Why We Rebuild – Ellicott City’s History of Floods

I wrote a piece on Ellicott City shortly after the 2018 flood, so I could stop responding to the same inane comments I repeatedly saw. After some were panicking with recent thunderstorms this Summer of 2020, I wondered if I should reshare that post.

Instead, because of some dated commentary, I want to discuss Ellicott City and its history. Namely, I want to explain why the town exists, why people keep rebuilding it, and how blaming the floods on those living and working there is ignorant (at best).


The first thing to understand is that Ellicott City is located where it is for excellent reasons. It began as a gristmill in 1766, where the road between Baltimore and Frederick crossed the Patapsco River.

The flooding happened even then, and the owner’s son had to rebuild the mill a mere two years later, in 1768. Still, the location was perfect for industry, and it was sold to Joseph Ellicott and his brothers in 1774, at which point it was renamed Ellicott’s Mills.

Ellicott’s Mills became one of the largest manufacturers on the East Coast, and thus a town built around it. They didn’t face their first devastating flood until 1817, which destroyed several buildings, but it didn’t deter life and business.


By the mid-19th century, Ellicott’s Mills had achieved such importance the B&O had built the first commercial railroad station there. Howard County had become a separate jurisdiction, and the county courthouse was built.

The Ellicott brothers sold all interests by 1840, and the town was a center of manufacturing and farming by the 1860s. During the Civil War, it saw action from both sides, and it was officially incorporated as Ellicott City in 1867.

Then the Great Flood of Maryland happened in 1868.

18″ of rain in 30 minutes created a wall of water that washed down the Patapsco River, destroying everything in its wake. Not just buildings and bridges in Ellicott City, but everything along the Patapsco Valley into Baltimore was devastated, and 43 lives were lost.


The Great Flood of 1868 mostly destroyed structures along the Patapsco, not those along the Tiber or Frederick Road. Much of what we know as Ellicott City, Historic Ellicott, Main Street, OEC, etc. today was built after that flood.

Ellicott City experienced some flooding along the Patapsco but nothing of significance until the early-20th century. By that time, it was the primary seat of commerce and politics in Howard County; it was also heavily involved in the turn-of-the-century social movements (for better or worse).

In 1933, however, the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane created flooding all along the watershed. Once more, the Patapsco overflowed its banks, and the lower portion of the town was damaged.

Nevertheless, Ellicott City moved on – flooding was nothing new, as the town had experienced a dozen floods by then, although only a few were devastating. “Main Street” and the surrounding area was still the heart of Howard County, pumping the blood of industrial and commercial interests.

BS Flash Flood Did This - 1952

The first time Ellicott City faced a devastating top-down flood, like the ones that happened recently, was in 1952. A “thousand-year” storm created a wall of water 8 feet high rushing down the street, reaching 12 feet at the bottom, and destroyed thirty businesses and multiple vehicles.

Photos from the era look eerily similar to recent events, but this was the first time in 186 years, that the town had experienced flooding of that nature. Even the Great Flood of 1868 was along the Patapsco (rather than the Tiber), so nobody expected this.

The next major flood occurred in 1972 and was once more caused by regional weather. Hurricane Agnes devastated the entire East Coast, not just Ellicott City, and created walls of water that destroyed businesses, homes, and lives.


By the 21st century, Ellicott City had faced fifteen significant floods in over two centuries. Almost all were fluvial floods along the Patapsco when it would overflow its banks.

Only five floods (at the time) required the area to rebuild, two of which happened before the OEC as we know it had been built up. Since 1868, the businesses and residents of Main Street had only experienced three devastating floods: the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane of 1933, the “thousand-year” flood of 1952, and Hurricane Agnes (which affected the entire East Coast) in 1972.

These points in history are essential to remember because they highlight that what’s happened in the past few years is not normal for the town.

When the flood of 2016 occurred, nobody was prepared because something like that was rare. A non-Hurricane related, “thousand-year” flood along the Tiber had only happened once in nearly 250 years of history, and it had been 60 years since it occurred!


The destruction of 2016 was terrible, and it made people wonder how it happened. Many armchair experts were quick to mention, “Ellicott City has always flooded!” without looking at the history of the town and types of floods.

Often this was used to dismiss rebuilding the town as a waste of resources, completely ignoring its historical, cultural, and economic worth. I could only imagine if they’d be as willing to get rid of Harper’s Ferry or Annapolis, both equally historic (and significant) towns who’ve faced floods before.

