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10:35 AM ET, December 22, 2020


 Top News: 
Dominick Mastranglo / The Hill:
Newsmax claims it “has not reported as true certain claims” made by “various guests, attorneys and elected officials” on air about Smartmatic and Dominion  —  Conservative media outlet Newsmax issued a clarification on Monday about recent claims made by guests …
Ben Smith / New York Times:
Voting machine companies including Smartmatic have hired high-powered libel lawyers and, legal experts say, have strong cases if they sue Fox, Newsmax, and OAN
Alex Gallagher / NME:
The COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress includes the Felony Streaming Bill, which makes illegal streaming for profit a felony, with up to 10 years jail time  —  Targeting illegal for-profit streaming providers, not individual users  —  The US Congress has passed a COVID-19 stimulus bill …
David Shepardson / Reuters:
The COVID-19 relief bill includes a provision to expand forgivable government loans to additional struggling local news outlets  —  WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Congressional leaders said on Sunday that lawmakers agreed to expand forgivable government loans to additional struggling local news outlets …
Jem Aswad / Variety:
Congress' COVID-19 relief deal includes the Save Our Stages Act to give ~$15B in relief to independent music venues and movie theaters shut due to the pandemic
Mike Masnick / Techdirt:
The omnibus funding bill Congress passed contains the controversial CASE Act, introduces a small claims copyright system, and may increase copyright trolling
Wall Street Journal:
Draft lawsuit filed last week says Facebook and Google agreed to help each other in case of investigation of their pact to work together in online advertising  —  Draft lawsuit quotes Facebook's Sandberg saying Google pact was a ‘big deal strategically’  —  WASHINGTON— Facebook Inc …
Tim Baysinger / The Wrap:
Group Nine Media has launched a SPAC and plans to go public, according to an SEC filing on Monday  —  Group Nine Media has formed a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to an SEC filing on Monday.  —  The company, called Group Nine Acquisition Corp., was formed …
Wall Street Journal:
Sources: MGM Holdings has begun a formal sale process, looking for a price double its $5.5B valuation  —  Movie studio has tapped bankers to find a buyer, as media companies look to stock up on content  —  MGM Holdings Inc., the movie studio behind the “James Bond” franchise, is exploring a sale …
Jessica Bursztynsky / CNBC:
IAC says it plans to spin off its full stake in Vimeo, making it an independent, publicly trade company in Q2 2021  —  - IAC is spinning off its full stake in Vimeo, the company announced Tuesday.  — Following completion of the deal, which is expect to occur in the second quarter of 2021 …
New York Times:
An international phishing scam is tricking writers, editors, and agents into sharing unpublished book manuscripts, but the endgame of the scam is unclear  —  A phishing scam with unclear motive or payoff is targeting authors, agents and editors big and small, baffling the publishing industry.
Shoshana Wodinsky / Gizmodo:
Analysis: of the 60 biggest brands that paused Facebook ads in 2020, only ~10 are still pausing ads and some of those have kept spending using other FB tools  —  This past summer, dozens of major brands pulled their ad dollars from Facebook in a protest of the company's handling of the hate speech and disinformation.
Journalist Rahmatullah Nekzad was shot in Afghanistan on Monday, the fourth to be killed in the country in the last two months  —  KABUL (Reuters) - An Afghan journalist was shot dead by unknown assailants in Afghanistan's central Ghazni province on Monday, the fourth to be killed in the war-torn nation in last two months.
Discussion: Al Jazeera
Vikas SN / The Economic Times:
India-based VerSe Innovation, the company behind news app Dailyhunt and short video app Josh, raises $100M+ at $1B+ valuation from Google, Microsoft, and others  —  Dailyhunt parent VerSe Innovation has raised more than $100 million funding from tech giants Google and Microsoft …
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 More News: 
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
TikTok launches its first personalized annual recap feature, “Year on TikTok”, which highlights what sort of videos were watched the most, favorite tracks, more
 Earlier Picks: 
Washington Post:
The Washington Post announces expansion plans for 2021: new foreign bureaus in Sydney and Bogotá, breaking news hubs in London and Seoul, and more
Cecilia D'Anastasio / Wired:
Cyberpunk 2077's developer hamstrung reviewers by forcing NDAs and sending copies just days before launch to prevent players from seeing the buggy mess
Stephanie Clifford / Elle:
Profile of ex-Bloomberg reporter Christie Smythe, who quit her job and divorced her husband after she fell in love with the man she was covering, Martin Shkreli
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