How good journalism should work

The long running controversy over what contacts Donald Trump and members of his campaign staff had with Russian government officials and the nature of those discussions have been going on for some time, with Trump vigorously denying any wrongdoing, though since he is a pathological liar, his assurances do not count for anything. Jon Schwarz says that Trump can easily settle this issue once and for all if he wanted to.
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In praise of an adversarial press-government relationship

Donald Trump clearly has a strong dislike for much of the press, except for the alt-right extremists. This is not surprising. Trump is an incredibly thin-skinned and petty man who cannot stand any criticism from any quarter and during the campaign he received quite a lot of negative coverage. That much of it was generated by his own words and actions does not seem to matter to him. He seems to want and need fawning adulation all the time.
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Does anonymity worsen online behavior?

The fact that the internet seems to have a large number of people who indulge in abusive behavior towards others is hardly news. Why people behave this way is not clear. My own theory is similar to what I think about sports. My high school in Sri Lanka had a strong sports emphasis, since it was modeled on British public schools that took seriously the motto mens sana in corpore sano (“a healthy mind in a healthy body”). One used to constantly hear the phrase that playing sports builds character but I always doubted that. It seemed to me that what sports did was reveal character, since on the athletic field, one’s behavior was now visible to large number of people.
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The Twitter paradox

Twitter is an information network that is great for speed but terrible for conveying nuance and making an argument. Since the shelf life of an issue on Twitter is so short, it tempts people to fire off the first response that comes to their heads so as to be still relevant to the conversation, and as a result they may say things that they regret later. All of us have experienced occasions when in the heat of the moment we have said things that we immediately regret. With Twitter, there is no taking back. We read of case after case of people putting their careers and relationships at risk because of tweeting things that they later say were too clumsily written and wrongly interpreted. Some later delete their tweets, which rarely undoes the damage since the internet ever forgets.
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Charlie Brooker reviews 2016

I am not a fan of year-end reviews but I will make an exception for Charlie Brooker’s annual sardonic take on events and how the media covers them. He is always entertaining even when I had not heard before of the news that he is commenting on. For those who think that TV in the US has become too lascivious, the clips he showed of some British reality shows are astounding. Those shows make US TV seem extremely prudish by comparison. One of them seems to be a version of these popular matchmaking shows in which the men are shown naked from the waist down and the woman picks the man by comparing their genitals.
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How the mainstream media also propagates fake news

Did you hear the news where recently Julian Assange of WikiLeaks had sharply criticized Hillary Clinton while praising Donald Trump, also saying that Russia had freedom of the press and that was why WikiLeaks has not been releasing documents that revealed secrets of that country, and that Assange had a long and close relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin? This has been all over the mainstream media news and was largely based on an article published on December 24th in the Guardian newspaper, a paper that I read and link to regularly
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Living in a post-truth society

The so-called ‘pizzagate’ story gets weirder the more one delves into it. It has become a symbol of how social media has enabled fake new gets circulated widely. For those not familiar with it, the story was that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party were running a child porn/sex trafficking ring out of a Washington, DC pizza shop. Just stating this will raise the eyebrows of even a marginally rational person, because it seems such an absurd claim on its face that it would require a high level of evidence to substantiate it. But apparently no evidence at all was necessary for the Clinton-haters, especially one person who went to the shop with a rifle to shut down this operation and shot up the place before being arrested. Fortunately there were no injuries.
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