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9:35 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,, @emilyvdw, @jessesingal, @jordanfreiman, @jonathanchait, @parkermolloy, @ositanwanevu, The Guardian, @juddlegum, @popehat, @sapinker, @yascha_mounk, The World Is Yours*, New Republic, @jk_rowling, Variety, The Week, @baddiel, @erinbiba, @benyt, @darrengrimes_, @ericrweinstein, @sharonwaxman, @lostblackboy, @ritapanahi, @popehat, The Ludic Log, @neontaster, @mccormick_ted, @greenidgekerri, @tage_rai, @llw902, @nilegardiner, @sarahjamielewis, @davereaboi, @nberlat, @sharonwaxman, @tage_rai, @scottmgreer, @gothamgirlblue, @labuzamovies, @tage_rai, @kyebarker, @sharonwaxman, @sbarolo, @owillis, @wwwritingclub, @divinadecampo, @asteadwesley, @bethlynch2020, @bealelab, @lostblackboy, @mathewi, @aidanctweets, @popehat, @paulbloomatyale, @dennismhogan, @mazmhussain, @benyt, @mizzousundevil, @jmrivera02, @internethippo, @elivalley, @musiccitymark, @sanasaeed, @tomcoates, Conquest of the Useless, @originalspin, @catespice, @nberlat, @jbenton, @mathewi, @talkingbiznews, @nicolacoughlan, @dancow, @revrrlewis, @jonhaidt, @samthielman, @horowitz39, @nishachittal, @emilyvdw, @paulbloomatyale, @mathewi, @megbasham, @brinyfeminist, @blueboxdave, @aetherlev, Fox News, @mountain_goats, @maxwellstrachan, @juliacarriew, @juliacarriew, @lindaholmes, @lindaholmes, @lindaholmes, Breitbart, @erinbiba, @erinbiba, @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, Deadline, @jackposobiec, @jbenton, Jill Filipovic, @paulg, @rubinreport, @nototally, @ggreenwald, @tressiemcphd, @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
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
Men's lifestyle and sports website bought out of administration by VC firm Greencastle Capital, to be run by Iconic Labs, founded by Unilad founders  —  Men's news, sport and lifestyle website, which is a huge Facebook video publisher, has been bought out of administration.
Discussion: @jimwaterson
Jake Kanter / Deadline:
WarnerMedia hires Johannes Larcher, a former Hulu exec and current boss of Arabic language streamer Shahid, to lead the global rollout of HBO Max  —  EXCLUSIVE: WarnerMedia has hired Johannes Larcher, the former Hulu executive and current boss of Shahid, the word's largest Arabic language streamer …
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
 Earlier Picks: 
Sara Fischer / Axios:
The Information is launching a free weekly Chinese-language newsletter covering Silicon Valley and China's tech sector
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