Today's accidental theme, dear reader, is soul-searching -- at Facebook (see No. 3, below), in Silicon Valley (No. 7) and across America (No. 2). And, actually, a lack of soul-searching in one particular famous American residence (No. 6). Anyway, let's get started ...
1. The morning-after media coverage of Wednesday's shooting at an Alexandria, Va., baseball field has a certain common theme, as seen on the front pages of New York's tabloids:
The hunting language comes from one of the congressmen at the scene of the crime:
Note that one of the newspapers above (the Murdoch-controlled one) makes no mention on its cover of yesterday's other dramatic political story: the news that President Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for obstruction of justice -- which The Washington Post broke.
2. I'm seeing a lot of stories this morning with headlines like this: "After shooting, soul-searching on United States' polarization." That particular post, by The Hill's Niall Stanage, kind of suggests that any such soul-searching may be, well, pointless. Stanage cites a Hill insider:
Judd Gregg, a columnist for The Hill who was a three-term Republican senator from New Hampshire before leaving office in 2011, said that incivility in politics has gotten "radically worse" in recent years. "There were always people on the fringe, but they never dominated the discussion. They were background noise," Gregg said. "Unfortunately, now on social media and the 24/7 cable news channels, those folks have the arena."
3. "Today we're starting something new." That's the first sentence of a post today by Elliot Schrage, VP for public policy and communications at Facebook, titled "Hard Questions." Following an introduction in which he makes it clear that Facebook has been doing a lot agonizing internally about its influence on global culture, he gets to the point:
Today, we're starting a new effort to talk more openly about some complex subjects. We hope this will be a place not only to explain some of our choices but also explore hard questions, such as:
• How should platforms approach keeping terrorists from spreading propaganda online?
• After a person dies, what should happen to their online identity?
• How aggressively should social media companies monitor and remove controversial posts and images from their platforms? Who gets to decide what's controversial, especially in a global community with a multitude of cultural norms?
• Who gets to define what's false news -- and what's simply controversial political speech?
• Is social media good for democracy?
• How can we use data for everyone's benefit, without undermining people's trust?
• How should young internet users be introduced to new ways to express themselves in a safe environment?
He closes with:
We want your input on what other topics we should address -- and what we could be doing better. Please send suggestions to [email protected]
4. New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman reports that Fox News has dropped its "Fair & Balanced" slogan without fanfare. Created by the late Roger Ailes, it's now being quietly replaced by "Most watched. Most trusted." Sherman writes that,
In the annals of modern advertising, "Fair & Balanced" will be considered a classic. The slogan was Ailes's cynical genius at its most successful. While liberals mocked the tagline, it allowed Ailes to give viewers the appearance of both sides being heard, when in fact he made sure producers staged segments so that the conservative viewpoint always won.
A Fox News spokeswoman said the slogan has been off the air since last August. "The shift has nothing to do with programming or editorial decisions," she said.
5. Oh, Vladimir, you're hilarious! "Putin jokingly offers Comey asylum during annual phone-in session," via The Guardian.
6. Speaking of world leaders, here's what the president of the United States is up to this morning:
They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2017
You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history - led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2017
7. And finally, in the just-released June 26 Time magazine cover story, "Uber Fail," about Uber's continuing PR crisis, Katy Steinmetz and Matt Vella write,
If Uber's stunning stumble proves anything, it's that in the absence of any rule makers that can keep up with them, the architects of the new economy -- which may be another way of saying, the new world -- must hold themselves accountable. And consumers need to be able to trust them to do that well. ... It's also possible that what we're witnessing is the birth of a new Silicon Valley value, the concept of responsible disruption -- one that incorporates inclusion and diversity, unsexy and difficult as they may seem, alongside thinking differently.
Time doesn't exactly go for sublety with its cover art -- especially in the animated version that it's sharing onlne:
Thank you to Ann-Christine Diaz, Ann Marie Kerwin, Jeanine Poggi, George Slefo, Laurel Wentz, Jessica Wohl and Chen Wu for their roundup suggestions.
Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.