Lindsay Crouse | My Ex-Boyfriend’s New Girlfriend Is Lady Gaga – The New York Times

Ms. Crouse is a senior staff editor in Opinion.

“I was eating bodega grapes at my desk on a recent Monday morning, gearing up to wrangle my inbox, when my phone started buzzing:

“Check Facebook.”

“Check Twitter.”

“Are you OK?”

It was an emergency: My ex-boyfriend, I learned, had a new girlfriend.

Lady Gaga.

“Lolol” if you want. (Everyone I know did.)

But it was true. While I’d been watching the Super Bowl on television in New York, they were snuggling in her private box at the Hard Rock Stadium at Miami Gardens. There were the paparazzi as he escorted her away, her pink hair flowing and sequins pasted around her eyes.  . . . “

Greg Bensinger | Apple and Facebook’s Feud Reveals Americans Like Privacy – The New York Times

Mr. Bensinger is a member of the editorial board.

“Many of the biggest tech firms have long insisted that consumers care more about free services than the privacy they surrender to use them.

Companies like Facebook pointed to their own exponential growth and insisted that consumers were voting with their feet.

Turns out, that was nonsense.

When offered an actual choice in the new operating system that runs iPhones, Americans are all in on privacy.

Just 6 percent of U.S. daily users of Apple’s latest mobile software are opting to allow companies like Facebook and its many affiliates to hoover up data about them and sell it to advertisers, according to Flurry Analytics. (The figure is higher globally, at about 15 percent.)     . . .   “

How to Feature a Video on a Facebook Page (Tutorial) | Blogging Bistro

Facebook is aggressively challenging YouTube’s dominance by encouraging page admins to upload videos directly to Facebook rather than sharing links to YouTube videos.

In its beef-up of video functions, Facebook added three key features:

  1. Facebook auto-plays uploaded videos in the news feed (here’s how to turn off the auto-play feature).
  2. Facebook’s native video preview image is larger than YouTube previews.
  3. For advertisers, Facebook offers video ads, and for select advertisers, Premium Video Ads,  15-second commercials that auto-play without sound.

 

Source: How to Feature a Video on a Facebook Page (Tutorial) | Blogging Bistro

Opinion | The Sidney Awards – By David Brooks – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Getty Images

“This has not been a great period for free expression. The range of socially acceptable opinion has shrunk, as independent-minded journalists and experts have been eased out of their jobs at places ranging from New York magazine to Boeing and Civis Analytics for saying unorthodox things. The esteemed scholar James R. Flynn wrote a book called “In Defense of Free Speech” which was in turn canceled by his publisher for being too controversial.

Fortunately, a range of people from across the political spectrum have arisen to defend free inquiry, including Noam Chomsky, Cathy Young, the University of Chicago president Robert Zimmer, Caitlin Flanagan, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Jonathan Haidt, John McWhorter, Yascha Mounk, Jonathan Rauch and magazines like Quillette and Tablet.

Rauch was the subject of an interview by Nick Gillespie in Reason magazine, called “How to Tell if You’re Being Canceled,” which gets the first Sidney of 2020, the awards I give out for the best long-form essays of each year. Rauch was an early vocal champion of the movement for same-sex marriage, which was led by people who, in the early years, said things that seemed shocking and offensive to others. All they had back then was their freedom of speech, Rauch observes.

In Reason, he takes up the argument that certain ideas should be unsaid because they make other people feel unsafe. “The emotional safety argument, I argue, is fundamentally illiberal, and there is really nothing about it that can be salvaged. It is just inconsistent with the open society,” Rauch says.

“The notion here is that emotional injury is a kind of harm like physical injury, and because it’s a kind of harm it’s a rights violation. The problem is this is a completely subjective standard, and it makes any form of criticism potentially subject to censorship and cancellation and lumps science into a human rights violation.”

