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Week In Review

By Eric Lanter

Harvard Law Expands Deferral Program, Pushing Students to Gain Work Experience

Harvard Law School announced that it is expanding its deferral program, which previously permitted Harvard undergraduate students to defer their admission to the law school for up to two years while they work and pursue other opportunities. Harvard is expanding that program to all juniors, as an attempt to diversify the pool of applicants and increase the experience range of the incoming law students.


Below, for your browsing convenience, the categories are divided into: Entertainment, Arts, Sports, and Media:


Hollywood Writers Kept the Heat on Studios to Win Contract

The Hollywood writers' union came to an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to avert a prolonged strike. Both sides conceded points. The writers did not achieve equality amongst their ranks, whether they be writers for streaming services or television channels. The studios conceded higher pay for streaming service writers. Both sides agreed that the premium healthcare plan for the writers could take a small cut, as it was too expensive to be tenable. The three-year deal for writers will soon lead to negotiations between actors and the studios, whose contract expires on June 30th.


Fyre Festival Organizers Face Fraud Lawsuit After Cancellation

Rapper Ja Rule and a business partner collaborated to host a music festival rivaling Coachella in the Bahamas, called the Fyre Festival. The festival billed itself as an elite getaway for celebrities and others, with tickets costing $2,000 plus airfare to come to an exclusive island for concerts, catered food, and VIP treatment. In the days leading up to the festival, the organizers cancelled the event and have since acknowledged that they were in over their heads in its planning. In California, a man who had purchased a ticket filed suit and is seeking millions of dollars and class-action certification for the action. His attorneys reported that they have been overwhelmed by calls from other similarly situated ticket purchasers.



Rocky Start for a Brand

The first 100 days of the Trump administration has been difficult for the polished, refined branding that Trump strives to achieve. From Jared Kushner visiting the Middle East with a flak jacket under his blazer to Sean Spicer's wearing an American flag pin upside down during a press conference, there have been several moments where the fashion world has snickered at the administration's misfortune. Even with First Lady Melania Trump's initial wearing of Ralph Lauren, she has since reverted to more European brands, drawing the ire of those who support wearing only American brands.



Asian Olympic Chief Quits FIFA Role Over Bribery Scandal

As a result of a bribery case being played out in a United States federal court, a member of the FIFA Olympic Council of Asia has resigned all soccer-related positions. The man, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, resigned his position after it came to light that he may have bribed another FIFA official, Richard Lai, who is currently on trial in Brooklyn for bribery. Al-Sabah released a statement denying any wrongdoing, and the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, thanked him for resigning from the organization.


Bengals Draft Joe Mixon, Who Was Suspended for Punching a Woman

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Oklahoma's former running back, Joe Mixon, to join the team. This, despite the fact that in 2014, he was filmed punching a woman and breaking the bones in her woman. Mixon was suspended from Oklahoma for a year and returned for two impressive seasons. The Bengals's head coach, Marvin Lewis, told the media that fans may pause because of the selection, but then have to move on.


European Soccer Teams Change Logos at Own Risk

Liverpool's soccer team is preparing to celebrate its 125th year of soccer in England with a new logo. While fans have benignly accepted the revised logo, other teams have not been so lucky. Another soccer team in Liverpool, the Everton Football Club, changed its logo a few years ago, and quickly reversed the change following outrage from its fanbase. Even the biggest teams in the world, like Real Madrid, have learned to do so with caution, carefully explaining to its fanbase changes, like removing a Christian cross from the logo as it helps to introduce the team's clothing line in the Middle East.



TV Station Owners Rush to Seize on Relaxed Federal Communications Commission Rules

With the Trump administration leading to a relaxing of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules as to how many stations an owner may have, companies like The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcasting, and Nexstar Media Group have been scrambling to acquire new stations. The consolidation of local broadcast stations means higher fees for broadcasters and consumers. At a time where more viewers are migrating to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the FCC's relaxation of these rules is a boon for companies like Sinclair and Nexstar, who stand to gain from acquiring stations in this new environment. Sinclair, a company that owns nearly 200 broadcast channels throughout the country, is seeking to fill a void it perceives is being created by Fox and its recent scandals. While prior to the changes in the FCC rules, Sinclair was focused on expanding, the relaxation of those rules has accelerated the pace at which Sinclair has sought to acquire stations and expand into larger markets, challenging those on which Fox had a tight grip.


Giving the Behemoths a Leg Up on the Little Guy

The hegemonic nature of the telecommunications industry is only being reinforced under the Trump administration. The FCC's head, Ajit Pai, is overseeing changes in regulations that are intended to eliminate Obama-era protections of net neutrality. The elimination of net neutrality would lead to situations where an Internet service provider, like Verizon, could charge more money to a small streaming service and less money to a larger, more established streaming service. Some analysts not only see this as bad for the industry, but also bad for innovation, as it suppresses the smaller startups that may be pioneering new technologies.


