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NYT and Other Papers to Congress: Save Us From the Facebook-Google Duopoly!

By Published on .

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Monday, July 10:

It's only Monday morning and already I'm feeling vaguely exhausted (the weekend news cycle was rough), so let's just get started, shall we?

1. The nation breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday morning as the president of the United States, in the wake of the G20 Summit, finally brought closure to the Russian hacking scandal via Twitter:

So we're good, then! Trump asked Putin if he hacked the American election, Putin said no, so that's that and so we're moving on! What a relief.

Well, a relief to everyone except for Trump-hating liberals, that is. Such as these guys, who took to the Sunday political-affairs talk shows to whine:

Wait a second. OK, sure, Graham and McCain are Republicans, but still! If President Trump wants to move on from the whole Trump-Russia collusion narrative, what -- or who -- is gonna stop him? Um ...

2. Per a "Breaking News Alert" sent out by The New York Times Sunday afternoon (it landed in my inbox at 4:39 p.m.): "Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in 2016" -- pointing to this story by Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman that appears on the front page of this morning's paper.

Here's the key passage:

When he was first asked about the meeting on Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. said that it was primarily about adoptions and mentioned nothing about Mrs. Clinton. But on Sunday, presented with The Times's findings, he offered a new account.

Here's Donald Trump Jr.'s new account in full:

Whoops!

BTW, Donald Trump Jr. begs to differ.

3. Some context from The Washington Post's Callum Borchers:

An excerpt:

Donald Trump Jr. has made a potentially damaging New York Times report much, much worse. ... Trump Jr. confirmed that he went into the meeting expecting to receive information from the Russian lawyer that could hurt Clinton. That is a breathtaking admission.

+ meanwhile, over at White House-favorite Breitbart News: "Left-Wing Media: World Against President Trump at G20 Summit on Climate Change" and "Photos: Melania Trump Sets the Bar In High Fashion For G20 European Tour."

4. As David Chavern, the president-CEO of newspaper trade group News Media Alliance, writes in this morning's Wall Street Journal in a post headlined "How Antitrust Undermines Press Freedom" (subhead: "Facebook and Google dominate online ads, and news companies can't join forces to compete"),

Today's internet distribution systems distort the flow of economic value derived from good reporting. Google and Facebook dominate web traffic and online ad income. Together, they account for more than 70% of the $73 billion spent each year on digital advertising, and they eat up most of the growth. Nearly 80% of all online referral traffic comes from Google and Facebook. ...

The only way publishers can address this inexorable threat is by banding together. If they open a unified front to negotiate with Google and Facebook -- pushing for stronger intellectual-property protections, better support for subscription models and a fair share of revenue and data -- they could build a more sustainable future for the news business.

In the interest of such inky "banding together," which is a tricky proposition under existing antitrust laws, the News Media Alliance "is proposing a solution: a new law granting a limited safe harbor under antitrust for publishers to negotiate collectively with dominant online platforms," per Chavern.

What are the chances of this actually happening? As Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times (the NYT is a member of the News Media Alliance) notes in his media column this morning:

The Alliance acknowledges that its bid requires legislation giving them specific clearance to negotiate as a group, which is not commonly granted. It's an especially big ask from a Congress that hasn't had a great legislative batting average and whose controlling party, the Republicans, is not in a very press-friendly mood these days. Then again, News Corporation's founder and executive chairman is Rupert Murdoch, whose sway with the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress is without parallel in the media world.

5. Discourse in the Age of Twitter (ICYMI from Friday afternoon): "I shared my toddler's hospital bill on Twitter. First came supporters -- then death threats," by Alison Chandra via Vox.

6. Speaking of social media, check out this neat, Clapper-like trick. This morning POTUS tweeted:

And then, also this morning, POTUS retweeted a Fox & Friends clip that quotes his tweet on screen!

7. And finally, to help kick off your week, I leave you with this Charles Barsotti New Yorker cartoon:

A cartoon by Charles Barsotti. #TNYcartoons

A post shared by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons) on

Thanks to Ann-Christine Diaz, George Slefo, Laurel Wentz and Jessica Wohl for their roundup suggestions.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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