Las Vegas: AR-15
Aurora, CO: AR-15
Sandy Hook: AR-15
Waffle House: AR-15
San Bernardino: AR-15
Poway synagogue: AR-15
Sutherland Springs: AR-15
Tree of Life Synagogue: AR-15
Emmett’s mom opened his casket and started the Civil Right’s movement.
Show the carnage.
Trying to reinstate the ‘94 ban after Sandy Hook attracted 12 fewer votes in the Senate than Feinstein had mustered to renew it in 2004.
See the photo Emmett Till’s mother wanted you to see — the one that inspired a generation to join the civil rights movement
By Jerry Mitchell Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting
Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, wanted the world to see “what they did to my baby.”
His body looked monstrous, as if the 14-year-old had absorbed every blow of hate delivered by his killers — a photograph that ran in Jet magazine and many other African-American publications, but never appeared in the nation’s mainstream publications.
As a result, many Americans have never seen the photograph.
It is time the world did, his family members say.
In his book, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, Juan Williams concluded that decision by Till’s mother “without question … moved black America in a way the Supreme Court ruling on school desegregation could not match.”
“It is insane that we let an 18-year old go in and buy an AR-15. What did we think he was going to do with it?!” A furious Beto O’Rourke railing on TX gun laws after interrupting The Texas Governor’s presser.
[Reporting from Garrett Haake.]
Speaking to reporters after publicly confronting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today, a furious Beto O’Rourke rattled off four “solutions” to the mass shooting epidemic that he said have “broad bipartisan support right now”:
- Banning the sale of AR-15s
- Universal background checks
- Red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders
- Safe storage laws
‘When you vote ask yourself, who running for office has publicly stated that they’re willing to do anything & everything to protect your children from the criminally insane # of guns in the U.S.?’ -Stephen Colbert
“Deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the US and President Biden over this tragedy. The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.”
New York Times front page for Thursday, May 26th.
“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” — Isaiah 1:15
The front page of Thursday’s Uvalde Leader-News.
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen with Krista Tippett from 2005 and posted again in context of the latest mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
This is the story of the birthday of the world. In the beginning, there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. Then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident. [laughs] And the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. And the wholeness in the world, the light of the world, was scattered into a thousand thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.
Now, according to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people; to lift it up and make it visible once again and, thereby, to restore the innate wholeness of the world. This is a very important story for our times — that we heal the world one heart at a time. This task is called “tikkun olam” in Hebrew, “restoring the world.”
Ms. Tippett:Is there a connection between the story of the sparks and tikkun olam in Jewish tradition? Are they bound together?
Dr. Remen:They’re exactly the same.
Ms. Tippett:I did not know that those two come together.
Dr. Remen:Tikkun olam is the restoration of the world. And this is, of course, a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world.
And that story opens a sense of possibility. It’s not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It’s about healing the world that touches you, that’s around you.
Dr. Remen:Well, I don’t want to talk politics here. I’m not a person who is a political person in the usual sense of that word. But I think that we all feel that we’re not enough to make a difference; that we need to be more, somehow, either wealthier or more educated or, somehow or other, different than the people we are. And according to this story, we are exactly what’s needed. And to just wonder about that a little, what if we were exactly what’s needed? What then? How would I live if I was exactly what’s needed to heal the world? I think these kinds of questions are very important questions.
Rachel Naomi Remen is founder of the Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI), clinical professor of family medicine at UCSF School of Medicine, and professor of family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. Her books Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings have been translated into 24 languages.
From Activist and author Courtney Martin.
We belong to one another
and we can do so much better
I dropped my kids off at school today for their last days of kindergarten and 2nd grade. In a couple of hours, I will go back for a little kindergarten promotion ceremony and party for our Stella. She wore a hand-me-down dress with a suit vest over it—her own transcendent definition of “looking fancy.”
Maya is beyond excited because we are having a playdate this afternoon with her two best friends—Layla and Misgana. They have dubbed themselves the MALS and written an original song, choreographed an original dance, and of course, created the requisite secret handshake. This is a layered expression of their devotion for one another, a sentiment I remember so well from being that age and falling madly in love with my friends and the feeling of belonging to a few people.
