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Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media

Seymour HershSeymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist".

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Google argues for right to continue scanning Gmail

GMailGoogle's attorneys say their long-running practice of electronically scanning the contents of people's Gmail accounts to help sell ads is legal, and are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to stop the practice.

In court records filed in advance of a federal hearing scheduled for Thursday in San Jose, Google argues that "all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing."

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Snowden suspected of bypassing electronic logs

Edward SnowdenThe U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

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Al Jazeera launches US television news service

Al Jazeera AmericaAl Jazeera America will be available in almost 48 million US households, offering 14 hours of news each day.

The new network replaces Current TV, the cable television network founded by former US Vice President Al Gore, which the Qatar-owned broadcaster acquired in January 2013 for around $500m (£308m).

However, it has yet to sign agreements with major operators, such as Time Warner Cable, to carry the channel.

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U.S. Spends $24 Million On ‘Propaganda Plane' Few Can See or Hear

Propaganda planeIt's difficult to find a more wasteful government program.

For the last six years, the U.S. government has spent more than $24 million to fly a plane around Cuba and beam American-sponsored TV programming to the island's inhabitants. But every day the plane flies, the government in Havana jams its broadcast signal. Few, if any, Cubans can see what it broadcasts.

The program is run by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, and for the last two years, it has asked Congress to scrap the program, citing its exorbitant expense and dubious cost-effectiveness. "The signal is heavily jammed by the Cuban government, significantly limiting this platform's reach and impact on the island," reads the administration's fiscal year 2014 budget request.

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Reuters' climate-change coverage 'fell by nearly 50% with sceptic as editor'

ReutersReuters' climate-change coverage fell by nearly 50% after a climate sceptic joined the news agency as a senior editor, a study has found.

The sharp decline in coverage since 2011, recorded by the Media Matters for America advocacy group, reinforces charges from a former staffer that Reuters cut back on climate stories under the influence of Paul Ingrassia, who is now the agency's managing editor.

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Helen Thomas, pioneer journalist, dies at 92

Helen ThomasHelen Thomas, the irrepressible White House correspondent who used her seat in the front row of history to grill nine presidents — often to their discomfort and was not shy about sharing her opinions, died Saturday. She was 92.

Thomas, who died at her apartment in Washington, had been ill for a long time, and in and out of the hospital before coming home Thursday, according to a friend, Muriel Dobbin.

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