Bookmarked The Photo Book That Captured How the Soviet Regime Made the Truth Disappear by Masha Gessen (The New Yorker)
Sometimes we don’t know who is missing from a photo or why—only that someone has been elided. We are lucky even to know that there is something we don’t know.
This is an insightful look into the past:

Compared to the intentional, crude, and pervasive altering of the Soviet record, the lying currently prevalent in American politics is amateur hour, if not exactly child’s play. President Donald Trump’s routine alterations of the historical narrative, which seem to stem in equal measure from ignorance and ill intent, are ridiculed by the media even as the media reproduces them. Photographs often serve as the corrective to his distortions—as, for example, with his insistence that he had the biggest Inauguration crowd in history. Still, there can be no doubt that Trump is waging an all-out war on the media, the historical record, and the truth in general.

Liked The Messy Fourth Estate – Trust Issues – Medium by danah boyd (Medium)

Many Americans — especially conservative Americans — do not trust contemporary news organizations. This “crisis” is well-trod territory, but the focus on fact-checking, media literacy, and business models tends to obscure three features of the contemporary information landscape that I think are poorly understood:

  • Differences in worldview are being weaponized to polarize society.
  • We cannot trust organizations, institutions, or professions when they’re abstracted away from us.
  • Economic structures built on value extraction cannot enable healthy information ecosystems.

Marginalia

Doctorow creates these oppositional positions to make a point and to highlight that there is a war over epistemology, or the way in which we produce knowledge.The reality is much messier, because what’s at stake isn’t simply about resolving two competing worldviews. Rather, what’s at stake is how there is no universal way of knowing, and we have reached a stage in our political climate where there is more power in seeding doubt, destabilizing knowledge, and encouraging others to distrust other systems of knowledge production.

As the institutional construction of news media becomes more and more proximately divorced from the vast majority of people in the United States, we can and should expect trust in news to decline. No amount of fact-checking will make up for a widespread feeling that coverage is biased. No amount of articulated ethical commitments will make up for the feeling that you are being fed clickbait headlines.

It doesn’t take a quasi-documentary to realize that McDonald’s is not a fast-food franchise; it’s a real estate business that uses a franchise structure to extract capital from naive entrepreneurs.

no amount of innovative new business models will make up for the fact that you can’t sustain responsible journalism within a business structure that requires newsrooms to make more money quarter over quarter to appease investors. This does not mean that you can’t build a sustainable news business, but if the news is beholden to investors trying to extract value, it’s going to impossible. And if news companies have no assets to rely on (such as their now-sold real estate), they are fundamentally unstable and likely to engage in unhealthy business practices out of economic desperation.

ROI capitalism isn’t the only version of capitalism out there. We take it for granted and tacitly accept its weaknesses by creating binaries, as though the only alternative is Cold War Soviet Union–styled communism. We’re all frogs in an ocean that’s quickly getting warmer. Two degrees will affect a lot more than oceanfront properties.

There are three key higher-order next steps, all of which are at the scale of the New Deal.

  • Create a sustainable business structure for information intermediaries (like news organizations) that allows them to be profitable without the pressure of ROI.
  • Actively and strategically rebuild the social networks of America.
  • Find new ways of holding those who are struggling.

Trust cannot be demanded. It’s only earned by being there at critical junctures when people are in crisis and need help. You don’t earn trust when things are going well; you earn trust by being a rock during a tornado.

Bookmarked Your ABC: Value, Investment and Return for the Community (Future of Your ABC)
Why the ABC and public broadcasting is vital to the community. Transcript of ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie’s speech at the Melbourne Press Club, Tuesday 19 June, 2018.
In response to the recent call to sell the ABC, Michelle Guthrie presents a speech explaining the value of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in today’s world. I must be honest, I don’t listen to the ABC as much as I used to, however I follow a number of podcasts, such as RN Future Tense, and often turn to their website as a first port of call for news. In a time when there is a lot of discussion about the ownership of core infrastructure, it seems strange to sell the ABC. I wonder if this is a reflection of the changes to the media landscape that my nostalgia is overlooking?
Bookmarked Team Human: Don't have to look like a refugee - Rushkoff (Rushkoff)
Forget the reality — that Mexicans are actually emigrating from the US back to Mexico: there’s a net decrease. That more immigrants come from China and India than the south. The only way to understand the Trump administration’s proposed wall is as a safety play for global warming. Instead of admitting there’s an environmental crisis underway and reducing carbon emissions, just accept the inevitable climate crisis, and barricade the nation from the inevitable flow of refugees from the south. Whatever we’re doing now is simply priming the American public for the inhumanity to come.
Douglas Rushkoff reflects on the current crisis involving children been taken off their parents. He suggests that it is less about politics (or the Bible), and more about propaganda with the creation of dehumanising images of children in cages. Rushkoff’s answer is to focus on the intimacy of the sounds.

Bill Fitzgerald wonders how much of this will be spoken about at ISTE? It can be easy to think, ‘that is America’, but Australia is no better. Whether it be the stolen generation or detention centres, Australia has had its own examples of abuse.

Bookmarked Why the “golden age” of newspapers was the exception, not the rule by John Maxwell Hamilton (Nieman Lab)
"In our 'news' today we can see the tattler, the party pamphlet, the recondite journal of opinion, the yellow rag, the journal of commerce, the sob sister, the literary journal, and the progressive muckraker."
John Maxwell Hamilton and Heidi Tworek point out that the ‘golden years’ of newspapers between 1940 and 1980 was an anomaly in a longer, four-century history of news. In part this is a myth carried by a certain group in society:

The 1940s to 1980s were a golden age for newspaper owners to make money and journalists to make news. But they were only a golden age for a certain group of people. Many citizens — women and African-Americans, to take just two examples — often did not see themselves in news reporting and had few opportunities to shape it. It is no surprise that most of those writing the laments for times gone by are white men. Those men have long practiced such lamentations. Even in the 1980s, discussions at the American Society for Newspaper Editors were filled with a “persistent nostalgia for a mythic golden age when news was better made and better respected by the public.”

Cory Doctorow touches upon the association between newspapers and advertising in a recent interview for …