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8:55 AM ET, July 8, 2020


 Top News: 
New York Times:
How the Harper's letter grew from a core of about 20 people, led by Thomas Chatterton Williams, and how blowback built especially to J.K. Rowling's inclusion  —  An open letter published by Harper's, signed by luminaries including Margaret Atwood and Wynton Marsalis, argued for openness to “opposing views.”
Over 150 journalists, academics, and writers sign a letter criticizing what they see as narrowing boundaries of debate and increasing self-censorship  —  We welcome responses at  —  Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial.
Discussion: @harpers, @lindaholmes, @jennyboylan, @mattwelch,, @jordanfreiman, @emilyvdw, @jessesingal, @jonathanchait, @parkermolloy, @ositanwanevu, The Guardian, @juddlegum, @popehat, Variety, @sapinker, @yascha_mounk, New Republic, The World Is Yours*, The Week, @baddiel, @jk_rowling, Deadline, @erinbiba, @erinbiba, @benyt, @darrengrimes_, @mountain_goats, @ericrweinstein, @lindaholmes, @sharonwaxman, @lostblackboy, Fox News, @ritapanahi, @popehat, The Ludic Log, @neontaster, @mccormick_ted, @greenidgekerri, @tage_rai, @llw902, @nilegardiner, @sarahjamielewis, @davereaboi, @nberlat, @lindaholmes, @sharonwaxman, @tage_rai, @megbasham, @scottmgreer, @gothamgirlblue, @labuzamovies, @tage_rai, @kyebarker, @brinyfeminist, @sharonwaxman, @sbarolo, @owillis, @wwwritingclub, @divinadecampo, @asteadwesley, @juliacarriew, @bethlynch2020, @lindaholmes, @bealelab, @lostblackboy, @mathewi, @aidanctweets, @blueboxdave, @popehat, @paulbloomatyale, @maxwellstrachan, @dennismhogan, @mazmhussain, @erinbiba, @benyt, @mizzousundevil, @jmrivera02, @internethippo, @elivalley, @musiccitymark, @sanasaeed, @tomcoates, Conquest of the Useless, @originalspin, @catespice, @nberlat, @jbenton, @mathewi, @talkingbiznews, @nicolacoughlan, @dancow, @revrrlewis, @jonhaidt, @samthielman, @aetherlev, @horowitz39, @juliacarriew, @nishachittal, @emilyvdw, @paulbloomatyale, Breitbart, @mathewi, @popehat, @jackshafer, @nototally, @mathewi, @rafiletzter, @dianelyssa, @anitathetweeter, @velocciraptor, @coriewhalen, @inezfeltscher, @monachareneppc, @edmerea, @boringstein, @umm_catie, @mobute, @rottenindenmark, @paulconstant, @shane_burley1, @thomaschattwill, @parkermolloy, @thomaschattwill, @thomaschattwill, @thomaschattwill, @mattbc, @parkermolloy, @paulcrider, @kerrymflynn, @kerrymflynn, @courtneyscoffs, @sineadactually, @ctuckerprof, @prettycritical, @bariweiss, @rrrrnessa, Jill Filipovic, @jackposobiec, @jbenton, @paulg, @rubinreport, @nototally, @ggreenwald, @tressiemcphd, TheBlaze, @elijahdelmedigo, @samsacks and @ggreenwald
Mike Isaac / New York Times:
An independent audit commissioned by Facebook harshly criticizes the company, arguing that some of its decisions were “significant setbacks for civil rights”  —  An independent audit faulted the social network for “vexing and heartbreaking decisions” that affect its users — and potentially the November elections.
Free Press:
After meeting between leaders of Facebook, ADL, Free Press, NAACP, and Color Of Change, boycott organizers are unconvinced meaningful change will occur  —  Contact: Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838  —  WASHINGTON — On Tuesday afternoon, leaders of four of the organizations coordinating …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Amazon Fire TV adds live content from Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV  —  Amazon is upgrading its Fire TV's live TV experience through new integrations with several live TV streaming services, including Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV.  Live content from these services …
Nat Ives / Wall Street Journal:
Omnicom announces a deal to spend $20M on ads in podcasts distributed by Spotify in the second half of this year  —  Podcasters try to lure more marketers with high-profile talent and better ad technology  —  Omnicom Media Group plans to spend $20 million on advertising in podcasts distributed …
Discussion: Axios and @sarafischer
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Spotify can now make custom workout playlists based on answers to a questionnaire; the playlists can be as long as two hours and include both podcasts and music  —  Soundtrack Your Workout launches today  —  Spotify knows people are changing up their workout routines during the pandemic …
Discussion: TechCrunch and Engadget
Amazon's Twitch, Facebook, Nvidia, and others contend with allegations of sexual misconduct in the game streaming world, as dozens of women accuse 150+ people  —  - About 150 online players are accused of a range of misconduct  — Corporate sponsors rethink vetting of streamers they work with
Discussion: @olgakharif
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Comcast plans to invest $2B in Peacock by 2021, expects it to generate $2.5B in revenue by 2024 with 30M-35M users, says users gravitate to its curated channels  —  In September 2019, Steve Burke, then NBCUniversal chief executive, called Matt Strauss, with a question: Would he take the wheel of the Peacock project?
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 More News: 
Taylor Soper / GeekWire:
Some best-selling authors team up with Amazon and Penguin Random House in a suit against Kiss Library, which they say sold unauthorized ebooks of their work
Brian Welk / The Wrap:
AMC, Regal, Cinemark BJK Entertainment, and Bow Tie Cinemas sue the state of New Jersey for keeping theaters closed amid the pandemic as other venues reopen
Sara Fischer / Axios:
The Information is launching a free weekly Chinese-language newsletter covering Silicon Valley and China's tech sector
 Earlier Picks: 
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps amid rising tensions between US and China
Adam Rawnsley / The Daily Beast:
Conservative news sites like Newsmax have published opinion pieces from a network of at least 19 fake personas pushing Middle East propaganda over the past year
[Thread] Media companies that received PPP loans after US disclosed recipients: $5M-$10M for Wikimedia, $2M-$5M for Fortune, $1M-$2M for Digiday, and more