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David Carr On 2013 In Media

Press freedom, Edward Snowden, and the Pope as Person of the Year. We’ll look back at a year in media with New York Times columnist David Carr.

The biggest media stories in 2013 included Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post, NSA leaker Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations and the rise of viral positive media sites like Upworthy. (AP)

The biggest media stories in 2013 included Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos buying The Washington Post, NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s surveillance revelations and the rise of viral positive media sites like Upworthy. (AP)

It’s the information age, and a big year for media – news media.  Silicon Valley moving into the biz.  Amazon’s Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post.  Twitter and Facebook and Buzzfeed becoming a generation’s grazing ground for news.  New York Times media and culture critic David Carr has as big and knowing an eye on the realm as anyone out there.  He’s watching Time magazine name the pope “Person of the Year.”  NSA leaker Edward Snowden break spying revelations.  “60 Minutes” apologize.  China squeeze reporters.  This hour On Point:  The year in media, with hot thinker, observer, David Carr.

 – Tom Ashbrook


David Carr, media and culture critic for the New York Times, where he writes the Media Equation column. (@carr2n)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Where Freedom of the Press Is Muffled –”As Mr. Biden — and Thomas Jefferson before him — pointed out, a free press is essential to a functioning democracy. Whether it’s Beijing or Britain, it might be a good time for governments to stop trying to prevent the news media from doing its job and address what that work has revealed.”

The Atlantic: I Thought I Knew How Big Upworthy Was on Facebook: Then I Saw This – “The most impressive thing about Upworthy is that it publishes just 225 articles a month, according to this data. That’s one for every 508 articles on Yahoo! The site is so much more dominant than other news sites on Facebook that when you graph its Facebook-shares-per-article, it looks like a skyscraper dropped into a desert. Upworthy averages about 75,000 Facebook likes per article, 12x more than BuzzFeed.”

The New Yorker: The President And the Press — “It has been apparent for several years that the Obama Administration has departed from the First Amendment norms established during the seven Presidencies since Branzburg. Holder has overseen six prosecutions of government officials for aiding the press, more than were brought by all previous Administrations combined. Even after the A.P. controversy erupted, Obama said that he would make ‘no apologies’ for zealous press-leak investigations, since unauthorized disclosures of secrets jeopardized the lives of the soldiers and the spies he sent in danger’s way.”

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  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Speaking of media. If I am not mistaken, I believe that I recognize the deaf interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service who is now being given a great deal of press coverage as having had a key role in the design and implementation of Obamacare.

    • brettearle

      It is truly uplifting–or, shall we say, even inspirational?– isn’t it, when yet another jaded Right Winger uses a tragedy–such as the Death of a great leader–to exploit the weaknesses of his political enemies?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        Lighten up, Chief. As I have said in several past posts, I had a great deal of respect and admiration for Nelson Mandela. You can bet that if the debacle concerning the interpreter had happened at a conservative’s memorial service, Lefties would have been falling over themselves to make a joke out of it.

        I believe that you should be more concerned about the utter incompetence of the South African government or whoever was in charge of hiring this guy to allow a fraud to get so close to numerous world leaders including the POTUS. I personally find it very disconcerting and frightening that a mistake of this magnitude could occur at such a public event (especially in light of the recent 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination). I also think that a very close parallel exists between the incompetence in vetting this guy with the total lack of building and/or testing key portions of Obamacare before foisting that upon the American public.

        • brettearle

          Your intellect does not obscure the inappropriateness of the comment.

          What’s more, it doesn’t matter whether Lefties might do the same thing.

          They might.

          But what matters is what YOU said on this Forum.

          All of your respect for Mandela does not fully compensate for the inappropriateness of your comment.

          What would go a longer way in remediation would be for you to accept responsibility for your obnoxious comment.

          But guys like you NEVER do.

          That’s why the Right Wing is so often morally corrupt.


          Because I have yet to see or read or hear any of you take responsibility for your comments or actions or attitudes of anything.

          As far as all of you are concerned, you are always–BUT ALWAYS–self-righteously right.

          You want to point out what you think are our shortcomings, I’ll be one of the first to acknowledge them.

          But if we’re doing it as self-defense; or we’re doing it to point out one of your own stench-like comments, then I would not need to go anywhere close to a retraction.

          Your strong prose or the depth of your ideas do NOT obscure what YOU said.

