Media legend Sumner Redstone is no longer in control of his billion-dollar empire. The 92-year-old has been replaced as executive chairman of his two big media companies, CBS and Viacom. Next, a look at a controversial change in management over at L.A. School Report. The website that covers the city’s public schools has been taken over by a pro-charter organization. After that, Madeleine talks to writer-producer-director George Miller about the latest installment of his Mad Max franchise and the inspiration for the first movie. Then, the Super Bowl 50 is taking place in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. But the weeklong party leading up to it will be in San Francisco – and some people are not happy about that. And last but not least, our usual web roundup with Xeni Jardin.
FROM THIS EPISODE
The media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as executive chairman of his two major companies: Viacom and CBS. Redstone is now 92 and investors claim that his health has been waning for some time. But his resignation hasn’t ceased the conflict that surrounds his empire. His daughter, Shari Redstone was the only one who voted against the election of his Viacom successor, Philippe Dauman. She said she was advocating for Viacom’s shareholders, who are not happy with Dauman’s performance. And Redstone’s longtime companion, Manuela Herzer, is the one who filed the lawsuit calling Redstone mentally unfit. That’s some major drama.
Photo: Danny Moloshok/Reuters
The pro-charter organization The Seventy Four has taken over the education site L.A. School Report, which covers schools in Los Angeles. The Seventy Four was co-founded by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown. It’s mainly funded by pro-charter supporters. Brown is also embroiled in a lawsuit aimed at overturning tenure protections for New York City public school teachers. That’s why the takeover worries teachers and other union leaders. They think The Seventy Four’s control will lead to less transparency and could undermine the journalistic integrity at the L.A. School Report.
L.A. School Report
This week’s tech news was all about social media. We talk to Xeni Jardin about “The End of Twitter,” an article in The New Yorker magazine last week that proclaimed the death of Twitter was upon us. Social media users weren’t too happy about that. We also discuss Instagram’s first scripted series, a college calling for a major fitness crackdown involving Fitbit, and the new Whitney Museum exhibit “Laura Poitras: Astro Noise.”
George Miller is everywhere. He was just selected as the head of the Cannes Film Festival jury, not to mention his latest film in the Mad Max franchise – Max Max: Fury Road – is up for 10 Oscars. He sat down with Madeleine Brand to discuss the very first Mad Max film, and the inspiration for the intricate characters in his films.
George Miller, filmmaker
Super Bowl 50 is taking place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara this Sunday. Fans and attendees will descend upon nearby San Francisco this weekend to celebrate and watch the game. But San Francisco residents are so not down with that. There will be protests, displacement of vendors, and a ton of traffic. We have a comedic take on the situation with lifelong San Francisco resident Nato Green.
More From Press Play with Madeleine Brand
What's the future of Facebook's A.I.? Mark Zuckerberg apologized on Wednesday for how Facebook handled the Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying his company will protect users’ privacy. But Facebook is heavily investing in artificial intelligence that could potentially mean more sophisticated data mining of its users.
Can we rein in tech giants? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement today saying his company will protect user data and investigate apps with access to his social network. British firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly used Facebook user data for political purposes. We talk about reining in Facebook and billionaire tech leaders.
Why black boys from rich families have a 50-50 chance of falling into poverty New research shows that black boys raised in U.S. -- even in the richest neighborhoods -- still earn less money when they grow up than white boys of similar backgrounds. But that’s not the case for women. Black and white women usually track together, while black men rarely make it to the same levels as white men.
California case: free speech v. abortion rights Crisis pregnancy centers are generally run by pro-life groups that aim to convince pregnant women not to get abortions. A California law requires that employees tell their clients that the state offers free and low-cost abortions and other family planning services. Now a group of these centers is arguing that the law violates their freedom of speech.
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