The Last Outpost (ST:TNG Rewatch. Season 1, Episode 4)

Rewatching TNG after about a 20-year break. This odd episode introduced the Ferengi, a parody of the capitalist patriarchy. I only remember bits and pieces of this episode, possibly because the pieces really don’t fit together very well. The long opening sequence gives us a good look at how the bridge crew deals with an evolving situation. We open with a chase scene, that quickly becomes a standoff, then morphs…

Trump and Putin shake hands during a joint press conference at the Helsinki summit.

Trump’s reference to “the transcript” of the Helsinki conference… which transcript? There are several.

This is why journalism matters: The Atlantic offers a good overview of the confusing fact that the official transcripts published by the White House and the Russian government don’t match the video. Compare this transcript, of what actually happened, to the White House’s version. Here is the record of what took place, starting with the last part of Putin’s comments before Mason’s questions. Putin is describing his willingness to assist with Robert…

Meet the guys who tape Trump’s papers back together

I tell this old newsroom tale to my students: An angry editor sees a cub reporter coming into work. “I sent you to cover a concert,” says the editor. “Why didn’t you file the story?” The cub reporter says, “The concert hall burned down.” Sometimes the story you set out to cover is not the one you find. This passage from this Politico story explains how a story that was…

That gut-wrenching photo of immigrant children in a cage? First published in 2014.

Don’t blame “the media” for using this photo, often identified as immigrant children separated from their parents and placed in a cage. I saw this image in my social media feed numerous times over the weekend; it wasn’t journalists who kept sharing it, it was random people (and probably a non-trivial number of bots) on social media. Critics of the president’s current immigration policies circulated a real news photo from…

Taking Harassment Seriously Requires Serious Distinctions

Editor and columnist Jonah Goldberg questions his fellow conservatives who call for the resignation of Al Franken (a Democrat; junior senator from Minnesota), equating the allegations against him with the allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, all the while downplaying the serious allegations against Roy Moore (a Republication; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama). Franken, formerly a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live, has been accused of…

Fake News Is Not the Real Media Threat We’re Facing

Conservative talk radio predates the Internet as a populist alternative to the mainstream media. This article challenges the idea that “fake news” is a new, or even a significant problem, and instead explores how some celebrity conservatives (including radio host Rush Limbaugh) encourage their followers to mistrust traditional news outlets. Fake news has been around as long as real news, as any historian of early modern Europe can tell you (Renaissance…