When it comes to moderation, Facebook’s fairness and PR goals are in conflict

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Facebook claims to have a consistent set of standards for what appears on its platform. But based on the reporting in a recent Wall Street Journal article, it fails. It attempts and fails to apply fair standards to ordinary people. It attempts and fails to treat prominent people who post offensive material more personally and … Continued

What it really means when the Journal asks Jill Biden to drop the “Dr.”

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On the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, Joseph Epstein published an op-ed advising first lady Jill Biden — who has a doctorate in education — to drop the “Dr.” in her name. It’s dumb, sexist, and an insult to anyone who’s ever earned a university doctorate. Dissecting Epstein’s screed Here’s what’s in the op-ed — … Continued

Mark Zuckerberg: The addicter’s lament

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If you had profited from a highly addictive drug that had done great damage to society, what would you do? A trial about this — about Insys and fentanyl — is happening right now in Boston. But I’m not talking about opioids. I’m talking about Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal looks … Continued

Does the Brett Kavanaugh op-ed make its case?

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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh defended himself in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. He says you can trust him to be impartial. Did he undo the damage he did during his hearing last week? Just a reminder: the purpose of this blog is to reveal what’s really going on with written communications. I’m … Continued

John Bolton’s writing is muddled. Is his thinking as well?

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Clear thinkers are typically clear writers. In fact, the art of writing helps clarify your thinking, or reveals the flaw in it. With this in mind, let’s look at some writing from John Bolton, President Trump’s soon-to-be new National Security Advisor. Bolton was UN Ambassador under George W. Bush. He scares people because of his … Continued

Why all this talk about the “median” income?

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The US Census Bureau released figures yesterday showing that, in 2015, the median annual household income in America increased by 5.2% over a year earlier. That’s an increase of $2,798, to $56,516 per year. Why talk about the “median” and how is that different from an average? I’ll explain. Put simply, when you’re talking about income, the … Continued

Climbing the rickety stack of financial expectations

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The stock market has already priced in anything you read in The Wall Street Journal about stocks. So they fill space with an elaborate passel of theories that’s obscure enough that you might think the market doesn’t understand it yet. That’s fine, so long as you realize it’s for entertainment purposes only. Markets reporters at a paper … Continued