Welcome to the Media Power List. Every two weeks we'll be running a rundown of who's killing it in everyone's favourite dying industry. Let's go.
‘What’s a Hulu?’ asked Britain as we heard about an apparent second Fyre documentary. This was a car crash that not only could you not look away from – you actually wanted to track down and re-watch the same events viewed from mildly different angles. Next question: who’s playing Billy McFarland in the Fyre movie? Obvs, Jessie Plemons is the natural choice. (The Netflix Fyre doc, made in collaboration with VICE [this website], is the best one, obviously, but if you’re looking for further Fyre viewing, the Internet Historian one is great)
14. HUGH MCILVANNEY
Lester Piggott was “a volcano trapped in an iceberg”; George Best had “feet as sensitive as a pickpocket’s hands”; Joe Bugner had “the physique of a Greek statue but fewer moves”. McIlvanney was Britain’s greatest sports writer (RIP at 84) and a fucking genius. He was a great inspiration to me – truly he had a writing style that was proper good, like really good and that and he held a pen like Messi’s feet hold a ball and he had a mind like Ronaldo’s feet hold a ball.
13. JAMES CHARLES
The Times of London was forced to acknowledge the existence of the 21st century this week when the “makeup video blogger” (their words; fairly accurate) did a 30-second slot opening a new makeup shop in Birmingham. Journalists clambered over themselves to compare it to Beatlemania as the city ground to a halt. Half with screaming teens, half with baffled middle-aged people crawling off to die quietly.
12. ONE PERCENT OF 3- TO 4-YEAR-OLDS
A new Ofcom report says that one percent of three- to four-year-olds have their own mobile phones and that one percent have their own social media accounts. It is to these brave early adopters that this column is dedicated: they are our future. If – big if – they make it to adulthood without incelling the shit out of the rest of their schools.
11. THAT BUZZFEED TEEN WHO WROTE ALL THE ARTICLES FOR FREE
Every great company needs an army of child soldiers. So it is with Buzzfeed. In the course of this week’s layoffs, newly-sacked head of quizzes Matthew Perpetua wrote a blog in which he named 19-year-old Rachel McMahon, from Michigan, as Buzzfeed’s second highest traffic-driver worldwide. Only, Rachel didn’t work for Buzzfeed. She just made quizzes on the ‘Community’ part of the site. These included half a million hits for: “Like Or Pass On These Pop-Tart Flavors And We'll Guess Your Relationship Status”.
From time to time, Buzzfeed sent her swag – T-shirts, coffee mugs – as reward for her labours. I’m sure Rachel would one day like to be part of the money-based economy, not the coffee mug-based one. But then, she was already eating the lunch of head of quizzes, so maybe this economy just ain’t big enough for the both of them.
10 . THE BBC PARLIAMENT CHANNEL
Briefly out-rated MTV, during the big votes of two weeks ago. Sir Graham Brady chewing over amendments to procedural deadlines is the new I Want A Famous Face.
Permanent snaps now in the pipeline? Seriously? After Facebook Live and Twitter going to 280 characters, it seems like all of our social networks just want to merge into one giant blob of people shouting ideas and pictures and videos and stuff into an endless content vortex.
8. NICK CLEGG
The most naive man in British politics. Kept talking about ‘a new way of doing things’. Didn’t realise why the old way was so ingrained. Didn’t think screwing the students would be that bad. Didn’t think Cameron would screw him in turn. Now his first speech in his new position as Facebook’s Senior Acceptable Face Shill – was to warn of the dangers of over-regulating tech giants.
Yes, it seems sunny, optimistic Nice Guy Nick is about to be eaten alive by the sort of dead-eyed autobots who dominate US corporate culture; just as he was by the dead-eyed autobots who dominate the Tory party. He is the un-useful idiot.
=7. VOGUE BUSINESS
Vogue now has a magazine covering the grubby back end of the rag trade. Expect to see Anna Wintour touring Bangladeshi factories with the fire escapes painted on any day now. Expect Cara Delevingne exploring a new range of tunics presented by crowds of obsequious Vietnamese slavers.
=7. DANNY DYER’S RIGHT ROYAL FAMILY
On Who Do You Think You Are?, Britain’s original old gangster discovered he was a descendant of Thomas Cromwell, William The Conqueror and Edward III. As Danny himself might say: ‘cor.' Now, he’s being sent on a magical mystery tour through English history, courtesy of some enterprising TV producers who don’t care about winning awards.
Sample quote: “I’m going to get Vikinged out of my brain!”.
Other sample quote: “Let’s get speared up and start chopping some nuts off!”
6. A NEW SOCIAL NETWORK FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
For the under-30s, Microsoft Explorer was a website browser that attempted to make the internet that crucial bit less fast and useful. Think of it like an early version of the Slow Food movement. Anyway, Microsoft have decided to replace it with something called Microsoft Edge. And as part of that, they’ve bundled in something called Newsguard. Newsguard is an automatic fake news spotter, designed to help us all curb our vast intake of the fun stuff. Now, every time you go on the Mail through MS Edge, a bright red warning pops up: dailymail.co.uk “generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability”, it says, and gives a one-star rating.
For some reason, people working at the Mail seem fantastically displeased with this. They are: “in discussions with them to have this egregiously erroneous classification resolved as soon as possible.” So they’re changing their journalism practices then? Trebles all round!
4. SWARAN GURU
This high-flying nine-year-old from Kidderminster is guest-editing the Beano this week. One to watch, and surely destined for VICE’s Ten Under Ten list.
2. THE NEWSEUM
Ah, the Newseum. You’d never heard of it. And now it doesn’t exist.
But until the start of the month, the Newseum was a 643,000 square foot shrine to the media, right up in Washington DC, next to the Lincoln Memorial. It had a 3,262-year-old cuneiform brick from ancient Sumeria. It had a 2,756-year-old statue of the Egyptian god Thoth, the mythical inventor of writing. It cost $450 million to build. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, a News Museum.
It was meant to be a temple to the Fourth Estate, stacking itself pompously right between Capitol Hill and the White House. Started by the Freedom Foundation, major media companies had contributed much of its funding. ABC. NBC. Bloomberg. Time Warner. In 1999, when all of this was being thinkspaced, the MSM was at the very zenith of its cultural power. This was their Dotcom boom moment – hideous overspend, an idea in search of a purpose, underwritten by the hubris that these last days of Rome would go on forever.
Then things changed. Far from lionising Woodward and Bernstein the public decided they hated the infernal lie machine; instead of a temple to the divine spark of truth unto power, you just had a ziggurat of layoffs.
Turned out the public weren’t interested in spending $25 a ticket to check out a dying culture when they could attend the National Museum of The American Indian just down the road. This month, it was sold to Johns Hopkins for $372 million. If only there were still people who were good at writing who could make thinkpieces rich with analogy about it.