liberal who liked Rachel Maddow and, that the F.B.I. had already linked him to the Islamic State, and that mainstream news organizations were suppressing that he had recently converted to Islam.They were shocking, gruesome revelations. They were also entirely false — and widely spread by Google and Facebook."

Nick Robinson, giving the inaugural Steve Hewlett Memorial Lectureas reported by Press Gazette: "Campaigners on the left as well as the right have been looking and listening and learning at what has happened across the pond. They know that there is method behind what some regard as the madness of The Donald’s attacks on the 'failing' press as purveyors of 'fake news'. Attacks on the media are no longer a lazy clap line delivered to a party conference to the raise the morale of a crowd of the party faithful. They are part of a guerilla war being fought on social media day after day and hour after hour."

Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA
Jonathan Jones in the Guardian"Like naked mole rats scurrying endlessly in a plastic burrow, foreign secretary Boris Johnson and the Sun editor Tony Gallagher are photographed together. They’re seemingly in the belief that the Conservative party and its media allies have a destination, somewhere to get to, something urgent to do – other than wait for the tide of history to engulf them. Gallagher seems more aware of the futility of it all than Johnson, who keeps going like a puffed-up hamster. That’s right, keep turning the wheel, there’s a treat in store. Gallagher meanwhile appears not just breathless but depressed. He looks tired, tired of it all – not just the jogging but the lies, the distortions, the greasy pole."

Steve Coogan after reaching a six-figure settlement with Trinity Mirror over having his phone hacked, as quoted by Press Gazette“It is my belief that hacking at the Mirror’s papers took place for up to 15 years. Journalists at all three papers – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – and successive editors hacked the phones of thousands of people, not just celebrities and public figures, but their families and people who just happened to be in the news. The way they have behaved is a disgrace to the record of what was a fine newspaper publisher and an insult to the memory of Hugh Cudlipp.”

Impress chief executive Jonathan Heawood in Press Gazette after a review panel concluded he had brought the state-approved press regulator into disrepute and he should be recused from any regulatory decisions affecting publishers with turnover above £20m: "I am so disappointed to have let the side down...Among thousands of other tweets and retweets, I shared a few posts that took aim at the Mail and the Sun, in relation to their coverage of the EU and migration issues....I believe that journalists should be prepared to put their hands up and accept when they have made a mistake. So should regulators. And that’s what I am doing."

Sarah Baxter in the Sunday Times [£]: "It’s worth noting that The Sunday Times and other national newspapers refused to join Impress — under threat of severe financial penalties in libel and privacy cases — precisely because the organisation, which is supported by the campaign group Hacked Off, seemed riddled with bias. Now it has emerged that Impress itself agrees with that verdict. A self-respecting boss would have resigned when the damning internal report came out.”

Peter Preston in the Observer: "What I can’t quite forgive, though, is the way – six months late – in which the Impress website reported the internal investigation into this folly. 'Impress is growing fast, with publishers reaching 4.5 million monthly readers', trumpets the relevant press release. You have to plough down to the very end and click before you discover the imposition of a new code of conduct plus 'detailed findings and recommendations' and assorted recusings. Score one for stupidity at the top, but score nothing at all for transparency: a total own goal. Wholly unimpressive."

Ginny Dougray, who claimed in The Observer she asked for her byline be taken off a Clare Balding interview for Saga because the sports presenter and her agent had made changes and added quotes to her copy: "At a time when journalism is under siege everywhere – when fake news sites are on the rise and online newspapers just help themselves to journalists’ articles and present them as their own – it is more important than ever for those of us who are still writing to stand up for the values that attracted us to the profession in the first place."

Saga Magazine in a statement, reported by BBC News: "Saga Magazine does not offer copy control, and interviews that require it are declined. In this case, quotes were checked for accuracy alone. New quotes were sourced to rebalance the article against deadline."


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