November 10, 2017 Last Updated 9:34 am

Washington Post story provides Rorschach test for politicians; Some publishers actually are serious about a ‘pivot to video’

Morning Brief: European negotiators are giving the May government two weeks to come up with an amount the UK is willing to pay to settle the Brexit bill, if not, the UK may be heading towards a messy divorce with Europe, the so-called Hard Brexit

The calendar on my iPhone has a little dot on today’s date, signifying that there is at least one event scheduled for the date. Looking closer I see that it is Veteran’s Day (observed), meaning that since tomorrow is the 11th, the traditional day for the holiday, that today is when the holiday would be observed with an actual day off. But here I am at my desk, and you likely are at your desk, as well.

Holidays can be like that, especially in the US where so few are actually celebrated with a day off. You probably don’t get Casimir Pulaski Day off do you? But that is an actual thing here in Illinois (where, by the way, it is snowing this morning!). Other holidays that are observed are sometimes done so with none of the original meaning of the holiday — Labor Day and Memorial Day, for instance.

Then there is President’s Day, which has to be the dumbest of all holidays, created for the sole purpose of NOT giving people a day off on both Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday. Anybody want to bet that Donald Trump, come next February 19th, will think President’s Day was created so that the nation could celebrate his election?

I complain about Veteran’s Day (observed) not because I am at my desk working, but to point out that even when the calendar says one thing, we often can’t agree on what it really means.

You would think that we all could agree that an adult sexually assaulting a 14 year girl is a bad thing, something beyond the pale. But apparently not. In fact, as Sean Hannity’s show revealed last night, we can’t even agree that sexual harassment happens.

The catalyst for all this was a story dropped by The Washington Post which said that when Republic Senate candidate Roy Moore was a 32 year old he sexually assaulted a 14 year old. Moore is 70 years old today, and if he were not running for the Senate it is likely that this story would never have come out. But it did.

What has followed, however, is a sign that we live in two completely different nations, one where there are norms considered worth maintaining, another where anything goes, so long as our side is winning. Where we stand at any given time is, apparently, variable.

The Washington Post, Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites:

Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Roy Moore’s full statement on teen sex encounter allegation

Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake. National liberal organizations know their chosen candidate Doug Jones is in a death spiral, and this is their last ditch Hail Mary.

The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge’s opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign. In fact, just two days ago, the Foundation for Moral Law sent a retraction demand to the Post for the false stories they wrote about the Judge’s work and compensation. But apparently, there is no end to what the Post will allege.

Washington Examiner, Philip Wegmann:

Alabama state auditor defends Roy Moore against sexual allegations, invokes Mary and Joseph

“There is nothing to see here,” Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler told the Washington Examiner. “The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.”

“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Ziegler said choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

The Cullman Times, David Palmer:

Ed Henry on Moore accusations: I’m not buying it

(State Rep. Ed) Henry said he believes legal action should be considered against Moore’s accusers, finding their story unbelievable.

“If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can’t be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion,” Henry said.

As mentioned yesterday, the clock is ticking on Brexit talks, and things don’t seem to be going well.

Brexit was always going to be a huge story once again as negotiations over the separation were never going to go smoothly, especially when Europe is demanding that the UK pay them for its obligations it had previously agreed to when part of the union.

Ultimately, like any divorce, the final disagreement involves money. Here, the EU thinks the bill should be in the area of £100 billion, but the UK prime minister has mentioned a final payoff of £20 billion. Many on the Leave side think the UK should simply thumb its nose at Europe and walk off, paying nothing. That would be the so-called Hard Brexit, where there is no agreement and so the UK leaves the union with no answers to how their citizens will be treated in Europe, how European citizens will be treated in the UK (will they be forced to leave), and the UK would be outside the union’s trade authorities. That would, of course, force many multinational corporations to leave London for spots within the EU.

The Guardian, Daniel Boffey and Jennifer Rankin:

EU gives UK two-week deadline on Brexit divorce bill

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has set the British government a deadline of two weeks to give “vital” clarification on the financial commitments it is willing to honour. Asked at the end of a truncated sixth round of Brexit talks whether Britain needed to offer answers on its financial settlement within a fortnight, Barnier told reporters: “My answer is yes.”

…On the biggest hurdle to progress, the divorce bill, Davis simply repeated Theresa May’s pledges from her Florence speech in September: to ensure that no member state lost out in the two years after Britain left the bloc, and to honour past commitments.

The EU is demanding clarity on those commitments before it will open talks on a transition period or the principles of a future trading deal.

The phrase ‘pivot to video’ is one that those of us in publishing often laugh at. For the most part, many of the publishing executives who use it are simply bullshitting. The phrase has replace ‘going digital first’ as the most popular excuse of layoffs.

But like ‘going digital first’ there are those that are actually serious about what they are saying. Certainly La Presse was serious about its digital first initiatives, and continue to be.

Likewise, I do not doubt that Time Inc.’s CEO Rich Battista is serious about transforming the company into a video-centric media company, though the way he appears to be doing so is such that he is destroying the magazine brands faster than he is selling them off, resulting in the kinds of earnings reports that are giving shareholders heartburn.

Hearst, too, appears to be serious about its video efforts. What I am not hearing, however, is any evidence that there is a shortage of video content, and that all this video content being created will prove more profitable for magazine companies than selling a few more full page ads.

Adweek, Sami Main:

Hearst Opens a New 26,000-Square-Foot Studio to Ramp Up Its Video Production

Currently, Hearst sees an average of 1.5 billion video views per month and creates about 150 videos per week (not including quick meme content) across all brands; the company is eager to generate more.

With a dedicated space for video production, Hearst brands, including digital-only platform Sweet, can continue to dive deeper into the content their audiences want. Additionally, these studios can be used for branded content shoots, a large part of Hearst’s revenue streams…

“Video is a long game,” said Lewis. “We’ve scaled back our weekly production a lot to help combat the level of saturation our audience might be feeling as it gets harder for them to hunt for the good stuff.”

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