Thursday, 14 January 2021

Media Quotes of the Week: Death of US local press helped Trump demonise the media to cladding fund warns claimants not to speak to journalists

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet in a statement:
 “The destruction of the press – particularly the local press in the States – has left a dangerous vacuum for trusted information and news and the conspiracy theorists and extremists have moved in. Some 4,000 journalist jobs have gone in the past decade and the lack of a robust local press has unmoored citizens from their local democratic institutions; research has shown this has led to a loosening of community cohesion. This makes it ripe territory for populist demagogues to step in with simple slogans and fear mongering. It was easy for him [Trump] to demonise the press and shout fake news."

Ian W. Karbal on the Columbia Journalism Review:
 "As a mob swarmed the Capitol building on Wednesday, images and videos of the event spread across social media in close to real time, many going viral on Twitter and Facebook before cable news networks covering the events could verify or report them. One video showed a group of rioters surrounding a pile of Associated Press equipment, trying to burn or damage it. 'We are the news now,' they shouted. Many in the circle were capturing the moment with cellphones."

David Yelland on Twitter: "Too many journalists on the right, in the UK and in the US, now find themselves exposed by events as far too close to Fascism, to liars, to QAnon, to enemies of democracy. They have been used. But they cannot see this through their anger."

Sean Illing on Vox:
 "If the fantasy-industrial complex churning out lies and conspiracy theories wasn’t bad enough, we’re also dealing with a much more pervasive problem in the press.We’re facing a new form of propaganda that wasn’t really possible until the digital age, something known as 'flooding the zone with shit' It’s less about perpetuating alternative realities and more about overwhelming the public with so many competing narratives, so much misinformation, that even well-intentioned people don’t know what to believe. This isn’t going away either. I don’t know what comes next and won’t hazard a prediction, but I know this much: Without some kind of reckoning in right-wing media, there is no sustainable path forward for the country."

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades, freelance photojournalist on assignment
for The Washington Post at the Capitol, interviewed by the Committee to Protect Journalists: "I had three different people threaten to shoot me over the course of the day. They weren’t armed as far as I could tell. I saw people with knives and pepper spray. If they had guns, I couldn’t see them. But I did see people in flak jackets and bullet proof vests, so clearly ready for armed combat. At one point, a guy leaned over to me and said, 'I’m coming back with a gun tomorrow and I’m coming for you'.”

Margaret Sullivan in the Washington Post:
"Day after day, hour after hour, Fox gave its viewers something that looked like news or commentary but far too often lacked sufficient adherence to a necessary ingredient: truth. Birtherism. The caravan invasion. Covid denialism. Rampant election fraud. All of these found a comfortable home at Fox. In the Trump era, the network — now out of favor for not being quite as shameless as the president demands — was his best friend and promoter. So to put it bluntly: The mob that stormed and desecrated the Capitol on Wednesday could not have existed in a country that hadn’t been radicalized by the likes of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, and swayed by biased news coverage."

Marina Hyde in the Guardian
: "Imagine being the country that has watched the last four years unfold in the US, with its bloodlines so easily traceable to the Fox sensibility, and is nonetheless thinking: let’s have a bit of that. Because that’s us, of course. In the coming months, not one but two anti-impartiality news channels will launch in the UK – GB News, backed by Discovery, and News UK, courtesy of that  adornment to international life, Rupert Murdoch."

John Sweeney on Twitter:
"At the BBC I was taken aside by a senior manager and told off for the tone of my tweets critical of @realDonaldTrump. Too many powerful people in Britain appeased this monster."

The Sunday Times [£] in a leader on the Trump Twitter ban: "With this decision, however, the platforms have committed to making editorial decisions on a scale not seen before, a task that, given the vast amount of content they host, will prove to be nigh on impossible, ruinously expensive and hugely controversial. Who will pass the Twitter test and who, like Mr Trump, will be regarded as beyond the pale? And will those who are banned have a right to appeal? Once the social media platforms set themselves up as judge and jury, they are asking for trouble."
  • Lionel Barber on Twitter: "The Trump Twitter ban and Facebook’s belated clampdown finally settles it: platforms are publishers, with all the responsibilities that come along with that privilege."

The Times
[£] in a leader:
"While it remains wise to be wary of any state attempt to police free speech, recent events have shown that greater online regulation is inevitable and indeed desirable. For too long, tech firms have turned a blind eye towards their responsibilities. It would be no better if they now swung towards self-serving censoriousness instead. The past decade has shown what happens when Silicon Valley sets the parameters of free speech for the world. In the future, it must not be up to them."

The Telegraph
 in the obit of its co-owner Sir David Barclay, the eldest Barclay brother: 
“ 'Privacy is a valuable commodity,' said Sir David – reputedly the more outgoing of the two – in one of his very few public utterances. 'There is no incentive for us to talk about our business affairs.' Many years later, replying by email to a request for an interview, he added: 'It doesn’t appeal to us to boast to others of how clever we have been or how successful we are'.”

Martina Lees and Gabriel Pogrund in the Sunday Times [£] on how the £1bn cladding fund to fix unsafe blocks of flats gags applicants from speaking to the press:
"A leaked copy of the contract, which applicants must sign to get aid, bans them from 'any communication' with journalists about repairs 'without the prior written approval' of government press officers."


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