Fox News, Pledging New Culture, Faces More Tumult

Rupert Murdoch, the head of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, has overseen a transformation of the cable channel in the past year. With the departure of Roger Ailes 10 months ago and the more recent departure of Bill O'Reilly, and the revelations of alleged widespread sexual harassment, Murdoch has now dismissed co-president of Fox News, Bill Shine. Shine was viewed by many to be an Ailes disciple and protected. This may not be the last change in the newsroom, as Suzanne Scott was recently been promoted to head of the newsroom, while also being named in lawsuits as being one who enabled and helped conceal Ailes' wrongdoing for years. Analysts speculate that these changes are an attempt to reinvent the image of the Murdoch empire, as it seeks to add the Sky network, a prominent British broadcasting service, to its European operations. However, British regulators will be meeting with individuals who have been dissatisfied with their appearances on the network, such as Wendy Walsh, who was a guest on Bill O'Reilly's show and alleged that he made improper sexual advances towards her.

A reporter for Fox News and a Fox News Radio reporter independently filed suit against the network for discrimination based on gender. Three days after the Fox News reporter published a column detailing her struggle with endometriosis and its likely resulting in her being infertile, her supervisor told her that she would not be permitted to be on-air or in writing at Fox News without providing any reason. As she had positive reviews leading up to the publication of the column, she has argued in her complaint that the treatment is discriminatory based on her gender and fight against a chronic disease. The Fox News Radio reporter informed her supervisors that she had been the subject of discrimination for approximately two years, as she was regularly subordinated to her male coworkers. Fox terminated her the day after she reported the discrimination.


In Europe's Election Season, Tech Vies to Fight Fake News

Technology experts around the world have been using their skills to tackle the increasing amount of misinformation circulating on the Internet. With elections approaching in France and England, the risk of fake news spreading and influencing the results of the elections has politically inclined technology specialists devising tools to perform automatic fact checks and combat fake news.


Insurer Threatens to Sue Chinese Magazine Over Critical Article

Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese insurance company owned by Wu Xiaohui, failed in talks with Jared Kushner to buy a Manhattan skyscraper and then threatened to sue a Chinese magazine, Caixin Weekly, which revealed potential fraudulent reporting by the company. The magazine detailed the "labyrinthine funding" of the company, which may be manipulating accounts to create the appearance of more capital than actually exists. Caixin Weekly is a magazine that has withstood considerable scrutiny from Chinese officials and is a respected financial magazine, but one analyst suspects it may have a serious challenge in defending a lawsuit against the titan insurance company, Anbang.


CNN Refuses Trump Campaign's "Fake News" Ad

President Trump's re-election campaign accused CNN of censorship, after the network refused to run its advertisement that touted the accomplishments of the Trump administration's first 100 days in office. The network told the campaign that it would air the commercial only if it removed the segment that placed "fake news" over several journalists, such as CNN's Wolf Blitzer. One analyst concluded that CNN is free to deal with the administration how it pleases.


Facebook Scrambles to Police Content Amid Rapid Growth

Facebook, with its ever-growing revenue and number of users (surpassing two billion active users), has encountered a new problem: policing the trillions of posts made on the site. Monitoring posts is one problem and new developments, like live video streaming on Facebook, only further complicate Facebook's efforts. Facebook's head, Mark Zuckberberg, announced that the company is going to hire 3,000 people tasked with monitoring the site and taking down offensive content. This development comes after individuals in the U.S. and abroad streamed homicides live on their Facebook, prompting widespread outrage.


Turkey Purges 4,000 More Officials and Blocks Wikipedia

The Turkish government, in its continuing crackdown and consolidation of power, purged approximately 4,000 public officials and blocked access to Wikipedia and television matchmaking shows. To date, approximately 140,000 people have been purged from the state and private sectors since the attempted coup in July 2016, which targeted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime.


Dubai Introduces Its Own Font, Lauding Free Expression it Does Not Permit

Dubai, the most prominent city in the United Arab Emirates, developed its own font that is meant to reflect the heritage and culture of the seven-member federation of the Emirates. The news in Dubai is censored to conform with the royal family's wishes. The crown prince announced that the font will elevate the Emirates' global business profile, which has been plagued by human rights abuses and a lack of democracy.


Time Inc. Decides Not to Sell Itself

Time Inc. announced that after a months-long bidding process, it will not sell itself, as it plans to increase its digital audience and revenue growth. The home of Time, Sports Illustrated, and People thus begins a new chapter in the company's 95-year history, at a time where the future of print magazines is unclear. While several companies approached Time Inc. during the bidding process, none matched its valuation, prompting its directors to end sale talks.


In Mexico, "It's Easy to Kill a Journalist"

The Mexican state of Veracruz is the most dangerous place for a journalist in the Western Hemisphere. In Mexico, over 104 journalists have been murdered in the country since 2000, while 25 more have disappeared during that time. The reasons for the killings vary from aggressive coverage of cartels to revelations of corruption to random violence. The government has discounted its role in the killings, noting that it has passed laws to protect journalists and the freedom of expression. Government watchdogs disagree, stating that self-censorship is the standard as a result of pressure from local officials and organized crime. Mexico's supreme court has held that all crimes against journalists must go to the country's federal courts, which some hope will deter future crimes.


Iranian TV Executive Assassinated in Istanbul

Saeed Karimian, an exiled Iranian living in Istanbul, was assassinated for unclear reasons on Saturday evening. He was a television executive for a network, Gem, widely distributed in the Middle East, which produced soap operas among other television shows. While it is rumored that Karimian's assassination is a result of a money dispute, some analysts speculate that the Iranian state may have played a role in the killing as he had been convicted in absentia of spreading propaganda through his television channels.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 6, 2017 9:11 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Federal Appeals Court Weakens Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor Protection for Moderated Online Content.

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