Hillary Clinton won a presidential nomination — These newspapers ran front-page photos of her husband

Fusion’s Kelsey McKinney noticed something important about today’s newspapers that heralded the historic moment of a woman winning a presidential nomination. A lot of them used a picture not of Hillary — but her husband.

Of course it’s true that Hillary Clinton only addressed the DNC briefly through a video Tuesday night. And, having worked in a number of newsrooms, my guess is the editors at these papers wanted to grab a newsy photo from something that happened at the Democratic National Convention last night. That newsy photo ended up, in a lot of cases, to be of Bill Clinton…

Nonetheless, Clinton did something remarkable last night — she became the first woman to win a major political party’s presidential nomination. Certainly that should be enough of an accomplishment to get her face on the front page of more of the country’s daily newspapers. Apparently, it isn’t.

The telling conclusion for me — that not only didn’t these newspapers notice their brains were about a century out-of-date; but, that millions of Americans, mostly male, didn’t notice it, either.

And, then, there likely are thousands of Republicans who wonder what the fuss is all about?

Malaysian court rules only Muslims may use the word “Allah”

A Malaysian court ruled on Monday that a Christian newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God, a landmark decision on an issue that has fanned religious tension and raised questions over minority rights in the mainly Muslim country.

The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia’s appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay-language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to use the word Allah – as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries.

“The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity,” chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in the ruling. “The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”

The decision coincides with heightened ethnic and religious tension in Malaysia after a polarizing May election, in which the long-ruling coalition was deserted by urban voters that included a large section of minority ethnic Chinese…

A court appointed on the basis of politics makes decisions based on politics. Sound familiar?

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Italy court upholds Berlusconi tax fraud verdict

ITALY — Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s tax fraud conviction and four-year prison sentence were upheld on the first appeal Wednesday in a case that could see him barred from public office for five years.

In Italy, defendants are legally considered innocent until all appeals are exhausted, and Berlusconi’s lawyers are expected to appeal the case to the nation’s highest Court of Cassation once the reasoning for the decision is published.

Still, the ruling, which comes just days before prosecutors wrap up closing arguments in his sensational sex-for-hire trial, raises the question of whether Berlusconi’s days as a political force are numbered…

The case already is tightly tied to Berlusconi’s political fortunes. He announced he was stepping aside just two days before the October lower court verdict convicting him in a scheme that involved inflating the price his Mediaset media empire paid for TV rights to U.S. movies and pocketing the difference. Shortly after the guilty verdict, he renewed his political campaign, and his lawyers began seeking a series of trial delays for his electoral commitments…

His lawyers had argued to move the Mediaset appeal and the sex-for-hire case to the nearby city of Brescia, arguing that Milan courts are partial. The high court denied the motion earlier this week…

The ruling also upheld barring him from managing any company for three years. Even if the jail sentence is confirmed, it is unlikely Berlusconi would serve any time for the tax fraud case because a furlough shaving three years off the sentence would likely be applied and one-year sentences are not normally served…

On Monday, the sex-for-hire trial will resume with prosecutor Ilda Boccassini wrapping up closing arguments that were started in early March, before the trial was slowed by delays over Berlusconi’s campaign commitments, his health and the motion for a change of venue. In that case, the media mogul is on trial in Milan on charges he paid for sex with an underage Moroccan teen during the infamous “bunga-bunga” parties at his villa and then tried to cover it up. Both he and the woman, Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby, deny sexual contact.

Overdue. Which is typical in what passes for judicial proceedings in Italy if you have sufficient power and political clout.

Should weather forecasters be fined for screwing up?

Local councillors in the Netherlands are calling for weather forecasters who get their predictions wrong to be fined.

KNMI, the commercial weather bureau, based at Hilversum, near Amsterdam, whose forecasts are widely used by Dutch TV and newspapers, has been blamed with Mr Thonissen saying: “Heavy rain above Hilversum does not mean that is the case in the rest of the country.”

Pieter van Cutsem, who runs a small hotel in Hoek van Holland, agrees that forecasters should be “punished” for incorrect predictions,saying: “Despite having more forecasting tools than ever before they often get it wrong.

“Recent weather reporting has been completely inaccurate and it is hitting local businesses dearly because people are cancelling bookings. I agree they should be fined on the grounds of disseminating incorrect information.”

Cees Molenaars, a spokesman for KNMI told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: “TV, radio and newspapers use the raw data we deliver but it is up to them to how their forecasts turn out.”

Doesn’t sound to me like they’re providing much in the line of guidance at KNMI. MAybe they should be fined when they get it wrong?

“Family values” newspapers won’t publish Doonesbury strip on Texas abortion law – cartoon strip starts today

Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau has defended his cartoon strip about abortion, which several US newspapers are refusing to run, saying he felt compelled to respond to the way Republicans across America are undermining women’s healthcare rights.

The strip, published on Monday and scheduled to run all week, has been rejected by several papers, while others said they were switching it from the comic section to the editorial page.

In an email exchange with the Guardian, Trudeau expressed dismay over the papers’ decision but was unrepentant, describing as “appalling” and “insane” Republican state moves on women’s healthcare.

About 1,400 newspapers, including the Guardian, take the Doonesbury cartoon. The Guardian is running the cartoon as normal on Monday.

The strip deals specifically with a law introduced in Texas and other states requiring a woman who wants to have an abortion to have an ultrasound scan, or sonogram, which will show an image of the foetus and other details, in an attempt to make her reconsider…

The Kansas City Star is among the papers not running the cartoon in its normal slot. “We felt the content was too much for many of the readers of our family-friendly comic page,” an editor told Associated Press. The Star will use a replacement strip offered by the organisation that syndicates Doonesbury, Universal Uclick, and move the abortion one to its editorial pages…

Abortion, contraception and other social issues have resurfaced in politics in recent weeks, partly because they have been highlighted by the Republican candidates in the presidential race. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh referred to a student giving evidence to a congressional hearing in support of contraception as “a slut”.

Trudeau told the Guardian he thought the issue of reproductive freedom had been settled while he had still been at school: the Supreme Court 1973 ruling Roe v Wade, which removed restrictions on abortion.

Trudeau wrote: “Ninety-nine percent of American women have or will use contraception during their lifetimes. To see these healthcare rights systematically undermined in state after state by the party of ‘limited government’ is appalling. “In Texas, the sonograms are the least of it. The legislature has also defunded women’s health clinics all over the state, leaving 300,000 women without the contraceptive services that prevent abortions in the first place. Insanity.”

Perhaps not central to the question of why newspapers across America are in decline; but, cowardice in the face of bigotry and corporate churches with big bucks invested in so-called family values certainly plays a role.

A 19th Century outlook often accompanies the 19th Century pride in owning a newspaper even among independent locally-owned newspapers. The rest are simply part of corporate media empires which couldn’t care less about Freedom of the Press.

Republicans commit to straight-out lies about Barack Obama


Two leading members of the lyin’ bastards club

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have been accused of telling TV viewers blatant untruths about Barack Obama.

The candidates deny their TV commercials are deceitful and dishonest but both ads selectively quote the president to make it appear he is saying one thing when he is saying another.

The advertisements have been widely scorned for crossing a line from a longstanding practice of political campaigns pushing the truth to its limits, over to misrepresentation. One ad appears to show Obama admitting he will lose next year’s election if he talks about the economy. The other has him calling American workers lazy.

Romney’s campaign ad is airing on TV stations in New Hampshire, which holds its primary in January. It shows the president saying: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” But Obama’s words were from his 2008 campaign, and he was quoting a statement by a strategist for his Republican opponent, John McCain, who was the one on the back foot over the economy.

Perry’s ad shows a short soundbite of Obama saying: “We’ve been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades.”

The ad switches to Perry saying: “Can you believe that? That’s what our president thinks is wrong with America – that Americans are lazy. That’s pathetic.”

But a viewing of Obama’s full statement shows that he was saying the US government had been lazy in attracting foreign investment.

Darrell West, director of governance studies at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution in Washington, said that Romney and Perry had gone further than previous campaigns in misrepresenting the truth.

Those ads are blatant misrepresentations,” he said. “They are much more egregious than what we’ve seen in the past. Typically candidates have tried to be close to the truth because they know journalists are paying attention, but with all the problems of the news industry politicians have concluded they can get away with murder…”

But West acknowledged that politicians are less concerned about being exposed by reporters. “Politicians think that the news media have completely collapsed, based on the financial crisis, and so they are acting as if there’s no accountability and they can say whatever they want,” he said.

