Roundup: Kyle Sandilands responds to ACMA ruling, Guardian owner apologises, White Lotus

radio ratings kyle sandilands

Murdoch’s marriage plans, Twitter, Lemon8, Disney layoffs, Texas Observer

Business of Media

Judge: Murdoch’s marriage plans show he can travel to trial

A US judge balked at Fox’s suggestion that it may be too burdensome for Rupert Murdoch to testify in a $US1.6 billion ($2.4 billion) defamation trial against Fox News over its reporting on bogus claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged, reports Bloomberg’s Erik Larson.

Lawyers for voting-machine maker Dominion are seeking to question the 92-year-old Murdoch and his son Lachlan live in court in the landmark trial next month over the network’s airing of claims that the election was stolen from Donald Trump.

At a hearing on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) in Wilmington, Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis cited a letter from Fox claiming Murdoch’s age and his lack of direct control over the election coverage warranted allowing his testimony to rest on his January deposition given in the case.

Judge Davis countered that he had heard that the Fox Corp chairman had publicly discussed his extensive plans to travel while celebrating his St Patrick’s Day engagement this month to Ann Lesley Smith, 66.

“That doesn’t sound like someone who can’t go from New York to Wilmington,” the judge said during the hearing conducted over the phone. “Let’s get the story straight on these types of things, so I don’t look like an idiot if I rule on something.”

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Twitter to no longer only promote paid-for accounts after backlash

Twitter has reversed course on plans to limit presence on its “for you” timeline to paying users only, with Elon Musk claiming he “forgot to mention” that other users would be visible as well, reports the Guardian’s Alex Hern.

When the company’s owner first announced the plan on Tuesday he said it would limit the tab that algorithmically curates tweets for users to only display accounts who had paid a monthly fee for “Twitter Blue” and linked their account to a working phone number.

Musk said restricting it to those subscribers, who will be the only “verified” users on the site after Twitter closes its “legacy” verification program on Saturday, was “the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over”.

The announcement was met with a backlash from many users, however, and later that day Musk said in a second tweet: “Forgot to mention that accounts you follow directly will also be in For You, since you have explicitly asked for them.”

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TikTok’s owner pushes a new app, while under Washington’s glare

As TikTok’s chief executive was getting grilled by lawmakers last week about the app’s relationship to Beijing, with some even calling for a ban, the company’s Chinese owner was sending a message to Americans who regularly make and publish posts on social media: Come join our new app, report the New York Times’ Sapna Maheshwari and Madison Malone Kircher.

“ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, invites you to become a launching creator on their new Lemon8 platform before it officially rolls out in the United States!” said one of the messages sent to creators last week from marketing companies hired by ByteDance to do the outreach.

The notes and linked materials, which were reviewed by The New York Times, declared Lemon8’s ambition to become a top global social media service and cited the success of its “sister company TikTok.” It added that the platform, which has already been quietly introduced on app stores, used “the same recommendation engine that helps TikTok succeed.” It will initially focus on topics like fashion, healthy food and wellness.

The outreach is a sign that ByteDance appears undeterred in its ambitions to become one of the top makers of apps in the world, including in the United States, despite the growing calls in Washington to ban TikTok or force the company’s Chinese owners to sell it. TikTok has amassed 150 million U.S. users, and ByteDance appears eager to replicate its success with Lemon8.

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Disney lays off Ike Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment

Isaac Perlmutter, the famously frugal Marvel Entertainment chairman who unsuccessfully worked to shake up the Walt Disney Company’s board in the past year, has been laid off as part of a cost-cutting campaign, reports the New York Times’ Brooks Barnes.

Disney confirmed the move. Perlmutter, 80, was told by phone on Wednesday that Marvel Entertainment, a small division centered on consumer products and run separately from Marvel Studios, was redundant and would be folded into larger Disney business units, according to two Disney executives briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive personnel matter.

On Monday, Disney started to eliminate 7,000 jobs, about 4 percent of its global total, as part of $5.5 billion in cuts intended to improve Disney’s financial results and position the company for streaming-fueled growth.

Perlmutter, known as Ike, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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News Brands

Guardian owner apologises for founders’ links to transatlantic slavery

The owner of the Guardian has issued an apology for the role the newspaper’s founders had in transatlantic slavery and announced a decade-long programme of restorative justice, reports the Guardian’s Aamna Mohdin.

The Scott Trust said it expected to invest more than £10m (US$12.3m, A$18.4m), with millions dedicated specifically to descendant communities linked to the Guardian’s 19th-century founders.

It follows independent academic research commissioned in 2020 to investigate whether there was any historical connection between chattel slavery and John Edward Taylor, the journalist and cotton merchant who founded the newspaper in 1821, and the other Manchester businessmen who funded its creation.

The Scott Trust Legacies of Enslavement report, published on Tuesday, revealed that Taylor, and at least nine of his 11 backers, had links to slavery, principally through the textile industry. Taylor had multiple links through partnerships in the cotton manufacturing firm Oakden & Taylor, and the cotton merchant company Shuttleworth, Taylor & Co, which imported vast amounts of raw cotton produced by enslaved people in the Americas.

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Texas Observer journalists raise $270,000 in bid to save publication

Journalists at the muckraking liberal magazine Texas Observer have raised more than $270,000 through a GoFundMe campaign in a last-ditch attempt to save the publication from closure, reports the Guardian’s Julia Carrie Wong.

The storied publication – founded in 1954 by Ronnie Dugger, edited in the 1970s by Molly Ivins, and described this week by John Nichols as “the connecting tissue of Texas liberalism” – had suffered extreme instability in recent years, with a revolving door of editors-in-chief and frequent conflict between its owners, the non-profit Texas Democracy Foundation, and its staff.

But it still came as a shock when the Texas Tribune broke the news Sunday evening that the board had voted to cease publication and lay off the staff on Friday. It was perhaps less surprising that the staff of a crusading publication quickly organized to fight back.

Editors responded to the board Monday in a letter that included a “heartfelt request” for board members who voted for closure to resign, for a staff member to be added to the board, and for a commitment not to lay anyone off for a month if the staff succeeded in raising $200,000.

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Kyle Sandilands hits out at ‘bulls–t’ watchdog ruling against him

Kyle Sandilands has taken aim at the media, management and the need to constantly say the right thing off the back of a ruling against him by the media watchdog, reports Variety Australia’s Vivienne Kelly.

At multiple points throughout this morning’s Kyle and Jackie O Show on ARN’s KIIS FM in Sydney, Sandilands made reference to censorship, sensitivity and being the only one to say what other people think.

His on-air frustration came after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found a segment from 2021 about the Special Olympics and Paralympics included insensitive and disparaging comments that would have been offensive to athletes as well as the broader community.

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See Also: ACMA rules that Kyle Sandilands’ Paralympics comments breach decency standards


White Lotus season three filming location revealed

The first season was set at a White Lotus resort in Hawaii, while the second season took place in Sicily, Italy, reports News Corp’s Sarah Pollok.

Naturally, as season two pulled to a close there was much speculation about where the next season would be filmed. Some fans believed they caught a hint delivered by one of the actresses in the last episode of season two.

The guessing can finally end, according to reporting from Variety, which said the upcoming third season will be set in Thailand.

More specifically, it will likely be at one of the Four Seasons resorts in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui or the Golden Triangle.

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