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Friday, May 19, 2017


Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge lives."

-James Madison to W.T. Barry,
August 1822

“Nothing could be more irrational than to give the people power and to withhold from them information, without which power is abused. A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both”
-James Madison

“Democracy can be an effective form of government only to the extent that the public (that rules in theory) is well-informed about national and international events and can think independently and critically about those events. If the vast majority of citizens do not recognize bias…if they cannot detect ideology, slant, and spin; if they cannot recognize propaganda…they cannot reasonably determine what messages have to be supplemented, counter balanced, or thrown out entirely. “
-       How to detect media bias and propaganda by Dr, Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder, Center for Critical Thinking (

Do not believe short phases, e-mail slogans or even the ethos of those you look up to. It is best to always seek out opposing views, read opposing reports and ask yourself to keep an open mind on any issue that may impact yourself, your community, your nation or your world.
Too many decisions are made based on hear say or tightly held bias beliefs that may blind the citizen to the facts they need to uncover to make key decisions in any democracy.

Understand your own prejudice, bias and stereotypes, those of your audience and of whomever you are seeking for information. All sources have bias, regardless of how they may present themselves. The very process of selecting which information to show, say, write or present involves making decisions that involve bias, often unintended.

I encourage you to always seek out views that do not fit in with your own and give them a fair hearing. In the end your decision, your thoughts and your actions are still your own.

Photo from 

First posted 11-16-2009

Jillian's Notes

While this is from a previous semester and different text, it is a good preview of things that will need to be researched and learned over the course of your communication studies. Please take the time to review these notes as you advance this semester.

Thank you Jillian!

-Art Lynch

Speech Notes (Partial)

Semantic Noise~ any noise that disrupts the symbols being expressed (i.e. language)

Transactional Model~

(For the model used in class, and on the tests,  refer to Jillian's Notes on Angel under Course Content, Resources and Study Material, 16. Reviews, Jillian's Notes.  The following are alternative ways of conceptualizing and understanding the basic communication model.)

Transmitter, sender, encodes message to the Receiver, audience, who decodes the message. The message is sent along a channel (media) and is disrupted by noise, interference, and screens. Three types- internal (thoughts, how you feel inside), external (things that happen outside of the body that you can’t control), and cultural (everything else that makes you-you!) When the Receiver becomes the transmitter, they are sending feedback. Same filters, screens, and interference will/can occur.

What is communication?

Universal integrated critical thinking involves being open to how things tie together, how they inter-relate, how we are dependent on each other, and how life is not in tight little boxes or between the lines.

Recently I was told that media news and theater do not belong on a communication blog. When I pushed, and listened, I found out the person criticizing me, who has solid communication academic credentials, thought that communication was limited to what is in communication textbooks. Apparently media, although taught in those textbooks, is not communication, and the interaction of playwright, crew, cast, audience, art and society are also not communication.

Communication is an interaction that leads to a transaction of ideas, intents, information, emotion or reasoned actions. 

There are other definitions.

All of them take mass media, creative arts (including theater and film), political and social issues and all human interaction under their umbrella. Some even go beyond our species.

This blog continues to integrate all aspects of communication, although a large amount of the film, theater and television coverage has moved to following the conversation I referred to and the merger of the Screen Actors Guild with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (who represent the music, recording, broadcast, television and commercial industries) into SAG-AFTRA.

It just seemed natural to make the shift.

I am also not using both blogs not as much as teaching tools as a informational links and exploration.

Your feedback and ideas are always welcome.

Art Lynch

The War on Organized Labor

In this image from video, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivers the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. 
APTN, via Associated Press 
In this image from video, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivers the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
You have to admit that the Republican Party is organized, methodical and persistent – especially if you’re a Democrat, because your party is pretty much the opposite.

Slowly but surely, across the country, Republican governors and state legislatures are making progress in their war against labor unions, especially ones that represent public employees. Just yesterday, there was bad news from two states.

In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a bill making Indiana another “right to work” state, which is one of those slogans, like “pro-life” and “family values,” that sounds unobjectionable, but isn’t. That law is relatively simple: It prohibits labor contracts from requiring workers to pay union dues. The spin is that this is better for everyone. The truth is that it is not only bad for labor but also bad for the economy.

