paper trail

Walter Mosley on history and power; Staff cuts at The Outline

Walter Mosley. Photo: David Shankbone

The Outline has laid off six employees, including the site’s two staff writers, Fast Company reports. “This news is not fun. It sucks to cut good people,” editor Joshua Topolsky told the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Mullin. “But it is incredibly important to build something sustainable.”

“American democracy requires a functioning press that informs voters and creates a shared set of facts,” argues Chuck Todd in The Atlantic’s Ideas section, which officially launched yesterday. “If journalists are going to defend the integrity of their work, and the role it plays in sustaining democracy, we’re going to need to start fighting back.”

At Lithub, Walter Mosley reflects on history, power, and his new novel, John Woman. “When you can eliminate or paralyze identity, make your enemies’ cultures either nonexistent or criminal then you’ve done one better than genocide,” he writes, “you’ve made it so that not only is your enemy gone, she never even existed.”

“If you want to know what happens to a country that has opened itself entirely to Facebook, look to the Philippines,” writes BuzzFeed News’s Davey Alba. “What happened there — what continues to happen there — is both an origin story for the weaponization of social media and a peek at its dystopian future.”

Despite the recent backlash against the New Yorker’s decision to invite Steve Bannon to speak at its festival, The Economist has defended its choice to host a similar conversation at its own Open Future Festival. At the New York Times, Bret Stephens claims that Bannon’s disinvitation means that David Remnick “is no longer the editor of The New Yorker. Twitter is.” At the Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan writes that interviewing people like Bannon is of little use to society. “Challenging the likes of Bannon . . . only makes these figures into folk heroes, bravely telling their would-be truths to a corrupt media elite,” she explains. “It would be better to stop obsessively looking back at how Trump came to be, turning 2016 this way and that like some dark prism.”