How The New York Times fact-checked Trump in real time
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But will it ultimately matter?
The power of a print bastion gone digital was vivid yesterday as The New York Times did a fast, comprehensive job assessing Trump's much-touted Hillary Clinton attack speech. Yes, social media brings tweets here or there about a politician's dubious comment or outright lie. But this was the quick, hefty work product of five reporters and came flying out of the gate not long after Trump was done. (The New York Times) For example:
"Mr. Trump defended his business record, recalling that he began his career in Brooklyn with a small loan and built a business worth more than $10 billion. 'I have always had a talent for building businesses and, importantly, creating jobs,' he said. 'That is a talent our country desperately needs.'
Fact Check: This substantially understates the financial assistance that Mr. Trump received from his father, Fred, a major real estate developer in New York City. The decades-old 'loan' was for $1 million, a handsome sum that is by no means 'small.' But the elder Mr. Trump did not stop there: He handed his son control of a large company with significant property holdings across the city, whose substantial value is difficult to quantify or overstate. Without this leg up, it’s unclear whether Mr. Trump could have built the business empire that he has."
There were a bunch of other examples. Yes, MSNBC quickly noted a Trump distortion on Hillary Clinton sleeping through key moments of the Benghazi tragedy. But if only television had the reflexive will (and staffing) to be as comprehensive as The Times in as expeditious a fashion each and every day. After all, they do have rather healthier profit margins than the paper.
Alas, reliance on punditry is cheaper and more entertaining. And, come to think of it, one can't be sure how many people are actually moved by facts these days.
Don Corleone would be proud
Palantir Technologies, a somewhat secretive data-mining enterprise co-founded by the same billionaire (Peter Thiel) who backs the Hulk Hogan suit against Gawker, "is using a stock purchase offer to keep former employees on a tight leash." (BuzzFeed) It's announced it will buy up to $225 million of its common stock from current and former employees. But there are qualifiers, including a provision that bars them from talking to the press. "If they get any inquiries about Palantir from reporters, the contract says, they must immediately notify Palantir and then email the company a copy of the inquiry within three business days."
C-SPAN proves indefatigable
"I was asked if this was just a publicity stunt," Rep. John Garamendi of California was saying at 6 a.m. Eastern today on the U.S. House floor amid what proved a night-long, richly unruly Democratic protest on gun control in which Republican Speaker Paul Ryan was like a furious parent trying unsuccessfully to order his kids to bed in the middle of the night. Yes, it was about publicity, namely over gun control.
The Democrats began at 11:25 a.m. Wednesday to underscore anger with the ruling Republicans over gun control. Notably, C-SPAN wasn't using the normal House cameras, which the majority controls but live-streaming via a member's smartphone since the majority had cut the normal TV feed. "HOUSE HAS ADJOURNED," said a chyron. "HOUSE CAMERAS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SHOW SIT-IN....LIVE Facebook Video from Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX)."
Over at Fox this morning, it was "CAPITOL HILL CHAOS." CNN DECLARED, "DEMS CONTINUE GUN VOTE PROTEST AFTER HOUSE ADJOURNS." As CNN's Mark Preston noted, it was the House acting like the Senate, where the minority can routinely stage such protests via filibusters. The House doesn't work that way, with the rules rigged for the majority's procedural dominance. As for those cameras, it's the way the game's played.
The majority party turns the C-SPAN cameras off as soon as a session is adjourned. Yesterday Democrats began the symbolic sit-in protest because the GOP leadership wouldn't allow them to bring up gun control legislation. Bingo, the cameras went off — but not C-SPAN coverage.
The network relied on social media, including a California congressman using the Periscope app, to offer ongoing live video. Had this happened before? Yes, in various ways, as explained to me by Robert Browning, a Purdue University professor and C-SPAN's official historian (Brian Lamb, the network's founder, is a diehard Hoosier and its video archives are housed at Purdue). (Poynter)
Cheddar boss on a media Big Cheese's move
Jon Steinberg was an important early BuzzFeed executive and a former CEO of The Daily Mail US who's now overseeing Cheddar, a startup meant to be a looser, quasi-CNBC for millennials that's just begun live-streaming on Facebook Live and Cheddar.com. (Poynter) Speaking of Facebook, what about its paying more than $50 million to about 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its live-streaming service as it seeks big ad dollars? "This is great," Steinberg says. "It's the model of carriers paying affiliate fees for content. It's disruptive to existing cable channels and the revenue model for media companies of the future."
