June 18, 2015

Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes

Could 2016 mark the end of Fox News as we know it? Its chairman, Roger Ailes, a man so powerful, as Gabriel Sherman puts it, “that he has been able to run a right-wing political operation under the auspices of a news channel,” appears to be struggling. At the Daily Intelligencer, Sherman gives an intriguing account of Ailes’s troubled relationship with James Murdoch, who is about to take over from his father as CEO of Fox (in private, Ailes has apparently referred to James as a “fucking dope” and “Fredo”). The failure of Ailes’s public attempt to keep reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch has been seen as a demotion, and his contract will be up for renewal next year. Sherman asks if we’re about to find out what “a post-Ailes era” will look like.

Journalists who enjoy chasing their own tails can speed up the hunt with the latest iteration of Google Trends, which helps you monitor what people are searching for where at any given moment, assessing what is going viral, and just how viral it’s going, in real time. Google News Lab’s data editor, Simon Rogers, is calling it “a news detection system.” What could be better than knowing which stories “news consumers” want to read before you’ve actually spent the time writing them?

Book publishers, on the other hand, sometimes prefer to lead readers rather than follow them. Julia Fleischaker, director of publicity at Melville House, has announced that each of the presidential candidates (Donald Trump included) will soon receive a box of books with a note attached: “Please accept the enclosed copies of The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, compliments of Melville House. We hope… that they will help you clarify your position on the legality, morality, and efficacy of torture.”

The Rumpus has published a hypertext interview with novelist Maya Lang that, among other things, delightfully recalls the late-1990s moment when using technology to make readers work harder seemed like a good idea.

“From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!”, part of the artist Michael Mandiberg’s “Print Wikipedia” project, opens today at the Denny Gallery on the Lower East Side. The entire contents of Wikipedia as of April 7 will begin uploading to a print-on-demand site, where in theory you’ll be able to purchase a full set of volumes for $500,000 (once the uploading is complete, which will take a couple of weeks). “Everyone knows that Wikipedia is huge,” as Jennifer Schuessler writes in the New York Times, “but it takes the physical book — still a ‘cognitively useful’ unit of measure, Mr. Mandiberg said — to grasp just how huge.”

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