Liberals and conservatives dislike reading opposing views

Most research subjects, when offered the chance to win $10 and read essays that opposed their views, or $7 and read essays that confirmed their views, chose comfort over the higher potential prize. Liberals and conservatives reacted basically the same–with liberals slightly less willing to read conservative views. (I changed the click-baity headline, which sensationalized the issue as people having “zero interest in opposing views,” which is not what the numbers actually demonstrate.)…

Combating Fake News: An Agenda for Research and Action

Fake news is frustrating. Nothing new there. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Students in my freshman writing class often want to write their first college research paper on the topic of unrealistic images of women in advertising. Their first thesis is often something like “Advertisers should not damage women’s self-esteem by promoting such unhealthy body images.” When I ask them who should make advertisers change their ways, they usually…

Analysis | The fake news is coming from inside the White House

To believe Donald Trump, you must believe two largely contradictory things. | You must believe that there are a slew of leakers in the executive branch who are providing damning details to the press illegally, and who must be rooted out and punished. punished….You must also believe that the press makes up imaginary leakers simply to slowly and incrementally report false stories that are tangentially embarrassing to the president.  —Washington…

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Think Before You Tweet In the Wake of an Attack

Sobering analysis. Would I be able to follow this advice in the unthinkable event I had a personal account to share? Terrorists use social media to recruit, but they also depend on you and the media to use it to amplify their message….  The motivation for terrorism is not mere murder or maiming but the incitement of deep fear in an entire community or nation. To achieve that aim, terrorists…

Washington Post, Breaking News, Is Also Breaking New Ground

The Washington Post, famous for breaking the Watergate scandal that brought down Nixon’s presidency, is churning out top-quality journalism in the age of Trump. As an organization the Post is gaining readers, hiring journalists and scooping its competition. As a private company since 2013, when the deep-pocketed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought it for $250 million, The Post doesn’t disclose much financial data. But by all visible measures, including the…

Old English Has a Serious Image Problem

This fall I will be teaching Shakespeare again; but thereafter, as part of a curriculum redesign, Shakespeare will be rolled into a “Shakespeare in Context” course that will also need to address Beowulf, medieval drama, Arthurian legend, Chaucer, Marlowe, etc. I intend to do this by teaching five different Shakespeare plays, focusing on one play for a week, then on some other literary work for a week, and then on…