Shabbat shalom! What a beautiful weekend!
The Forward editorial staff are engaged in an off-site management meeting this week planning the future of the publication. Hence, sadly, there is no week-in-review roundup of the news regarding Jews this week. But, the staff of the Jew News Review are ever diligent and have made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of the membership to have our own management offsite on the lovely Island of Martha’s Vineyard. Unfortunately, Obama’s birthday bash was reduced to just the A list, and despite our JNR Press credentials, we didn’t make the cut. The good news is that our room at the Charlotte Inn in Edgartown was upgraded, due to Jay-Z and Beyoncé cancelling their attendance. So every cloud has a sliver lining, I guess. Our room came with a private garden/patio, pictured below.
We are primarily on the Island to attend the bi-annual book festival, an absolute nerd-must attend event that primarily takes place at tents set up in Chilmark, the up-island zip code for many celebs and wannabes. Last night, by virtue of my JNR Press credentials, we were invited to attend a special session regarding the future of Journalism, introduced by the editor of the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette, and featuring well-known and Pulitzer Prize nominated journalists. Let me summarize my impressions of the discussion and the future of journalism thusly: we are fu_ked! My take: Fox News and Big Tech algorithms are now responsible for the current existential threat to our democracy. If you don’t believe me, read any of the books from the authors on the panel: Jelani Cobb, Cecilia Kang and Andrew Marantz, or read this article from a recent issue of Mother Jones https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/07/american-anger-polarization-fox-news/ The insights on Facebook and the other Big Tech Titans that dominate our social media and account for most of the misinformation spewing on these channels was scary. And as long as the mostly juvenile men that own and manage these unregulated monopoly platforms hide behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, they will continue their “growth at any cost” strategy and continue to imperil our democracy.
Today is a beach day, heading out to the sandbars and walking trails of Wasque reservation on Chappaquiddick. Life is tov, despite the dark times of COVID and right wing fear mongering.
Stay safe everyone. Let’s be more than careful out there.