New Twitter CEO Bans Account Tracking the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

@TrackerTrial, a prominant account that was giving reports on the Ghislaine Maxwell sex trafficking scandal preliminary was deleted by new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. The account, which was controlled by The Free Press Report, had amassed 525,000 followers in only fourteen days.

In a post on Substack, The Free Press Report shared a picture of the message they got, which blamed them for utilizing Twitter in a “manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter.”

This is extremely concerning, as it seems that the consequence of censorship is being handed out for little to nothing. Everyone can agree morally that groups such as Qanon or ISIS probably shouldn’t have a platform online, however the norm of social media CEO’s being able to take down any account they want creates a slippery slope. Any account that makes edgy content or is simply reporting on controversial issues run the risk of facing demonetization and or full out suspension.


Analyzing the Aesthetics of Right-Wing Extremist Media

Haley Mlotek, a writer for the Columbia Journalism Review, wrote an article recently discussing the appeal and the appearance of right-wing media to those who consume it. She suggests there are two main “aesthetic modes” of said media. First, is an exaggerated sense of seriousness, whether that be to do with the message itself, or simply the set design having contrasting colors and headlines that take up half the screen.

According to Irwin Chen, the lead designer at the New School’s Journalism and Design program, “Once you start saying This is the color we’re using, this is the typeface we’re using, it doesn’t matter if there is a lack of a style or a lack of design discipline,” Chen said. “It’s just that you’re being consistent.”

This consistency proves to be effective not only in extremist media, but in most forms of marketing. It’s easy for consumers to associate something arbitrary with the product you’re selling.

Mlotek’s second aesthetic mode is invisibility. She argues that places on the internet that allows people to be anonymous platforms like Facebook. These sites often are overly mundane, and have the potential to display misinformation right next to images of people’s vacations and pets, which suggest to consumers that the misinformation they are seeing is normal and justified.

Edible Arrangements Aims to Turn Their Brand Around

Edible Arrangements has done a major 180 in their branding and marketing, and have pivoted towards targeting a younger demographic. Historically, the company has primarily marketed towards older people having advertisement placements on TV. After having a tough year in 2019 with sales down double digits, they knew they had to make a pretty dramatic change.

Meryl Draper, the CEO of Brooklyn based ad agency called “Quirk Creative“, said “Brand is starting to become a part of the conversation again this year. It’s that shift back to, ‘We’ve got to do performance-driving tactics, like lower-funnel tactics. But we also have to now rebuild our brand equity and tell our brand story.’”

There is a clear digital shift going on among older businesses that have yet to acclimate to the new media landscape. In the case of Edible Arrangements, they began to focus primarily on e-commerce, whereas before they would have a lot of products at supermarkets or at brick and mortar locations. Visual story telling seems to be something they’re going after strongly as well, as they have started to produce tons more visual content on social media platforms.

Political Nihilism on the Rise Among Young People

In a new research poll by Pew, younger adults are far more likely to view there being less of a difference between the political parties, as opposed to their older counterparts. 77% of people 65 report believing that there is a major difference, while a mere 42% of people between 18-29 say the same.

This in large part is due to the failure of the media to report news that is accurate, and doesn’t come off as cheap propaganda or pandering. Only a third of the country (36%) have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in mass media, which is a real tragedy given how many resources large media corporations have. The media obviously isn’t the lone catalyst for political nihilism. Things such as politicians being bought and owned by big money, and their lack of dedication to the working class are a major factor. But it would be naive to think that the media doesn’t exacerbate this problem further.Why should people trust political institutions when the only things they hear about them are over filtered and watered down, often times with omitted information?

In general, young adults find trouble relating to a party – and are increasingly bound to recognize themselves as free thinkers. In any case, even among the young individuals who identify with a party, younger Democrats and Republicans alike think that their respective party represents them less then the older members of the party do.

