November 30, 2017 Last Updated 7:04 am

NYT Editorial Board’s tweet storm against tax bill draws ire of president; Canada’s community newspaper disaster

Morning Brief: The Senate looks close to passing a tax bill that many predict will have dire consequences for states, universities, the poor and middle class, yet nothing seems to be able to stop it

The prospects for the Republican tax plan passing the Senate now appear very good, and with a risky experiment in governing not unlike last year’s Brexit vote. Opponents foretell drastic consequences such as the decline in graduate education in the US, a widening of inequality, and an increase in the number of those without health care. Still, it is a tax cut for the donor class, and so the bill will likely pass.

We are seeing numerous acts which, if evaluated in broad daylight, would be seen as risky, foolish, and ultimately self-defeating. Yet, we cannot seem to stop them.

The FCC is rewriting media ownership rules, and the trade associations that represent publishers is cheering it on, despite the fact that the move will reduce the number of companies in the business and ultimately kill off the association. The FCC also plans to kill off net neutrality, and though there is some opposition from start-ups, many corporations are purposefully on the sidelines, betting that when the dust settles they will be the ones that can stick it to their competitors and consumers.

In the UK, where just a few years ago many of our colleagues were pointing at the US and saying that they were not seeing the same disruption of print, the results this year have been depressing, and soon the UK will stick itself with an enormous exit bill, putting that much more strain on the economy, and likely leading a fair number of companies to wonder if leaving London might be a good idea.

But still we move forward with these things, determined to discover just how much harm we can do to ourselves and our fellow citizens.

The president must be autistic. He watches Fox & Friends each morning and dutifully tweets whatever the hosts and guests say on the program. It is as if he cannot help himself.

What Fox and the president are complaining about a series of tweets from the NYT Opinion Twitter account against the Republican tax bill which went farther than the Editorial Board has normally gone by identifying key GOP members who might be persuaded to vote against the bill and urging readers to contact them, even listing their phone numbers.

It started with this announcement via the account which tells readers what the Editorial Board is doing:

That neither Fox nor the president seem to understand the difference between the news side and the editorial board side of the business is understandable, readers often don’t either.

Still, the NYT clearly sees the GOP bill as a danger to states like NY and California, etc. So, what are they to do? Simply write an editorial? Not in the age of social media, where Facebook and Twitter is more influential than the newspapers themselves. And so the tweets.

WordPress issued an update last night that users of the platform should quickly install. WordPress 4.9.1 fixes four security issues which could potentially be exploited as part of a multi-vector attack, according to the release notes.

The fallout from the deal between Postmedia and Torstar has many Canadian newspaper professionals more than a little upset.

If you are new to this, what happened was that the two newspaper publishers traded community newspaper properties then announced the closing of many of them. Postmedia will be shuttering 24 papers, Torstar will close 13 (if I am counting right).

Essentially, what the two companies did was eliminate community newspaper competitors while be cute about the level of collusion between the two companies.

CBC News:

Postmedia business model to blame for newspaper closures, Ottawa publishers say

Two Ottawa newspaper publishers are blaming Postmedia’s flawed business model for the impending closure of 24 community papers, saying the company has lost focus of the communities they serve…

…Fred Sherwin, owner of the Orléans Star and Orléans Online, told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning that a strict focus on profit is no way to serve a community.

“The problem with Postmedia is a lot of those papers were looked at as advertising vehicles and the product suffered because of it,” he said. “The business model should be creating a good product that’s relevant to the readers … and you’ll sell advertising based on that.”

News Photographers Association of Canada, statement:

The News Photographers Association of Canada (NPAC) released the following statement today regarding the TorStar, Postmedia deal:

It is deeply troubling to see TorStar and Postmedia finalize a deal that will result in the closure of several newspapers and the loss of nearly 300 journalism jobs in Canada.

Any deal that sees the closure and reduction of competition within the media industry is concerning. We are hopeful the Competition Bureau will consider all components of this deal, which limits competition in a number of markets and does not serve the public interest.

“There is great importance of having local media continue to provide to the communities they serve. Local media is the fabric tying together an informed and active democratic community.” stated Cole Burston, President of NPAC.

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