September 20, 2017

And This Year, the Emmy Goes to … Politics

When his former co-star on “Mad Men,” Elisabeth Moss, was asked if she had seen an Emmys quite this political, she was emphatic.

“Absolutely not,” she said, holding an Emmy in each hand, including the one she won for best actress for “Handmaid’s.” “But I’ve also never seen anything like where our country is right now.”

The Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss said she had never seen an Emmys quite this political. “But I’ve also never seen anything like where our country is right now,” she added. Credit George Kraychyk/Hulu

All year, late night shows with an anti-Trump bent and left-leaning cable news shows like Rachel Maddow’s on MSNBC have seen their ratings soar, and now that political posture has received the seal of approval from Emmys voters.

But it also means that the Emmys, and all awards shows, for that matter, are part of a broader cultural divide. And to its critics, Hollywood may be proving yet again that it lives in an elite, self-congratulatory bubble, showering awards on shows that reflect its worldview while ignoring the millions of people who prefer “NCIS” and “The Walking Dead.”

“Remember, it’s California,” said Margaret Atwood, the author of the novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” on which the Hulu show was based, as she glided into her first Emmys party at age 77. “This would not happen in a lot of other states. This would, in fact, be a lot different. This is its own world here.”

The show did not draw a big audience. The ceremony, hosted by Stephen Colbert, attracted just 11.38 million viewers, Nielsen said, in line with last year’s total, which was a record low.

On Fox News on Monday morning, the White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said viewers were “tuning out” because of how politicized the Emmys have become, and suggested that Hollywood’s anti-Trump posturing had become tiresome.


Continue reading the main story

“They got plucked and polished and waxed, and some of them didn’t eat for two months, and all for what?” she said. “To sound the same?”

Still, the heated political climate produced some startling changes for the Emmys.

“Saturday Night Live” has never appealed much to Emmy voters, and they had not given it a top show award in more than two decades. But just two years removed from inviting Mr. Trump to host “S.N.L.,” the NBC late night show excoriated him this past season, and reaped the rewards: Mr. Baldwin won an Emmy for his portrayal of Mr. Trump, and Kate McKinnon, who portrayed both Ms. Conway and Hillary Clinton, won an Emmy as well.

Alec Baldwin won an Emmy for his portrayal of President Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” and then mocked him on Sunday.

“‘S.N.L.’ had a career year,” said Warren Littlefield, a longtime Emmy voter who is a former NBC executive and a producer of “Handmaid’s.” “You had to watch ‘S.N.L.’ to get an appreciation of the world we’re living in, and it helped us endure what we’re all living with.”

Other shows benefited as well, including Mr. Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” which won the prize for best variety talk show for the second consecutive year. Mr. Oliver delights in using Mr. Trump as a punching bag on his show.

Mr. Glover of “Atlanta” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Veep” were among the many winners who mocked President Trump on stage. And after Mr. Baldwin won, he alluded to the fact that Mr. Trump had long coveted an Emmy but never won one. “I suppose I should say, at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy,” Mr. Baldwin quipped.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

What benefited those shows, however, appeared to have hurt dramas like “Stranger Things” and “This Is Us,” both of which were decidedly retro and unpolitical.

“Stranger Things” was a sci-fi homage to movies like “Stand by Me” and “E.T.” NBC’s “This Is Us” was a heart-on-your-sleeve family drama that took inspiration from the 1983 tear-jerker “Terms of Endearment.”

Still, Hulu’s success was a shock in its own right. Hulu, which is co-owned by Disney, Comcast, Time Warner and 21st Century Fox, has a smaller programming budget compared with those of streaming rivals like Netflix and Amazon.

But “Handmaid’s,” which was in development long before the Trump administration, struck a chord with viewers concerned about women’s rights, and its creators proudly embraced the fact that some regarded their show as eerily timely.

John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” won the prize for best variety talk show. Mr. Oliver delights in making fun of Mr. Trump on his show. Credit Eric Liebowitz/HBO

“Politics is at the front of everybody’s head, not in the back of everybody’s mind,” said Bruce Miller, an executive producer for “Handmaid’s.” “I think all of the media, including the fictional and nonfictional media, are benefiting from taking that head-on. I have been told that you don’t talk about religion and politics in kind company. Well, there’s no company now where you don’t talk about politics these days.”


Continue reading the main story

“People are talking about and thinking about some serious things and things that are uncomfortable,” he added. “Shows that directly address difficult topics are having their day in the sun.”

Early reviews for the series, which had its premiere three months after the inauguration, were positive, and it has been the show of the year for many TV critics.

Hulu’s marketing department took no chances. The streaming service bought its first-ever Super Bowl ad for an original series, even though the event was months before the premiere. And throughout the year, Hulu hired actresses to don red capes like characters in the show, and circulate in cities like Austin (during the South by Southwest Festival), New York, Los Angeles and Washington to create word-of-mouth buzz.

