The Value of Truth: We are living through an epistemological crisis.

In the jargon of academia, the study of what we can know, and how we can know it, is called “epistemology.” During the 1980s, philosopher Richard Rorty declared it dead and bid it good riddance. To Rorty and many other thinkers of that era, the idea that we even needed a theory of knowledge at all rested on outmoded, Cartesian assumptions that the mind was an innocent mirror of nature;…

The Terrible Things I Have Said and Done My Entire Life, and Right Up Until a Few Days Ago, Do Not Represent Me As a Person

The media constantly takes things I say and then repeats them on their news shows and in their magazines, and they always leave something out, like the thing I haven’t even said yet that lets you know I don’t believe the thing I already said. If the media wants to be completely accurate, they should write down every word I’ve ever said in my entire life, then wait for me…

Media Bias Chart 7.0 (Left vs Right Bias; High vs Low Value and Reliability; Ad Fontes Media)

Don’t reject a news source just because it slants against your own slant, and don’t accept a news source just because it slants the same way you do. Update: Media Bias Chart 8.0 If you find a news source where you agree with all the content all the time, that doesn’t mean the source is 100% reliable. It just 100% shares your bias.

A practical application of close reading skills: Nazi-spotting

Whenever I teach a literature class, I put a lot of energy into helping students understand the difference between the plot summary and personal engagement (“The character I could most relate to in this story was…”) they got praised for doing in high school, and the more advanced literary close reading skills I ask them to do in my literature class. I’ve had some success drawing on the pre-existing skills…

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…

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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…

The Unbearable Weakness of Trump’s Minions

Note that the URL of this story indicates it was initially published under the title “Cowards Are Destroying the GOP.”  Opinion stories that take a clear stand are a valuable part of legitimate news coverage, though of course they need to be well sourced, and a good editor will seek a balance that reflects a range of legitimate views. (So, no racism, no hate, no misinformation that could damage public…

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First Contact (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 15)

Rewatching ST:TNG This flipside episode, told entirely from the viewpoint of a civilization on the verge of discovering warp drive technology, documents a visit from members of a federation of space-faring aliens who wear brightly colored pajamas. An ER team with serious forehead bumps admits a patient with serious head injuries. They are first confused, then shocked at how different he is from them. (It is a bumpy-headed Riker, in…

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…

Stunning writing in this WaPost reflection on the Trump campaign’s journey from a gold escalator to a landscaping parking lot

I’m stunned by the writing. Here’s just a sample: Outside the Clark County Election Center in Las Vegas, a news conference was interrupted by a hysterical man in a sleeveless tank that read “BEER BBQ FREEDOM.” “The Biden crime family is stealing this election!” he screamed over and over again, as if repetition would make it true. In Philadelphia, a demilitarized zone formed early Friday afternoon at Arch and 12th…

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…

It started with a ride down an escalator and ended with a press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

Earlier today Trump tweeted that his campaign would hold a “Lawyers Press Conference at Four Seasons, Philadelphia.” He later specified that he didn’t mean the prestigious Four Seasons hotel, but rather an unrelated business “Four Seasons Landscaping,” which happens to be located next to an adult bookstore and near a cremation company. One imagines that a staff member hastily booked the wrong venue, but it’s not likely we’ll get a…

McCain’s 2008 Concession Speech: Republicans interrupt their candidate’s concession speech to cheer about what the election of his opponent says about the USA

That moment during McCain’s concession speech in 2008, when he mentions Obama, and a ripple of boos begin. McCain, his face showing disapproval, holds up his hands palms down — a controlling gesture, but a calming one. He says the simple word, “Please,” and patiently waits until his audience settles down. He says he just called Obama “to congratulate him on being elected president of the country we both love.”…

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…

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…

Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs broke the story of Hope Hicks’s COVID-19 Infection

Those darned reporters. Always publishing newsworthy facts of national importance that powerful people would rather keep silent. When Hicks tested positive, she worried about others around her who might be infected, too, but the White House sought to keep that information from the public. Without Jennifer Jacobs, a dogged Bloomberg reporter who broke the story about Hicks’s illness, the world might still be in the dark about the sickness sweeping…

Opinion | Defiant, Now Infected: Trump Is a Morality Tale

From Frank Bruni, NYT It’s a measure of the cynicism that has infected American politics — and, yes, me — that among my initial reactions to the news that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus was: Are we sure? Can we trust that? A man who so frequently and flamboyantly plays the victim, and who has been prophylactically compiling ways to explain away or dispute a projected election…