The 21 people who were murdered yesterday by someone carrying an AK-47 belonged to so many people. The 10 people murdered last Saturday belonged to so many people.
As I oscillate in and out of being able to think and feel this morning, I keep reminding myself: the 19 children murdered yesterday are no less real than my two girls. Their caregivers are no less real than me. Their teachers—two now dead—are no less real than Ms. Galvin and Ms. Price and all the other teachers I have come to respect so much.
If I sit with that—our equal and shared realness—I feel like a Redwood, burned out from the inside, like I’m here, but there is nothing left inside of me that can be solid in the face of that level of real loss. I imagine what it would be like if I were the mother of one of the murdered children. I can only imagine I would be in a coma—spontaneously or by some kind of medical intervention. I know people survive profound loss, and yet, I am incapable of imagining myself opening my eyes ever again if one of my daughter’s was murdered, much less my heart or my mouth.
And then I think of the parents of the Sandy Hook victims—how they did, somehow, manage to open their hearts and mouths again. And how this day must feel to them.
I think of the teachers—the trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma they have been shouldering. The absence and outburst and tears they have been meeting with resilience and unconditional love and an eternal commitment to learning.
I think of the first responders who had to walk into that school and witness those little bodies, into that supermarket and witness those innocent victims. What will they do with those images burned into their minds?
I’ve been trying to do my work this morning, which I can justify has some linkage with building a better world, a better country, but part of me just feels like we should all be lying in the streets right now, refusing to move one more muscle, toast one more waffle, tweet one more tweet, until our kids can expect to live through a day at school and our aunties and uncles to pick up groceries without fearing for their lives.
Some people in this country, as I understand it, are preparing for a kind of war. A race war. Maybe a war for their own sense of superiority in a country with a changing demographic, their sense of control in a season of so little of it, their sense of invincibility when we are all objectively so vulnerable.
I am preparing for a long-awaited after school play date between three girls whose families come from different countries, speak different languages, and yet their love for one another is evident in hand slaps and coordinated spins. I am preparing to hear 25 five-year-olds sing this song, which may, in fact, prove too tender on a day where I am so excruciatingly tender already.
Which is to say, I am preparing for love and care and a fierce resistance to anybody who tries to normalize this level of loss. Death comes for all of us. We have a lot of work to do in acknowledging that vulnerability.
But death by AK-47 need not come for any of us. We have a moral mandate, long neglected, to make that truth undeniable. If it takes donation, walk-out, laying down in the street to make that clear, whatever it takes, I’m there, beside you, tender as hell.
Take care of yourself today. Gather with others. Rely on your rituals or make them up. We belong to each other.
And a beautiful letter to our collective compassion from faith healer, author, and documentarian Valerie Kaur.
Oh my loves.
What does it feel like in your body? For me – like a primal scream that won’t stop. When the death toll in Uvalde climbed to 19 children, I knew I had to wash the tears from my face and go downstairs and hug my babies and get them to bed. I wondered: Is the heart big enough to hold this? All this grief. All this rage. All the joy in their faces. My ancestors said: Oh my love, Yes. That is the heart we gave you.
That is the heart they gave us.
If you can’t function, it’s OK. If you can’t feel, it’s OK. If you can’t find your breath, it’s OK. Your breathlessness is not a sign of your weakness; it’s a sign of your bravery. It means that you are awake to what is happening right now: that the violence in our country is getting worse, the hate violence and the gun violence. And that the only way we will survive this – the only way we will change this – is together.
So let’s begin with a breath —
Let it come.
Hold for four counts.
Let it go.
Here’s why I believe we can change this:
Ten years ago, I worked on the ground in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in response to the horrific white supremacist shooting at a Sikh gurdwara. It was the largest massacre of Sikhs on this soil. I remember looking into the open caskets of people who looked like my family, and feeling like I was going to fall into the abyss. Then the doors of the gym opened, and people started to flood in for the memorial. Thousands of people. They didn’t even know us, but they showed up to grieve with us. You don’t have to know people in order to grieve with them; you grieve with them in order to know them. And because they grieved with us, many stayed to organize with us. And together, we changed federal hate crimes policy within the year.
