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UPenn profs launch ‘media awareness initiatives’ due to the president’s ‘attacks’


Due to President Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media, professors at the University of Pennsylvania have “adapted course structures” and started “awareness initiatives” to better deal with the current American political climate.

Leading the way are profs at the school’s Annenberg School for Communication. Barbie Zelizer, for example, began the Center for Media at Risk in response to “increased threats to journalism” here and abroad.

According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Zelizer said Trump’s election “was an eye-opening moment for many of us.”

“The center can deliver answers, formulate new solutions, bring exemplars from history and understandings of different media regimes across the world back into the conversation to help us understand what we got wrong,” she added.

“Got wrong”? Got what wrong?

Zelizer said the West is “far less prepared” for attacks on the media, and claimed the US has “been cocooned in [its] own sense of exceptionalism.” She added the rest of the world knows better how to deal with “this kind of regime.”

Others had a … stronger take.

From the story:

These sentiments were echoed by Cherian George, professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and a visiting scholar at the Center for Media at Risk.

“[Trump’s] rhetoric has been enthusiastically embraced by authoritarian leaders worldwide, most notably his rhetoric on fake news, which has been picked up quite gleefully by demagogues around the world,” George said.

Trump is simply learning from dictators worldwide, Zelizer said, employing tried-and-tested techniques to infringe upon media freedom.

“[Trump] knew how to pull it all together and make it work,” Zelizer said. “It’s not that anything he has done is new or inventive, it’s boringly familiar — it’s just that we just didn’t expect it here.” …

Experts agreed that now is a pressing time for journalism in America, but some held out hope that the industry could overcome the rough period.

George said he’s confident the tradition of free press in the United States will persevere because of America’s “ability to self correct.”

“The system is designed quite deliberately to run around individual bad leaders,” George said. “It is still a strong system, and I would hope its underlying constitutional values can outlast this attack from the very top.”

Indeed, the president is such a dictator that, despite his myriad criticisms of the media, reporters continue to operate just as they always have — with nary a restriction.

On the other hand, the previous (Obama) administration actually spied on journalists, undertook secret investigations of reporters, and clandestinely altered policy which allowed “incidental” snooping of US citizens’ private communications.

President Trump — and everybody — has an absolute right to criticize the press for its outlandish bias and fakery. Within the last few days we’ve seen the New York Times attempt to smear UN ambassador Nikki Haley with a wildly inaccurate headline (“Nikki Haley’s View of New York Is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701″), as well as reporters endeavoring to mislead us about the severity of Hurricane Florence.

Read the full Daily Pennsylvanian article.

UPDATE: This article previously used a tweet showing CNN’s Anderson Cooper standing in flood waters. The photo was not from Hurricane Florence, but 2008’s Hurricane Ike. We regret the error.

MORE: Capital Gazette tragedy used as opportunity to rip criticism of media

MORE: WHO is close-minded and biased, again?

IMAGE: Justin Lincoln/Flickr.com

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.

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