December 16, 2016 Last Updated 8:21 am

Is the future of US newspapers ownership by oligarchs? Some editors appear quite willing to try the business model

Morning Brief: Oakland Raiders fans congratulated (snark I’m sure) by Southwest Airlines pilot for drowning their sorrows after a defeat by emptying the plane of its alcohol

The evolution by supporters of the Republican Party from being cold war warriors to supporters of Russia has to be one of the big stories of this election cycle. Yes, the election of Donald Trump is certainly yuge, but the lasting impact of a major, supposedly conservative political party, from being deathly afraid of anything the Kremlin might do, to being diehard supporters of Vladimir Putin is stunning.

Read the comments on this Fox News story (below) about President Obama promising to retaliate for Russian hacking. Fox News readers overwhelmingly support the Kremlin over their president. Is that merely about race, or a profound change in politics?

Photo: Mural in Vilnius, Lithuania, Petras Malukas / AFP – Getty Images

What has spurred the change may have been revealed in a study conducted by Matthew MacWilliams, a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts. He conducted a poll in which Republicans were asked four questions about child-rearing to identify those who were disposed to favor “hierarchy, loyalty and strong leadership” – in other words, authoritarianism. What he found was that this was a way to accurately identify those who would be supporting Donald Trump in the Republican primaries.

“For authoritarians, things are black and white,” MacWilliams told The Washington Post. “Authoritarians obey.”


Obama says US needs to respond to Russian cyberattacks — ‘and we will’

President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. needs to “take action” in response to cyberattacks on Democratic officials during the recent presidential campaign, hours after his administration insisted — without offering proof — that President-elect Donald Trump “obviously knew” of the breaches, and suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally authorized them.

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action,” Obama said in an interview scheduled to air Friday on National Public Radio. “And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

Politico, Michael Crowley:

Putin’s Revenge: Humiliated by the 1990s, Russia’s strongman is determined to win Cold War 2.0. He may be succeeding.

Today, as the U.S. grapples with a Russia with resurgent global ambitions, with a Kremlin that hacks our emails, manipulates our news—and, according to the CIA, actively worked to elect Donald Trump—it’s important to realize that for Putin, it’s not just a constant move for advantage. Yes, Putin is pressing Russia’s current interests. But in scheming to defeat Hillary Clinton, and by subjecting American democracy itself to Russian influence, he is also closing a loop opened in part by the Clintons 20 years ago. Putin can’t undo Russia’s Cold War defeat by America. But he can avenge it. And in Donald Trump—the man who defeated Hillary Clinton and seems ready to deal with Putin on terms that few other American politicians would countenance—he hopes he has found a willing partner.

Says Strobe Talbott, a Russia specialist who served as deputy secretary of state under Bill Clinton: “He basically wants to make Russia great again.”

Yes, it’s always best to publishing in an environment where costs will not be an issue. But I think it needs to be said that not every billionaire will stand very long for an editor that decides to buck the interests of their publisher.

This story, which reads like a puff piece for the newspaper, is about a Colorado Springs newspaper owned by Phil Anschutz, the Denver businessman and Republican donor, who has very conservative opinions. It turns out that Colorado Springs is a pretty conservative place in a state that has increasingly leaned more blue.

What the article really is saying it that Anschutz is willing to pay for quality journalism, but left unanswered is whether he will continue to bankroll the project should the newspaper’s editors swing left.

We may never know, the editorial that is currently leading the Opinion section is Business-friendly policies in Colorado Springs benefit all

CJR, Corey Hutchins:

Ex-WaPo editor tries out Bezos model in Colorado Springs

QUESTION: WHEN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS are scaling back and laying off journalists, how does The Gazette in Colorado Springs expand its public affairs reporting statewide with a handful of new hires?

Answer: “It helps to have a billionaire own your paper.”

That’s how Vince Bzdek, The Gazette’s new editor and former online politics editor of The Washington Post, explains his hiring spree including the poaching of two statehouse reporters from rival papers for a new digital team and website called

I have to say, and did on Twitter, that this is actually how I feel about the past years writing about publishing on TNM. Now, with a new president who hates the media, and things climate change is a hoax, it will be tough days for many of us. While the blogger mentioned below has decided to pack it in, TNM will instead evolve from being exclusively about digital publishing (I suppose it isn’t really exclusively about digital publishing) to covering the challenges of the media world in a hostile environment.

CBC, Anna Maria Tremonti:

‘Like watching a train wreck’: Blogger quits writing about climate change

When Neven Curlin began his Arctic Sea Ice blog in 2010, it was a labour of love. Though he isn’t a scientist, as an environmentalist he had a natural interest in the state of Arctic sea ice and how it was being affected by global warming.

But now six years later, after amassing a sizeable following while blogging about sea ice melt multiple times a week, Curlin says he has to take a step back from his blog because of “Arctic burnout.”

“It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion,” Curlin tells The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti.

“And just describing the train wreck all the time is not very productive. So I just need some time to step away.”

Photo: Raider Fans by Brooke Ward used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

It can never be said that Raider fans don’t travel well. It turns out that, despite a crushing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, the fans of the Oakland Raiders still found a way to enjoy their trip to western Missouri. Imagine what they will be like if next year they are spending their weekends in Las Vegas.

WPXI, Brianna Chambers:

Pilot ‘congratulates’ passengers for drinking all alcohol on plane

Passengers aboard a recent Southwest Airlines plane received a special message from the flight’s captain after the travelers drank all the alcohol aboard plane.

On a Dec. 7 flight from from Oakland, California, to Kansas City, Missouri, the captain of the aircraft went over the PA system to announce to passengers that they had consumed all the alcohol on the plane, according to sports journalist Jimmy Durkin, who tweeted about the incident. The captain congratulated the passengers for their feat, which was accomplished during the three-hour-20-minute flight.

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