The long love affair between Fox News and Trump may be over. Here’s how it all soured last week. – The Washington Post

November 9, 2020 at 11:27 a.m. EST

“The last day of Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign began just after 7 a.m., as polls opened on the East Coast, with a call to “Fox & Friends,” the television morning show that had turned the reality star into a U.S. president. He got his usual hero’s welcome. But it was no longer enough.

“This has been a very special show for me,” he told the hosts of this broadcasting safe haven where he had workshopped his birther message, shared gossip and conspiracy theories, and repeatedly set the tone for his entire administration’s day. “We’ve had a great relationship, and you have a great show. So, it’s my honor.”

But his remarks quickly turned pointed that Tuesday morning as he boasted about how well he had done in the job of president, despite unexpected challenges — not from China or Russia or North Korea, he said, but from the United States. And he mused rhetorically about what had changed the most for him since 2016.”

Source: The long love affair between Fox News and Trump may be over. Here’s how it all soured last week. – The Washington Post

The Biden Contradiction – WSJ

I finally got around to asking google for any endorsement by the Wall Street Journal of either presidential candidate. Here is their non-endorsement of Donald Trump. He is not defendable, but Biden is unacceptable. There are more lies and falsities in this editorial than I have fingers and toes. If you can’t identify at least ten of them yourself, ask me, and I will break it down for you.  If this sounds like what you heard when sampling Fox TV, it is not a coincidence. Rupert Murdoch owns the WST and Fox. They appear to reflect each other.

“The Wall Street Journal hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate since 1928—Hoover—and we aren’t about to change this year. But we do try to sum up the risks and promise of the candidates every four years, and we’ll start today with the contradictory candidacy of Joe Biden.

The former Vice President is running as a reassuring moderate, a man of good character who can reunite the country and crush Covid-19 after the disruptive Trump Presidency. Yet he also is running on the most left-wing policy program in decades.

Voters have little idea about these policies because Mr. Biden mentions them only in the most vague, general terms. The press barely reports them. Americans may think they’re voting for Joe’s persona, but they will get the platform of Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

***

In Mr. Biden’s sunny telling, he will be the anti-Donald Trump. He won’t kick down, won’t trash norms and won’t alienate allies. He’ll work with Republicans to forge bipartisan policies, restraining the passions of his party’s left. In that sense he has been the perfect Democratic nominee to appeal to women and suburban Republicans tired of polarized politics. He has run a disciplined campaign on character and Covid that has made the election a referendum on Mr. Trump.

We too would like to believe Mr. Biden could govern in a less divisive way because it would be better for the country. Left to his own instincts, and if he were a decade younger, he might pull it off. Every Republican who negotiated with the White House over a budget compromise in 2011 told us they made progress when Mr. Biden was in the room, only to have Barack Obama take it all back when he joined the talks.

But what evidence is there today that Mr. Biden will restrain his increasingly radical party? Across his long career he has been the consummate party man, floating right or left with the political tides. As a presidential candidate this year he has put no particular policy imprint on the Democratic Party—not one. The party ha put its stamp on him.

This is extraordinary in modern political history. Bill Clinton ran as a centrist New Democrat for welfare reform, George W. Bush pushed compassionate conservatism, Barack Obama ran as a racial pioneer and political conciliator, and Donald Trump broke from GOP orthodoxy on trade and immigration.

Mr. Biden has instead conformed himself and his agenda to the priorities of the regnant left. He has ditched his long opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion. He supports tax rates on income and capital higher than any since the 1970s. His pro-union agenda harks back to the 1930s’ Wagner Act. His version of the Green New Deal would spend $2 trillion in four years and aims to eliminate fossil fuels with mandates and regulation.

These are not exaggerations. The details are on his web site and in the Biden-Sanders unity agenda Mr. Biden endorsed after he won the nomination. Primary winners usually move to the center. Mr. Biden moved left to keep the Bernie brigades mobilized. Anyone who thinks Mr. Biden will be able to forget all this if elected doesn’t understand the fund-raising and media power of the Democratic left.

