Jeremy Wright did not have a Twitter account until he was appointed culture secretary

New culture secretary: Jeremy Wright (credit PA Photos)

New culture secretary: Jeremy Wright (credit PA Photos)


|Jim Waterson Media editor, The Guardian|AIWA! NO!|The culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, who is responsible for overseeing the British media industry, has told an audience of newspaper editors that he doesn’t subscribe to any British newspapers or magazines.

He said he “generally reads a summary of newspapers and certain comment pieces” and had a subscription to Time magazine, while getting his news by listening to BBC Radio 4 and watching BBC TV news. He said he also enjoyed certain columnists in the Times.

Asked five times to name a female columnist he enjoyed reading, he named the Daily Telegraph’s Allison Pearson.

Wright, a former lawyer who is also responsible for digital industries and regulating social media, has faced questions about his understanding of the media industry. He did not have a Twitter account before taking up his new job in the summer.

In an appearance at the annual Society of Editors conference in Salford, he said quality British journalism was “not sufficiently rewarded” but any proposals on a new government-supported funding model would have to wait for the conclusion of the Cairncross review of the British newspaper industry.

It’s just an illusion: culture secretary Jeremy Wright’s hologram

“I’m confident that the review will show that there are ways for quality journalism to go from strength to strength,” he said, suggesting there could be a particular provision for the funding of struggling local newspapers.

“Our press has a level of trust and freedom that is rightly envied across the world, but a free and trusted press must also be a sustainable press,” he said.

Wright said the “transfer of trust from generation to generation can no longer be taken for granted” and news outlets needed to invest in investigative journalism and authoritative reporting of politics.

“We need to persuade the public of the value of this kind of journalism to help the public to rediscover the difference between the things you see online that just aren’t true and good quality journalism.”

He also said newsrooms must diversify the social and geographic background of their employees in order to remain relevant and attract readers: “Ask probing questions about the make-up of your own organisations, not simply because it’s the right thing to do but because it makes good business sense.”

He spoke out against politicians using parliamentary privilege to break court injunctions, such as when Peter Hain identified the Topshop boss Sir Philip Green as the subject of a series of articles in the Daily Telegraph.

“It’s a matter for Peter Hain but as a former attorney general it is very important to respect what the court has decided,” said Wright. “I wouldn’t have done it if I had been in his position but I’m not going to criticise him for what he did. I don’t think it’s sensible of us to push the limits of parliamentary privilege too far.”

Columbia Journalism Review’s GALLEY – A New APP Supporting Space For Thoughtful Conversations


The central area of the newsroom at USA Today in McLean, Virginia. on March 8, 2017. (Photo by Greg Kahn)

|JON ALLSOP, CJR|AIWA! NO!|Yesterday, CJR opened Galley, an app created last year by Josh Young and Tom McGeveran. In bringing Galley under the CJR mantle, we’re creating a new space for thoughtful conversations about journalism and opening up the debates we have every day in the newsroom. We’re inviting you all to join in.

Facebook
Columbia Journalism Association of Black Journalists - CJABJ

FacebookColumbia Journalism Association of Black Journalists – CJABJ

“It is one of the biggest frustrations of the media moment in which we live: precisely when there is so much in journalism to discuss, the places we can have those conversations seem inadequate,” Kyle Pope, CJR’s editor and publisher, writes. “Reader comments sections grew toxic; many outlets did away with them. Email to a generic address seems too impersonal. Facebook is too generic and politically fraught. And Twitter, where most of the journalistic conversation still happens, is a useful but chaotic place, mined with booby traps, jabbing, and outrage—not a forum for nuanced, thoughtful exchange. And yet that is what we all so desperately need.”
 
Galley is a platform based on trust: you choose the people you want to engage with in any given conversation. That doesn’t mean you can’t get on your soapbox—if you want to, you can make any post open to the public. The idea is to vary the kinds of engagement you have. “Different conversations and topics can be open to different groups of people, depending on your mood, on the subject matter, on who else is involved,” Pope writes. “It’s all entirely up to you.”
 
We’ll be using Galley in a variety of ways at CJR, posting exclusive interviews, AMAs, and conversation threads on media stories—from CJR.org and further afield. Yesterday, Pope chatted with Kevin Delaney, editor in chief of Quartz (which just put up a partial paywall), about membership models in journalism. CJR’s Mathew Ingram and Nausicaa Renner sparked a discussion about crowdsourced news in light of WikiTribune’s decision to lay off all of its professional journalists. And Christine Rushton, a digital editor for 17 Northern California newspapers, posted updates on newsroom morale since wildfires have devastated the state.
 
To join in, or just to watch, go to this link or download Galley from your app store. Check out our users’ guide here. And bring your friends. Galley can only thrive if you help us grow it. See you online.

 
Other notable stories:

  • Mic, the millennial-focused digital media company, laid off all but oneof its editorial staffers yesterday, then was sold to Bustle for a paltry $5 million. When CJR’s Ingram reported in September that Mic was in big financial trouble, Chris Altchek, its cofounder, angrily slapped him down. Yesterday, Ingram reflected on why he was ultimately proven right. “Did Facebook pull a bait-and-switch on video to some extent? No doubt. But no one forced Mic, or any other company suffering as a result of the same strategy, to shift so much of their spending to Facebook video, or to get their hopes up about a huge payoff,” he writes. “You could argue that they were driven to do so by desperation, fueled by declining ad revenues that are primarily being hoovered up by Google and Facebook. But ultimately a company is responsible for its own decisions.”
     
  • Staffers at two other digital outlets, Mashable and PCMag, asked Ziff Davis, their owner, to recognize their efforts to unionize, HuffPost’s Dave Jamieson reports.
     
  • If it wasn’t already, it’s now official: the Robert Mueller news cycle is back in top gear. Yesterday, out of nowhere, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos broke the news that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, was pleading guilty to lying to Congress about the extent of Trump’s business interests in Russia, which continued well into the 2016 presidential campaign. On Twitter, many hats were tipped to BuzzFeed’s Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold, who nailed key detailsback in May. Cormier and Leopold were not done there: last night, they revealed that the Trump organization planned to give Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse in its abortive Trump Tower Moscow project.
     
  • The Wall Street Journal had this late contender for correction-of-the-year yesterday: “Vladimir Putin is president of Russia. An editing mistake erroneously identified him as Vladimir Trump.”

Global collaboration is a success story for journalism, whatever its impact

International Media Collaboration

|JON ALLSOP, CJR|AIWA! NO!|The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke its latest big story over the weekend. Bringing together more than 250 reporters from 36 countries and 59 news organizations—including the BBC, NBC News, the AP, Le Monde, and Süddeutsche Zeitung—the group has started to unveil massive problems plaguing the global medical devices industry. ICIJ and its partners flagged more than 1.7 million injuries and 83,000 deaths linked to implants such as pacemakers, breast implants, and spinal cord stimulators, which manufacturers move around the world as regulators flounder and patients and doctors are left in the dark.
 
The devices investigation was born out of the work of Jet Schouten, a Dutch reporter who, in 2014, asked European regulators to approve what she claimed was a vaginal mesh, but was actually the netting used to hold mandarin oranges at the grocery store. (None of the three bodies Schouten approached took serious issue with her fake product.) Late last year, based on this reporting and years of arduous follow-up work, ICIJ approved a global look at the devices industry. For the past five months, I sat inside its investigation for CJR, hanging out on conference calls, interviewing partner journalists in 11 countries, and spending time with Schouten in the Netherlands.
 
The operation I observed was flush with confidence and camaraderie, and deeply impressive. That should not be surprising: ICIJ and the collaborative model it pioneered are having a moment. Two years ago, the group dropped the Panama Papers, a massive leak of offshore tax documents that exposed the accounting tricks of the rich and powerful and landed with a big global splash, implicating a succession of world leaders. The effort sparked the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, then won a Pulitzer, then inspired a nascent Netflix movie that is set to star Meryl Streep. Last year, ICIJ followed up with the Paradise Papers, a second leaks story drawing on 13 million more offshore records.
 
ICIJ has been around for 21 years, during which it has worked on many different types of story. The medical devices project was nonetheless a departure from its acclaimed recent work, and thus a fresh test of its model. Could a collaboration based on painstaking (and often frustrating) shoe-leather reporting and public-records analysis work at the same grand scale as an investigation rooted in a single, centralized leak? And could a consumer affairs-facing story have the same impact as the salacious secrets of the world’s super-rich?
 