And as Hulu increases the size of its budget — it will be about $2.5 billion for content this year — a basketful of Emmys is the kind of payoff that may generate even more spending, especially as digital titans like Facebook, Google and Apple enter the scripted television market.

Because Hulu does not release viewership data, it is impossible to know how popular “Handmaid’s” was, but it was far more successful than its previous iteration. In 1990, the novel was adapted into a feature film that was a flop at the box office and did not receive warm reviews.

“We got a Trump bump!” said Daniel Wilson, a producer behind both the movie and the TV show. “Timing is everything. If we didn’t have the president we have now, I don’t know if it would have been this successful.”

Ms. Atwood underscored that point as well.

“I wrote it in 1985,” she said. “There was some incredulity then: ‘Margaret, you’re way over the top! it could never happen here.’”

“And now?” she continued. “I don’t hear any of that.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Fox News Guest Says Rape Allegation Blacklisted Her

According to the suit, Ms. Hughes was “shocked and ashamed” and did not immediately report the episode. She said that over the next two years she was forced to engage in a sexual relationship with Mr. Payne. In exchange, she said, she received career opportunities, including increased appearances on Fox News and Fox Business and the promise that Mr. Payne would help her land a contributor contract, a job that can pay several hundred thousand dollars a year. Ms. Hughes never became a paid contributor at either channel.

Ms. Hughes, a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business from 2013 through 2016, asserted that after she ended the relationship with Mr. Payne, the network blacklisted her. After she reported her allegations against him, she said, the network leaked a story to the news media about a romantic affair between Ms. Hughes and Mr. Payne.

“In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne,” Ms. Hughes said in an interview, referring to the allegations in her lawsuit. “In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell.”

Charles Payne, left, returned to the air earlier this month after the network conducted an investigation into his conduct. Credit John Lamparski/Getty Images

The lawsuit, alleging gender motivated violence, gender discrimination, retaliation and defamation, was filed on Monday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It named 21st Century Fox, Fox News and Mr. Payne.

The suit also names Dianne Brandi, the executive vice president of legal and business affairs at Fox News, and Irena Briganti, the network’s executive vice president of corporate communications. In the suit, Ms. Hughes says that Ms. Brandi and Ms. Briganti “knowingly and maliciously aided and abetted the unlawful employment practices, discrimination and retaliation” against her. The lawsuit claims that Ms. Brandi and Ms. Briganti “issued a false narrative to The National Enquirer that Ms. Hughes was a participant in an affair with Payne” and “revealed Ms. Hughes’s identity to The National Enquirer.”

Fox News said the lawsuit was “bogus” and “downright shameful.”

“We will vigorously defend this,” the network said in a statement. Fox News also said that the case was a “publicity stunt of a lawsuit” by Ms. Hughes’s lawyer, Douglas H. Wigdor.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

Mr. Wigdor, who is representing several current and former Fox News employees in harassment and discrimination cases against the network, said Fox was victim-blaming. “Fox cannot spin its way out of this crisis – especially when only Fox is to blame for what happened,” he said in a statement.

The charges in Ms. Hughes’s lawsuit echo accusations made by several other current and former Fox News employees after the sexual harassment scandal at the network burst into public view last year, exposing a culture where women said they had faced harassment and feared reporting inappropriate behavior. The initial scandal led to the resignation of the network’s chairman, Roger Ailes, and subsequent allegations prompted the network to force out its most popular figure, Bill O’Reilly, among other personalities. Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, has attempted to clean up its workplace and move past the crisis, yet new allegations and litigation have continued to roil the network in recent months.


Continue reading the main story

Ms. Hughes, 37, has been a familiar face on cable news in recent years. A vocal Trump supporter, she worked as a paid contributor at CNN during the 2016 presidential election. Her contract with CNN ended this past January.

According to the lawsuit, Ms. Hughes experienced a sudden decline in bookings across cable news networks in early 2017 and was told by a booking agent that Fox had blacklisted her because she “had an affair with someone at Fox.” As a result, Ms. Hughes said, she was taken out of consideration for positions in the Trump administration.

In June, Ms. Hughes instructed her manager to disclose the details of her allegations to Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton Garrison, the law firm investigating sexual harassment issues at Fox News.

Shortly after, the National Enquirer published an article in which Mr. Payne acknowledged and apologized for an extramarital “romantic affair.” While the National Enquirer article did not reveal Ms. Hughes’s identity, an article from HuffPost included her name and several other news outlets covered the story.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Laura Ingraham Will Host 10 O’Clock Show as Part of Fox News Shuffle

Tucker Carlson will remain at 8 p.m., a post he assumed when Mr. O’Reilly departed — after more than a decade — in the face of sexual harassment accusations. The changes will pit Mr. Hannity squarely against MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the current cable news ratings leader, in the coveted 9 p.m. hour. (Fox News is still the full-day leader over all.)

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

Together, Mr. Carlson, Mr. Hannity and Ms. Ingraham form a three-hour bloc of mostly consistent Trump defenders.

