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Media | The Guardian

Latest news and features from, the world's leading liberal voice

Published: Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:23:09 GMT2018-03-23T06:23:09Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House review – the Deep Throat riddle

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:00:25 GMT2018-03-23T06:00:25Z

Liam Neeson’s heroic portrayal of the FBI boss who helped topple Nixon following Watergate, doesn’t quite wash

This laborious and solemn Nixon-era drama about the man who was “Deep Throat” gets off to a clumsy start with the title. He brought down the White House’s occupant, not the White House, and perhaps it’s worth noting that this was possible because a sizeable number of Republicans were prepared to think independently and act against the president. In 2018, the current incumbent can luxuriate in the knowledge that there is no immediate danger on that front, although this film’s depiction of a troublesome FBI is nonetheless relevant.

Liam Neeson – ramrod straight in a heavy business suit, with hairpiece and gravelly whisper – plays FBI deputy director Mark Felt, who fed information to the press, and particularly the Washington Post’s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, about who knew what and when about the Watergate break-in. (He outed himself as the informant in 2005.) And why? Was he a closet pinko? Of course not – although he was a registered Democrat who went over to Reagan in the 1980s. Felt was a loyal bureau man who was convicted in 1980 of ordering break-ins – burgling the homes of suspected members of the Weather Underground, thus violating their civil rights. So were his activities down to pure petulance at being passed over for the top FBI job when its monarchical founder J Edgar Hoover died? Perhaps. This film, however, rather fudges that issue by simply making Felt furious at the new top man’s readiness to be a lapdog for the Nixon White House, apparently willing to whitewash Watergate.

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Wil Anderson on Tonightly: 'People more offended by C at end of AB than about C-bomb sketch'

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:00:10 GMT2018-03-23T06:00:10Z

Communications minister Mitch Fifield and Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi complain about ABC show that called candidate four-lettered word

Conservative politicians who complained about a sketch on ABC TV’s Tonightly comedy show are serial critics of the public broadcaster who are pushing a political agenda, comedian Wil Anderson has said.

The communications minister Mitch Fifield and Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi both complained about a segment in which a candidate for Bernardi’s party Kevin Bailey was called a “cunt”.

Related: Minister rebukes ABC over Tonightly's 'vitriolic' Australian Conservatives skit

People tweeting at me angrily please remember to use the hashtag #tonightly

This was hilarious. I know everyone's ENRAGED about @tonightly and all but I'm amazed how much funny they bring. Tough gig. Every night. Always worth watching.

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Steve Bannon on Cambridge Analytica: 'Facebook data is for sale all over the world'

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:23:32 GMT2018-03-22T23:23:32Z

Trump’s ex-chief strategist says he ‘helped put the company together’, but didn’t know about data harvested from Facebook

Steve Bannon tried to distance himself from the Cambridge Analytica scandal on Thursday, claiming: “I didn’t even know anything about the Facebook mining.”

Bannon is a former vice-president and board member of the political consultancy, which he agreed he “put together.” He claimed to a conference in New York that neither he nor Cambridge Analytica had anything to do with “dirty tricks” in the use of information harvested from Facebook to make computer models to sway elections.

Related: Cambridge Analytica scandal: the biggest revelations so far

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Gordon Brown calls for police inquiry into Sunday Times story

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 20:21:11 GMT2018-03-22T20:21:11Z

Former PM says violations took place regarding story from 2000 about his purchase of a flat

Gordon Brown has called on the police to launch a criminal investigation after a private investigator employed by the Sunday Times for 15 years said he had gained access to his bank and mortgage accounts by deception.

The former prime minister claimed that “25 to 40 violations of the law” took place in pursuit of a story relating to his purchase of a flat that was published in early 2000 under the editorship of John Witherow, who now edits the Times.

Related: 'I was nothing more than a common thief': master of Fleet Street's dark arts reveals trade secrets

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Mexico journalist shot dead in Gulf state of Veracruz

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:49:19 GMT2018-03-22T18:49:19Z

  • Leobardo Vázquez, 48, killed in town of Gutiérrez Zamora
  • Vázquez ran news website in area known for drug cartel activity

A Mexican journalist has been shot dead in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, becoming the latest victim in a relentless string of attacks on the country’s press.

Leobardo Vázquez ran an online news outlet called Enlace Informative Regional and previously reported for other media in the region.

Related: 'We work under siege': the journalists who risk death for doing their jobs

Why did Mexico launch its war on drugs?

Related: Mario Vargas Llosa: murder of Mexican journalists is due to press freedom

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Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and democracy – Politics Weekly podcast

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:35:39 GMT2018-03-22T18:35:39Z

Anushka Asthana is joined by Carole Cadwalladr, Alex Hern, Steve Howell and Damian Collins MP to discuss the scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s use of data harvested from Facebook in Donald Trump’s election campaign. Plus: Heather Stewart in Brussels on the Brexit transition deal and the continuing response to Russia

It’s a complex story that the Guardian and Observer have been covering since 2015. A data analytics firm that worked on the winning election campaign of Donald Trump was involved in one of Facebook’s biggest ever data breaches.

