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THE NEW NORMAL: PACIFISM OR PASSIVISM?

Language enthusiasts debate when the phrase “the new normal” first started circulating. It has been found as early as 1918, when “the new normal” referred to the probability that the US would recover from WWI but that the recovery would not look like pre-War times. What is not debatable is that today the phrase is enjoying exceptionally good times.

“The … Read more

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The manipulated medium is the mismessage

Engaged citizens and political commentators are used to thinking about rhetorical malfeasance as occurring in discrete texts, attributable to unique persons or corporate actors (such as businesses, governments, or agencies–sometimes delivered through rhetorical frontmen). We expect to know who to blame or praise for a rhetorical performance, who to trust or revile.

Of course these rhetors or frontmen’s back offices … Read more

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“The Enemy of the People”: The Traveling Meme

Part III: “The Enemy of the People”: From Rhetoric to Criminal Act

Today in the US the meme “fake news is the enemy of the people” carries with it an evolving history of import that includes not only a lying press but as well counter-establishment rumor, planted hoax, secret plot, coterie of assassins, purging of subgroups, international conspiracy, divided nation, … Read more

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“The Enemy of the People”: The Traveling Meme

Part II. “Fake News is the Enemy of the People” as International Conspiracy

As I argue, historically the meme “Fake News is the Enemy of the People” expresses fear of more than just the press. A little study of Robespierre and the second phase of the French Revolution shows how fake news (fausses nouvelles) included rumor and hoaxes … Read more

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“The Enemy of the People”: The Traveling Meme

Part I. Fake Rumor As the Enemy of the People

Robespierre, Lenin, Hitler, and Stalin used the phrase “enemy of the people” to jail and execute individuals and groups they saw as opponents. In spring 2017, when the elected President of the United States began repeatedly declaring that “fake news is the enemy of the people,” several commentators noted the … Read more

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How to Hide Global Warming in Plain Sight

Recently, wildfires have wreaked absolute havoc in California, covering more than 242,000 acres, destroying more than 13,000 structures including an entire town of 26,000, and killing at least 80 people with close to a thousand still unaccounted for. Driven by unprecedented drought conditions, this is the worst wildfire season in recorded state history and it’s far from over.

A month … Read more

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W(h)ither the Voice of Reason?

In the New York Times Opinion section (Sat, Nov 17), Katherine Mangu-Ward decries the sad state of relations between the White House press corps (also, the news media more broadly) and President Trump (and the US political establishment more broadly).

Her piece, “Trump and Acosta: When Showboats Collide,” is a masterpiece of bothsidesism. Not that Acosta is somebody whose … Read more

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Joohn Choe, from “The Resistance Endgame”: Defining Disinformation

Joohn Choe delivers sophisticated analysis and advice about “doublespeak” at the level of mass (miss)communication. This is a reposting of an excerpt from his most recent discussion of “disinformation.” He writes regularly online at _Medium_, as an “information war strategist.”

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“Defining disinformation”

A great deal of our language, and underlying assumptions behind it, are driven by legacy print media … Read more