Analysis | President Trump is losing his war with the media

My Media Aesthetics students are studying the power of fake news. This is good news for supporters of the First Amendment. A new poll from Quinnipiac University suggests that while people may be broadly unhappy with the mainstream media, they still think it’s more credible than Trump. The president regularly accuses the press of “fake news,” but people see more “fake news” coming out of his own mouth. The poll…

Advice for My Conservative Students

A professor who had been a conservative undergraduate (but who now identifies as libertarian-left) offers advice to red students who feel marginalized in a blue academy. Take the tremendous opportunity of a college education to sharpen your skills and deepen your knowledge. Read Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Russell Kirk, Thomas Sowell, Michael Oakeshott and Peggy Noonan. Acknowledge arguments you disagree with on their own terms, and respond to their substance.…

John Oliver Returns to Out-News the News—by Ignoring Trump

I prefer reading and listening to the news rather than watching it, but I’m glad to know that some TV news is focusing on depth. While cable news and online reporters struggle to report on Kellyanne Conway’s most recent TV appearance or fact-check the latest Sean Spicer press conference, Oliver and his team of four researchers can quietly spend months on a single 20-minute segment about something that will be…

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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…

Trump’s Claims About Media Coverage of Terror Attacks Are Bogus

The difference between PR and journalism is that journalists aren’t doing their jobs unless they tick somebody off by reporting news that at least some of the people involved wish had never been reported. Facts matter. I have no doubt [Trump] truly believes the only reason people have criticized his executive order imposing a travel ban from seven Muslim countries is because they don’t know how serious the problem is.…

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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…