After months in Oak Creek, my husband and I boarded a plane home to Connecticut. I was relieved to go home and ready for rest. But as soon as the plane touched the ground, my phone blew up with the news: A shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We didn’t go home. We went straight to a church in Newtown to grieve with people we did not know. I had left the site of one mass shooting only to go home to another.
In one massacre, the gunman hated us. In the next, the gunman hated himself. Both men had cut himself themselves off from humanity, others and their own.
This week – the same pattern. The news of Uvalde broke an hour before I was about to speak at an event about solidarity in the wake of Buffalo. Once again, we were all hurled from the site of one mass shooting to another. The gunmen in these shootings weren’t even born when many of us began this work. What do we do with when the violence is generational – and firearms are making killing more efficient?
#1 We need gun safety legislation absolutely. The majority of Americans want background checks. A handful of Senators are holding the nation hostage. But we are not helpless. Other countries have taken dramatic steps to save lives after mass shootings. So can we. Scroll down for immediate actions.
#2 We need to build beloved community where we are. We need a shift in culture and consciousness, block by block, heart to heart. I believe we can make every school, every house, every workplace, every community a place where we where we leave no one outside our circle of care, where we help one another be brave and whole. We can become the medicine that stops violence at its root. We can do this by putting love into practice.
What is your role right now?
GRIEVE: What is the shape of grief in your body? If you feel the primal scream in you, this is the time to make space for healing. Let yourself touch the sorrow, rest and breathe. Don’t isolate. Show up to a healing circle at your school with parents and teachers. Organize one if needed. Go to vigils. Be with people who make you feel safe. Let in softness and love into the places that ache. Make space to just to stop — and feel this together.
RAGE: What is the force of rage in your body? Notice where you are constricted, tense, or numb. Now move that energy – curse, scream, shake, dance, run. Don’t choke down your rage. Or let it fester. Be with people who can honor this rage and process it in safe containers. Your rage carries information – what is it telling you? You have something to fight for. You have a role to play, and no role is too small.
FIGHT: What courageous step are you ready to take? Do not swallow the lie that nothing can be done. You have a sphere of influence. Every choice we make – every word, every action, every encounter – co-creates culture and shapes what happens next. Will you use your voice, your art, your story, your money, your power, your heart?
REIMAGINE: What is the world you want? What does beloved community look like, feel like? We can only live into what we imagine. Protect time and space to dream and dream big. Then take one step toward that dream.
BREATHE: How will you breathe today? This is the work of a lifetime. Our lifetime. Take time to rest, step away from the news, nourish your body and your beloveds. Remember the wisdom of the midwife: Breathe, my love, then push. When joy comes, let it come. In joy, we presage the world to come.
Imagine that one day we look back on this era in our nation’s history with regret that it took so long to save the lives of our children – and relief that we were the ones who finally put an end to the carnage.
I believe that world is possible. Believe with me. Breathe with me – choose one thing above – now push.
In Chardi Kala – even in darkness, ever-rising spirits,
Pathos, compassion, and pleas. Please watch, and share.
Jimmy responds to the tragic school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and talks about 89% of Americans wanting background checks, our cowardly leaders listening to the NRA instead of the people they actually represent, firearms becoming the #1 leading cause of death for American children and teens, Ted Cruz speaking at an NRA event this weekend, the 27 school shootings so far this year in America, and making sure that lawmakers do something about common-sense gun laws. If you can, please support Everytown in their fight against gun violence. https://www.everytown.org/
“To do nothing about this ongoing carnage is a sin.”
Talk about it, act, in every community, in every state. The politicians, elected, won’t. Have not. Will not. We must.
- Background checks.
- Gun registration.
- Safe storage laws.
- Age limits on possessing and buying w e a p o n s o f w a r.
The least, the least, we can do.
And finally, my prayer remains people will override profit in this country for the safety of people and assault weapons will be completely banned, again. Weapons of war should not be on our streets. The ban worked before, it will work again. I b e l i e v e.