Cooler heads began to look at the facts and science and realize a more valid (and less dismissive) explanation: over-development.


Since the 20th century, Ellicott City has boomed along with the rest of America. While the historic town remained relatively static, the areas around it did not.

Howard County and developers have added buildings to the already crowded street (or replaced those lost) and paved over whole areas for parking lots. Outside Frederick Road, developers have continued to tear up trees and bedrock to build everything from single-family homes to townhouses to apartments to strip malls.

Overdevelopment has devastated the permeable land that would once allow waters to flow in and through it. With nowhere to go once it strikes pavement and buildings, the rains pour directly into the Tiber, overflowing its banks and leaving the flood with one route: Main Street.

The second “thousand-year” storm in 2018 only served to confirm our worst fears. Ellicott City isn’t flooding because of its location or history – it’s flooding because the county and developers didn’t give its location or history any consideration.


Blaming Ellicott City for rebuilding after each flood is like blaming a long-time resident for being hit by a car after the county widens and increases the speed limit on their road. They’ve lived there for decades without any problem (even if there were occasional accidents), but it wasn’t that dangerous until changes happened without consideration for the locals.

Ellicott City may be in a flood plain, but history shows us consistent flooding usually came from one direction and at much less frequency. The county and developers have changed the topography of the area, leading to severe consequences and tragedy.

Ellicott City wasn’t asking for this because of its location; it’s been right where it was supposed to be all along. Leadership and greed caused this because they didn’t care about the precarious nature of the town.

As a historical and cultural jewel of Maryland and America, Main Street should be rebuilt every time. They may have to adapt, as they have before, but it’s worth it.

Ellicott City shouldn’t have to pay for it, though – those responsible, the county, and (most importantly) the developers should.

A New Approach to Generations

A New Approach to Generations

In this day and age of judgmental labels and blaming everyone else, generations have taken to the headlines. Millennials are accused of everything from ruining housing, auto, and food industries to a decline in population growth. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are often associated with the worst of political ideologies and outdated thinking.

It’s bad enough we critique, name, and fault others broadly, but most of the time we don’t even realize about who we are talking. The “generations” are huge categories that include vastly different people born over the decades, and they’ve long since changed.

Did you know that Baby Boomers supposedly include people who were teenagers during the Civil Rights movement as well as people born during it? That means the infamous teenager yelling at the Little Rock Nine in 1957 is somehow in the same “generation” as the most famous drag queen of all time, who wasn’t even born until 1960.

Similarly, Millennials supposedly stretches from those born in the early ’80s to the turn of the Millennium. There’s a huge difference between those now in their 30’s (who didn’t regularly use the Internet until their teens) and those currently graduating High School (who’ve had the Internet since they were little kids).

Based on recent articles about “in between” generations, I propose an entirely new set of labels. As usual, these should be used with a warning as they’re limited in how they’re applied. Not only are they from an American (and primarily middle-class white) point-of-view, but also each person’s life experiences vary thanks to family, race, gender, geography, etc. greatly.


Silent Generation (1925-1935)

These were individuals born during (or just before) the Great Depression. Many were children during that era and teenagers during WWII. Although some of the older ones may have served after Pearl Harbor, most didn’t reach adulthood until the Korean War; some may have served in Vietnam, but many were middle-aged towards the end.

The Silent Generation was industrious, having learned from their Depression-era parents, and filled the many fields growing during America’s “Golden Age.” They were the frontline behind the automotive and manufacturing plants, NASA and the Space Race, and rampant commercialism. Most were retired by the ’80s and ’90s, often with significant pensions.

Socially, this age group grew up in the middle of Jim Crow and were already entering middle-age by the time segregation ended. Many were used to a divided society and railed against change, even if they weren’t consciously bigoted. The Silent Generation was expected to adhere to traditional gender roles, and LGBT members were kept quiet.

Many of this time grew up with the silver screen and the era of film noir and Humphrey Bogart. They were born into swing, and their adolescence was filled with big bands, jazz, and crooners. That doesn’t mean they were backward, however, as they grew up with radios and drove the “future tech” of everything from microwaves to color television.

