A Trump vs. Twitter Week


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If I went back in time to describe this week on the internet to the 2015 version of myself, I wouldn’t have believed it.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic, protests against police brutality are gripping the country, and the president of the United States and Twitter are battling it out.

President Trump said in a tweet early Friday that people protesting the death of an African-American man in police custody in Minneapolis could be shot if they looted.

And it’s remarkable that the leader of the free world threatened military violence against civilians.

“Looking at Mr. Trump as an aggrieved user of a fractious internet forum, rather than a politician making high-minded claims about freedom of speech, clarifies the dynamics at play here,” he wrote.

Sigh, Norm. I hear you. I also have flipped open Netflix and Amazon Prime Video outside the United States and felt disappointed that a bunch of stuff was missing.

The reason is mostly the same as why you need a flow chart to watch TV: money.

Companies that own TV shows and movies often sell the rights to watch them separately in each country. You can’t watch the CBS digital series “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS online outside the United States because CBS sold the international rights to Netflix. Yes, it’s confusing!

This made more sense in the days when we watched stuff on TV or in movie theaters, and it feels antiquated at a time when there doesn’t need to be a difference between a Netflix viewer in Boise or in Bogotá. But old entertainment industry habits die hard, especially when a company can make more money selling each show separately in each country.

You could argue that because someone like Norm signed up for Netflix or Hulu in the United States, he should have access to all the same stuff no matter where he travels. That’s mostly not how it works. Yes, it’s annoying!

Disney paid big money to make “Frozen” movies, and companies pay a fortune for the chance to sell you digital access to N.F.L. games. No one wants you to find a sneaky way to watch without paying.



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