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Media | The Guardian

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

Published: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 22:11:32 GMT2018-02-20T22:11:32Z

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

Murdoch promises to run Sky News for 10 years for Fox takeover deal

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:14:50 GMT2018-02-20T13:14:50Z

Tycoon makes offers to allay media monopoly fears and ease through 21st Century Fox deal

Rupert Murdoch has doubled the length of time he is willing to keep running Sky News to “at least” 10 years, as 21st Century Fox sweetens its offer to protect the news channel to gain clearance for the £11.7bn takeover of Sky.

The Competition and Markets Authority said last month that Murdoch’s bid raised media plurality concerns because the deal would give his family too much control over UK news media. The Murdoch family trust controls Fox and News Corp, publisher of the Sun and the Times.

As the Competition & Markets Authority provisionally blocked Rupert Murdoch’s bid for full control of Sky, it launched a consultation looking at three options for the future of Sky News.

Related: Sky bid faces another hurdle as activists win right to legal challenge

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Pre-bunking: can you be ‘brainwashed’ into spotting fake news?

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:51:19 GMT2018-02-20T12:51:19Z

Cambridge University is recruiting thousands of people to play a fake-news simulator, in the hope they will learn to identify the real thing

Name: Pre-bunking.

Age: A modern malaise/cure, still in its early infancy.

Related: Bad News: the game researchers hope will 'vaccinate' public against fake news

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Alan Partridge and Nigel Farage: they would 'get on like a house on fire'

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:30:39 GMT2018-02-20T12:30:39Z

Fictional Tory-voting broadcaster would have been tempted to vote Ukip, says his creator Steve Coogan

Alan Partridge and the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage would get on “like a house on fire”, the comedy character’s creator Steve Coogan has said.

The writer, actor and comedian is set to bring the fictional radio DJ back to the BBC in a new series, This Time With Alan Partridge, which began filming earlier this month. He said the fictional broadcaster has evolved since he first started playing him 25 years ago.

Related: Alan Partridge grabs a 'career lifeline' in new BBC series

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2DayFM executive was fired after rape allegation, station confirms

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:24:01 GMT2018-02-20T09:24:01Z

Radio producer goes public with allegation he was raped by a male executive in 2013

A radio producer has alleged in a social media post that he was raped by a male executive at the commercial radio station 2DayFM in 2013.

Video producer Blake Phillips wrote in a blog post on Tuesday that he reported the rape to 2DayFM management and the police at the time and the man was fired.

Related: Journalist Wendy Dent tells how Don Burke 'pressured' her to audition topless

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The fallout from Mary Beard's Oxfam tweet shines a light on genteel racism | Chitra Ramaswamy

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:13:39 GMT2018-02-19T17:13:39Z

Another ‘mouthy woman’ has called out the classicist’s comments on the Haiti scandal. But the respectful exchange that followed has been heartening

Mary Beard, the Cambridge professor who has to fend off a never-ending torrent of abuse because she is a) an intelligent woman b) an intelligent woman over 50 and c) an intelligent woman over 50 who relishes debate, is under attack again. This time, it goes beyond the usual disgusting misogynistic stuff. Beard is being accused of colonialism and racism.

On Twitter, she addressed the Oxfam Haiti scandal. “I do wonder how hard it must be to sustain ‘civilised’ values in a disaster zone,” she pondered, which some interpreted as Beard excusing the alleged sexual abuse of women and girls, and many took as an opportunity to abuse Beard. There was also that word, “civilised”, heavy with colonial connotations that Beard, being a classicist, ought to have harnessed with more care and self-awareness. (Encasing it in inverted commas didn’t quite cut it.) Anyway, the response has been horrific. Beard has since written a follow-up blog explaining her position and clarifying her use of “civilised”. She also tweeted an image of herself in tears, adding “I am really not the nasty colonialist you say I am”.

Related: The cult of Mary Beard

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May skewered by even Schofield's softballs on This Morning sofa | John Crace

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:21:57 GMT2018-02-19T16:21:57Z

The PM demonstrated to her late-morning student audience you don’t need a degree – or any chutzpah – to get to No 10

Theresa May was taking no chances. She had been told that no student got out of bed much before 11, so just to be on the safe side she delayed her arrival on the This Morning sofa until nearer 11.30, to maximise her audience. This was the day of her government’s higher education funding review and what better way to show she really did have students’ best interests at heart than keeping it real with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby?

