August 12, 2020

Hong Kong Arrests Jimmy Lai Under National Security Law

The police said in a statement on Facebook that officers had entered a building in Tseung Kwan O, the location of Apple Daily’s headquarters, with a search warrant in order to investigate national security offenses. An Apple Daily reporter who was narrating a livestream video said that police officers had loaded bags of documents taken from the building onto a truck.

The live footage showed a tense scene in the newsroom. When an editor demanded to know the exact boundaries of the area being searched, he was shoved by shouting officers. “Remember his face,” an inspector said, raising his index finger. “If he still behaves like this, give him a warning. And if he doesn’t listen to the warning, arrest him.”

Livestream footage also showed plainclothes officers at a restaurant owned by one of Mr. Lai’s sons in Hong Kong’s Central district. The officers loaded a crate filled with electronic devices they had seized into a private vehicle and did not respond when reporters asked if they were national security officers and whether they had search warrants.

By Monday afternoon, the police said they had arrested two more people, for a total of nine, aged 23 to 72, on suspected violations of the security law. Wilson Li, a freelance journalist who works for ITV News, was one of those arrested, the broadcaster said in a statement. However his arrest appeared to be related to activist organizing, not journalism. Another activist, Andy Li, was also arrested, ITV reported.

In the evening, the police arrested Agnes Chow, a prominent activist and politician, on suspected national security law violations of inciting secession, her lawyer said.

“I’m a bit scared,” Ms. Chow wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday that noted strange men had been standing outside her apartment in shifts. “But I believe in what I’m doing.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/world/asia/hong-kong-arrests-lai-national-security-law.html

Taylor Swift, No. 1 Again, Is Last to Benefit From an Obscure Chart Rule

But this rule, which was meant to register fan purchases during an album’s all-important opening week — and also prevent double counting — has a host of complications, including undercounting physical product. Last year, Nielsen counted just 73.5 million physical album sales in the United States. How much higher is the real number, if many delayed vinyl and CDs were categorized as digital instead?

Effective last Friday, Billboard changed how it accounts for physical albums that are bundled with digital versions. Those sales will now be counted as physical copies — but only once the album is shipped to a fan. That may be a blow to the opening-week numbers for an artist like Swift, as collectible items make their way to fans later on. And it will further advantage streaming activity.

In the second week out for “Folklore,” Swift still offered her fans lots of merch deals. But of the 135,000 sales that Billboard and Nielsen recorded for the album — down 84 percent from its opening — the majority were attributed to streaming. Songs from the album were streamed 134 million times, while 30,000 copies of it were sold as a complete package.

Also this week, two posthumous albums — Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” and Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” — are No. 2 and 3. The “Hamilton” Broadway cast album is No. 4, and Lil Baby’s “My Turn” is No. 5.

Beyoncé’s album “The Lion King: The Gift,” a companion to Disney’s 2019 film, re-entered the chart at No. 10, after she put out a deluxe version of the LP with the release of “Black Is King,” her new visual album on Disney+.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/10/arts/music/taylor-swift-folklore-billboard.html

How Pro-Trump Forces Work the Refs in Silicon Valley

Mr. Sulzberger, delighted to be rid of Mr. Irvine’s disruptions at shareholder meetings, ignored Mr. Frankel’s objections, Mr. Frankel recalled in a telephone interview.

“Punch was for peace over everything,” he said. (Perhaps not everything: Mr. Sulzberger, after all, did publish the Pentagon Papers.)

But the publisher’s hopes that courteous meetings and friendly correspondence would placate Mr. Irvine — who would spend his later years spreading the wild conspiracy theory that an aide to President Bill Clinton, Vince Foster, was murdered — did not come to pass. “History shows that that’s not how this game works,” Mr. Perlstein told me.

Instead, the access emboldened Mr. Irvine, taught others to imitate him and helped push American political journalism into a place where the goal was sometimes to balance the complaints of competing sides as much as to report on underlying realities. The form of media criticism he pioneered has, in fact, become as central to Republican politics in the Trump area as any policy or grievance.

And liberals noticed the conservatives’ success and eventually imitated it, most successfully with the 2004 founding of Media Matters for America, which devoted much of its early energies to providing a new, leftward pull on the establishment media.

(The old establishment referees are now barely important enough to target, but they’re still embroiled in an internal debate over whether to try to hold onto a vanishing nonpartisan center. Some of those questions are playing out right now at NBC, where progressive prime-time hosts drive ratings on cable, but where the executive suite favors Nicolle Wallace, a former communications director for President George W. Bush and a Never Trump Republican. Two people familiar with the conversations told me that the NBCUniversal chief executive, Jeff Shell, had floated the notion of elevating Ms. Wallace to take over the prestige Sunday morning show “Meet the Press.” An NBC executive said the current host, Chuck Todd, “has led the Sunday news-making and ratings battles for five years at the helm of ‘Meet the Press’ and will continue to do so.”)

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/business/media/trump-facebook-google-twitter-misinformation.html

Boycotted. Criticized. But Fox News Leads the Pack in Prime Time.

“The belief that hydroxychloroquine is something between a therapeutic and a miracle cure is wildly popular in conservative media, especially talk radio,” Ms. Hemmer said. “Tucker Carlson’s controversies have never really hurt his ratings, though they have cost him advertisers.”

Two days stood out when Fox News ratings fell significantly: the funerals of George Floyd, the Minnesota man who died after a police officer pinned him to the ground during a routine stop, and Representative John Lewis, the towering civil rights figure.

Like its rivals CNN and MSNBC, Fox News carried the memorial services live. During Mr. Floyd’s funeral, viewership on all three networks dipped. On both occasions, the drop in Fox News’s audience was stark, down to numbers more typically seen during overnight hours. (CNN and Mediaite previously reported on the ratings dips.)

Over all, viewers have shown a strong appetite for news on politics, public health and natural disasters.

The evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC are notching their biggest audiences in years. David Muir’s “World News Tonight” on ABC has been a standout: In July, its episodes were the top 18 telecasts across all of broadcast and cable television, drawing more viewers than usual summertime ratings leaders like NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

All three of the network newscasts, which air at 6:30 p.m., draw more viewers than Fox News’s prime-time shows, with Mr. Muir more than doubling Mr. Hannity’s average in July.

Cable channels define prime-time as 8 to 11 p.m., but the Big Three broadcasters include the 7 p.m. Sunday slot in their average prime-time audience counts. That is when “60 Minutes” airs on CBS — another news show that is hugely popular with viewers — and the broadcast networks’ definition of prime time allowed CBS to eke out a win against Fox News in June and July.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/business/media/fox-news-ratings.html

Rick Gates, Ex-Trump Aide and Mueller Witness, Is Publishing a Memoir

News of Mr. Gates’s book was reported earlier by Business Insider.

Other books from former Trump aides and associates are in the pipeline, including a memoir from Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former lawyer, who is serving a three-year prison sentence for campaign finance violations and other crimes that were part of an effort to pay for the silence of two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen’s book is tentatively titled “Disloyal: The True Story of Michael Cohen, Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump.” Last month, Mr. Cohen, who was on furlough because of the coronavirus, said that a decision to return him to prison was an attempt by the administration to punish him for writing the book, and a judge agreed, ordering him released back to home confinement.

Mr. Gates, who has never spoken publicly about his experience on the Trump campaign apart from his testimony, is likely to face fewer obstacles to sharing his account. He never served in the administration so does not face a government review to ensure he isn’t sharing classified information. In his book, “Wicked Game,” Mr. Gates adds context to the publicized, politicized public account provided in the Mueller investigation, including information that was left out of the report, he said in an interview on Friday.

Readers hoping for another explosive tell-all about the president may be disappointed. Mr. Gates said he isn’t trying to settle scores and that his book takes “a middle of the road approach,” a position that could hamper the book’s commercial prospects in a polarized media environment. At one point, Mr. Gates had a deal with a big publishing house, but it fell through because he declined to make changes that the publisher requested, including removing passages that were critical of the Mueller investigation, he said. Instead, “Wicked Game” is being released by a smaller, independent press that specializes in conservative political books, as well as business, self-help, health, military and Christian titles. Mr. Gates co-wrote it with Mark Dagostino, who has worked on books with Chip and Joanna Gaines and Hulk Hogan.

“It’s not a salacious book,” Mr. Gates said.

He added that his book will shed new light on the inner workings of the Mueller investigation, which he is highly critical of, as the book’s subtitle, “An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost” suggests. He describes the hard-nosed tactics prosecutors used and notes that Robert S. Mueller III never interviewed him. Mr. Gates said he isn’t aiming to walk back his guilty plea.

“I accepted the charges, and I knew the consequences that were associated with them,” Mr. Gates said. “At the end of the day, they did find me as the most credible fact witness.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/books/rick-gates-trump-mueller-wicked-game.html

Lorenzo Wilson Milam, Guru of Community Radio, Is Dead at 86

The silences — which on a commercial station would have been filled at least partly by ads — were an element of Mr. Milam’s noncommercial policy.

“Broadcast time is too valuable to be sold,” he said on the Wallace program. “I think it should be given away — and I think it should be given away with a rose.”

Mr. Milam was not the architect of noncommercial radio. The first such station was said to be KPFA-FM in Berkeley, Calif., founded in 1949 by Lewis Hill, who also established the Pacifica Foundation, its parent organization. Mr. Milam volunteered at KPFA in the late 1950s while he was taking graduate courses at the University of California, Berkeley.

“If Lew Hill fathered the movement, Lorenzo Milam reared it,” Jesse Walker wrote in “Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America” (2001).

Mr. Milam left KRAB in the late 1960s and helped start commercial-free stations in St. Louis, San Francisco, Dallas, Portland, Ore., Los Gatos, Calif., and elsewhere. KRAB went off the air in 1984.

“He was so excited about radio and truly believed in it,” Mr. Reinsch, who is also KRAB’s archivist, said in an interview. “He had this fantasy that he would change the world with it.”

Lorenzo Wilson Milam was born on Aug. 2, 1933, in Jacksonville, Fla. His father, Robert, was a lawyer and real estate investor. His mother, Meriel, was a homemaker.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/business/media/lorenzo-milam-dead.html

Facebook Gaming Finally Clears Apple Hurdle, Arriving in App Store

Games are the largest source of revenue for Apple on the App Store, and many tech executives have concluded that Apple blocks game services that could compete with its own products and sales.

Apple, without directly addressing Facebook Gaming, said its App Store policies were designed to protect consumers. It added that it had allowed other apps that included games into the App Store.

The sparring is a reminder of where the power lies in Silicon Valley. While Facebook runs the world’s largest social network and owns many popular apps such as Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, Apple controls their distribution through its App Store. That makes Facebook dependent on Apple to reach many of its users.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has expressed consternation about the power that Apple holds, albeit obliquely. In testimony to Congress last week about Facebook’s rivals, he said, “Some are upstarts, but others are gatekeepers with the power to decide if we can even release our apps in their app stores to compete with them.”

In June, the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, said it had opened a formal antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store terms, spurred by a complaint from Spotify, the music-streaming service. Other app developers, such as Basecamp, have also scuffled with Apple over its App Store rules.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/technology/facebook-apple-gaming-app-store.html

Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It?

“This is a political pamphlet, not a book,” said Peter Osnos, the founder of the nonfiction imprint PublicAffairs. “It hasn’t been subjected to any measure of quality or accuracy.”

Though the book hasn’t been released yet, the Trump campaign and the R.N.C. have already started using it to raise money. The R.N.C. buys copies of the book for less than $20 apiece, and has been offering signed copies in exchange for donations of $75. It did the same thing with Sean Hannity’s “Live Free or Die,” which was released by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon Schuster, Tuesday.

The R.N.C. said it raised nearly $1 million from signed copies of “Triggered.” The book was a New York Times No. 1 best seller last year, but it appeared on the list with a dagger symbol next to it, signifying that bulk sales — which came from the R.N.C. and other conservative groups — helped to boost its ranking. The R.N.C. said it has bought several thousand copies of “Liberal Privilege” so far and plans to buy more on a rolling basis.

“Don Jr.’s first book was a fund-raising powerhouse for the party, and we have no doubt this book will be the same,” Mandi Merritt, the press secretary for the R.N.C., said in an email.

Unlike Mr. Hannity’s book, “Liberal Privilege” will not be in bookstores. A person with knowledge of the project said that it will be $29.99 on Mr. Trump’s website, where presales are being handled, and on Amazon, along with an e-book and an audiobook narrated by Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior campaign adviser and Mr. Trump’s girlfriend. It’s unclear if any major retailers will carry the book, though managers at some traditional distribution channels said last week that they hadn’t heard anything about it. ReaderLink, a company that supplies books to more than 80,000 stores, including big-box chains like Walmart and Target, said it had no plans to distribute it.

Another unusual aspect of the book is Mr. Trump’s collaborator, Sergio Gor, who has acted as his literary agent, consulted on the content of the book and has overseen the team managing everything from the editing to the print run. Last month, Mr. Gor became the chief of staff of the Trump Victory finance committee, which makes the book an unusual side project to be finishing up in the throes of such a demanding job.

“It’s a big job to self-publish,” Ms. Dystel, the literary agent, said, “and it takes your attention away from other things.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/books/donald-trump-jr-liberal-privilege.html

Member of Conservative Think Tank Takes On Reporter Duties on Air Force Two

The White House has increasingly nurtured relationships with conservative news outlets, including One America News Network, an organization that has been granted special permission to send a reporter to the briefing room despite restrictions put in effect by the White House Correspondents’ Association to keep reporters safe during the coronavirus pandemic. And the administration has long elevated niche outlets that cover it more favorably, while the president has systematically cast doubt on mainstream news organizations by referring to them as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.”

Wednesday was not the first time someone representing The Daily Signal served as a pool reporter. In 2017, the website’s White House correspondent, Fred Lucas, was the first journalist from the organization to participate in White House pool duties.

But Mr. Bluey, a communications professional, is not listed as a reporter, and he does not cover the White House. In an email on Wednesday, Mr. Bluey said he started working in journalism in 1996 and helped create The Daily Signal in 2014. The site had been part of the White House Correspondents’ Association since 2016, he said.

“Since our founding, I’ve insisted our reporters maintain strong editorial standards and practices to ensure our credibility as a news outlet,” he said.

When The Washington Post raised questions in the past about Mr. Lucas’s participation in pool duties, given his association with an ideologically driven think tank, Mr. Bluey responded at length online, defending his colleague. There was nothing openly partisan about Mr. Bluey’s pool reports on Wednesday, which consisted mostly of quotes from Mr. Pence’s speech and brief observations about how an enthusiastic crowd responded.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/us/politics/pence-bluey-air-force-two.html

Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, Dies at 85

In 1997, he got another chance, this time at The Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman, the owner, hired him to replace a British editor who had turned it from a brash, tough-guy paper into a tattler of celebrity gossip and supermarket tabloid stunts to compete with The Post and New York Newsday.

Mr. Hamill refocused on city news, covering immigrants, ethnic communities, Russian mobsters and infrastructure problems. He serialized Mailer’s novel “The Gospel According to the Son.” Circulation fell, and Mr. Hamill clashed with Mr. Zuckerman, but staffers said he brought glamour, collegiality and respectability to the paper. More than 100 of them signed a letter urging Mr. Zuckerman to retain him. “He’s a mensch,” said JoAnne Wasserman, a reporter. But after eight months, he resigned under pressure.

Mr. Hamill became nationally known for articles in Vanity Fair, Esquire, The New Yorker and other magazines, and for books. His first novel, “A Killing for Christ” (1968), spun a plot to assassinate the pope. “Pete Hamill is set on ripping the lid off the rotten church, the rotten upper classes, the rotten rightists,” John Casey wrote in a not entirely favorable review in The New York Times.

Most of his fiction was set in New York, including “The Gift” (1973) and “Snow in August” (1997), both of which drew on his youth; “Forever” (2003), the story of a man granted immortality as long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan; “North River” (2007), a Depression-era tale of a man and his grandson; and “Tabloid City” (2011), a stop-the-presses murder yarn.

More than 100 Hamill short stories ran in a Post series called “The Eight Million” and in a Daily News series, “Tales of New York.” His story collections, “The Invisible City: A New York Sketchbook” (1980), and “Tokyo Sketches” (1992), were hailed by Publishers Weekly: “His simple themes of love, loss, longing and deception are joined to powerful emotions and reveal a psychological bond” between America and Japan.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/nyregion/pete-hamill-dead.html