I like to label this aria the story of J and K.
It might seem a long while back, but most people will still have vivid recall of the Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearing. Kavanaugh’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was the most explosive since the doomed effort to install Robert Bork on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the tumultuous yet successful elevation of Justice Clarence Thomas.
I can’t say with certainty (because I’m not Conrad Black; he would know) that Justice Thomas’s nomination was the first time hearings were overshadowed by allegations of sexual harassment against the nominee. Anita Hill’s charges certainly changed the temperature of those hearings, and for good. Then Senators Ted Kennedy, a stalwart feminist, and Joseph Biden, made sure that they did.
They evolved — or devolved, your choice — from deep and dull drillings into a judge’s trial decisions and legal background, into full-on pryings into a candidate’s “private” history, and highly politicized, brutal partisan warfare.
They evolved … into full-on pryings into a candidate’s ‘private’ history, and highly politicized, brutal partisan warfare
Now in Kavanaugh’s case, bearing the brand of being a Trump nominee (think blood-red flags and a whole herd of angry bulls), everything was tautened to a ferocity of partisan war the likes of which, even in the U.S., had hardly been seen before.
Kavanaugh’s first challenge came from university professor Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that, 36 years before, he had sexually assaulted her in the summer of 1982. She was 15 and he was 17. I won’t rehash the details but her charges were swiftly joined by allegations from other women, and even eclipsed when then-lawyer, now fraudulent felon, Michael Avenatti, alleged that Kavanaugh had organized and participated in gang or “train rapes” while in high school contemporaneous with his “assault” on Blasey Ford.
The really dynamic element of that drama was that it was all being conducted within the supercharged ethos of the #MeToo movement. #MeToo electrified the news media following the mass revelations relating to Hollywood bossman Harvey Weinstein. It swiftly grew to hurricane force and veered to other high-profile males in the media and Hollywood, ending careers of the prestigious and illustrious alike — Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer can stand as prime examples.
As the charges and the “victims” multiplied, coverage of Kavanaugh’s hearing went wild and beyond America. So newsworthy was it in Canada that CBC sent one of its quartet of anchors from the National to California for a one-on-one interview with the “presidential contender” and “just the guy to take down Trump” (as he was then being billed).
In such a moment, and for a time, the allegations against Kavanaugh were red-hot news. The aforesaid Avenatti racked up more time peddling his charges than most of the hosts on CNN, CNBC and the other cable shows. CNN alone did, by actual count, 705 Kavanaugh stories. The big newspapers, from the esteemed New York Times to other main outlets all over the world, debated Kavanaugh’s character, ransacked his high school days, and made him and his family the butt of the late-night funny shows.
The big names chimed in. Nancy Pelosi: “I’m proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.” Sen. Mark Warner: “For too long, our political system has shut out the voices of women & silenced the stories behind the #MeToo movement.” There are dozens more from the Democratic big league. Naturally the Hollywood crowd jammed the scene. Ellen DeGeneres praised Blasey Ford; Seth MacFarlane said Kavanaugh was “unfit for this job;” Jim Carrey lauded Blasey Ford as a “true American heroine;” Alyssa Milano … but the list is too long.
But now, the same people, the same feminists, the same journalists and movie stars, the same newspapers and networks who were explosively up in arms and endlessly ran stories and interviews on the Kavanaugh allegations, and pushed the slogan “believe all women” with a frenzy, have been totally mute for five weeks.
And it is only this morning (Friday) as I write, that Joe Biden has made his first direct comment on the matter. He “vehemently” denies the charges.
Before this morning, interview after interview with Biden have been conducted without the subject of “sexual assault” even being put to him. And in particular, the #MeToo movement, whose clamour reached the heavens for Kavanaugh, has been as quiet as a mouse all this time.
How can this be? How can one story which is the twin of another be dynamite for the news media one day, and the other story a total dud the next? Call out the army for the Kavanaugh tale, and send the troops home for Biden. Frenzy when a story works against Donald Trump; narcolepsy when it might hurt Joe Biden, his presumed opponent in the upcoming election.
This cannot be accepted as common practice. It will kill news if it becomes so. Partisan reportage is a poison to the whole news media. It doesn’t erode trust. It eliminates trust altogether. The U.S. media have gone very far along this road, but our press has sipped from the same chalice.
