Zuckerberg and Musk can save their reputations by acquiring newspapers

: sfchronicle – excerpt

When you don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

Both of you are suffering through self-inflicted public relations crises. Mark, growing alarm about social media’s health effects and about how Facebook’s self-serving policies polarize society have turned you into a lightning rod.

Elon, your bizarre behavior — attacking financial analysts, crying during a New York Times interview (which included the revelation that you use Ambien and recreational drugs), tweeting yourself into a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and appearing to smoke pot during a podcast — have you over a barrel.

I don’t expect you to clean up your acts — you are who you are. But why haven’t you taken advantage of the obvious way to launder your reputations and improve your media relations?

Buy your local newspaper!

There’s no better balm for a billionaire’s press clippings than saving a newspaper… (more)

 

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California net neutrality bill strengthened after lawmakers reach deal

: sfchronicle – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — After efforts to create net neutrality protections for California consumers appeared to fall apart last month, state lawmakers announced a deal Thursday to move forward with the widely watched bill.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced SB822 in January after the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn regulations that banned companies from blocking or slowing down internet traffic.

After it was passed by the Senate, Wiener’s bill was gutted in an Assembly committee during a tense hearing in which the senator announced that he no longer supported his own legislation and internet regulation experts said it no longer qualified as a net neutrality bill.

On Thursday, Wiener said the key protections that were removed, making him want to walk away from the bill, will be restored. Wiener declined to make the exact language of the bill public until August, when the Legislature returns from summer recess and it can be officially amended into SB822(more)

So, we get to take their word for it until August.

Los Angeles Times owner sells paper to local billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, ending a long-troubled relationship

: washingtonpost – excerpt

The Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Times completed its sale of the newspaper on Wednesday in a surprise move that probably spells the end of its long-troubled relationship with Southern California’s leading news outlet.

The buyer is Patrick Soon-Shiong, a Los Angeles-area physician and a major shareholder of the paper’s former parent company, Tronc. Soon-Shiong is the billionaire founder and chief executive of NantHealth, based in Culver City. As part of the $500 million deal, he will also buy its sister newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune

Soon-Shiong, 64, made his fortune — estimated at around $9 billion by Bloomberg — by starting and selling biotech companies and by operating an empire of interlocking enterprises. A surgeon by training, he has no background in newspapers, except as an investor in Tronc. Among his investments is a small stake in the Los Angeles Lakers…

He has vowed to “solve health care” and to “win the war on cancer,” two grandiloquent claims that have made him controversial within health-care circles..

Soon-Shiong advised Donald Trump on health-care issues during the presidential transition last year, and also consulted with former vice president Joe Biden on Biden’s cancer initiative. Soon-Shiong has directed his political contributions primarily to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton in 2016… (more)

The media moguls never quit. This article details the history of the recent turmoil at a major US Newspaper that had a reputation for excellence in journalism.

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

By John Harris : theguardian – excerpt

Former Google and Facebook executives are sounding the alarm about the pervasive power of tech. Will we listen?

One source of angst came close to being 2017’s signature subject: how the internet and the tiny handful of companies that dominate it are affecting both individual minds and the present and future of the planet. The old idea of the online world as a burgeoning utopia looks to have peaked around the time of the Arab spring, and is in retreat.

If you want a sense of how much has changed, picture the president of the US tweeting his latest provocation in the small hours, and consider an array of words and phrases now freighted with meaning: Russia, bots, troll farms, online abuse, fake news, dark money.

Another sign of how much things have shifted is a volte-face by Silicon Valley’s most powerful man. Barely more than a year ago the Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, seemed still to be rejoicing in his company’s imperial phase, blithely dismissing the idea that fabricated news carried by his platform had affected the outcome of the 2016 US election as a “pretty crazy idea”. Now scarcely a week goes by without some Facebook pronouncement or other, either updating the wider world about its latest quest to put its operations beyond criticism or assuring us that its belief in an eternally upbeat, fuzzily liberal ethos is as fervent as ever…(more)

Now that the traditional media has been replaced by online content, online entrepreneurs are the news gatekeepers, and they could be more dangerous than the traditional media lords were as they have a broader reach. All media follows the same stories. There is very little difference between the channels

Younger minds more impressionable minds are being targeted in the race to spread influence, as very young children are given smart phones and are encouraged to “start learning” by playing games. How young is too young for impressionable minds? Are humans at risk for developing strange maladies from over-dosing on wireless technology?

As we write the new history of our creative society will our voices be heard or are we pushing our thoughts into a mirror in order to content ourselves that we tried to warn the world? Can our creative efforts make a difference?

Recent developments and stories like this on “mainstream” media sources like the guardian give us hope, as do stories by youthful journalists as they uncover the truth about how governments manipulate them. Here is the latest from the SF Bay View News. You may recognize a similar plan in your city that needs to be exposed. Transportation gentrification:  How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East-Oakland/

Hacks review: Donna Brazile lifts lid on Hillary and the Democrats disaster

By Lloyd Green : theguardian – excerpt

Twice in the past five presidential elections, the Democrats won the popular vote only to meet defeat in the electoral college. In 2000, a mere 537-vote deficit in Florida and the US supreme court stood between Al Gore and the White House. Sixteen years later, Hillary Clinton garnered a 2.86 million vote plurality, only to see her ambitions dashed in the Rust Belt….

The former DNC chair’s memoir of election defeat has it all: Russian hackers, campaign drama and a reigniting of bitter internal feuds…(more)

How Fossil Fuel Money Made Climate Change Denial the Word of God

Brendan O’Connor : splinternews – excerpt

In 2005, at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the National Association of Evangelicals was on the verge of doing something novel: affirming science. Specifically, the 30-million-member group, which represents 51 Christian denominations, was debating how to advance a new platform called “For the Health of a Nation.” The position paper—written the year before An Inconvenient Truth kick-started sense of public urgency around climate change—included a call for evangelicals to protect God’s creation, and to embrace the government’s help in doing so. The NAE’s board had already adopted it unanimously before presenting it to the membership for debate.

At the time, many in the evangelical movement were uncomfortable with its close ties to the Republican anti-environmental regulation agenda. That year, a group called the Evangelical Alliance of Scientists and Ethicists protested the GOP-led effort to rewrite the Endangered Species Act, and the NAE’s vice president of governmental affairs Richard Cizik pushed for the organization to endorse John McCain and Joe Lieberman’s cap-and-trade bill. “For the Health of a Nation,” which Cizik also pushed, was an opportunity to draw a bright line between their support of right-wing social positions on abortion and civil rights and a growing sentiment that God’s creation needed protection from industry.

“Evangelicals don’t want themselves identified as the Republican Party at prayer,” the historian and evangelical Mark Knoll said at the time in support of the platform.

He was wrong. The rank-and-file membership rejected the effort. Like the oil and utilities industries, they decided that recognizing climate change was against their political interests…

Conservative groups, funded by fossil fuel magnates, spend approximately one billion dollars every year interfering with public understanding of what is actually happening to our world.

For his trouble, Cizik was targeted by a collection of hard right Christians, who petitioned the NAE board to muzzle him or force him to resign. “Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children,” their letter read. It also implied that Cizik, who had worked for the NAE for nearly three decades, supported abortion, giving condoms to children, and infanticide…. (more)

Very interesting stories about media and how it is changing and being used to influence politics. This site is all about media and the arts, and this mornings two stories show the wide range of ideas that are being pumped out to society from the new media sources. Both extremes are backed by large corporate funders backing very different agendas.