A willing critic of the news media and Republican leaders, Ms. Ingraham has at times conflicted with the president, notably scolding Mr. Trump for working with Democrats on DACA last week, but has largely spared him from the sharp-tongued punditry that has made her a favorite of Fox News viewers. She partly defended him after a widely panned news conference about protesters in Charlottesville, Va., saying that “he made some points that were factually right.”

She will continue to host her popular radio program, “The Laura Ingraham Show.” Fox said in a statement that she would also continue to serve as editor of LifeZette, a website she founded two years ago, but would not maintain a day-to-day role.

Fox presented her as a populist voice, pledging that she would speak directly with “the actual people who are impacted by the news of the day.”

“Ingraham will challenge the decision makers to focus on everyday, hard-working Americans who serve as the backbone of the nation,” the network said in a statement.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

How to Fight ‘Fake News’ (Warning: It Isn’t Easy)

Based on the findings of those experiments, the authors offer these broad recommendations for how to expose misinformation.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, an author of a new report on how to debunk misinformation, at a conference in San Francisco in July. Credit Pool photo by Jeff Chiu

Limit arguments supporting misinformation

If you have to repeat a lie, it’s best to limit the description of it, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, one of the study’s authors, who is also the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a founder of

The problem, she and the other authors said, is that rehashing arguments in favor of misinformation can inadvertently reinforce it, strengthening the defense against the truth.

That’s especially true when the lie offers a simpler explanation than the truth, as with the discredited argument linking the vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella to the onset of autism.

“The best way to displace that would be to say, ‘Here’s a causal explanation for autism, and it isn’t that,’ but science doesn’t know the causal explanation for autism yet,” Ms. Jamieson said.

With no alternative to replace it, the discredited theory proves remarkably resilient. And repeating the arguments in the theory’s favor only make it stickier, she said.

Encourage scrutiny

When debunking information, it’s also useful to get the audience in a skeptical mind-set, the authors argue.


Continue reading the main story

Take the widely refuted “birther” theory — promoted for years by President Trump — which suggests that President Barack Obama, was not, in fact, born in the United States. Just labeling the theory “false” is not as convincing to people who believe it as walking them through the reasons it can’t be true, Ms. Jamieson said.

It’s also helpful to make the audience feel engaged with the skepticism, said Dolores Albarracín, an author of the paper and a professor of psychology, business and medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“You lead them down the garden path rather than do all the work for them,” she said.

Present new information

Giving your audience new and credible information is especially effective in thoroughly unseating misinformation, the authors found.

That, they said, supports their hypothesis that the new information allows people to update their understanding of events, justifying why they fell for the falsehood in the first place.

Bonus: Video may work better than text

In a study published this summer in Journalism Mass Communication Quarterly, Ms. Jamieson and three other authors found that videos could be especially useful in correcting misinformation. The fact-checking videos seemed to “increase attention and reduce confusion” compared with text, one of the authors said in a statement at the time.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Looking Back: 1851 | Born Into a Racial Turmoil That Has Never Ended

A Maryland slaveholder named Edward Gorsuch had been killed by a group of free and fugitive African-Americans in Christiana as he and a posse, including a federal marshal, tried to capture three young men who had escaped from the Gorsuch farm.

The farmhouse in Christiana, Pa., at which a Maryland slaveowner was killed in 1851 as he tried to recapture fugitives. Credit “A True Story of the Christiana Riot”

In less than 24 hours, Raymond was in a passion.

The Christiana Outrage” was the title of his editorial the next day. “Resistance to law is always an offence against the peace of society,” Raymond declared. “A party of whites attempted to arrest several negroes, claiming them as their property, under a law of the United States.”

For Gorsuch did have the law on his side — an abominable, year-old federal law known as the Fugitive Slave Act, which authorized slave owners to “pursue and reclaim” escaped slaves in any state or territory, using “such reasonable force and restraint as may be necessary.”

Citizens — even of free states — were forbidden from helping in an escape, harboring or hiding a fugitive, obstructing a slaveholder’s pursuit or rescuing a recaptured slave from custody.

“No one will contend that these negroes acted from their conscientious convictions of duty,” Raymond wrote. “They acted from passion, from malice, from a determination that the negroes should not perform duties and hold positions which the law had recognized as imposed upon them.”

The top of the first front page. News was not yet laid out hierarchically, so the Christiana Riot did not “lead” the paper, though it was the most important story of the day. Credit The New York Times, Sept. 18, 1851

Contrary to Raymond’s assertion, of course, many Americans did contend that the crowd at Christiana had acted conscientiously and at great peril to themselves as they tried to protect those who sought nothing more or less than their freedom.

Gorsuch, they pointed out, had been warned not to pursue the fugitives. “I’ll have my property or I’ll breakfast in hell,” some accounts had him replying.


