No, Dr. Seuss is not being “banned” or “censored” — but Dr. Seuss Enterprises is voluntarily retiring six books that contain racist stereotypes

It’s nothing new that Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel used racist stereotypes, particularly in his wartime political cartoons. I’m seeing social media chatter from people who a few days ago were up in arms about the gender of a potato (which was overblown, manufactured hype) and who are now leaping to the defense of Dr. Seuss, who is (according to the memes) being “banned” or “cancelled.” In fact, it was the…

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I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about the gender of a plastic potato with detachable body parts.

  I can’t believe I’m fact-checking a viral story about a plastic potato, but Hasbro is removing the “Mr.” from its “Potato Head” logo, and offering a new mix-and-match package that includes two potato bodies, one baby potato, and a bunch of loose parts that will let kids put them together however they want. That doesn’t mean it’s discarding or re-gendering the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters.  (Though the…

No, these “Perspective matters” photographers aren’t misrepresenting the size of a fire in Paris

I have shared and liked this image, and incorporated it in lesson plans. The juxtaposition suggests that the little knot of photographers is hunkering down in order to make a small fire appear more threatening in front of L’ Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I have seen plenty of cases where unrelated images were juxtaposed and mislabeled, then shared by third parties who aren’t aware of the manipulation, and are…

Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers: Four Moves

The confirmation bias describes the very human tendency to reject evidence that challenges our worldview, and to seek out — and often cling to — evidence that supports it. If we believe black cats are bad luck, we remember every time a bad thing happened to us after we saw a black cat. If someone we love tells us we will catch a cold if we go outside with wet…

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No, Kirk and Uhura didn’t share the first interracial kiss on television

Great post from Fake History Hunter: It is often said that the first interracial kiss on TV was the (involuntary) kiss between Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) and translator and communications officer Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in the Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” that was broadcast on the 22nd of November 1968. This is not the case. There had of course been interracial kisses before in Star Trek but…

Man arrested in DC with weapons is released; says he made a mistake

A man arrested at DC checkpoint yesterday tells the Washington Post he is a private security guard, hired to protect media equipment. Yes, lots of people are understandably uptight after the insurrection at the Capitol last week; but in America, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Wesley Allan Beeler has already been released — a sign the authorities don’t consider him a terroristic threat.…

Should you trust media bias charts? – Poynter

Traditional journalism values a focus on news reporting that is fair and impartial, guided by principles like truth, verification and accuracy. But those standards are not observed across the board in the “news” content that people consume. Tim Groeling, a communications professor at the University of California Los Angeles, said some consumers take too much of the “news” they encounter as impartial. When people are influenced by undisclosed political bias…

MAGA World Is Splintering: Following the riot at the Capitol, Trump supporters are having an existential crisis on Twitter.

Bryson Gray, a 29-year-old rapper and Donald Trump superfan from North Carolina, wants to make one thing clear: It was a group of the president’s most loyal supporters that rioted in the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday, and nobody else. When I spoke with Gray yesterday, he said he had been “too late” to get inside the Capitol itself with the rest of the mob, which broke windows and chanted…

Fact Check: No, an NPR story on the Trump supporters’ attempted coup dated January 6, 2021 9:33 AM ET is not a sign of a conspiracy theory

According to the Internet Archive, this is a story NPR posted at 9:33 this morning. As events developed, and the story changed, NPR updated this page — drastically. As you can see, the headline and the picture are different; though the date the page was first created is still there, the page now also includes an “Updated at 3.08pm ET” time stamp. (The blue highlighting is mine.) Conspiracy theorists are…

I’m glad President Trump was right about the coronavirus vaccine

In May, NBC published a “Fact Check” challenging President Trump’s prediction that there would be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.   NBC was factually reporting the answers they got when they asked experts. Those experts didn’t say there would be no vaccine, they said it would be extremely unlikely. The fact that an unlikely thing happened is not evidence of a media conspiracy against the 45th…

Oh, No. YouTube is Deleting Videos.

Oh no.  First YouTube institutes a “COVID-19 Medical Misinformation Policy” and starts deleting videos that tout fake cures or discourage people from following the medical advice of the WHO; then, YouTube takes a stand against any video that “misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.” What’s next? Will they go after videos that include the phrase  “Merry Christmas?” Or…

Trump communications director Murtaugh rallies supporters by tweeting fake Washington Times front page

Here’s more evidence of just how crucial it is to the Trumpiverse to sustain the narrative that “the media” are the enemy. Earlier today, Trump’s Director of Communications Tim Murtaugh tweeted a picture of a Washington Times banner headline announcing the victory of “PRESIDENT GORE,” as “a reminder that the media doesn’t select the Present.” Also in the same tweet was a photo of that page plastered in what appears…

Networks cut away from Trump’s White House address

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC, CBS and NBC all cut away from President Donald Trump on Thursday as he spoke from the White House to make an unfounded accusation that the presidential election was being stolen from him. Trump had tried to commandeer the nation’s airwaves at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the East Coast, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed…

Scientists thought only male birds sang – until women joined the research

For more than 150 years, scientists have considered bird song to be an exclusively male trait, but female scientists have changed that. Americans often idealize scientists as unbiased, objective observers. But scientists are affected by conscious and unconscious biases, just as people in other fields are. Studies of birds’ vocal behavior clearly show how research approaches can be affected by the people who do the work. —theconversation.com

Far-Right Twitter Trolls Won’t Admit They Were Wrong About Killing of a “Patriot” in Denver

  It was a reporter’s bodyguard, not an anti-fascist activist, who shot and killed a right-wing demonstrator who had assaulted him. The viral spread of those false claims apparently alarmed the Denver Police Department, which had taken Dolloff into custody along with the journalist he was guarding and quickly determined that they were not left-wing protesters. Less than four hours after the shooting, the department tried to stem the tide…

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, story that says Pence has tested positive for coronavirus

Deadline seems to have briefly published, then taken down, a breaking news story including the sentence “Pence announced late Wednesday that he is among those who have tested positive in the ongoing White House coronavirus outbreak.” 1. Google search for “tom tapp coronavirus pence” shows a hit for a Deadline story with a headline prefaced “PREP. DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL THE NEWS CROSSES.” 2. Clicking the URL takes you to…

Here’s How the Pandemic Finally Ends

This is the end of the coronavirus pandemic. And this is how it could happen in the United States: By November 2021, most Americans have received two doses of a vaccine that, while not gloriously effective, fights the disease in more cases than not. Meanwhile, Americans continue to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, and the Covid-19 numbers drop steadily after a series of surges earlier in the year. Eventually,…

The false link between Amy Coney Barrett and The Handmaid’s Tale, explained

One of the weirder ways this debate has played out since Barrett was first discussed as a potential Supreme Court nominee is the fight over whether or not People of Praise, the group of which she is a member, is also one of the inspirations for The Handmaid’s Tale. In Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel (and its recent TV adaptation), fertile women are forced to live as childbearing slaves called handmaids. The book isn’t an established inspiration — but the story has developed legs anyway.

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The phrase “debate begins” in the headlines of multiple stories on coronavirus does not mean sneaky journalists copy-pasted a press release

If you encounter the same story on different news sites, that does not mean you caught sneaky America-hating fake news “journalists” in the act. A meme I recently encountered shows three slightly different coronavirus headlines, all of which use the phrase “debate begins.” Text shared along with the meme suggests the repetition means the story is a copy-pasted press release. I did some simple Googling. You can follow the links…