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Media Bits and Bytes – November 28, 2023

Private platforms, free speech and public consensus

Economic Times
  1. Death Toll for Journalists in Gaza
  2. AI and Journalism: Writing the Rule Book
  3. Media Enabling Trump’s Fascist Poison
  4. Feminist Media and Democracy
  5. Sam Altman Bounces Back
  6. Hack Attack on Climate Activists
  7. Musk Sues Media Matters
  8. Goodbye to NYT’s Sports Section
  9. “Protecting Kids” from Social Media
  10. The First Amendment and Social Media Posts


Death Toll for Journalists in Gaza

By Amy Goodman
Democracy Now!

The Committee to Protect Journalists Monday announced a grim milestone had been reached with at least 50 journalists and media workers killed since October 7th. Forty-five of the journalists have been Palestinian. There have been three Israeli journalists killed, and there have been at least three Lebanese journalists killed.

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AI and Journalism: Writing the Rule Book

By Hamilton Nolan
Columbia Journalism Review

The internet took decades to fully overthrow the media’s old order, long enough for endless course corrections to deal with its advance. In the case of AI, journalists won’t have nearly as much time for chin-stroking. Our industry must coalesce around a set of standards soon, or it will be too late. The AI bosses will already be in charge. 

Media Enabling Trump’s Fascist Poison

By Timothy Karr
Free Press

The commercial U.S. media system needs to undergo deep reckoning for accommodating the rise of Trumpism. This atonement should be reflected in a shift in the ways large outlets report on Trump, but also by recognizing the commercial incentives that drive media to lead with the Trump Show, damn the far-right repercussions.

Feminist Media and Democracy

By Jennifer Weiss-Wolf

It is imperative that feminist media be understood as more than merely a hub for like-minded women. Its role is far more existential: It is where you will find the voices best able to call out and counter the rise in anti-democratic impulses and action that is growing all around us.

Sam Altman Bounces Back

By Dan Milmo
The Guardian

The Friday, November 17 announcement of Altman’s sacking sent shock waves through Silicon Valley and immediately led to investors in OpenAI pushing for his return. By Monday simmering staff discontent at Altman’s ousting broke into open revolt. Then a deal was struck with Altman returning and a new board including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

Hack Attack on Climate Activists

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Aviram Azari, a self-described “hacker-for-hire,” ran a sweeping international spearphishing attack called “Dark Basin” that employed groups of hackers to steal emails and other digital documents from U.S. climate activists, government officials in African nations, members of a Mexican political party, and critics of a German company. 

Musk Sues Media Matters

By Ari Paul

After threatening to sue liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America, Twitter’s principal owner Elon Musk did just that, arguing in papers filed in a Texas court that the group “manipulated” data in an effort to “destroy” the social media platform, causing major advertisers to pull back.

Goodbye to NYT’s Sports Section

By Robert Lipsyte

For several years now, the Times has been chipping away at its sports pages, dropping stand-alone sections (most notably on Sunday) and cutting back on the number of daily pages of coverage. Now, the former staff of about 40 sports writers, editors, and videographers will do sports-related feature stories, analyses, and investigations in other departments like business, international news, and culture. 

“Protecting Kids” from Social Media

By Sophia Cope, Aaron Mackey and Jason Kelley
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Senators who believe that children and teens must be shielded from social media have updated the problematic Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, though it remains an unconstitutional bill that replaces parents’ choices about what their children can do online with a government-mandated prohibition. 

The First Amendment and Social Media Posts

By Lynn Greenky
The Conversation

The First Amendment does not protect messages posted on social media platforms. The companies that own the platforms can – and do – remove, promote or limit the distribution of any posts according to corporate policies. But all that might soon change.