A Friday to remember as media organizations scramble to keep up with breaking news
The last Friday of June, usually a sleepy, summer news day, suddenly breaks open following three terrorist attacks, a major Supreme Court ruling, and then the reactions
There is really no reason to write today about new media apps, website redesigns, or the value of native digital editions over replicas. Today is the day the Internet blew up… again (no, Kim Kardashian did not expose more backside).
The day started with terrible news from France as a factory owned by the American company Air Products was attacked with one man killed, along with one of the attackers, and the other attacker arrested. Then came word of far worse attacks at a beach resort Tunisia and at a mosque in Kuwait City.
For those on the West Coast of the US, all this happened while still asleep. The news they woke up to, though, came from the Supreme Court as the court ruled 5 to 4 that gay couples nationwide have a right to marry.
What has followed is an extraordinary outpouring of opinions written on Twitter, on newspaper comment threads, Facebook, and everywhere else on the Internet.
Newspapers, such as The Washington Post, which only lightly moderate their comments have seen a rush of comments, over 2,000 on its main story in the two hours. The New York Times, which more strictly moderates comments, still has almost 800 comments approved in the first hour or so following the story hitting its website.
Google posted this video on YouTube, but chose to leave comments open. It’s a beautiful video, but some of the comments are rather ugly. Was it the right decision? Who knows. But I think it is a decision for each publisher to make: comments, no comments; heavy moderation, light moderation, no moderation.
It should be noted that the two largest tech companies in America – Apple and Google – are clearly on the side of marriage equality. The reason this is important, I think, it that their devices and platforms are dominate in the US market, which means the opponents marriage equality have to deal with this issue knowing how influential these companies are. Imagine, if you will, had this Supreme Court case bene decided two or three decades ago and Ford, GM and Chrysler were publicly for marriage equality.
Apple and Google, of course, were not alone is publicly supporting the plaintiff’s position in this case. 379 corporations and employer organizations had signed on to the amicus brief in support, including companies as diverse as Amazon and Microsoft, the New England Patriots and the San Francisco Giants.
Now comes the reaction. Already the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, today released a statement that concludes “As I have done in the past, I will continue to defend the religious liberties of all Texans—including those whose conscience dictates that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman. Later today, I will be issuing a directive to state agencies instructing them to prioritize the protection of Texans’ religious liberties.” Look for more nonsense like this in the days and weeks to come.
Lost in the flood of breaking news are some of the lingering and resolved stories such as the negotiations between Greece and its lenders, and the debate occurring in the South about the displaying of the Confederate battle flag.
In the next week we will see these stories, and the reaction to the stories that broke today, dominate the news. Apple, which launches its Apple Music service, will be depending on the tech websites to give it some PR as the mainstream media will be busy on other stories. Oh, and lest we forget, the Supreme Court will have at least one more decision, possibly one death penalty related, to announce on Monday.