Newspaper Watch

Note the elision

The decline of the journalism business is not being driven by a lack of interest in the news, which is robust, but by the collapse of the advertising-based model that has traditionally paid for news gathering. The problem began two decades ago, when papers started losing classified ads to digital sites like Craigslist and eBay. To compete, print outlets built extensive web operations to tap the growing digital advertising market—only to see that market cornered by two monopolistic tech platforms. By 2018, Google and Facebook were sucking up 58 percent of all digital advertising revenues at the national level, and 77 percent in local markets, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Facebook and Google haven’t monopolised the classifieds. They have taken the display business but that was a different revenue stream for the newspapers anyway. It’s, e-Bay (as stated), Craigslist (ditto), Glassdoor and all the rest which have taken the classifieds.

Therefore, if a solution is necessary, it’s one that involves e-Bay, Monster and so on, right?

But if you really want to know what’s going on here:

The Washington Monthly would like to thank Knight Foundation for sponsoring this special issue.

The Knight Foundation being the charitable arm of Knight Ridder – or at least very closely connected – and KR own lots of traditional newspapers.

A hole in the reporting

The Corporatization of Nursing Homes
A tragic history of how we’ve treated elderly citizens, for profit


OK, maybe, let’s see.

Roughly 70 percent of the nation’s 15,400 nursing homes are for-profit, and the gross understaffing on display at Colonial Hill is the flip side of extreme profiteering.

Guess what the one thing we don;t see, anywhere, is? That’s right. A comparison of state run with private run homes on this very metric she claims is important.

Wonder why.

Guardian editing

Big city indifference to strangers may be a myth, study suggests
Behavioural experts in London find socio-economic factors to be the keys to helpfulness

Oh, right. And it’ll be the poor ‘elpin each ovver out, righ’?

In paragraph 9 we get told that:

“Most of the variation in whether help was offered was explained by neighbourhood wealth, with help being more forthcoming in higher-wealth neighbourhoods,” the authors wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Ah, no, it’s almost as if there’s some idea like social trust that contributes to the wealth of the community, isn’t it?

Might need to rethink this

But Jodie Whittaker, star of Doctor Who, was forced to confront the “uncomfortable” truth that her ancestors were colliery owners who became millionaires by exploiting their workforce.
The actress said that the information gleaned in the BBC One genealogy programme was difficult for someone who leans “emotionally” to the Left.
During her research, she learned about the General Strike of 1926, which began when colliery bosses demanded that miners work longer hours for less pay.
Her family-owned colliery was one of the few to remain open during the strike, and made significant profits by selling coal for nearly three times the rate it fetched before the stoppage, while striking miners and their families went hungry and faced a bleak, freezing winter.

Keeping the mine open, thus allowing people to work rather than going hungry and freezing while on strike is exploiting in what manner?

Only national capitalists to be allowed

There have been rumblings in Congress about making hedge funds and private equity more transparent, but to date there’s been little headway. Now, before there’s no one left to report on it, it’s time to ask whether private equity and hedge funds should be allowed in the news business at all.

If hedge funds remain in the news business, they need to be fully transparent. Stakeholders—employees, readers, and the general public—need to know their investors, their managers, and their corporate governance. Likewise, if hedge funds remain in news, they need to be located in the United States. There is a good reason campaign finance laws prohibit donations from foreign nationals. The same should be applied to news.

Can’t allow any foreign capitalists to tell us the baseball scores after all.

Damned idiot

The full details are not available on Trump’s tax returns. They show instead that his company once paid $747,622 to an unnamed consultant for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver. Payments to consultants can be legitimate business expenses, and there’s nothing unusual about deducting something like that. But in this case, the consultant appears to have been his daughter, whose own public financial disclosures show receipt of $747,622.

This is the kind of thing the IRS could easily overlook because it requires checking two different forms, realizing that the numbers match, and then seeing that the $747,622 payment was almost certainly to Ivanka. There’s nothing wrong with giving your daughter a six-figure gift if you are rich enough to do so. But when you receive gifts of this size, you need to pay a gift tax on them. If you structure your gift as a consulting fee, it passes to your heir untaxed. Taking what’s really a gift and pretending it’s a business expense is against the law.

Jeez, don’t these people know how tax works? A consulting fee is income, which will be taxed under the usual tax system for income.

Ivanka pays tax on that. Just like the architect of the building pays tax on his income from it.

Jeez, they’re really reaching, aren’t they?

Odd this really

But historians offer another thesis for the purpose QAnon serves. The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history. And it is often a politically useful one. Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed.

In the list of peoples who have been so used and abused as the out-group we get no mention of kulaks, the bourgeoisie or the running lackey dogs of the bloodsucker capitalists. Even as many tens of millions more were killed for such than any other social enemy creation.

