August 18, 2017 Last Updated 3:47 pm

Catalans rally to proclaim ‘I am not afraid’; Canada’s far-right website, The Rebel, runs into trouble, as staff, advertisers bolt

Morning Brief: These are good days for art directors, and magazine covers have featured some of the best work seen in years, thanks to the missteps of the new president

The weekend is finally upon us, and it would certainly be nice if Friday were uneventful, but I fear the worse. This week has not been a good one — but then again one could say that of most weeks this year.

It started off with the president trying to make amends for a weak statement given following the events in Charlottesville. As I knew would happen, when the statement did not get a warm reception from his critics, he lashed out, using a Wednesday presser that was supposed to be about infrastructure to go off the rails. Steve Bannon might have been happy, but few others were.


Then there was yesterday, and two terrorists attacks in Catalonia.

El Pais, F. Javier Barroso:

Everything started in Alcanar

In Alcabar, in the district of the Ebro, a community of less than 10.000 inhabitants, at 23.17 of that day an explosion collapsed a building, resulting in one dead and seven wounded…

…Inside the building, which had apparently been occupied for some months, were found about twenty butane and propane gas cylinders. There were two people, one of whom died. Police sources have not clarified Thursday whether the other person, who was identified in the morning, was the detainee. The man, in any case, was in serious condition and had been evacuated by ambulance to the Hospital Virgen de la Cinta.

El Pais, Óscar GHutiérrez:

Low cost terror tactics

The ISIS jihadist group has been urging its acolytes to indiscriminately attack vehicles for three years. The attack in Nice in July 2016 is for the moment the most deadly with 86 fatalities.

Issue number three of the magazine that the ISIS publishes under the name Rumiyah (Rome), uploaded to the Net last November, instructed its faithful on how to attempt a heavy vehicle against a crowd . The pages are still available on the Internet under the heading “Just terror tactics”. A few months before the publication, on July 14, 2016, a 19-ton truck had hit the seafront of Nice (France). 86 people died. Not even 30 days have passed since Rumiyah took out that sort of terrorist handbook so that a truck would once again launch into a crowd. This time it was in Berlin , on December 19, and killed a dozen people.The Ramblas attack in Barcelona , with a pattern similar to that of the other two European cities, hits almost three years after the ISIS called for killing in the West for the first time with all possible means.

La Vanguardia:

A crowd proclaims in Barcelona “I am not afraid” in the face of terror

Thousands of citizens, accompanied by all Catalan and Spanish authorities without exception, have joined this Friday against terrorism in the emotional minute of silence that took place at 12:00 noon in Plaza Catalunya . This neuralgic point of the city has been crowded with people and, after the silence, the attendees have exploded with applause and the cry of “No tinc por!” (“I am not afraid!”)…

…The signs of solidarity will come from all corners of the world. For example, the European Commission has also kept a minute of silence at the same time in the so-called Gallery of Presidents of the Berlaymon building in Brussels, headquarters of the European Commission.

The Guardian, Simon Jenkins:

Barcelona is Europe’s seventh vehicle attack in a year. What can be done?

Events yesterday in Calatonia suggest that, as with the London Bridge attacks of last spring, police are getting better at responding to these acts of carnage. The swift erection of barriers and the summary shooting of the Cambrils suspects will revive calls for more road blocks and more armed police. In the short term this will be hard to resist, as are calls for ever deeper intrusion into electronic communication.

Yet the balance must be maintained, between personal liberty and what is, in reality, a highly uncommon threat. That its perpetrators are by definition immune to deterrence makes the menace more horrific, but also near impossible to reduce. We should perhaps remember that acts of “shock and awe” have also been employed as weapons by western governments, from the second world war to Iraq. There is a sense in which the white van is the poor man’s guided missile.

The US has Breitbart News and InfoWars, Canada has The Rebel.

The Rebel is relatively new on the scene of far-right websites. Founded by Ezra Levant in early 2015, the site has run into trouble of late, with staffers leaving, and accusations that the site is really just a money making machine which preys on its readers much as many televangelists do.

Accused of anti-semitism and white nationalism, the site is losing advertisers due to a boycott, reportedly over 300 have abandoned the site.

Ezra Levant

National Observer, Sandy Garossino:

Bonfire of The Rebel

It’s in this context that Canadians turn their attention to the home front, and the bizarre cameo played in this affair by The Rebel. The online publication currently plying the rancid sewers of racial hatred has been the darling of the Conservative Party from its inception over two years ago.

Virtually every leadership candidate beat a path to its door, seeking its audience.

On Saturday, The Rebel found itself smack in the midst of the Charlottesville melee, and today its fairweather friends are nowhere to be found.

Huff Post (Canada), Ryan Maloney:

Andrew Scheer Says He Won’t Do Interviews With The Rebel Until It Changes Direction

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is distancing himself from The Rebel, announcing he will no longer do interviews with the controversial right-wing website until it changes its editorial direction.But the Tory leader has stopped short of explicitly denouncing The Rebel, which is under heightened scrutiny in light of the protests in Charlottesville, Va.

“I am disgusted by the vile comments made by hate groups this past weekend. I believe there is fine line between reporting the facts and giving those groups a platform,” Scheer told HuffPost Canada in a statement.

“I have a positive vision for Canada and I want to share that vision with Canadians and talk about issues that unite us all. Until the editorial directions of the Rebel Media changes, I will not grant interviews to the outlet.”

Scheer granted interviews to the outlet during the Tory leadership race, as did other contenders. But he has faced pressure in recent days to denounce the website over coverage that was seen as sympathetic to organizers of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

BuzzFeed News, Ishmael N. Daro:

A Former Rebel Media Contributor Says The Right-Wing Site Is Ripping Off Its Viewers

After a string of resignations from Rebel Media following the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the far-right Canadian media outlet now faces accusations from a former contributor of dodgy financial and journalistic practices — claims the site’s founder rejects…

“I’m going to do what I should have done a few weeks ago, and just pull the trigger on myself, on my own terms,” Levant said in a video released on Thursday. “That’s the only thing that takes the power away from an extortionist.”

It the Trump era has brought us anything good, it has been the return of the head-turning magazine cover. These are good days for art directors.

magazine covers

In 2014, TNM reported on the sale by McClatchy of the Anchorage Daily News to Alaska Dispatch Publishing. The Anchorage paper changed its name to the Alaska Dispatch News, and last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

New owners emerged, but the paper is reporting that things remain iffy.

Alaska Dispatch News, Annie Zak:

Alaska Dispatch News will be able to pay carriers, but newspaper is still on the brink

A federal bankruptcy judge and Northrim Bank on Thursday allowed Alaska Dispatch News to use $80,000 of its money to pay its carriers, ensuring that the newspaper will continue to be delivered and barely hitting a cutoff time to get the checks out.

At Thursday’s hearing, attended by a bevy of attorneys in person and over the phone, Alaska Dispatch News also asked the court to approve a loan of up to $1 million from potential buyers, to approve payment of past-due health insurance premiums for employees, and to approve payment of employee wages. The only issue settled Thursday was that of the carriers, with the other matters scheduled for a continued hearing Friday.

Alaska Dispatch News LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Saturday evening, and new co-publishers, Ryan Binkley of Fairbanks and Jason Evans of Anchorage, emerged as part of a pending sale. The business is bleeding money at a rate of $125,000 a week and owes a long list of vendors more than $2.5 million, according to court filings.

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