Joining Anushka Asthana to discuss it all are the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr – who has been working on this story for the past three years; the Guardian’s tech reporter Alex Hern and Steve Howell, a former Labour adviser who was heavily involved in Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign in 2017.

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Stop using Facebook? It’s not quite that simple | Letters

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:17:43 GMT2018-03-22T18:17:43Z

Readers respond to recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and suggest ways our personal data might be better safeguarded

Patrick Cosgrove (Letters, 21 March) argues that the answer to the Facebook data scandal is simple – stop using Facebook. Alas, this completely misses the point. A few of us have never been a member of Facebook, but they still hold data about us, gathered from our friends and family who do have Facebook accounts. Worse, given that Facebook also buys data about people from third-party brokers, the profile they have on us is probably far more detailed and complete than we might like to think. The Facebook AI systems may know where we live, where we used to live, our work history, quite a bit about our movements, the people we know, where and how often we meet, how rich or poor we are, our interests, political outlook and so on. This is not trivial. The more they know, the more they can deduce and infer – and the more that information can be abused when it falls into the wrong hands.

It was said some years ago that the credit card companies had such good profiles of us that they could predict when a marriage was going to break up before the couple did. This may well have been apocryphal, but behavioural prediction has come a long way in the last few years. I have no doubt at all that this is now a prediction that can be made with a high degree of accuracy.

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It’s time we listened to people like Mark Boyle | Letters

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:16:37 GMT2018-03-22T18:16:37Z

If we are to reduce our consumption levels, says Linda Marriott, we must walk the walk, not just talk the talk

Bravo, Mark Boyle – your world sounds very beguiling to an oldie like me (I left a troubled world behind. Now let me tell you how to fix it, 20 March). However, I’ve lost count of the number of times in my life that I have heard this siren song, but no one with any influence ever seems to listen or even wake up. But, as Mark says, we can try small remedies ourselves should we be lucky enough to have a garden. It reminds me of an old Canadian friend who was convinced he could protect his family from the coming apocalypse by buying a farm, until he realised he’d have to have a gun – and use it – to stop those less fortunate from taking what he had. Or the 1970s German bumper sticker that translated as “everyone wants to go back to Eden but no one wants to go on foot”.
Linda Marriott
North Hykeham, Lincolnshire

• Join the debate – email

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What would be lost if I deleted Facebook? Gratification | Emma Brockes

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:11:02 GMT2018-03-22T16:11:02Z

It may be that a diet of distant relatives’ wedding photos and articles about child murders does not make me well informed

By way of an experiment, as I wound down on Facebook after my kids went to sleep, I tried to keep an eye on what I was actually doing. I clicked through to a piece on NPR (National Public Radio) about the “foster mother” of the Florida school shooter; I navigated to, and then away from, a photo story about bound feet in the Economist that exceeded my number of free articles for the month. I read several pieces about people who wanted to leave Facebook, and one comment thread under a post by a friend who said goodbye, he was actually leaving (“don’t go!” said 37 other people), and then gazed for several moments at a photo of a gorge, taken by someone I’d never met on her holiday. It was pretty and, wondering where it was, I clicked through to the comments but they only said things like “how lovely”.

Related: The Cambridge Analytica saga is a scandal of Facebook’s own making | John Harris

Related: No one can pretend Facebook is just harmless fun any more | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

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Free speech in Turkey dealt fresh blow with sale of independent media outlets

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:13:52 GMT2018-03-22T15:13:52Z

Businessman with ties to President Erdoğan in talks to buy Hürriyet-owner Doğan Media

The owner of the largest independent media outlets in Turkey that still permit criticism of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have announced it is in talks to sell them to a pro-government business conglomerate in what would amount to another blow to free speech in the country.

Doğan Holding, which owns the widely read Hürriyet newspaper, Doğan news agency and the CNN Turk television channel, said it had started talks with Demirören Holding to sell its media arm for an estimated $890m (£631m). A Demirören official confirmed to Reuters that the group intended to buy Doğan’s media division.

Related: An open letter to President Erdoğan from 38 Nobel laureates | JM Coetzee, Kazuo Ishiguro, Svetlana Alexievich and others

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Facebook must be restructured. The FTC should take these 9 steps now | Barry Lynn and Matt Stoller

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:28:20 GMT2018-03-22T14:28:20Z

If FTC commissioners truly are serious about making Facebook serve the interests of the American public, here is a set of actions they should take

Since news broke that a data analysis firm with ties to the Trump campaign harvested personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users, much of the speculation has focused on whether the Federal Trade Commission will fine the corporation for violating a 2011 deal to protect user privacy.

But the pressing nature of America’s Facebook problem, especially the way the corporation’s actions have endangered basic democratic institutions, means the FTC should go much further.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg apologises for Facebook's 'mistakes' over Cambridge Analytica

Related: The evil genius of Cambridge Analytica was to exploit those we trust most | Richard Wolffe

Related: The Cambridge Analytica saga is a scandal of Facebook’s own making | John Harris

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James Harding's Hugh Cudlipp lecture in full

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:22:20 GMT2018-03-22T13:22:20Z

Full text of speech by former director of BBC news

Thank you, it is a great pleasure to speak here tonight and it’s a privilege to honour Hugh Cudlipp, an editor whose memory still inspires style, purpose and values in journalism.

