MRC Weekly Digest – 4th June 2021
By Media Reform Coalition / Friday June 4, 2021
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday.
For even more media news and analysis, plus the latest campaigns, content, and UK media jobs, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture.
For now, here’s your media news digest!
Dates for the next three events for the campaign have been confirmed, so get these in your diary:
The first two events will be streamed on the MRC’s Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, whilst the Wales-focused event will be run as a Zoom seminar.
Remember, all of our previous events are available on the MRC YouTube channel, and you can contribute to our Manifesto for a People’s Media on the BBC and Beyond website here.
INTERVIEW – Praxis Makes Perfect: Eileen Jones
Praxis Makes Perfect interviews continue! I loved speaking to Jacobin’s film critic Eileen Jones this week and investigating some of her excellent work. She makes clear the links (broken as well as strong) between art and politics, and how important it is for progressives to be building a mass movement.
This Week’s Media News
- Amazon has confirmed it will be launching its own version of a data tracker exclusive to the Amazon ad infrastructure, now that third-party cookies have fallen out of public favour. A spokesperson said the identifier “would be available only to publishers that meet Amazon’s requirements, without elaborating on what those requirements are.” As seen in last week’s media news, Amazon’s advertising department continues to see massive growth. (Digiday/CNBC)
- Janet Yellen, the Biden administration’s Treasury Secretary, will propose a global corporate tax floor of 15% at the G7 meeting this week in an attempt to “put an end to global tax havens”. If successful, this would mean a significant shift for many corporate giants—Facebook and Google, for example, who have set up shop in Ireland for its 12.5% rate. However, the Tories have recently voted down an amendment in support of the tax cap. (NYT/Bywire)
- A Dutch nonprofit has accused ViacomCBS’s Paramount Pictures of “avoiding” $4 billion in tax. It outlines how the media giant used overseas shell companies to deal with its international licensing of pictures. ViacomCBS denies wrongdoing and says the study is “flawed” and doesn’t understand U.S. tax law. NYT reported on this with the headline ‘SpongeBob’ and ‘Transformers’ Cost U.S. Taxpayers $4 Billion, Study Says. (NYT)
- The head of Australia’s competition regulator has claimed the country’s ‘media code’, enacted at the beginning of the year, is a ‘success’. Media organisations in the country are “on track for deals all round” to extract a larger share of online ad revenue from Google and Facebook. Both bigger and smaller outlets have struck deals with the tech giants for a combined AUS$200 million per year. The code has faced criticism from experts for not addressing wider issues and pressures in the news industry. (FT/Chompsky)
- Looks like Gawker is back… In their first tweet since 2016, when Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan shut the pioneering media outlet down (Google it), the almost 5-year dormant account wrote, simply, “firstname.lastname@example.org”. (Vanity Fair)
- An updated, annotated edition of Mein Kampf has been released in France which unpicks the minutiae of Hitler’s false claims and anti-Semitic ideology. The version contains an expert-authored introduction to each chapter and thousands of line-by-line annotations providing “commentary that debunks false statements and provides historical context.” Proceeds from sales will go to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. (NYT)
- One of the last independent media outlets in Russia, VTimes, is closing down after it was put on a government list of “foreign agents” that critics have called “a death sentence”. (The Guardian)
- Twitter has announced a new feature, ‘Birdwatch’, that will crowdsource the fact-checking of tweets. It will rely on “engaged tweeters to add notes to misleading tweets”. (TechCrunch)
- 120 Hearst employees in sales, marketing, and advertising have taken the company up on a voluntary buyout. This sees the company shed 5% of its workforce. Hearst owns a number of ‘glossies’ such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar. and Elle. (New York Post)
- McClatchy has voluntarily recognised the Kansas City Star’s union, a month after the newsroom voted to launch their guild. (KCNG on Twitter)