paper trail

William Gibson to write new novel; Elisabeth Moss on the timeliness of "The Handmaid's Tale"

William Gibson. Photo: Fred Armitage

The standing committee of the US Senate Daily Press Gallery has decided not to move forward with Breitbart’s application for permanent press credentials. The website’s temporary passes will expire at the end of May. The committee was concerned about Breitbart’s many conflicts of interest inside the White House, as well as “the fact that Breitbart is now without a managing editor entirely.” In a statement, the website said that they are “unequivocally entitled to permanent Senate Press Gallery credentials and is determined to secure them.”

The New York Times talks to science-fiction novelist William Gibson, whose upcoming book explores the attempts of Londoners in the twenty-second century, after “decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80 percent of humanity,” to interfere with the history of an alternative 2017 San Francisco, in which “Hillary Clinton won the election.” Gibson said he began writing the novel before the 2016 election, and that the results forced him to reconceptualize the whole book. “I assumed that if Trump won, I’d be able to shift a few things and continue to tell my story,” he said. “It was immediately obvious to me that there had been some fundamental shift and I would have to rebuild the whole thing.” Agency will be published by Berkley next January.

Greek-yogurt maker Chobani is suing Infowars’s Alex Jones for defamation, after articles and videos on his site “falsely linked the company to child rape and a tuberculosis outbreak.” The company says that Jones has ignored repeated requests to remove the offending articles. In a statement, Jones blamed the lawsuit on George Soros, citing White House and Congressional sources. “I’m not backing down, I’m never giving up, I love this,” he said. “They have jumped the trillion-pound great white shark on this baby.”

Variety’s Maureen Ryan looks at the making of Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which premieres today. Elisabeth Moss says that she was drawn to the show due to the timely nature of its story. “It is not the distant future and it is not the distant past,” she said. “It’s now.” After the trailer was released, Atwood said that people asked her if it was a documentary. “Not quite yet,” she responded.

Farhad Manjoo looks at Facebook’s changing attitude toward the problem of fake news. Manjoo first visited Facebook headquarters in January, before Trump’s inauguration. At that point, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was still skeptical that his company had any responsibility toward the issue. “Echo chambers were a concern,” Manjoo writes, “but if the source was people’s own confirmation bias, was it really Facebook’s problem to solve?” A month later, Manjoo was invited back to Facebook’s offices, which look “less like the headquarters of one of the world’s wealthiest companies and more like a Chipotle with standing desks,” to discuss a draft of Zuckerberg’s manifesto for fixing Facebook’s fake news problem. Manjoo notes that at that point, Zuckerberg was still unsure about the plan. “He had almost as many questions for us . . . as we had for him,” Manjoo writes. “When I suggested that it might be perceived as an attack on Trump, he looked dismayed.”