Continue reading the main story

But Raymond drew the line at killing. “We have respect for the sincere convictions of an enlightened conscience, even when its dictates do not coincide with our own,” he wrote on Sept. 20 in “The Christiana Affair Again.”

“We can understand perfectly how such convictions may incline others to abstain from all active agency in sending an escaped slave back to his master. But we cannot conceive of any honest or any sane man supposing for one moment that it is his duty to murder his fellows.”

Raymond, obviously, was no abolitionist. Not yet, anyway. He was a politician who served as the speaker of the New York State Assembly and as lieutenant governor of New York. He belonged to the Whig party, which was tearing itself apart in the 1850s trying to accommodate its pro- and antislavery wings.

The first home of The Times, 113 Nassau Street in Lower Manhattan, stood until 2007. Credit “History of The New York Times, 1851-1921”

As their party effectively disintegrated, many northern Whigs joined the new Republican Party. Raymond was prominent among them. In fact, he was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1864 to 1866.

Yes, a New York Times editor was a distant predecessor of Reince Priebus.

(While I can’t quote our ethics guidelines verbatim, I’m pretty sure the current executive editor would be barred from simultaneously heading a major political party.)

By the time of Raymond’s ascendancy in Republican ranks, abolition had become national policy, with the passage by Congress of the 13th Amendment and its ratification by the states.

On behalf of The Times, Raymond welcomed abolition effusively.

It perfects the great work of the founders of our Republic,” he wrote in the paper of Feb. 1, 1865.

“With the passage of this amendment the Republic enters upon a new stage of its great career. It is hereafter to be, what it has never been hitherto, thoroughly democratic — resting on human rights as its basis, and aiming at the greatest good and the highest happiness of all its people.”

At last, Raymond’s passion was admirable.

We are constantly reminded by today’s events, however, that it was — to say the least — premature.

Raymond’s writing desk is still at The Times. Credit David W. Dunlap/The New York Times

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Who’d Create a P.R. Crisis on Purpose? Well, Only the Sweat Was Real

The goal is to give companies a better understanding of what they may face and how they should respond. Even if, like me, you mismanage the situation so badly that it ends with a video of a masked hacker growling out his plans to destroy your company.


Continue reading the main story

The Start of the Situation

I sat with my editor and a photographer in a small, glass-walled conference room. For this exercise, we were pretending that we worked on the business side of The New York Times.

In less than five minutes on the job, things went seriously awry. One of the newspaper’s biggest institutional investors had become the largest shareholder in a company that was the world’s biggest polluter, and the connection was drawing attention. A prominent blog proclaimed that The Times was “exchanging blood money for ink,” and a video from a major environmental group called on our organization to cut ties with the investor.

For the exercise, the reporter, Sapna Maheshwari, and her editor, Connor Ennis, pretended they worked for the business side of The New York Times. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Now, the three crisis consultants across the table told us, we had to figure out what to do.

While crisis simulations have long been used by the P.R. industry, those from CommCore and its competitors, including a tool from Weber Shandwick called Firebell, are examples of a newer breed. They home in on the speed and cacophony of today’s media environment, tossing participants into a virtual pressure cooker of online outrage and escalating press attention. The point is to compress a monthslong disaster into a few stressful hours — and see how teams respond.

“The whole goal is faster reaction time, faster recognition of the issues and hopefully faster getting the issues off the front page or out of social media,” said Andrew D. Gilman, CommCore’s chief executive, who has consulted with the likes of Johnson Johnson and General Motors during crises.

At the same time, creating a realistic P.R. issue for a company to navigate — or, in our case, hobble through — is its own challenge. After all, clients weren’t concerned about being mentioned in a tweet from the president a year ago, Mr. Gilman said. And last month, the consulting group added the possibility of being tied to white supremacists to its list of risks.

Ms. Cope and Mr. Weiss posed as reporters asking how the crisis was being handled. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

The Media Starts Calling

On a whiteboard, we had scrawled out the key issues at stake and a list of employees we needed to loop in about the burgeoning situation. It’s trickier than it appears: Too many people can complicate decisions about who’s doing what; too few and you risk not being able to adequately respond to issues as they appear.

The story had been picked up by financial news sites like The Motley Fool and environmental groups that were angrily posting to their Facebook and Twitter pages. There was even a nascent petition on

Just as that was sinking in, two reporters from national outlets called. How was The Times going to respond to this outcry? I fended them off in a panic, saying that we didn’t have a comment yet. I couldn’t consult with my editor, who was on the phone with a member of the investor’s P.R. staff.


Continue reading the main story

The simulation blended fact and fiction to make it feel more realistic. The materials included articles and social media posts, complete with pre-filmed videos, designed to look as if they had come from real publications and environmental groups. Two of the consultants had left the room to make the reporter calls to our cellphones, timing them so that we had trouble coordinating our responses.

Often, the companies doing these drills involve a variety of departments, such as legal, information technology and investor relations, in hopes that they know how to work together if a crisis does hit.