The Silent Generation gave birth to the Baby Boomers and X-Boomers, raising them in the expanding suburbias and changing landscapes of the ’50s and ’60s. They raised their kids during the Civil Rights Movement and were grandparents during the fall of the Soviet Union. For those still alive today, they’re senior citizens in their late-80’s/early-90’s, with great-grandchildren of their own.

Famous Silent Generation: Malcolm X, Hugh Hefner, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Neil Armstrong, Leonard Nimoy, Johnny Cash, Dianne Feinstein, Carl Sagan


Silent Boomers (1935-1945)

These individuals are different from their older siblings and cousins because most were born at the end of the Depression and during World War II. Many were teenagers during the Korean War and McCarthyism and were young adults during the tumultuous era of the Civil Rights. No small number were drafted (or volunteered) into Vietnam.

The Silent Boomers were the first to taste America’s “Golden Age,” adolescents during the economic boom. Although they had a cornucopia of industries, jobs, and fields to choose from, they still learned from their Depression-era parents to work hard. Sadly, they were also the first to experience the decline of the manufacturing industry; those who went into more scientific and academic fields found things more comfortable as they retired in the ’90s and ’00s.

These individuals became grown-ups at the end of Jim Crow and were at the forefront of the Civil Rights debate, on both sides. Like the Silent Generation, they’d become used to segregation but were more flagrant about fighting (or enforcing) it. Although women began to join college and the workforce more often, gender roles remained strong, and the ’50s was a significant factor in frat behavior and rape culture. LGBT members remained hidden, and any overt behavior was considered scandalous, at least outside the more progressive regions.

This generation grew up in the era of drive-ins, sock hops, and “parking” (i.e., Lover’s Lane). Their teenage years were filled with rock and roll, pop crooners, and country western. They took family trips across the United States and watched as we landed on the moon.

The Silent Boomers gave birth to the X-Boomers and Gen-X, raising them in the urban and suburban neighborhoods of the ’60s and ’70s. Their kids grew up during the energy crisis, and they were grandparents by the end of the millennium. They are now senior citizens in their late-70’s/early-80’s, most retired but some still in the workforce.

Famous Silent Boomers: Elvis Presley, John McCain, Morgan Freeman, Kenny Rogers, Maury Povich, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Muhammad Ali, Robert De Niro, George Lucas


Baby Boomers (1945-1955)

Baby Boomers were born into economic prosperity but grew up in a tumultuous era socially. Children of the Civil Rights movement and teenagers of the counter-cultures, they were often divided between the extremes of traditionalism and progressive ideals. Many were drafted into Vietnam, and an equal number participated in the counter-cultures and protests of the era.

Baby Boomers faced a tough time, as they entered a stable workforce only to meet the energy crisis and the 1970’s recession a decade later. They struggled to maintain the lifestyles they’d grown up with and were more likely to blame “others” for their problems; if bigotry received a boost during the post-Civil Rights era, this generation was at the heart.

Children of the Civil Rights movement, they learned from the attitudes of their parents, either embracing the progressive ideals laid forth or clinging to ignorance, bigotry, and hate. They created second-wave feminism, with bra-burning and the fight for equality in the workplace, reproductive rights, and against rape culture. The LGBT community also saw liberation, starting with the Stonewall Inn riots, and many a gay Baby Boomer was responsible for starting the fight for rights.

This group grew up with psychological thrillers, spaghetti westerns, and James Bond. Music expanded significantly with the counter-culture, including folk, psychedelic rock, and funk. This generation refined computers and brought them into the main workforce, and even a few into our homes.

The Baby Boomers gave birth to Gen-X and X-ennials, raising them in the progressive ’70s and ’80s. Their kids grew up during the end of the Cold War, and they are the current grandparents of the youngest generations. They are now senior citizens in their late-60’s/early-70’s, but far less are retired than those before and many still work to support themselves and their families.

Famous Baby Boomers: Tom Selleck, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Samuel L. Jackson, Caitlyn Jenner, Dr. Phil, Robin Williams, Patrick Swayze, Hulk Hogan, Oprah Winfrey


X-Boomers (1955-1965)

X-Boomers differ from those a decade before as they missed much of the economic prosperity and cultural stability of the mid-20th century. They may have been born during it, but they were children during the Vietnam War and hippie protests. They spent their teenage years during the recession and energy crisis and didn’t become adults until the latter years of the Cold War.