Finally, a publication digging deep and giving light to the social and cultural cancer that is Rupert Murdoch’s FOX news and specifically to the hate and darkness that is Tucker Carlson. This is the first of three parts, available to all, that is, not blocked by a pay wall.
Please read and discover how a man who inherited his father’s broadcast talent only to turn his platform into a vehicle for hate and meanness to weaken, perhaps destroy, the fabric of our democracy, “you vs. them”…distrust of other…night after night, reaching three million views each broadcast, with his poisoned tentacles of disinformation, lies, and clouded deceit reaching across platforms and computers. Ideology? Maybe. More likely because he found a message that gave him the opportunity he wanted, to make money, millions. This is what he always wanted to have, especially after being abandoned by his mother, who “didn’t like him.” He allowed this personal darkness to shape his destiny, and ours. -dayle
How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable
April 30, 2022
American Nationalist: part 1
Reporting was contributed by Larry Buchanan, Weiyi Cai, Ben Decker, Barbara Harvey, Candice Reed, Michael D. Shear and Karen Yourish. Julie Tate contributed research. Nicholas Confessore is a New York-based political and investigative reporter and a staff writer at the Times Magazine, covering the intersection of wealth, power and influence in Washington and beyond. He joined The Times in 2004.
Often think back to this this post on Twitter from an encounter with Carlson at a fly fishing shop in Montana; it brings hope there are, could be, so many more democratic citizens in this country who feel, who know, the same. -dayle
“You are the worst human being known to man.”
“Moneyball” for television: a data-driven, audience-first approach to deciding what to cover and how to cover it.
Lachlan Murdoch — sole heir to the throne. He’s widely viewed as having more conservative politics than his father.’
Trevor Noah at the White House Correspondence Dinner, April 30th, 2022:
“What we’re here for is to honor and celebrate the 4th Estate…and what you stand for…what you stand for…an additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one.”
[Pick up his closing remarks at 22:45.]
There is no way to eliminate risk, but anything one does to reduce it is better than nothing
by, Zeynep Tufekci, sociologist and writer
Millions of Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving. In doing so, they’re increasing the chances of catching or spreading Covid-19—not just themselves but to others. A wedding reception in Maine ended up causing 177 cases and seven deaths—but none of the deaths were among people who attended the wedding, but rather, among their contacts.
It’s never too late to decide not to travel or choose not to meet with large groups of people not in one’s household during the holidays. There is excellent news regarding vaccines and therapeutics, and we may be very close to turning the corner on this pandemic. One can always have Thanksgiving in spring and be grateful for having survived a pandemic! As I recently wrote in The Atlantic, it’s time to hunker down!
I’d especially urge people to consider that hospitals are running out of not just space, but of qualified people. This report is a sobering read from a hospital that was otherwise very-well prepared. We can expand space within facilities and even set up field hospitals. But there is no way to mass manufacture doctors and nurses. With a nationwide surge underway, workers from one region cannot travel to bail out another, as they were able to in spring. Keeping infections down means that hospitals can do a better job taking care of the already overwhelming numbers of people who need care.
Traditionally, communal eating is the center of Thanksgiving festivities. However, it is also one of the highest risk activities, as one cannot be masked while eating, and people tend to speak loudly around a table. Eating together doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of the day, though. It’s possible to eat separately and make the highlight of the day a different group activity. A gathering outside around a fire pit would be great, for example. It’s fun and, being outdoors, it’s safer, too. Playing a board game where people keep their masks on is another alternative. Keeping masks on is especially important for multi-generational gatherings, or for groups that include higher-risk people. The minimal set-up could be that the elderly could eat separately from the rest of the group. If they must join the dining table, they can do so while wearing the highest-grade mask they have. Risk reduction is important for everyone, but it’s most important for those at most risk. It’s much better to have a much more festive gathering in spring or summer, even if it makes this Thanksgiving a little more awkward.
