Chelsea Handler to Focus on Political Activism After Netflix Cancels Her Talk Show
“Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show Chelsea has been canceled after just two seasons, a decision the late-night host said gives her an opportunity to be more politically active in future elections in the era of Trump.
In a tweet sent Wednesday evening, Handler confirmed the news that her show had been canceled. Citing her own political galvanization since Donald Trump’s election as a factor in the decision, Handler says she will become a more “engaged citizen,” partnering with Netflix on a forthcoming Documentary featuring her talking to “people of different ethnicities, religions and political philosophies.”
Shares of U.S. Media Companies Set for Worst Month Since 2015
|| Wall Street Journal
Traditional players struggle to adapt to shift toward streaming services
“By Michael Wursthorn / WSJ
Shares of cable providers and entertainment companies in the U.S. are suffering their worst stretch in nearly two years, as traditional players struggle to adapt to a shift toward streaming services.
Americans are ditching television subscriptions in favor of viewing movies and TV shows through online services. The move disrupts a delicate ecosystem of media companies sustaining themselves on subscription fees from pay-TV providers, and echoes Amazon.com Inc.’s upending of the brick-and-mortar retail landscape.
This development, along with disruptions related to major summer storms, has been pushing down stocks of major cable and broadcast companies.
In a sign of the diverging fortunes, Roku Inc., an early player in streaming television, priced its initial public offering late Wednesday. The IPO price valued the company at about $1.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal.
A group of 13 media companies in the S&P 500 have fallen 3.5% so far in September, on track for its steepest monthly decline since December 2015, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.4%.
Media shares got a bit of a reprieve Wednesday, rising 1% in their biggest gain since late July as the group joined an upswing in the broader market. Doug Mitchelson, a media analyst with UBS Group AG, attributed the gains to the Republican tax overhaul, which was unveiled Wednesday and proposed sharply reduced tax rates on businesses and many individuals.
“One of the top reasons for cord-cutting is affordability,” said Mr. Mitchelson. “A healthier consumer is a better spender for media companies.”
A selloff in the sector gathered pace on Sept. 7, when two industry giants gave updates that disappointed investors. Comcast Corp. said it expects to lose as many as 150,000 video subscribers in the third quarter.
“There’s a general level of concern around the major media companies having to do with cord-cutting and audience trends,” said Bryan Kraft, a media analyst with Deutsche Bank. “Those concerns aren’t new, but when there’s data to support they’re getting worse, you tend to see the stocks react accordingly.”
Even as the media sector over all holds on to gains for the year, up 3.9%, analysts say shares could slide further as companies cope with greater competition from rivals who are stepping up spending on content creation, such as Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc., as well as a challenging ratings environment.
National Football League games, usually considered a reliable draw for TV viewers and ad dollars, have been another headache for media companies. Ratings for this season’s NFL games have been mostly flat or down, compared with the year-earlier period, said analysts, who added that disruptions wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could be partly to blame.
NFL ratings could also be affected by players’ national anthem protests after President Donald Trump blasted players who participated. DirecTV is letting at least some customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite the protests as the reason.
“These extraordinary hurricanes have had a pretty severe impact on viewership, but it’s difficult to quantify” the impact from those storms alone, said Mr. Mitchelson. “Investors are nervous NFL ratings could end up down for the season.”
Besides that, new online “skinny bundles”—slimmed-down packages of channels from the likes of Hulu and YouTube TV—have left out many cable channels that are part of the traditional bundle. That will put pressure on some channel owners as more consumers sign up for those services, said Mr. Kraft, the media analyst at Deutsche Bank.
“Those services are seeing a lot of subscriber growth,” Mr. Kraft said, although he added the exact size of that population is hard to peg since some companies don’t release specific numbers.
Still, analysts pointed to Charter Communications Inc. as a bright spot among the media landscape. The company last year bought Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks, making it one of the largest cable operators in the U.S.
Rescued Woman Goes Off On CNN For Hurricane Harvey Coverage
|| Daily Caller
“A woman who was rescued from Hurricane Harvey after 36 hours went off on CNN for trying to interview her on camera while she was with her children.
The mother began the interview by explaining how long she had to wait to be rescued, but was becoming visibly upset and anxious by having to share her story to the CNN correspondent.
The CNN correspondent continued to ask questions and touch the mother’s arm as she and her daughter were crying.
“We walked through four feet of water to get food on the first day,” the mother said, clearly annoyed at this point. “Yeah, that’s a lot of shit.”
