Tag Archives | newspapers

Koch Brothers Set To Buy Major Newspapers

koch brothers exposedCharles and David Koch, the billionaires who own companies like Georgia Pacific and bring you products like Brawny paper towels, are notorious for their singularly harsh vision for a more conservative America, with the Tea Party movement their most visible political mouthpiece. Both they and the Tea Party movement have been largely pigeon-holed as extreme and outside the mainstream by the media (Fox News excepted, of course), so now they are looking to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.

In case you’ve forgotten just how mean the Kochs’ vision for America is for the average American, check out the powerful documentary Koch Brothers Exposed. The New York Times has the story on the planned newspaper acquisitions:

Three years ago, Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and supporters of libertarian causes, held a seminar of like-minded, wealthy political donors at the St.

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NewsDiffs Shows Changes Made to New York Times Articles After They’re Published

SOA Watch

In the first ever disinformation anthology, You Are Being Lied To, Russ Kick examined the suspicious number of changes the Associated Press makes to its articles after first publication. Now NewsDiffs, a project made at the Knight Mozilla MIT hackathon, tracks changes in the New York Times using Github. Adrianne Jeffries reports for BetaBeat:

Back in October, the New York Times made substantial changes to a report about Occupy Wall Street protesters marching over the Brooklyn Bridge. Version one opened with: “After allowing them onto the bridge, the police cut off and arrested dozens of demonstrators.” Version two, edited just 20 minutes later, opened: “In a tense showdown above the East River, the police arrested more than 700 demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street protests who took to the roadway as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday afternoon.”

The major changes drew criticism, as the question of whether the police had allowed the marchers onto the bridge was central to hundreds of disorderly conduct charges.

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The Non-Verbal Newspaper

edmonton_20In 1977, Swiss graphic designer Hans-Rudolf Lutz conducted an interesting experiment by stripping all language from a daily newspaper — I’d like to try this process with some contemporary publications:

This book consists of an inventory of all the non-verbal information contained in a daily newspaper. All of the words have been cut out of the Edmonton Journal of 16 August 1977 (the day on which Elvis Presley died). How do we ‘read’ pictures with no verbal context or information? What is the informative value of typographical structures and orders when stripped of meaning? The visual material in this publication provides a basis for the debate on these questions.

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Newspapers To Disappear By 2040?

ALeqM5iAPPYRjlbQRCvzYsPh4kFxa2Ro4wTaking, for example, the New York Times’ inability or unwillingness to properly cover the Occupy Wall Street protests, maybe this news isn’t all that bad. AFP reports:

Newspapers will disappear and be replaced by digital versions by 2040, the UN intellectual property agency’s chief said in an interview published on Monday.

Francis Gurry, who heads the World Intellectual Property Organisation told the daily La Tribune de Geneve that “in a few years, there will no longer be printed newspapers as we know it today.”

“It’s an evolution. There’s no good or bad about it. There are studies showing that they will disappear by 2040. In the United States, it will end in 2017,” he said.

Gurry noted that in the United States there are already more digital copies sold than paper copies of newspapers. In cities, there are also fewer bookshops.

A key problem is the revenue system.

“How can editors find revenues to pay those who write these articles?” asked Gurry, noting that “the copyright system must be safeguarded as a mechanism to pay these writers.”

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Yesterday’s News Could Be Tomorrow’s Fuel

800px-World_newspapers_Everyday millions of newspapers are read and then throw out or, hopefully, recycled. Instead of turning those papers into other paper products, they may be able to be used for fuel. Via Discovery News:

Tulane University scientists discovered a strain of clostridia bacteria, dubbed “TU-103,” that can devour old newspapers to produce butanol, a substitute for gasoline.

Old editions of the Times Picayune, New Orleans’ daily newspaper, have been successfully used by the researchers to produce butanol from the cellulose in the paper. Cellulose is a structural material in plants.

TU-103 is the first bacterial strain found in nature (not genetically engineered) to produce butanol directly from cellulose. It is also the only strain yet found that can grow in the presence of oxygen. Keeping bacterial fermentation chambers air tight makes other strains more expensive to work with.