The crisis was designed by Dale Weiss, whom Mr. Gilman referred to as something of a “mad scientist” when devising each round of facts. Mr. Weiss likened the pace to cooking a frog.

“If you put them in a hot pot, they’re going to jump right out, but if you take a frog and slowly create a nice little hot tub environment, he’ll stay in and finally boil,” Mr. Weiss explained, a little too gleefully. We were the frogs.

Mr. Gilman laying out some of the issues that arise in a crisis, such as who should be told and what matters need immediate attention. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Deciding on a Response

By now, we had issued a brief statement and linked to it on Twitter. But then, a huge poison gas leak hit one of the polluting company’s major factories, forcing thousands of people to evacuate and injuring many others. A video news report about the disaster included coverage of our newspaper’s ties to the polluter through our institutional investor, and noted the growing controversy.

Our newsroom was covering the disaster aggressively, activists were planning to picket outside our annual shareholder meeting and, somehow, the polluter claimed we were blocking its requests to run a full-page ad in the paper. This was all playing out on social media, and people were calling for boycotts of The Times.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

There were so many outlets, advocacy groups and internal stakeholders to respond to that it was hard to keep them straight — and the list of options we could use to respond was similarly lengthy. Post a statement through a series of tweets? Put screenshots of a longer statement on social media? Film a YouTube video? Arrange an interview of our top executives with a journalist we trust? With each question, the room seemed to get a little hotter.

Ideally, a company would have different contingency plans set up for various possibilities, along with a set list of employees who would handle them.

“There might be holding statements about your investments, your manufacturing facilities, about your people, that you can pull from and take pieces so you’re not having to create it at the very last minute,” Mr. Weiss said.


Continue reading the main story

Mr. Gilman added, “Several of our clients have war rooms where they want to be ready just in case there’s a Trump tweet, and in the same kind of way, if it’s an agency or a company that’s advertising a ton or any other business, they want to be prepared.”

That sort of thinking could have helped United Airlines respond more quickly to the video of the passenger’s removal. “They’ve got a lot of crisis plans,” Mr. Gilman said, “but mostly about aircraft crashing, not a customer issue like that.”

Nobody cared that our company wasn’t responsible for the actions of an investor, but it turned out that was part of the training as well.

“You’re a public company. People buy your stock,” Mr. Weiss said. “Stuff happens. Companies don’t do anything wrong — they do what they’re supposed to do — and yet you get hit by this firestorm of stuff.”

A Hacker Appears

As the crisis worsened, three prominent reporters and columnists quit the newspaper, citing its ties to the problematic investor. A major environmental group sold its shares in The Times and urged other groups to follow, saying the impartiality of our reporting couldn’t be guaranteed. The petition had amassed thousands of signatures, and the boycott was expanding.

And just as we were reeling from all of this, here came the grand finale: a video from a masked hacker speaking in a low, distorted voice. He praised the boycott efforts by environmental groups and delivered a grim message. Based on the investment connection, we were told, a group of concerned hackers planned to use a virus to wreak havoc on our facilities so long as The Times kept exchanging “blood money for ink.” He proclaimed the group would keep fighting for the environment, ending with: “We’re also doing this because we can.”

Stunned silence followed. Then our photographer, Sam, piped up. “Do we bring the F.B.I. in?”

Indeed, Mr. Gilman said, we had “progressed, unfortunately, in the world of crisis communications” to criminal behavior and had become something of a victim ourselves. Still, he added, that didn’t mean public opinion would swing in our favor, pointing to the fallout from Target’s enormous data breach in 2013.

Despite any pressure we may have felt during the simulation, we had the luxury of going back to our actual jobs when it was over. But the quick escalation of the disaster and criticism from all sides made it clear why companies are paranoid about ending up in that kind of situation — even without an ominous video from a hacker — and why they feel the need to plan.

“You can’t prevent any crisis from happening,” Mr. Gilman said. “But you can shorten the duration, you can lessen the impact and do better preparation.”

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Lady Gaga Postpones European Tour Dates, Citing Chronic Pain

Lady Gaga performing at the Super Bowl in February. The European leg of her “Joanne” tour was scheduled to start Thursday in Barcelona. Credit Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Lady Gaga postponed the European leg of her “Joanne” tour three days before it was scheduled to start, announcing on Monday in an Instagram post that “trauma and chronic pain” would keep her from performing there until early 2018.

On Thursday, Lady Gaga had canceled a Friday appearance at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil, saying that she was in “severe pain” and in the care of “the very best doctors.”

The European concerts were scheduled to begin Thursday in Barcelona and run through Oct. 28 in Germany. Fans were told to keep their existing tickets until the dates were rescheduled, according to a statement from Live Nation, the concert promoter. A second North American leg of the tour, set to start Nov. 5 in Indianapolis, was expected to go on as scheduled, the statement said.