“But y’all sit here, y’all trying to interview people during their worst times — like that’s not the smartest thing to do. Like people are really breaking down and y’all sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the fuck is wrong with us,” she continued.
“And you really trying to understand with the microphone still in my face? With me shivering cold, with my kids wet, and you still putting the microphone in my face.”
CNN cut back to Jim Acosta, who awkwardly said they would go back to the correspondent later because of the “upset family.”
FBI Denies FOIA Request For Hillary Documents Due To “Lack Of Public Interest”
“It was just over a year ago that James Comey boldly consolidated the roles of investigator, lawyer, judge and jury when he announced that, although Hillary was “extremely careless” in her mishandling of classified State Department emails, no reasonable prosecutor would be willing to bring charges against her.
The decision sparked national outrage, particularly since it came just a few days after Bill Clinton happened to be spotted by a local reporter meeting privately with then Attorney General Loretta Lynch on a tarmac in Phoenix. Combine that with Comey’s admission under oath that Loretta Lynch clearly attempted to interfere in the FBI’s investigation and it all wreaked of just another Clinton coverup…said another way, just a bunch of Republicans trying to “criminalize things that are normal.”
Be that as it may, at least one attorney,Ty Clevenger of New York, has been working diligently to make sure that Hillary and various members of her staff face at least some consequences for their alleged crimes which range from perjury under oath to willful destruction of evidence protected by a Congressional subpoena, among many others. We noted the efforts of Clevenger to get Hillary disbarred in the state of Arkansas back in June in a post entitled “Hillary Not “Out Of The Woods”: Arkansas Bar Considers Disciplinary Action Over Email Scandal.”
Alas,it seems as though Clevenger’s pursuit of Hillary has been has been held up by the FBI for a rather curious reason, namely a “lack of public interest.”
Dear FBI, on behalf of Mr. Clevenger, please allow us to submit Exhibit A regarding the public’s interest in this and all future FOIA requests regarding Mrs. Clinton’s records…there are roughly 63mm people (and probably a couple of Democrats as well) who are very eager to learn anything you might have to disclose regarding Hillary’s alleged transgressions.”
Weekend Box Office: Moviegoing Slows to a Standstill Amid Historic August Slump
|| The Hollywood Reporter
“Hurricane Harvey is prompting theater closures in Texas, while Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight will be a big pay-per-view draw.
Mother Nature certainly isn’t helping the dramatic downturn at the August box office, where revenue for the weekend could hit its lowest level in more than 15 years, in addition to being down nearly 50 percent from the same frame last year.
Hurricane Harvey has prompted theater closures in Corpus Christi and other locales along the Texas Gulf Coast. Inland, numerous cinemas have also shuttered in Houston.
Even without the storm, none of the weekend’s new offerings were expected to earn more than $5 million, and that’s proving to be the case.
Animated family film Leap!, from Harvey Weinstein’s shop, is projected to do the best, earning an estimated $1.6 million Friday for a projected $4.8 million-$5 million debut from 2,575 theaters for a third-place finish behind holdovers The Hitman’s Bodyguard ($9 million) and Annabelle: Creation ($7.5 million), respectively. Hitman’s Bodyguard will join only a short list of films to ever win a weekend with less than $10 million, at least in modern times.
Birth of the Dragon, from Blumhouse’s microbudget genre label BH Tilt, looks to open in the $3 million range after grossing $1.1 million Friday from 1,618 theaters. The film, directed by George Nolfi, is a fictionalized account of when Bruce Lee challenged kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a fight in the mid-1960s in San Francisco. Birth of the Dragon stars Hong Kong-born actor and martial artist Philip Ng, Xia Yu, Billy Magnussen, Qu Jingjing, Jin Xing and Simon Yin. The pic earned a B CinemaScore.
Box-office experts say an even bigger threat to moviegoing than Hurricane Harvey is Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight, which is being carried on pay-per-view. It will also be beamed into roughly 500 theaters via Fathom and Mayweather Productions. (Another special offering this weekend is James Cameron’s 4K 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which AMC Entertainment is releasing in select locations).”
The 2017 summer box office is Hollywood’s worst since 2006
“It’s official, summer 2017 is on its way to being the first sub-$4 billion summer at the box office in a decade.
With about 10 days left in the summer movie season — defined as the first Friday in May through Labor Day weekend — the box office has garnered $3.6 billion. The summer box office is down 13.4% compared with last year and down 13.8% compared with 2015, according to data from Box Office Mojo.
ComScore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said he didn’t see a way the summer box office makes it to $4 billion.
There’s nothing for the box office to really feast on until the Oct. 8 release of “Blade Runner 2049.”
