Author Archive: admin

What is journalism’s fundamental purpose?

Despite the nonsensical accusations that they’re “fake news,” some of the leading members of the mainstream print media in the U.S. haven’t helped to distinguish themselves recently. Beyond the often-irresponsible “narrative” journalism they pursued ahead of the 2016 presidential election, outlets like The New York Times and the Boston Globe have stumbled badly under the …

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Smart and ‘easy’ tech vs. ‘the pleasure of finding things out’

Today’s information technology companies tout the coming era of intelligent digital assistants as a boon for the lives of everyone from overscheduled small-business entrepreneurs to parents of curious small children. Have a question? Just speak up and get the answer instantly. Need a task completed? Ask the AI and it shall be done. Now, there …

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The tech-social justice conundrum

Now, suddenly, our much-vaunted tech leaders find themselves confronted with a conundrum that’s been quietly evolving for a long time: the conundrum of whether it’s possible to create an innovative, data-driven, smart and futuristic society without also taking care to ensure a societal foundation of rules and laws that are just, fair, equitable and humane. …

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AI wins

Will AI take over human society? It’s too late to ask that question. Because, based on a number of recent developments, it appears that artificial intelligence has already hijacked the world. By this, I don’t mean that computers have attained sentience and conspired to conquer the planet. Rather, I’ve come to believe that algorithms and …

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Inauguration day

And so we come to this day: Jan. 20, 2017. Inauguration Day. The day on which the U.S. White House becomes – in the eyes of many who voted for a different presidential candidate – Slytherin House, its occupant the Left’s own Voldemort. During the 30 days leading up to today, I’ve been doing a …

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There’s nothing new about ‘fake’ news

During the interview for my first full-time newspaper reporting job, years before anyone had heard of – or even conceived of – the World Wide Web, I remember the managing editor of the small suburban weekly asking something to the effect of why he should hire me, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in …

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Blacklists are wrong way to distinguish ‘fake’ news sites from real ones

Recently, I’ve seen far too many attempts to distinguish “good” news sources from “fake” and biased ones through the use of blacklists, usually long lists of news sources identified as suspect with no explanation or evidence provided, and often in a suspiciously even mix of left-wing and right-wing sites (i.e., “both-siderism” clearly at work). This …

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In the long run, we are all subject to reality

Funny thing about “fake news” and propaganda: no matter who spreads the misinformation or how widely it’s believed, the “reality-based world” and rules of nature still ultimately prevail. No matter how many people wanted to blame medieval Europe’s Black Death on Jews, Romani or lepers, scientists today understand that the pandemic was caused by bites …

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What, now, for despised experts?

How do scientists, fact-checkers and others with deep expertise deal with this, the election of a profoundly incurious president with little respect for the truth and aggressive hostility to views that differ from his? What, now, do the real experts do to try and preserve society’s grasp on reality? Finding answers that work is critical …

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The system is broken… How will we repair it?

The system is broken. This is indisputably true. But no one thing or person broke it. Yes, the Republican party has been sowing the seeds for this day for a very long time. Nixon’s Southern Strategy helped. So did the Powell Memo. And Reagan’s 1980 “states’ rights” campaign kickoff speech outside the Mississippi town of …

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