Summary of “The End of Neutrality”

The very idea of value neutrality that rose to prominence after World War II-the idea that individuals or institutions can fairly arbitrate among competing values in a pluralistic society-has fallen on hard times, leaving us unsure of where to turn for a reliable account of the world.
The importance we place on neutrality in our institutions is actually somewhat new.
From both sides, one heard the same charge: that the ostensible neutrality of the government and other public institutions masked an ideology-one that was either aggressively liberal or cravenly conservative.
Still, these early doubts about the professed neutrality of our knowledge-forming institutions did not fatally undermine them.
Conservative shops like the Heritage Foundation might have fancied themselves right-wing counterweights to “Liberal” ones like the Brookings Institution, but Brookings, like the network news shows, adhered to a neutral scholarly ideal.
Under Trump, neutrality has become a difficult position for any individual or institution to maintain.
The collapse of neutral institutions also feeds a vicious cycle of polarization and extremism.
Some long-standing neutral institutions, particularly in journalism, seem to be feeling pressure to abandon their historic role in order to please their audiences.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Chuck Todd: It’s Time for the Press to Fight Back”

Much of the current hand-wringing about this rise in press bashing and delegitimization has been focused on the president, who-as every reporter in America sadly knows-has declared the press the “Enemy of the people.” But, like much else in the Trump era, Donald Trump didn’t start this fire; he’s only spread it to a potentially more dangerous place.
Roger Ailes, who went on to help found Fox News, was the most important of those figures.
His sustained assault on the press created the conditions that would allow a president to surround himself with aides who argue for “Alternative facts,” and announce that “Truth isn’t truth.” Without Ailes, a man of Trump’s background and character could never have won.
As a network programmer, Ailes excelled at matching a mood with an audience.
In the early ’90s, while he was president of CNBC, Ailes had a hunch that an evening lineup catering to a culturally conservative audience would thrive.
From the very beginning, Ailes signaled that Fox News would offer an alternative voice, splitting with the conventions of television journalism.
Ailes wasn’t building a reporting-driven news organization.
Fox intended to build its brand the same way Ailes had built the brands of political candidates: by making the public hate the other choice more.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Duterte Used Facebook To Fuel the Philippine Drug War”

Thanks to a social media-hungry populace and heavy subsidies that keep Facebook free to use on mobile phones, Facebook has completely saturated the country.
Last November, Facebook partnered with the Duterte government to build an undersea cable system that would connect Philippine internet systems to the rest of Asia and the US. “What about the other 3%?”. In 2012, 29 million Filipinos used Facebook.
Ellen Tordesillas, president of Vera Files, a Facebook fact-checking partner in the Philippines, said the “Majority” of false posts that her organization checks “Definitely” come from pro-administration Facebook pages or were inspired by the president’s remarks.
“It became obvious,” La Viña said, after Facebook started to emerge as the best tool of the Duterte campaign, that “The content and community management would be crowd-initiated and crowdsourced.” That was the way the campaign could work with millions of volunteers across several Facebook pages.
“Same stuff we do in the US – hand-holding, basically. Obviously we were unprepared for what happened. I don’t think anyone had the foresight to ask, ‘What happens to a place when a lot of people only get their news and information from Facebook?'” Facebook said it offered the Philippine campaigns training on how to keep their accounts secure and to outline its policies, and added that the company does not offer preferential treatment to any administration or political party over another.
Another example: When pictures of a drug war victim wrapped in brown packaging tape began circulating on Facebook, Sasot and Nieto suggested that Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel must be responsible – even though the corpse was accompanied by a handwritten note naming Duterte.
Predictably, the Sinaloa narrative became one of the many popular excuses for the drug war among Duterte supporters, racking up thousands of comments from Filipinos on Facebook who praised the theory.
When the Philippine presidential election rolled around in 2016, the readership Facebook sent Rappler was unparalleled – so much so that Rappler did everything Facebook recommended: Instant Articles, videos, Facebook Live.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Trump Has Changed How Teens View the News”

