[Quoted] A president inaugurated; another deplatformed

Media research and comms professor Dylan McLemore tweeted this on Tuesday night, and I think it was spot-on. “I know he has a few more hours,” McLemore tweeted, “but it feels like Donald Trump’s presidency ended when his Twitter account was taken away.”

As Joe Biden was set to be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, his predecessor – capable of dominating a media cycle like no other – had become largely silent.

I appeared on Al Jazeera English shortly after the insurrection to talk about Donald Trump’s social media ban, and noted that as president, he continued to possess one of the largest platforms of any person on earth. And yet, in the final weeks of his presidency, he really didn’t use it. Without the ability to tweet stream of consciousness from his phone, the president’s press shop basically called it a term.

I appreciate Brian Stelter fitting the observation into a very busy news day.

Read the entire CNN Reliable Sources newsletter here.

See more of my media appearances here.

[Quoted] Dan Le Batard and ESPN ‘mutually’ agree to move on

“Dan Le Batard put up ESPN’s best podcast numbers by far. Curious to see (a) if he lands with Spotify, Ringer, etc. and (b) if ESPN has new plans for the podcast space or if it returns to being recycled radio shows…”

Sports talk radio has been playing in the background most of my life. I listened because I wanted to be them, then because I was them, and later because I missed being them.

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz has been my fix for the past – oh goodness – at least five years. It’s occasionally smart social commentary wrapped in stupid morning zoo radio. Like Jim Rome or Scott Van Pelt, they never take sports too seriously.

But that irreverence and continued meandering into the culture war was a relic of former boss John Skipper’s ESPN, not Jimmy Pitaro’s strict “stick to sports” network.

So it wasn’t surprising at all to learn that Le Batard and ESPN were parting ways. What I was most curious about as a media researcher is how it would affect the podcast space. Digital audio is where Le Batard increasingly found himself resigned, but he turned it into an impressive brand rivaling that of Bill Simmons.

I think, like Simmons, it’s going to help Le Batard become a rare post-ESPN success story. Meanwhile ESPN has to decide if it’s going to devote resources to developing new names and ideas that play to the unique podcast space, or just toss in replays of Mike Greenberg and PTI and call it a day. Is it worth it to a media enterprise that is focused on TV and streaming video, owned by an even bigger media conglomerate focused on all of that plus movies and theme parks?

It’s a lot to consider. Thanks to Brian Stelter for using my questions to get the conversation started.

Read the entire CNN Reliable Sources newsletter.

See more of my media appearances here.

[Quoted] America’s problems are real, but the news coverage needs to keep it in proportion

This is classic cultivation theory in mass communication — we see clips of violence, overestimate the prevalence of that violence, and it triggers psychological defense mechanisms to protect ourselves and our side.

Conor Friedersdorf is one of my favorite libertarians to read. He made this remark on Twitter after a summer of unrest captured on video:

It made me immediately think of George Gerbner’s cultivation theory. It’s an especially valuable teaching moment when mass communication theories from decades ago find newfound relevance on the smartphones in students’ hands today.

My thanks to Brian Stelter for giving an old media theory some new life.

Read the full story at CNN.

See more of my media appearances here.

[Quoted] Facebook advertising boycott: Campaign harming brand but not bottom line of media giant

“It’s low-stakes advocacy with high goodwill upside. These companies aren’t big Facebook spenders, and are only committing to suspend advertising through July. For wanderlust brands, pulling adverts when much of the world isn’t traveling makes sense apart from a boycott.”

Social media companies have come under increasing pressure to cut down on the amount of hate speech that circulates on their platforms. “Stop Hate for Profit” is one such movement, and it gained steam when a series of prominent outdoors brands, including North Face and Patagonia, announced they were pulling their advertising from Facebook.

At the risk of sounding cynical, this seems like an easy play for brands that were already cutting back on ad spending in a pandemic. But that doesn’t mean it can’t garner those companies some good PR, and if enough big spenders join the publicity party, it could potentially put a tiny dent in Facebook’s ad revenue. But when that’s the core of your business model… it’s an emerging crisis worth watching.

The boycotts have already proven to be excellent PR for the early-adopting brands, which may be the biggest encouragement for others to join the cause. We’ve seen study after study the past few years indicating that American consumers, especially the sought after 18-34 demo, want brands to engage in corporate advocacy.

Side note, it was really cool to appear alongside Matt Navarra in this piece. Matt’s one of my favorite voices for smart social media commentary. Follow him on Twitter.

Thanks to William Turvill for reaching out, and bearing with my wonky email client on deadline.

Read the full story in the U.K. Press Gazette.

See more of my media appearances here.