West makes a great point about American journalists having as little integrity as Republican candidates. Since their employers are either corporations controlled by Republicans or clown who consider news as entertainment – or both – there’s little encouragement for any of them to point out any of the lies or liars.

Apple tells newspapers – no free iPad edition for print subscribers

A number of European newspapers have reportedly been told by Apple that they can no longer offer paid print subscribers free access to an iPad edition through the App Store, as the subscription strategy leaves Apple out of its 30 percent cut.

According to a report issued Friday by deVolkskrant (via Google Translate), Apple has employed “stricter rules” for publishers, informing them that they cannot offer free iPad access to paid print subscribers. By offering free access to print subscribers, newspapers could avoid charging for access through the iPad, and can avoid paying Apple a 30 percent cut of all transactions on the App Store…Content providers are upset with the change, characterizing the move as one that makes Apple “too dominant.”

If I was Apple – a stretch I realize – I would do the same. Of course. A share is earned by providing the medium.

The alleged changes sent out to publishers by Apple come as the company is believed to be working on an update to iOS, its mobile operating system that powers the iPad, that will allow recurring subscriptions for software on the App Store. It is Apple’s preparation for the new subscription option that is believed to have allegedly delayed the release of The Daily, a new iPad-only newspaper from media giant News Corporation.

While a number of reports from overseas claim that Apple has contacted publications to inform them of the changes, no such reports have yet emerged from any newspapers in the U.S…

Subscription options can be whatever the parties choose them to be. Of course. Though, if Apple is offering access to methods built into the OS, more than a little consistency and conformity is required.

On paper, it’s just as easy for a newspaper to build in a share to Apple in their basic subscription price – with a sliding scale based on downloads measured in-app.

James Murdoch says apps cannibalize his newspapers

Sales of newspaper apps for devices like the Apple iPad are cannibalizing sales of physical newspapers, says James Murdoch, head of News Corp’s operations in Europe and Asia.

News Corp in June closed its free Times of London website. The Times, the Sunday Times and Britain’s best-selling Sunday tabloid the News of the World — also owned by News Corp — are now available online only to paying subscribers.

News Corp’s British newspaper arm News International said this month the titles had lost up to 90 percent of their online readership and now had 105,000 paying customers, including those who had bought the iPad and Amazon Kindle apps…

James Murdoch welcomed the opportunity to sell through Apple’s iTunes online store, despite the fact that Apple takes 30 percent of the publisher’s revenue.

We go to the iTunes store because it’s frictionless. They charge a percentage but the guy on the newstand and the newsagent charge a percentage, and they don’t even merchandise it properly,” he told the Monaco Media Forum.

But he said apps for mobile devices, with which readers typically engage far more than they do with computer websites, were more dangerous to print sales.

“The problem with the apps is that they are much more directly cannibalistic of the print products than the website,” he said. “People interact with it much more like they do with the traditional product.

Reuters tries to be Mr. Nice Guy and tucks a blurb in at the end of their article mentioning other people “offering tablets.” Har! It is to laugh.

Almost nothing is ready to ship. Almost nothing is available with apps or an app store. By the time most iPad competitors are on the street – Apple will be offering Gen 2.

What I am interested in – is publishers planning on making the online edition their prime arena – and a print version [if they have one] as secondary. I truly wonder how that will play out.

Dumb newspapers of the year – so far

It doesn’t take much to make yourself look like a fool, but in the case of The UK’s Sun and Daily Mail newspapers, they have to be feeling quite idiotic right about now. Perhaps not, as these tabloids have a history of running fabulous stories about celebrities, politicians, and the supernatural as a matter of daily business.

John Ware, a 47-year old builder, sent the newspapers a photo he had taken with his iPhone that allegedly showed a ghostly little boy dressed in turn-of-the-20th-century clothing, balefully looking at the photographer. You can see the little boy at the right side of the photo, standing in the foreground. The papers dutifully ran the story, with the Sun’s example shown at the top of this post.

There’s only one problem: as Macenstein pointed out, the same little boy haunts the US$0.99 iPhone app Ghost Capture. That’s right — it’s apparent that Mr. Ware snapped a shot of a demolition site with the app, and then submitted the photo. Our guess is that Ware was having a little fun with the papers, and that the “Got a story? We pay £££.” tag line you see at the top of the page might have provided some motivation.

Once again there’s an app for that.

Har!