Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion approach Emerald City in this still from The Wizard of Oz

The Hidden Subversive Messages of [MGM’s Screen Adaptation of] The Wizard of Oz

When I tried teaching The Wizard of Oz in a literature class, I was a little frustrated with myself that I couldn’t bring the class discussion much farther than “how this book is different from the movie” and lists of one-to-one symbolism (“the yellow brick road represents the gold standard,” or  ‘the scarecrow represents agriculture, the tin man represents industry, and the cowardly lion represents the military”).  Part of my…

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A day after using an apparently altered hurricane map, Trump defends his Alabama claim

It was Mr. Trump who used a black Sharpie to mark up an official National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map, which he displayed during an Oval Office briefing on Wednesday, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. “No one else writes like that on a map with a black Sharpie,” the official said of the map, which added Alabama into…

Reporters accurately repeat what VP spokesperson says; different official cites “misreporting”

The media reports that on an official trip to Ireland, VP Pence will not stay in the vicinity where he is doing work, but his entourage will fly 180 miles away to stay at a Trump-owned property. To respond to public criticism, the Pence camp organizes a media event, where the main speaker is the VP’s spokesman, Marc Short, who says Trump said, “Well, you should stay at my place.”…

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Yellow Journalism Did Not Cause the Spanish-American War (Role of Sensationalized Headlines Often Exaggerated)

When a correspondent sent to Cuba to cover a possible war telegraphed that there would be no war and he wanted to come home, Newspaper mogul Willam Randolph Hearst is said to have replied, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”   It’s a story I remember learning in middle school.   But there’s no contemporary evidence of this exchange, which would never have been permitted by…

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The Case for Slow Journalism: When to Unplug from the Endless News Cycle

Often when I see people in my social media feed criticizing “the media,” they are unfairly blaming journalists for how the social media ecosystem misuses journalism. Here’s an example from a post by someone arguing that CNN is being unfairly biased against Bernie Sanders. The complaint is that CNN criticizes Sanders for making a claim that a different CNN story seems to support. If you already believe that CNN is…

Students in a Finnish community college learn how to spot "fake news".

Finland is Winning the War on Fake News

This is story is from May, but it’s very relevant. Standing in front of the classroom at Espoo Adult Education Centre, Jussi Toivanen worked his way through his PowerPoint presentation. A slide titled “Have you been hit by the Russian troll army?” included a checklist of methods used to deceive readers on social media: image and video manipulations, half-truths, intimidation and false profiles. Another slide, featuring a diagram of a…