Category Archives: epistemology

Reckoning with the Legitimacy of Trump’s Election

Last Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an unclassified version of the report on “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections“. I recommend that you read it yourself, as I have just done. The pdf is 25 pages, but the body of the report itself is only 5 pages (not including the appendix), plus a 2-page introduction that should not be skipped that explains the context and how to understand the terminology and assessments presented in an intelligence briefing.  It includes “analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA)”, though this declassified version does not include all of the supporting evidence from the three agencies that are in the classified version.

Things We Now Know:

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Media Literacy: The Reader’s Responsibility

In the wake of the election, there’s been a lot of talk about the role that “the media”* or “fake news”** may have played in swaying voters.  This post is not going to talk about what responsibilities “the media” or individual journalists have, but the equally if not more important obligation that you and I have as consumers of news media: media literacy.

I’m pretty sick of hearing people blame “the media” for mass misinformation, or complain about “the biased media,” because the reality is: everything is ‘biased’!  Every news article, every media source, every movie, novel, or piece of art, every social media post you will ever read, has a bias. Much less important than asking “is this media source biased?” is identifying WHAT the bias is in any particular piece you encounter.  When you consume news media, no matter the source, you are not merely being fed a string of informative facts but also a chosen frame through which to interpret those facts. It is OUR responsibility to digest that frame as well as the facts; otherwise we are merely swallowing somebody else’s perspective whole.

bias-fish-bait-pic

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