Big Picture

Big Picture / Technology / Information Processing / Communication Systems / Journalism

The World Press Freedom Index which evaluates the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories is published by Reporters Without Borders.

Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life by Margaret Sullivan
Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier
Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy by Margaret Sullivan
True or False by Cindy L Otis


Big Questions

Good ratings make weak journalists do bad things.

The Trump-ruled mob demands its daily misinformation fix from Fox News.


Is misinformation the most important strategic weapon of an autocrat?

How much damage has the Trump (former) administration’s rhetoric done to the public’s trust in the Fourth Estate?

  • Have Americans lost trust in the news?
  • What will it take to regain it?

Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and THE WASHINGTON POST by Martin Baron
Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life by Margaret Sullivan

Can you believe what you read, see, and hear?

  • How do we really know the difference between opinion, advertising, and accurate news?
  • How will we fight state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda (deep fakes) in the future?
  • If Facebook’s content policies don’t require a post to be true, how do we protect ourselves from ourselves?
  • Is Facebook breaking our democracy?

The danger of a deep fake is that once it has been seen and heard, it’s hard to un-believe it.

How does a journalist report lies in a straightforward manner that doesn’t mislead and do a disservice to the readers/listeners of the news?

Is the world suffering from a bad case of Trust Deficit Disorder? Are we becoming less honest?

Fact-based, trustworthy journalism is a cornerstone of our democracy.


Buyer Beware of Fake News

The cybersecurity profession learned early on that there is no way to protect every single computer and mobile device in the world against cyber attack by simply using policies and computer algorithms. Usually the weakest link is the individual that knowingly or not, clicks on a bogus phishing email or advertisement.

The same is true for protecting oneself against against fake news. We should not lay this off on the federal and state governments to solve this problem alone. Protection against cyber meddling starts with each individual being fully aware and educated about the role and responsibilities of citizenship, and having good common sense and judgment about the news they read and the sources they follow. At a minimum, we need to concentrate on education of the news consumer as much as we need to concentrate on the technology to identify, filter and block fake news.

In a time of uncertainty, facts provide clarity.
In a time of anxiety, facts comfort.
In a time of misinformation, facts correct.
In a time of division, facts unite.
In a time of crisis, facts matter most.


Besides, who should be the decider of what the truth is? I don’t think we want the government and/or the internet giants to unilaterally decide for us, but ultimately it must be up to each individual. We need to protect the media’s ability to collect and serve up factual news as best they can, but each individual should have an informed suspicion of what is fake or not.



Authentic Photographs

Authentic photographs tell a thousand words. Would Trump play with a child, much less let them touch his hair? Of course not! There is more that we don’t see about Trump than what we do see. We don’t see the authentic photographs of Trump’s lack of character, honesty, humility, empathy, sincerity, leadership, and quite simply being a man that can relate to a little boy as a father who once was a little boy himself.

Trump’s Whitehouse was a dark enclave of dysfunctional, self-serving, mean-spirited, racist white privileged operators for which there are no photographs.

If the American people only knew the half of it.



Untrustworthy Hall of Shame