Category Archives: Media Issues

What Facebook’s New Political Ad System Misses

Facebook announced a new system to make political ads more transparent. It’s got holes.

By Jeremy B. MerrillAriana Tobin, and Madeleine Varner. Published 5-24-2018 by ProPublica.

Screenshot: Bloomberg

Facebook’s long-awaited change in how it handles political advertisements is only a first step toward addressing a problem intrinsic to a social network built on the viral sharing of user posts.

The company’s approach, a searchable database of political ads and their sponsors, depends on the company’s ability to sort through huge quantities of ads and identify which ones are political. Facebook is betting that a combination of voluntary disclosure and review by both people and automated systems will close a vulnerability that was famously exploited by Russian meddlers in the 2016 election.

The company is doubling down on tactics that so far have not prevented the proliferation of hate-filled posts or ads that use Facebook’s capability to target ads particular groups. Continue reading

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‘This Is Not Ok’: Guard Shoves Reporter as EPA Bars Multiple News Outlets From Water Pollution Event

“When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2018

Scott Pruitt press conference. Screenshot: C-SPAN

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked reporters from CNNE&E News, and the Associated Press from attending a summit about water pollution on Tuesday, and a security guard reportedly grabbed a journalist by the shoulders and “forcibly” shoved her out of the building.

“Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building,” the AP said Tuesday. Continue reading

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Defenders of Open Internet Deliver ‘Historic Win’ as Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality

“The fight ahead is not going to be easy, but victory is within reach.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-16-2018

“Today the Senate has taken a giant step toward unwinding the least-popular policy decision in the history of the FCC,” Free Press President Craig Aaron said in a statement. (Photo: Free Press/Twitter)

The open internet scored a huge victory on Wednesday, but you wouldn’t know it by watching America’s major corporate television networks.

Thanks to weeks of sustained grassroots pressure in the form of 16 million emails, over a million phone calls, and nationwide demonstrations both online and off, three Republicans voted with the Senate Democratic caucus on Wednesday to block the GOP-controlled FCC’s net neutrality repeal, clearing a crucial hurdle on the path to saving the web from the greed of the telecom industry. Continue reading

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‘Authoritarian Impulses’: Trump Suggests Stripping Reporters’ Credentials Over ‘Negative’ Coverage

“I always thought of authoritarianism as a slick and stealthy evil, but our democracy appears to be going down via temper tantrum,” remarked one journalist

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-9-2018

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a briefing. Screenshot: C-SPAN

While U.S. press freedom continues to decline, “media-bashing enthusiast” President Donald Trump reiterated his hostility toward journalists who critically cover his administration on Wednesday, provoking a new wave of warnings from reporters and and supporters of the First Amendment.

Trump suggested that all “negative” reports should be classified as “fake” and the journalists who produce those reports should have their “credentials” revoked. He tweeted:

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‘Red Alert for Net Neutrality’ Gains Steam as Internet Heavyweights Back Campaign

“We will finally force lawmakers to let us know if they stand with the 85 percent of Americans who support net neutrality—or with the cable companies that want to manipulate the internet in service of greater profits.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-3-2018

Momentum is building as open internet advocates and internet companies urge senators to overrule the FCC’s unpopular repeal of net neutrality rules. (Photo: Free Press/Flickr/cc)

In less than a week, senators will be able to officially voice their support for overruling the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) December ruling on net neutrality—and momentum was building among advocates and internet companies on Thursday ahead of a huge online demonstration to push lawmakers to reverse the FCC’s decision.


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Police Unleash ‘Brutal Attacks’ on Austerity Protesters in Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico

While “inhumane and strikingly antidemocratic” budget cuts are imposed on the U.S. territory, outrage after law enforcement used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up May Day demonstrations

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-2-2018

Police in Puerto Rico use tear gas on a May Day protester on May 1, 2018. (Photo: @JessedHagopian/Twitter)

Police in Puerto Rico deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets to shut down May Day protests as thousands of people took to the streets of the U.S. territory, which is still battling the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria—and a debt crisis that preceded the storm.

While people worldwide demonstrated Tuesday to demand improved labor conditions on International Workers Day, Puerto Ricans also turned out to protest the Trump administration’s failed response to the humanitarian crisis that followed the hurricane as well as austerity measures imposed by the federal government both before and after the storm struck last September. Continue reading

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Sinclair Broadcasting Airs Allied Progress Ad – Between Attacks on the Group

Sinclair: “We hope you won’t buy into the hysteria and hype.”

By CommonDreams. Published 4-8-2018

Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to air a commercial from a progressive watchdog that’s critical of the broadcaster’s actions.

But Allied Progress called foul Sunday.

Sinclair began running the 30-second spot with a 15-second defense of Sinclair, followed by the Allied Progress 30-second ad, and then another 15-second of Sinclair’s voiceover: “The misleading ad you just saw focused on a brief promotional message that simply said we’re a source for truthful news. It ignored thousands of hours of local news we produce each year to keep you informed. The ad was purchased by a group known for its liberal bias, and we hope you won’t buy into the hysteria and hype.” Continue reading

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Israeli Sniper Targets, Kills Journalist in “PRESS” Vest

Corbyn: “The silence from international powers with the responsibility of bringing a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict must end.”

By CommonDreams. Published 4-7-2018

Sources in Gaza have confirmed that journalist Yaser Murtaja has died after being shot in the abdomen by an Israeli sniper while covering the protests. He was clearly wearing a vest that identified him as press.

Yaser Murtaja, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media, was wearing a “PRESS” flak jacket as he was shot by an Israeli sniper Friday. He died of his injuries in a hospital on Saturday.

The 30-year-old journalist was one of nine people killed and more than 1,000 injured by Israeli troops Friday on the Gaza border.

Thousands of Palestinians continued “The Great March of Return,” the week-long protest on Friday, demanding the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families were driven out when Israel was created. Continue reading

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#DeleteFacebook? Not in Indian Country

The social network has done more for bolstering the modern Indigenous rights agenda than perhaps any other platform of our time.

By . Published 3-23-2018 by YES! Magazine

“It’s not just Indian Country that would feel the extreme disconnect in a Facebook-less scenario. The entire Indigenous world would reel from its absence.” Photo: Sacred Stone Camp/Facebook

In the last 48 hours, I’ve seen several people turn to one social network, Twitter, to vent their frustrations about another one: Facebook.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from over 50 million Facebook profiles were secretly mined for voter insights, it sparked what some have called a #DeleteFacebook movement.

But not in Indian Country. Continue reading

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Internal Memo Shows Sinclair Threatening Employees to Keep Mouths Shut About ‘Must-Read’ Scripts

“Everything Sinclair gives us or forces upon us is met with uproar, but we have no choice,” one employee said

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-4-2018

“The new scripted ‘fake news’ segment caused a lot of anguish where I work,” one Sinclair journalist told the Huffington Post. (Screenshot: Deadspin.com)

Sinclair Broadcast Group really doesn’t want its employees talking to the press about the Trumpian “fake news” script it has recently been forcing local news anchors to recite.

This was made clear by a memo warning staff at the Sinclair-owned station KATU in Portland, Oregon that “giving statements to the media or sharing negative information about the company can have huge implications.” Continue reading

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