When I’m thinking about a speech like this, I always remember a moment at Party Conference nearly 10 years ago now. The then Prime Minister had finished speaking, I’d pulled together a few of the columnists and leader writers to discuss the line for the next day’s paper. The conversation was meandering. And, so I asked rather earnestly, what do we think the speech was about. What was it really about? There was an awkward pause, then a colleague turned and said he thought it was hour.

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Media boycotts Russian parliament in sexual harassment row

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:17:54 GMT2018-03-22T12:17:54Z

Companies withdraw staff after MP is cleared over alleged advances towards reporters

Around 20 Russian-language media outlets have withdrawn their journalists from covering Russia’s lower house of parliament or limited their coverage in protest at a sexual harassment scandal involving an MP.

RBC, TV Rain, RTVI and Echo of Moscow have withdrawn their journalists from the Duma in the past 24 hours after an ethics committee cleared Leonid Slutsky of any wrongdoing over a series of alleged unwanted sexual advances towards reporters.

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Reuters reporters clock up 100 days in Myanmar jail

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 10:42:17 GMT2018-03-22T10:42:17Z

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, jailed for reporting on anti-Rohingya violence, reach milestone

Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myannmar for reporting on the campaign of violence against the Rohingya have now been in prison for 100 days.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December while they were investigating how the Myanmar military looted and burned a Rohingya village, killed 10 men and then buried the bodies in a mass grave.

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The BBC is driving its presenters to despair | Richard Coles

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:00:27 GMT2018-03-22T06:00:27Z

Complaints about the BBC’s U-turn on tax aren’t the whines of rich luvvies. One colleague has had to work while being treated for cancer

A colleague at the BBC found a page on its website advertising what it is like to work for the corporation. It was illustrated with a still from W1A, the television mockumentary about BBC management; a mistake, perhaps, but it raised a wry laugh. I work in the part where W1A is filmed, so we are used to seeing props for the production around the office – “ideas seesaws”, ridiculous signage – if we notice them at all, because at the BBC satire is so close to reality we often conflate them. We used to laugh at a strategically placed corporate notice that sets outs the BBC’s aims. Last on the list is a commitment to make it an “even better place to work”, but recent revelations about what working for the BBC is really like have been anything but comic.

Related: BBC stars faced huge tax bills after 'having to set up companies'

Related: BBC presenter tried to kill herself over pay deal stress, MPs told

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Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:43:48 GMT2018-03-21T17:43:48Z

Cambridge Analytica’s ransacking of millions of Facebook users’ data has triggered a backlash against the social network – and highlighted how much personal information we share without thinking of the consequences

Facebook is on the ropes. A week of revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s use of data gleaned from the social network has left the world demanding answers. The company can’t seem to decide: is it outraged that it was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous actor, or relieved that this is just normal use of tools that it made widely available for almost five years? Should Mark Zuckerberg come out front and centre leading the response, or should he hide in a cupboard until it all blows over?

Faced with its first true crisis, the company is paralysed with fear. And that paralysis is, remarkably quickly, leading people to reassess their relationship with the site as a whole. The teens got there first, really. Facebook usage among younger people has been declining for years, in the face of competition from upstart rivals such as Snapchat, internal disruption from Facebook-owned Instagram, and a general sense that Facebook is full of old people and parents. But the backlash isn’t a generational thing any more. We’re all losing control of our data, both online and off, and we’re starting to kick back.

Related: The Guardian view on big tech: a new era needs new rules | Editorial

Facebook boasts to advertisers about how much it knows about its users – and how it can influence their minds

The modern notion of consent upon which the entire data edifice is built has the shakiest of foundations

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Ambridge Analytica: the spoof account that’s combine-harvesting data

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:41:59 GMT2018-03-21T17:41:59Z

The Twitter account is home to ‘big farmer’ jokes and Archers-inspired gags. Just don’t confuse it with Cambridge Analytica – or Oxford Analytica, for that matter

Name: Ambridge Analytica.

Age: Fifteen minutes of fame.

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China state media merger to create propaganda giant

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:40:33 GMT2018-03-21T17:40:33Z

TV and radio to come together in Voice of China network that aims to ‘improve public opinion’

China has confirmed plans to merge its state television and radio stations to create a new broadcaster that will be one of the largest propaganda platforms in the world.

Chinese state media reported the merger of China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International and China National Radio under a single network to be named Voice of China.

Related: Xi Jinping warns he is ready to 'fight bloody battles' against China's enemies

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The Generation Game returns to the BBC on Easter Sunday

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:29:55 GMT2018-03-21T17:29:55Z

Slapstick family favourite revived with just two episodes after bumpy ride

The Generation Game will return to the BBC this Easter, four years after the broadcaster first announced its revival.

It will be hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins in their first big BBC show together since The Great British Bake Off. It is the latest on the conveyor belt of revivals to hit the small screen.

Related: The Generation Game to return to BBC with Mel and Sue

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