Mindful voters, mindless news: Trump is a teachable moment

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This year is on track to be the world’s hottest on record, exceeding the previous hottest year, 2015, which exceeded the previous hottest year, 2014. For the news media, this campaign offers a teachable moment. If you want to tell the most important story in human history, if you believe that rousing your audience to civic action is part of journalism’s job, you might want to cover the 2016 campaign against the backdrop of brutal climate change, and to frame this election as a choice whose consequences could be irreversibly damaging for the rest of human history.

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Fear and Loathing In Cleveland

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Trump may have fired up the crowd in Cleveland, and even those who watched the speech on TV, but such enthusiasm is ephemeral; it won’t last. Trump will get his post-convention “bounce.” Then Hillary will get hers. And then the campaign will settle down to kabuki theatre debates and a war of attrition between negative political ads.

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Tempest in a Teacup

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The reporter’s first question was whether Melania Trump was guilty of plagiarism.

Essentially, I said no and yes. The fact that Mrs. Trump used the same clichés and stock phrases as Mrs. Obama—such as “your word is your bond,” “do what you say,” or “treat people with respect”—is not plagiarism.


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Have We Normalized the Trumps?

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When Donald Trump launched his campaign over a year ago with racist and xenophobic language, a number of different commentators cautioned against the gradual “normalization” of Donald Trump and his viewpoints. There were valid concerns that continued media exposure would mitigate the shock factor, dampening the visceral reactions against the hateful rhetoric he spews.

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