Well, per expectation, things got weird at Trump’s press conference last week. He lambasted the media and called Buzzfeed garbage for publishing an unverified dossier about his conduct in Russia (because that kind of reaction proves innocence), and he flatly refused to take questions from CNN’s Jim Acosta, calling the organization “fake news.” The whole conference was bizarre, and left reporters (and, like, the nation) feeling more than a little dumbfounded. But, the Trump circus did it again: he got everyone so twisted up with his treatment of the press and his handling of the dossier sensation that in the end, it was easy to forget about that table full of dubious documents (the ones he claimed were signed contracts removing him from his many business deals). The cool thing, though? The whole scene prompted CNN’s opposite, Fox News, to back CNN as a credible news org acting within journalistic standards. So, there’s that, which is nice, and it might even signify a new unification among formerly opposed factions of news orgs. Neat.
Here’s an idea (well, it’s journalism prof Amanda Bright’s idea): let’s get better at social media-ing. That doesn’t mean crafting funnier tweets or taking cuter photos, it means actually reading the articles we’re sharing, and conscientiously circulating information on our social media platforms. What a thought! She’s calling on journalists, advisers, and students to cite sources when they retweet, and to identify why the article they’re sharing is important. Bright idea, Amanda. Now we just need to broaden the base to include everyone, not just the kids in the journalism game. And if, for some reason, you’re still not convinced: John Kerry on why Twitter isn’t an appropriate platform for policy making.
Story, in Fact
Everyone’s pretty obsessed with fact-checking right now (with good reason), but let’s not ignore the necessary companion of fact: story. Facts don’t happen in a vacuum, and to ignore the context of a statement or event is to ignore much of it’s essence–– how did it happen, and why? And we should probably face the fact that as human beings, we’re story tellers, so compiling facts without context does not promote understanding or engagement. Of course, it’s past time that we take fact-checking seriously, but then let’s go a step further and analyze the narrative as well.
Fear for All
Obviously, we’re living in uncertain times (but who in the history of the world hasn’t felt that way?), and with uncertainty will always come the desire to quell anxiety. Enter: predictions. US intelligence analysts have an idea of what our country might look like in five years (hint–– America is going to have to share some of the glory of dominance as the playing field levels), and journalism is going to see new trends, too. The theme? Fear, pretty much.
This also happened last week:
There’s a new email scam, it looks official, and it’s from Netflix-– don’t fall for it! They want your payment information and your social security number and like, everything, and it’s totally not Netflix. Now you know. And, if you haven’t heard, Trump is getting sworn in on Friday with the lowest approval rating (40%) of any president in the last four decades. So there’s that. But don’t worry, there are always baby red pandas playing in the snow.