June 19, 2015

After the killings in Charleston this week, Ta-Nehisi Coates says the Confederate flag must at long last be taken down: “Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol.”

At the Guardian, Gideon Lewis-Kraus has a long and entertaining account of Politico’s recent expansion into the famously stuffy, unglamorous world of the EU: “Can Politico make Brussels sexy?” It seems a tall order, though certainly “an experiment with far-reaching implications, not only for the future of journalism but, perhaps, for the European self-image.” As one of Politico’s new reporters, Tara Palmeri, tells Lewis-Kraus “after obtaining for me in two minutes the commission press accreditation that can take others weeks: ‘They hired a gutsy girl who worked at Page Six to come through and destroy this town.’”

And in a similar spirit—Lewis-Kraus characterizes Politico’s mission as “accelerating the news cycle’s ‘metabolism’ which, depending on your perspective on their approach, recalls either the quickening of the pulse or the churning of the bowels”—Sean Parker of Napster and Facebook fame is helping launch Brigade, an app for people who want to discover and debate their political views. “If we want to build a platform to disrupt democracy,” Parker rather mystifyingly says, “we can’t ignore politics.”

Online troublemaker Charles C. Johnson is suing Gawker (also Politico, CNN) for libel: “On the whole,” he told reporter Betsy Rothstein, “ it’s nice to team up with Hulk Hogan and his people should call my people… If I can be the straw that breaks Gawker’s back, I’m quite pleased.” Rothstein also asked Gawker’s J.K. Trotter for comment and received this link.

Brian Williams makes a comeback: He’s sorry he “said things that weren’t true”, and now he’s ready to be the breaking news anchor on MSNBC. Some were not persuaded by the claim from NBC News that Williams “for the most part” didn’t tell his tales from the anchor’s chair (he waited a while and told them on late-night talk shows)—and if Williams can no longer be trusted with the Nightly News, “what does this say about how NBC News views the ethics and standards of MSNBC”?

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