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Journalists: The “Enemy of the American People”; Also, an “Accountability” Poll

I seem to be educating future enemies of the American people. Donald Trump has branded his critics in the US press “not my enemy” but the “enemy of the American people”, in a tweet that came a day after he launched a sustained attack on the media during a White House press conference. In his latest barb aimed at US journalists, the Republican billionaire took to Twitter to accuse reporters…

First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia

When my son was about five, I sat him on my lap and let him explore the world of Riven (the sequel to the point-and-click adventure Myst). I remember feeling his back muscles tense up when he approached a cave and the music got creepy. “Can I go in?” he asked. I told him he could do whatever he wanted. He turned to look at me, as if to assess…

I touched up an intro to hypertext essays from 2000.

When I initially wrote this introduction to hypertext essays in 2000, my assumption was that readers would be experienced writers who already knew what an essay was, so that I could use that knowledge to differentiate between an ordinary essay and a hypertext essay. By 2017, we are teaching “multimodal composition” in our freshman writing classes. Some of the students come in with great writing skills (and I always tell them…

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My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – it’s not Orwell, he warned, it’s Brave New World

As my father [Neil Postman] pointed out, a written sentence has a level of verifiability to it: it is true or not true – or, at the very least, we can have a meaningful discussion over its truth. (This was pre-truthiness, pre-“alternative facts”.) But an image? One never says a picture is true or false. It either captures your attention or it doesn’t. The more TV we watched, the more…

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Journalists call out White House claims on terror reporting

The easily-disproved surface-level claim, that the media have not “adequately” reported on terror, is nerd-baiting. What’s more important to the White House seems to be that the public fear imminent and ongoing attacks by Muslims, and now journalists around the world are reminding the public that they covered all these incidents (including minor ones, such as knife attacks in which the only casualty was the terrorist), which keeps those incidents…

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Close reading is hard to do in a state of normalized outrage.

So this “Muslim ban” thing… is a ban or not? Does it even have to do with Muslims or not? In the Washington Post, scholar Tom Nichols writes: Trump promised a Muslim ban during the campaign. But the executive order now running into multiple challenges is not actually a Muslim ban: It affects the citizens, regardless of faith, of several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa but has…