December 12, 2016 Last Updated 8:27 am

Minority journalist pens open letter to colleagues; GM says it disavows ‘alt-right’ casting call

Monday afternoon odds and ends: With election over, and following Podesta email controversy, Glenn Thrush moves from Politico to the NYT to cover the White House

This is truly an odd time in digital publishing, it is as if we are waiting for the next big thing, but wonder if the next big thing is so god awful that none of us will worry about little things like apps, or digital publishing platforms, or other seemingly important things again. In other words, it feels like limbo.

Because of this, I suppose, I already have heard from a number of publishers and journalists who have decided to just pack it in for the year, extend their one of two week holiday break into three weeks. Lots of Americans just continue to accrue their vacation time, never use, but maybe now is the time. It sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

Photo: HBO

This is a really good blog post, which you should read in full. I don’t normally include such a large portion of a post, feeling that it gets close to theft, but I think what is said here is simply all-too-true.

Jay Caspian Kang (correspondent Vice News Tonight):

An Open Letter to Fellow Minority Journalists

Many of us were hired in the last two years and almost every single one of us reports to a white editor who will kowtow to the panic of his or her publisher. Too many of us were brought into media as part of a cynical push to turn “race writing,” especially race writing about pop culture, into a click factory (Or, perhaps, more tellingly, to satisfy the guilt of white editors who finally looked around and realized that their liberal values were in direct conflict with the optics of their workplace.). The media companies who clap themselves on the back because they have an “authentic voice” writing about Beyoncé or the VMAs did not make a real commitment to diversity. Instead, they put forward poorly paid “fellowships” or meager web contracts that require no investment on their part. They, in large part, do not give out reporting assignments that might build up skills that could translate into long careers. The sort of work they do have so many of us do — “woke” pop culture writing — will only last as long as it drives the wan, asymmetrical glow of Media Twitter.

The real path to success as a journalist still remains the same: Have enough independent wealth so that you can take an unpaid internship or a $35,000 year job as an editorial assistant or fact-checker at a prestigious place and then work the office politics game (read: know how to work a room of Ivy League graduates) to the top. In five or ten or fifteen years, the network you build up during those early years will occupy the highest spots in media and they will bring you into the power structure.

This same media has sprayed its panicked guts all over the walls in the weeks following the election, but it will eventually settle down into what these prestige journalistic outlets have always been — center-right, bourgeois takes read by lawyers on planes. And since the majority of lawyers on planes aren’t joining up with ‘the resistance’ (whatever the fuck that means), editors and publishers will start hiring alt-Tucker Carlsons so they can hear both sides. They will need to clear headcount spots to do this and they will quietly start purging the same writers they hired so enthusiastically — with rousing rounds of Tweet applause — two years ago.

I think someone needs to have a talk with their creative agency. As the world of auto ad agencies is pretty small, my guess is that more to this story will leak out soon.

Reuters, Joseph White:

Cadillac disavows casting call for ‘neo-Nazi’ character in brand ad

General Motors Co’s (GM.N) Cadillac brand on Saturday disavowed a casting notice that called for an “alt-right (neo nazi)” role in a Cadillac commercial amid a storm of outrage on social media. The casting notice, circulated on Twitter and Facebook, said an agency was looking for “any and all real alt-right thinkers/believers” and indicated the call was for a Cadillac advertisement to be filmed later this month…

…Cadillac officials said on Saturday the brand “did not authorize or approve a casting notice for an ‘alt-right (neo-nazi)’ role in a commercial. We unequivocally condemn the notice and are seeking immediate answers from our creative agency, production company and any casting companies involved.”

The Cast Station, a casting service, on Saturday afternoon posted on its Facebook page that a casting notice “for an “alt-right” role in a Cadillac commercial was issued by mistake on Friday, Dec 9th. The notice was drafted by an employee, who was immediately terminated for her actions.

Photo: Screen capture, Charlie Rose, PBS

I found it very interesting that The New York Times has been a bit shy about promoting this hire. There is no mention of it on either the corporate or newspaper websites. One wonders if they would prefer to simply bring on Glenn Thrush from Politico without making too much of a big deal knowing the right-wing media will go crazy?

Too late, Breitbart News, after seeing Michael Calderone’s HuffPost story, has their own report on the hiring: NYTimes Hires Fake News Purveyor Glenn Thrush Despite WikiLeaks Humiliation.

What’s this all about? When Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails were publishing by WikiLeaks, one of the emails came from Thrush who wrote to Podesta:

“Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I f****d up anything,” Thrush wrote to Podesta.

It could be argued, and many did, that Thrush was just fact-checking his story, but it certainly didn’t look good, and it led into the impression that Politico – and the media, in general – were “in the bag for HRC.” Now the NYT has brought on Thrush to be their White House correspondent.

The Huffington Post, Michael Calderone:

Politico’s Glenn Thrush To Join The New York Times

Politico chief political correspondent Glenn Thrush is joining the New York Times to cover the White House, the newspaper confirmed Monday…

…“We’re thrilled that Glenn Thrush is joining The Times,” Elisabeth Bumiller, the paper’s Washington bureau chief, said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “He’s a premier political journalist, a master of breaking news and long-form story telling and a stellar addition to our White House team.”

At the Times, Thrush will be reunited with former Politico stars Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, who he recently interviewed for his podcast. His hiring suggests that the paper is turning to reporters with tabloid roots to cover an incoming president reared in New York’s media culture. Thrush previously worked at Newsday while Haberman, who has covered both Trump’s campaign and his transition, previously worked at the New York Post and Daily News.

I’m still waiting for an update on this story, as GMs falling out of newspaper office windows is, to say the least, disturbing news.


Senior Chinese newspaper manager falls to his death

The general manager of a major Chinese newspaper group that has been in trouble with the government for blackmail and corruption fell to his death on Monday, the newspaper said.

The 21st Century Business Herald carried a short statement on its official microblog from publisher 21st Century Media Ltd saying 21st Century Media’s general manager, Liu Jiandong, had fallen from a building and died despite efforts to save him…

Police only identified him by his family name, Liu, and said he was a company general manager. They added that “at the moment” there was no suspicion of murder.

Last year, China’s media regulator revoked the publishing license of the paper’s website for forcing clients to sign advertisement and service contracts by threatening to publish negative news about them. The regulator also ordered the newspaper to “conduct internal inspections and restructure its management board”. The same year, a Chinese court jailed Shen Hao, former president of 21st Century Media Ltd., for four years after finding him guilty of extortion and fraud.

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