July 13, 2016

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So mainstream media, which is terminally anxious about missing trends big or small, or looking un-cool, is overdosing on Pokemon Go. Nintendo doesn’t need a marketing department, given all the free advertising. “Pokemon Go has taken over the world.” (USA Today) “Nintendo Adds $7 Billion as Pokemon Go Marks Surprise Hit.” (Bloomberg) “What Is Really Behind the Pokemon Go Craze?” (The Washington Post) “Pokemon Go Brings Augmented Reality to Mass Audience.” (The New York Times)

There was much more. Much. “Pokemon Go Will Make You Crave Augmented Reality.” (The New Yorker) “Pokemon Go Is Pushing Gaming Into the Outside World — and All the Dangers In It” (Slate) “Pokemon Go: Everything you need to know to catch ’em all.” (The Verge) “What journalists can learn from Pokemon Go.”(Poynter) And, no joke, “Sen. Al Franken questions Niantic over Poképrivacy policy.” (TechCrunch)

Desirous for proper context, there are only two places to go: Wikipedia or The Onion. Well, that means only one place. So The Onion explains it all:

What is the object of Pokémon Go?

To collect as much personal data for Nintendo as possible.

Where can you play Pokémon Go?

In any society in which the problems of day-to-day survival have been adequately solved to allow the concept of unfocused activity, or “leisure,” to develop.

What are Pokémon?

This is not for you.

How do you catch a Pokémon?

Spend months building a personal connection before luring it away from its family.

What happens after I capture a Pokémon?

The Pokémon will emit a deep, mournful moan as it begins to experience an overwhelming longing for freedom.

Profile in courage

I’d figured that the line would stretch from Fox News headquarters to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with Roger Ailes underlings waiting to suck up to the boss — I mean valiantly support him — and perhaps volunteer to be deposed in the sex harassment suit brought against him by Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox host.

Now comes a tweet from Geraldo Rivera: “I’ve known him 40 years. He’s about as flirty as the grizzly in #TheRevenant. I stand with Roger Ailes.” (@GeraldoRivera) Carlson reiterated the substance of her suit in her first interview, which included her account of the meeting in which she was dumped. She said ratings were never brought up (Ailes suggests that was a primary reason) and that “It was cold and calculating. It took 30 seconds, there was no ‘Thank you for your service of 11 years,’ and there was absolutely no discussion of ratings.” (The New York Times)

Google-LinkedIn real estate deal

As part of a swap, Google gets LinkedIn’s Mountain View, California headquarters office “and –— far more critical for the internet giant — four different surrounding properties that enable Google to follow through on its ambitious plan for a new, green, crazy-futurist campus.” (Recode) Google proposed the “crazy-futurist” campus initially “but LinkedIn spoiled the fun: Mountain View’s city council voted last May to cede the property to LinkedIn, blocking Google’s grand vision.” Now there’s a deal.

Don Lemon emotes

CNN’s Lemon segued from pundit to host after President Obama’s powerful Dallas speech. Asked by Wolf Blitzer for his thoughts, he suggested that the media could help improve matters by not being so reliant on ideologically based rhetorical dueling between folks on extremes. “Every time we retreat to talking points, left and right, that inhibits conversation,” he said. Sincerity mixed with irony since where would cable news be without its Left vs. Right paradigm of dealing with most issues? Well, Lemon then found himself briefly hosting and concluding that stint by turning to the camera and declaring to viewers, “I hope you took his speech to heart, and I hope that everyone is asking for a new heart and we try to do things differently, in a better way…We’re all Americans.” (Poynter)

“Big media’s ‘Death Star’ strategy”

“In 2016, big media is beginning to look like Star Wars’ Galactic Empire. Rather than try something new, most incumbents are focused on doing the same thing they’ve always done, just bigger. Scale matters, but it wasn’t sufficient to stop the Rebel Alliance. Hollywood should take note.” (REDEF)

Checking out those Amazon deals

CNBC did a bit of online perusing and concluded that after grousing by consumers that its first Prime Day was uninspired, the retailer’s second try yesterday was “embracing all things weird.” Yes, it offered deals on popular items, like televisions, but “it also included things like beard oil and light bulbs. The retailer even had a page of deals called ‘Weird and Wonderful,’ where it touted such items as LED flashing finger gloves and adult-size animal costume pajamas.” (CNBC)

And Amazon’s new paid audio service…

It just pulled Channels, a short-form audience subscription service packaged with its Audible book app, out of beta. It’s $4.95 if you don’t already having Audible and don’t care for the books. It’s started with four offerings: “an interview show featuring writer Ashley Ford called Authorized; a texture-driven documentary series about New York City called Mortal City that, quite frankly, is more than a little reminiscent of Radio Diaries; a Mary Roach-esque narrative show featuring stories about the human breast by writer Florence Williams called Breasts Unbound; and another narrative show that serves quirky stories about American presidents hosted by historian Alexis Coe and comedian Elliott Kalan called Presidents Are People Too! — along with the teaser for an upcoming project called The Butterfly Effect, which will feature the offbeat stylings of author and occasional This American Life contributor Jon Ronson.” (Hot Pod)

New press freedom advocates

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is a very solid group, and its steering committee elected as chair David Boardman, dean of the Temple University School of Media and Communication. Also elected to positions were Tony Mauro of National Law Journal, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and National Geographic editor Susan Goldberg. (RCFP)

“Dystopian Hell”

Headline of the day: “Is Backpage.com a Champion of Web Freedoms or a ‘Dystopian Hell’?” Not knowing, I read how “Authorities in Stillwater, Minn., have rescued five sex-trafficking victims aged 13 through 17 in recent months by combing through classified ads for ‘escorts’ on Backpage.com.” Clues in ad included teddy bears and stuffed animals.

In fending off legal attacks, Backpage has found allies “among major internet associations and tech companies that worry legal and legislative challenges to the site could breach their own protections.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Going heavy on swing state polls

Obsession with the presidential campaign as “horse race” was vivid on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning as Joe Scarborough and mates underscored seeming Donald Trump strength in key states. Political scientists may warn that it’s still way early and you’d best wait until at least both party conventions are over. But the press can’t help itself and polls show Trump leading Hillary Clinton in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa, with the two tied in Ohio.

CNN started the day with thoughtful discussion of issues of race and policing in the wake of President Obama’s speech at the Dallas police memorial Tuesday (it waited a bit before immersed in polling, too). CNN is getting into action tonight with a “Black, White & Blue” town hall hosted by Don Lemon, meaning a countdown clock is back after only briefly retired following a Paul Ryan town hall last night hosted by Jake Tapper. (CNN) Meanwhile, “Fox & Friends” heralded National French Fry Day, suggested that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence may well be Trump’s running mate and interviewed Dan Silva, the best-selling author (and a former CNN producer long ago) whose new best-seller, “The Black Widow,” includes an ISIS bombing in Paris that he conceived a year ago.

Somewhat short of definitive

“Here are some facts that don’t necessarily add up to anything concrete but do provide us with an excuse to do a post about Newt ‘The Newt Man’ Gingrich.” (Slate) It concludes, “So there you have it! Newt ‘Big Newt’ Gingrich may or may not be announced as Donald Trump’s running mate on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.”

Corrections? Tips? Please email me: jwarren@poynter.org. Would you like to get this roundup emailed to you every morning? Sign up here.

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New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S.…
James Warren

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