Unions will reduce a company’s profits somewhat, because they get higher wages for workers. But economists have found that unionization has a minimal impact on growth and employment. Six of the 10 states with the highest unemployment have right-to-work laws in place. North Carolina, which has the lowest unionization rate in the country, 1.8 percent, also has the sixth highest unemployment, 10 percent.

In 2010, wages of workers in unionized manufacturing companies in Indiana were 16 percent higher than in non-union plants. One Harvard study, published this summer in American Sociological Review, concluded that the decline in unionization since the 1970s is responsible for one-fifth of the increase in hourly wage inequality among women, and one-third among men.

The other bit of news on Wednesday came from Arizona, where Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would ban collective bargaining for public-sector employees.

They are mimicking a similar – and I think ultimately unconstitutional – law in Wisconsin, which pioneered the idea of singling out the people who work for their government and denying them the right to collective bargaining.

There has been a backlash. Opponents of the bill in Wisconsin have managed to recall two state senators who worked on it, and they have their sights on Gov. Scott Walker. Last November, Ohio voters overturned a bill that would have stripped most public employees of their right to collective bargaining.

The Republicans are not just waging an anti-union campaign, but an anti-government campaign as well. Right-wingers believe government is the cause of all things bad in the economy and in society, and are willing to sacrifice those who toil in the public interest in their effort to hobble it.

Proponents of the anti-union laws have told me it’s reprehensible for public employees to negotiate over wages, benefits and working conditions when their employer is the government to which we all pay taxes. When I ask, how is that different from negotiating with any employer, the answer I generally get is “it just is.”

Unions have over-reached in many ways, clinging to wage-and-benefits agreements that are simply untenable in today’s economy. But they are fundamental to maintaining fairness for workers. And governors in many states, including New York, have managed to get concessions from public employee unions without outlawing them.

From the New York Times, click here for the story and other news. 

Public Speaking: Getting Started

Do not print this unless you really feel you need to. Read it first on-line to help prepare for and understand course material and assignments. 

For week # 1…(Ignore chapters as they refer to a previous edition of a specific text book and may not be the testable material for any given class. This is a guideline and for additional information, not required material for any single course.)

Prepare your first speech.

Take notes in class or if you are not a note taker, refer to the following document.

Education is repetition, delivered for a variety of learning styles and needs.

Unit notes will include repetition and redundancy within them, often expanding or explaining in different ways as they progress.

You should consider that in an oral presentation you may need to repeat concepts in different ways, reinforce concepts at different places within the speech, and summarize things you may already have said.

Do not be afraid of repeating yourself, or of the frequent repetition you may find in these unit notes. Education is repetition. We learn by repeat exposure (and my helping others, so please feel free to form study groups).

These unit notes are provided as an on-line supplement to lecture, text, experience and other course materials. They review, enhance, expand and explain concepts and issues in an outline format that extends beyond the material in the textbook. They are meant to be read, scanned, looked-up or ignored depending on your learning style and what you wish to gain from this course.

The material in these unit notes represent a collection of concepts and explanations from numerous textbooks, the experience of the instructor and answers to questions asked by previous students. This has been assembled to assist you in fully understanding the concepts of the course. Feel free to ask questions, point out corrections or add to this material.

If there is material in these notes not covered in a way you can remember and understand in the text or in lecture, feel free to ask specific questions to the instructor.

These unit notes are provided to assist you with speeches, on the examinations, and in your general understanding of the concepts of the course as you move forward in life. These will assist, however the unit notes do not replace the text.

You will be bombarded with information early in the term. This is to allow you to do better on your speeches and to take the time to reinforce and understand the material when you take the exams, apply the concepts in class and remember them for future course work in other areas of study. The second half of the term will be dominated with your speeches. Believe it or not, most students find themselves enjoying the course long before the end of the semester.

There is a great volume of material in the text, these notes and handouts. In addition you will need to learn to do comprehensive college level research.

This course requires reading, searching, thinking and practicing, if you wish to gain a satisfactory grade and earn the three college credits.

There is a reason this course is required for many majors and most major universities. You need a functional knowledge of communication and public speaking to advance in your education.

Read all the way though, then return to study what you may not understand or need to reinforce from your own perspective.

There is repetition within these notes, as well as within the text and lecture.

