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For media following Georgia, nail-biting and lots of numbers – Times Colonist



NEW YORK — For news organizations chronicling the vote count in the Georgia Senate runoff elections, Tuesday felt like a rerun from two months ago: nerves on edge, an avalanche of numbers and a lot of Steve Kornacki.

The two Senate elections, with the U.S. Senate’s balance of power at stake, attracted media attention that recalled the days after the presidential election, including breathless wall-to-wall coverage on cable news networks.

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“It’s beyond nail-biting time,” CNN’s John King said.

As the hour slipped past 2 a.m. on the East Coast, Democrat Raphael Warnock beat Republican Kelly Loeffler. Democrat Jon Ossoff’s lead over Republican David Perdue was slowing inching up. If the two Democrats won, the party would win control of the U.S. Senate.

King and MSNBC’s Kornacki dominated their networks with headache-inducing number crunching. Kornacki was MSNBC’s breakout star in the aftermath of the general election and he returned Tuesday with his familiar khakis and a “Kornacki cam” that followed his moves during commercial breaks.

“Usual rules apply,” MSNBC’s Brian Williams said to him. “Wave your arms if there’s any reason to come back to you.”

It was a seesaw night. Warnock and Ossoff jumped to early leads, but as more votes came in, the Republicans swung in front.

It made for some great television suspense, although people following online saw a different view. The New York Times website estimated the victory probabilities in each race and, as the evening progressed, moved steadily in the Democrats’ direction. After midnight, the Times judged both Warnock and Ossoff had a better than 95% chance of winning.

Even before 10 p.m., Dave Wasserman of the influential Cook Political Report tweeted that he had seen enough to predict Warnock would beat Loeffler. That led Twitter, however, to slap his prediction with a warning that other sources were saying it was too close to call.

The conservative outlet Newsmax declared Warnock the winner before midnight and presented an interview with Peter Navarro, an aide to President Donald Trump, suggesting with no evidence that voter fraud had taken place.

On a livestream after midnight, Warnock said, “I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.”

Loeffler, however, spoke briefly to supporters and said it was a “game of inches.”

“We have a path to victory and we’re staying on it,” she said.

Fox News spent less time on raw numbers to showcase their prime-time stars, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. They didn’t hide their nervousness.

“This is giving everyone a big stomachache from both parties,” Ingraham said.

There was a sharpness to the television voices that reflected the tense presidential election and its aftermath. CNN’s Jake Tapper said the expected back-and-forth vote tallies were perfectly normal, and showed how “morally bankrupt” Trump followers were in complaining about changing tallies in November.

“What you’re seeing is epic political malpractice by Donald Trump,” said David Plouffe, former aide to President Barack Obama, on MSNBC. “He may have cost his party the U.S. Senate — he and his confederacy of dunces.”

On Fox, Carlson described Ossoff as “lighter than air. He makes Beto O’Rourke look like Teddy Roosevelt.”

His colleague Hannity said Loeffler and Perdue “are standing in the way of a radical left agenda that would actively work to strip away pretty much all of President Trump’s achievements.”

Eventually, the coverage turned into a waiting game for lagging numbers from DeKalb County, a Democratic stronghold that decisively shifted the numbers. Pockets of uncounted votes remained, however, leading most news organizations to judge the races too early to call.

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Media Beat: January 25, 2021 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News



