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New York City Goes Sepia-Toned, Fox News Tells Viewers to Breathe the Poisonous Air Anyway
Owning the libs by inhaling a lung-full of wildfire smoke.
Hello, dear readers. Parker here.
I’m going to try something new with today’s edition of the newsletter, which will be broken up into two sections (“The big story” and “The rest”). We’ll see if it sticks, but if you’ve got any feedback, I’m all ears… er, eyes? Anyway…
The big story: New York City turned into a real-life sepia filter yesterday as smoke from wildfires in Canada blanketed the east coast.
Here are a few photos I grabbed from Getty Images:
Okay, that last image wasn’t from yesterday. That’s a screenshot from the 2017 film Blade Runner 2049. You got me. Still, looking at the actual photos… it doesn’t seem great! I’m pretty sure the sky isn’t supposed to be that color, but hey, what do I know?
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And in a bit of irony, yesterday was also Clean Air Day in Canada.
“Air pollution knows no boundaries,” reads a statement on the Canadian government’s website. “It can affect every area of Canada including urban and rural areas. That’s why this year’s theme is ‘Clean Air Everywhere.’”
The theme is pretty spot on. Not that there is “clean air everywhere,” but that there should be “clean air everywhere.” This highlights one of the major frustrations about climate change and pollution. Actions taken in one part of the world impact the entire planet, which is why efforts to address these issues on a global scale are so crucial (and challenging to achieve). It necessitates cooperation, a trait we humans often struggle with.
Yes, this has to do with climate change. Obviously. Anyone arguing otherwise is lying.
Climate change is real, and it’s making extreme weather events more frequent. Yes, the wildfires in Canada are related to climate change. Yes, climate change is fueling an increase in both the number and the power of hurricanes that occur each year. Yes, climate change is factoring into increased flooding like the kind Florida experienced this year (which has led insurance companies to dramatically raise rates or to stop providing coverage in some areas altogether). This is all happening right now.
Oh, also, Fox has, unsurprisingly, been telling its viewers that it is “insanity” to wear N95 masks to mitigate the harm caused by the smoke blanketing the east coast. In fact, that’s exactly what you should do if you must be outside where the air quality index is elevated (for reference, anything over 200 AQI is considered “very unhealthy,” and anything over 300 is “hazardous;” yesterday, the AQI in Manhattan was 352). Not great!
The rest: CNN, anti-LGBTQ boycotts, and speaking ill of the dead
Ordinarily, stuff in this “the rest” section will be paywalled off. But I’m going to occasionally include it in the free edition. The goal here, obviously, is to create additional value for paid subscribers and encourage free subscribers to upgrade, while still offering a healthy amount of the newsletter for free.
Licht is out at CNN.
CNN fired CEO Chris Licht. Matt Gertz wrote at Media Matters about why those of us who’ve been critical of Licht probably shouldn’t expect much better from his replacement. An excerpt (link):
This version of CNN isn’t just journalistically indefensible — it’s also failed to attract an audience. In theory, catering to Republicans was supposed to lure viewers away from more right-wing outlets. In reality, there isn’t an audience for Fox Light: CNN’s viewership withered under Licht as viewers switched to MSNBC or away from cable news altogether. Zaslav and Malone don’t seem to care — they just want CNN to meet their ideological demands.
And that’s why Licht’s departure won’t end CNN’s problems. His successor may be canny enough not to put their office on a separate floor from CNN’s journalists, or to treat a reporter writing a profile like a personal therapist. But that person will likely get the same demands from Zaslav and Malone to move the network toward the right and away from the truth, and try to follow them.
On the topic of CNN, I’m pretty sure the New York Times went with this headline specifically to cause me to have a rage stroke.
The point of that piece by Jim Rutenberg buys into the idea that CNN was on “the left” pre-Licht. It wasn’t. Rutenberg seemed to take billionaire right-wing megadonor John Malone at face value when he said that his goal was to get CNN to be more like Fox News in that he wanted CNN to get back to “actually have journalists.”
If your idea of good, objective journalism is Brett Baier, then you’re not actually pushing for unbiased media, you’re pushing for right-wing propaganda. Also… and I can’t believe I have to say this… but “independent media” doesn’t typically include one of the most well-known news brands on the planet that is owned by a conglomerate that controls everything from Bugs Bunny to Batman. Just saying!
Brands caving to anti-LGBTQ activists are only making more people mad at them.
Also over at Media Matters: Vesper Henry has a really thoughtful piece about brands that express support for LGBTQ people only to pull it back in response to right-wing outrage. An excerpt (link):
Anheuser-Busch and Target have ceded ground amid these boycotts, withdrawing support for Mulvaney and pulling some Pride merchandise from stores, respectively. Not only is this a dangerous abandonment of a vulnerable community, it also adds more fuel to the fire and seems likely to be ultimately more damaging to their bottom lines than maintaining a firm stance in support of LGBTQ rights.
For one, right-wing pundits have made it clear that there are no boundaries to their (literal) ever-growing list of “woke” companies to boycott, capriciously turning on even Fox News and Chick-fil-a. They are leaving little breathing room for businesses and abandoning any sense of brand loyalty.
Companies should not bow to the violent demands of right-wing media and their audiences, because it is clear that they will ultimately boycott themselves into a corner, and businesses that cave will likely lose even more than they would remaining steadfast in LGBTQ acceptance. The right has still not forgiven Bud Light even after it left Mulvaney out to dry, nor have conservatives returned to Target after it hid and gutted its Pride collection, and now those companies have lost the confidence of LGBTQ consumers, too. This moment is, however, an opportunity to learn valuable lessons on how to be ready for new reactionary campaigns in the future.
Brands Need to Make Decisions About LGBTQ Pride Marketing Right Now, Not When the Right Has a Predictable Meltdown
Pat Robertson is dead at age 93. He was a horrible, horrible person.
It’s only fitting that the bigot who spent his life blaming LGBTQ people for everything from 9/11 to hurricanes, who celebrated AIDS deaths as God weeding his garden, died during Pride month.
Unfortunately, a lot of the coverage I’ve seen so far downplays Robertson’s awfulness (Rolling Stone seems to be an exception here) in favor of the sugarcoated coverage mainstream media tends to run with when an influential figure dies. As I’ve written before, “Don’t speak ill of the dead” is great when it comes to your rude aunt’s funeral, but journalists need to give it to us straight:
That’s it for today. I’m still messing around with different formats but wanted to try something new today. Please share any feedback you’ve got in the comments or via email. Thank you!
Until next time,