This generation may not have had the best jobs, but they still enjoyed some of the prosperity after the recession. The ’80s was optimistic and technology-focused, plus rampant commercialism brought many entry-level and service positions. Unfortunately, those who stuck to manufacturing industries would eventually face a lack of work with the increase in automation.

Children of the tumultuous ’60s, by the time they were adults the world had changed racially, and they were more likely to have multicultural friends. Overt racism was driven to the more conservative regions, although even in the progressive cities subconscious and systemic racism kept a divide through the War on Drugs, Great White Flights, discriminatory neighborhood planning, and general white ignorance. Women of this generation gained more power, although still hit a glass ceiling, and the LGBT members became more open and flagrant (although often used as a joke in pop culture).

X-Boomers grew up with the raunchy comedy, gory horror, and ridiculous science-fiction of the ’70s. They were the disco generation, the first metalheads, and the beginning of the indie and punk scene. Most from this era worked with computers, the first cellphones, and even the nascent beginnings of the public Internet.

The X-Boomers gave birth to X-ennials and Millennials, raising them in the optimistic ’80s and the pessimistic ’90s. Their kids saw the Berlin Wall fall, and the Challenger explode; some are now grandparents while others are waiting. Most are considered senior citizens in their late-50’s/early’-60’s; only the wealthiest are close to retirement, however, while the lower classes struggle to keep up.

Famous X-Boomers: Bill Gates, Tom Hanks, Steve Harvey, Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson, RuPaul, Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, Rand Paul, Kamala Harris


Generation X (1965-1975)

Gen X was long considered those caught in-between. Born during the Vietnam War and children of the Cold War, they grew up surrounded by political and global turmoil. They were teenagers during the optimistic ’80s and adults during the pessimistic ’90s.

Most of this generation entered a workforce destroyed by Reaganomics, the rise of big corporations, and the collapse of the manufacturing industries. Unless you went into technology, retail, or service, you struggled to make a living. The “Golden Age” was over and Gen X faced some of the worst of the fallout.

This group may have become the beginning of breaking down racial barriers, as the divide became more economical and less about the color of skin. Racism still existed in many regions, but the lower and working-classes had no choice but to remain in diversifying communities. Women of this era were at the forefront of third-wave feminism, fighting not just for civil and ethical rights, but individual and diverse issues. LGBT members faced setbacks with DOMA but also began to expand their numbers beyond “gays and lesbians,” starting to recognize the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Generation X grew up with science-fiction and adventure blockbusters, the original Star Wars children; every movie-maker catered toys and comics to them, even the R-rated ones. Big hair and make-up invaded pop and rock, while the cities were filled with early rap and hip-hop. This era embraced technological advancement, from computers and the Internet in homes to the first gaming consoles.

Generation X gave birth to Millennials and Z-ennials, raising them during the technological advancement of the ’90s and ’00s. Their kids witnessed the end of the millennium but also 9/11 and the Patriot Act. These parents are middle-aged now, in their late-40’s/early-50’s, but most are nowhere near retirement (whether they want to be or not).

Famous Generation X: Robert Downey Jr., Adam Sandler, Julia Roberts, Will Smith, Corey Booker, Mariah Carey, Marco Rubio, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel Maddow, Leonardo DiCaprio


X-ennials (1975-1985)

X-ennials are the younger, more progressive and technologically adept siblings to Gen X. Children of the ’80s, teenagers of the ’90s, and adults at the turn of the millennium, they were directly affected by the advent of modern technology and the Internet. They’ve experienced a railroad of economic, societal, and global events, that has often left them pessimistic and pragmatic.

While Gen X faced the brunt of the economic disaster from the 90’s recession, X-ennials got screwed by the growth of big corporations, through both for-profit colleges and an increasing wage gap. Entry-level positions no longer provided enough to save (or even live comfortably) and entire industries rose and faded overnight like fads. Those who were lucky enough to get the right opportunities did alright, but more were lost to debt and dead-end jobs.

Socially, X-ennials were even more progressive than the previous decade, already used to mixed social circles; bigotry was more often confined to geographic regions or social circles. Women in this group grew up with third-wave feminism and now champion the fourth-wave; they’re now at the forefront of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. LGBT members helped push for marriage equality, created new labels and acronyms, and are far more open in general society (even if they still face risks).

