• July 30, 2015

    Ted Rall's cartoon for the LA Times

                 Ted Rall’s cartoon for the LA Times

    Political cartoonist and author Ted Rall—who has written books about Afghanistan and Edward Snowden—has announced on his blog that he has been fired by the Los Angeles Times, where he has been a regular contributor since 2009. The reason for the firing, says editorial-page editor Nicholas Goldberg, is a cartoon that Rall published in the paper in May, in which the artist recalled being handcuffed and roughed up by the LAPD after he was stopped for jaywalking. According to Goldberg, the LAPD has provided evidence that it did not mistreat Rall: “An audiotape of the encounter recorded by the police officer does not back up Rall’s assertions; it gives no indication that there was physical violence of any sort by the policeman or that Rall’s license was thrown into the sewer or that he was handcuffed.” Rall responds that the “evidence,” an audiotape, is “mostly unintelligible garbage,” and responds to what he calls a “disgusting example of journalistic cowardice in the face of a violent and corrupt police department willing to lie to protect itself.”

    NBCUniversal are close to a deal to invest $250 million in BuzzFeed (valuing the company at 1.5 billion) and are also negotiating to increase their stake in Vox Media.

    Will Dana has announced that he is leaving his post the managing editor of Rolling Stone, a position he has held for nineteen years. The New York Times wonders if the move is a result of the controversy that erupted following the magazine’s publication of the now-discredited article about sexual assault at a University of Virginia fraternity. Publisher Jann Wenner replied through a spokesperson: “Many factors go into a decision like this.” But it’s hard to imagine that Dana’s departure isn’t directly linked to the defamation lawsuit that three ex-fraternity members filed against the magazine on Wednesday.

    Not to be outdone by Gawker and Salon, staffers at the Guardian US have voted unanimously to unionize under the News Media Guild, which is in talks with other digital types too. Next up: Politico?

    When the Booker Prize decided to let Americans in two years ago, English-language writers elsewhere were scared they would take over (English novelist Philip Hensher predicted US writers would dominate “simply through an economic super-power exerting its own literary tastes, just as the British empire imposed the idea that Shakespeare was the greatest writer who ever lived throughout its 19th-century colonies”). Some say it’s beginning to look that way.