Mixed Media

New York Daily News Just Upped Its Front Page Game—Again

| Sun Dec. 6, 2015 11:07 PM EST

The New York Daily News has been running one helluva campaign against guns on its front page lately. Last month, the (financially troubled) tabloid launched one of the boldest attacks on the National Rifle Association in recent memory with just three words: "NRA's Sick Jihad." The story inside accused the gun rights group of tacitly abetting terrorists by blocking a proposed bill that would make it more difficult for suspects to buy guns.

Then, last Wednesday, after 14 people were killed in an allegedly terror-inspired rampage in San Bernardino, California, the paper rebuked Republican politicians for supporting victims with their "thoughts and prayers" rather than taking meaningful action to curb access to guns. That front-page headline was four words: "God Isn't Fixing This."

Now comes this lesson in high sarcasm from the New York tabloid:

The NYDN isn't the only New York paper using its cover in this way. For the first time since 1920, the New York Times ran an editorial on its front page on Saturday slamming politicians' inaction on gun control measures.

On Sunday night, President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office, detailing his efforts to destroy ISIS and tighten gun control in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings.

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Media Feeding Frenzy as Reporters Stampede Into San Bernardino Suspsects' Apartment

| Fri Dec. 4, 2015 2:56 PM EST

On Friday afternoon, cable news networks CNN and MSNBC, along with other photographers and reporters, gained access to the home of the couple suspected of carrying out the deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people and injured 21. The rampage, which occurred only two days prior, has since been the subject of an FBI investigation for possible terrorism.

It's still unknown exactly how the journalists gained entry into the apartment. (There remains some dispute around the role of the landlord on the scene.) Reporters could be seen going through children's belongings and even holding up a driver's license that appeared to belong to a family member of one of the suspects. The scene became an instant breaking news item, of blockbuster proportions:

One of CNN's own security analysts, Harry Houck, appeared appalled by what he was watching live on air, even as CNN continued to show more footage from inside the house. "I'm having chills down my spine what I'm seeing here. This apartment is clearly full of evidence." Watch his reaction below:

CNN even chose to lead with a photo of what appears to be a crib from inside the house on the network's homepage with this banner headline:

FBI sources tell CBS LA that the investigation at the house concluded Thursday.

Nonetheless, outrage was swift on social media:

Here's the Awful Way the New York Post Changed Its San Bernardino Shooting Cover

| Thu Dec. 3, 2015 2:36 PM EST

Early Thursday morning, police officials announced the identities of two suspects believed to be behind the deadly rampage in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people and injured 17 others. Authorities had been searching for Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, after the two alleged gunmen opened fire inside a center that helps individuals with developmental disabilities and then drove away in a black SUV. Farook and Malik were later killed in a gunfire exchange with the police.

With the official release of their names, the New York Post made the editorial decision to change its front-page headline with the following:

Blatant bigotry aside, it's also important to call out the Post's inconsistent focus on religion in the aftermath of mass shootings in America. After last Friday's Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, the paper did not feature a story about the attack on its front page, nor did its editors label that shooter a "Christian Killer" in any accompanying stories. Instead, on Saturday, the New York tabloid demeaned the city's homeless population with a cover story headlined "How The Bums Stole Christmas."

Mark Zuckerberg Just Announced He's Pledging a Massive Portion of His Wealth to Charity

| Tue Dec. 1, 2015 7:10 PM EST

In a Facebook post announcing the birth of their first child, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan revealed on Tuesday the couple will be giving away 99 percent of their Facebook shares—a current estimate of $45 billion—to a wide range of charities to "join many others in improving this world for the next generation."

 Here is a portion of the Facebook post that they addressed to their newborn daughter Max: 

We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.

We'll share more details in the coming months once we settle into our new family rhythm and return from our maternity and paternity leaves. We understand you'll have many questions about why and how we're doing this.

This contribution is much larger than any of the previous charitable pledges the Facebook CEO and his wife have made in the past. In June, the couple donated $5 million to helping undocumented teenagers receive higher education. Last year, the Facebook CEO donated $25 million to fighting Ebola. 

Read Zuckerberg's post in its entirety here. And Mazel Tov to the new parents!

Violent Mae's Second Album Is a Sizzling Triumph

| Tue Dec. 1, 2015 1:00 AM EST

Violent Mae
Kid
Telegraph Recording Company

       

Becky Kessler, singer and guitarist for the Connecticut duo Violent Mae—Floyd Kellogg plays the other instruments—has a voice deserving of your undivided attention. Like a more excitable version of The Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn, with hints of Dusty Springfield's soul and Bjork's lunacy, she projects a brooding unease that implies looming storms of emotion, edging ever closer to a full-fledged outburst, yet never losing control. From the bluesy slow-burn of "IOU," where she proclaims herself a "bad actress," to the thrilling jitters of "In the Sun," to the footstomping "Murdered Bird," the twosome's second album is a sizzling triumph.