Repetition within your speeches may also be a positive force, as education is repetition. Most people require multiple exposures to ideas, concepts, facts, beliefs and information to retain, process and put these concepts to use.

There will be many pages of handouts available. How you use them is up to you. They are there to assist in your success in this course and use of the concepts or your own profit, pleasure and understanding of the world around you, future courses and in interaction with others.

I am here for you.

Art Lynch

Nevada State

Click on "read more" below to continue and to review/read notes.

What is Critical Thinking?


You've been thinking all of your life, of course, for thinking is simply the interaction of ideas. However, thinking is somewhat similar to other skills, like writing, drawing, or fixing cars. Practice and education can improve it. So even though you "know how to think" already, you can improve your thinking by learning about the tools and mental habits that produce the best thinking.

Analysis. Critical thinking might be defined as an approach to ideas from the standpoint of deliberate consideration. You hold an idea at arm's length and examine it before accepting it into your mental framework. Another way of defining critical thinking might be as a habit of cautious evaluation, an analytic mindset aimed at discovering the component parts of ideas and philosophies, eager to weigh the merits of arguments and reasons in order to become a good judge of them. Analysis is the ability to break arguments or claims down into parts and to discover the relationship between the parts. The arguments can then be evaluated.

It follows that sometimes the evaluation and judgment will be positive. Whether you are evaluating record albums, people, cars, political parties, recipes, controversial issues, books, vacation spots, whatever, there is a range of arguments stretching from good to bad about each thing, and sometimes the net result of the evaluation will be that the thing is good and worthy, right and true. Critical thinking, then, is not a cynical, negative force designed to improve your fault finding. In fact, if this class merely strengthens your ability to depreciate the arguments of your opponents, I will not have succeeded in teaching you how to think critically.

Critical thinking should be a constructive force and attitude, for examining all ideas and arguments, including your own dearly held ones, and for separating the ideas from their vehicles, to divide true from false, accurate from distorted, complete from incomplete, and so on. In fact, far from being an expert at fault finding, a critical thinker will be even more open to opposing arguments and ideas, carefully considering the merit and weight of each one, recognizing that he or she, the critical thinker, can always learn something from others, and might even be wrong in a current position.

Good thinkers develop the habit of analysis and take the time to think about claims and issues instead of just reacting to them. Thinkers take claims apart and see what is going on.

Click on "read more" to continue or click here to link to source web page.

Does Race Matter in Reporting?

There is a difference between anchors, producers and reporters. Anchors are there for ratings, for looks, for diction and for presenting the story as newsreaders. Producers are behind the scenes (most of the time) and do the roll up your sleeve research, reporting and packaging of stories and reports. Reporters are often also producers of their own work, but also can be the on camera (also ratings driven) image for a story or report (the truth is often reporters are reading another persons writing, say a wire service report or something a news-writer or producer penned).

A question on diversity?

In priority what do you think is needed to fairly report stories (say the Cosby story, or coverage of recent riots or politicians running for office) if you could pick only one of the news team? The anchor? The producer? Or the reporter?

I remember when I wrote for the Associated Press sitting in a motel room in Pinedale, Wyoming watching a national news reporter, who was never in PInedale, reading the report I wrote with the steps of the Pinedale courthouse in the background. There was no disclaimer and to the nation is was that reporters work and they were in the small Wyoming town where the story was unfolding.

The reason for this post is that I had a discussion with somone over the weekend actively offering opportunities and networking for one segment of minorities in broadcasting and was brought up to date how often the reporting is done by white producers who are no where near the event itself. And does race matter. Part of the discuss was that if you are a jounalist, race and gender should not, regardless of what Bill Cosby says, matter.

In the end there are editors, publishers or ownership to all media that does impact how a story finally gets to the reader, viewer, listener, consumer.

What needs to change?

Art Lynch

Free speech is so last century.

Something I have witnessed first hand on college campuses and in everyday conversation. We gave it up of our own choice...and now students see it as an attack on them...This is from Spectrum...
-Art Lynch

Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’
Student unions’ ‘no platform’ policy is expanding to cover pretty much anyone whose views don’t fit prevailing groupthink

Brendan O'Neill

Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.