While every indication suggests the project navigated its technical complexities smoothly, the impact question remains open. Industry and regulators are already paying attention to ICIJ’s findings: yesterday, the US Food and Drug Administration promised to overhaul its device approval rules. Change, however, comes more easily in some countries than in others. As Lebanese journalist Alia Ibrahim told me, while many ICIJ partners were “waiting for the earthquakes that are going to happen once they publish,” in Lebanon, “I could give you 100 examples of how investigations proving corruption, proving malpractice, didn’t lead to anybody being held accountable.” And, globally speaking, ICIJ only deals with regulatory failures that are both widespread and entrenched—and, therefore, likely to be persistent.
 
As splashy as the Panama Papers were, efforts to overhaul global tax architecture in the time since have largely failed. ICIJ can’t force change, no matter how many journalists it might corral behind its work. But that isn’t the point of the organization. ICIJ is like any top-class individual newsroom, only much bigger. Its model empowers news organizations the world over to shine a spotlight into deep darkness, then joins those spotlights together to make a powerful single beam.
 
Below, more on ICIJ’s latest investigation: 

  • The Implant Files: You can find all ICIJ’s stories here, its overview of the global medical-devices industry here, and a full list of partners here.
     
  • Under the skin: In my piece for CJR, I go into much more detail about how ICIJ followed through on the project, and what it means for the organization going forward.
     
  • In the US: For the AP, Meghan Hoyer looks at problems with breast implants, and Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr lay out how spinal cord stimulators have left some patients with agonizing injuries. For NBC News, meanwhile, Andrew W. Lehren, Emily R. Siegel, and Sarah Fitzpatrick track how US-made devices export pain overseas, and, conversely, how devices withdrawn from the market overseas can remain on sale in the US.  
     
  • “All Meshed Up”: Watch Schouten and her colleagues at Dutch public broadcaster AVROTROS pass off mandarin orange netting as a vaginal mesh here.

UK – Exiled Zimbabwean Journalist in Great Britain: Immigration; Racism, African Experience; Reflections Or None Of It

Crimson Tazvinzwa: "How to feel and how not to feel as an African immigrant ..."
Crimson Tazvinzwa: “How to feel and how not to feel as an immigrant …”


|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|For so many years I have worked very hard and waited for my left hand to be right. I’m still working hard and waiting …

I admit. This is not my writing style at all – especially when reporting myself. But then here we go. Eisch!. I have decided I share with you some random snippets of my experience or non of it over the 20-plus odd years I have lived on this side of the pond; for I forever shall live in mortal fear of being misquoted or lack of it thereof; or worse still forgetfulness and forgettable.  Non consequential or just as ‘SHIT HOLE’ as US President Trump’s  characterization of Africa and its populations myself included. 

You see! I have seen it all.  From ‘dog-whispers’ to ‘bull-horns’ of racial slurs. Some deliberated, calculated and unleashed and the outcome assessed, and blatant and yet others random and ignorant.  From people pretending they don’t understand my accent, and least still cannot spell my African surname even as it shows clearly on the identity badge laying on my lapel all the time, all written in English alphabet – and (‘by law’?). Wait! Aah! You name it. But jog on still.

But it still hates …

Take accents for example; and their  names. Already cause anxiety and discomfort among and between some lot.

Exhibit one;

One time years back; just over one-year after September 11: my partner and I planned visiting with friends in New York. Our respective annual leave were generous – could take a good 4 weeks in the summer. We didn’t think much about itinerary or anything except booking the tickets online – lastminute.com and whacked email to our friend Monika – a Czech – American to let her duly know we were on our way and asked what we should bring her from London. Flight Tickets were cheap; £420 apiece return and all. 

Except for me to be denied a visa DESPITE the fact I lived in America before. In Louisiana (Lousyana). Barton Rouge.

Despite I was the professionally fully employed between the two of us. As if it should have mattered.

Despite we had our own two bed room flat in North East London; Walthamstow . We bought it for £182.000.00. On mortgage of cause.

My bank statement at that time was very healthy. No reason to complain in this department … at that time at least.

Despite my manager John Pink at Community Volunteers (CSV) writing a passionate passion-able letter vouching for me; tax returns and payslips; bank statements; and the fact that I had not taken sick leave for all the 3 years I had been working with him. And that there was no reason whatsoever for me to get stranded or live off some American public freebies or on government recourse for that matter – we had enough savings in personal and joint account as it stood.