Related: May insists she does not worry about being 'stabbed in the back'

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Ofcom investigating Miriam Margolyes' swearing on live ITV show

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:48:56 GMT2018-02-19T12:48:56Z

Actor forced Robert Peston to apologise for language she used on Sunday morning show

Ofcom is investigating the ITV show Peston On Sunday after the actor Miriam Margolyes swore live on air.

The Harry Potter star, 76, said “fuck” last month while telling an anecdote involving the Hollywood star Warren Beatty.

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Oxfam needs to act swiftly to manage this crisis | Neil McLeod

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 12:00:25 GMT2018-02-19T12:00:25Z

As Oxfam loses supporters and lurches from one disaster to another, all charities should check their crisis planning

It’s been a bad few weeks for the charitable sector. The revelations about the Presidents Club gala, which raised a reported £2m for charitable causes including Great Ormond Street Hospital, have been followed by Oxfam being accused of hushing up claims of sexual exploitation by its aid workers in Haiti, and sexual harassment in its shops. Save the Children has admitted firing 16 staff members over reports of sexual misconduct in the past year and Brendan Cox, the husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox has resigned from the two charities he set up in her memory after being publicly accused of sexual assault.

Related: Oxfam boss Mark Goldring: ‘Anything we say is being manipulated. We’ve been savaged'

Oxfam needs to work hard to regain the trust of its workers and remind them and the public of the tireless work they do

Related: Charity Leaders Live – when things go wrong

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Why don’t the Carillion bosses seem embarrassed?

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:21:02 GMT2018-02-19T11:21:02Z

My father warned me about scoundrels in business. Now bad behaviour can be called out online, but international shame still doesn’t stop rogues

As my father had been seriously ripped off three times during his life in business by people he trusted, he often warned me about the surprising number of rogues and scoundrels swanning around, ready to use any vile trick to relieve me of my money.

Just my father’s bad luck, I thought, until about a decade ago, when I came across one of these villains. He was a rather grand agent, who asked me to give an after-dinner talk at a serious conference on education. Flattering, but scary, because I had never done such a thing before – a long, serious speech. I asked how much I would be paid.

Related: Former Carillion directors branded 'delusional' at MPs' Q&A

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Why won’t TV rights company pouring millions into English football reveal its owners?

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:00:11 GMT2018-02-19T11:00:11Z

Pitch International, which has bought and sold on overseas rights from the FA and EFL, has an anonymous controlling shareholder

The Football Association unveiled its plans last month for a menu of multimillion-pound investment into grassroots facilities and projects, and wiping out the debt on Wembley, largely from the sale of greatly increased TV deals for FA Cup and England matches. Announcing the international sales last year, the FA’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, said the money would have “a transformational impact” on football across the country.

One of the major buyers in those international deals, reported to have paid £210m from next season to 2023-24 for the exclusive rights to broadcast in the Middle East, North Africa and western Europe, is an agency based in London, Pitch International. Pitch has also bought the English Football League’s international media rights, reported to be £120m over five seasons until 2021-22.

Related: Premier League has 14 of the 30 highest-earning clubs in the world

Related: Sky and BT are paying less but the Premier League bubble has not burst

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Juventus and All Blacks turn to TV shows to win fans

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 10:43:18 GMT2018-02-19T10:43:18Z

Netflix and Amazon sign up big sports teams for docu-series like Last Chance U aimed at broadening clubs’ global appeal

Sports clubs hoping to expand their fan base in an increasingly competitive international market are turning to Amazon Prime and Netflix to boost their fortunes by signing up for fly-on-the-wall documentaries.

Related: Brothers in Netflix's Last Chance U charged in connection with stabbing death

Related: Last Chance U's Brittany Wagner: meet the world's best soccer mom

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Women must have the right to bare their arms without comment | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 09:00:08 GMT2018-02-19T09:00:08Z

The remarks of Canada’s first female prime minister compound a society where women are valued above all on appearance

There is not a day that goes by where I don’t feel grateful for the fact that I am no longer embedded tit-deep in the feminist movement. Though I remain a feminist – my commitment to the cause is unaltered – it is a relief, not to mention immeasurably better for my mental health, to find myself no longer overly concerned with putting a step wrong somewhere and facing the wrath of, well, everyone. “Did you see the fallout from so-and-so’s column?” a friend who is very much still involved in the feminist media circus asked me the other day. “Nope, don’t care,” I replied. She looked at me with wonder in her eyes.

