Portside aims to provide varied material of interest to people on the left that will help them to interpret the world, and to change it.
Interview with Brewster Kahle
December 29, 2016
In the wake of Trump’s election, the Internet Archive has announced it will be moving a copy of its archive to Canada. The archive is one of the world’s largest public digital libraries. Part of the site includes the Wayback Machine, which preserves old websites, allowing researchers to access pages deleted by politicians and others. We speak to the founder of the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle:
Canada is warm to digital libraries in many ways that the United States is becoming potentially less so. So the idea of having multiple legs to the stool. We looked at the television archive, so we will record all of television at the Internet Archive, to find out what the Trump campaign promises had been. And things like closing part of the internet up or threatening to—freedom of the press, going and actively saying—hating journalists—all of these are the things that libraries are built on, the idea of having ongoing access to information, historical information. These are what makes libraries work. And so, let’s just plan for whatever might happen.
By Kate Sheppard
January 1, 2017
Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker said his newspaper would not refer to false statements from the Trump administration as “lies,” because doing so would ascribe a “moral intent” to the statements.
Baker appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, where he described some of President-elect Donald Trump’s falsehoods as “questionable” and “challengeable.” But, he said, “I’d be careful about using the word ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.”
He said reporters should state the facts, but leave classifying them to readers, citing the example of Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating on 9/11 (which is false).
By Paul Farhi
December 9, 2016
As they discovered during the long campaign season, the nation’s newspapers and major digital news sites — the dreaded mainstream media — are facing a shortage of people able, or more likely willing, to write opinion columns supportive of the president-elect.
Major newspapers, from The Washington Post to the New York Times, have struggled to find and publish pro-Trump columns for months. So have regional ones, such as the Des Moines Register and the Arizona Republic, which has a long history of supporting Republican candidates.
The newspapers have plenty of conservative writers, but that’s where the problem begins. Trump, who has defied traditional left-right categories, has offered something for both liberals and conservatives to dislike. The latter never believed that Trump was a true conservative; the former were revolted by his rhetoric from the start.
Hence, he has had few friends on the nation’s op-ed pages.
By Matt Taibbi
November 28, 2016
In the last months of the campaign, and also in the time since the election, we've seen an epidemic of factually loose, clearly politically motivated reporting about Russia. Democrat-leaning pundits have been unnervingly quick to use phrases like "Russia hacked the election."
This has led to widespread confusion among news audiences over whether the Russians hacked the DNC emails (a story that has at least been backed by some evidence, even if it hasn't always been great evidence), or whether Russians hacked vote tallies in critical states (a far more outlandish tale backed by no credible evidence).
by Jay Rosen
December 28, 2016
It is not clear that anyone can reliably tell us what Trump’s positions are, or explain his reasons for holding them, because he feels free to contradict advisers, spokespeople, surrogates, and previous statements he made. As Esquire’s Charles Pierce put it to me: “Nobody speaks for the prez-elect, not even himself.” I list this because the press is not good at abandoning rituals and routines when they cease to make sense. Every interview with Kellyanne Conway or Reince Priebus is premised on a claim to represent the man in power. This claim may be false. But journalists need people to interview! So they will continue to do it, even though they may be misinforming the public. They may even realize this and be unable to shift course. What I’m trying to point out is that existing methods for “holding power to account” rest on assumptions about how it will behave. A man in power untroubled by contradictions and comfortable in the confusion he creates cannot be held accountable by normal means.