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Media Bits and Bytes — April 16, 2024

Warning! Small publishers are on the ropes

Press TV
  1. Queering the Joker
  2. Net Neutrality and the FCC
  3. The Digital Trade Paradox in Europe
  4. Orientalism and Palestine Coverage
  5. Assange and the Attack on Journalists
  6. Musk and Internet Democracy
  7. Collapse of Small Press Publishing
  8. Soros’s New Audio Project
  9. Pink Slime
  10. The Mad Dash for Artificial General Intelligence


Queering the Joker

By John Paul King
Los Angeles Blade

“The People’s Joker” is by no means the kind of big-budget blockbuster we expect from a superhero — or in this case, supervillain — film. The filmmaker takes aim at the expected targets – the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, corporate hypocrisy, etc. – while scoring hits against draconian ideals of political correctness and weaponized “cancel culture”. 

Net Neutrality and the FCC

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By Gopal Ratnam
Roll Call

The Biden administration’s move to restore net neutrality will need to pass legal tests to stick, and even then it will be at risk of a rollback under a future administration if Congress doesn’t act. The Federal Communications Commission last week said it plans to vote later this month on a draft order that would classify “broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service.”

The Digital Trade Paradox in Europe

By Deborah James
transform! Europe

Big Tech corporations are working to constrain the ability of European Union (EU) democratic bodies to regulate their activities in the public interest through permanent and binding “trade” agreements. While the technological improvements are welcome, the policy environment within which these new technologies operate defines who stands to benefit, and who may suffer in the long run. 

Orientalism and Palestine Coverage

By Joseph Daher
Al Jazeera Journalism Review

Western media coverage has largely focused on Israeli “suffering” and “self-defense”, neglecting crucial context and casualty details. Studies also indicate systemic media bias against Palestinians in major Western nations. As violence in Gaza continues unabated, pressing questions remain around disproportionate force and the role of media in shaping the dominant narrative. 

Assange and the Attack on Journalists

By Brian Karem

Whatever else you think of Assange, his actions, and what he’s being prosecuted for, were acts of journalism that used to be commonplace and are now extinct. The U.S. government hounds him because at the end of the day, our government doesn’t want its dirty little or big secrets aired.

Musk and Internet Democracy

By Ari Paul

Elon Musk, the right-wing anti-union billionaire owner of Twitter (recently rebranded as X), has cast his defiance of a Brazilian judicial ruling as a free speech crusade against censorship. Such framing is, of course, bullshit. It is instead a political campaign by a capitalist to use social media to reshape global politics in favor of the right. 

Collapse of Small Press Publishing

By Adam Morgan
Literary Hub

After 55 years, Small Press Distribution (SPD)—one of the last remaining independent book distributors in the US—was shutting down immediately, with no advance notice or transitional support. Without a distributor, small presses are completely cut off from their main sources of income—and for some, SPD might have been the only affordable option left.

Soros’s New Audio Project

By Max Tani

Over the last two years, Soros Fund Management, the firm founded by the billionaire investor and now controlled by the Open Society Foundations, has become an increasingly key player in the oldest electronic mass media: radio. Soros typically invests in media both to profit and to further what he sees as the democratic values of an open society.

Pink Slime

By Marc Edge
Canadian Dimension

Corporations have set up local faux news operations to exert political influence and “greenwash” their environmental records. The number of pink slime sites, so-called after the meat byproduct sometimes found in fast food hamburgers, almost tripled in the US from about 450 in 2019, studies have found, to more than 1,200 in advance of elections there the following year.

The Mad Dash for Artificial General Intelligence

By Émile P. Torres

AI companies trying to build artificial general intelligence, or AGI. Many leading figures at these very companies have claimed, in public, while standing in front of microphones, that one possible outcome of the technology they are explicitly trying to build is that everyone on Earth dies. And almost no one is freaking out about this.