You name it. The whole shebang.

My application failed.

The ‘computer said no.’

Their Sentiment: “There was no sufficient evidence with my application to suggest I would want to return to the United Kingdom after my holiday in America.”

In their pitifully blinkered or myopic eyes on issues of human and social mobility, geography ie population movements and settlements; they had just done some non formulaic calculation;  I wasn’t gonna come back to the UK – would go on a runner. ????

SAY WHAT?

And they said my partner could still go ahead though and travel to visit with our friends as she was on a German passport. They made it sound we were very fortunate at least one of us could still be travelling. Dough!

No refund for airline tickets even as we informed the Airline two weeks in advance.

We took it in our synchronized stride and jogged on.

Images of ‘black men’ doing ‘black man bad man tings

Is it me? Every time I watch news on telly and there is  some robbery or stabbing or even an accident that has taken place. I’m conditioned to quickly check if the aggressor, violent person at that were a black man or not. Simple demographic statistics. And praying … “Oh God Let It Be Not A Black Man This Time.” Of course there is disproportionate representation of black man crime versus white man crime. The media do that everyday. I work there. Masochistic!

Look! As black men we are wired to self doubt; confess; self interrogate, and question our selves first before the other in any situation what ever situation; a bad one or a good one. We can be impressionable, callous, belligerent and gullible. Don’t speak out for fear of being labelled cocky or arrogant or both or self aggrandizing; therefore double-down on self-minimization  and our lack of potential; assumed of course-  trying to prove we can fit in while all the while dying of self-pity. The vulnerability.

I’m not a pub man but when I do do happen to go into one all sorts of things happen.

EXHIBIT 2 – Pub In Barcelona

Imagine the famous and memorable Gaudi Architecture; Las Ramblas and the Olympics village in Barcelona.

Las Ramblas Barcelona;

Las Ramblas is often the first landmark that most tourists identify with the city. It is the central most boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city centre and is a vibrant and lively promenade filled with Barcelona action at its best and sometimes the worst.

Barcelona Miró mosaic on La Rambla

Did you know there is a Miró on La Rambla? The famous painter Joan Miró actually created part of the Ramblas. Many thousands of people walk right over the Miró circle on the Ramblas every day and don’t even know it.
Human Statue:  Galileo

Human statue: Galileo

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect who is the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism.

Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized, and one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Família

Elegant Sagrada Familia Church; Crimson Tazvinzwa, Travel Photos 2005

Magnificent!  We went up to Gaudi House’ by cable car; did little of  nosing around and taking pictures. A cup of coffee.  We were four of us; an English couple who had traveled with us from London; long time friends shall I say, and the two of us. My partner then heavily pregnant; irritable, irritating and all … as you can imagine. We all decided we needed a drink after the excursion up the Gaudi Hill. We headed into the next pub that came to sight by The Ramblers, except I thought I remain outside for a little-while to finish off my ‘fag’. I had just started smoking then, and drinking for that matter. And why not – that was pregnancy stress, anxiety and all.

Another piece of great work by Gaudi/crimson tazvinzwa travel photos 2005

I casually walked in the pub a little while later. Took a quick glance and spotted my little gang patched on a wide table by the corner.

flaherty barcelona


Flaherty’s – Square Joaquim Xirau 

Drinks ordered including my San Miguel. Happy days. Before I realized ; a notably smartly dressed gentleman whom I assumed to be a staffer walked up to me and accosted:

” PARRDONH! My ‘pathronh‘ patrons/customers are not pleased seeing you here.” he said.

“There is another nicer pub down the road,” he added helpfully of course.

Sheepishly and meekly as I always do in ‘these’ circumstances …; I smiled my normal broad smile showing only the white teeth and said something to the effect;

“Sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much. And God’s Blessings!”

What is that all for?

Crimson Tazvinzwa Travel Photos; Ras Ramblas Street Performing Artist; 2005

I believe BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS, BLACK BROTHERHOOD just as SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS has undesired consequences and outer-limits for thoughtful intercultural and interracial dialogue; and our common struggle against prejudice: religious, race, creed or OTHERWISE.

Or some pointless meaningless mumble of some sort.

