Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Dear Fake News Media:

You don’t exist.

You are a figment of a certain someone‘s overactive imagination and marketing strategy to a willing audience.

You are an oxymoron. If something is fake (i.e., not real), it’s not news (news is real). News is not fake just because someone doesn’t like it.

You know what does exist? Actual news media made up of real people who work their butts off to inform the population and hold people in power accountable — the fourth estate that ensures a strong republic. (Oh that old thing … )

You know what is newsworthy? Here are the criteria:

Timeliness: happening now or just happened
Prominence: the person/entity involved is well known or powerful
Proximity: happening or happened nearby
Impact/consequence: affected or will affect readers/viewers
Novelty/rarity: out of the ordinary
Human interest: the lives of others are interesting

If it’s not out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t bear a mention. That’s just the way it is.

There’s a saying in news:

You don’t cover the planes that land.

You cover the wrecks.

Someone I know on Facebook (name withheld for protection) wrote:

MSM would be lost were it not for [Trump’s] tweets. They hang on every word, analyze them, and re-analyze them.

Um … yeah. He’s the president. What he says is news. Duh.

“Lost,” though? Not likely.

There’s plenty to cover without Trump tweeting.

It blows my mind how much we cover in one day.

That’s from Kristen Welker, White House correspondent for NBC News.

She said that last night in the AEJMC keynote panel, “Covering the White House: From Eisenhower to Trump,” held in Washington, D.C., and broadcast on C-SPAN.

(Yeah, I’m at a journalism education conference with other university professors/administrators — plus news organizations/foundations — and I’m still a journalist. Both of my professions are under fire. Lucky me!)

Those people who are suspicious of the mainstream media, though, should take solace in this fact shared in that same panel by Christi Parsons, former White House correspondent with the Tribune Company.

Because [Trump] is so personally antagonistic, journalists go above and beyond to double check.

The news media is not the “enemy of the people.” The news media consists of real people trying to do important work in a profession under siege by the person in the nation’s highest office.

Those who delight in calling the media “enemy” plus “fake,” think about this:

Do you really want to live in a country without independent media covering people making decisions with your tax money?

The true enemy of the people is the lack of critical thinking.

My advice to those worried about veracity and bias? Get your news from a variety of sources, as suggested by Herman and Chomsky way back in the ’80s.

My advice to the 43 percent in that poll? Please educate yourself about democracy and guy named Jefferson. Or don’t, but don’t answer polls. Skip the news, and just go watch Netflix and chill.

My advice to journalists? Keep on keeping on. Ask the tough questions. Submit the open records requests. Keep striving for objectivity.

We need you more than ever.

And tell me where I can donate so you can hire security.

Yours in solidarity,


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Dear Trump, GOP and NRA assholes representatives,

I am a teacher, and I DO NOT want to carry a gun to class. I’m there to instruct, not take down a “bad guy.” (Armed teachers = unusually bad idea, even for you)

I have one goal in class: Teach. I work with college students, so they are paying my salary. My goal is to give them their money’s worth and more. I want to be the life-changing (life-saving in a different way) professor like Dr. Brightman was for me.

Part of my job is figuring out what each student needs (and I guarantee that it is not an AR-15 in their hands or mine).

Students usually come in a handful of personas. Here’s a field guide:

The Tracy Flick
Hand up first. Already has an A, but wants extra credit. “Overachiever” doesn’t even begin to encompass this student. Also can dissolve quickly if mastery doesn’t come easy.

The Ferris Bueller
Seems like he doesn’t care and isn’t paying attention, but he is smarter than the average bear. Often turns in the best work in the class without even trying.

The Jeff Spicoli
Sigh. What do you do about a student who is paying money to go to college, but is just a complete slacker? Love them anyway.

The Summer “Tinkerbell” Hathaway
This student is suspicious of you from the get-go, but you will slowly win her over if you do, in fact, know what you are talking about. And then she will try to push you to see how far she can go.

The Will Hunting
This student may appear to hate your guts during the class, but he will surprise you later on when he tells you that he learned so much from you. It is an unexpected, but joyful moment.

The John Bender
Hard candy shell with a liquid center. Seems confrontational, but is masking a deep-seated vulnerability. I love to see these kinds in five years when they are all well-adjusted and shit.

The Regina George
This student often is the most challenging because she has created a particular persona, and may resist your efforts to get her to think about anything/anyone other than herself. The trick is to help her figure out how to make assignments interesting enough to her so that she will enjoy doing them (thus learning in the process).

The Steve Stifler
Every female faculty member has this student’s number (meaning we know exactly who he is). No, we cannot have a meeting with my office door closed. No, we are not going together to the fraternity party Friday night. It’s great to see this student mature and even <gasp> get married.

The Sam Baker
This student is smart but can be quiet and thus overlooked. Pay attention to this one. Still waters run deep, as they say. This student often ends up being as close to you as students in the next category.