The best chance for Mr. Biden to govern from the center would be if Republicans hold the Senate. Then he would have some leverage over Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who fears a primary challenge in 2022 from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Otherwise how would Mr. Biden stand up to them next year if he won’t even clearly criticize court-packing now?

***

On foreign policy, Mr. Biden sounds at his best like a typical liberal internationalist. He would restore good relations with allies like Germany, and he’d stop using tariffs as a weapon against friends like Canada and Mexico. But he’d also run head long back into the flawed Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord that restrains the U.S. but not China.

Mr. Biden has tried to outdo Mr. Trump as a China hawk, though no one really believes it. Our worry is that he’d downplay Beijing’s security offenses in favor of papier-mâché promises on climate, as Mr. Obama did. The news in recent days of his family’s attempts to do business with sketchy Chinese figures close to the government raises real questions of how he’d deal with Chairman Xi Jinping.

As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates famously put it, Mr. Biden has been wrong about every major foreign policy issue in his career. During the Cold War he opposed Reagan’s arms buildup and missile defenses, and he voted against the first Gulf War.

He supported the Iraq war when it was popular only to turn against it when his party did, and then he opposed the 2007 surge that saved the day. He also opposed the raid on Osama bin Laden. It’s impossible to believe Mr. Biden would have acted to kill Iranian terror chief Qasem Soleimani, as Mr. Trump did.

***

The biggest risk with Mr. Biden is his physical and mental condition. He looks increasingly like an old 77. His campaign’s strategy of letting him out only once or twice a day, and his refusal to take nearly all media questions, isn’t reassuring. The truth is that Americans don’t know if Mr. Biden’s clear deterioration from even four years ago is routine aging or something more serious.

A fair consideration for voters is how long Mr. Biden will be able to handle the burdens of the Presidency. A capable staff and a forgiving press corps will cover for him as long as they can. But he surely won’t run for re-election, if he makes it four years. Americans who vote for Mr. Biden may be voting for Ms. Harris as his successor sooner than they imagine.

Mr. Biden has led in the polls for months, and tens of millions of voters clearly have Trump fatigue and dislike the President’s handling of Covid. They may elect the man they think is Mr. Trump’s opposite in the hope of restoring more decorum and calm to American politics. They should know they may be voting for disruption of a different kind from the political left.”

Source: The Biden Contradiction – WSJ

As Local News Dies, a Pay-for-Play Network Rises in Its Place – The New York Times

“The instructions were clear: Write an article calling out Sara Gideon, a Democrat running for a hotly contested U.S. Senate seat in Maine, as a hypocrite.

Angela Underwood, a freelance reporter in upstate New York, took the $22 assignment over email. She contacted the spokesman for Senator Susan Collins, the Republican opponent, and wrote an article on his accusations that Ms. Gideon was two-faced for criticizing shadowy political groups and then accepting their help.

The short article was published on Maine Business Daily, a seemingly run-of-the-mill news website, under the headline “Sen. Collins camp says House Speaker Gideon’s actions are hypocritical.” It extensively quoted Ms. Collins’s spokesman but had no comment from Ms. Gideon’s campaign.

Then Ms. Underwood received another email: The “client” who had ordered up the article, her editor said, wanted it to add more detail.”

Drudge Report, a Trump Ally in 2016, Isn’t in 2020 – By Tiffany Hsu – The New York Times

“Something has changed at Drudge Report, the influential site known for its tabloid-poetry headlines and conservative take on the news, and don’t think the president hasn’t noticed.

Matt Drudge, a web pioneer who went live with his site in 1995, was seen as an important media champion of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign. “A large measure of why Trump is the nominee goes to Matt Drudge,” Carl Bernstein said four years ago. And Mr. Trump has expressed his appreciation for the fedora-wearing web journalist, calling him “a great gentleman.”

But nowadays, like CNN, The New York Times and many other outlets, Drudge Report is just one more purveyor of “fake news,” in the Trump view.

