This is so bleak

Muck Rack Daily

This is so bleak
November 15th, 2016
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Muck Rack Daily
Hello from Muck Rack, where you can get a snapshot of what journalists around the world are reading, thinking and commenting on right now.

These aren't PR tips. (Or are they?)

Check out the latest Muck Rack blog post by Micah Warren before diving into the day's news!

Link correction: Yesterday we linked to a Forbes blog post on "Public Relations in a Post-Factual World." Regrettably we used the wrong link. Here is the correct one.

This is so bleak.

"Mutiny at Facebook."

That's how Inc.'s Jeff Bercovici characterizes the latest Facebook scoop by BuzzFeed's Sheera Frankel who's learned that "renegade Facebook employees" have formed a task force to battle fake news (over 12,000 shares). "This is a big deal," Bercovici continues. "Facebook has always been an everyone-drinks-the-Kool Aid place." As one longtime Facebook engineer explained, "Facebook is getting played by people using us to spread their bullshit.” Jason Emory Parker of The Post and Courier says, "Can't say I've seen anything like this before: rogue FB employees setup taskforce to fix problem FB denies exists."

Well, it's not so much that Facebook denies the problem exists — after all, yesterday the company joined Google in banning fake news sites from its advertising network, writes Deepa Seetharaman of the Wall Street Journal. Yet Zuckerberg still hasn't revised his earlier statement that "99% of what users see is authentic." Here's how NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen summed up the mixed messaging: "Facebook: Fake news sites are not a problem and didn't affect the election but we banned them from our ad network."

But regardless of what's going on internally at Facebook, fake stories are still popping up in its trending section, at least as of 4:00 PM yesterday. That's when Ben Collins of The Daily Beast posted a screenshot of a "100% made up" trending story about Denzel Washington supporting Donald Trump. "This post of it alone has 10k shares in the last six hours," Collins adds.

It's a bird... It's a plane... It's... good news for the journalism industry!

Gerry Smith at Bloomberg reports that newspaper shares have "soared" in the days since the election, referring to it as "The Trump Bump." Gannett is up 18%, McClatchy is up 13%, and the New York Times is up 11%. Even tronc is up 10%. tronc!


Non-profit journalism donations are also up. "The nonprofit news organization ProPublica typically receives about 10 donations a day," Smith writes. "On Monday, its website was deluged with about three every minute."

Pamela Paul of the New York Times had this to say: "Thank you, subscribers, for recognizing the value and importance of real journalism. Now more than ever." But perhaps the most satisfying response came from the Washington Post's Dave Weigel: "Sending this link to every troll who informs me that the election will put me out of a job." Elsewhere, however, the New York Times' Michael Roston had a bit more cynical take in the wake of an election Trump arguably won thanks to the very media industry he regulalry denigrates: "I think this is what they call brand synergy in the marketing business."

False (im)balance

Over at Vox, Alvin Chang "looked at 2 years of front pages" and concluded that "Trump's Muslim ban got far less attention than Clinton's emails." And it wasn't just Fox News or Breitbart or other conservative-leaning outlets that were to blame. "The NYT focused monomaniacally on a single Clinton "scandal," but flitted between Trump controversies," tweets Jordan Weissman of Slate.

The "manosphere" goes mainstream. Shit.

Abi Wilkinson has a must-read piece in the Guardian titled, "I've seen just how dark the alt-right 'manosphere' is. Now it's mainstream" (over 7,000 shares). So what is the "manosphere" exactly? Wilkinson defines it as such: "An online subculture centred around hatred, anger and resentment of feminism specifically, and women more broadly." And how's it gone mainstream? One of its key figures, Steve Bannon, is now part of Donald Trump's White House staff. "Absolutely fascinating," tweets CNN's James Masters, particularly the ways in which, as Wilkinson puts it, "men's rights activist/pick-up artist online communities (serve) as a recruitment site for neofascism." India Knight of The Sunday Times is less enthusiastic, but still appreciative of the piece, tweeting, "This is so bleak." And finally, the Southern Poverty Law Center shared the piece with a blunt call to action: "We need to talk about the radicalisation of young, white men."

One more on Trump then we can all go home

The New York Times' Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig report that "Donald Trump's Far-Flung Holdings May Create Conflicts of Interest." The Washington Post's Drew Harwell calls Trump's conflicts "without precedent in American presidential history." Here's just one example, tweeted by Lipton: "Days before Trump won National Labor Relations Board ruled against his Vegas hotel. Now he appoints NLRB. Conflict?" The Washington Post's Dan Drezner says, "I'm confident GOP watchdogs in Congress will investigate these possible confli-- HA HA HA!" And finally, the Atlantic's Adam Serwer could only mock voters' hopes that Trump's election would clean up all the corruption in Washington: "drain the swamp."

Question of the Day

Yesterday, we asked: Jay-Z's classic "The Black Album" was released 13 years ago today. Many consider it to be his crowning achievement, but to Jay himself it only ranks third amid his repetoire. According to a 2013 blog post (along with various interviews) what is Jay-Z's favorite Jay-Z album?

Answer: Reasonable Doubt. Congrats to Carrie Gray for answering first, with Craig Pittman a close second.

Today's question of the day is: Today, People Magazine announced that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is its newest "sexist man alive." Who was the first man given this honor by the magazine? (Bonus: One year?)

As always, click here to tweet your answer to @MuckRack. We’ll announce the winners tomorrow!

Career Updates
Congrats, Deirdre and Jesse

At the New Yorker, Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn will join as a senior editor, following a stint as executive editor of the California Sunday Magazine.

And the New York Times has hired Jesse Drucker from Bloomberg to report on taxation and corporate finance for the newspaper.

Congrats to both!

Don’t forget - if you change your job in journalism or move to a different news organization, be sure to email us (hello [at] muckrack [dot] com) so we can reflect your new title. News job changes only, please! Thanks!
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