Women are so frequently pitted against each other that it feels somewhat disloyal to admit that some of the worst tearing downs to which we can be subject are often from other women – so much for sisterhood. One such example was the time my co-writer Holly Baxter and I were at a literary festival discussing the societal pressure placed upon women to adhere to certain beauty standards, when an older feminist very much of the radical variety stood up and yelled at us for having long hair and wearing dresses.

Just as in the 'asking for it if you’re in a short skirt' narrative, the focus has yet again been turned on women

Related: When feminists advance, why do prominent women hold us back? | Afua Hirsch

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Leslie Fairweather obituary

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:27:31 GMT2018-02-18T17:27:31Z

As a young man, my colleague Leslie Fairweather, who has died aged 89, contracted TB and spent four years in hospital. Thereafter, as if to make up for that, he lived life to the full. He became an architect and editor, and was an international authority on the design of prisons.

After designing the first extension to the Glyndebourne opera house in the late 1950s, Leslie joined the Architects’ Journal in 1962 to oversee the production of its design guide programme. He also co-edited the Metric Handbook, which was for years an indispensable handbook in every architect’s office and became the all-time bestseller for the Architectural Press.

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The Guardian view on Russian trolls: democracy is much too easy to hack | Editorial

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:13:43 GMT2018-02-18T17:13:43Z

Of course the Russians tried to influence the US presidential election. The shocking thing is that they found it so simple

Most of the coverage of the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has concentrated on who did it, and for whose benefit. But there is a sense in which this was not news. Anyone who has paid attention to the story, which has been hard to avoid, already believes that the Russians did what they could to get Donald Trump elected.

The detail of what was done has been less examined. The 37 pages of Robert Mueller’s indictment contain a meticulous account of the workings of a really professional propaganda or lobbying organisation. The “Internet Research Agency” in St Petersburg is more generally known as the Russian “troll factory”, but it spent its multimillion-dollar budget on much more than simple trolling. Women operatives were sent around the US to gather intelligence and to make contact with social and political activists. It was from American political activists that they received the advice to target “purple” swing states, something that was essential to the ultimate success of the campaign.

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Design evolves but the spirited discussion of news carries on | Open door

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 16:49:22 GMT2018-02-18T16:49:22Z

An exhibition spanning almost 200 years of the Guardian’s history shows that while the size has changed, the spirited discussion never will

For the past two summers, from windows in the Guardian office in London adjoining Regent’s Canal, I have watched a pair of swans raise two flotillas of cygnets. She broods, he patrols, and the young ones go from fluffy cuties to scruffy teenagers who stay in line far less during family outings on the dark water between the moored barges.

It’s a peace-inducing flash of nature in the relentless, hard-edged crush of this great city. And it’s a reminder of cycles and transitions. On display at present in the foyer of the Guardian is a small exhibition of many of this newspaper’s transitions. The show keeps the security guards company in a light-filled space beside the escalators.

Foreign politics will now be the subject of anxious observation

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Is there any hope for truth? I went to a conference to find out | Rhik Samadder

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 16:00:48 GMT2018-02-18T16:00:48Z

From bot factories weaponising misinformation to Twitter trolls polluting online debate, we are all living in a fake news world – unless, it turns out, you are a teen

Have we destroyed truth? How can we live in a fake news world? When will The Experts Strike Back? To find out, I blagged my way into an academic event, looking for answers. The Future of Knowledge was hosted by Knowledge Quarter, an assembly of organisations in the King’s Cross area that includes Soas, the British Library, the British Museum and the Institute of Physics – a bit like The Avengers.

On one of the panels was historian and film-maker David Olusoga, the smartest, most miserable man I have ever heard speak. “The historian Oswald Spengler said that optimism is cowardice,” he began. He went on to draw parallels between now and the 1920s, both being characterised by a flight from reason and the rise of propaganda. Our age is different, he said, because it is worse. He is right. Social media – anonymous, empowering and narcissistic – has polluted our debates. Bot factories in Russia have weaponised misinformation, Trump edges us closer to nuclear extinction with a tweet, yet after a hard weekend hitting the Häagen-Dazs I can’t post a picture of my nipples on Instagram? I have lost track of what I was saying. That is another thing: we all have shorter attention spans.

