Visual Media-(Almost)Only Sunday!
FOX News, Jamal Khashoggi, Harry Nilsson, Cheesecake
Words words words, who needs ‘em? Here’s what I saw/did this week xx
First FOX News hit, which they filmed in a super-cool mobile van parked in front of my house. Zippity-do, in and out, and oh! that backdrop.
Look, I wasn’t nervous, it’s just that my bedroom is dark…
Kmele was on Real Time with Bill Maher!
This documentary, about the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, was crushing and, to my mind, utterly indicting
I mentioned to Michael Moynihan, during the Fifth Column taping here on Thursday, that I’d watched “The Dissident”…
“Did you see his other film, Icarus?” he asked, and mentioned it was about performance enhancing drugs, which director Bryan Fogel tested on himself and which I thought the documentary was going to be about but, holy good god…
Speaking of utterly indicting, Martin Gurri’s piece, Slouching Toward Post-Journalism, about what happened to The New York Times during the Trump era is, to my mind, spot on. A clip:
Future media historians may hold the Trump-Russia story to be a laboratory-perfect specimen of discourse concentration. For nearly two years, it towered over the information landscape and devoured the attention of the media and the public. The total number of articles on the topic produced by the Times is difficult to measure, but a Google search suggests that it was more than 3,000—the equivalent, if accurate, of multiple articles per day for the period in question. This was journalism as if conducted under the impulse of an obsessive-compulsive personality. Virtually every report either implied or proclaimed culpability. Every day in the news marked the beginning of the Trumpian End Times.
The sum of all this sound and fury was . . . zero. The most intensively covered story in history turned out to be empty of content. Mueller’s investigation “did not identify evidence that any US persons conspired or coordinated” with the Russians. Mueller’s halting television appearance in July 2019 convinced even the most vehement partisans that he was not the knight to slay the dragon in the White House. After two years of media frenzy came an awkward moment. The New York Times had reorganized its newsroom to pursue this single story—yet, just as it had missed Trump’s coming, the paper failed to see that Trump would stay.
Yet what looked like journalistic failure was, in fact, an astonishing post-journalistic success. The intent of post-journalism was never to represent reality or inform the public but to arouse enough political fervor in readers that they wished to enter the paywall in support of the cause. This was ideology by the numbers—and the numbers were striking. Digital subscriptions to the New York Times, which had been stagnant, nearly doubled in the first year of Trump’s presidency. By August 2020, the paper had 6 million digital subscribers—six times the number on Election Day 2016 and the most in the world for any newspaper. The Russian collusion story, though refuted objectively, had been validated subjectively, by the growth in the congregation of the paying faithful.
Alison Roman is a better baker than I am - plus, her recipe comes with a playlist, I mean, come on!
I only baked once this week, but of course it’s not quantity but quality that counts, in this case, my baking partner, Coco Welch, who baked her own birthday cake (“Cheesecake!” as she reminded me) yesterday. Happy big 6, Cokes!
While the cake was chilling, Coco, her dad Matt and I watched The Point, score by Harry Nilsson, narration by Ringo Starr, the visuals gorgeous and trippy, the story sweet and sharp, the songs transportive and heart-swelling. Here’s one now! xx