Teenagers of two worlds, they grew up with both the Disney Renaissance and the dark, cynical indie films. They expressed their worldview with grunge, alternative rock, industrial, and many cross-genre musical artists and acts. By the time they were adults, the majority had computers, the Internet, and cellphones, and they were responsible for massively multiplayer games and social media.

X-ennials gave birth to Z-ennials and Generation Z, the teenagers and children of today. Their kids were raised almost entirely in the 21st century and immersed in technology. These are the adults in their late-30’s/early-40’s, either active in their community and local issues or trying merely to keep their families afloat.

Famous X-ennials: Angelina Jolie, Ryan Reynolds, Kanye West, James Franco, Chris Pratt, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Chris Hemsworth, Meghan McCain


Millennials (1985-1995)

Millennials are the driving force behind current societal change, economically, technologically, and culturally. Children of the late-90’s and turn-of-the-millennium, they were just kids when 9/11 and the Patriot Act happened, teenagers during the rise of social media, and became adults during the political turmoil of the past decade.

The current corporatocracy defines Their jobs and economy; they either specialized (often entering the public sector) or they found themselves at the whims of big retail or small business. Regardless, they’re focused on paying off the endless debt dumped on the middle and lower-class, often putting off relationships and children; many still live with their parents or rent rooms with peers.

This generation may be the most diverse adults, the children of interracial marriages and immigrants; the vast majority champion racial issues like #BlackLivesMatter and many are “social justice warriors.” Unfortunately, no small number react in opposition to progress, either out of boredom, ignorance, or mental illness; spurred on by the anonymity and distance of Internet communication, many in this age group are GamerGaters, MRAs, and incels.

Millennials began with the latest in film technology, with huge blockbusters that were incapable of being made a mere decade or two earlier. They were driven by the music of the ’00s, particularly pop, club/dance, and hip-hop. Technologically, they’ve never known a world without the Internet, even if they still remember its painful earlier years.

Those in this generation who did become parents are currently raising Generation Z and those beyond. Their children have never known a world without technology and information at their fingers, but they also ensure their kids are educated in globalist and multicultural ideas. Millennials are adults in their late-20’s/early-30’s, and they’re becoming a significant presence in politics, business, and community leadership.

Famous Millennials: Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Roberts, Tomi Lahren, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber


Z-ennials (1995-2005)

Z-ennials are the high schoolers and young adults of our current era, growing up in a post-9/11 world. As children, they’ve known nothing but turmoil (and US intervention) in the Middle East and spent their adolescence watching the political divide in America grow worse.

Those who have jobs often find only the lowest positions, often in commercial and service industries. Unless they have wealthy parents or scholarships, college is too expensive, and many go straight from high school into the workforce. Most continue to live with their parents after graduation, as their jobs won’t support them on their own.

Socially, Z-ennials are the most diverse, multicultural, inclusive, and progressive generation (barring their younger siblings). They embrace the LGBT community (and more come out as members than previous age groups), fight against gender roles and rape culture, and champion social justice. Bigoted and “anti-SJW” Z-ennials are often trolls who hide behind anonymity or simply ignorant individuals from traditionalist families and communities.

This generation has it all when it comes to movies and television; they grew up with Disney running Star Wars and Marvel, they’ve known cable and streaming services, and they’ve had entertainment on big screen TVs and in the palm of their hands. They’re used to pop music that crosses genres, often enveloping rap, R&B, club/dance, Latin, J-Pop, etc.; many are also obsessed with their parents’ music from the ’90s. Z-ennials are used to having smartphones and WiFi, tapped continuously into the Internet, and immediate gratification like same-day pick-ups and 2-day shipping.

Very few in this generation are parents; those that are raising the youngest of Gen Z (and those beyond) and fighting for a better world.

Famous Z-ennials: Kendall Jenner, Zendaya, Malala Yousafzai, Jayden Smith, Chandler Riggs, Noah Cyrus, Rowan Blanchard, Maddie Ziegler, Malina Weissman, Millie Bobby Brown


Generation Z (2005-2015)

At this point, we’ve come to the actual children of the 21st century, the kids of X-Ennnials and Millennials, (including current celebrities). Whenever people discuss (or mock) “the youth of today,” these are the people on who they should be focusing.

Gen Z has grown up never knowing an age without smartphones, cable television, or WiFi. Their schools have tablets, their houses have DVRs, and they’re used to instant gratification when it comes to information or entertainment.

