Fake News Isn’t the Problem. Reactionary News is the Problem.

The way people receive their news has changed dramatically over the last twenty-five years. When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, the only news source outside of the major networks and talk radio was CNN. The internet was in its infancy, with AOL still a year away from a full launch. There was no … Continued

Culture

You Can’t Handle This ‘Truth’

“If I knew then what I know now—I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.” So said Dan Rather in the wake of what was then called “Rathergate,” a journalistic scandal involving forged documents during the 2004 presidential election. … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

What Can We Learn From Watching the Roanoke Shooting Footage?

There is an old story about how Native Americans, when first introduced to the camera, believed that it could steals their souls. Though usually taken as a story of primitive superstition, you can find a sort of retelling of it by Western writers like Susan Sontag and Daniel Boorstin, who also believed images could rob … Continued

Culture

‘Best of Enemies’ and the Myth of a Nicer Media

It may be unavoidable given our sense of nostalgia, but contemporary Americans of all political stripes seem intent on believing that there was some “golden era” of journalism. We like to think that there was a time when political opponents, whether on a debate platform or in the pages of local newspapers, uniformly conducted their … Continued

Culture

The “Rape Moment” in Pop Culture

America is having a moment—an uncomfortable moment, no doubt, as our country’s collective attention has been focused once again on the ugly problem of rape. Over the last month, a number of rape allegations have emerged from both the civilian and celebrity world, and the sheer number of these stories and the publicity they’ve received, … Continued

Culture

How the Hysterical, Sensationalistic Media Hurts Women

Cecile McLorin Salvant. Melissa Aldana. Maria Schneider. If you don’t know any of those names, don’t feel bad. They are all women who are honored in the August issue of Down Beat, the venerable jazz magazine. And because the American mainstream media promotes stories that make women feel politically aggrieved, personally resentful, and anxious about … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Music

The Malaysian Flight, Conspiracy Theories, and the Truth

Over the last week, much of the world has been gripped by the mystery of the missing Malaysian jet. The current consensus is that the plane was hijacked, but the jet is still nowhere to be found, and the search has been expanded to two million square miles. The puzzle has given rise to a … Continued

Culture

MSNBC vs Fox News: Who’s Really Racist and Sexist?

Remember when Fox News had to fire or reprimand three of its hosts within a few weeks for making homophobic, sexist, and racist comments? Oh, wait. That didn’t happen. That would be MSNBC, that paragon of upstanding liberalism that I’m referring to. All Fox did was hire the black man fired from NPR, another liberal … Continued

Entertainment, Television

Will Dennis Rodman’s “Basketball Diplomacy” Work in North Korea?

Professional oddball Dennis Rodman is back in the news again – angrily ranting in interviews, praising his “friend for life” Kim Jong-Un (dictator of one-third of the Axis of Evil), and pursuing world peace through basketball diplomacy. I’ve been reluctant before to comment on Rodman’s antics; he makes himself an easy target, and Acculturated’s Demetrius … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Sports

The Latest Disturbing Trend in Extreme Dieting

Whenever journalists report trending eating disorder tactics, a part of me wonders if we’re prolonging their existence. Can the benefits of withholding certain details from news outweigh the cost to society of suppressing information? According to CBS Atlanta, extreme dieters are swallowing cotton balls soaked in juice to feel full. Nutritionists and health professionals are … Continued

Culture