Understanding The Fake News Universe

The fake news universe is vast and ephemeral, and to some extent its dimensions are unknowable. But Media Matters’ research team spent hundreds of hours trying to map out as much of it as possible. Below is what we’ve learned and how we’ve come to define many of the moving parts that create an ecosystem for fake news to spread and thrive. —Media Matters

Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again

Long gone are the days when the media would agree not to film FDR in his wheelchair, on the grounds that the image of the president in a wheelchair would project an international image of America as weak. I think much of The Politico’s post is wishful thinking; and of course just because one media outlet publishes an essay advocating this position does not mean that all reporters will or…

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Bad Writing Costs Businesses Billions

This is thinkpiece rehtoric rather than an objectively measured result. It’s attractive to me because it supplies statistics that might help me sway the opinions of my students; I think they would be better off if they believed this, too, and if they shared this belief, our interactions would be less stressful and (I hope) more productive. But the solution isn’t as simple as hiring better writers, or putting more…

Journalism ethics and the elephant in the room.

I touched up an old handout on conflict of interest. Given Trump’s attitude toward the profession of journalism (which is far less convenient for him than presenting his unfiltered messages directly to his followers), this is a topic to watch closely. The point of “the Rosenthal Rule” is not to penalize any one political viewpoint; rather, the cub reporter who wanted to march in a protest has such a strong…

Wendy’s Bests Internet Troll, Then Unwittingly Posts Completely Unrelated, Obscure Racist Meme

I fixed the clickbaity title for you. A moderately amusing cautionary tale. Recognizing alt-right internet memes is now a marketing survival skill. “We like our tweets the same way we like to make hamburgers,” Wendy’s wrote in its bio. “Better than anyone expects from a fast food joint.” It lived up to those words this week, absolutely destroying a troll who dared to question its claim that its burgers are…

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The Left has a post-truth problem too. It’s called comedy.

As I gear up to teach about memes and fake news in a “Media Aesthetics” class, I am keeping track of good background articles so I can bring my students up to speed. Satire, like fake news, creates a sense of community through rejection. It delights in tearing down institutions but is useless at constructing them. Jonathan Swift said that satire was a mirror in which viewers discovered everybody’s face…

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When it comes to the truth, point of view really does matter.

You may have seen a version of this meme floating around. I don’t know the source of the original, but just now I came across an adaptation by Haplo Schaffer: I like it, but I had some thoughts of my own. Hah! And showing that Haplo is an open-minded good sport about this whole thing…. More feedback… again, Haplo is being admirably open-minded, and her followers are participating in a…