We can’t easily make any predictions yet on the working habits, politics, or social movements, as the eldest in this group are just becoming teenagers. Still, they mirror Z-ennials in being extraordinarily diverse and open-minded, with many growing up with educated, progressive parents and no small number being raised in mixed-race, multi-faith, or LGBT households.

Similarly, being so young, even musical tastes or film and television are still in the air. About the only commonality is Gen Z can find whatever they (or their parents) want within seconds, and put on the television, tablet, or phone.

Gen Z is the one true hope for society to progress beyond the bigoted ideologies and divisive politics that plague America today. That is if there’s even an ecosystem left that will support them on this planet…

Famous Generation Z: Ruby Rose Turner, Barron Trump, Ariana Greenblatt, Mia Talerico, Peyton Evans, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., Maya Le Clark, Blue Ivy Carter, North West, Royalty Brown, Princess Charlotte

Rankings of News Sources for Factuality and Bias

Rankings of News Sources for Factuality and Bias

With the rise of social media and the accusations of “fake news”, finding a reliable, accurate news source is difficult. We’ve seen a lot of articles and sites pop-up with some pretty good approaches to sifting through and ranking/labeling television and print news media.

Of course, as usual, people will disagree if they find their favorite news source listed poorly. After all, God forbid we break from our confirmation bias, think critically, and reassess the validity of what we listen to or read.

That being said, I decided to make a list of my own, based off the various other sites. Using information from Ad Fontes Media’s famous “Chart”, and combining it with various fact-checking sites (like Media Bias/Fact Check), I ranked (and graded) various newspapers, television channels, etc.


A+: These sources have the least amount of bias and/or the highest factuality. They provide reliable and valid information, at least in their field of coverage.

  • Associated Press
  • C-SPAN
  • The Economist
  • Financial Times
  • Foreign Policy Magazine
  • Reuters
  • The Hill


A: These sources have good to high factuality, with minimal bias toward one side or the other. They can be counted as reliable and valid overall.

  • BBC
  • Bloomberg News
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • MarketWatch
  • NPR
  • PBS NewsHour


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A-: Although factual and reliable, many of these have some bias in their reporting. Use them, but checking multiple sources would help counter any slant.

  • ABC News
  • The Atlantic
  • Axios
  • CBS News
  • New York Times
  • News and Guts
  • Ozy Media
  • Propublica
  • The Skimm
  • USA Today


B+: These sources are still factual, but they have a notable slant to their reporting. Op-eds in particular are significantly biased.

  • The American Conservative
  • Fortune Magazine
  • The Guardian
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Mic
  • NBC News
  • Washington Post


B: Good factuality but their bias is notable in both reporting and op-eds. Double-check multiple sources on any particular story to ensure all perspectives.

  • Current Affairs Magazine
  • The Fiscal Times
  • Forbes
  • The Intercept
  • Mother Jones
  • The Nation
  • Time Magazine
  • Vice Media
  • Washington Monthly
  • Weekly Standard


B-: Bias increases to significant levels, even if the facts remain high. Not only should you research multiple perspectives on the story, but double-check sources or quotes used.

  • Daily Beast
  • Democracy Now
  • Forward Progressives
  • Independent Journal Review
  • Jacobin
  • New Republic
  • New Yorker
  • Reason
  • Slate
  • Wall Street Journal


C+: At this point, these sources have mixed factuality and/or significant bias toward one side or the other. Like Wikipedia, they might be a good jump-off point, but definitely research the story elsewhere.

  • CNN
  • Huffington Post
  • Second Nexus
  • New York Post
  • Talking Points Memo
  • Vox
  • Washington Times


C: Unreliability and slant increases and validity decreases. Often these have op-eds that are notably biased and not always founded in sound argument or data.

  • BuzzFeed
  • The Federalist
  • National Review
  • Vanity Fair


D+: At this point, these sources are practically unusable and barely considered journalism. They use charged language, have major bias, questionable factuality, and mostly focus on opinion over reporting.

  • The Daily Caller
  • FOX News
  • FStv
  • PJ Media
  • The Young Turks


D: The level of slant is so high here, that even simple reporting is tainted by the pundits and writers. Nobody should be using these as valid sources of information.

  • The Daily Wire
  • Think Progress
  • Washington Examiner


D-: The worst of the mixed factuality, these are almost entirely opinion sites meant to push their particular agendas. Any legitimate facts are barely unrecognizable under the rhetoric and slant.