          Or will you lose your courage by eliminating the comment?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Speaking of media, I and many others would give the superficial mainstream media an “F-” for its lack of coverage of the innumerable pitfalls, shortcomings, problems, warnings about millions of Americans having their coverage dropped, etc. with the Affordable Healthcare Act while it was being debated in Congress and prior to it being passed. They were too busy covering “news light” stories instead of digging into a potential new law that will affect 1/6 of our economy. Even now, I’m not sure that they “get it” with regard to the problems with the website that are only the tip of the iceberg. They have not criticized this administration for lying to the American public or for unilaterally discarding portions of the law (employer mandate) that they dislike because of the adverse impact that it will have/would have had on the next election and the last election respectively. Fox News has been covering it, but of course the liberal media dismisses Fox as biased. They were the only network that seriously dug into the details of the law which “we had to pass so that we could then find out what was in it”. Shame on NPR, major networks, and left wing radical publications such as The Nation that are still closing their eyes to the systemic problems with the law because it furthers their left wing socialist agenda.

    • Shag_Wevera

      C’mon. F-?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        If Obama had not unilaterally (and illegally?) postponed the employer mandate with the result that tens of millions instead of just millions of people were having their health care insurance dropped, yes an F-. Actually, if I cheated and lied on a test, I would have been given an F-. So an F- is appropriate from a multitude of perspectives.

    • nj_v2


      Mainstream corporate media are “liberal.”

      The Nation is a “left wing radical publication.”

      Nice to have some comic relief in the morning.

  • Ed75

    In April the pope will canonize the two previous popes who have been names ‘Man of the Year’ by Time- John XXIII and John Paul II. Wonderful.

    • Shag_Wevera

      Fraqncis blows the deuce away.

      • Ed75

        What does that mean?

  • Ed75

    But the way the media covers what the pope says is not so great: he was asked about a priest who had years ago been involved in a same sex relationship, but had repented, and was living celibately, and he responded ‘If he has repented and is seeking the will of God, who am I to judge?’ And we saw how the media misread what he said. Same thing with the apostolic exhortation ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ in which he talks about capitalism: the media hasn’t read it.

  • J__o__h__n

    One minor change to the media this year – anyone else not like the new NPR voice? She sounds like an android of Pam from the Office.

  • creaker

    Concept of “free press” is nice – but in reality these are just more businesses whose focus is entirely about turning a profit. If that is accomplished by regurgitating low cost fluff instead of expensive investigative reporting, that’s what we’re going to get.

  • J__o__h__n

    That’s ironic that the Pope has magazine sales capitalism to thank for Time’s choice of him over Snowden.

  • manganbr

    Bring back the “sweet spot”on nytimes!

  • TFRX

    I don’t want to hear word one about any Beltway sorts complaining “We can’t take our own photos at some WH event” without someone on this show reminding us how obsequeous the press corps were a decade ago.

  • TFRX

    Tom, I could hold my breath for the entirety of that “big apology” from 60 Minutes.

    It was a crap story from the get go, and the “big apology” was way too little, too late.

    • Buster1

      you got gamed, CBS 60 mins right wing imprimatur vetted the book the guy got paid a big advance to lie. the whole scam was to discredit the Benghazi story so Hillary can put it behind her they own the press that printed Hillarys books and Obamas books and Bill Clintons books these are the people who hand out political donations in the form of a book advance. Perfectly legal, if you are a Hillary supporter and own the propaganda machine left and right what would be the best way to make the Benghazi story go away?????????? If you play chess when do you sacrifice a knight.. when she wants to get pregnant and retire anyway?

  • J__o__h__n

    I miss Talk of the Nation (esp Political Junkie).

  • TFRX

    “Perfectly plumb vertical” is a term which really doesn’t point the way to better reporting.


    The quest for innocence in political journalism means the dsire to be manifestly agenda-less and thus “prove” in the way you describe things that journalism is not an ideological trade. But this can get in the way of describing things.

    When you know what you’re talking about, you don’t need to advertise your own innocence.

    When it’s Dan Froomkin, James Fallows and Rosen on one side, but the WaPo, Time magazine and Cokie Roberts on the other…

  • angela

    Mr. Carr said we certainly ought not to continue to get our information from a bunch of ‘crusty old white men’, but that ‘at least’ when we did we had a fund of ‘shared truth’. Shared what??..shared truth?? We shared something but it certainly wasn’t the truth – that’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

  • marygrav


    • JGC

      What is the frequency kenneth?

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

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