“The crazy thing is, there’s not even a single wide release scheduled for the Labor Day weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “To show you how dead the box office really is, ‘Wonder Woman’ is expanding and they’re rereleasing ‘Baby Driver.’ Two films from June are coming back to take advantage of the lull. If that’s not telling, then I don’t know what is.”
Of the new releases and films in theaters this weekend, analysts at Box Office said, “in an already slow box office market, things look to remain very quiet despite three new films opening.””
“An extensive study that professors and data scientists at Harvard and M.I.T. conducted has concluded that Breitbart News does not represent the “alt-right,” undercutting the legitimacy of left-wing activists, Democrats, reporters in the legacy media, Never Trumpers, and establishment Republican bobbing heads and mouthpieces who rushed after Charlottesville to reflexively smear, malign, and defame Breitbart News as an “alt-right” outlet associated with white supremacists and Nazis.
In a New York Times magazine cover story explaining how there is “no real precursor for Breitbart” of an outlet that has so quickly emerged to “dominate the political conversation in a pivotal election,” renowned essayist Wil S. Hylton spoke to Harvard law professor Yochai Benkler, who has studied the “rise and influence” of Breitbart News in addition to the news media ecosystem with colleagues at Harvard and M.I.T. with a “colossal database.” Their Media Cloud database has at least ten years worth of articles and websites that enables them to study how information and news travel.
According to Hylton, “the last thing Yochai Benkler noted before” Hylton “left his office at Harvard was that his team had performed a textual analysis of all the stories in their database, and they found a surprising result”:
“One thing that came out very clearly from our study is that Breitbart is not talking about these issues in the same way you would find on the extreme right,’’ he said. ‘‘They don’t use the same language you find on sites like VDARE and The Daily Stormer’’ — two sites connected to the white-nationalist alt-right movement. He paused for a moment, then added: ‘‘Breitbart is not the alt-right.’’ (emphasis added)
Benkler told the Times that his extensive scientific study of Breitbart News was the “the collaborative undertaking of more than a dozen interdisciplinary colleagues throughout Harvard and M.I.T.”
Legacy media reporters, Democrats, left-wing activists, Never Trumpers, and establishment Republicans have–revealing their laziness, ignorance, or malice–taken former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon’s “platform for the alt-right” comment during the 2016 election out of context and wielded it as a club to bash Breitbart News and its readers of all backgrounds. Nearly all those who have done so perhaps not-so-coincidentally have opposed Breitbart News’ America-first positions on issues like immigration and trade.
In his New York Times magazine essay, Hylton emphasizes that critics who reflexively criticize and malign Breitbart News have not even taken the time to figure out the context of Bannon’s remark.
“Take a quick survey of your friends and see how many visited Breitbart last week or can name two articles that appeared on the site in the past three months. Then ask the same people what they think of Breitbart’s influence on the election, and watch how loud the room becomes. It’s startling the way the word ‘Breitbart’ has become iconographic, referring not really to the website or the company but to an amorphous mass of revanchist opinions for which Breitbart receives credit or blame,” Hylton writes. “We’re all so certain that Breitbart is spewing a fountain of bigotry every day — denigrating women and riling up anti-Semitism, wailing about ‘black crime’ and ‘trannies’ — that few of us devote much time to observing it for ourselves. As a result, we haven’t done a great job of figuring out what exactly Breitbart is or what Steve Bannon meant when he described it as a ‘platform for the alt-right.’”
Even the left-wing Mother Jones article in which Bannon was quoted explicitly noted that “exactly who and what defines the alt-right is hotly debated in conservative circles.” The piece also emphasized that Bannon “describes its ideology as ‘nationalist.’”
In other words, Bannon’s “alt-right” comment indicates he apparently thought it consisted mainly of computer gamers and blue-collar voters who hated the GOP brand associated with George W. Bush’s brand of “conservatism” or “Bushism” that sought nation-building adventures abroad while allowing crony capitalism to fester in D.C.
And as he explained to the Wall Street Journal in 2016, Bannon explicitly rejected and disavowed “ethno-nationalism” and “white supremacism.”
“I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy. And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors,” he said. “I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”
Bannon’s definition of “nationalist” has been inclusive and shorthand for “America-first” economic nationalism. U.S.-born Americans and legal immigrants of all backgrounds can be “nationalists” whose interests are often sold out by card-carrying members in Bannon’s so-called “Party of Davos” who always put the interests of the global elite—who want to see no borders and view workers, especially blue-collar ones, as mere commodities—ahead of what is best for the United States of America.
