Show Your Work: ProPublica kicks all the ass

Illinois is proposing some incentives requiring Big Tech to pay newsrooms for the content they produce, offering tax breaks and scholarships in the hopes of repopulating local newsrooms, and requiring four months’ notice before a local news organization can be sold to an out of state company.

This comes after the reveal that Illinois has lost 85 percent of its journalists in the last ten years. California and New York also are seeking to require Big Tech like Google and Facebook to support the actual journalists who do the actual reporting on which they make massive advertising profits. (This is why I always get salty when someone says, “I get my news from social media.” No, you don’t. The only social medium that has a dedicated staff of journalists is LinkedIn. The others are reposting work done by us underpaid hacks, and they’re making a fortune while we starve.) Check out the details here.

Meanwhile ProPublica is kicking ass all over the internet this week. Check it out:

ProPublica partnered with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Marshall Project to uncover that a county in Mississippi has appointed lawyers for only 20 percent of felony defendants who came before the court. Approximately 80 percent of felony defendants need a court-appointed attorney because they can’t afford a private attorney, but despite the Sixth Amendment, Mississippi basically ignores the law and forces defendants to represent themselves. Against the law? Overruled by the state Supreme Court? Yes, but no one enforces it. Judges simply ignore it.

And in another report, ProPublica found a GAO report that indicates severe complications for pregnant veterans have doubled in the last 10 years, with even higher rates for Black women.

The Minnesota attorney general found substandard living conditions for dairy workers, which is a nice way of saying millions of dollars in unpaid wages, squalid conditions without heat or toilets infested with mold and cockroaches, and horrific abuses of undocumented workers because what are they going to do, call the police? If you can stomach it, here’s the full story, which ProPublica has been examining for a year – including the death of an 8-year-old boy from Nicaragua.


• Faced with the elimination of their entire budget for the student news magazine, the journalism students of Webster University are raising the money themselves as they work for free.

The trial of Robert Telles continues with hardly anyone besides the news media paying attention. This is a public official accused of stabbing Las Vegas reporter Jeff German to death in 2022. German was investigating allegations of misconduct on Telles’ part when he was found stabbed in his front yard. Seems German got death threats from other people too, which is unfortunately pretty common in our profession, but the defense is latching onto it as exculpatory.

This Week in Total Bullshit:

• No, Google is not sunsetting Gmail. The internet would collapse.

• Believe it or not, the GoFundMe raising money to help former President Donald Trump pay his enormous legal bills is not a violation of the terms of service. GoFundMe does not allow fundraising for criminal trials, but Trump’s fundraiser is specifically for his civil cases. Thus GoFundMe has confirmed it is not a violation of the TOS, according to the corporate spokesman who probably wishes he was working for Apple this week.

• President Biden did not sign an executive order giving $5,000 gift cards to undocumented immigrants. The order listed in the viral meme is 9066, which was actually the order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt interning the Japanese Americans, so bully for the idiots in doubling down on racism. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most federal programs, except for emergency medical care which any fucking human should agree is basic.

• The Kids Online Safety Act will not require you to upload your government ID to use the internet. (Sheesh.)

• The image of U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and the Minnesota attorney general was photoshopped to make the senior citizens in the background hold “Defund the Police” signs.

• Your Stanley cup is not trying to kill you with lead poisoning.

• There is no evidence that the shooter who attacked Joel Osteen’s church was transgender, nor that there is some “trans terror” campaign beginning. Fox News has altered their headline since originally “reporting” thus.

• If you are in the habit of listening to Elon Musk for health information – and whyyyyy – you should know that there is no scientific consensus that hormonal birth control makes you fat and depressed and triples your risk of suicide. There is also no scientific consensus that the same effect can be reached by listening to Elon Musk.

• Nobody tried to kill Dr. Oz for developing a cure for diabetes, which by the way doesn’t exist. (The cure, that is; diabetes sadly still exists.)

• It’s not exactly bullshit, because the Wendy’s CEO did float the idea of “surge pricing” in a conference call with investors. But since the internet exploded with “Aw hell naw” they’ve changed their minds and will not be going forward. Naturally this hasn’t stopped anyone from yelling boycott.

What ISN’T total bullshit? The Peters class action about Apple family sharing is very real, and you should click the link to find out if you’re eligible for what I’m sure will be a very tiny payment.

Finally: Enjoy this gallery of Pulitzer Prize photography and the African American experience.

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