Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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There Will Be No Media 'Reckoning' Over the Steele Dossier Print
By David Harsanyi
Friday, November 19 2021
The most charitable explanation is that reporters had become such saps for Democrats that they were inclined to believe the most fantastical stories imaginable.

Axios says there's a "reckoning" in the media over coverage of the Steele dossier after the partisan oppo document's primary source was charged with lying to the FBI. "It's one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history," writes Sara Fischer, "and the media's response to its own mistakes has so far been tepid."

Tepid is a nice way of putting it. While the Washington Post "corrected" some of its discredited reporting on the dossier, removing portions of reporting connecting former President Donald Trump to Russia, there has been virtually no other accountability. And, really, it's become modus operandi for the news organizations to "correct" stories in which the entire premise is false. Any sort of "reckoning" would mean a retraction, followed by investigative deep dives, not only reporting the problems with the story themselves but outing the fraudulent sources who participated in the deception. Perhaps that's going on as we speak, but it's highly doubtful.

Those who perpetuated the Russia collusion deception  and this means editors and pundits, not only reporters  still hold premier jobs in political media. Many, in fact, have been rewarded with better gigs. Is anyone at the Washington Post or New York Times going to return a Pulitzer? Is anyone going to explain how multiple alleged independent sources regularly buttressed the central fabulistic claim of the dossier? Journalism is ostensibly about transparency and truth, yet not one of these sentinels of democracy has explained how they were supposedly fooled for years, exhibiting not a modicum of skepticism  one of the most vital components of good journalism. When asked by Axios about the Steele dossier, the two outlets that churned out some of the most sensationalistic and conspiratorial content of the Trump era, CNN and MSNBC, wouldn't even comment.

The most charitable explanation is that reporters had become such saps for Democrats that they were inclined to believe the most fantastical stories imaginable. The more plausible explanation, considering the lack of any genuine accountability and self-reflection, is that they were in on it.

There's the argument out there that contends that Trump and his associates did and said things that made the dossier's claims plausible. Well, Trump's words could have been a big enough story on their own. The president made no secret of his personal admiration of Vladimir Putin before the election. The notion that a Russian asset (since 1987, even!) would need to go on TV and ask the Russians to ferret out Hillary Clinton's lost emails seems a stretch. To excuse what came next from the media would be tantamount to excusing widespread coverage of birtherism simply because so many of former President Barack Obama's abuses of executive power or inability to say America was exceptional was antithetical to the Constitution he swore to protect. The press exists to avoid the proliferation of faulty information and conspiracies, not to perpetuate them because of their partisan assumptions.

Would Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith, now media reporter for the New York Times, have published an uncorroborated "dossier" on birtherism or, for that matter, Biden's dealing with his corrupt son, giving it undo attention and credibility? The media and tech companies wouldn't even allow a properly sourced New York Post story about Hunter Biden be shared in the run-up to the election. Just more proof of malfeasance, not sloppiness. The chances of every single alleged mistake skewed in the same direction is, of course, infinitesimally small.

What difference, at this point, does it make? Well, for one thing, the full truth is opaque, and the historical record has yet to be corrected. It still says that "Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops," a story that spawned from the environment created by the Steele dossier, on the New York Times website. This piece, like so many others, is incorrect. The "intelligence officials" who spread that story were running what amounted to a shadow government using a partisan concoction, illegal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests and a pliant media to sink the foreign policy of the elected president. It's one of the least democratic things I can think of.

It's worth knowing how it happened  yet the public gets no explanation.


David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and author of "Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent." 

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