The Staples Singers Will Revive You With These Gospel and Soul Classics

| Tue Nov. 24, 2015 7:57 PM EST

The Staple Singers
Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953-1976
Stax/Concord
      

Not for gospel buffs only, the Staple Singers could make even a confirmed heathen feel blessed by the Holy Spirit. Featuring Roebuck "Pops" Staples and his children Mavis, Cleotha, and alternatively Pervis or Yvonne, the quartet evolved from local Chicago favorites to worldwide soul superstars over the course of a two-decade-plus run. Their sound drew its breathtaking beauty from the shimmering tremolo- and reverb-drenched guitar of Pops—a style his peers dubbed "nervous"—and the exuberant high harmonies of the four, with Mavis' powerhouse voice adding a thrilling jolt to the mix.

The earliest recordings on this fabulous four-disc set capture the Staples Singers at their most visceral. The live 16-minute medley "Too Close/I'm on My Way Home/I'm Coming Home/He's Alright" is downright hair-raising in its primal intensity. Curiously, the group's interaction with the like-minded folk movement of the early '60s resulted in some of their milder efforts in the form of a handful of Bob Dylan covers, although the lull was only temporary. Joining Stax Records in the late-'60s, they scored a series of secular-but-uplifting hits with foot-stomping songs like "Respect Yourself," "I’ll Take You There," and "If You're Ready (Come Go with Me)."

Pops passed away in 2000, but Mavis is still going strong today. In any case, Faith & Grace testifies to their illustrious achievements.

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John Oliver Slams Republicans Using Fearmongering Tactics to Refuse Syrian Refugees

| Mon Nov. 23, 2015 9:58 AM EST

On Sunday, John Oliver weighed in on the mounting refusal by many Republican governors to take in Syrian refugees in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks earlier this month.

"It is absolutely fair to be concerned about safety in the wake of these attacks, and it's fair to wonder who we're letting in or what kind of screening process in place," Oliver said. "Unfortunately, many of the people talking about it this week don't seem to have the first idea of what we're doing."

After displaying a montage of GOP politicians using baseless scare tactics to question the rigor of the current vetting process, the Last Week Tonight host deftly walked viewers through the intensive system all Syrian refugees must go through in order to be accepted into the United States.

"This is the most rigorous vetting anyone has to face before entering this country," he said. "No terrorist in their right mind would choose this path when the visa process requires far less effort. But nevertheless, the House still voted on Thursday to add a few more steps."

Oliver then singled out former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for the fearmongering approach he's used to justify blocking refugees resettlement.

This Is the Greatest Correction I've Ever Read

| Thu Nov. 19, 2015 7:10 PM EST

Adele's new album is subliiiiiiiiiiime. Read our review.

Even Fox News Is Slamming Political Extremists for Refusing to Take in Refugees

| Tue Nov. 17, 2015 6:05 PM EST

Amid a growing chorus of Republican governors refusing to accept the settlement of Syrian refugees in their respective states—despite you know, the Constitution—Fox News' Shepard Smith made a rather surprising call for political extremists to reverse their stances and show some compassion to those escaping violence. 

"It seems to me we the people have the responsibility now to protect what we hold dear," Smith told viewers on Monday.

"We profess to stand as an example for all the world. Our unique experiment in freedom, tolerance, and equality is our gift to societies and peoples everywhere. Come join us. Enjoy a chance at the American dream. Today we mourn, but we cannot allow ourselves to become like those who want to destroy us."

Smith's heartfelt and measured exhortation was a welcome respite from much of the fear-mongering tactics some Republican politicians have been using in the wake of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. On Tuesday, Donald Trump went as far as to accuse President Obama of intentionally sending refugees only to Republican states, joining his fellow presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in suggesting "limousine liberals" of a NIMBY approach to taking in refugees. 

Adele's New Song Is Every Bit As Good As You Want It to Be

| Tue Nov. 17, 2015 1:34 PM EST

We were teased yesterday on Twitter and Facebook by an ad for an exclusive performance on 60 Minutes Australia. Now you can watch the full performance of Adele's new new song, "When We Were Young," the follow up to her first single in three years, "Hello", and the second song from the forthcoming album "25." The film clip is directed by Paul Dugdale, and shot at The Church Studios, the legendary north London recording spot.

For fans of Adele, the main feeling is relief—that it's a real comeback. Here's the conversation I had with Mother Jones creative director Ivylise Simones when she texted me urgently this morning with the link:

Here's that teaser for the 60 Minutes interview:

And just for the die-hard fans, here's a GIF of that diva moment, sized for Twitter's 2MB limit, to be used at your leisure: