Category Archives: News

2016: The Media’s Election

Think fast–where do you get your news?

Personally, I have news apps from Quartz, Tech Today, AJ English, NYTimes, BBC News, Mybridge, NBC News, and Buzzfeed News.

A list of reporters who attended an off-the-record dinner with the Clinton campaign includes key reporters from: ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, Daily Beast, GPG, Huffington Post, MORE, MSNBC, NBC, New Yorker, NYT, PEOPLE, POLITICO, VICE, and VOX.

Out of my particular news apps, NBC and NYTimes definitely attended this dinner, and Buzzfeed might or might not have. That’s three out of eight, and of the remaining, AJ English doesn’t cover the US presidential election much, while Tech Today and Mybridge don’t touch it practically at all. This leaves BBC News and Quartz. Now, the Quartz app pulls from a couple of different news sources, but even accounting for that, maybe 30-60% of my news sources covering the upcoming election attended this unofficial dinner.

A memo by the Clinton campaign lays out the dinner’s main objectives, and it sounds like an unofficial news conference. This is shady on a few levels. Firstly, the room where the information is disseminated is closed, and we the people hear it only second hand. Second, the tone of the memo is disturbing in its expectations that the reporters will meekly swallow what they given. Reporters poke, pry, and discomfit campaigns in their search for the unvarnished truth–this is how journalistic pride and journalistic integrity are created and preserved. But the campaign seems to glibly anticipate no such interrogation from the invited reporters. In fact, a quote from the memo reads as follows:

“We have [had] a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed…for this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie.”

This is not an endorsement of Trump. Just because we should all look a little more closely at Clinton does not mean that we should let up on Trump. Unfortunately, this is what the media has been doing this election: scrutinizing Trump and glossing over Hillary.

Trump’s misdeeds are glaring, numerous, and generally speak for themselves. Instead of writing editorials on exactly how bad Trump’s mistakes are–instead of outlining the exact extent of moral outrage that we should feel–perhaps we should devote a little more time to Clinton’s crimes, moral or otherwise.


Calvin Klein Catches Bieber Fever Five Years Late -L

Guys. Justin Bieber is the new face of Calvin Klein jeans and underwear, and it’s hilarious.

One commercial starts out with the timeless theme of past meets present, which is to say that Justin Bieber is #throwbackthursday-ing his baby drumming skills while reminding us of his transition into douchebaggery by yet again refusing to clothe his torso. What? You say that Calvin Klein male underwear models don’t wear shirts? Hush. When Justin Bieber doesn’t wear a shirt, it means he’s a douchebag.

The clip continues with rapid jump shots of two scenes: Bieber drumming and a female model named Lara Stone working her strut towards Justin Bieber. Once she gets there, normal sexy-times ensue for a few frantically jump-cut seconds until Bieber says, Screw this sharing schtick, it’s solo time! and kicks Stone out of the frame for long enough to stare soulfully into the camera and say, “My Calvins,” over his bicep. Stone makes a triumphant comeback for the last two seconds, however, doing her famous “rug” impression over Bieber’s shoulder.

SNL already did a ruthless parody where Bieber tries desperately to show that he’s “a big boy” now. But he’s got nothing to prove to us here at blockedletters. There’s really no more “prepubescent boy next door” image to milk after the whole peeing-in-a-bucket episode. What Bieber is really trying to do here is show the world that he’s more than a blotch of shame on Canada’s proud history. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee—Bieber will never cross this border again.

Speaking of being a big boy, Calvin Klein seems to think Bieber needs some help in that department: apparently they photoshopped some manly hair onto his nether regions, which is really weird in today’s world of waxing. And, well, apparently this is the norm for male underwear models, but since it’s Justin Bieber, it will be mocked–there was some serious cuppage down there. Not padding. Just cuppage. Like, maybe the first cousin of padding. Stuffage’s foster brother.

We can only assume that Justin Bieber has reached that point in his career burnout where he needs money and will do many things to stay relevant. Calvin Klein has apparently reached that point in their company’s future where they’re…going in a new direction?

No speculations can be made about Lara’s Stone’s motivations for working with Bieber, however. We just don’t know. Perhaps a corporate Calvin Klein big wig said, “Jump,” and she said, “Nope, so much nope,” and they said, “You’re almost fired,” and she said, “How high?” Or maybe she was broke enough not to care about the things that happen to Bieber’s lady associates. If she did her research before the shoot, she can’t be surprised now at the death threats erupting from staunch remaining Beliebers like Old Faithful. The most memorable, I think, was, “Go kill yourself with a cactus,” which says a lot about the creativity of the average Belieber.

I have offended possibly everyone possible. Think I’m good now. L out.

