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An open letter to Trump from the US press corps

This is the message I’ve been waiting for. Perfect reading assignment to start off my journalism class next week. Blunt, insightful, scrappy, professional. No whining, finger-pointing, or distractions. We will set higher standards for ourselves than ever before. We credit you with highlighting serious and widespread distrust in the media across the political spectrum. Your campaign tapped into that, and it was a bracing wake-up call for us. We have to…

Facebook Has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone But Facebook

Facebook has no financial incentive to care whether the links we click on point to quality journalism, a silly “Which pop culture figure are you” poll, a basically true story with a sensationalized or misleading headline, pictures from a friend’s vacation, or a completely fabricated work of propaganda. When I work with my handheld or tablet, it’s a pain to get the URL of a story I find on Facebook.…

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…

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…

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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…

This Is How Tyranny Begins (Robert Reich)

As the faculty advisor to a college journalism program, I am very interested in the relationship between professional journalists and the president-elect. A free press is a cornerstone of democracy. The GOP played the electoral college game better than the DNC, such that Clinton’s popular vote did not match the electoral college outcome. Media pundits who were hopeful for and enamored of Clinton badly underestimated Trump’s popularity in certain states — a blindness…