But then this is The New Republic and it wouldn’t even occur to them, would it?

Jeezus Poppy, get an editor!

But some had another question: what sort of social security net forces an 89-year-old man to have to run around delivering pizza in his old age just so he can make rent? Newey can’t be the only one: Americans who are his age and make the average US yearly income of $35,977, can expect to receive about $1,579 a month in social security payments; barely enough to make the average rent – or roughly the same amount as what Donald Trump pays in taxes across two years.

Someone making $35k with another $19 k in social security on top is regarded as doing pretty well in the US.

Yes, we know what you mean. That someone who paid social security taxes on $35k a year while working would receive $19k a year in retirement from social security. But don’t you people have editors over there at The Guardian any more?

BTW, a state pension of 50% of working income sounds pretty good actually. How much should it be?

Leading language

Republican efforts to ram through Donald Trump’s third US supreme court pick in the wake of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg are firing up a fierce progressive backlash that some believe could actually trigger the most dramatic round of democracy reforms in America in a generation.

It is the President’s constitutional duty to nominate people for the Supreme Court. And the Senate’s to consider them.

This is “ram through”?

Democratic party leaders are coming under intense pressure to use the first 100 days of a Biden administration – were Trump defeated in November – to tackle some of the most glaring deficiencies in the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.

A vast array of reforms – from ending voter suppression and removing corporate money from elections, to rebalancing the US Senate and tackling the conservative stranglehold over the courts – are all up for grabs, though they are predicated on Biden winning the White House.

All of those look more like embedding progressive power rather than correcting deficits really.

My word, he did?

For example, just this week it announced new guidance for schools that prohibited the use of resources “produced by organisations that take extreme political stances on matters”. One such stance is a desire to overthrow capitalism, something a certain Jesus of Nazareth had a few opinions on.

Must have missed that bit in RE class. Camels and eyes of needles, sure, paying Caesar etc. But capitalism? Given that it’s the most effective means yet discovered of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked etc I’m not entirely and wholly certain he’d be against it either.

GB News is the latest attempt to bring more Fox News-style partisan bullshit to UK broadcasting, and in a sane world OFCOM would make that very difficult.

Government should stop people saying stuff I don’t like. A very liberal attitude, don’t you think? Especially from a journalist.

Don’t think so somehow

Mr Bond, the son of a farm labourer and rabbit trapper, married Janette Tacchi in Taunton, in June 1954. Together they had one son, born the following year, who they also called James. He died in 2005, having spent most of his life in the British Army until his retirement in his late 60s.

That reads as if it’s the son who died in 2005 which doesn’t sound quite right. But more than that they’ve got the retirement from the Army happening in his late 60s, which doesn’t happen except to Field Marshalls who never do, rather than his death in his late 60s after his retirement.

Patrick Sawer,
Matthew Day

Ah, yes, it takes writing by committee to make that sort of fuck up.

Interesting claim

Under Barack Obama, U.S. manufacturers cut back substantially on outsourcing, and manufacturing jobs at home rose sharply.

It’s a testable claim too.

Ah, it’s a bollocks claim. Manufacturing employment as Obama left office was lower than when he came in.

Yes, yes, sure, recession and all that. And yet still, the claim is bollocks.

Well, make your mind up

It is the end of another day for Hassan, a migrant worker from Morocco who has spent the past 12 hours under a sweltering late summer sun harvesting vegetables in one of the vast greenhouses of Almería, southern Spain.

Like other workers in El Barranquete, Hassan says he earns only about €5 (£4.50) an hour, well under the legal minimum wage.

Spanish minimum wage is €1,000 and change a month. 12 hour days at €5 an hour are above that.

“Or when you look at the payslips, it says €58 a day, which is minimum wage


Sure, hard job for low wages in difficult conditions. But what actually is this minimum wage that isn’t being paid?

Ahaha. Aaaahahaha. Ahaha.

Oh Dear Lord. And these people try to tell us how to run the economy do they?

Americans for Financial Reform ferreted this out in a criminally under-discussed revelation. The Fed reports its corporate bond purchases and loans under the CARES Act to Congress; the most recent one came out September 8. If you go to the trade-level data for bond purchases, you see this very clearly. There’s a par value, a market rate for the bond purchases the Fed is making. It’s paying more than par with virtually every purchase. It bought Altria (the Marlboro and Juul people) bonds at 109.9 percent. It bought Columbia Pipeline group at 116.7 percent. It bought Principal Financial Group at 112 percent. All but a very few of hundreds of purchases totaling tens of billions of dollars are made above par. On average, the price is 107 percent.

These people are too stupid to get up in the morning, aren’t they?