Media Beat: August 19, 2019
By David Farrell
A study by the Digital Democracy Project, a joint venture between the Public Policy Forum and McGill’s public policy school, might cause journalists to wonder why they even bother getting up in the morning. Among its dispiriting findings: “It appears that simply consuming news, regardless of source, makes people susceptible to being misinformed about the issues.”
Brilliant. For all our self-important, pillar-of-democracy pontificating, we’re not just failing to educate people who are confidently and frequently wrong about the issues of the day; the study suggests we might even be helping to create such people. This led Canadaland’s Jesse Brown, the country’s most confidently and frequently wrong media critic, to declare that Canada doesn’t have a “fake news problem,” but rather a “shitty news problem.” – Chris Selley, National Post
That presumed, folksy simplicity is why the menu at Tim Hortons these days is so strange, so far off from their successful, strategic targeting of working-class Canadians. Belgian-waffle breakfast sandwich? Omelette bites? Salted-caramel iced capp?
Didn’t Tim Hortons used to sell coffee and doughnuts? How did they lose their way? – Corey Mintz, Maclean’s
In a case that turned on a dispute over number rounding and comma placement, an Ontario court has dismissed a class action brought against Bell Canada by the company’s retired employees.
On Aug. 12, Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a proposed class action brought on behalf of 35,000 retired Bell employees that claimed the company had miscalculated their pension cost of living increases. The suit sought $150 million in damages.
In the same judgment, the court ultimately ruled in favour of the company, saying, “For those who loved law school, it does not get any better than this.” – James Langton, Advisor’s Edge
Officials at Veterans Affairs say shots of German soldiers should not have been included in Minister Lawrence MacAulay's commemorative video to mark Canada's contribution to VE-Day. Many bureaucrats vetted the video, but none seemed to have noticed the Nazi uniforms. – Janyce McGregor, CBC News
APTN French news, radio rebrands, newspaper chain in trouble – Steve Faguy, Fagstein
YouTube says it’s opening up YouTube Original content published after September 24th, 2019 to non-Premium users for free, but watchers will have to sit through online ads and a less convenient showtime schedule. – Jinqiao Wu, Mobile Syrup
Cloudflare, the Silicon Valley based company that provides online protection for websites against cyber-attacks (among other services) has been in the news--yet again--because they finally fired 8Chan as a client, removing the protective wrapping that had allowed the website so closely associated with hate speech and racist rants to exist on the internet. 8Chan has become the vehicle of choice for the mentally deranged and disaffected social misfits who have perpetrated a number of killings, including the mass murders at a mosque in Christchurch New Zealand and the shooting of mainly Mexican shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, TX. But this blog is not about 8Chan (which is a topic unto itself), but rather about Cloudflare, its enabler.
Without Cloudflare, 8Chan could not easily exist because it would quickly be subjected to DDOS “distributed denial of service” attacks from internet vigilantes opposed to their message. – Hugh Stephens Blog
Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump — even as he harms their causes
Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.
Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — who’s evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.” – Elizabeth Preza, AlterNet
Companies are increasingly insisting their ads do not appear near articles or videos that contain any of a long list of words. Fidelity Investments has 400 of them that it has chosen not to be associated with. – Suzanne Vranica, TWJ
Reuters reported Friday that court filings in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California accuse Facebook officials of knowingly refusing to fix a data breach at the company for years, leading to the company's announcement last year that millions of users had information exposed to hackers. – John Bowden, The Hill