Snapchat in Cannes
In case you weren't invited, "This week is the Cannes Lions ad festival, which means everybody who is anybody in the ad world is spending the week drinking rosé and/or partying on a yacht in the south of France." (Recode) As one might figure, the bigshots, such as Facebook and Twitter, choose giant beach-side cabanas for their sales sessions. Or they lease yachts or rent floors at a hotel. But Snapchat and CEO Evan Spiegel "are just as private and secretive in France as they are in California, apparently." This offers dramatic (not) photos of its meeting space, "which is blocked by high shrubs, multiple security guards and a big, black gate." Fine. But it seems to fall short of Osama bin Laden-like seclusion.
A snappy tweet
"GOP ad exec Lionel Sosa can't vote Trump: 'I may just go for the devil we know instead of the lunatic we don’t know'" (@rickdunham)
Candid Camera with an edge
"As they shouted 'I want to commit suicide, I want to set myself ablaze,' two young men set fire to themselves in central Gaza City June 6, in protest against the poor living conditions and economic hardship they face." (Al Monitor)
The punch line? The incident was part of a sketch by "comedians Momen Shwaikh from the Shajaiya refugee camp and Thaer Abu Zubaydah from Bureij camp filmed with a hidden camera for a TV show called 'Tawel Balak' ('Take It Easy'). "Over the last five years, thousands of Gazans have been watching the TV show, which is written and presented by Shwaikh and produced by Palestinian TV channel Alkitab. The show aims to address many of the issues and problems facing the Palestinian community in Gaza through satire."
Bill Simmons premieres on HBO
Simmons is a solid sports reporter who gained TV- and ESPN-fueled celebrity despite not being especially effective on TV. Now he's got a new HBO show that began last night and already had drawn pre-inaugural qualms. One critic, assessing Simmons' podcasts, suspects it will prove to be a logical extension of an allegedly unfortunate metamorphosis of Simmons: "Opinion decoupled from argument, the conversation replaced by a sermon. ...There's nothing novel in navel-gazing." (The Week)
Bloomberg's Brexit Poll Tracker
"Polls are never perfect, and recent history has cast even more doubt on their reliability." (Bloomberg). You got that right! It offers a chart that "aggregates all public surveys and attempts to address their shortcomings, with greater emphasis given to pollsters who were most accurate in the past. Where they all agree: It's too close to call, with the still-undecided voters likely to determine whether Britain will leave or remain." There was lots of media coverage this morning of today's vote.
Perils of health reporting
Here's one take from Vox:
-Journalists don’t have access to research that’s languishing behind paywalls.
-Hype in science is on the rise, which makes journalists’ jobs extra challenging. We’re often misled by press releases trumpeting the latest findings and don’t know how to check it against the best evidence.
-Some of us don’t know what systematic reviews are.
-Research is messy and fraught, and wading through evidence is difficult and takes time — time we don’t always have under daily deadlines and in media environments that place a lot of value on immediacy. (Vox)
It was partly about "branding" on "Morning Joe" this morning amid discussion, led by ad executive Donny Deutsch, about how Trump and Clinton will portray the other in simple terms. Joe Scarborough, the host, figures that when it comes to portraying Trump, "You want people to think it's too dangerous to take that chance." As for Hillary, the quickie characterization would be, "She's too corrupt to trust with the presidency of the United States." Yes, it could be what Deutsch labeled the campaign's "gestalt," which is something made up of many parts but perceived as one.
I love purported lifestyle trend stories. Today brings "How Norway is changing the way we drink coffee." (CNN) It has something to do with a lighter roast and secrets of brewing good coffee at home. "Norwegians get through 7.2 kilograms of coffee per person per year — making them the world's biggest consumers of the dark stuff after their neighbors in Finland. And like most international ills, you can blame this on us. "Coffee drinking flourished in Norway when the country began trading its plentiful fish supplies for American beans in the 1800s."