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They didn’t know bin Laden was dead

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Since the 1950s, right wing groups and foundations laid the groundwork to defund public schools and push everyone into for-profit private schools or charters, because poorly educated students become easily-manipulated voters. Look at the results:

Veteran journalist Alan Miller tells the story of the high school students who, years after the fact, didn’t know that Osama bin Laden had been killed. These were seniors, no less — in a journalism class at a well-regarded New York City charter school.

“Their reaction was ‘Wait, what? He’s dead?’ ” said Miller, who won a Pulitzer Prize as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

His story, though, has a happy ending. After immersion in the News Literacy Project, a Bethesda-based nonprofit organization that Miller founded to give teenagers the tools to know what to believe in the digital age, the students became news junkies. They were seriously annoyed if their classroom copies of the New York Times didn’t show up on time.

Every bit as dead as bin Laden, it sometimes seems, is many American citizens’ basic knowledge of news. Young people, especially, get their news in isolated bursts on their phones (the experts call this disaggregation). That makes it harder than ever to tell established truth from opinion, propaganda or pure fiction.

I always thought this is where people like me would find a niche. People so immersed in news, readers would pay for someone to filter out the rest. That happened for a while, but not enough to make a living.

You could see that last week when, during NBC’s commander-in-chief forum, moderator Matt Lauer didn’t even raise a skeptical eyebrow as Donald Trump claimed — again, and falsely — to have opposed the war in Iraq from the start. Although, as a broadcast pro, Lauer should have been far better prepared to parry this and other politically expedient flights of fancy, his ailment — apparent ignorance — is a common one. (Consider Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson’s query in an MSNBC interview: “What is Aleppo?”)

“There’s a cacophony of untrue information out there,” and it’s drowning out what’s dependable and accurate, said Leonard Downie Jr., former Washington Post executive editor, whose new book, “The News Media: What Everyone Needs to Know,” provides some help in question-and-answer form. (For example: “How dependent is journalism on leaks?” and “How are private interests trying to manage news now?”)


Traffic report

How to Actually "Use Your Network" to Get Through a Job Search (Even the Tough Parts)

So it seems like my traffic, which has not been all that fantastic for several years now, is really hitting the floor — in a heated election season, which disturbs me.

Thoughts? Feedback?

New job

female blogger

So I just started working at another blog yesterday. (Just in case you were wondering why I’m not over at C&L anymore.) Not many details to share, the site’s under new ownership and will be redesigned in the next few months. Oh, and the money’s better. Stay tuned!


Words Could Never Say

Boohunney had to have her Achilles tendon surgically reconnected this week. I know we all enjoy her posts, so please leave her some “Get Well” wishes in the comments!

Welcome back

I’m being hacked now on a regular basis — if you tried to read the site last night, you found blank pages.

Either I have to find an affordable WordPress guru who can stay on top of the many, many security holes, or I have to figure out how to move to a different platform (which will cost). Stay tuned!


I added a new widget that should make it easier to read SG on your phone or tablet. Let me know how it works for you!

Thanks for the feedback

I’m glad some of you are enjoying the new music, I do try to find stuff that builds on the historical feel of the oldies we love. I’m thrilled to hear that I’ve turned you on to new artists. I can’t ask for more than that!

Glad to be here in the sanity zone. The comments section at work has been blowing up — apparently I’m supposed to be fine with being called a bitch, a fascist and (worst of all) a DLC Dem-in-name only! I’ve already had a migraine this morning, and I’m sipping passion flower tea (aka “herbal Prozac”) because of the stress.

It’s really easy for me to ignore comments until I see errors of fact. That’s my Achilles heel.

On a big blog like my employer’s, it seems almost like blogger malpractice to let people pass on erroneous information to so many other readers. (And of course, these days, most of the erroneous information involves Hillary Clinton — which only makes things worse.) Last week, I saw a bunch of old white guys, Sanders supporters, piling on two black commenters who supported Black Lives Matter, and it was pretty ugly. It’s always weird to see white “progressives” explain to black people the right way to protest — let alone label them as “racist” because they haven’t accepted Bernie as their savior.

It’s not a war, guys. Don’t take it personally if I don’t agree with you. It’s primary madness, we’ve seen it before. Hopefully we’ll make it to the convention without killing each other.

Black Lives Matter takes the stage at NN

The netroots were all a-twitter over this Saturday:

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley arrived at the annual Netroots Nation convention hoping to impress some of the party’s most influential liberal activists. Things didn’t exactly go as planned.

Demonstrators protesting cases of police brutality and the treatment of black Americans by law enforcement disrupted a presidential forum Saturday as O’Malley, a former Maryland governor, was interviewed on stage. The group later heckled Sanders.

The raucous scene unfolded when a large group of protesters streamed into the convention hall chanting, “Black lives matter!” As O’Malley and interviewer Jose Antonio Vargas looked on, one of the group’s leaders took over the stage and addressed the audience as the largely female group of demonstrators railed against police-involved shootings, the treatment of immigrants and Arizona’s racial history.

Over at David Horowitz’s wacky right-wing site:

God, I love politics!

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