U.S. Justice Department approves Fox-Disney deal

Time to break out the champagne in Tinseltown.

Hollywood just recorded its biggest-ever box office revenue in any quarter in its history. The second quarter box office hit $3.33 billion, a 23 percent increase on the same quarter last year.

AMC Theaters released a statement to mark the occasion and thank their studio partners for making such great titles. (Maybe now is a great time for studio owners to have a conversation about releasing new movies at home?)

“Avengers: Infinity War” was the top movie in the second quarter, while “Black Panther” took the honors in the first quarter, according to BoxOfficeMojo. In the first half of the year, box office revenue is running 9.6 percent ahead of last year. 

The New York Times editorial board smells a rat.

It took just six months for Fox and Disney to win approval for their $70 billion merger, while AT&T’s merger with CNN-owner Time Warner took more than 18 months. The editorial board wonders if politics is at play.

The Justice Department’s anti trust chief Makan Delrahim told The Times in the fall: “All enforcement decisions will be based on the facts and the law. Not on politics.”

But The Times column on Sunday concludes: “It is becoming harder and harder to believe that.”

Justice did get a concession from the parties to prevent concentration of sports rights ownership. The new combination, presuming Comcast doesn’t come back to the table, will sell off Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. But who might buy them?

Dealbreaker weighs in with a suggestion that Madison Square Garden could pick up YES network and also has a reminder that millions of viewers in Los Angeles still can’t watch The Dodgers thanks to a multi-year stand-off between the channel that owns the rights, owned by cable company Charter, and AT&T unit DirecTV. The Justice Department, it seems, can’t protect everyone. 

A DOJ official said in response: “Each proposed transaction presents its own unique facts and therefore competitive analysis. The timing for review depends on the structure of the transaction presented, the timeliness of compliance by the parties, and the willingness of parties to address (through divestitures or otherwise) issues that raise competitive concerns. The Antitrust Division works diligently to quickly review transactions within the times prescribed by Congress and agreed to by the parties.” 

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web, is devastated at how his invention is being used for harm.

In an interview for the August edition of Vanity Fair, he describes being “devastated” with Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle.

 “We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places,” he told interviewer Katrina Brooker. The centralized web, “ended up producing— with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform — a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”

Japanese finance data and media company Uzabase has acquired Quartz in a deal that will value the company between $75 million and $110 million depending on Quartz’s financial performance. 

Quartz, launched by Atlantic Media in 2012, was meant to be a digital competitor to more established business publications like The Economist and The Financial Times. The website gained a reputation for its data visualization and quirky product efforts, including a news app that communicated news via text conversations. 

Uzabase said in a press release that it plans to push Quartz to pursue more subscription revenue, adding to a growing move for digital media away from a reliance on advertising income — money that flows mostly to Google and Facebook.

President Donald Trump on Friday addressed the deaths of five staff members at the Capital Gazette newspaper.

“This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief,” Trump said at a White House a tax event. “Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”

He added: “My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life. We will not ever leave your side.”

(Watch the clip here and read NBCNews.com’s report of the event.)

Nevertheless, a plenty of people on Twitter pointed out the President’s prior comments about the media being the “enemy of the American people.” 

But drawing any connections between the incident and the president’s “enemy” comments isn’t a great idea if you want to keep your job however. Reuters editor Rob Cox apologized for a tweet,which was later deleted reading, in which he wrote “blood is on your hands, Mr. President,” according to The Wrap.

CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp tweeted what many reporters are feeling in light of the attack: “This may be an awful case of a disgruntled former employee. But the fact that journalists everywhere are feeling afraid as a result is real. Stop blaming the media for all your problems. We aren’t perfect, but we’re a vital check on power, and we bring communities together.”

There is a growing push for media organizations to limit their coverage of the perpetrators of mass shootings — and it’s organizing around #NoNotoriety. On Friday, #NoNotoriety became a rallying cry after a man killed five people at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.

The campaign has been around since 2012, founded by Tom and Caren Teves after their son was killed in the 2012 shooting at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado

“The quest for notoriety and infamy is a well known motivating factor in rampage mass killings and violent copycat crimes,” the organization states on its website. In particular, the organization calls for media organizations to adhere the principle of minimizing harm, recognize that infamy can inspire copycat crimes, downplay names, and elevate victims.

Lois Beckett, a senior reporter at The Guardian, tracked coverage of the shooting through her Twitter feed, noting a wide range in how outlets mentioned the shooter.

They published a damn paper

The Capital Gazette put out an edition on Friday, a day after a gunman killed five people at the newspaper. Journalists for the paper worked from the parking lot, with reporter Chase Cook tweeting a phrase that has already become a rallying cry for journalists: “We are putting out a damn paper tomorrow.”

Capital Gazette intern Anthony Messenger spoke to “Today” about his horrific experience at the newspaper yesterday where five people were shot dead by a gunman. Watch his interview here.

“It’s not something anyone can prepare themselves for,” he told interviewer Savannah Guthrie.  Messenger had only been there for four weeks.

Among those killed at the newspaper was Rob Hiaasen, the brother of author Carl Hiaasen. The Baltimore Sun has a piece on him.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalist sent out a statement last night noting that seven journalists have been killed in the U.S. while doing their jobs since the organization started keeping records in 1992. Executive director Joel Simon said: “Violence against journalists is unacceptable, and we welcome the thorough investigation into the motivations behind the shooting.” Read the full statement.

A thoughtful reporter at Bloomberg started a GoFundMe page for the families of the dead, which quickly exceeded its fund raising goal. The fundraiser has brought in just less than $100,000 after having set an initial goal of $30,000.  

Canadian prime minster Justin Trudeau tweeted an expression of sorrow for what happened in Annapolis, with a brief explainer on what journalists do. His wife Sophie Gregoire is a former journalist.

It was a valiant effort to compete with YouTube, but Verizon has decided to shutter its Go90 online video platform. 

Verizon launched the platform in 2015 with plenty of fanfare in an effort to get a foothold on the growing world of online video — particularly popular among young people. Go90 featured original series from a variety of major media partners and celebrities — one of LeBron James’ media companies had a show — and even acquired another video startup  in an effort to boost the video platform.

None of it worked. Verizon will instead focus its efforts on Oath, the media operation that is a combination of AOL and Yahoo, as it continues to try to become the third major player in online advertising behind Google and Facebook.

Fusion-owned Gizmodo Media Group has concluded its buyouts — and 44 people are headed for the door. 

The self-imposed exits, first reported on Thursday by the Daily Beast, come as an alternative to layoffs, which had been expected after layoffs hit Univision, which owns Fusion and Gizmodo Media Group. 

It’s been a tough stretch for digital media companies, with layoffs at Vox Media, BuzzFeedCNN’s digital operationVice and more.

Viceland hasn’t had much success aside from its late-night show, “Desus & Mero.”

Now, the channel doesn’t even have that. The popular duo is leaving Vice’s cable channel, with its last show scheduled for Thursday. The duo are headed to Showtime.  

Meanwhile, Vice’s cable channel is struggling with low ratings and reruns of “Hoarders.”

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