We The People

We The People

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Fake News That Led Trump to Exit the Paris Climate Accords

This week, Donald Trump made good on a promise he made all the way back in 2015: He officially started to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This is just the latest sign that the president doesn't care about climate change; famously, he has tweeted that he believes the concept of global warming is a hoax created by "the Chinese" in order to undermine the US economy. But that wasn't just a one-off brain fart—Trump has held a lot of wildly differing opinions about issues, but climate is one he's been remarkably consistent about.
Over the years Trump has occasionally linked to real stories about individual climate predictions that turned out to be wrong, but his overarching faith that climate isn't happening is based on fake news. That makes this a great week to check in on the ways bullshit shapes the conversation around climate.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Red Alert: The 1st Amendment Is in Danger

Of all the incredible statements issuing from the fantasy factory that is the imagination of Donald Trump, the one he recently made in a speech to graduates of the Coast Guard academy, that “no politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or so unfairly” sets an unenviable record for brazen ignorance plus a toxic mix of self-aggrandizement and self-pity.
 In his eyes, the most villainous persecutors are the mainstream “fake news” organizations that dare to oppose his actions and expose his lies.
So, having already banned nosy reporters from news corporations that he doesn’t like, branded their employers as enemies of the nation and expressed a wish to departed FBI Director James Comey that those in the White House who leak his secrets should be jailed, why should there be any doubt that he would, if he could, clap behind bars reporters whom, in his own cockeyed vision, he saw as hostile? His fingers itch to sign an order or even better a law that would give him that power. Could he possibly extract such legislation from Congress?
Such a bill might accuse the press of “seditious libel,” meaning the circulation of an opinion tending to induce a belief that an action of the government was hostile to the liberties and happiness of the people. It also could be prohibited to “defame the president by declarations directly or indirectly to ‘criminate’ his motives in conducting official business.”
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Friday, June 2, 2017

Choose Civility, Please

Allow us to add our voice to the broad (if not universal) chorus of outrage over the photograph of stand-up comedian Kathy Griffin holding a prop Donald Trump severed head. It is vile, it is tasteless, and it is shameful. And it has been condemned by just about everyone who has seen it, from President Trump to Chelsea Clinton to Ms. Griffin herself — her video apology may be the fastest and most thorough act of contrition witnessed on social media this year, unfolding in a matter of hours Tuesday.
Just as we have lashed out against racist, bigoted, hateful attacks directed at Barack Obama and his family over the last eight years, we believe it is vital to draw a line just as bright for the current occupant of the White House and his family. We can disagree vigorously without resorting to hate speech or hate acts or hate imagery. Ms. Griffin, a "D-List" celebrity by her own estimate, has said she begs for forgiveness. Is her impassioned plea just another attention-getting device? Alas, in the 21st century celebrity culture where notoriety can be made profitable, viewers would be wise to harbor doubts.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

White House Readies for Total War with News Media

The White House appears to be preparing for a grueling, sustained conflict.
But not with North Korea. Instead, the White House is prepping for a major counteroffensive against the U.S. news media.
The first sign of a new White House strategy to fight back against hostile press coverage came after a Washington Post story that made serious allegations, using anonymous sources, that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Russian officials and asked about a “back channel” to discuss Syria with Moscow.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fake News Makes Its Way into the AP Stylebook

Fake news has finally made its way into the AP Stylebook. 
The 2017 edition of the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law came out Wednesday, and the latest version includes a number of changes that show both the evolution of language and the times we live in. 
For instance, there's a new entry on fact checks and fake news. Here's the first half of it:
To keep reading this article, click here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

With Trump and Fake News, Does Journalism Still Matter? Yes, More Now Than Ever

Perhaps we can thank Donald Trump and the soul-searching of the fractured nation that elected him. Perhaps it is because of the latest round of redundancies at News Corp and Fairfax here in Australia.
Whatever the reason, the debate about what’s happening to journalism has broken out of the newsroom and entered the broader civic conversation. We have an Australian Senate inquiry into public interest journalism. The prevalence of “fake news” has highlighted the importance of its opposite – what good journalists do.
But does journalism really matter? Do we really need to worry that journalists are losing their jobs, or will society simply adjust the way in which it satisfies its information needs?
To keep reading this article, click here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

When 'Fake' News Does Make It Into Print, A Correction Usually Quickly Follows

President Donald Trump spent much of his first morning back in the United States tweeting angrily about “fake news.”
But he has not mentioned one of the better-documented journalistic sins against him during his nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

We, The People, Must Demand Respect from Our Politicians

Politics is often described as a contact sport, but it’s not normally meant literally. But after Wednesday’s incident, in which Montana Republican Greg Gianforte allegedly assaulted a reporter asking questions about his campaign for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, we’ve crossed a line in civility. The fact that Gianforte won the election — which some attribute to the fact that there was heavy early voting in the state — raises a serious question as to where we, the people, are willing to draw the line on incivility.
If we want to make America great again, let’s return to the values of freedom of the press and a free and open dialogue with our elected officials. We can start by demanding more of our elected officials. Upon election to Congress, elected officials take an oath of office, bearing true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and swearing to support and defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How to Fight Your Family's Fake News and Win This Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day — a time to celebrate American veterans, get families together, and, as per all large familial gatherings, argue about politics.
With more politics to argue about than ever before, and more alienation between left and right news camps, the least you can hope for is to head off your Rush Limbaugh-listening uncle’s insistence on talking about the DNC murder conspiracy by debunking viral “fake news” stories.
This article by the journalist-focused Nieman Lab project is meant to help reporters debunk fake news, but it operates well as a guide for anyone looking to tell what’s real reporting and what’s false clickbait this holiday season.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Civility Matters and It All Starts With Us

Last week, Fox News commentator Tammy Bruce made headlines for calling a 10-year-old child a “snowflake.” The derogatory term – used to make a person second-guess their emotions or needs – crossed one of the few lines we still have in public discourse because the child was autistic. Thus, those emotional needs Bruce lambasted were justified. 
However, had this child not been autistic, Bruce likely would have gotten away with her reductionist name-calling. In fact, name-calling, which is bullying in its simplest terms, has become so commonplace that no one bats an eye when such attacks are made, not even against children. This social acceptance of name-calling, of bullying in public discourse, is beginning to tear apart our society.
The idea that language usage impacts society is not a new concept. Aristotle believed language could shape policy more effectively than facts. And today, we recognize how language can advance an agenda quickly. Look at Winston Churchill, a statesman-turned-Prime Minister whose famous orations led England through World War II. Consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose speeches built a movement of social resistance, or even simpler, the political slogans that have championed candidates.
However, the use of words has become its own monster over the past year.
To keep reading this article, click here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Majority Believes Mainstream Media Publishes Fake News

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the mainstream press is full of fake news, a sentiment that is held by a majority of voters across the ideological spectrum.
According to data from the latest Harvard-Harris poll, which was provided exclusively to The Hill, 65 percent of voters believe there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.
That number includes 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats. Eighty-four percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.
To keep reading this article, click here.