More layoffs at Bell Media

Bell Media has made more layoffs in management just weeks after a sweeping executive shuffle at its head office. Among those caught up in this round of departures are Rob Farina, Head of Content, Strategy & iHeartRadio, who had been in the role since 2016; Tyson Parker, Director, Podcasting and Artist & Music Industry Relations; Lis Travers, General Manager of CTV News Channel, who had been with Bell for 17 years and was a former Executive Producer of Canada AM; Edwina Follows, General Manager of the six Discovery Networks in Canada (Discovery, Animal Planet, Velocity, Science Channel, Investigation Discovery and Discovery GO); Martin Spalding, Regional VP & GM, Local Radio and Television for Bell Media Quebec; and Grant Ellis, GM of BNN Bloomberg. On the West Coast, Les Staff, News Director for CTV News Vancouver, departs. He had been in the role since late 2012, first joining CTV Vancouver as an Executive Producer in 2007. Also in Vancouver, John Voiles is out after nearly eight years as VP, Bell Media Sales, Western Canada. Prior to joining Bell in 2013, Voiles was a VP and General Manager with Astral Radio in Vancouver. Stewart Meyers, Vice President and General Manager for Bell Media Alberta, is also no longer with the company. Read more here. – Connie Thiessen, Broadcast Dialogue

Google Looking for a Fight

In Australia, 95% of online searches are conducted through Google. This week, in a shit fight with government authorities, Google threatened to shut down its entire Aussie operation.

The parties are fighting over how and how much Google should pay news media for links and previews of stories that appear on Google.

Google says it helps news media by sending them readers, and that Google should retain the power to determine how much they chose to pay media. They also argue that unfettered linking is the backbone of the web and it shouldn’t be constrained by government meddling.

The government argues that the power of Google, Facebook, and other tech giants is way out of control and that they have built a good deal of their wealth on monopolistic practices and the work of news media who they exploit without fair compensation. They argue that Google doesn’t just provide links, they monetize these links by advertising in and around them and make money harvesting valuable data about the people who use them. They argue that the news media at the other end of the link should be stakeholders in how the spoils are divided. 

The fight doesn’t seem to be about the principle of news media getting compensated, Google has already agreed to that in France. The fight is over control of who gets to decide how much to compensate the news media and under what terms.

The ferocity of the Google response indicates to me that they view this as the beginning of a fight that is likely to spread globally. This is not just about money. The ad tech industry has shown itself to be above government control in some areas. They are not likely to go quietly. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

Apple out to challenge Spotify’s podcast business

Apple is notoriously secretive about product launches, so we likely won’t know any exact details until the service actually goes live. However, according to the sources who spoke to The Information, the service will have exclusive content, be ad-free, and will charge users a monthly fee. This business model has been tried a few times with podcasts in the past, the biggest example being start-up Luminary. The service launched in 2019 with the goal of becoming the “Netflix of podcasts,” but only had an estimated 80,000 subscribers as of last May.

While ad-free podcast services have a weak track record, Apple has a few advantages that could finally make it work. First, it has tens of billions in cash on its balance sheet, so it will never have a problem paying creators, which is important to get the value proposition high enough so people actually want to subscribe. Second, its ad-supported Apple Podcasts service, which has hundreds of thousands of shows, has been the leader in podcast listenership for many years (although Spotify is quickly gaining ground). Apple could easily market a premium service to its existing users, whereas Luminary has had to rely on paid advertising.

Lastly, Apple will likely bundle this podcast service with Apple TV+, Apple Music, and some of its other subscriptions, making it cheaper for customers to sign up for the service if they are in the Apple ecosystem. 

Should Spotify be worried?

Long story short, no. – Brett Shafer, The Motley Fool

Office Ladies wins Podcast of the Year in American iHeart Radio Podcast awards

Office Ladies is a podcast hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey which premiered on the Earwolf platform on October 2019. In each episode, Fischer and Kinsey, who co-starred on the American television sitcom The Office as Pam Beesly and Angela Martin, rewatch an episode of the show and offer behind-the-scenes commentary, insights and responses to fan questions. They are sometimes joined by guests that include former co-stars, producers and writers. The podcast aims to cover every episode of The Office‘s nine-season run. The managing producer is Codi Fischer (no relation to Jenna) and Sam Kieffer is the show’s audio engineer. Below is the Jan. 20 edition of the show.