For anyone who had not stopped by the site since it developed a reputation for lifting Mr. Trump and his brand of conservatism, the welcome page on Monday made for an arresting sight. At the top were images of stickers being sold by the Biden-Harris campaign that read, “I paid more income taxes than Donald Trump.” Below that appeared a scroll of headlines linking to news stories from various sites, all of them written in Mr. Drudge’s staccato style, many of them related to a New York Times investigation of Mr. Trump’s troubled financial history.

Opinion | Welcome to the R.N.C.’s Alternate Universe – By Charlie Warzel – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Warzel is an Opinion writer at large.

Credit…Republican National Convention/Via Reuters

“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned covering the daily information wars of the Trump era is that a meaningful percentage of Americans live in an alternate reality powered by a completely separate universe of news and information.

Some are armed with their own completely fabricated facts about the world while others, as the journalist Joshua Green wrote in this section in 2017, rearrange our shared facts “to compose an entirely different narrative.” There is little consensus on the top story of the day or the major threats facing the country. You will have noticed this if you’ve ever watched a congressional hearing and flipped between CNN or MSNBC and Fox News. The video feed is the same but the interpretation of events is radically different.

Personally, I’ve never seen a clearer demonstration of the Two Universes phenomenon than this week’s Republican National Convention.

For three nights, in a shameless display of loyalty to President Trump, the party has conjured up what my colleague Frank Bruni described as an “upside-down vision” of the world. Theirs is a universe in which the coronavirus pandemic is largely in the rear view (on Aug. 25, 1,136 Americans died from the virus) and where, according to Representative Matt Gaetz, radical Democrats threaten to “disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home and invite MS-13 to live next door.” A universe where the existential dangers of climate change pale in comparison to those of cancel culture — even as the West is ravaged by blackouts and wildfires and the Gulf Coast is slammed by a devastating hurricane.

This week, my colleague Jamelle Bouie described some of what we’re seeing as the “Fox Newsification of the Republicans” by “a president who rose to political power via the cable news channel and who exists in a codependent relationship with the network.”

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The comparison is apt, as Fox News has been extremely successful in crafting and selling an alternate reality to its viewers each night for well over a decade. The trick is to evoke two dueling emotions — fear and devotion — one conspiracy theory at a time. Fox News has mastered this and so has the R.N.C.”

David Lindsay:  Yes, all too true. But there might be some solutions to this mess out there. President Ronald Reagan somehow cancelled a rule or law of the FCC that said in order to broadcast news, you had to allow equal time to the main opposing position of any postion you took or reported on. Before then, all news shows were more or less balanced. After this rule was abolished, right wing news channels like Fox went all out for spin and opinion and even lies, in the name of journalistic truth.We should bring back the fairness in reporting doctrine.

Opinion | What Years of Emails and Texts Reveal About Your Friendly Tech Companies – By Tim Wu – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Wu is the author of “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age.”

Credit…Denis Charlet/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The spectacle of the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google testifying before Congress last week made for good TV drama. Yet the theatrics of the showdown distracted from the real payoff of the hearings: the accompanying cache of subpoenaed emails and texts from the past decade and a half. These documents provide compelling evidence — long rumored but seldom established — that the companies, especially Facebook and Amazon, in their rise to dominance did not always play by the rules and apparently violated antitrust laws.

Both public opinion and American law distinguish between two kinds of dominant company. The first is the monopoly fairly held: a corporation like Ford Motor that achieves dominance by virtue of its incomparable greatness. The second, its evil doppelgänger, is the company that achieves dominance unfairly — for instance, by suffocating or absorbing would-be challengers.

The Big Tech companies insist that their rise to power has been the first story, a saga of ingenuity and courage, and that their market dominance is a byproduct of continued excellence. They may be giants, the story goes, but they are friendly giants. Their immense size and power is simply what is necessary to offer users the best possible services.

The subpoenaed documents destroy that narrative. No one can deny that these are well-run companies, loaded with talent, and that each at some point offered something great. But it appears that without illegal maneuvers — without, above all, the anticompetitive buying of potential rivals — there might be no Big Tech, but rather a much wider array of smaller, better, more specialized tech companies.”

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