I was attacked by a swarm of Stepford students this week. On Tuesday, I was supposed to take part in a debate about abortion at Christ Church, Oxford. I was invited by the Oxford Students for Life to put the pro-choice argument against the journalist Timothy Stanley, who is pro-life. But apparently it is forbidden for men to talk about abortion. A mob of furious feministic Oxford students, all robotically uttering the same stuff about feeling offended, set up a Facebook page littered with expletives and demands for the debate to be called off. They said it was outrageous that two human beings ‘who do not have uteruses’ should get to hold forth on abortion — identity politics at its most basely biological — and claimed the debate would threaten the ‘mental safety’ of Oxford students. Three hundred promised to turn up to the debate with ‘instruments’ — heaven knows what — that would allow them to disrupt proceedings.

Incredibly, Christ Church capitulated, the college’s censors living up to the modern meaning of their name by announcing that they would refuse to host the debate on the basis that it now raised ‘security and welfare issues’. So at one of the highest seats of learning on Earth, the democratic principle of free and open debate, of allowing differing opinions to slog it out in full view of discerning citizens, has been violated, and students have been rebranded as fragile creatures, overgrown children who need to be guarded against any idea that might prick their souls or challenge their prejudices. One of the censorious students actually boasted about her role in shutting down the debate, wearing her intolerance like a badge of honour in an Independent article in which she argued that, ‘The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalised groups.’

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered the Stepford students. Last month, at Britain’s other famously prestigious university, Cambridge, I was circled by Stepfords after taking part in a debate on faith schools. It wasn’t my defence of parents’ rights to send their children to religious schools they wanted to harangue me for — much as they loathed that liberal position — it was my suggestion, made in this magazine and elsewhere, that ‘lad culture’ doesn’t turn men into rapists. Their mechanical minds seemed incapable of computing that someone would say such a thing.

Their eyes glazed with moral certainty, they explained to me at length that culture warps minds and shapes behaviour and that is why it is right for students to strive to keep such wicked, misogynistic stuff as the Sun newspaper and sexist pop music off campus. ‘We have the right to feel comfortable,’ they all said, like a mantra. One — a bloke — said that the compulsory sexual consent classes recently introduced for freshers at Cambridge, to teach what is and what isn’t rape, were a great idea because they might weed out ‘pre-rapists’: men who haven’t raped anyone but might. The others nodded. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Pre-rapists! Had any of them read Philip K. Dick’s dystopian novella about a wicked world that hunts down and punishes pre-criminals, I asked? None had.

Inline sub2

When I told them that at the fag-end of the last millennium I had spent my student days arguing against the very ideas they were now spouting — against the claim that gangsta rap turned black men into murderers or that Tarantino flicks made teens go wild and criminal — not so much as a flicker of reflection crossed their faces. ‘Back then, the people who were making those censorious, misanthropic arguments about culture determining behaviour weren’t youngsters like you,’ I said. ‘They were older, more conservative people, with blue rinses.’ A moment’s silence. Then one of the Stepfords piped up. ‘Maybe those people were right,’ he said. My mind filled with a vision of Mary Whitehouse cackling to herself in some corner of the cosmos.

If your go-to image of a student is someone who’s free-spirited and open-minded, who loves having a pop at orthodoxies, then you urgently need to update your mind’s picture bank. Students are now pretty much the opposite of that. It’s hard to think of any other section of society that has undergone as epic a transformation as students have. From freewheelin’ to ban-happy, from askers of awkward questions to suppressors of offensive speech, in the space of a generation. My showdown with the debate-banning Stepfords at Oxford and the pre-crime promoters at Cambridge echoed other recent run-ins I’ve had with the intolerant students of the 21st century. I’ve been jeered at by students at the University of Cork for criticising gay marriage; cornered and branded a ‘denier’ by students at University College London for suggesting industrial development in Africa should take precedence over combating climate change; lambasted by students at Cambridge (again) for saying it’s bad to boycott Israeli goods. In each case, it wasn’t the fact the students disagreed with me that I found alarming — disagreement is great! — it was that they were so plainly shocked that I could have uttered such things, that I had failed to conform to what they assume to be right, that I had sought to contaminate their campuses and their fragile grey matter with offensive ideas.