Here’s Alan Cross’s affectionate recollection of one memorable Larry King radio show

Back when I was doing a lot of club work, I spent a lot of time listening to Larry King on the drive home when he was on the Mutual Broadcasting System. With last call at 1am, I’d get to hear the last 45 minutes or so of his show, which always ended up with Larry saying he was on his way to Duke Zeibert’s restaurant in DC for some matzoh ball soup.

As a fan of all things broadcast, I studied Larry’s interviewing technique and how he worked the phones on the call-in portion of his program. This led to me one of his autobiographies which included one particular story that rings true with every single guy who has worked as a late-night/all-night DJ.

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Elon Musk targets telecom for next disruption with Starlink internet

Elon Musk became the world’s richest person this month by upending the global auto industry and disrupting aerospace heavyweights with reusable rockets. Now he’s setting his sights on another business dominated by entrenched incumbents: telecommunications.

Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has launched more than 1,000 satellites for its Starlink internet service and is signing up early customers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. SpaceX has told investors that Starlink is angling for a piece of a $1 trillion market made up of in-flight internet, maritime services, demand in China and India — and rural customers such as Brian Rendel. – Dana Hull, Bloomberg

Why Amazon’s move to drop Parler is a big deal for the future of the Internet

Cloud computing seems basic today, but it was a revolutionary concept, serving as the backbone for pretty much the entire modern digital startup ecosystem—eliminating the costly and time-consuming process of spinning up your own servers got rid of an immense hurtle for fledgling companies, making them better able to compete with—and in some cases topple—existing hegemons. But that convenience came at a cost: modern Internet services are increasingly built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its rivals, like Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. That has given those firms tremendous sway over what conduct is and is not acceptable on the Internet—in terms of free speech, they have become even more powerful than, say, Apple. It’s one thing to stop offering an app, it’s another to destabilize or block another company’s entire online operation.

Whether AWS and rival services should wield such power is the central debate in Parler’s subsequent lawsuit against Amazon, which underscores just how reliant Parler was upon AWS.

Rolling Stone now publishing advertorial content

While many media companies feature clearly signposted branded content on their websites, it is less common for a major journalism brand to offer third parties, including PR professionals, the chance to pay to write pieces for publication.

A spokesperson for Penske Media Corporation, which owns the magazine, said that Rolling Stone does not allow paid content to run as editorial in any context, and that all such content was clearly labelled.

Pieces already published as part of the scheme include a set of positive predictions for the future of the cannabis industry by a PR executive who represents a cannabis producer, and a piece praising the social nature of sports betting by the founder of an online sports betting community. – Archie Bland, The Guardian

Trump-tied lobbyists paid massive sums to push pardons

Washington lobbyists with close ties to outgoing President Donald Trump were paid lucrative sums by clients angling for last-minute pardons from the president. 

Matthew Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a close Trump ally, brought in the largest haul. According to a lobbying filing released Thursday night, Schlapp was paid a whopping $750,000 since mid-December to lobby Trump to pardon Parker Petit, a top Republican donor who served as Georgia finance chairman for Trump’s 2016 campaign. Petit was convicted of securities fraud in November and faced up to 20 years in federal prison. – Karl Evers–Hillstrom,

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Canadians support government crackdown on hate and racism on social media, poll finds – Global News



A poll conducted in the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters and far-right groups has found that most Canadians want government action against online hate.

Commissioned by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, the poll results also show that almost three-quarters of Canadians are concerned about the rise of right-wing extremism and terrorism.

The results were released Monday by the CRRF, a Crown corporation, as the Liberal government is preparing to introduce measures to regulate social media content.

“The fact that most Canadians see this as a problem is all the more reason why our government needs to make online hate speech regulation a policy priority,” said Mohammed Hashim, the foundation’s executive director.

Read more:
Neo-Nazis, extremists capitalizing on COVID-19, declassified CSIS documents say

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During the 2019 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would require social media companies to remove illegal content such as hate speech within 24 hours or face “significant financial penalties.”

The pledge remains unfulfilled, but the government said last week it would soon introduce legislation to regulate internet content.

Under the proposal, online platforms would have to “monitor and eliminate illegal content,” said Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s spokesperson Camille Gagné-Raynauld.

“That includes hate speech, terrorist propaganda, violent content, child sexual exploitation and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images,” she said.

“We will also ensure that victims are heard and protected by providing them with a simplified, safe and independent complaint process.”

Click to play video 'Pressure on social media companies to crack down on hate'

Pressure on social media companies to crack down on hate

Pressure on social media companies to crack down on hate – Mar 15, 2019

The Abacus Data poll, which surveyed 2,000 Canadians between Jan. 15 and 18, reported that 58 per cent felt hateful content on the internet was increasing, and 60 per cent wanted greater federal regulation.

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Support for requiring social media companies to remove racist or hateful content within one day was pegged at 80%, while 10 per cent were opposed, the poll said.

It also reported approval of other measures, such as requiring social media companies to remove users who shared racist or hateful content on their platforms.

Read more:
How the Toronto-registered websites of al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban were taken down

Facebook, Twitter and other tech giants have responded to major incidents of extremist violence such as the New Zealand mosque attacks by deplatforming users for violating their rules.

The siege at the U.S. Capitol during the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s election victory triggered another purge of far-right groups like the Proud Boys from mainstream platforms.

But Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said allowing companies to police themselves had not worked.

“They self-regulate and they’re not doing a good job,” he said.

He said right-wing extremists were exploiting online platforms, which he called a “tool for some of the most pernicious hate groups on the continent and around the world.”

“They exist only because they are able to use these platforms,” he said. “That is why they’re growing. That is why we saw what happened in Washington. There have to be rules.”

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Read more:
Over 6,600 right-wing extremist social media channels, accounts linked to Canada, study finds

Twenty-five per cent of those polled were extremely concerned about the rise of right-wing extremism and terrorism, while 23 per cent were very concerned, 23 per cent were somewhat concerned and 20 per cent were “not that concerned.”

Youths aged 18 to 29, racialized Canadians and those on the political left were most likely to be concerned. Among the political right, 60 per cent were concerned and 36 per cent unconcerned about the issue.

The poll found that a third had seen online content inciting violence, while six per cent had experienced it. For racialized Canadians, the figures were significantly higher, at 41 per cent and 11 per cent.

“Across every item, racialized Canadians are more likely to report experiencing or seeing content online,” the poll said.

Overall, 49 per cent thought online hate and racism was a “big problem,” while 44 per cent considered it a “minor” problem. Youths and left-leaning Canadians were most likely to see it as a problem.

“We are encouraged that Canadians appear to be willing to support a strong framework for ensuring we minimize hate and harassment — even in the darkest corners of virtual society,” Hashim said.

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The poll’s margin of error was 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Scientists launch social media campaign to counter COVID-19 misinformation – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



TORONTO — Scientists and health experts are launching a nationwide campaign to counter misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines.

The .ScienceUpFirst initiative is an awareness and engagement campaign that will use social media to debunk incorrect information and boost science-based content.

The campaign team says in a news release that it emerged from conversations between Nova Scotia Sen. Stan Kutcher and Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta.

The initiative is now being led by the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.

Anyone interested in participating can follow ↕scienceupfirst and use the .ScienceUpFirst hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and tag the account to amplify science-based posts and alert it to misinformation posts.

The campaign says there is a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission and government response, and it represents a threat to the health and safety of Canadians.

“Misinformation is a dire, imminent threat to the lives of all Canadians and is proven to be one of the factors fueling COVID-19 infections, and dissuading Canadians from getting vaccinated,” says Caulfield.

“The .ScienceUpFirst initiative seeks to help fill an urgent need to beat back misinformation with the truth, and save lives.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.


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