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Monday, October 15, 2018

Media Trust and Political Polarization

Forty-five percent of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the mass media to report the news "fully, accurately and fairly," representing a continued recovery from the all-time low of 32% in 2016. Media trust is now the highest it has been since 2009 but remains below what it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
All party groups' trust in the media hit record lows in 2016 and has increased in the past two years. Democrats' trust surged last year and is now at 76%, the highest in Gallup's trend by party, based on available data since 1997. Independents' trust in the media is now at 42%, the highest for that group since 2005. Republicans continue to lag well behind the other party groups -- just 21% trust the media -- but that is up from 14% in 2016 and last year.

Republicans have typically placed less trust in the media than independents and especially Democrats, but the gap between Republicans and Democrats has grown. The current 55-percentage-point gap is among the largest to date, along with last year's 58-point gap. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fighting Fake News

Many posts have discussed fake news and reactions from the mainstream media.

At Axios, Sarah Fischer lists efforts to fight fake news and distrust in media::
  • The Trust Project, which is made up of dozens of global news companies, announced this morning that the number of journalism organizations using the global network’s "Trust Indicators" now totals 120, making it one of the larger global initiatives to combat fake news. Some of these groups (like NewsGuard) work with Trust Project and are a part of it.
  • News Integrity Initiative (Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Ford Foundation, Democracy Fund, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks)
  • NewsGuard (Longtime journalists and media entrepreneurs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz)
  • The Journalism Trust Initiative (Reporters Without Borders, and Agence France Presse, the European Broadcasting Union and the Global Editors Network )
  • Internews (Longtime international non-profit)
  • Accountability Journalism Program (American Press Institute)
  • Trusting News (Reynolds Journalism Institute)
  • Media Manipulation Initiative (Data & Society)
  • (Frédéric Filloux)
  • Trust & News Initiative (Knight Foundation, Facebook and Craig Newmark in. affiliation with Duke University)
  • Our.News (Independently run)
  • WikiTribune (Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Violent Campaign Video

Friday, October 12, 2018

American Politics for International Students 2018

Ways in which America is different 


There are other rich countries.  There are other religious countries. The US is rich and religious.

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." -- George Washington, 1796  Farewell Address

Similarly, see percentage who think that belief in God is necessary for morality:

Being "truly American:


"Nothing is more annoying ... than this irritable patriotism of the Americans. A foreigner will gladly agree to praise much in their country, but he would like to be allowed to criticize something, and that he is absolutely refused."  -- Tocqueville, Democracy in America

More than six in ten (62%) Americans believe that God has granted America a special role in human history, while roughly one-third (33%) disagree. Views have not shifted significantly in recent years. In 2012, an identical number of Americans (62%) agreed that the U.S. was granted a special role in human history. There are sharp differences on this question by political ideology and religious affiliation.
Conservatives are nearly twice as likely as liberals to agree that God has granted the U.S. a special role in human history—80% of conservatives and only 45% of liberals agree with this statement. Half (50%) of liberals reject the notion that the country has a divinely sanctioned role in human history.
White evangelical Protestants are unique among religious Americans in their affirmation of American exceptionalism. More than eight in ten (83%) white evangelical Protestants agree that God has granted the country a special role in human history. Seven in ten non-white Protestants (73%) and Catholics (70%) and a majority (56%) of white mainline Protestants also believe in a divinely chosen role for the U.S. In contrast, a majority (53%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans disagree that God granted the U.S. a special role, compared to fewer than four in ten (39%) who agree.
More than eight in ten (83%) Americans say that it is important to publicly show support for the U.S. by doing things such as displaying the American flag; only 14% of the public disagree. Across political and religious spectrums, Americans embrace the importance of public demonstrations of patriotism.


The self-made man:  Alexander Hamilton as immigrant and American hero.


Ranking Presidents

The Separation of Powers

Congress and Bicameralism:

Federalism:  about 89,000 governments and about 513,000 elected officials

Federalism and ballot complexity

Voter turnout

Partisan Polarization

Parties and Campaigns:

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters." --Frederick Douglass

Free Speech:  the Unusual First Amendment

Support for Free Expression

The Gig Economy Comes to Higher Education

Long-term job security is getting scarce.

Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed:
Some 73 percent of all faculty positions are off the tenure track, according to a new analysis of federal data by the American Association of University Professors.
“For the most part, these are insecure, unsupported positions with little job security and few protections for academic freedom,” reads AAUP’s “Data Snapshot: Contingent Faculty in U.S. Higher Ed.” The report is based on the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, from 2016.
AAUP’s report discusses long-standing concerns about the decline of tenure and what that means for academic freedom, as well as the “casualization” of academic labor and the unbundling of the traditional faculty role. But it also provides an up-to-date picture of who is teaching, under what conditions, where.
Breaking down non-tenure-track positions by institution type, it’s clear that tenure and tenure-track positions are more represented at research-intensive and other four-year institutions, where they are about one-third of the faculty. Tenure-line jobs are about 20 percent of all faculty positions at two-year institutions.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Openness to Foreigners

Hannah Hartig at Pew:
For a large majority of Americans, the country’s openness to people from around the world “is essential to who we are as a nation.” In a new Pew Research Center survey, 68% say America’s openness to foreigners is a defining characteristic of the nation, while just 26% say “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”
The belief that openness to people from around the world is essential is widely shared across most demographic groups. However, Democrats and younger people are considerably more likely than others to hold this view, according to the national survey, conducted Sept. 18-24 among 1,754 adults.
Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, an overwhelming share (85%) thinks America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation. Republicans and Republican leaners are divided: 47% say America’s openness is essential, while 44% say being too open carries with it the risk of losing our identity as a nation. These views are virtually unchanged from the last time the Center asked this question in summer 2017.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Global Disasters: Gradual, then Sudden

At WP, Robert Kagan notes that the Saudi government's assassination of a journalist is one bad sign among many:  "There have been many other similar warning signs: China’s arrest of the head of Interpol; the Burmese military’s campaign of genocide against the Rohingya; the systematic and deliberate slaughter of civilians in Syria, including by outlawed chemical weapons; the Russian invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea."  Kagan continues:
We want to believe that Hitler and Stalin were bizarre products of another era. But the Hitlers and Stalins are all around us, waiting to reveal themselves if given half a chance. Today we know a Vladimir Putin who has grand ambitions but not yet the capacity to realize them. He reveres Stalin, but he is not Stalin. But what would a less constrained Putin be? Today a more powerful China is abandoning the cautious foreign policies of Deng Xiaoping’s weaker China. What will an even less constrained China be like? Who can say whether either of these powers might in time become a threat on a par with those we faced in the past if they are allowed to expand their regional and global influence by military means?
And how quickly might this happen? Quicker than we think. A character in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” asked how he went bankrupt, responds, “Gradually and then suddenly.” That is a fair description of how the world order collapsed before the two world wars, and of how it likely will collapse in our own time. Welcome to the jungle.
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

The report's full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

"One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes," said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems," said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.