I do not want to convince a troll of my humanity: I am not trying to cross a bridge in a fable

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How can we regulate our savage market for instant news?

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:27:45 GMT2018-02-18T15:27:45Z

Without consensus on how to cover events such as the Florida massacre, publishers are stuck

Bullet holes in a computer screen, filmed by a cowering high school student sheltering in a classroom where a gunman was on the loose: just one of the images in the visual market created for those watching the news of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida. A map on the social messaging app Snapchat displayed pictures and videos located at the school as the shooting took place. Grabbed and recycled from mobile phone screens, they circulated through television channels, radio and websites almost instantaneously.

Much of what we know about the shooting, both in terms of how the events unfolded and what led up to them, was learned through social media channels. The perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old recent graduate of the school, had seemingly been flagging his disturbing interest in mass killing for some time through Instagram posts and even a comment on a YouTube video about becoming “a professional high school shooter”. Last week the FBI admitted it had failed to investigate a tipoff in January. With each iteration of gun crime in the US, there is an accompanying debate about the role played by social and traditional media in amplifying or controlling the narratives which seem to feed an escalating cycle of violence.

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I'm With Her: ‘We’re about camaraderie, not Hillary’

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:00:47 GMT2018-02-18T15:00:47Z

Women are expected to take a back seat in the arch-conservative world of bluegrass music. But Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz refused to be sidelined – even after Hillary Clinton ‘borrowed’ their band name

I’m With Her had been playing together for 18 months when Hillary Clinton unwittingly commandeered their band name. “It wasn’t the worst thing in the world,” says Aoife O’Donovan. “If that campaign slogan had been on the other side, we might have rethought the situation.”

Then again, a band called Make America Great Again would probably do well in the archly conservative bluegrass world that these women frequent. The Hillary connection, not so much. “I’m sure it’ll be a turn-off for some people,” says Sara Watkins, the other member of the trio alongside O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz. “But that’s not what the band is about – we’re not making a political statement. It’s a celebration of each other. It’s camaraderie.”

Related: Sara Watkins: 'I wanted to leave my comfort zone'

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Will Young: ‘Our podcast is a queer Woman's Hour’

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 10:00:41 GMT2018-02-18T10:00:41Z

Homo Sapiens is a frank and funny podcast hosted by Will Young and film director Chris Sweeney. Mark Smith joins them on tour in the north of England

Will Young hasn’t been to a sexual health clinic before so our hosts at Manchester’s LGBT Foundation, a community charity near the city’s gay village, are keen to impress upon him that sandwiches and cakes do not come as standard for its service users. “They’re posh ones from the deli – not the Greggs stuff we usually lay on for visitors,” remarks Peter Brampton, a sparky sexual health project leader.

Young and his film director friend Chris Sweeney are here as part of their tour of the north of England for the second season of their rose-tinted yet highly successful podcast Homo Sapiens. The first series heard the pair chatting to LGBTQ+ luminaries, such as the trans actor Rebecca Root, actor Bisi Alimi (who caused fury in his native Nigeria by coming out on television) and human rights activist Peter Tatchell. A visit to his tiny London flat was poignant, with Young somehow managing to convey the depths of Tatchell’s personal sacrifice with fretful asides about the dusty clutter.

The most important thing we learned is just to let people talk

During the early stages of his pop career, Young was told to steer interviews away from 'the gay thing'

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Sky netted a sweet Premier League deal but the TV rights bubble isn’t over

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 07:00:37 GMT2018-02-18T07:00:37Z

The value of TV packages may have plateaued in the UK but footie bosses aren’t worried, with the game’s appeal growing globally and the likes of Amazon on the sidelines

On the face of it, the outcome of the latest battle for Premier League TV rights appears to be business as usual. Sky has taken the lion’s share of the best matches, extending its stranglehold on the biggest prize in British sports broadcasting to at least three decades, with BT slotting into second place.

But with Amazon in the running for at least one of the two remaining rights packages, Rupert Murdoch poised to take full control of Sky and then sell it to Disney, and BT calling time on its big spending on sports rights, it is a seminal moment.

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