P.S. Here, at the end of all things, I’d like to make a note. This article started out a fun mockery. Then I got into the research bit, and it went downhill. You know who still covers Justin Bieber? TMZ and the ClevverNews Rumor Patrol. I watched them so you didn’t have to. And I wrote the word “cuppage” so you could think to yourself, “Well, I might be reading this article but at least I didn’t invent the word ‘cuppage.’ “

Rupert Murdoch and the Deathly Tweets -L

J.K. Rowling has come through yet again for her fans. Her rebuttal on Rupert Murdoch was fire; her composure and method were flawless; I drew a happy stick figure dancing in celebration of her general all-around coolness.

dancing guy

Now, what was Murdoch saying again? And wait, who the help is Rupert Murdoch?

I had no idea before this article brought him to my attention. Some quick and dirty Googling fixed that right up, however, so a) disclaimer: I might not know what I’m talking about, and b) I now know everything and am fully qualified to boil it down for you all.

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch was born in Australia in 1931, which makes him 83 for everyone who hates math. His father was a respected journalist and ran two Australian newspapers, News and Sunday Mail, which gave young Rupert a running start in the media game. At a young age, he took over these newspapers and systematically demolished all of his father’s respect with his transformation of News into a tabloid of the lowest order. Sex, sports, crime–yes, it was indeed the forerunner of the Sun in the UK, which Murdoch bought soon afterwards. Because humanity is a cesspit of despair and celebrity gossip, sales soared.

Now, we here at blockedletters certainly wouldn’t want you to think Murdoch is just a leech who survives on the gushing lifeblood of privacy as it lies stabbed and dying on the floor of the 21st century. Around the middle of the 1960s, Murdoch rehabilitated his journalistic image with the Australian, Australia’s first national newspaper. Even more impacted was his image as a zoologist; to ensure that all Australians received this paper, he personally trained an army of wallabies to deliver copies to those living in the more inaccessible parts of Down Under.


I’m sorry for that last sentence. It’s a lie, and I shouldn’t have said it. But I refuse to apologize for that wallaby.

Anyway, Murdoch’s many other newspapers follow the same story line: a lot of sensationalist rags like the San Antonio Express-News and some very respectable news sources such as the Sunday Times of London. But Murdoch’s newspapers are far from all he owns.

Has anyone ever heard of Fox News? I have, mostly in jokes about conservative news sources being blatantly biased, completely unreliable, and a stain on news broadcasting. Of course, this was liberal humor, but Fox News has experienced some serious shade action. Murdoch not only owns Fox News but also Harper Collins as well as parts of quite a lot of other media companies.

This is the bare bones of Murdoch’s media career. Fear not, there were events like the time he fought print unions in Wapping in London (it ended up with over 1,000 arrests, 400 police injuries, 365 days wasted, and a win for Murdoch. Well done, Rupert). And we can’t forget that time his paper News of the World hacked a missing girl’s voicemail for news. Hacking seems to be the NoW method of fact-finding, actually. Now, the last time Murdoch was attracting heat like this was a scant month and a half ago when he was tweeting

since when

followed by pearls like




But the reason he’s coming under fire now is because of this:


referencing Charlie Hebdo and the terrorist attack there.

Now, here’s why we should care.

Remember the Sydney hostage crisis? The general takeaway was that heart-warming #IllRideWithYou. Warm fuzzies were had by all, and the world went, wow, those forgiving Aussies.

But there was also this. (Lakemba is a suburb in Sydney that’s heavy on Muslims.)


And this.

Adam Mercer

The ADL is definitely a fringe group, and practically everyone was mad about that post, but there were others, guys. There were others.

Rupert Murdoch is the new ADL. He’s the face for that insidious whisper that sees a Muslim and thinks, right, ISIS is a thing that exists. He embodies the reason that Charlie Hebdo is, as well as an international tragedy, another nail in the collective Muslim PR coffin**. This guy, who was ranked 32nd in Forbes’ most powerful people. This guy, whose net worth is $13.9 billion.

But luckily for us, J.K. Rowling exists in an awesome way.


Of course, the news is jumping all-the-eff over Murdoch for being an idiot and exalting Rowling for being totally awesome because we’re not slavering dogs indiscriminately calling for all Muslim blood. Yet.

L out.

**I don’t mean to gloss over the deaths of the Charlie Hebdo employees. Everything about Charlie Hebdo is tragic. Everything, ok? It’s tragic that those Charlie Hebdo employees died, it’s tragic that historically free speech so often must be bought with blood, and it’s tragic that even more fear and prejudice is being directed at innocent Muslims.

Someone is definitely going to yell at me about this.

Why I am not Charlie

Sorry to compare this tragedy to a B-rate movie, but the bit about punishing censorship is giving me serious flashbacks to the “The Interview” buzz about how terrorists and/or Kim Jong-Un win if we don’t watch the movie. Of course, that buzz is plainly ridiculous, whereas I haven’t made up my mind about #JeSuisCharlie or #JeSuisPasCharlie yet.

L out.

a paper bird

imagesThere is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.  Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not…

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