When judging people or voting, context is crucial — and maddeningly easy to omit.

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In a tweet stream, comedian Greg Larson brutally manipulates context to make evil people seem defensible. It’s a revealing satirical exercise in the crucial role of context — and a good way to remind ourselves of how crucial it is as we make important decisions. Here’s Larsen’s original tweet, which people took as a challenge. … Continued

Policing Trump’s (or anybody’s) tweets: the problem is context

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Donald Trump tweeted that mail-in ballots in California would lead to fraud. Twitter added a content warning on his tweets. If you think this is the start of Twitter fact-checking tweets, you’re wrong. It can’t. The problem is context. Let’s review what actually happened. Here’s what Trump tweeted: Twitter did something it rarely does: included … Continued

With Hurricane Harvey approaching, the Weather Channel wastes copy on weather porn

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Hurricane Harvey looks like a devastating storm. But with the media deploying superlatives so frequently, is there any capacity for alarm left for this actual emergency? I analyze the lead hurricane article from The Weather Channel for precision, clarity, and effectiveness. The lesson here: context is crucial when describing a potential disaster. Start with this: … Continued

Tweets are lies — and not just from Donald Trump

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At 140 characters, tweets lack context. Without context, there is no truth. So tweets are lies. Donald Trump’s tweets are lies, and so are mine. But they reveal a lot about what’s going on in our respective heads. What do I mean when I say that the truth demands context? Let’s start with one of my … Continued