Getting tested before or after a group meeting is tricky. On the one hand, of course testing is a good precaution to take, and a positive test result means you absolutely should isolate! However, one can test negative even while having Covid-19, because the disease hasn’t progressed enough—and then be infected and infectious just a day or two later. I wouldn’t consider a negative test a licence to do anything differently. In other words, even if you test negative, take all the precautions that you can: stay home and don’t travel for Thanksgiving, or, if you decide to do so, quarantine and take all the harm-reduction steps you can anyway.
The same precautions apply for the return trip: travel in the least risky way possible, keeping in mind that contact with other people poses the highest risks. When you return, quarantine. The gold-standard period for quarantine is two weeks, but don’t think in binary terms. Don’t think that if you can’t do two weeks, you may as well not quarantine. Two weeks is better than a week, a week is better than nothing. When you return, it’s best to act like you might be infected.
What if you get lucky by exposing yourself to a high-risk situation and emerging untouched by Covid-19? Don’t assume that your luck will hold for the Christmas season. Every encounter is an independent risk. There is no such thing as “a winning streak” with this disease. Getting lucky once is no guarantee of being lucky a second time.The changing winter conditions and the explosion in infections means that any meeting right now is much higher risk than before, when the weather was warmer and case numbers were lower. We now have three vaccine candidates with excellent results and vaccinations will start as early as December. We have effective therapeutics—they are in short supply but manufacturing is ramping up. We will have better weather once we get through this winter season. We are so close to the finish line. The more precautions we take, the better our chances.
Dr. Tufekci was getting it right back in January before many epidemiologists.
How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right
‘Dr. Tufekci, a computer programmer who became a sociologist, sounded an early alarm on the need for protective masks. It wasn’t the first time she was right about something big.’
by Ben Smith
Credit…Felix Hörhager/Picture Alliance]
‘Character is destiny.’
[New York Times, Sunday, November 8th, 2020]
“Now that the campaign is over—what is the people’s will? What is our mandate? I believe it is this: Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time.”-President Elect Joe Biden
“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.
The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.
I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.”
Congressman John Lewis, before his passing, wrote: Democracy is not a state. It is an act.’
“America’s democracy is not guaranteed.
It is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, to guard it and never take it for granted.
And protecting our democracy takes struggle.
It takes sacrifice. There is joy in it and there is progress.
Because ‘We The People’ have the power to build a better future.
And when our very democracy was on the ballot in this election, with the very soul of America at stake, and the world watching, you ushered in a new day for America.”
“Asian, White, Latina, and Native American women throughout our nation’s history who have paved the way for this moment tonight.
Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.
All the women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.
Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision — to see what can be unburdened by what has been — I stand on their shoulders.
But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.
Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.
And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message:Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.
And we will applaud you every step of the way.”
I feels so good to feel this good. -dayle
“The whole world is watching.”
Matt Rivitz is a founder of Sleeping Giants, a crowd-sourced anti-bigotry and corporate responsibility campaign that started on Twitter as a reaction the intense racism sexism and xenophobia found on Breitbart News on the heels of the 2016 Presidential Election.
The Campaign has exploded, with over a million followers across Twitter and Facebook and Sleeping Giants chapters in 11 other countries and territories including the EU, France, Brazil and Australia, each fight against bigotry and disinformation in media sources in their own countries.
Besides being responsible for now over 4,200 advertiser deciding to leave Breitbart News, Sleeping Giants has also been partially or fully responsible fo the majority of advertisers leaving Bill O’Reilly’s former show on Fox News which resulted in his firing; the departure of dozens of advertisers from Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News after a series of anti-Immigrant and racist segments; the removal of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones across nearly every major social platform from YouTube to Facebook and even the “Sleeping giants Amendment”, signed in law in France requiring transparency in advertising placement. Additionally, Sleeping Giants is a founding member of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, asking for broader responsibility around hate and disinformation on Facebook and Matt personally sits on the Real Facebook Oversite Board, which serves as a check on Facebook’s current oversight boards decisions.
Anonymous until July 17, 2018, Matt’s identity was exposed without his permission by website The Daily Caller, resulting in a coordinated harassment campaign by white supremacists on social media including death threats against his children and wife and staved off a threatened lawsuit by Breitbart News.