Newsmax Hires Reporter Who Was Fired From Fox News for Sexual Assault

In an attempt to supposedly steer away from it’s traditionally bombastic right-wing content, Newsmax is in the process of replacing a number of reporters with less extreme viewpoints. Emerald Robinson is a reporter that was recently let go by the news company, as her positions didn’t even make sense to Newsmax itself. She was known for pushing pathetically refutable vaccine conspiracy theories, such as that the COVID vaccine contains “satanic markers”, and that vaccines contained “bioluminescent” tracking devices linked to the devil.

Newsmax’s efforts to hire more reasonable hosts hasn’t really gotten that far however, as the man who is set to replace Robinson is former Fox News correspondent James Rosen, who left the network in 2017 amid a number of sexual assault accusations. As far as his actual beliefs go, he’s more or less what you’d expect from any talking head on the news, in that you get the sense that he doesn’t really believe in anything concretely, and instead regurgitates the milquetoast opinions of the corporation at large.

Given that fact, it’s pretty questionable as to why Newsmax would want to hire this guy, as he’s not the greatest on-air personality, and has a history with baggage attached. It’s almost as if Newsmax is just trying to rile people up by making weird decisions that a more typical news corporation wouldn’t make

McDonald’s and Mariah Carey Team Up

It’s no secret that Mariah Carey’s smash hit “All I Want for Christmas is You” is one of the most popular songs of all time. Mariah Carey has seemingly been able to hack the system for over a decade, as every year around the holidays, the song shoots back onto the charts as if it had just come out. The song has earned her over $60 million in royalties, and from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30 in 2020, the song averaged a million daily streams.

Somehow, Mariah has found a way to extend the song’s longevity even further this year, by doing a “Famous Order” with McDonald’s. McDonald’s has become known in the past couple years for selling celebrities’ prefered meals at the restaurant, in an effort to raise brand awareness and bring in new customers.

McDonald’s is aware of the draw that Mariah Carey has though, because instead of simply doing one meal, they are instead releasing an entire menu, marking the first time they have done this for a single artist. The branding around it is pretty cheesy however, with Mariah making the bizarre claim that she’s had amazing memories with McDonald’s over the years.

“Just like so many of my fans, I have such amazing memories with McDonald’s over the years,” Carey said in a statement. “I always get a sense of nostalgia when I see the Golden Arches, so creating throwback merch with one of my favorite photos from the ’90s was really fun for me.”

Despite that though, the partnership holds value from a media studies perspective, as it is an example of mediums crossing over with each other creating another layer of hyperreality.

The Massive Rise of the Food Delivery Industry

Due the modern landscape of food delivery applications such as UberEats, GrubHub, and Doordash, ordering food to ones house has never been as easy for the consumer, and as profitable for the business owners. The pandemic caused the industry to spike massively, but the quality and convenience of the operating systems laid the groundwork for this kind of boost to be possible.

Because of the uptick in people ordering in from their phones, there have been new niche apps hitting the market that specialize in a specific type of food item. “Slice” for example is strictly for pizza, and independent pizza shops can sign up and begin to sell their food to people who seek out pizza the most. “HungryPanda” does a similar thing but with Chinese food.

This industry has built growing pressure on the traditional restaurants on these applications, as so called “dark kitchens” (restaurants who only sell food online), are able to cut overhead costs massively, and as a result get featured higher on the suggestion tab.

Restaurants that choose to continue to sell food both online and in person are going to have increase their delivery costs, according to people such as Chipotle’s chief financial officer, Jack Hartung. “It’s no surprise that delivery comes with an added cost. Our belief has been that’s a premium experience from a convenience standpoint. We want to make sure that channel covers the cost.”

Debate on How to Cover Trump Leading into the 2024 Election

Greg Sargent, a writer for the Washington Post recently published an article analyzing how mainstream media networks are planning on covering Donald Trump as the 2024 election looms closer. Trump is rumored to run for president again, and as of the date of writing it appears as if he is the favorite. Opposition to Trump running for a second term is high at 58%, but 64% believe Biden shouldn’t run again, which is extremely concerning for the Democratic party. Not to mention, Kamala Harris’ approval rating is worse than Biden’s 38% at an abysmal 28%.

