Posts

Image
True or False
By Hank Silverberg

17) True or False: Most mainstream news organizations produce fake news based on a political agenda. (3pts) It seemed like a very easy question for students in my Introduction to Communications class. We had spent an entire session talking about the difference between pundits and reporters, slant and bias and how to detect fake news organizations. (See my blog from 2/2/18). I was dismayed when half the students in the class got it wrong. The answer to the test question is "FALSE." I have gone over my notes and power-point from that lecture wracking my brain trying to figure out why the reality didn't sink in.  I intend to ask them about it when we go over the exam this week. But I think I already know the reason.
Despite all the tips I gave them about how to detect fake news, what constitutes a mainsteam news organization or a news organization in general, and what “slant” and “bias” mean, they are still constantly bombarded with rhetoric wh…
Image
The New Supreme Court
By Hank Silverberg

Brett Kavanaugh is now a Supreme Court Justice. He was sworn in just a few hours after the Senate gave final approval to his nomination.
The media continued to focus on what Maine Senator Susan Collins said, or how Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia bucked his party and voted in favor of Kavanaugh, or how big of a success the appointment was for Donald Trump.
Only a few news organizations, including The Washington Post, reported that the D.C. Appeals court clerk forwarded more than a dozen complaints of “judicial misconduct” against Kavanaugh in recent weeks to Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts chose not to forward them to a judicial panel for an investigation. (Not surprising, since it was Kavanaugh, as a lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House, who recommended Roberts for the high court in 2005. Mr. Bush writes about the recommendation in his book.)
What the media also hasn’t looked at, and hopefully will start doing now, is how…
Image
The Country is Very Sick---of Politics By Hank Silverberg
An interesting experience this past Saturday has led me to the conclusion that many people in the United States are suffering from politics-itis, a new unclassified disease that makes people run from anything political. You may have experienced this as well at the dinner table with friends or at your workplace. 
I had a chance to sell some of my books at the Fredericksburg Book Festival. There were many genres of  books at the gathering, from Science Fiction to children’s stories, to graphic novels. I was selling three of my books, two with political themes and one about growing up in the suburbs in the 60’s. 

My table had two big posters of my latest book, “The Campaign,” attached to it. Early in the day as people walked by each booth, they seemed to turn away from my table as soon as they read the posters.
About an hour into the Festival I started with a new greeting letting people know the political books were fiction. That'…
Image
She said/He said and the Supreme Court

By Hank Silverberg
I don’t know if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a young woman when he was in high school or not. I can’t imagine any circumstances in which a woman would make such an accusation, leaving herself open to demeaning ridicule and even death threats, if the accusation was not true.  
I do know that the whole process for nominating Judge Kavanaugh, the hearings before the senate judiciary committee, the letter to Senator Diane Feinstein from Christine Blasey Ford making the accusation, and the subsequent media barrage, has left a very sour taste in my mouth. 

I wrote that lead on Sunday before word came that another woman has accused the judge of sexual misconduct. Two women coming forward adds more credibility to the allegations.   
Sex crimes are not an easy topic to discuss, nor are they easy to prosecute. The most startling thing I saw this past week was a statistic showing that only 30 percent of sexual ass…
Image
The Politics of Hurricanes
By Hank Silverberg
Everything is politics these days. Since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in August of 2005, much has been written about the response of  the federal government to natural disasters. Has Congress allocated enough money? Was the response quick enough? Did those in high office show enough concern about the victims? These are all legitimate questions for the press, the public, and the government itself to review.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has been restructured several times since Katrina left hundreds of people stranded in the New Orleans Superdome without proper supplies or facilities during the 2005 disaster.  And both the Bush and Obama Administrations responded much better to subsequent storms. But somehow the current administration can’t seem to do so without bringing its bizarre view of the world into it.
As Hurricane Florence approached the east coast this past week, the media did …
Image
See the USA By Hank Silverberg
I don’t travel as much as I would like. But when I do, I enjoy a good road trip by car because you see more of the countryside. When I have the time, I get off the Interstates and take back roads, though I discovered this weekend I don’t like driving narrow two-lane mountain roads with up and down” S” curves and no guard rails. A family wedding in New England took me  through nine states. I had traveled most of the route several times before.The view from the Delaware Memorial Bridge is still spectacular, but I have seen it many times. We were hoping to see a few new things on this trip, and we did.
For example. In the Garden State (NJ), which is anything but a garden if you see it only from the Turnpike, can surprise you. We took a back route through central Jersey neighborhoods to get away from a major traffic jam near New Brunswick. I had worked this ground as a reporter for WCTC radio early in my career, so the town names and geography were familiar. Bu…