Let me bring it home. How many in the Canadian media have given as much coverage to former Senate aide Tara Reade’s allegations against Biden as they did to the allegations against Kavanaugh? I would hate to think the standard for news coverage is — hurts Trump, lead item; might help Trump, doesn’t exist.
How blatant and frequent must these inconsistencies become, before it becomes clear that the celebrated “moral urgency” of the #MeToo movement was driven by ruthless political partisanship? That it had political motivations equally blended with the more laudable ones of proper treatment for women?
The chief sorrow for anyone in journalism must be that the campaign against Kavanaugh by the #MeToo movement had an obliging ally with mainstream news. And that, by contrast, Tara Reade’s story, under the same partisan compulsions, has been, at least until this Friday, comfortably ignored.
If journalism is in a hard time, it’s not just the internet or the plague that’s the cause.
Trump tweets threat to shutter social media companies after Twitter warning – CBC.ca
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies, one day after Twitter Inc. for the first time added a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact-check the president’s claims.
Trump, without offering any evidence, reiterated his accusations of political bias by such technology platforms, tweeting: “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”
He added: “Clean up your act, NOW!!!!”
….happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!
Representatives for Twitter and Facebook could not be immediately reached for comment on Trump’s tweets. Shares of the companies were down in pre-market trading following his posts.
In the pair of early morning posts, the Republican president again blasted mail-in ballots as being rife with fraud — though there is no evidence that’s the case, and many Americans have used mail-in ballots in previous elections. Five states currently use only mail-in voting for all elections.
Trump posted similar tweets about the ballot topic on Tuesday, which had moved Twitter to add an alert, signified by a blue exclamation mark, below the tweets to warn his claims may be inaccurate or unsubstantiated, and direct readers to a page of news articles and information about the topic.
Twitter said it was the first time it had applied a fact-checking label to a tweet by the president, in an extension of its new “misleading information” policy, which was introduced earlier this month to combat misinformation about the coronavirus.
The dramatic shift by the tech company, which has tightened its policies in recent years amid criticism that its hands-off approach has allowed misinformation to thrive, had prompted Trump to accuse it of interfering in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Social media isn't a one-size-fits-all marketplace. This training explains it all – The Next Web
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Torstar buyer says Canso picked to provide financing because of media experience – OrilliaMatters.Com
TORONTO — A private investment company that is a major backer of Postmedia Network Corp. has agreed to provide financing for NordStar Capital’s acquisition of Torstar Corp., the owner of the Toronto Star and other newspapers.
NordStar said in a statement it considered several sources of outside funding and chose Canso Investment Counsel Ltd. because of its experience in the Canadian media industry.
The statement also addressed long-standing speculation that there might be a move afoot to merge Torstar and Postmedia, which own two of the country’s biggest media businesses.
“The financing arrangements for the NordStar bid are not, in anyway whatsoever, connected directly or indirectly with any other media company.”
Canso didn’t immediately respond to a request for information about its involvement with the NordStar deal.
However, talk of an eventual deal to consolidate Canada’s newspaper industry was fuelled by the involvement of Canso — which provided $93.5 million after fees in September for a refinancing of Postmedia’s debt.
NordStar’s statement said it didn’t include Canso in the initial press release but “their participation would have been disclosed in due course as part of customary public fillings.”
NordStar is a new company formed by Toronto businessmen Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett, whose backgrounds are in corporate finance.
In order to buy Torstar, they required the support of five families that have controlled the company for decades — the Atkinsons, Hindmarshs, Campbells, Thalls and Honderichs.
The five stepped in to run the Star after founder Joseph Atkinson died in 1948, leaving the paper to a charitable foundation to be run by trustees.
In announcing the deal on Tuesday, Torstar chair John Honderich said it was “time to pass the torch.”
Unifor national president Jerry Dias says his big concern is that Canada could lose the Toronto Star’s voice for the progressive social issues if it’s combined with the company that owns the National Post, which has taken a more conservative stance.
“Let’s be candid, people are nervous with Canso being the money behind the National Post and now the Star. For us, the broader issue is how comfortable are we eliminating progressive voices in this country? That’s what the big issue is.”
Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with subsidiaries of the Globe and Mail and Montreal’s La Presse.
— with files from Tara Deschamps
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:TS.B)
The Canadian Press
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