The first United States leg of Lady Gaga’s tour started in Tacoma, Wash., on Aug. 5. Reviewing that show for The New York Times, Jon Caramanica wrote that the juxtaposition of her biggest pop hits with material from “Joanne,” her latest album — including the title track, performed on acoustic guitar — could prove disorienting. “Lady Gaga finds herself in tugs of war with herself — sincerity versus artifice, extravagance versus asceticism,” he wrote.

Lady Gaga has said she suffers from fibromyalgia, a syndrome of unknown causes that can lead to lasting muscle pain and fatigue. Her struggles with chronic pain are a focus of “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” a documentary about her that will be available on Netflix on Friday.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Facebook Navigates an Internet Fractured by Governmental Controls

For all the courtship, things never quite worked out.

“There’s an interest on both sides of the dance, so some kind of product can be introduced,” said Kai-Fu Lee, the former head of Google in China who now runs a venture-capital firm in Beijing. “But what Facebook wants is impossible, and what they can have may not be very meaningful.”

This spring, Facebook tried a different tactic: testing the waters in China without telling anyone. The company authorized the release of a photo-sharing app there that does not bear its name, and experimented by linking it to a Chinese social network called WeChat.

One factor driving Mr. Zuckerberg may be the brisk ad business that Facebook does from its Hong Kong offices, where the company helps Chinese companies — and the government’s own propaganda organs — spread their messages. In fact, the scale of the Chinese government’s use of Facebook to communicate abroad offers a notable sign of Beijing’s understanding of Facebook’s power to mold public opinion.

Chinese state media outlets have used ad buys to spread propaganda around key diplomatic events. Its stodgy state-run television station and the party mouthpiece newspaper each have far more Facebook “likes” than popular Western news brands like CNN and Fox News, a likely indication of big ad buys.

To attract more ad spending, Facebook set up one page to show China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, how to promote on the platform, according to a person familiar with the matter. Dedicated to Mr. Xi’s international trips, the page is still regularly updated by CCTV, and has 2.7 million likes. During the 2015 trip when Mr. Xi met Mr. Zuckerberg, CCTV used the channel to spread positive stories. One post was titled “Xi’s UN address wins warm applause.”

At a White House dinner in 2015, Mr. Zuckerberg asked the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, whether Mr. Xi might offer a Chinese name for his soon-to-be-born first child — usually a privilege reserved for older relatives, or sometimes a fortune teller. Credit Charles Ommanney/Facebook, via Associated Press

Fittingly, Mr. Zuckerberg’s eagerness and China’s reluctance can be tracked on Facebook.

During Mr. Xi’s 2015 trip to America, Mr. Zuckerberg posted about how the visit offered him his first chance to speak a foreign language with a world leader. The post got more than a half million likes, including from Chinese state media (despite the national ban). But on Mr. Xi’s propaganda page, Mr. Zuckerberg got only one mention — in a list of the many tech executives who met the Chinese president.


Continue reading the main story

Europe’s Privacy Pushback

Last summer, emails winged back and forth between members of Facebook’s global policy team. They were finalizing plans, more than two years in the making, for WhatsApp, the messaging app Facebook had bought in 2014, to start sharing data on its one billion users with its new parent company. The company planned to use the data to tailor ads on Facebook’s other services and to stop spam on WhatsApp.

A big issue: how to win over wary regulators around the world.

Despite all that planning, Facebook was hit by a major backlash. A month after the new data-sharing deal started in August 2016, German privacy officials ordered WhatsApp to stop passing data on its 36 million local users to Facebook, claiming people did not have enough say over how it would be used. The British privacy watchdog soon followed.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

By late October, all 28 of Europe’s national data-protection authorities jointly called on Facebook to stop the practice. Facebook quietly mothballed its plans in Europe. It has continued to collect people’s information elsewhere, including the United States.

“There’s a growing awareness that people’s data is controlled by large American actors,” said Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, France’s privacy regulator. “These actors now know that times have changed.”

Facebook’s retreat shows how Europe is effectively employing regulations — including tough privacy rules — to control how parts of the internet are run.

Facebook’s international headquarters in Dublin. The company has faced regulatory pushback in Europe. Credit Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

The goal of European regulators, officials said, is to give users greater control over the data from social media posts, online searches and purchases that Facebook and other tech giants rely on to monitor our online habits.

As a tech company whose ad business requires harvesting digital information, Facebook has often underestimated the deep emotions that European officials and citizens have tied into the collection of such details. That dates back to the time of the Cold War, when many Europeans were routinely monitored by secret police.

Now, regulators from Colombia to Japan are often mimicking Europe’s stance on digital privacy. “It’s only natural European regulators would be at the forefront,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer. “It reflects the importance they’ve attached to the privacy agenda.”


Continue reading the main story

In interviews, Facebook denied it has played fast and loose with users’ online information and said it complies with national rules wherever it operates. It questioned whether Europe’s position has been effective in protecting individuals’ privacy at a time when the region continues to fall behind the United States and China in all things digital.

