Cannot recommend this dissection of how the media is blowing it again from @JamesFallows enough. It covers a lot of ground, and not only diagnoses the problem, but offers solutions. theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/…
Fallows' analogy to Mueller's approach is spot on. The press is playing by rules largely of its own invention that Trump and others (like Barr) recognize as phantoms, and easily gamed. If outlets don't respond to this, they will continue to get played.
The specific examples that @JamesFallows uses to critique press tics like both sides-ism and horse-race-ism, should be taught in schools, and not just to journalists. They exemplify the critical thinking all writers should be comfortable doing.
It's just tremendous, careful, and caring work by @JamesFallows, and yet I can't help but think it's not going to make a difference. The institutions are beyond reforming themselves, even as there's occasional glimmers of hope.
Still, this kind of writing is well worth doing for its own sake. It reaffirms the values we should attach to our writing of careful analysis in pursuit of saying things that are supportable and accurate. The living example is important. I have to continue to believe that.
Even if nothing changes now, at least we have the artifact that proves people were sounding the alarm at the time, that hindsight was not necessary to see the error. This is important.
This piece can serve a similar purpose to @JamesFallows article on Iraq as the "51st state" a questioning of the impulse to invade Iraq published four months before the actual invasion. theatlantic.com/magazine/archi…
All of the subsequent problems we experienced in Iraq are discussed in the article. The information and knowledge existed to act differently and make different and better choices. The article didn't change the outcome, but it still matters. It still matters.
If you can't tell this whole thread is a self pep talk trying to convince myself to keep pushing on my belief that the only way out for public higher ed is to go tuition-free. I have doubts that the energy to make this happen will gather. beltpublishing.com/collections/pr…
But even if the worst comes to pass for post-secondary education, at least there will be some artifacts (my book and others) showing that there could've been other paths to the future. It wasn't impossible to do the right thing.
One of the things you have to note about the @JamesFallows article is how far back the problem goes and how many people have been speaking out on it. @jayrosen_nyu @froomkin @Sulliview Numerous others.
The problem is that for the most part, the critics of what Fallows identifies are viewed as apostate journalists by those who hold the levers of editorial power and control. Even those who write for mainstream outlets have their views discounted when it comes to actual operations
When I see this pattern of behavior, I have to believe the problem is clearly structural. It's not just about putting different people with different attitudes into positions of leadership. We need incentives that align with the mission of delivering "news."

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More from @biblioracle

12 Aug
This article is well worth your time for the diverse perspectives. I think it also illustrates how institutional leadership has already failed, even if opening to F2F instruction does not trigger outbreak and disruption as many of us believe will happen. washingtonpost.com/local/educatio…
One thing that is clear at UNC is that the community has been fractured by this process and the decision to provide as much F2F experience as possible. Tensions clearly existed on campus before this crisis (e.g., Silent Sam), but this appears to have created more division.
Students and faculty are pitted against administration. Sometimes different factions inside those groups are pitted against each other. The claim that opening is consistent with the institution's "public mission" falls apart when you consider all of the stakeholders.
Read 14 tweets
10 Aug
This reveals one of the mistaken notions about writing students are often given, that research is a discrete stage prior to writing. The reality is that you may move between research and writing constantly and there's no reason to draw a distinction between the two.
Research is fuel for the writing and so you have to go get fuel whenever fuel is necessary. The reason we (I've been as guilty as this as anyone in the past) teach a process where research happens before writing begins is because that's easy to teach, structurally.
I grew up in the era of writing individual facts down on index cards as part of my research. I had no idea why I was doing it, other than the teacher required me to have 20, 30, 50 index cards before I moved on to the next thing.
Read 7 tweets
2 Aug
I wasn't aware that @nytimes opinion columnists did paid advertorials in their dedicated spaces. I'm wondering where the disclosure is on this tribute to Minerva because as a piece of logical argument, it's incoherent. nytimes.com/2020/08/01/opi…
The piece is framed by the title of how to go to college during a pandemic and then even notes that the Minerva model entails students flying all over the world to spend a semester in different spots. WTF?
The pivot is that Minerva proves you don't need college campuses - a big cost - and is therefore much cheaper. Let's check in on that price.
Read 11 tweets
28 Jul
If any faculty are struggling with the fact that they're being treated as utterly disposable by their institutions, I can offer some advice based on experience as a career contingent instructor.
What is happening is terrible and tragic and is doing great harm to the teaching and learning missions of every institution and it has been happening for decades already. I spent my career as a human shield protecting the privileges of others. insidehighered.com/blogs/just-vis…
I take zero pleasure in so many faculty discovering what has been always true for contingent faculty, that you are utterly fungible when it comes to the mission of preserving institutional "operations."
Read 10 tweets
12 Jul
Things I've been thinking of today, most of them probably obvious, but here goes. 1. There's no doubt distanced instruction (online or otherwise) can be as effective in fostering student learning as F2F instruction. 1/x
2. The vast majority of instructors have not had the time, experience, or assistance necessary to bring their distanced instruction on par with their more familiar F2F instruction. (I use "on par" because we can't assume the F2F is good, bad or otherwise.)
3. The primary reason students want to return to F2F class is not necessarily because the classes are so much better but because these social interactions are part of a fulfilling life for most. We miss them. Lord, do we miss them.
Read 15 tweets
8 Jul
Morning. Reminder that James Bennet is not a victim of woke authoritarians. He was demonstrably bad at his job & had lost the confidence of both his employees and employers. If we’re going to fight about this stuff shouldn’t we acknowledge this?
Think of it like when a coach gets fired. Neither the players nor management thought this guy put them in a position to succeeed...for good reason. If that’s the situation, you’ve got to go. Seems like Bennet grasped this as much as anybody.
The thing about that Harper’s letter is you can’t actually separate the particulars from the example and have the example still hold meaning. This bit from the letter is incredibly weak rhetorical hand waving. It dodges the responsibility to think.
Read 22 tweets

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