Links on (mostly) journalism, books, book banning

One consistent problem of journalism in the Trump era is the mandate not to take sides by suggesting that liberals are more reasonable than the right. As Fred Clark points out, that leads to travesties like this one where the moderately liberal small-town newspaper editor is balanced with a supposedly thoughtful conservative preacher who “suspects Democrats are using the coronavirus pandemic as a political tool, doubts President Joe Biden was legitimately elected and is certain that COVID-19 vaccines kill people.” We’re told that people in the town distrust conservative media just like the mainstream; judging by the preacher’s profile, that’s because they get their news from sources such as the far-right social media site Gab.

Reporting in Myanmar, where the military coup has gone badly for journalists.

Sarah Palin’s libel trial against the New York Times: she’s not entirely wrong.

One reason local journalism is dying: rich people. While the article cites Chicago as an example, the Guardian says Chicago journalism is thriving with innovations such as sending private citizens to cover meetings.

“We as women are redefining competence,” the 1970s edition stated. “A doctor who behaves in a male chauvinist way is not competent, even if he has medical skills. We have decided that health can no longer be defined by an elite group of white, upper-middle-class men. It must be defined by us.” — a look at the impact of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Novelist Ailish Sinclair watches Downton Abbey and she’s not impressed.

“There’s a general premise that we in the business all agree to abide by, even though we really know it isn’t true at all: quality books sell. And part of the reason that we cling to this belief is that it’s about the only guidepost we can believe in. We all want to do projects that appeal to us, and we want to believe in a fair universe where works of merit will find their audience and become successful (and works that are lacking in merit will be scorned—that doesn’t necessarily happen either.)” — Tom Brevoort.

Blobs as book-cover illustration.

Art Spiegelman on why bans against his book Maus remind him of bans against the Garbage Pail Kids. Professional liar Chris Rufo, who launched the anti-CRT campaign (while freely admitting it was bullshit), lies and claims Maus wasn’t really banned.

Speaking of banning, Salon reminds us that supposed grass-roots groups such as Moms For Liberty are backed by big-money right wing organizations and donors. And according to an article about grass-roots parental movements opposing the banners, they are indeed special snowflakes. For example, objecting to an autobiography of Ruby Bridges, the first black child to integrate a Southern all-white elementary school because it “causes shame for young impressionable White children to read this dark history.” Hiding our country’s racist history — and yes, I think that’s what we’re talking about — takes the racist side. And it’s part of a general assault on schools, like a Utah bill that would authorize parents to sue schools if they think the school infringed on their rights.

Here’s a group of kids who formed a Banned Books Club. Good for you!

The Spotify protests against Joe Rogan have led to discussion of how little money musicians make off streaming.

To end on an absurd note: I never tried Movie Pass when it was an unsustainable “$9.95 a month for all the big-screen movies you want.” I definitely won’t try the new version which gives you points toward buying tickets based on how much you focus on pre-movie ads. The guy pushing the idea explains that he loves product placement in movies so watching pre-show ads should be just as much fun (seriously. He says that).

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