Spring is Here

In a "The Producers" sense though, unfortunately.

When I say “a terrible industry,” what’s the first one that you think of? For me it’s a tie between media and tech, which happen to be the two industries I have the most experience with. I’m sure that’s a coincidence, and not the inevitable state of every industry operating under unregulated robber-baron capitalism.

Yesterday in media, Jonah Peretti summoned the employees of BuzzFeed’s recent acquisition HuffPost to a virtual all-hands with the password “spring is here” and fired 47 of them, including 33 union members, Laura Wagner reported in Defector. The decision was made in order to “‘fast-track the path to profitability’ for HuffPost,” reported HuffPost’s Sara Boboltz on her own newsroom’s gutting. “HuffPost Canada will also shutter operations later this month,” she continued, and I guess “later today” is technically “later this month” because huffingtonpost.ca is already gone. If you find yourself unemployed in the media industry (aka: “freelance :)”), Bitch Media editor Rachel Charlene Lewis put together an outstanding pitch contact spreadsheet.

Jonah Peretti co-founded The Huffington Post in 2005, along with wealthophilic socialite Arianna Huffington, New York media financier and ex-AOL executive Ken Lerer, and fascist media trendsetter Andrew Breitbart. The site was sold to AOL for $315 million in 2011, and acquired back from AOL parent Verizon last year in exchange for “a stock deal” and “an undisclosed cash investment in BuzzFeed.” Peretti originally met Lerer and Huffington as an MIT Media Lab grad student, after he went viral for attempting to order custom Nike shoes with the word “sweatshop” printed on them, ostensibly as a commentary on Nike’s employment practices. The Huffington Post carried work from unpaid writers until 2018.

Also yesterday in the terrible media industry, New York Times tech reporter Taylor Lorenz was systematically harassed by Glenn Greenwald, Greenwald’s pet Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and various other thirsty right-wing pick-me’s for having the temerity to mention that for the past year she’s been systematically harassed by Silicon Valley plutocrats and their sycophants. Ed Zitron goes into a lot more depth about the backstory and the power relations at work here. Meanwhile Taylor continues to do some of the best reporting in the business, like today’s story on securitized clout.


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Today in Tech: A hacker group calling itself “APT 69420” (nice) breached dystopian panoptic face recognition surveillance company Verkada. Exposed client data includes footage from cameras inside companies like Tesla, Cloudflare, and identity management company Okta, along with “hospitals... police departments, prisons and schools,” reports Bloomberg’s William Turton. A now-suspended Twitter account claimed the group had “root shells inside the corporate networks of both CloudFlare and Okta.” So far the affected companies are denying any breach beyond the cameras themselves. Last week every organization running Microsoft Exchange Server was hacked. Today, a bad regular expression by Russia’s internet censor knocked out up to 24% of Russian internet traffic. Gizmodo’s Victoria Song: “Apple Study Affirms That Women Do in Fact Have Cramps During Their Periods.”

The New York Times has a photo-essay about the semi-abandoned towns of Fukushima, 10 years after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, which includes this strong contender for Most 2021 Sentence:

One upside is that the threat of lingering radiation feels less immediate than that of the coronavirus, said Mr. Kato…

The Irish Times’s Patrick Freyne has the best Harry & Meghan take, nominations are now closed. New Reddit: /r/ZoomCourt. The Covid baby names are coming, and they’re cottagecore. Satan’s College of Gay Communism Gift Shop. “Trader Buys $36 Million of Copper and Gets Painted Rocks Instead.” Why did they even ship the rocks? Matt Levine doesn’t know either. Beyond-mythic amulet discovered. Artnet columnist Kenny Schachter sold his grandmother on the blockchain.

Finally: Coming soon, COCAINE BEAR: the movie.

Today’s Song: The Raveonettes, “Hallucinations”

~ In this tab I call love, I get so lonesome ~

Sorry it was so grim today, that’s just what happens sometimes. The Irish Times link is very funny. Please hire these folks if you can.