Listen to Slate Money via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play. On this week's episode, Emily Peck, Felix Salmon, Anna Szymanski, and Jordan Weissmann discuss: In the Slate Plus segment: Is Billions or Succession the best financial show on TV? Slate Plus members: Get your ad-free podcast feed. Emily Peck is a senior reporter at HuffPost. Felix Salmon is a journalist. Anna Szymanski is a corporate consultant who previously worked in emerging-markets investment.
The minute after I watched the first episode of The Wire, I found myself asking: Is this the best show ever to be on television? So of course I've followed David Simon's work through his post–Hurricane Katrina New Orleans series Treme and later his '70s-porn-era New York City drama The Deuce. Like me, Simon once paid his rent primarily as a journalist, but he leveraged his newspaper years into creating TV drama that, if anything, was as good as (or maybe better than) the best journalism I'd seen until then--capturing crime and social problems with a consistent recognition that our real-life heroes, like our real-life villains, have a gift for being their own worst enemies. On Twitter, Simon has won a unique reputation as a prolific hurler of baroque insults targeting those he believes are poisoning the social media platform. After the 2016 election, people in my feed would tag me regarding Simon's tweets comparing both Twitter trolls and genuinely monstrous people like Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to Hitler, Nazis, fascists, and the like. Some clearly hoped that, as the creator of Godwin's law, I might render a verdict against him as a Godwin's lawbreaker, but I had already written that informed, knowledgeable Nazi comparisons won't earn my criticism. At its best, I saw Simon's frequently colorful exercise of his First Amendment rights as high-quality performance art.
Former New York State Homeland Security Director Michael Balboni says Russians have used American technology against the U.S. Operatives of the Kremlin-linked troll farm called the Internet Research Agency reportedly created Twitter accounts pretending to be local newspapers -- and shared real local stories rather than fake news. According to NPR, at least 48 separate Twitter accounts were created well before the 2016 presidential election and were designed to look like legitimate city newspapers. In some cases, they used names of newspapers from the past, such as the Chicago Daily News, which folded in 1978. The accounts, some of which gathered nearly 20,000 followers, didn't purposely spread false news and instead shared credible local news stories without any particular slant. NPR notes that the plan for such accounts was to create trust among media consumers before starting to infuse misinformation into its shared posts.
Films that wrestle with the rapidly changing nature of war, though, are rarer. As drone warfare continues its slow march into public consciousness, Eye in the Sky is the best movie yet to tackle the legal and moral quagmire surrounding modern technological warfare. To do that, Eye in the Sky goes granular, telling the story of one particular mission on one particular day. In the movie, opening wide today, British colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) oversees a secret operation to capture a terrorist cell in Nairobi, Kenya. When the mission uncovers a more immediate threat than anticipated, though, the situation escalates.