As a heavy critic of mainstream media, it is admittedly somewhat refreshing to see at-least a portion of the on-air personalities self-critique themselves as to not repeat their mistakes in covering Trump in 2016 which gave him billions of dollars in free advertising and arguably helped him win. Jon Karl of NBC News said this about how the media should cover a Trump 2024 run:

“It’s an immense challenge because you’re covering — you’re covering essentially an anti-democratic candidate, you’re covering somebody running in a system that is trying to undermine that very system and somebody who is going to be perpetually lying.”

I agree with Karl in this sentiment, but I also think it is important not to overthink their strategy. If the goal is not to boost Trump up, the media needs to stop openly dogging on him constantly, because that emboldens his supporters and makes them feel like they are supporting an outsider candidate, which is an attractive idea. Instead, I think the solution lays in treating him like just another candidate. Prioritize airing stories that actually effect the American people: the infrastructure bill, the current state of COVID, etc., and only mention Trump when is it contextually relevant to do so.

Is Possessing a Hotmail Address a Turn Off to Potential Employers?

Discussion has recently risen about the impact having a Hotmail email address has when it comes applying for jobs. The idea is that employers are more likely to doubt your ability if you use one, due to the assumption that the outdated email address shows a lack of technological knowledge. It’s interesting to consider that the internet has existed for long enough that using outdated features of it can cause social stigma: much like wearing older fashion trends or using a phone that isn’t a smartphone.

There are varying opinions about this, but the majority of employers seem to believe that it doesn’t have the impact that some claim. Chris J. Collins, a professor of human resource management at Cornell University argues that it’s a bad practice from a statistics perspective.

“We know from 60 years of research on selection that that’s a bad use of data because the data that you’re using, the email address, tells you nothing about the candidate’s skills, experience or base of knowledge. You could have just deselected someone who was actually a great fit for the job based on an erroneous assumption.”, says Collins.

Erik Byrnjolfsson, the director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy has a different perspective. “Ignoring people who use older technology doesn’t strike me as a particularly effective way to screen people but if someone is truly overwhelmed with applications, perhaps even noisy and often inaccurate signals like that can reduce the information overload a bit.” Byrnjolfsoon concedes that basing an application purely on an email address is foolish, but he also says that because employers are swamped with tons of applications, one doesn’t have to stretch their imagination that hard to envision how showing a sign that you’re aren’t particularly tech savvy might rub an employer the wrong way.

Regardless if having a Hotmail email address effects employment, the concept of outdated internet tropes it is a thought provoking subject. While vintage physical technology and media have carried social stigma in some circles for years now, such as owning a Blackberry or CD player, the notion of outdated digital media is one that is a lot more new and going to continue to grow as time goes on.

Samsung’s Chip Factory near Austin, Texas Marks the Largest Foreign Investment in the State’s History

Due to the computer chip shortage sparked by COVID-19, Samsung has announced that it will be building a $17 billion facility outside Austin, Texas, aimed at supplying the country with the required amount of computer chips. Most United States companies are dependent on Taiwan for chip production, which poses a national security threat in the age of COVID according to Nina Turner, who is a research analyst for the International Data Corporation.

“It’s a concentration risk, a geopolitical risk” to be so reliant on Taiwan for much of the world’s chip production”, says Turner. The United States is hoping the factory will bring jobs to the country, and gain more leverage over economic rivals such as China.

Congress has said that they will subsidize the semiconductor industry, which marks an interesting change in policy when it comes to the the economy. Historically, the US government has been quick to support policies like the Trans-Pacific-Partnership, which outsourced millions of jobs overseas to countries like China, Taiwan, and the Philippines: the very countries the US is now intimidated by due to their increased level of influence and power.

The market share that the US holds in worldwide chip manufacturing has dropped from 37% in 1990 to 12% in 2021. It’s pretty frustrating that the government waits until the last possible minute to even attempt to solve important problems, but hopefully they’re able to provide more jobs to United States citizens moving forward through initiatives such as this one, especially ones that have to do an industry as profitable as media and technology.