Hannah Beachler, production designer on Black Panther, has been urging people to stop using black-and-white imagery from the civil rights movement “so people stop thinking it was 1000 years ago”; she’s been posting examples of color photography from the time. Along the way she tweeted a link to this remarkable interview with Martin Luther King Jr. from 1967, eleven months before he was assassinated. Carve out half an hour to watch this; it really kicks into gear at almost exactly the halfway mark. It’s bracing, compelling, and not only a little depressing: so much of what he says still can be said today — and is.

Mine Furor’s jackbooted lawyers at the Justice Department are trying to quash the judicial order restraining them from targeting the press. Their argument?

Federal officials responding to the long-running protests in Portland are asking that a court order protecting journalists be lifted on the grounds that some of those engaged in violence are masquerading as members of the press.

(Still say the Federal courthouse represents “everything essential to our system of justice”, Billy J. Williams?)

I can’t speak to the violence part, but protester Brandon Pappe for sure was doing this, openly admitting to Sergio Olmos that it was to avoid getting targeted by police when protesting.

People like Pappe are cowards and assholes, who believe they have the right to protest and demonstrate without any risk to themselves, and have endangered the working press — even if Pappe since has stopped.

It goes without saying (well, no, it can’t go without saying) that the TRO should remain in place and in force, especially with the feds compiling “intelligence reports” on members of the press.

Don’t get your news from The Spectator, whose Kate Andrews thinks, “Today on Twitter, Trump began to hint at the one thing his critics fear most deeply: a refusal to leave office.” This is true except in the sense that it is false because of all the other, many times he has hinted about not leaving office. If you can’t even get the factual context right, why should I listen to any other part of your argument?

Adam Tinworth reacts (on his blog; I refuse to say blogletter) to Ian Silvera declaring (in his newsletter) that the new rise of newsletters is “not the new blogosphere” and focuses in on a couple of important differences.

This is the one critical idea that was central to early blogging that has not (yet) been widely embraced by newsletters: the sense that bloggers were a community and that the discussion was going on between them. Why did this matter? Well, for one it helped define the voice of blogging – more conversational, more discursive that traditional journalism. That seems less striking now, two decades on, because mainstream journalism has largely appropriated that tone of voice for good or (I’d argue) ill.

But the other thing it brought was discovery – the ability to find other blogs worth reading. This was an era before Twitter, Facebook or many of the tools of discovery we use now. Search — and Google in particular — did exist. And it was one way of finding new readers. But a link from another well-read blogger was the real win you hoped for.

I might agree that some mainstream journalism has adopted the conversational tone of blogging, but only in form not so much function. Mainstream reporters don’t spend a lot of time talking to each other in their reporting. Blogging helped remind people that journalism isn’t, in fact, written by some objective, dispassionate observer floating high above the events of the corporeal world, but by people with their own bodies of blood and bone like the rest of us.

Journalism still doesn’t typically include reporters talking to or interrogating each other, however, so there are limits to which “the voice of blogging” has been carried over.

I do wonder to what degree both community and discovery — and I mean this not only for the new newsletters but for both what remains of the old blogosphere and what there is of a new quasi-blogosphere — simply is undercut by social media’s absorption of (and degradation of) that aspect of blogging.

I’d also continue here my own disdain for the degree to which blogging was consumed by “content marketing”, which results in so much of it being preoccupied by brand building. It’s not at all, as Om Malik would have it, that “what matters is constant engagement with your community/audience”.

What matters is that you blog, whether the “audience” is there or not, because you can’t help but do that.

Maxine Bernstein’s bizarre puffery about what it’s like for Mine Furor’s paramilitary shock troops inside the Federal courthouse sets a new standard for literal puffery with this paragraph.

The federal officers needed to wait them out. One deputy marshal joked that most people until now didn’t have a clue who they are or what they do and that when he says he works for the Marshals Service, people sometimes look at him and ask, “marshmallow?”

For the record, Marshmallows are fans of Veronica Mars, not wannabe Interior Ministry troops for Trump’s improvisational fascism.