This all happened in full glare of the Mexican and Brazilian dance troupe who stared at the scene in bewilderment, and bemused . World vision! Consequently my lot including the cacophony of the dance ensemble – wobbled out with some apologizing on ‘their behalf’ to me … which was bizarre but understandable for such brazen attack will not happen in the UK where I live; as I am still aware. I presume.

EXHIBIT 3 – Black on black crime and the language of self – hate and hurt.

I don’t know about you. I have decided the British Law of Etiquette & Decorum still works.

It doesn’t really matter what you are at and where are you at in life as long a you are not hurting or hating others, fair and fine.

For no reason.

Sometimes.

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud And More Face Article 13, New Law Written By The European Parliament; And They Are Huge Consequences For Everyone: Content Creators And Consumers Alike

Article 13 – THE END OF YOUTUBE! – There’s a better way


It’s Coming Article 13 | An Important Message For All Creative People

Article 13 is part of European copyright legislation created with the intent to better protect creativity and find effective ways for copyright holders to protect their content online.

We support the goals of Article 13, but the version written by the European Parliament could have large unintended consequences that would change the web as we know it.

Image result for article 13
Will this spell the end YouTube as we have known it? That kind be right; there must be a better way

There’s a better way. Learn more and make your voice heard.

  1. What is Article 13?
    • Article 13 is one part of a proposed European Union (EU) copyright legislation created with the intent to better protect creativity and find effective ways for copyright holders to protect their content online. (Official text here).
    • To be clear, we support the goals of Article 13 and its push to help creators and artists succeed; we want more effective ways for copyright holders to protect their content. But Article 13, as written by the European Parliament, will create large unintended consequences for everyone, so we’re asking to find a better way forward.
  2. What’s the status of Article 13?
    • On September 12th the European Parliament voted to move forward with Article 13.
    • However, Article 13 is not yet a law. The language is being drafted and revised in EU’s trilogue negotiations between representatives from the European Commission, Parliament and Council.
    • This language could be finalized by the end of the year, and EU member states may have up to two years to make the directive into national law.
  3. What changes with Article 13?
    • The proposed version of Article 13 would eliminate the existing notice-and-takedown system currently in place to protect rightsholders and platforms. This would make platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, Dailymotion, Reddit and Snapchat liable – at the moment of upload – for any copyright infringement in uploads from users, creators and artists.
    • This in turn would mean that platforms including YouTube would be forced to block the vast majority of uploads from Europe and views in Europe for content uploaded elsewhere given the uncertainty and complexity of copyright ownership (more on this below).
  4. What would be the impact if the European Parliament version of Article 13 passes?
    • The risks associated with accepting content uploads with partial or disputed copyright information would be far too large for platforms such as YouTube.
    • As a result, YouTube would be forced to block millions of videos (existing and new ones) in the European Union. It could drastically limit the content that one can upload to the platform in Europe.
    • Creators would be especially hard hit. Videos that could be blocked include: educational videos (from channels such as Kurzgesagt in Germany and C.G.P. Grey in the UK), a large number of official music videos (like Despacito from Luis Fonsi or Mafioso from Lartiste), fan music covers, mashups, parodies and more.
    • As such, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ.
  5. What does this mean for me as a YouTube creator or artist in the European Union?
    • YouTube and other platforms may have no choice but to block your existing videos and prevent you from uploading new ones in the European Union unless you can prove you own everything in your videos (including visuals and sounds).
  6. What does this mean for me as a YouTube creator or an artist NOT in the European Union?
    • YouTube and other platforms will likely block your videos (including existing ones) to users in the European Union if there is partial or disputed copyright information.
  7. What types of copyrighted content would I not be able to use in my videos?
    • Examples of copyrighted material possibly impacted in your videos include images, artwork, software, excerpts from books, music, parodies and much more. (Read more here).
  8. Why aren’t copyright matching tools like Content ID enough?
    • With Article 13 as currently written, copyright matching tools like Content ID wouldn’t help platforms such as YouTube to keep content on the platform.
    • Content ID works if rightsholders use it and provide clarity as to what belongs to them. However, in many cases information on copyright ownership is missing, or there is partial knowledge, meaning that no system could accurately identify full copyright information at the point of upload.
    • Put simply, a piece of content with partial or unknown ownership is – to YouTube – treated the same as a piece of content that is unlicensed and so would have to be blocked.
  9. Is there a better way forward with Article 13?
    • Yes! We’re asking lawmakers to find a better balance we all need to protect against copyright violations and still enable European users, creators and artists to share their voices online. In order to do that, we need a system where both platforms and rightsholders collaborate.
    • What this means in reality is three things:
      • Rightsholders should work with platforms to identify the content they own, so the platforms know what is protected under copyright and can give rightsholders control to block if they choose.
      • Platforms should only be held liable for content identified to them using tools like Content ID or through notice and takedown.
      • Platforms and rightsholders should negotiate in good faith where licenses and rights can be easily identified
  10. What can I do to help find a better way forward with Article 13?
    • European representatives are still working on the final version of Article 13 and there is time to work together towards a better path forward.
    • The European policymakers involved in negotiating Article 13 need to hear and see that real people could be negatively impacted if Article 13 goes into effect as written by the Parliament! That’s why we need you and your fans to make your voice heard now by:
      • Making a video about Article 13
      • Tweeting about Article 13 with the hashtag #SaveYourInternet
      • Joining the movement at youtube.com/saveyourinternet
  11. What’s up with other players? Is YouTube alone in this fight?
  12. Which countries would be directly impacted by Article 13?
    • All member states of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland,Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK (at least for now, here’s more about Brexit).
  13. One last thing. What are common misunderstandings about Article 13?

LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS -Tackling the Information Crisis, A new Report


By Professor Charlie Beckett, CJR|AIWA! NO!|What kind of information society do you want? How should we reduce the amount of misinformation? How can we protect democracy from digital damage? How can we help people make the most of the extraordinary opportunities of the Internet while avoiding the harm it can cause?


India’s unprecedented news and information crisis


India’s unprecedented news and information crisis

For a year the LSE Truth, Trust and Technology Commission (T3) has been grappling with these key questions. Sparked by the anxieties caused by so-called fake news, the Commission has now come up with a policy agenda for tackling the information crisis.

Working with politicians, technologists, journalists, academics and others from a range of sectors and the general public, we have published this report that sets out a wide-ranging strategy to build a more resilient media system fit for the information ecosystem in the UK.


India’s unprecedented news and information crisis
Read the full report

The key proposal is for an Independent Platform Agency (IPA) that would be a watchdog – rather than a regulator – which evaluates the effectiveness of platform self-regulation and the development of quality journalism, reporting to Parliament and offering policy advice. It should be funded by a new levy on UK social media and search advertising revenue. The Agency should be a permanent forum for monitoring and reviewing the behaviour of online platforms and provide annual reviews of ‘the state of disinformation’.

The report also suggests ways to support the traditional news industry to develop innovative ways to combat the information crisis.

The report calls on the Government to mobilise and coordinate an integrated, new programme in media literacy. This should focus on children in schools – for example, a compulsory media literacy module in citizenship classes – but also on adults in further and vocational education.

The report also addresses the recent problems around media and elections in the UK. It recommends that Parliament urgently brings forward legislation to introduce a statutory code on political advertising, as recommended by the Information Commissioner.

The central message from this report is that the information crisis is causing real problems – in health for example, as well as politics. Any approach to deal with it must be structural because this is a systematic problem that needs a coordinated, comprehensive response.

This is a rapidly evolving set of issues so any policies must also be flexible. Above all, they must avoid causing any damage to the diversity and openness of debate and freedom of expression.

Prof Charlie Beckett, Director of the LSE Truth, Trust and Technology Commission

The LSE T3 Commission will continue its work on this and welcomes your input.

You can access the background papers and a range of online resources at our website.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #LSEt3

There will be a public event to discuss the report on Tuesday 20th November at the LSE

US MIDTERMS – Recounts, The Florida Problem And Media Role

|JON ALLSOP, CJR|AIWA! NO!|News anchors said those words on election night in 2000, as networks reversed their early call that the Democratic presidential candidate, Al Gore, would carry the state of Florida and thus the White House. They could have been speaking this week. Florida once again finds itself in tense recount territory, with three statewide races, including crucial Senate and gubernatorial contests, yet to be called a full week after residents went to the polls. This time, doubt has been cast on apparent Republican victories: for Rick Scott in the US Senate race, and for Ron DeSantis in the battle to succeed Scott as governor.
 
