April 20, 2017 Last Updated 8:39 am

Fox News loses star, but not family control; Facebook draws praise, jeers for May 1 immigration protest policy

Morning Brief: WSJ report says Google may install its own default ad-blocker in Chrome browser, blocking ads that do not conform to Coalition for Better Ads guidelines

The Shakespeare tragedy Romeo and Juliet is one of a young romantic couple caught up in the world of competing houses, the houses of Montague and Capulet. We tend not to see the story as a political one, one which leads to the death of two innocents, so much as a story of love. But the story takes place before the establishment of Italian democracy. It can be seen as a story of conflicting oligarchical families, each fighting for supremacy.

Yesterday, the House of Murdoch lost its most prized trinket, Bill O’Reilly, who at 67 will no be forced to go into retirement, his pocket stuffed with cash. But the Murdoch remain atop of empire. Lachlan and James Murdoch remain, there to make sure the ideals of the media empire are maintained.

In the White House is another clan, another at The New York Times. We hardly live in an era where the rights and privileges of the citizenry really amount to a whole lot, not when they may conflict with the interests of the Houses of power. So, don’t think for a minute that O’Reilly leaving Fox News means much more that what the superficial story says it is. The real story is that not much will change because the same family controls the largest cable news network in America, and they aren’t going anywhere.

The Week, Peter Weber:

On the first post-Bill O’Reilly Factor, Mike Huckabee jokes you can’t ‘kiss a woman leaning away from you’

On the night that Fox News sacked Bill O’Reilly, Dana Perino hosted the newly O’Reilly-less The Factor. She had on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to discuss media bias against President Trump. After they discussed some findings by the conservative media-bias group the Media Research Center and its NewsBusters offshoot, Huckabee tried out what might be material for his next Twitter joke. It seemed particularly ill-suited for the occasion.

“You know, there’s three things that’s said you can’t do,” Huckabee said. “You can’t spit into the wind, you can’t climb a ladder leaning toward you, or kiss a woman leaning away from you. Add one more to the list if you’re Donald Trump: You can’t get a fair shake from the media.”

The Washington Post, Katherine Tarbox:

The attitudes about sex that doomed O’Reilly hid in plain sight for years

Though this was almost 15 years ago, I can remember the experience of being a guest on “The Factor” so well because it’s an episode that still haunts and disturbs me to this day. And the dismissive way O’Reilly dealt with my own history as a victim of assault made the allegations that finally pushed Fox News to fire him this week feel all too familiar.

At 19, I appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” to tell my story in the hopes that it would prevent sexual assault. Six years earlier, I had been molested by a man who I went to go meet after I spent six months developing an online relationship with him. The assault occurred in 1996 and resulted in a landmark federal case.

O’Reilly challenged me about the fact that I decided to go meet this person I didn’t know. He then insisted that at 13, I should have known better than go meet someone, and I should have been able to predict what would happen. Fair enough; in the back of my head, even then, I did know I was taking a massive risk. In typical O’Reilly preaching, though, he told me I made a huge mistake and appeared to suggest that I deserved to become a victim of sexual assault because I knew I was doing something I shouldn’t have done.

I sat there speechless. I stared at him. All I could think to ask was, “You’ve never made mistakes at 13?” His answer, “Well, that’s a really big one to make.”



This story has some in tech really ready to burn the Google house down.

The WSJ is reporting that Google will join the ad-blocking party by adding it to its Chrome browser by default. The ad-blocker would automatically eliminate “unacceptable ads” – that is, those defined by the Coalition for Better Ads as not conforming. Those would include pop-ups, auto-play video, etc.

That sounds good to me, and it will sound good to millions of others, as well.

The problem, that some see, it that this only benefits Google as their ads would still be seen while many others are hidden.

While some tech reporters see the danger here, and are complaining via Twitter, the tech sites are holding their fire. They know their readers – and web readers, in general – are tired of the obnoxious advertising being thrust upon them. Newspaper websites from Gannett and tronc are among the worst offenders, but there are plenty of others, and people have had enough

The Wall Street Journal, Jack Marshall:

Google Plans Ad-Blocking Feature in Popular Chrome Browser

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web…

…Unacceptable ad types would be those recently defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March. According to those standards, ad formats such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and “prestitial” ads with countdown timers are deemed to be “beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability.”

BusinessInsider, Shona Ghosh:

The EU competition commissioner says she will look at Google Chrome’s rumoured ad block feature ‘closely’

The EU’s antitrust boss, Margarethe Vestager, has said she will follow Google’s rumoured new adblocking feature “closely”.

She tweeted the comment in response to queries from journalists.

“We will follow this new feature and it’s effects closely,” she responded.



Last weekend there were Tax Day protests across the US. Coming up will be the People’s Climate March on April 29. Then, two days later protests on May 1 regarding immigration.

Americans are not really that into massive rallies and protests, but they seem to be catching on pretty fast. It helps that most of the protests have been planned for Saturdays. There is a festive quality to them, more like a Woodstock-like gathering than a real act of political resistance. That’s probably good, Americans tend to blame the protesters whenever violence breaks out, rather than over eager police or outside agitators.

But on May 1, a Monday, the immigration protest will interfere with business, so how will those businesses react to their employees being out in the street?

(For laughs, I recommend reading the comments on The Blaze story on this.)

Photo: Tax Day New York by Michael Fleshman used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

BloombergNews, Mark Gurman and Min Jeong Lee:

Facebook Gives Staff Green Light to Protest Trump on May 1

Facebook said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”

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