"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, January 27, 2024

To MSNBC and Other News Media: How to Cover T____

MSNBC is not alone, of course, in treating the seditionist ringleader ex-President as media outlets might treat regular ex-Presidents, you know, those who are not intent upon getting back into office in order to avoid prison. 

Here's a prime example of how not to cover T_____ from this morning's online Washington Amazon Post. This (below) is what appears as the lead story just under the masthead, with a captioned photo of "President Trump" behind the Resolute right there in the Oval.  

Notice the T____ rumor news from the diseased cranial cavity where T____ policy is hatched is presented as much more important than the current real President doing real Presidential stuff like as dealing with real immigration problems (see "More Coverage" below the unreal lead story in the much-reduced font).


Instead of offering readers news of what is happening in the world today, the Amazon Post chose to go with a story about what's going on among T____'s thought disorders related to his fantasy of being President again.


Two nights ago Lawrence O'Donnell admitted what no other news host or outlet will admit: he doesn't know how to cover Donald T___.  This is just one reason I love Lawrence ODonnell.  Lawrence points out that in an era when constant monstrous lies are told daily by a presidential candidate who was elected with fewer votes than his opponent in 2016, who lost his reelection bid by 7 million votes, and is now running again on a "Make Me Dictator platform," the result has led to a situation now characterized by the "banality of crazy."

So here are a couple of rules to get started for covering pathological former Presidents who happen to be uncontrolled sociopaths:

1. Never lead with a story that T____ or his team is responsible for.  The WaPo story above a clear example of this kind of story, one created by the T____ gang to get headlines just like the one they got, this time by promising international chaos if T____ is re-elected.

2. Never normalize the abnormal.  The captioned photo above is a clear example of this: a dangerous malignant narcissist presented in an image that captures him as the respected President of the most powerful nation on planet earth.  Rather than making the abnormal appear normal, mass media must "amplify the crazy" so that readers are never led to believe T____ is anything other than a demented gangster who cares for nothing beyond his own orange hide.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The True Awfulness of MSNBC Political Coverage

When the Insane Clown lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden by 7 million popular votes, that segment of the American electorate still preferring democracy over fascism thought we could take a deep breath and begin to treat the MAGA-inspired PTSD that peaked in January 2021 during and following the seditionist insurrection led by the bloated Orange Psychopath (OP).

Following Biden's inauguration, there were even signs of other news beginning to emerge from the rutted news cycle, like tendrils of green pushing through the path beat down by the jack-booted army of conspiracy-mongering cultists.  Even humor poked through occasionally, and we saw democratic normalcy begin to appear through features and news of the Biden Administration plans and initiatives.

It didn't take long, however, for OP to rise to the top of the news cesspool once more. When the indictments began fly left and right, mostly right, the world's most garrulous liar took center stage once more on every MSNBC news set other than Maddow, where he remains to this day.  Even Rachel has been dragged in recently, as T____'s team of nazi enablers gin up lies and insults that would make Hitler and Goebbels blush.

After all, the MSNBC excuse goes, don't the American people have to warned about what's coming if OP is elected to a second term? And doesn't the Dem base need some new injections of fear and loathing to gin up the polls? And so the unreasoned reasoning goes.

Meanwhile, when MSNBC evening anchors do mention Joe Biden in passing, it is to talk about his low poll numbers, how old he is, how he is not publicizing his accomplishments, or to cover his latest warning speech about the resurrected OJ. It's as if the producers and writers and reporters at MSNBC are helpless to change the narrative.

So here's an idea. Begin to cover what the President does, says, proposes, enables, promotes, and celebrates.  Tell us what is going on politically in the political world beyond the river of sewage that emanates from the OP camp.  I would even guess that the Biden Team might begin to be more forthcoming and promotional with their accomplishments and plans if they can count on some cameras being there to cover it and some prime time news readers to report it.

I might even return to watch an hour or two of the nightly news line-up, rather than spending all my time on the BBC or CBC or Andy Griffith.  If MSNBC were to give Team OJ the coverage it deserves, there would be hours remaining to fill with real news that just might inspire all those mainstream Dems and Republicans and Progressives to look forward to the future, rather than to hovering in fear of it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

My Final Day at Cambridge College

When I came to Cambridge College in 2008, it was to teach in a unique educational leadership doctoral program that was started in 2006 to prepare school leaders with an unambiguous and historically-informed social justice agenda. As a full-time tenured faculty member, I was a rare bird, for the College at that time had fewer than 30 full-time "core" faculty members, which carried the same benefits and responsibilities as tenured faculty.  The rest of the faculty was comprised of adjuncts and part-time professors, and they numbered in the low hundreds. 

Due to administrative incompetence and penurious policies, the Ed Leadership EdD program was dead by 2014. I stayed on, continuing to teach in the Masters program and continuing to create new courses focused on antiracism, historical accountability, and social justice.

There have been exactly three new core faculty hires after me.  One moved into administration and the two others, I found out today, had their positions discontinued several days ago, resulting in curt, unceremonious Zoom layoffs that are, doubtless, planned to be permanent.  Today I became the third.  

If my math is correct, that leaves a total of five full-time core faculty members, as others in that 20-something number of 2008 have retired or are now deceased. And even though Covid, mismanagement, rumors of administrative improprieties, and managerial churn have taken their toll on enrollment, organizational continuity, and the number of recruits in the College's adjunct army, Cambridge College continues, nonetheless, to move forward with grandiose plans for Cambridge College Global, which we might see advertised on matchbooks worldwide.

And so I am offered 6.75 months of severance pay, per the AFT negotiated contract which expires this year, and no health or life insurance coverage beyond January 31.  That's what Cambridge College is offering its core faculty for 15 years of service.  That's not nearly enough, as the College knows now and will continue to learn anew as their crass plans unfold. 

In a final bit of sadly comic irony, the cheap clock that the College sent me just a few weeks back to mark my 15 years of teaching service stopped working after a few days.  I lasted 15 years, and as Cambridge College will come to know, I am still ticking strong.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

MA Wildcatters Earn Big Dividends After 3 Day Strike

 From Jacobin:

A wildly successful, illegal three-day strike by the Andover Education Association (AEA) in November has reverberated statewide for educators in Massachusetts.

The lowest-paid instructional assistants got a 60 percent wage jump immediately. Classroom aides on the higher end of the scale got a 37 percent increase.

Members won paid family medical leave, an extra personal day, fewer staff meetings, and the extension of lunch and recess times for elementary students.

Andover is twenty miles north of Boston, and the strike involved ten schools.

For ten months and twenty-seven bargaining sessions, the Andover School Committee had insisted that none of these demands were possible. But by the end of the first day of the strike, they had ceded many items. By day three, they agreed to almost all of the union’s demands.

Public-school workers can’t legally strike in Massachusetts — but Andover’s is just one of a series of school unions that have struck over the last four years, defying the ban, and in some cases paying heavy fines as a result.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is pushing for legislation that would legalize public sector strikes after six months of bargaining. . . .