The Todd Anderson
With this student, you know early on that he/she will be in your life forever — and that is a good thing. You “get” them, they “get” you, and it is a lovely, symbiotic relationship. You start out as professor/student and morph into colleagues and friends later on. Some people in the aforementioned categories will end up in this one, and that is a lovely thing too.

I live to make a difference. And I live for notes like these:

That’s from a student who graduated five years ago. No surprise that she was a Todd.

I want to learn how to better reach every student. I do not want to learn how to better reach my gun.

I want to be accurate with grading. I do not want to be accurate with aim.

I want to get paid to carry full classes. I do not want to get paid to carry a gun.

Please, please, please find a different way to achieve the one goal we all want: peace in schools (and everywhere, for that matter). The answer is not arming teachers.


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Guest post by C. Brenon Day

To whoever is reading this and thinking about knocking on my door:

I go to work at 4 a.m. and need to sleep, or I am working on a painting that needs my full attention.

In the interest of time management, please see the warning category that might apply to you.

Family or friends: Bring sweet tea, chocolate and/or french fries. Call me on my cell.

Republican: Isn’t there a group you need to be suppressing or a book burning that needs organizing?

Democrat: Shouldn’t you be out trying to organize a protest or applying for a job?

Independent: You have Republicans and Democrats knocking on your own door, so why are you on my porch?

Green: You must be high. There is a gas station just down the street. They have Cheetos and Cheerwine. I don’t.

Tea Bag Party: There is a woman thinking about voting on something. Don’t y’all have rules in your manifesto against that? Go check your copy at home.

Religion representatives: Yes, I have found him. We are discussing your future outcome right now, in fact.

Alarm companies: Don’t mind that click; it’s just me turning the safety off. Oh, and if you see the large dog muzzle laying in the yard just leave it. I’ll pick it up on the way to my court-ordered anger-management meeting.

Yard care services: Question for you: If I bury a dismembered body in the yard, do I need to fertilize next year or will that be enough?

Cleaning supply or housekeeping care services: I know how to get blood out of carpet and get rid of DNA and fingerprints off of most surfaces, so I’m good, thanks!

All others: Just don’t.

Have a great day!

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Dear White People,

I have something to say and I hope you will listen to me as I am (mostly) one of you:

We have to stop thinking that our experience as white people is the same experience that people of other colors have.

Let me tell you a little about myself beyond my skin shade:

I once tried to make a fellow I was dating jealous by stating that Eddie (yes, the Eddie to whom I am now married) had asked me out. He said, “I don’t know what you want with that spic.”

I was shocked. I was shocked for the obvious reason (“What did you say?!?”) but also shocked because I realized for the first time that Eddie is Hispanic.

You may roll your eyes, but it is true. I never noticed. The last name should have been a dead giveaway, but he was just Eddie to me.

I went to a public elementary school in a mostly black neighborhood. My public high school was racially mixed. My parents taught me, in the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr., to judge someone not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

So, to me, if someone is a complete ass, it is because he/she is an ass, not because his/her skin is brown, black, white, red, light brown, taupe, ecru or whatever.

However, that does not mean I spent my life as an understanding, evolved, enlightened (mostly) white person. I thought, as many of you do and as this writer did, that the world is a fair, equal place. That hard work will get you where you want and need to go. That people are inherently decent.

I was wrong.

So wrong.

I was a broadcast journalist for many years. One of my news friends, a beautiful black woman, told me once that clerks watched her in stores because they were afraid she was going to shoplift. I sighed and said, “Oh, it isn’t at all because you are gorgeous and they’ve seen you on TV or anything!”

I did not understand that this was not a new phenomenon. It didn’t start happening after she started her news career.

She also said clerks wouldn’t touch her hand when they were giving back change. Even though I thought that couldn’t possibly be true, I changed my own behavior just in case. I now put my hands all over people when I give them my money.

These were real experiences for her. Truth be told, I had a hard time believing her simply because I had never had similar experiences. I didn’t have a frame of reference. I didn’t freakin’ get it. White people don’t get it.

Understand this: We white people don’t usually live in fear of the cops. (Unless we have done some Forensic-Files-worthy stuff, that is.) Guess what: Many black people do.


Along with most of America, I watched in horror as events unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri. The Justice Department now plans to investigate the Ferguson police department. Good.

White people, we do not know what it is like to be black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. We do not understand the experience of non-whites. So we have to stop pretending that our experience is universal. It’s not.

This has to stop. We cannot maintain the status quo. What it has been cannot be what it is or will be.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes an interesting point that some of the biggest tensions in America are not about race as much as they are about class.

Maybe he is right.

All I know is that it is impossible not to see difference in color. We just can’t attach judgement to that difference.

Please, fellow white people, understand that we’ve had it made for 400 years. Understand that we need to listen — really listen — when people of other shades talk about their experiences. Understand that we need to make a change.

All men (and women) are created equal, right?

Yours in enlightenment,

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