Still, the company said it respected Europe’s stance on data protection, particularly in Germany, where many citizens have long memories of government surveillance.

“There’s no doubt the German government is a strong voice inside the European community,” said Richard Allan, Facebook’s head of public policy in Europe. “We find their directness pretty helpful.”

Europe has the law on its side when dictating global privacy. Facebook’s non-North American users, roughly 1.8 billion people, are primarily overseen by Ireland’s privacy regulator because the company’s international headquarters is in Dublin, mostly for tax reasons. In 2012, Facebook was forced to alter its global privacy settings — including those in the United States — after Ireland’s data protection watchdog found problems while auditing the company’s operations there.

Three years later, Europe’s highest court also threw out a 15-year-old data-sharing agreement between the region and the United States following a complaint that Facebook had not sufficiently protected Europeans’ data when it was transferred across the Atlantic. The company denies any wrongdoing.

A Facebook event in Berlin last year. Europe, where Cold War-era suspicions over monitoring still linger, is exporting its views of privacy to other parts of the world. Credit Tobias Schwarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

And on Sept. 12, Spain’s privacy agency fined the company 1.2 million euros for not giving people sufficient control over their data when Facebook collected it from third-party websites. Watchdogs in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere are conducting similar investigations. Facebook is appealing the Spanish ruling.

“Facebook simply can’t stick to a one-size-fits-all product around the world,” said Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer who has been a Facebook critic after filing the case that eventually overturned the 15-year-old data deal.

Potentially more worrying for Facebook is how Europe’s view of privacy is being exported. Countries from Brazil to Malaysia, which are crucial to Facebook’s growth, have incorporated many of Europe’s tough privacy rules into their legislation.


Continue reading the main story

“We regard the European directives as best practice,” said Pansy Tlakula, chairwoman of South Africa’s Information Regulator, the country’s data protection agency. South Africa has gone so far as to copy whole sections, almost word-for-word, from Europe’s rule book.

The Play for Kenya

Blocked in China and troubled by regulators in Europe, Facebook is trying to become “the internet” in Africa. Helping get people online, subsidizing access, and trying to launch satellites to beam the internet down to the markets it covets, Facebook has become a dominant force on a continent rapidly getting online.

But that has given it a power that has made some in Africa uncomfortable.

Some countries have blocked access, and outsiders have complained Facebook could squelch rival online business initiatives. Its competition with other internet companies from the United States and China has drawn comparisons to a bygone era of colonialism.

For Kenyans like Phyl Cherop, 33, an entrepreneur in Nairobi, online life is already dominated by the social network. She abandoned her bricks-and-mortar store in a middle-class part of the city in 2015 to sell on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Phyl Cherop, who lives in Kenya, closed her bricks-and-mortar store to sell items through Facebook. Credit Adriane Ohanesian for The New York Times

“I gave it up because people just didn’t come anymore,” said Ms. Cherop, who sells items like designer dresses and school textbooks. She added that a stand-alone website would not have the same reach. “I prefer using Facebook because that’s where my customers are. The first thing people want to do when they buy a smartphone is to open a Facebook account.”

As Facebook hunts for more users, the company’s aspirations have shifted to emerging economies where people like Ms. Cherop live. Less than 50 percent of Africa’s population has internet connectivity, and regulation is often rudimentary.

Since Facebook entered Africa about a decade ago, it has become the region’s dominant tech platform. Some 170 million people — more than two thirds of all internet users from South Africa to Senegal — use it, according Facebook’s statistics. That is up 40 percent since 2015.

The company has struck partnerships with local carriers to offer basic internet services — centered on those offered by Facebook — for free. It has built a pared-down version of its social network to run on the cheaper, less powerful phones that are prevalent there.

Continue reading the main story

Article source:

Dylan, Obama and a Crown of Thorns: 50 Years of Rolling Stone


A music magazine whose influence stretched beyond entertainment and into the world of politics could elevate a career with its cover.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

Rolling Stone has chronicled the lives of stars of music and movies, often in images and words from some of the most renowned photographers and writers of their generation.CreditAnnie Leibovitz/Wenner Media

Rolling Stone helped define the counterculture epoch. It filled its pages with the words of renowned writers, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Cameron Crowe and Greil Marcus. Its covers minted stars. And while it focused on music, its influence ultimately stretched into pop culture, entertainment and politics.

“It was a magazine about music and the attitudes and things that music embraced,” said Jann S. Wenner, the Rolling Stone founder who has put it up for sale. “Rolling Stone has been one of the great magazines of our time.”

Jann Wenner in 1970.CreditBettmann/Getty Images

Rolling Stone not only covered music, it was enshrined in it: A song written by a poet and illustrator best known for his children’s books, Shel Silverstein, irreverently captured the essence of rock ‘n roll stardom.

Wanna see my picture on the cover

Wanna buy five copies for my mother

Wanna see my smilin’ face

On the cover of the Rolling Stone.