Watson tried to inform the media that the so-called “alt-right” that helped Trump win the White House, as Breitbart News reported, can be “more accurately described as the New Right.”
“These people like to wear MAGA hats, create memes, and have fun,” Watson explained. “They include whites, blacks, Asians, latinos, gays and everyone else. These are the people who helped Trump win the election.”
The extensive Harvard/M.I.T. study of Breitbart News’ articles and the news ecosystem found that Breitbart News was indeed not “the alt-right” associated with Nazis and white supremacists who have attacked Breitbart News for having been conceived in Israel and its pro-Israel Jerusalem bureau.
Benkler, the Harvard professor, told the Times, that he inadvertently started to study Breitbart News because of the influence the outlet was having among voters who felt that establishment politicians and media outlets across the spectrum were out of touch with their concerns. And unlike legacy media outlets who do their best to conceal their left-wing activism under the false pretense of “objectivity,” Breitbart News resonated and gained credibility with so many Americans because Breitbart News has always been honest and transparent about where it has stood on issues like illegal immigration, radical Islamic terrorism, and policies that benefit American workers.
‘‘We didn’t set out to study Breitbart,’’ Benkler said. ‘‘Breitbart came from the data, not the other way around.’’
During the 2016 election, Benkler’s “team developed a method to determine the political association of any website’s audience,” with blue dots representing liberal readership and red dots representing conservative readership.
“Looking at the blue parts of the image, nothing was surprising: The largest circles were CNN and The New York Times, each shaded pale blue to indicate a center-left association. But the other side of the image showed just one big red circle: Breitbart,” Hylton writes in the Times magazine essay. “It was three times the size of Fox News and maybe a dozen times larger than any other news source on the right. If you wanted to know who was driving the Republican agenda in 2016, you didn’t need to look much farther than the massive crimson orb parked on Benkler’s screen.”
“Conflicts with mainstream media and politicians’, including Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe’s, characterization of events surrounding the white nationalist Unite the Right rally emerged quickly over the weekend.
“I have a message to all the white supremist [sic] and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today … You came here today to hurt people and you did hurt people,” McAuliffe told reporters at a press conference Saturday night.
The governor repeatedly emphasized the violence of “nazis” but made no reference to violence by any left-wing group, despite being asked repeatedly about what role such groups may have played in Saturday’s melee. The implication was clear that the violence was an unavoidable result of far-right white identity political groups being allowed to hold a rally.
But a report on police conduct during and after the rally by ProPublica, a left-leaning investigative journalism non-profit, as well as eyewitness accounts by those who participated in the rally itself, have called the simplicity of this characterization into question. Both suggest mismanagement of police resources by political leadership may have exacerbated, rather than controlled, the violence surrounding the rally and the counter-protests, which included mainstream liberals and local faith-based “anti-racism” groups as well as radical leftist “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) and “Anti-Fascist Action” (Antifa) outfits.
Saturday’s rally, ostensibly a demonstration against the potential removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s longstanding stature from the Charlottesville, Virginia, park that bore his name until renamed “Emancipation Park,” this year by the city council, turned into the biggest news event in the country Friday as torch-bearing members of disparate, explicitly white nationalist groups, including several “Alt-Right” organizations and a contingent of self-identified neo-Nazis, descended on the home of the University of Virginia. By Saturday afternoon, three people were dead, with several dozen serious injuries.
None of the deaths occurred at the Emancipation Park rally. One, that of 32-year old Virginia-native Heather Heyer, is being treated as an intentional homicide and resulted from one man, James Fields Jr., crashing into a counter protest march that took place in downtown Charlottesville after the Unite the Right rally had been dispersed by police. Fields, a 20-year old from Ohio, has been arrested and charged with murder. He is reported to have been in town for the rally and sources suggest he may have ties to one of the white nationalist groups in attendance, although the leadership of that group has claimed he was entirely unconnected to them. A federal investigation into the incident was also announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions Saturday.
The other two deaths were the result of a Virginia State Police helicopter suffering an accidental crash into a wooded area on the outskirts of Charlottesville. Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates were killed in the crash.
The subsequent declaration of a local state of emergency turned the streets of central Charlottesville into a nearly deserted ghost town with the college town’s bars and restaurants, typically bustling with partygoers and vacationers on a summer weekend, mostly shut.
According to ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson and his colleagues, “authorities took a largely laissez faire approach, allowing white supremacists and counter-protesters to physically battle.”
ProPublica is a George Soros-funded investigative journalism non-profit. A.C. Thompson is, according to his bio, a reporter “covering the rise in hate crimes in America.”