Fashionably Conservative, Civic Re-engagement, and Comments For Days: this week on Fresh Powder
Well, looks like the current political environment will provide significant branding opportunities for all kinds of establishments; aligning with one side of the aisle or the other is becoming increasingly common in large companies and is a fairly effective method of branding. The newcomer to the game? Higher education. Increasingly, colleges and universities sporting so- called “conspicuously conservative” ideals are stepping into the limelight and touting their ideals to attract students. Some institutions are even rejecting federal loans and grants in order to maintain authority over their business model. It’s interesting, because the university atmosphere has long been held as bastion of liberality, learning, and limit-testing. But, we’ve learned a ton of things about the ideological makeup of our country this year, and “conspicuously conservative” is totally a thing now.
Here’s a thing: by and large, Americans are woefully ignorant of basic civic processes. This ignorance has become exceptionally apparent as we’ve watched our new president execute extreme executive orders (and then have them overturned by a single judge), and it’s leaving educators wondering: what’s to be done about civics education? Building curriculum that teaches kids about the government, but that doesn’t get political, sounds, frankly, kind of impossible. But it’s important, and it can start with media literacy. Teaching kids how to responsibly consume media and how to identify fake news is a start, and it builds critical thinking skills. And (bonus) it’s one way to start re-focusing on civics without raising the ire of reactive parents.
Oh, the comments section. Don’t we love it? It’s a place on the internet, among a countless others, for righteous readers to share their opinions and ask questions (and, commonly, a haven for trolls spouting vitriol). It’s a tough space to control, and many news orgs opt out of allowing comments all together for exactly that reason. But it can be a useful tool, too, if you can make it work. Readers clearly like to interact with journalists and each other through comments, and publications, if they do it right, might actually be able to use the comments section for good. We all know the more reader engagement the better, so it might be totally worth learning how to win at comments.
Fakery For All
Fake news is still a thing, we know that. And by now we’re all pretty savvy about recognizing weird, salacious headlines like pre-election ones aimed at conservative Trump supporters. We even know that the self-identified “yellow journalists” are in it for the money, and that most of the writers don’t even align their own beliefs with the stories they write. So it’s totally crucial that we remember that very often, propagators of fake news hold no allegiance to the right or the left, and that means neither side is immune to fake news. If we’re buying, the fake-newsies are selling, and right now they’re selling to disgruntled liberals. So pay attention–– just because you’re not clicking on some super alt-right article with an all-caps headline doesn’t mean you’re not reading fake news.
These things also happened: Bey is having twins, but you knew that. Today, the Ninth Circuit judges will hear the challenge of Trump’s “travel ban.” Stay tuned, kids. Until then: ordering coffee, casually explained.