John Lennon appeared on the cover of the magazine’s first issue, followed by nearly every rock star, and many celebrities, from the 1960s onward. Mr. Wenner was a particular fan of Bob Dylan, who has appeared on the cover nearly two dozen times.

Provocative photography was also one of the magazine’s hallmarks. The celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz began her association with the magazine in the early 1970s and set the tone for whimsical and insightful portraits, like her 1981 cover photo of Meryl Streep.

Rolling Stone has mixed politics and culture, as in an issue focusing on climate change that put The Police on the front cover, and one that featured only Barack Obama.CreditLeft to right: Wenner Media, Peter Yang/Wenner Media

Celebrity access — to rock stars and political giants alike — was one of Rolling Stone’s greatest assets. Mr. Wenner himself conducted some of the magazine’s biggest interviews, including with Barack Obama, as a candidate and later as a president. “The access you get everywhere is phenomenal,” Mr. Wenner said.

A cover that focused on Kayne West drew sharp criticism in 2006.CreditDavid LaChapelle/Wenner Media

Mr. Wenner and his editors have long been criticized for relying too heavily on aging rock heroes for Rolling Stone’s covers. But the magazine still had the power to shock, as it did with a 2006 cover story on Kanye West that pictured him bloodied by a crown of thorns. “For every cover of Mick Jagger, you get a cover of Taylor Swift,” Mr. Wenner said. “It’s all great music, and they all belong in one place.”

But Rolling Stone’s covers have also provoked outrage. When it featured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then a 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, on its cover in 2013, some critics accused the magazine of glamorizing him as it did entertainment superstars.

An article about an allegation of rape at the University of Virginia led to an embarrassing retraction in 2015.CreditWenner Media

Long respected for its journalism, Rolling Stone was badly bruised by a 2014 article about an unproven gang rape at the University of Virginia. The debunked article, which was retracted in 2015 after a damning report from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, prompted three lawsuits and waves of negative coverage for the magazine. The magazine settled two lawsuits, one of which went to trial; a judge dismissed the third last year.

Gus Wenner has gained some control over Rolling Stone in recent years. He and his father both said they hoped to stay on after the magazine is sold.CreditAndrew White for The New York Times

Over the last several years, Mr. Wenner has been slowly ceding control of Rolling Stone and its parent company, Wenner Media, to his son, Gus. The younger Mr. Wenner, 27, has jump-started the company’s digital ambitions, and he has plans to increase the magazine’s video production capabilities. But in response to the financial downturn facing the entire industry, he has also aggressively sold off Wenner Media’s assets, including Us Weekly and Men’s Journal. Both Jann and Gus Wenner said they hoped to stay on at Rolling Stone under a new owner, but its sale would conclude their reign.

“It’s the end of an era,” Gus Wenner said in an interview in his office last week, “but it’s the beginning of a new, totally exciting era.”

Article source:

‘It’ Stays No. 1, as ‘Mother!’ Curdles

Ms. Colligan noted, however, that “Mother!” also had ardent support from many cinephiles. “The hatred is real, but the passion is really real too,” she said. “People can’t stop talking about it one way or another, which is powerful.”

If nothing else, Paramount will get credit in Hollywood for backing an auteur director at a time when most studios are keeping filmmakers on extra-short leashes.

Dylan O’Brien in “American Assassin,” which arrived to solid ticket sales. Credit Christian Black/Lionsgate

“Mother!” may also have suffered from competition from “It,” No. 1 again over the weekend. Paramount moved up the release of Mr. Aronofsky’s film by a month to capitalize on buzz generated by film festival premieres. But then “It” became a smash hit. To a degree, Paramount had no good option; “Mother!” would have faced competition in October from “Happy Death Day,” the next horror film from Blumhouse and Universal, the forces behind “Split” and “Get Out.”

Between September and December, studios are scheduled to release at least seven films with horror elements, up from four in the same period last year. Sony on Sept. 29 will roll out a remake of “Flatliners,” which mixes science fiction and horror. Lionsgate will use “Jigsaw” on Oct. 27 to try to resuscitate its torture-themed “Saw” franchise. Other entries include “Friend Request,” about a demon who kills college students, and “Polaroid,” a high school horror mystery.

Also arriving in theaters over the weekend was “American Assassin,” an action-thriller produced by CBS Films and released by Lionsgate. It took in a sturdy $14.8 million, according to comScore — on par with initial results for the assassin movie “John Wick,” which became a certified hit in 2014 and spawned a sequel. Directed by Michael Cuesta, “American Assassin” stars Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton and was adapted from Vince Flynn’s novel of the same name. It cost about $33 million to make.

“American Assassin” received a B-plus grade in CinemaScore exit polls, boding well for word of mouth and continued ticket sales in the weeks ahead.

Also of note: The romantic comedy “Home Again” (Open Road) held well in its second weekend, taking in $5.3 million, for a two-week total of $17.1 million.

Continue reading the main story

Article source: