Biden Slams GOP’s ‘Blind Rage and Brute Partisanship’ During Kavanaugh Hearing


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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On Friday, former Vice-President Joe Biden issued a scathing statement slamming the Republican members of the Judiciary Committee for the “degree of invective, blind rage and brute partisanship” exhibited during Thursday’s Brett Kavanaugh hearing. “What we witnessed yesterday from the Republican Judiciary Committee members was a degree of invective, blind rage and brute partisanship that threatens not only the Senate and the Supreme Court — it threatens the basic faith in fairness and justice that binds this country together,” the statement read. Then, after calling Christine Blasey Ford‘s testimony “courageous,” and noting he was glad the members of the Senate have called for an FBI probe, Biden concluded: “Doctor Blasey Ford deserves an FBI investigation today. The millions of women who have suffered sexual assault and abuse deserve an FBI investigation. The country deserves one.  And for its reputation and legitimacy,  the Supreme Court needs one too.”

Julie Chen Releases Statement Standing by Husband Les Moonves After New Yorker Report


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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CBS’ Julie Chen has released a statement making it clear that she is standing by her husband Leslie Moonves in the wake of an explosive New Yorker report by Ronan Farrow detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves. The report details the account of six women who come forward accusing Moonves of forcible kissing and other unwanted sexual behavior. In response to the allegations, Moonves issued the following statement, which also appeared in The New Yorker report:
“Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have Continue reading "Julie Chen Releases Statement Standing by Husband Les Moonves After New Yorker Report"

White House Puts Out Statement on Kaitlan Collins: We Want Everyone to ‘Be Respectful’


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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The White House has responded to the uproar surrounding the decision to bar CNN pool reporter Kaitlan Collins from a Rose Garden event after she asked a question that Trump appeared not to like. According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, it was not Collins’ question that caused the problem, but her refusal to leave. “At the conclusion of the press event in the Oval Office, a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so,” her statement read. “Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event but made it clear that any other journalist from her network could attend.” The statement continued on: “She said it didn’t matter to her because she hadn’t planned to be there anyway. To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and Continue reading "White House Puts Out Statement on Kaitlan Collins: We Want Everyone to ‘Be Respectful’"

‘I Did Not Collude’: Jared Kushner Strikes Back in Lengthy Prepared Statement


This post is by Jon Levine from Mediaite


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Jared Kushner released a lengthy statement Monday morning formally denying any claims of collusion with Russia. “I had no improper contacts. I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” he said in his statement, the New York Times reported. The statement also delved into that now infamous meeting with Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer … and many, many others. Despite being explicitly told in the email by Don Jr. about his Russian interlocutors, Kushner is maintaining that he didn’t read it carefully and was thus unaware about exactly who he would be meeting . The statement drop seemingly took the morning shows by Continue reading "‘I Did Not Collude’: Jared Kushner Strikes Back in Lengthy Prepared Statement"

Theresa May Promises to ‘Take Action’ Against Terrorist ‘Safe Spaces’ After Latest Violence


This post is by Jon Levine from Mediaite


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British Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a tough statement from the steps of 10 Downing Street in London Sunday morning where she bemoaned the frequency of terrorist violence in the United Kingdom and vowed a series of actions against terrorism and the “safe spaces” that allow it to proliferate. “We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed,” she said. ‘That means taking military action to destroy Isis in Iraq and Syria. But it also means taking action here at home. While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.” The Prime Minister added that she Continue reading "Theresa May Promises to ‘Take Action’ Against Terrorist ‘Safe Spaces’ After Latest Violence"

BREAKING: Some Guy is Scaling Trump Tower as the NYPD Plots to Get Him Down


This post is by Lindsey Ellefson from Mediaite


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Last week, some guy in Staten Island had his statue honoring Donald Trump burned down. Pundits wondered if it was a regular old prank or a political statement since, ya know, the mogul and reality star is now the Republican nominee for the presidency. Today, the same question applies as a man scales Trump Tower. Reports indicate he is using suction cups and that the NYPD is trying to get him down. Why is he doing it? Who knows! Here is a live stream: Here are some other angles, jokes, and opinions:

Christian Bale Releases Statement On Shooting: ‘Words Cannot Express The Horror That I Feel’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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Christian Bale, the star of The Dark Knight Rises, has released a statement today on the Colorado shootings that occurred during a midnight screening of the Batman film. Bale’s statement follows director Christopher Nolan‘s statement last night where the director described a movie theater as an “innocent and hopeful place” and expressed his sympathies for the victims’ families.

RELATED: Overnight ‘Bale Out Aurora’ Movement Wants Christian Bale To Visit Injured Kids In Batman Costume

Bale’s statement:

“Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.”

h/t CBS News

Former Aide: Ron Paul Claimed ‘Saving The Jews’ Was Absolutely None Of Our Business


This post is by Nando Di Fino from Mediaite


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Eric Dondero, who served a variety of positions under Ron Paul, including Senior Aide from 1997 to 2003, issued a wide-ranging statement to Right Wing News on Monday, asserting that Paul is not a racist or homophobe, while shedding light on some of Paul’s personal beliefs on things like using a gay man’s bathroom and the existence of Israel.

The statement, which is alternately helpful and insanely damaging, was dismissed as being written by a, “disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues,” by Paul spokesman Jesse Benton to Lucy Madison of CBS. “He has zero credibility and should not be taken seriously.”

Why would the Paul camp want to wholly discredit a man who that says Paul is “absolutely” not an anti-Semite and states that he, “never heard a racist word expressed towards Blacks or Jews come out of his mouth,” in the 12 years he worked for him? Because he follows up every positive statement with a tremendously large, “but…”

Observe:

On charges that Paul is a racist:

I worked for the man for 12 years, pretty consistently. I never heard a racist word expressed towards Blacks or Jews come out of his mouth. Not once.

He has frequently hired blacks for his office staff, starting as early as 1988 for the Libertarian campaign. He has also hired many Hispanics

Buuuuut…

He is completely clueless when it comes to Hispanic and Black culture, particularly Mexican-American culture.


On charges that Paul is an anti-Semite:

As a Jew, (half on my mother’s side), I can categorically say that I never heard anything out of his mouth, in hundreds of speeches I listened too over the years, or in my personal presence that could be called, “Anti-Semite.” No slurs. No derogatory remarks.

Buuuuut…

He is… most certainly Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general. He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all.

On charges that Paul is homophobic:

He is not all bigoted towards homosexuals. He supports their rights to do whatever they please in their private lives.

Buuuuut…

In 1988, Ron had a hardcore Libertarian supporter, Jim Peron, Owner of Laissez Faire Books in San Francisco. Jim set up a magnificent 3-day campaign swing for us in the SF Bay Area. Jim was what you would call very openly Gay. But Ron thought the world of him. For 3 days we had a great time trouncing from one campaign event to another with Jim’s Gay lover. The atmosphere was simply jovial between the four of us. (As an aside we also met former Cong. Pete McCloskey during this campaign trip.) We used Jim’s home/office as a “base.” Ron pulled me aside the first time we went there, and specifically instructed me to find an excuse to excuse him to a local fast food restaurant so that he could use the bathroom. He told me very clearly, that although he liked Jim, he did not wish to use his bathroom facilities.

On the newsletter controversy:

The liberal media is ferociously attacking Ron this morning, on everything from the Newsletters to his various PACs. I’m amused at how off-base they all are.

Buuuuut…

He strenuously does not believe the United States had any business getting involved in fighting Hitler in WWII. He expressed to me countless times, that “saving the Jews,” was absolutely none of our business.

So, yeah, it’s kind of simple to see why the Paul camp is trying to discredit Dondero. While assertions that Paul isn’t anti-Semitic might help a little bit, sharing supposed stories of how he’s allegedly an isolationist who believed the CIA knew about the 9/11 attacks (much like FDR knew about Pearl Harbor) ahead of time isn’t exactly the kind of defense Paul’s team is looking for.

The full statement can be read on Right Wing News.

Al Qaeda Confirms Bin Laden’s Death In Statement, Vows New Attacks On America


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In a statement posted on a jihadist website, al Qaeda has confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden. According to the Associated Press, the terror group vows to launch new attacks on America.

According to Sky News, the statement warned that happiness over the terror chief’s demise would soon be turned on its head. The group described itself as a “curse” on America, promised bloodshed and also called on Pakistan to rise up in revolt.

An audiotape purporting to be of bin Laden speaking a week before his death is set to be released shortly.

The authenticity of the statement is not possible to confirm independently but it was posted on sites known to be used by the group.

NBC: Here’s Why We Fired the "Today Show" YouTube Leaker


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Yup, NBC did indeed fire the guy who put that 1994 “Today Show” clip up on YouTube.

Here’s the company’s official statement: “The individual in question violated the company’s standards of conduct by repeatedly copying and distributing a variety of materials without permission.”

Not that it needs much unpacking, but just to be clear: NBC is saying, without actually saying so, that its position is that it canned the leaker for behavior beyond posting that single clip.

And not to be too square and get-off-my-lawn about it, but there are lots and lots of companies–including, for instance, Google, which owns YouTube–that fire people for distributing things on the Internet that aren’t supposed to be distributed on the Internet.

As PaidContent’s Andrew Wallenstein argues, the fact that the clip is funny and interesting and had already been on TV 17 years ago–and on NBC’s own Web site today–doesn’t mean the NBC guy had the go-ahead to do it. (It also points out the complexity that YouTube has in policing authorized and unauthorized clips, but that’s a different story.)

But, as noted: The clip is funny and interesting! And reminds us of what Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric used to look like. Let’s watch it again!

AOL Sells Content Recommender Surphace to Content Recommender Outbrain


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Tim Armstrong has disposed of another asset that AOL bought before he showed up: The company has sold Surphace, its content recommendation engine, to Outbrain, which does the same thing.

I don’t have the deal terms, but my hunch is that no cash is involved, and that AOL’s compensation could come in the form of equity in privately held Outbrain, or a tax benefit, or both.

“In keeping with the AOL strategy, any place where we are not a leader in the category or profitable, we are going to look at partnerships or other alternatives. This is one of those businesses. We are pleased we found a great home for the Surphace technology and its employees,” AOL venture and local head Jon Brod said in a statement.

Outbrain CEO Yaron Galai declined to comment.

AOL acquired Surphace for something north of  $25 million in 2008, when it was called Sphere, and Armstrong was still running ad sales at Google. Co-founder Tony Conrad left AOL in 2009, but has since come back as part of the About.me acquisition late last year.

Both Surphace and Outbrain do roughly the same thing: They allow publishers to automatically present related pieces of content to Web surfers, based on the very straightforward theory that a visitor interested in a certain kind of story would stick around if offered similar stuff. (All Things D is a Surphace customer, so you can see it in action at the bottom of this post).

AOL reports earnings early tomorrow morning.

Twitter: Nope, We’re Not Testing a Self-Serve Ad Platform (Yet)


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Twitter does indeed plan to roll out a self-serve ad platform, a la Facebook and Google, this year. But it hasn’t done so yet, isn’t testing one and has yet to build the thing.

So says Twitter, which is publicly calling out a MediaPost report published yesterday in which writer Laurie Sullivan said she had gotten a look at a test version of the platform, via Clix Marketing, an online ad buying shop.

Twitter says what Sullivan actually saw was the dashboard tool that Twitter provides all of its advertisers to give them an update on how their ads are performing and allow them to make tweaks to their campaigns. But Twitter ad buyers still have to work with humans, for now, either directly at Twitter or via intermediaries that do so, like Clix.

Here’s the official statement from spokesman Matt Graves: “Reports that Twitter is testing a self-serve ad platform are inaccurate. Our self-serve ad product will launch later this year.”

I’ve reached out to MediaPost for comment.

UPDATE: MediaPost’s Laurie Sullivan argues with Twitter over the definition of “self-serve.”

Google Cuts Off AppNexus, and the Ad Tech World Shudders


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AppNexus, a high-flying ad technology start-up, just had a bad few days. The next few weeks could be rough, too.

That’s because over the weekend, Google suspended the company’s access to the ad giant’s “real time” ad exchange. The move isn’t permanent, but it’s still likely to cut directly into AppNexus’s business, and it’s a very big deal for the ad tech industry.

“It’s a bombshell,” says a competitor.

AppNexus offers customers several different services, but its most important one is acting as a demand-side platform (or DSP) for clients who want to buy display advertising inventory. The bulk of that comes from Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and for now, that’s gone.

What happened? Google won’t address the incident directly, but a statement the company released today implies that it has problems with at least one AppNexus client and an ad they’ve placed:

To protect users and publishers, the Ad Exchange has extensive, widely-published policies for a range of issues including ad quality, ad content and malware. We have technologies to detect violations, and when a customer is in breach of our policies, we take action, including potential suspension from the Ad Exchange. AppNexus is a great partner, and we’re working with them through this issue to get them back on the Ad Exchange.

Via email, AppNexus President Michael Rubenstein, who left Google to join the start-up a year ago, stresses that the cutoff is “temporary,” and adds:

We’re modifying our process of working with Google to create a new arrangement whereby AppNexus clients wishing to access Google inventory will have their own individual seats on DoubleClick Ad Exchange, but will continue to serve impressions through AppNexus.

In practical terms, that means AppNexus’s ad buyers will need to set up a contract directly with Google before it lets them access its inventory again. (You can read an email Rubenstein sent to his clients on Monday, explaining the new terms, at the bottom of this post.)

That could take weeks for each ad buyer. Or they could simply take their business elsewhere and skip the process. Google itself has its own DSP, via its purchase of Invite Media earlier this year.

“I would expect a lot of these clients can’t really wait several weeks,” says Tony Katsur, general manager at MediaMath, an AppNexus competitor.

Ad industry executives tell me Google has cut off other DSPs from its ad exchange in the past. But AppNexus is a particularly high-profile player. In October, it raised $50 million in funding that included money from Microsoft, which has yet to fully embrace the “real time” display ad market itself.

Some industry insiders I’ve talked to are muttering darkly about Google sending some sort of message to Microsoft, or trying to steer business to Invite, or some other conspiratorial motives.

But none of that makes much sense to me. Google is under intense scrutiny that’s only going to get more severe. And crippling a partner–even temporarily–is the kind of thing that’s going to raise plenty of eyebrows.

Hard to imagine Google making this move lightly, and without a very good reason.
—–
Here’s the text of the email that Rubenstein sent to AppNexus clients yesterday:

From: Michael Rubenstein
Date: Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 4:41 PM
Subject: RE: Access to Google AdX Inventory
To: Michael Rubenstein

Important Update:

Further to the notification below regarding the disruption of access to DoubleClick Ad Exchange supply, AppNexus has been in continuous contact with Google to resolve this issue. At present, Google’s position is to require all AppNexus buyers accessing Ad Exchange inventory to have a direct contract with Google in order to restore access. To be clear, this will not impact your ability to use AppNexus as your RTB platform for buying Google inventory, but simply means that you will in the future remit payment for media purchased on DoubleClick Ad Exchange to Google directly, rather than to AppNexus.

Your account manager will contact you tomorrow with details on how to proceed with restoring access to DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

We thank you for your continued patience and support as we work through this.

Regards,

Michael Rubenstein

—— Forwarded Message
From: Steven Giacomelli
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 18:35:20 -0800
Subject: Access to Google AdX Inventory

Dear Client,

Beginning at 7:00 PM ET / 12:00 AM UTC, our monitoring alerted us to the fact that our real time bid requests from Google’s AdX had dropped to zero. We are investigating on our side and are also working with our contacts at Google. Currently we have no ETA for a resolution. We will update you as more details become available.

