November 14, 2017 Last Updated 8:18 am

Advance-owned Alabama newspapers call Moore ‘grossly unfit’; Bloomberg readies new Twitter-based news effort

Morning Brief: The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, calls out Russian interference in western elections, saying ‘We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.’

The largest newspaper website in Alabama, published by Advance Publications, today ran an editorial calling Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore “grossly unfit for office.” But while the paper, which publishes a portal site at AL.com, said that Moore’s “candidacy is over,” it does not come up with a solution for the real problem vexing Republicans in the state: what to do about the fact that Moore’s name will be on the ballot and cannot be removed.

Unlike in the fall, when the newspaper group endorsed Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump, the paper did not go so far as to endorse the Democrat in the race, Doug Jones, though there is still time for that to happen as the election is still four weeks away.

Comments on the editorial are mixed, though early comments were generally positive, with later comments generally negative towards the paper’s position.

Like most news sites, AL.com has an outdated comments system that allows anonymous comments, with no way for readers to know whether they are talking to subscribers, casual readers, trolls or bots. The paper uses Civil Comments, which assists with moderation when a paper has laid off so much staff that it cannot tackle the task of moderation themselves.

AL.com, Editorial:

Our view: Roy Moore grossly unfit for office

As a news organization, we have independently investigated as many of these claims as possible and have found no reason to doubt the accounts outlined in the Washington Post. If anything, the stories we’ve heard in Etowah County have only further corroborated them.

In our view, Moore has already revealed himself as grossly unfit to be a U.S. Senator before these revelations.

He has been twice-removed from statewide office for his defiance of the law. His views on women’s rights, same-sex marriage and religious freedom no longer reflect the majority of Alabamians. And they are incompatible with the governance of this country. He has said that the murderous 9/11 attacks on America and the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut may have been God’s will because America had sinned.



Axios is today reporting that Bloomberg is about to launch a social news network on Twitter. If that concept sounds familiar it should — Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, publisher of The Intercept, tried that same thing a couple of years ago, but closed down Reported.ly last August as it was launched without a real business model.

The concept behind Reported.ly was that all the reporting derived from, and was reported on social media (basically Twitter). Journalists kept tabs of events as they were being reported via social media, curated and edited the reports, working to make sure the wildest reports were ignored or explained. It was especially good at international news where locals could report via social media, and English language journalists could interpret.

In the end, journalists tend to follow one another and do this work collectively.

As you might expect, Bloomberg’s effort will start off on December 18 with some financial backing: six founding partners, Goldman Sachs, Infiniti, TD Ameritrade, CA Technologies, AT&T and CME Group, will guarantee that the effort will launch with between $1.5 and $3 million in revenue.

While Bloomberg is a private company, its CEO did publish a letter to employees with some financial results (but no mention of the new venture).

Axios, Sara Fisher:

Bloomberg expects eight figures for new Twitter network

Bloomberg is hiring around 50 people to staff the new project, which will exist as the first 24-hour social news network on Twitter.

“In this age of the Google/Facebook duopoly, a relentless focus on invention and innovation is the only way to succeed,” says Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith. “The fruits of disruption don’t and shouldn’t only belong to the dominant tech (aka “Media”) platforms.”

Bloomberg:

Bloomberg Media CEO Justin B. Smith highlights strong Q3 results and digital accomplishments

While the media industry continues to face strong headwinds, we’ve successfully transformed our business to be majority digital (audience and revenue). We just closed our books for Q3 and I’m pleased to report a strong performance.

Our Q3 total advertising revenue grew +5% year-over-year, driven by digital growth in custom content, video, audio, and programmatic. September was our best digital advertising month ever – up +9% year-over-year. Digital advertising revenue has grown +25% year to date through Q3. Best of all, our Q4 advertising bookings are pacing even stronger.



The president’s recent comments regarding Putin and Russian interference in US and other elections stands in stark contrast with what the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has to say on the subject.

And while her handling of the Brexit negotiations has called into question her overall performance as Tory leader, on the subject of Russian interference she has been consistent and outspoken.

The Guardian, Rowena Mason:

Theresa May accuses Russia of interfering in elections and fake news

The prime minister spoke out against “the scale and nature” of Russia’s actions during an address at the lord mayor’s banquet, saying it was “threatening the international order on which we all depend”.

Listing Russia’s attempts to undermine western institutions in recent years, she said: “I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of western nations to the alliances that bind us…

…The prime minister’s strong criticism of Russia’s activities comes in contrast to comments this weekend by Donald Trump, who said on Saturday that he believed Vladimir Putin’s denials of having meddled in the American presidential elections.

Asked by reporters if he had raised the issue of Russian interference during conversations with Putin at a summit in Vietnam during a tour of Asia, Trump said: “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe – I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”

Reuters, Katya Golubkova:

Kremlin tells companies to deliver good news

The Kremlin wants good news.

The Russian leadership has told major companies to supply it with news stories that put its stewardship of the country in a positive light, according to documents seen by Reuters.

A seven-page document spelled out the kind of articles required, with a focus on new jobs, scientific achievements and new infrastructure, especially those involving state support. It also detailed how the stories should be presented, and gave a weekly deadline for submissions…

“Life for the majority of people has become calmer, more comfortable, more attractive. But many such examples often escape the media’s attention,” said the first document.

“Our task, through a creative and painstaking approach, is to select such topics and subjects and offer them to the media.”

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