Where once students might have allowed their eyes and ears to be bombarded by everything from risqué political propaganda to raunchy rock, now they insulate themselves from anything that might dent their self-esteem and, crime of crimes, make them feel ‘uncomfortable’. Student groups insist that online articles should have ‘trigger warnings’ in case their subject matter might cause offence.

The ‘no platform’ policy of various student unions is forever being expanded to keep off campus pretty much anyone whose views don’t chime perfectly with the prevailing groupthink. Where once it was only far-right rabble-rousers who were no-platformed, now everyone from Zionists to feminists who hold the wrong opinions on transgender issues to ‘rape deniers’ (anyone who questions the idea that modern Britain is in the grip of a ‘rape culture’) has found themselves shunned from the uni-sphere. My Oxford experience suggests pro-life societies could be next. In September the students’ union at Dundee banned the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children from the freshers’ fair on the basis that its campaign material is ‘highly offensive’.

Barely a week goes by without reports of something ‘offensive’ being banned by students. Robin Thicke’s rude pop ditty ‘Blurred Lines’ has been banned in more than 20 universities. Student officials at Balliol College, Oxford, justified their ban as a means of ‘prioritising the wellbeing of our students’. Apparently a three-minute pop song can harm students’ health. More than 30 student unions have banned the Sun, on the basis that Page Three could turn all those pre-rapists into actual rapists. Radical feminist students once burned their bras — now they insist that models put bras on. The union at UCL banned the Nietzsche Society on the grounds that its existence threatened ‘the safety of the UCL student body’.

Stepford concerns are over-amplified on social media. No sooner is a contentious subject raised than a university ‘campaign’ group appears on Facebook, or a hashtag on Twitter, demanding that the debate is shut down. Technology means that it has never been easier to whip up a false sense of mass outrage — and target that synthetic anger at those in charge. The authorities on the receiving end feel so besieged that they succumb to the demands and threats.

Heaven help any student who doesn’t bow before the Stepford mentality. The students’ union at Edinburgh recently passed a motion to ‘End lad banter’ on campus. Laddish students are being forced to recant their bantering ways. Last month, the rugby club at the London School of Economics was disbanded for a year after its members handed out leaflets advising rugby lads to avoid ‘mingers’ (ugly girls) and ‘homosexual debauchery’. Under pressure from LSE bigwigs, the club publicly recanted its ‘inexcusably offensive’ behaviour and declared that its members have ‘a lot to learn about the pernicious effects of banter’. They’re being made to take part in equality and diversity training. At British unis in 2014, you don’t just get education — you also get re-education, Soviet style.

The censoriousness has reached its nadir in the rise of the ‘safe space’ policy. Loads of student unions have colonised vast swaths of their campuses and declared them ‘safe spaces’ — that is, places where no student should ever be made to feel threatened, unwelcome or belittled, whether by banter, bad thinking or ‘Blurred Lines’. Safety from physical assault is one thing — but safety from words, ideas, Zionists, lads, pop music, Nietzsche? We seem to have nurtured a new generation that believes its self-esteem is more important than everyone else’s liberty.

This is what those censorious Cambridgers meant when they kept saying they have the ‘right to be comfortable’. They weren’t talking about the freedom to lay down on a chaise longue — they meant the right never to be challenged by disturbing ideas or mind-battered by offensiveness. At precisely the time they should be leaping brain-first into the rough and tumble of grown-up, testy discussion, students are cushioning themselves from anything that has the whiff of controversy. We’re witnessing the victory of political correctness by stealth. As the annoying ‘PC gone mad!’ brigade banged on and on about extreme instances of PC — schools banning ‘Baa Baa, Black Sheep’, etc. — nobody seems to have noticed that the key tenets of PC, from the desire to destroy offensive lingo to the urge to re-educate apparently corrupted minds, have been swallowed whole by a new generation. This is a disaster, for it means our universities are becoming breeding grounds of dogmatism. As John Stuart Mill said, if we don’t allow our opinion to be ‘fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed’, then that opinion will be ‘held as a dead dogma, not a living truth’.

One day, these Stepford students, with their lust to ban, their war on offensive lingo, and their terrifying talk of pre-crime, will be running the country. And then it won’t only be those of us who occasionally have cause to visit a campus who have to suffer their dead dogmas.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 22 November 2014