GOP operatives have aggressively pushed the message that their candidates have won—just as they did in 2000. “The effort that Mr. Scott and Republican allies are waging today is strikingly similar to [the] multifront war in 2000 led by the George W. Bush campaign and an army of party consultants,” Jeremy W. Peters and Maggie Haberman write in The New York Times. Among other similarities, “surrogates for the Republican candidate are holding news conference calls with journalists and sitting for interviews on cable, blaming the Democrats for tarnishing the integrity of the electoral process.”
 
The press is used to partisan warring over recount narratives. But our current media climate is very different to 2000. In the past two years, in particular, baseless claims of widespread voter fraud have become a common right-wing trope, percolating into mainstream discourse via coordinated online campaigns. In the run-up to the midterms, hackneyed conspiracies—that Democrats would bus in illegal immigrants to vote, for instance, or that George Soros funds voting machines—swirled on social media. This past week, they’ve crystallized into more specific lies. Far-right internet personalities and trolls have claimed (with varying degrees of embellishment) that crooked Florida election officials have magicked up boxes of Democratic votes since polling day, among other dirty tricks.
 
Recounts have always posed a problem for 24-hour news cycles. They become big stories because of their uncertainty, but uncertainty means a paucity of hard facts. TV news shows, in particular, thus have to find something else to fill their airtime. Centering the spin of establishment politicians is bad enough. This time, outlets have also had to contend with the incendiary interventions of President Trump, whose tweets accusing Democrats of trying to “STEAL” the Florida elections through “massively infected” ballots themselves reflect online conspiracy theories, as BuzzFeed’s Jane Lytvynenko and Kevin Collier show.
 
As the Florida recount has ground slowly on, media organizations have done a progressively better job of using the wait time to contextualize and debunk baseless rhetoric. (Some, like BuzzFeed, have cited reputable studies showing US voter fraud in general to be “vanishingly rare.”) Nonetheless—as with so much that Trump gives a megaphone—the media as a whole has yet to find a consistent, foolproof way of reporting the president’s falsehoods and unproven allegations without lending them an air of credibility. Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale flagged a series of headlines and tweets that gave oxygen to Trump’s charges. After ABC News tweeted Trump’s “massively infected” line, Dale responded: “Three years into the Trump era, mainstream media outlets continue to blast out his lies to millions of people without pointing out they’re not true.”
 
Below, more on the still-not-finished midterm elections:

  • Unprecedented in recent history: The Tampa Bay Times’ Kirby Wilson wraps some useful context around the Florida recounts, which experts say are unlikely to reverse the results. Of the 26 statewide elections to go to a recount since 2000, only three have flipped, and those races all involved finer margins to begin with.
     
  • Old news! Donald Trump, Jr., got in on the misinformation act in memorable fashion yesterday, tweeting an article from NBC Miami that he said showed 200,000 Florida voters may not be US citizens. A note editors appended to the original article yesterday speaks for itself: “This story was published in May 2012. The initial list of 180,000 names was whittled to 2,625, according to the Florida Department of State… An Aug. 1, 2012, state elections document showed only 85 noncitizens were ultimately removed from the rolls out of a total of about 12 million voters at that time.”
     
  • Wave new world: A week on from the midterms, commentators still can’t decide whether the results qualify as a “blue wave” or not. The AP’s Steve Peoples comes down on the “not” side; but, he writes, “a week after the voting, Democrats are riding higher than they thought on election night.”
     
  • Meanwhile, in Arizona: Democratic optimism was further fueled by yesterday’s news out of Arizona, where Kyrsten Sinema was finally confirmed as the state’s new senator, beating out Republican Martha McSally. The drawn-out count was calmer than in Florida, despite Trump’s attempts to undermine it. Over the weekend, Arizona’s Republican secretary of state even published a blog post explaining the delay.
     
  • “A dangerous problem”: The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan says the media’s rush for firm electoral conclusions does more harm than good. “By giving in to the impulse to analyze immediately, journalists and pundits feed the notion that the election should be over on election night,” she writes. “Hard as it is to do—or even consider—in our crazily speeded-up news environment, there’s only one lesson for the media from the past week: Slow the hell down.”
     
  • Doing it all again: Tonight, CNN will broadcast a second election-night special (one week after its first) to update viewers on the shifting midterms picture.