CJ Pearson, a 16-year-old conservative commentator, said the reason why Trump’s messages permeate so deeply into teen culture is because “President Trump understands the meme culture better than so many people. Every tweet he makes doesn’t just live on Twitter. It goes across every platform and stirs discussion among people who aren’t even political.”
“Trump has been able to connect with teens in a way no president has before,” he said.
The teens I spoke with often had strong opinions about CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fox News.
Colin said he tries to avoid CNN and most mainstream news sites, instead following independent journalists he likes on YouTube.
“Why wouldn’t CNN endorse Clinton or talk about her in a better way than Trump when Time Warner was donating so much money to her campaign?”.
Laura Medici Fleming, a history teacher at Ridgewood High School in New Jersey for 35 years, said she’s seen a huge shift in the way her students perceive mainstream news organizations.
Carver said she’s had to alter which news sources she uses to teach her students, since if she presents an article from the wrong “Side,” students will write the information off.
“I asked him if it seemed ridiculous that there are lots of stories about the most powerful person in the world on an international news site,” Grandt said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Wireless headphones are improving faster than anything else in tech”

Every new pair of wireless headphones or earphones I’ve come across here at IFA has featured a USB-C charging port.
The absence of a USB-C charging port was one of the very few reasons I didn’t award the previous 1000Xs the prize for best wireless headphones.
Beside Sony, Sennheiser added USB-C to its first truly wireless earbuds, the Momentum True Wireless, and Beyerdynamic outfitted its full range of new Byrd earphones and Lagoon headphones with USB-C. I’ll admit, there are few stragglers like Audio-Technica dragging their feet with MicroUSB, but they’re increasingly in the minority.
It’s no accident that I keep returning to these three pairs of headphones: to me, they represent a unified and extremely coherent vision for the immediate future of wireless headphones.
In all cases, whether larger over-ear designs or smaller in-ear ones, each successive generation of wireless headphones is taking major steps forward in increasing battery life.
Looking ahead to 2019, we’ve got a new breed of wireless Bluetooth headphones coming built around Qualcomm’s next generation AptX Adaptive audio codec, designed to handle the trouble spots of wireless connectivity.
The dynamism of the wireless headphones market is driven by an obvious impetus: demand continues to grow at a rapid pace, and so supply – and, importantly, the quality of the goods being supplied – is trying to keep pace.
As cities grow larger, as more people have longer commutes, as podcasting networks turn into self-sustaining businesses, the desire for the best possible wireless headphones is only going to increase.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Is American Mass Transit So Bad? It’s a Long Story.”

Even transit advocates have internalized the idea that transit cannot be successful outside the highest-density urban centers.
In the biggest cities, the radius from downtown accessible within an hour-generally considered the limit for daily commuting-by transit was fully developed by World War II. Cars dramatically extended that radius, and made it very hard for conventional transit to compete.
Since most transit systems had never seriously expanded beyond the urban cores, this increasingly meant that most of the metropolitan population was not meaningfully served by transit.
From New York to San Francisco to Chicago to D.C., virtually every major American rapid transit system has had a service meltdown as a result of chronic deferred maintenance.
Partly driven by a nostalgic desire to revive the streetcar suburbs of the pre-car era, they are a relatively affordable way to bring rail transit to many cities and have proven to be successful at driving investment in transit-oriented development as well as improving transit ridership on their routes.
The story of American transit didn’t have to turn out this way.
When riders started to switch to the car in the early postwar years, American transit systems almost universally cut service to restore their financial viability.
RecommendedA focus on improving local service is all the more important in an era where the White House and Congress are not very favorably disposed to transit, and well-funded lobby groups like those of the Koch brothers are spending millions to fight transit infrastructure spending.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Alan Rusbridger: who broke the news?”

News, the thing that helped people understand their world, that oiled the wheels of society, that pollinated communities, that kept the powerful honest – news was broken.
Some believed we had too much free news; others, that paid-for news was leaving behind it a long caravan of ignorance.
There might soon be entire communities without news, or without news they could trust.
Loads of reporters were at it: it was how the News of the World had won so many awards.
The News of the World, rattled by this new legal action, had offered to pay Taylor an enormous sum – £400,000 plus £300,000 costs – to drop the action.
The Daily Mail employed many outstanding reporters, but the relentless, bruising, sometimes brutalising editorial ethos of that paper had little in common with the BBC or the Financial Times, any more than Fox News had much in common with the New York Times or Washington Post.
We trust a public service broadcaster above all private news providers – but regularly revile it.
After two decades of disruption, it may be possible that none of the old conventional business models can still support serious news in the public interest.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is social media influencing book cover design?”

