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…

Apple threatens to remove Parler social networking service from App Store

Apple Inc has threatened to remove the Parler social networking service from its App Store unless the company changes its content moderation policies, Parler Chief Executive John Matze told Reuters on Friday. Parler is a social network where many supporters of President Donald Trump have migrated after being banned from services such as Twitter Inc. In a letter from Apple’s App Store review team to Parler seen by Reuters, Apple…

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…

Fact check: You can safely ignore that “HOW TO FIGHT COVID AT HOME” meme

I noticed this meme a few days ago. I recognized the “friend of a friend who has insider knowledge” formula that makes people want to share a memes. I know better than to trust anonymous online sources that claim to have special knowledge, so I just re-read what the CDC says and moved on. Here are links to what the CDC says: Symptoms of coronavirus How to protect yourself How…

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…

Cameras and Masks: Sustaining Emotional Connections with Your Students in an Age of COVID19

There are some sound pedagogical reasons for turning cameras on. Thus, I suggest sharing those reasons with the students before giving them the choice of what to do about their cameras. Explain why you are making your request. For example, being able to see students’ faces gives instructors a quick and easy way to discern whether students are finding the material engaging, at least in smaller classes. One instructor told me that “I asked students to turn their cameras on to say hi to their classmates at the beginning and end of class, and those were the best moments of the class.”

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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…

Twitter, Fix Your Cropping Algorithm

When given the chance to crop four different arrangements of photos of two different men, each time the Twitter algorithm chose to center on the white man and crop the black man out of the picture. Source: pic.twitter.com/QNZ8xCsEKj — sina rawayama (@sina_rawayama) September 20, 2020 Update, 22 Sep: See also pic.twitter.com/CY8FhFPEJh — TVictorLopes (@TLopesVictorM) September 21, 2020    

How hate and misinformation go viral: A case study of a Trump retweet

On Sunday night, President Donald Trump retweeted a video of a violent incident on a New York City subway platform. The video shows a Black man pushing a white woman into a train car and is captioned “Black Lives Matter / Antifa.” The problem? It is over a year old and has nothing to do with either Black Lives Matter or Antifa. It, in fact, shows the actions of a mentally ill man with no known ties to either group.

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In August, 2000 I was blogging about poetry, presidential wordplay, home-schooling, online learning, and a search engine you may have heard about.

In August 2000, I was blogging about Top 10 Tips for Writing Poetry (which I’ve updated over the years and is the most popular page on my site today) Richard Lederer’s presidential wordplay (“I predict that at the end of the campaign. Gore will be bushed and Bush will be gored. Then we’ll have either four Gore years or rule by a son of a Bush.”) A Wired article in…

Video Tips for Students: Don’t do what I’m doing!  You can’t see my eyes, the background is distracting, you’re looking up my nose and the lighting is awful.

You might have been asked to submit a short video assignment. Don’t do what I’m doing! You can’t see my eyes, the background is distracting, you’re looking up my nose and the lighting is awful.  This short video demonstrates some quick tips that will greatly improve a video submission assignment. Your instructor and your classmates won’t really care if your phone beeps or you lose your place in your notes…

Given a chance to explain his support for a YouTuber who warns about alien DNA, Trump abruptly ends press conference

After mounting a half-hearted defense of a woman who says masks don’t work, that there’s a cure for COVID-19, and that doctors make medicine from DNA from aliens and that experts are working on a vaccine that makes you immune from becoming religious, Trump ends a press conference by walking out of the room. Background on Stella Immanuel, a pediatrician and minister who has voiced professional opinions about medical maladies…

Fact check: DeVos never said ‘only’ 0.02% of children will die if schools reopen in the fall

Several times in the past few days I’ve come across this claim in my social media feed. I didn’t share it or try to fact-check it; I just kept scrolling. Here’s the verdict, from USA Today: “Based on our research, this claim is FALSE. While the education secretary has advocated for schools reopening in the fall, DeVos never said that ‘only’ 0.02% of children are likely to die of COVID-10…