Matt continues to lead sleeping Giants as it moves into broader missions around the health of the Internet and social platforms and overall corporate responsibility while continuing his work as a freelance copywriter in advertising.
Just after the 2016 election, an anonymously run Twitter account emerged with a plan to choke off advertising dollars to Breitbart News, the hard-edge, nationalist website closely tied to President Trump’s administration.
The account, named Sleeping Giants, urged people to collect screenshots of ads on Breitbart and then question brands about their support of the site. Sleeping Giants correctly guessed that many companies did not know where their digital ads were running, and advertisers were caught off guard as the account circulated images of blue-chip brands in proximity to headlines like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.”
As hundreds of brands blocked their ads from appearing on Breitbart, and the account expanded to put pressure on certain Fox News shows, the people behind Sleeping Giants maintained their anonymity — until this week.
Matt Rivitz, a freelance copywriter in San Francisco who has worked with a range of advertisers, was identified as the account’s creator against his wishes on Monday by The Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion website co-founded by the Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Mr. Rivitz, 45, confirmed the report on Twitter, where Sleeping Giants has more than 160,000 followers. He runs the account with Nandini Jammi, 29, a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant, along with other still anonymous contributors.
“The way it happened sucks, but I’m super proud of this thing and of all the people who worked on it and all the people who followed it,” Mr. Rivitz said in his first interview since his involvement in the account was revealed. “We’re happy that we made advertisers think a little bit and realize what they’re supporting.”
Mr. Rivitz did not expect to rock the ad and media worlds with Sleeping Giants, which he viewed as an apolitical crusade against hate speech. While he is a registered Democrat, he said he had never been politically active outside of attending “maybe two marches pre-election.” Most of his work for advertisers was focused on television commercials and did not involve social media. He wasn’t a particularly active Twitter user.
But Mr. Rivitz said he was struck by what he viewed as “incredibly bigoted and racist and sexist” content on Breitbart News, including in its comment sections, after his first visit to the site in November 2016. The site had gained prominence because of its ties to Stephen K. Bannon, its former chairman, who was Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.
“I was pretty amazed at the stuff they were printing, and my next thought, being in advertising, was, ‘Who is knowingly supporting this stuff?’” he said. “I thought maybe it would be two to three companies, and I quickly realized within a couple hours it was all placed programmatically.”
Mr. Rivitz was referring to the automated systems that place most online ads and tend to target consumers based on who they are, rather than which site they are visiting.
“It didn’t seem like the advertisers would want to be there,” he said. “I just set up this anonymous Twitter handle and set up an anonymous email and just went for it, because I wanted to contact one advertiser — a progressive loan company from San Francisco.” (The company, Social Finance, quickly pulled its ads.)
Brian Glicklich, a spokesman for Breitbart, said, “The specific allegations they make about our content being racist, sexist or bigoted are false.”
Sleeping Giants contributed to a broader industry reckoningaround how the automated placement and scale of online ads could fund toxic content and extremism. It also highlighted the challenges that companies face in controlling where their ads end up.
Early on, it flagged an advertisement from Workable, a start-up that sells recruiting software, above the Breitbart headline “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” A screenshot made its way to Nikos Moraitakis, Workable’s chief executive, who said he “nearly had a heart attack” when he saw it. The company, which appeared on the site through one of the Google companies that broker web ads, added Breitbart to its “opt out” list.
The account also gained attention when it highlighted the presence of Kellogg’s ads on Breitbart, which resulted in the breakfast cereal company’s blacklisting the site. In response, Breitbart attempted a #DumpKelloggs campaign.
Mr. Rivitz said the idea behind Sleeping Giants was to inform advertisers, rather than to force boycotts. Breitbart News saw the account’s mission differently.
“Sleeping Giants’ political playbook is to attack opposing speech through harassment and false claims to try to drive it out of business,” Mr. Glicklich said. “They and others have failed at this every time it has been attempted. Democracy flourishes from more conversation, not less, which is why Matt Rivitz’s speech suppression through economic force is among the most reviled techniques of coercion.”