The rules of book cover design change decade by decade.
Social media – specifically Instagram, which promotes the coveting of beautiful covers on hashtags such as #bookstagram – is putting a new emphasis on cover aesthetics.
“With social media, people display their books in more places than their personal libraries at home. They’ve almost become an accessory in some cases,” says Rachel Willey, a designer behind covers including Patricia Lockwood’s Priestdaddy and Melissa Broder’s merman-romance The Pisces.
Faber and Faber’s recent releases signify a new focus on design; the publisher is giving away free letterpress prints of the cover of Sally Rooney’s new book Normal People to those who pre-order.
Corral says social media directly affects his designs: “Our jacket art often has social media in mind, as we often create animated gifs, profile icons, and moving images that expand on the book jacket art and are designed to spread across the internet.”
Laing has described Crudo as the first book for which she knew exactly what the cover should be.
A cover can’t change the contents of its book, but it can be a reader’s first impression of the book’s identity, especially with social media; as Willey says: “People now see covers before they get released, before even going to a bookstore.”
Even the fashion world has caught on to the idea of the book as accessory: for their 2018 autumn/winter campaign, Loewe created a box set of literary classics, include Dracula and Don Quixote, with covers by photographer Steven Meisel.

The orginal article.

Summary of “io9 Fall Preview: All the New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books”

In this first book in a new trilogy-set in the universe of the author’s Dread Empire’s Fall series-it’s seven years post-war and two of the fleet’s best military minds have been exiled for their unorthodox methods.
The veteran fantasy author returns with a new odd-couple adventure featuring two of his most beloved characters: dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden and his father, the weapon master Zaknafein.
In this latest tale set in the author’s fantasy world-a place that’s run by demons that come out at night-humankind has a new hope in the form of magic wands that could help them fight their nocturnal tormentors…if only everyone could put their longstanding differences aside and work together.
The author’s latest near-future political thriller starring Dr. Jake Ross sees the Washington, DC science advisor taking a huge gamble on a new form of power involving solar satellite transmissions.
The 13th entry in the author’s Elemental Masters series-imagining a magical version of Victorian England, and reimagining the cases of Sherlock Holmes-finds John and Mary Watson mourning the loss of Sherlock while keeping an eye out for Moriarty’s allies, and taking on a new puzzle involving a rash of murdered brides.
Two new stories highlight this collection of dark fantasy tales from the author of Roses and Rot.$26. From amazon.
The prolific fantasy author kicks off a new series with this tale of a young girl who dreams of being a pilot to help fight the aliens that’ve been the enemy of her world for generations-but a dark chapter in her family’s past may keep her grounded.
The author of The Girl With All the Gifts leaves zombies behind to investigate a new terror: a devoted mom who will stop at nothing to get what she wants, and isn’t above activating her secret dark side to stay in control.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Russia Secretly Ran News Websites In Eastern Europe”

TALLINN, Estonia – The Russian government discreetly funded a group of seemingly independent news websites in Eastern Europe to pump out stories dictated to them by the Kremlin, BuzzFeed News and its reporting partners can reveal.
The websites presented themselves as independent news outlets, but in fact, editorial lines were dictated directly by Moscow.
In early October 2014, Aleksandr Kornilov – a member of the Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots in Estonia, an organization that appears to be dealing with minority rights, such as Russian-language education, but is seen by Estonia’s counterintelligence agency as a tool of the Kremlin’s foreign policy – gave an interview to a news website in Lithuania called Delfi.
In a Skype chat obtained by BuzzFeed News and its reporting partners, Kornilov is ordered by an employee of Rossiya Segodnya – which runs the website and news agency Sputnik and the news agency RIA Novosti, and is closely connected to RT – to comply with a list of approved topics to cover.
Shortly after the Baltnews websites launched in October 2014 – three nearly identical websites hosted in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania – the Rossiya Segodnya employee Svyazin, a bylined author on various Sputnik websites in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told Kornilov on Skype to start sending weekly reports about notable upcoming events.
The documents reveal that Rossiya Segodnya set up the Russian-language news sites in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in October 2014 – six months after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and as the war between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine waged in Eastern Ukraine.
Not only does Baltnews seem far from the independent entertainment website Kornilov suggested to the Lithuanian news website Delfi, it also appears to have been just one cog in a much larger machine.
Immediately after the news story was published by Delfi, Kornilov held a conversation with Jevgeni Levik, a pro-Russian journalist in Estonia who was working at Baltnews as its first editor-in-chief but was fired by Kornilov shortly before the launch.

The orginal article.