“This discovery could reduce the cost to produce bio-butanol,” said David Mullin, who’s lab discovered the bacterial strain, in a Tulane press release.

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Which ‘Expert’ Pundits Make Accurate Predictions?

W&WWondering which political pundits are actually smart and which are full of hot air? Now we know (maybe).

The New York Times‘s Paul Krugman is a modern-day Nostradamus — his predictions (usually concerning the economy) almost always come true. At the other end of the spectrum, if mustachioed conservative columnist and Fox News “expert” Cal Thomas says something is going to happen, it is almost certain that the opposite will occur. All this is thanks to a study concocted at Hamilton College:

Op-ed columnists and TV’s talking heads build followings by making bold, confident predictions about politics and the economy. But rarely are their predictions analyzed for accuracy.

Now, five Hamilton College seniors led by public policy professor P. Gary Wyckoff have analyzed the predictions of 26 prognosticators, sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major print media and who appeared on the three major Sunday news shows – Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week – and evaluated the accuracy of 472 predictions made during the 16-month period.

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NY Times, Guardian Newspapers Analyze Their Coverage Of WikiLeaks

nyt mag assangeThis past weekend saw some major introspection by the newspapers that led the mainstream media’s dissemination of the U.S. diplomatic cables provided by WikiLeaks. In the New York Times Magazine, Executive Editor Bill Keller led with a cover article detailing how little they liked or trusted Julian Assange — but worked with him anyway. Describing the visible change in Assange as his media stardom blossomed, Keller writes:

Assange was transformed by his outlaw celebrity. The derelict with the backpack and the sagging socks now wore his hair dyed and styled, and he favored fashionably skinny suits and ties. He became a kind of cult figure for the European young and leftish and was evidently a magnet for women. …I came to think of Julian Assange as a character from a Stieg Larsson thriller — a man who could figure either as hero or villain in one of the megaselling Swedish novels that mix hacker counterculture, high-level conspiracy and sex as both recreation and violation.

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America’s 30 Hackiest Political Pundits

friedman07Salon’s War Room has unveiled the Hack Thirty, counting down America’s worst political columnists and television pundits, with representative quotes of their most dismal work. The focus isn’t on obviously-partisan loons such as Glenn Beck; rather it’s on “respectable” and “moderate” writers and cable news commentators who use their enviable positions to spout banalities, unthinkingly regurgitate accepted wisdom, and bow down to those in power. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman comes in at No. 3:

Thomas Friedman is an environmentalist, now. When he’s not jetting around the world on the literally unlimited expense account his money-bleeding newspaper provides him, pondering KFC billboards he spots outside the windows of gleaming office towers in Delhi — or when he’s not lounging beside the pool at his absurd home — the second-most-influential business thinker in the country is worrying about carbon emissions. Which is, I freely admit, a nice change of pace from back when he was telling the world that the invasion and occupation of Iraq would lead to a glorious new dawn of freedom/democracy/whiskey/iPods/Old Navy in the Middle East as a whole.

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Gruesome Murder Pamphlets From Pre-Civil War America

cannon2People had a thirst for blood-drenched, depraved news long before there was a New York Post or British Mirror or Sun to provide it each morning. The National Library of Medicine has published online a collection of murder pamphlets from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. The brochures were sold on street corners and detailed the latest gristly crimes. Today they shed a light on villains from the dark underbelly U.S. history, such as Lucretia Cannon, circa 1841:

Cannon’s first name was Patty, but the press nicknamed her Lucretia after the Renaissance aristocrat who murdered her victims with poison. At 16, “Lucretia” married Alonzo Cannon, who died suspiciously of “failing health.” Widowed, she set up a tavern in Maryland, and headed up a gang which captured free blacks and fugitive slaves and sold them into slavery. She was alleged to have beaten a crying infant and then burned it alive; murdered tavern patrons for their money (one man was stabbed and stuffed into a trunk which her accomplices disposed of); killed a slaver by crushing his head in order to steal his two slaves.

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