On the Ethics of Rebranding a Former Trump Administration Official as an Amusing TV Personality

It’s also a disservice to readers to report on Spicer’s post-White House life and not mention how unusual and controversial his tenure was. This is a guy famous for meeting with reporters near the bushes on White House grounds, for coining the phrase “Holocaust centers,” for creating the necessity for courtroom sketch artists in the White House briefing room, for defending the detention and vetting of a five-year-old Iranian immigrant. Events like these defined Spicer’s…

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Students Learning about First Amendment Freedoms

In an opening lecture for my journalism class, I listed the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. I’ve referred to the importance of the First Amendment several times, but I haven’t listed the freedoms in class. One week after the opening lecture, I asked students to list those freedoms on a quiz. If I hadn’t specified that there should be five, perhaps students wouldn’t have…

Anti-globalism Is Common Factor in Social Media Conspiracy Theories, says UW Prof

Fascinating academic effort to find a pattern in apparently random conspiracy theories that regularly pop up in our infostreams during social crises. Experts usually dismiss them because they are so wild and unlikely, and have thus failed to notice their impact. Starbird’s insight was to map the digital connections between all this buzzing on Twitter with a conglomeration of websites. Then she analyzed the content of each site to try…

“The threat is no longer simply from government censorship.”

After using examples from Warsaw and Prague, the 2007 edition of my journalism textbook predicts: The threat is no longer simply from government censorship. With new technology, government is more likely to subvert the press by trying to discredit its integrity and dilute its influence. It has more tools to do that in the twenty-first century, creating pseudo-journalism in the form of faux news websites, video news releases, subsidies to…

Judge orders Montana congressman who assaulted a reporter to be formally booked on assault charge, months after his election

A judge has ordered Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte to be photographed and fingerprinted for assaulting a reporter in May, opening the door for the congressman’s mug shot to be plastered in opponents’ campaign ads in next year’s election. […]  The day after the assault, Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist in the special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as Montana’s only congressman. | Gianforte pleaded guilty in June. | Gianforte was fined $385 and ordered to perform…