Carolyn Gombell Is Not a Real Person: #JusticeforCarolyn Is a Campaign Against Twitter Refusing to Delete Trump’s Tweets Accusing Joe Scarborough of Murdering Lori Klausutis

Fascinating use of social media. To be clear, this story about “Carolyn Gombell” is a fabrication, intended to spark Twitter to take action against people (such as Donald Trump) who use Twitter to publicize unfounded accusations. Will that matter to people who share it? It’s parody accounts, not journalists, who are retweeting this story as if it’s true. Will that matter to people who already think “the media” are unified…

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The High Ground (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 12) Sensitive, Artistic Terrorist Is Also a Terrorist

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break) Crusher finds herself sympathizing with the charming terrorist who kidnapped her. After last week’s “The Hunted” and the week before’s “The Defector,” it seems the writers are very interested in humanizing perceived enemies. An unusually exposition-heavy captain’s log establishes the Enterprise is visiting a non-aligned world shaken by terrorists. We want to like the romantic separatist leader who mourns the death of his own…

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The Defector (ST:TNG Rewatch; Season Three, Episode 10) Cold War Brinksmanship, via Shakespeare

(Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.) A Romulan defector exposes a planned incursion against the Federation, in a slow but gripping character study that comments on the Cold War. As I kid, I remember being transfixed by the 1983 TV movie The Day After, which depicts a nuclear attack on America. I doodled mushroom clouds in my Latin textbook, and more than once I woke up from a nightmare in…

What Each Side of the COVID-19 Debate Should Understand About the Other

I’m very conscious that my lockdown experience has been fairly smooth. I’m teaching two classes right now, versions of which I have already taught online. At home, my nuclear family is getting restless and bored, but we’re busy and productive. Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk with my son in our quiet little suburb. That evening, my daughter asked us all to sit down and watch Spirited Away as…

It’s unfair to treat every gaffe as evidence of malice or incompetence. But were Trump’s demonstrably false statements gaffes?

Public officials misspeak all the time. Journalists make mistakes all the time. Ordinary citizens over-react to headlines without reading the full article all the time. We are all of us human. It’s unfair for any of us to treat every gaffe as evidence of malice or incompetence.   For example, critics of President Trump are stretching when they say Trump called coronavirus a “hoax.” In the context of his Feb…

Fact check: Trump utters series of false and misleading claims at coronavirus briefing

Not fake news. Not the enemy of the American people. “Nobody ever thought a thing like this could have happened,” said the the president at Thursday’s press event. Feb 27: “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” [Narrator: “Cases were not going down.”] Feb 26: “The 15 [documented cases of COVID-19 in the USA] within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” [Narrator: “It…