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Media Bits and Bytes – February 7, 2023

What's missing from economics coverage?

European Digital Rights (EDRi)



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  1. Smear Campaign Against FCC Nominee
  2. Mastodon Con and Pro
  3. What the News is Missing About Economics
  4. What the News is Missing About Antisemitism
  5. ChatGBT Accuracy
  6. Worker Surveillance is Backfiring
  7. Sundance 2023: Corporate vs Indie Docs
  8. Google Shares Data with Law Enforcement
  9. Media Whistling Past Antitrans Backlash
  10. Meta’s Laid-Back Approach to User Hacking

Smear Campaign Against FCC Nominee

By Kevin Collier and Jason Abbruzzese

NBC News

Gigi Sohn, who was first nominated in October 2021 to complete the FCC’s lineup of five commissioners, was recently the target of articles that sought to connect her work with a leading digital rights group to sex trafficking and a dominatrix. Sohn is on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a widely respected nonprofit that advocates for privacy and free expression online.

Mastodon Con and Pro

What the News is Missing About Economics

By Emily Russell

Columbia Journalism Review

Rana Foroohar, a global business columnist at the Financial Times, talks about Davos, the broader state of business journalism, and “the cult of the economist.”

What the News is Missing About Antisemitism

By Mari Cohen

Jewish Currents

Articles about spiking antisemitism often contribute to an ahistorical fearmongering that is likely to only deepen Jewish communities’ anxiety and make it harder to accurately assess antisemitic threats. They tend to flatten a rich academic debate about the historical nature of anti-Jewish activity into clichéd descriptions of antisemitism as the “oldest hatred.” 

ChatGBT Accuracy

By Harry McCracken

Fast Company

Whenever I chat with ChatGPT about any subject I know much about, I’m struck by how untrustworthy it is. It’s prone to botching the chronological order of events, conflating multiple people with similar backgrounds, and—like an unprepared student—lobbing vague pronouncements that don’t require it to know anything about the topic at hand. 

Worker Surveillance is Backfiring

By Kate Morgan and Delaney Nolan


With the rise in remote work has come a surge in workplace monitoring – some 2022 estimates posit the number of large firms monitoring workers has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. Some monitoring programs record keystrokes or track computer activity by taking periodic screenshots. Some programs even enable full remote access to workers’ systems.

Sundance 2023: Corporate vs Indie Docs

By Anthony Kaufman

International Documentary Association

If Sundance is the bellwether of the business of U.S. documentary film, it offered a glimmer of hope to filmmakers working largely outside of the corporate and for-profit systems that have increasingly dominated the nonfiction world. But making and selling documentary films without a corporate partner or streamer already  in place is full of risks and requires prudence.

Google Shares Data with Law Enforcement

By Emily Baker

Boston Review

Law enforcement agencies are embracing technologies for which there are few, if any, existing limits. Data-driven tools generate an insatiable appetite for data—not only data specifically about criminal activity, but data about anything—which is dramatically expanding the scope of law enforcement scrutiny to individuals who have no history of law enforcement contact. 

Media Whistling Past Antitrans Backlash

By Adam Johnson


Increasingly, our nominally objective reporters are falling into a pat routine of euphemism, obfuscation, omission, and permitting of cynical hate preachers to define their own movement in the vaguest, most P.R.-shop language possible. There’s no mention of who they are openly targeting, much less any effort to describe or make clear the incitement effort itself. 

Meta’s Laid-Back Approach to User Hacking

By Lizzie O’Leary


There is no reliable way to get a hacked Facebook or Instagram account back. These accounts may hold a lifetime’s worth of pictures of loved ones, or be the basis for an entire small business; when they get hacked, it can feel like losing an appendage. So why doesn’t Meta seem to care about the issue?