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Thumbnails Special Edition: War on the Press

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and informative. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety. We begin with an article detailing the nationwide critics' boycott of Disney following their ban of The Los Angeles Times from their screenings. The Chicago Film Critics Association had voted to join the boycott just before Disney lifted the ban yesterday. There is NO room for this type of ban, not from Disney, nor the White House. The need for a free exchange of news and opinions is more necessary than ever. And we must continue to all stand together. —Chaz Ebert


"Disney Ends Ban on Los Angeles Times Amid Fierce Backlash": As reported by Sydney Ember and Brooks Barnes of The New York Times.

“Amid a growing backlash, the Walt Disney Company on Tuesday reversed its decision to bar The Los Angeles Times from press screenings of its movies following an investigation by the newspaper into the media giant’s business dealings in Anaheim. ‘We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics,’ Disney said in a statement. Disney’s change of course came after a number of news outlets, including The New York Times and the A.V. Club, said they were boycotting advance screenings of Disney films in solidarity. The company also faced pressure from several high-profile Hollywood figures, including Ava DuVernay, who directed ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ which is to be released by Disney on March 9. ‘Saluting the film journalists standing up for one another,’ Ms. DuVernay wrote on Twitter on Monday. ‘Standing with you.’ Critics’ organizations also came out against Disney. On Tuesday, members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics denounced Disney’s blackout of The Los Angeles Times. Each group voted to disqualify Disney’s movies from year-end award consideration unless the blackout was ‘publicly rescinded.’”


"NY Times Sacks David Boies Law Firm After Harvey Weinstein Spy Operation": TheWrap's Jon Levine has the scoop.

“The New York Times has terminated its relationship with David Boies’ law firm Boies Schiller Flexner after revelations that the eminent attorney was also working with Harvey Weinstein to secretly contact  women who might consider accusations of sexual misconduct and reporters pursuing stories on such allegations. ‘We never contemplated that the law firm would contract with an intelligence firm to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at our reporting and our reporters,’ Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha told TheWrap. ‘Such an operation is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision whether to continue using the firm,’ she added. ‘Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted.’”


"CNN, New York Times, other media barred from White House briefing": The Washington Post's Paul Farhi reported on Trump's defining action against the press back in February. See also: Last month, CNN's Chris Cillizza reported on the "chilling escalation of Donald Trump's war on the media." 

“The White House blocked a number of news organizations from attending an informal briefing Friday, a rare and surprising move that came amid President Trump’s escalating war against the media. White House press secretary Sean Spicer banned reporters from CNN, the New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed from attending a ‘gaggle,’ a non-televised briefing, but gave access to a number of other reporters, including those representing conservative outlets. The White House said the decision was not made to exclude journalists from organizations that have been the most critical of Trump in their reporting in favor of those who are more favorable. Although the invited included Fox News, Breitbart and the Washington Times — all considered sympathetic to the administration — the approved list also included CBS, NBC, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Time and the Associated Press. However, reporters from AP and Time decided against attending the briefing in protest of the exclusion of other news outlets.”


"Donald Trump just claimed that he invented 'fake news'": Yet another galvanizing article from CNN's Chris Cillizza.

Donald Trump has a grandiose view of himself and his centrality to, well, everything. He is the first mover. He comes up with things. Like the idea of putting the words ‘fake’ and ‘news’ together. ‘The media is really, the word, one of the greatest of all terms I've come up with, is ‘fake,’’ Trump told Mike Huckabee in an interview for the two-time Republican presidential candidate's new show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. ‘I guess other people have used it perhaps over the years but I've never noticed it. And it's a shame. And they really hurt the country. Because they take away the spirit of the country.’ This is not satire. Even though it does sound exactly like Dr. Evil's memory of his father in ‘Austin Powers’: ‘He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark.’ It's not entirely clear from the quote above whether Trump is claiming that he invented the word ‘fake’ or just that he was the first person to use the phrase ‘fake news.’ Either way, he's wrong.”


"Federal government tries to blind Chicago to grim gun statistics": Essential commentary from Neil Steinberg at the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Cities have become the repositories of what remains of American spirit and freedom, and the Emanuel administration is pushing back. ‘This is just classic,’ Adam Collins, a spokesman for the mayor, emailed The Trace. ‘The Trump administration is arguing it would be better to hide the facts on the deadly effects of gun trafficking than partner on a solution? Well, burying your head in the sand won’t change the truth and it won’t solve the problem.’ Burying your head in the sand is exactly what we’re doing, as a nation, and we see the result, and not just with guns. After 20 years of official Republican denial on a range of important issues, from climate change to health care to guns, the GOP elected a man to whom facts mean nothing, who wallpapers over the obscenity of yesterday’s lie with a fresh lie today. Their answer is to lash out at the facts and the media telling them, to denounce our objectivity as the very bias that distorts everything they do. People die in Chicago every day because of it. Every day. Now they tell us we are not even allowed to gather information and understand why. And we won’t be allowed, someday, if they continue to get their way.”

Image of the Day

Posted above is the official statement issued by various critics groups to boycott Disney on November 7th. It was shared via Twitter by The Los Angeles Times.

Video of the Day

Here's the trailer for Steven Spielberg remarkably timely new film, "The Post," starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. It opens in select theaters on December 22nd.

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