Skip to main content

Media Bits and Bytes – January 9, 2024

Warning: Reporting news can be deadly dangerous

A funeral ceremony is held for Palestine TV correspondent Mohammed Abu Hatab, who was killed, along with his family members, in an airstrike on his home in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Credit, Abed Zagout – Anadolu Agency
  1. The Hidden Labor Force Behind ChatGPT
  2. Best Films of 2023
  3. AI and the 2024 Election
  4. News Distortion on Israel/Palestine
  5. Film Industry Diversification is Stuck
  6. The Toll for Journalists in a Brutal Year
  7. Neofascism on Social Media
  8. Some Positive Thoughts for 2024
  9. What’s Ahead for Mozilla
  10. A Tribute to a Storyteller


The Hidden Labor Force Behind ChatGPT

By Lucía Velasco
El País

Global inequality is as evident in artificial intelligence as in apparel, with workers in developing countries receiving minimum pay in comparison with their counterparts in rich countries. This economic gap perpetuates a form of exploitation that disproportionately benefits the companies and consumers of the nations of the global north.

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

Best Films of 2023

By Eileen Jones

It’s been such an awful year for films that entertainment journalists are defensive. After all, their livelihood is tied to the state of our media. I’ve been reading their specious arguments about how 2023 has been not that bad if you think about it because, after all, other years in film history were worse.

AI and the 2024 Election

By Olivia Rosane
Common Dreams

As 2024 approaches and with it the next U.S. presidential election, experts and advocates are warning about the impact that the spread of artificial intelligence technology will have on the amount and sophistication of misinformation directed at voters. It’s the first time that it will be easy for anyone to access AI technology that could create a believable deepfake video, photo, or audio clip in seconds.

News Distortion on Israel/Palestine

  • New York Times   Jim Naureckas, FAIR
  • BBC   Jacobin
  • CNN   Julia Conley, Common Dreams

Film Industry Diversification is Stuck

By Brent Lang

A total of 116 directors were attached to the 100 top-grossing domestic films in 2023, but just 14 of them, or 12.1%, were women. That was a slight improvement from the 9% of top-grossing films that were directed by women in 2022. But the report argues that the percentage of female filmmakers on top movies has not changed notably since 2018, when 4.5% of directors were women. 

The Toll for Journalists in a Brutal Year

By Zane McNeill

At least 12 journalists were arrested or detained this year across the U.S., according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Five of the reporters arrested or detained this year were covering protests. In just over a month, three journalists were charged with disorderly conduct, jaywalking, and criminal trespassing while reporting on pro-Palestinian protests sparked by Israel’s war in Gaza.

Neofascism on Social Media

By Nafees Ahmad
Fair Observer

Major platforms like Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), Alphabet (Google, YouTube) and Twitter occupy a central role in today’s information ecosystem. Despite Big Tech’s claims to the contrary, their shared commercial philosophy fundamentally supports anti-civic and anti-democratic cultures.

Some Positive Thoughts for 2024

By Craig Aaron
Free Press

At Free Press, we share fears of expanding global conflict and what’s in store for this election year. And yet we also feel optimistic about what we can accomplish as we work to build the foundation of a just media system and the true multiracial democracy this country needs.

What’s Ahead for Mozilla

By Frederic Lardinois

Mozilla chief Mark Surman believes that open source AI is a necessary component for making the next era of the internet open and accessible for all — but by itself, it is not sufficient. With a small group of very well-funded players currently dominating the AI market, he believes that the various open source groups will need to band together to collectively create alternatives.

A Tribute to a Storyteller

By Mosab Abu Toha
Los Angeles Review of Books

“Palestine is a story away.” This is what Refaat Alareer wrote on my copy of the short story anthology he edited in 2014, Gaza Writes Back. The contributors were his students at the Islamic University of Gaza. Now Refaat is a world away. He was assassinated on December 6 by the Israeli army.