Tag Archives: James Solomon

Fake News: Are You Persuaded to Join the Herd?

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.
Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 1807

Amazing isn’t it that Thomas Jefferson expressed such skepticism about what is reported in the newspaper. And, that was in a smaller and simpler, yet less connected world. Now, when we are better equipped to get access to information, we seem to be much more easily misled.

Through our movie this month, The Witness (Solomon, 2015), we see how an entire nation of over 300 million people—through well-known and well-practiced, but perhaps unwitting, techniques of persuasion—can buy into a common, but false, understanding based on newspaper reporting. In this case, the fake news persisted over some 50 years. Continue reading Fake News: Are You Persuaded to Join the Herd?

The New York Times’ Rosenthal, Promoter of Myth and the Bystander Effect

The ideals of journalism are facts, confirmed sources, and unbiased reporting. It should be the mission of every news source to adhere to these principles, but the reality is that human nature interferes—opinions, emotions, and personal agendas. Thus, we are surrounded by biased media who cherry-pick sources, manipulate narratives, and report with the intention to influence public opinion. As revealed in The Witness, the 2015 documentary film about the Kitty Genovese murder, the well-renowned The New York Times is not above such questionable means (Solomon, 2015).

Continue reading The New York Times’ Rosenthal, Promoter of Myth and the Bystander Effect

Where Were the Heroes for Kitty Genovese?

The Witness documentary about Kitty Genovese chronicles Bill Genovese’s quest to find out why not one of the reported thirty-eight witnesses stepped in to help his beloved older sister (Salomon, 2015). After her murder in 1964, intense grief and inner turmoil plagued Bill Genovese’s life until, four decades later, he set out proactively to find the truth. Through the course of his personal investigation, his questions multiplied exponentially—specifically those about human nature.

Bill Genovese tracked down and spoke with witnesses who had heard or seen portions of Winston Moseley’s two attacks on Kitty. The Witness shows an interview in which a former neighbor claimed to have called the police. Records of these calls cannot be found. Continue reading Where Were the Heroes for Kitty Genovese?