This evening a Federal judge restrained Federal police from interfering with the legal activities of journalists and legal observers in Portland, prohibiting (pdf) them from “arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force” against them.

[T]he point of journalists observing and documenting government action is to record whether the “closing” of public streets (e.g. , declaring a riot) is lawfully originated and carried out. Without journalists and legal observers, there is only the government’s side of the story to explain why a “riot” was declared and the public streets were “closed” and whether law enforcement acted properly in effectuating that order.

To those three things earlier add one more: now the Feds not only are objecting to the idea that journalists and legal observers be exempt from dispersal orders, they are lying about what this even means.

“Simply put, the federal government has the legal obligation and right to protect federal property and federal officers, and the public has a compelling interest in the protection of that property and personnel,‘’ Warden wrote. “The press is free to observe and report on the destruction of that property, but it is not entitled to special, after-hours access to that property in the face of lawful order to disperse.”

This is a straw man, of course, as almost none of the actions of Federal police have been on federal property, unless we are expanding the definition of federal property to include anywhere a federal officer happens to be.

MSNBC: fire Mika Brzezinski.

It’s extraordinary for media professionals who covered the 2016 campaign to now express wonderment at the predictably tragic consequences of Trump’s victory. But the denial remains firm. On Friday, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski went one step further. Not only did she insist Trump’s monstrous, psychopathic behavior was unknowable, she specifically called out Hillary Clinton for failing to warn us in 2016.


This is the definition of gaslighting — the purposeful erasing of history. In this case, it’s Brzezinski trying to erase the central role she played in that history. Insisting Clinton didn’t know about Trump’s dangerous ways or warn us four years ago is categorically false. (She called him “dangerously incoherent.”) The reason Brzezinski might have missed Clinton’s warnings was because she was relentlessly bashing Clinton during the campaign, while propping up Trump’s run.

Eder Campuzano for The Oregonian did a terrific job showing that Portland is not, in fact, under siege. There’s an interesting tidbit about the paper’s photojournalism.

Readers pointed out that every morning report on the previous night’s demonstrations was rife images of cops in riot gear and protesters fleeing amid clouds of smoke, burying photographs of the larger numbers of Portlanders peacefully chanting, marching through city streets or rallying in parks.

Rather than publishing those collections in chronological order, which prioritizes the last images photographers collect, often of police clearing protesters out of downtown Portland, the news organization now manually reorders them to give readers a look at the totality of events of any given day’s protests.

Note: you can bypass the paper’s request to login to read the story by just using Reader View.

Balaji Srinivasan, after apparently coming across this post, messaged me on Twitter to link this tome (when saved to Pocket and read on my Kobo, it is 77-pages long; for some reason it was published on Substack), but Jeremy Arnold lost me on what for me was page twenty.

That said, there’s apparently been a new employee push to oust her, this time also predicated on a culturally insensitive Pocahontas Halloween costume.

The “her” here of course is Steph Korey. Arnold loses me here because this costume isn’t “culturally insensitive”, it’s just plain racist appropriation.

It’s theoretically possible that Arnold’s novella is not just, “It’s about ethics in journalism!” but if you can’t even get racism right, I’m not going to read your next 57 pages.

Pankaj Mishra basically sort of rolls his eyes at the purported civilizational threat of “cancel culture”.

Could it be that increasingly diverse voices and rich conversations are a threat to their free speech — more accurately, the prerogative of famous and powerful people to speak at length on all sorts of things without interruption or disagreement? For instance, Rowling seems intent on tweeting her disapproval of transgender people. Certainly, a closer examination of the critics of cancel culture confirms the suspicion that many of these self-appointed defenders of free speech prefer monologue over dialogue.

It’s certainly an astonishing coincidence that the privileged seem so fretful just exactly at a historical moment when “conversations about almost everything, from political economy and international relations to literature and gender relations, have never been more vibrant”.

Mishra also offers a helpful cheat sheet on several of the signers of The Letter in case you’re wondering just what sorts of views they have for which they fear any accountability.