Thank you for your patience,

Steve

[Image credit: Nesher Guy]

The Numbers Behind the World’s Fastest-Growing Web Site: YouTube’s Finances Revealed


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There’s no smoking gun in the YouTube-Viacom papers, but there is some great stuff. Like these documents, which offer an unprecedented look at the finances behind the world’s most successful video site.

I’m not exactly sure why Viacom dug up YouTube’s profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet from its pre-Google days, but I’m glad it did. You can see the entire thing, which covers YouTube’s birth in the spring of 2005 through August 2006, at the bottom of this post.

But these excerpts give you a very good snapshot of what was going on in the company’s early days–hypergrowth, followed, eventually, by revenue (click to enlarge):


Some context: Chad Hurley registered the YouTube domain in February 2005, but the site wasn’t up and running for a few more months. Co-founder Jared Karim uploaded YouTube’s first video, “Me at the zoo,” in late April 2005.

By December 2005, users were uploading 6,000 clips a day, and the site was streaming 2.5 million videos a day. By February 2006, those numbers had jumped to 20,000 and 18 million, respectively. In July 2006, YouTube users uploaded 2.1 million clips and watched three billion of them.

Which explains the skyrocketing Web-hosting bills. But do note the burst of revenue from direct sales in August 2006, which allowed the company to generate a gross profit. A lot of people assumed that YouTube had to find a buyer like Google (GOOG) a few months later because it couldn’t pay its own bandwidth bills. But these numbers suggest that this may not be the case.

Also of note for Web video and Web ad nerds/historians: Check out the detailed breakdown of YouTube’s ad revenue and hosting costs, both real and projected, circa December 2005.


youtube pl


balance sheet

Amazon Gives In to Macmillan and Apple, and E-Book Prices Will Go Up


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That was fast.

Less than two days after pulling books published by Macmillan in a dispute over e-book pricing, Amazon has conceded.

The world’s dominant e-commerce company says it has agreed to Macmillan’s demands to sell its e-books at a higher price–and in doing so, has made a tacit admission that e-book prices will rise across the board.

That’s because most of the industry’s big players have embraced a similar plan, advanced by Apple (AAPL) to support its iPad launch, to sell e-books for $12.99 and $14.99 instead of the $9.99 Amazon (AMZN) had been pushing.

In an extraordinary statement published on Amazon’s site, the retailer says that it “will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.”

No word yet from the other big publishers that have sided with Apple in the e-book pricing war–Pearson’s Penguin Group, News Corp.’s (NWS) HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and CBS’s (CBS) Simon & Schuster. But keep in mind Steve Jobs’s all-knowing pronouncement about Amazon and Apple e-books: “The prices will be the same.”

Also bear in mind that publishers will actually make less money with the Apple pricing plan. Under the old plan, they sold books to Amazon for around $15 wholesale, and Amazon took a loss in order to retail them for $9.99. Under the new plan, the publishers will get closer to $10 per book.

But the publishers are so freaked out by the parable of the music labels, in which Apple replaced $15 CDs with $1 songs, that they are willing to take the hit in order to maintain some control of their digital pricing.

Odd as this sounds, there’s logic to it, since e-book sales will be small for some time and publishers think that this strategy will help keep the prices up when buyers really do embrace digital.

(Aside: The notion that digital pricing should be dirt cheap simply because it doesn’t cost publishers–or music labels, or Hollywood studios, or whatever–very much to distribute bits, is facile. If you don’t believe me, try ordering a vegetarian entree the next time you go out to dinner, and then tell your waiter you refuse to pay full price because you know that vegetables cost much less than meat. It may be dumb for publishers to try to keep digital prices high, but it’s equally stupid to demand that they lower them on principle.)

It will be interesting to see what Kindle buyers make of the impending price hike, particularly since so many of them are price-conscious consumers who prefer to pay nothing at all for their books.