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White House Bars Times and Other News Outlets From Briefing

Kudos to the reporters from Time and AP who showed solidarity with the banned outlets. Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been…

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.…