Shortly after Mr. Rivitz started the account, it caught the attention of Ms. Jammi, an American who lives in Berlin. She also visited Breitbart after the election and was startled to see ads from major companies there, thanks to her browsing history. Mr. Rivitz contacted Ms. Jammi through Twitter after seeing a post she had written for Medium on how marketers could blacklist Breitbart, and the two joined forces.
Ms. Jammi, who said her previous interest in politics had amounted to nothing more than following the news, discussed anonymity “early and often” with Mr. Rivitz.
“Initially, we were kind of freaked out at the alt-right influence, and, obviously, one of our primary concerns was staying safe,” she said.
Knowledge of their involvement was limited to a tight circle of family and friends. Mr. Rivitz and Ms. Jammi, who have met in person once, said they each spent three to eight hours a day on Sleeping Giants — posting tweets and corresponding with companies and advertisers — while working at their day jobs. They were vague about how many other people help run the account and its Facebook page, citing privacy concerns and threats.
Since Sleeping Giants got its start, a great number of brands have taken steps to make sure that they do not appear on Breitbart. The site had about 649 advertisers on its website last month, showing around 1,902 different display ads, according to data from Moat Pro, a digital ad intelligence product. That was down from 3,300 advertisers and 11,500 display ads in November 2016. (Sleeping Giants’ count of departed advertisers is closer to 4,000.)
As Sleeping Giants expanded, it broadened its mission to making “bigotry and sexism less profitable” over all. In April 2017, it rallied its following to join the widespread pressure on companies that advertised on “The O’Reilly Factor” after The New York Times reported that Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News show’s host, had settled with at least five women who had accused him of harassment. This year, the account added to the pressure on brands whose commercials appeared on “The Ingraham Angle,” the Fox News show hosted by Laura Ingraham, after she ridiculed a student survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
Critics have accused Sleeping Giants of engaging in a form of censorship, a criticism that Mr. Rivitz rejected.
“There are plenty of conservative- and liberal-leaning news organizations that are doing everything in good faith and are talking about policy without bringing divisiveness and racism into it, and that’s where the break is with some of these websites,” he said.
He added that he had received a barrage of threats and harassment in the wake of the Daily Caller article, which also named his wife and friends.
Ms. Jammi, who was not named by The Daily Caller, said she wasn’t sure what kind of harassment to expect, now that her role had been made public. She added that she hoped the attention would raise scrutiny of the big-tech platforms that kept advertisers in the dark.
“Breitbart is where we started, but ultimately the problem is not Breitbart or The Daily Caller — the problem is the tech companies,” Ms. Jammi said. “I fully support that right for them to write whatever they want. What I have a problem with is Facebook and Twitter monetizing it.”
Mr. Rivitz said the Sleeping Giants community had grown so robust that he felt like an administrator. Still, he said, its mission remains the same.
“People can use their free speech to say whatever they want and print whatever they want, and that’s what makes this country great,” Mr. Rivitz said, “but it doesn’t mean they need to get paid for it, especially by an advertiser who didn’t know they were paying for it.”
The rise of paywalls means that high quality information will funnel to elites: As the digital advertising landscape continues to evolve, it’s becoming evident that digital ad dollars will continue to flow primarily to tech platforms rather than news publishers.
- Because of this, publishers are setting up paywalls (subscriptions, members, etc.) to survive. And while more Americans say they are willing to pay for news, those with higher levels of education are more likely to do so. In all, 66% of adults with a college degree pay for news, compared to 43% of people with a high school diploma or less.
“There is a growing gap in public knowledge between the information-rich and the information-poor,” says Rodney Benson, chair of NYU’s Department of Media.
[reposted from AXIOS]
“In October, the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism released a study that estimated that a full 20 percent of all local newspapers have gone out of business or merged since 2004. Since then, an additional 1,300-plus communities in the United States have found themselves without any news source about their own city, town, or county. “Our sense of community and our trust in democracy at all levels suffer when journalism is lost or diminished,” the authors of the report wrote. “In an age of fake news and divisive politics, the fate of communities across the country—and of grassroots democracy itself—is linked to the vitality of local journalism.”
His letter is in response from a New York Times Magazine cover story on the efforts that have been made over the last 50 years to dismantle protections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965…