Friday News: Publishing and politics
Book Publishers Scramble to Make Sense of Trump’s Rise to Victory – We talk a lot about what direction publishers are taking, especially traditional publishers, and for the next months, at least, one significant focus may be politics. This isn’t surprising, of course, because commercial publishers are always engaged in capitalizing on a popular trend or issue. And elections are big business, even for publishers. Still, the recent U.S. presidential election was hardly routine, and it’s going to be interesting to see what is published and what sells in its aftermath.
“People are curious, and people are baffled, and from the point of view of a publisher that’s both an opportunity and a hurdle, because you need to find a way to explain what happened,” said Peter Osnos, founder of the publishing imprint PublicAffairs, who has worked on books by Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. “The big question is who will emerge with something that’s compelling, original, revelatory and provocative.” – New York Times
Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say – I personally think the mainstream U.S. media had a huge influence on the election results, but this article is interesting because it takes another look at the way social media and has changed the way people consume information, and in particular the way significant numbers of people can easily be manipulated into believing false news stories, and the often blurred lines between news and propaganda. Combined with nationalistic arrogance, the combination can be potent and even more problematic when you think about how publishing is now revving up to profit off the current political landscape.
Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. The sophistication of the Russian tactics may complicate efforts by Facebook and Google to crack down on “fake news,” as they have vowed to do after widespread complaints about the problem. . . .
Putin, a former KGB officer, announced his desire to “break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams” during a 2013 visit to the broadcast center for RT, formerly known as Russia Today.
“For them, it’s actually a real war, an ideological war, this clash between two systems,” said Sufian Zhemukhov, a former Russian journalist conducting research at GWU. “In their minds, they’re just trying to do what the West does to Russia.” – Washington Post
New book shows how ‘The Daily Show’ redefined the news – As much as I love The Daily Show, should we really be celebrating the idea that a stand up comic is credited with transforming mainstream news, even becoming a “primary news source” for people? I know that many people do not see a strong link between writing and publishing books and politics, but when readers (audiences) are consuming information in a variety of ways, that cannot help but have an effect on what they want to read, how they read, and how they interpret what they read. And that’s something that needs thoughtful consideration and discussion.
It was Jon Stewart who took a basic-cable comedy, half-hour spoof of the news and turned it into a progressive, powerful and highly influential voice in American culture. The show won 23 Emmys during his tenure, was voted one of Time magazine’s 100 best TV shows of all time, and, for many viewers, became a primary news source. . . .
But The Daily Show (The Book) does deftly recount the way Stewart’s sensibilities, political realities (and unrealities), defining events like 9/11, advances in technology and changes in the television news landscape moved the show from spectator to player. And Stewart from “a struggling standup comic who was one strike away from getting kicked out of show business to the host of one of the smartest and most satirical shows of the era.” – USA Today
Reddit CEO in whole heap of trouble with users of popular Trump subreddit – Oh, this is rich. The CEO of Reddit edits “abusive” messages directed at him after a thread focused on particularly disgusting fake news story was shut down with the message “this community is banned.” Consistently at the center of an ongoing discussion about free speech and harassment, Reddit can reflect the best and the worst of online engagement. And as this story demonstrates, it’s easiest to defend free speech when the worst of it isn’t being directed at you.
The CEO apparently decided he wasn’t going to take matters lying down. On Thursday afternoon, a moderator for “r/The Donald” alerted users to the fact their posts had been changed. All the abusive posts directed at Huffman had allegedly been modified to include the names of the moderators of the Trump forum, bouncing the expletives back to them.
The moderator turned out to be correct. Huffman replied within the same thread admitting that he had, in fact, changed the vitriolic messages. Expressing regret for his behavior, Huffman stated the following in his comment: “As much as we try to maintain a good relationship with you all, it does get old getting called a pedophile constantly. As the CEO, I shouldn’t play such games, and it’s all fixed now. Our community team is pretty pissed at me, so I most assuredly won’t do this again.” – Digital Trends