  • AlterNet
  • The Blaze
  • Daily Kos
  • Daily Signal
  • One America News Network
  • Palmer Report
  • Red State
  • Shareblue
  • Twitchy
  • Truth Out
  • Washington Free Beacon
  • Wonkette


F: A complete failure of “journalism”, these sites are propaganda or conspiracy. They have little to no factuality, complete and utter bias, and nobody should believe a single thing they say.

  • Bipartisan Report
  • Breitbart
  • Conservative Tribune
  • Daily Mail
  • Drudge Report
  • The Gateway Pundit
  • InfoWars
  • National Enquirer
  • Occupy Democrats
  • Patribotics Blog
  • World Net Daily
  • World Truth TV

There you have it: news media ranked from best to worst, based on their factuality, bias, critical thought, etc.

If you don’t agree, feel free to use them how you see fit, but ask yourself this – is your disagreement because there’s solid evidence something ranks different? Or because the source agrees (or disagrees) with your opinion and therefore you want it ranked different?


Roll20 Shows How NOT to Handle Social Media Complaints

Roll20 Shows How NOT to Handle Social Media Complaints

Pop Culture Uncovered

Ever want to see how not to handle social media accounts, an upset customer, and a PR disaster? Look no further than Roll20 and its co-founder, Nolan T. Jones.

Roll20 is a virtual tabletop role-playing game website and app that allows people to play together over the Internet. The program provides visual aids, tracks characters, and maintains entire campaigns of data; also, Roll20 worked with established companies, like D&D and Pathfinder, allowing you to input rules and statistics from their books directly into your campaign.

Unfortunately, despite providing such a highly popular and utilized resource, Roll20 stepped into a mess when they mistakenly banned a subscriber from their /r/Roll20 subreddit.


Reddit lit up with the lengthy, but well-written, testimony of Cory Owens, aka ApostleO, a long-time, dedicated subscriber who found himself banned from the subreddit. The reason boiled down to his screen name being similar to someone who’d been…

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Renaissance Festivals – Costumes are not Consent

Renaissance Festivals – Costumes are not Consent

Pop Culture Uncovered

PCU has been quite adamant about its articles on cosplay and consent. We’ve written extensively on the topic, decrying those who use cosplay as an excuse for sexual harassment (or even assault).

We can’t reiterate this point enough, at least until the behavior becomes practically non-existent and the entire industry is united against it. There is more to be said, however, on the topic of costumes and consent, as this issue stretches beyond the convention halls and comic stores.

Opening for its latest season this coming weekend is the Maryland Renaissance Festival, an event with huge crowds, tons of staff and performers, and a loyal following of “regulars” (aka Rennies or RennGeeks). I’ve written in the past about the similarities (and differences) between the Renaissance Festival and your local convention.

One of those similarities is the number of people in costume, or “garb” as the Rennies say…

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Tabletop Tuesday – #DnDGate

Tabletop Tuesday – #DnDGate

Pop Culture Uncovered

It’s amusing when an article you write about geek culture and behavior is reflected in later events. That amusement is even more so when things happen mere days after you’ve written something.

That’s precisely what happened after my article on how geek culture was done with “broflakes.” I discussed the problem that geekdom has with so-called fans, the “manbabies” and “neckbeards,” and how industry leaders were done with their idiocy.

While primarily discussing incidents in movies and video games, I also brushed upon similar problems in tabletop gaming. I can now explore these problems a bit more with a recent problem being labeled #DnDGate.

nerd_smokingIt’s all about integrity and roleplaying!

I won’t go too far into the individual behind this, as I don’t really want to give them the attention. Suffice to say, their anti-SJW ideology falls victim to the same argumentum ad temperantiam and “the left is…

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Geekdom’s Future – Yes to Diversity, No to Broflakes

Geekdom’s Future – Yes to Diversity, No to Broflakes

Pop Culture Uncovered

The “geek” world has been disappointing lately, with the behavior of many so-called “fans.” We’ve become a reflection of the divisive politics and hatred of mainstream society, but with the mentality of the Comic Book Guy or Francis.

To be fair, it’s not like this is a recent problem; we’ve seen this in everything from Gamergate to Sad Puppies, and even tabletop gaming has its own issues. The reaction, however, of Marvel and Star Wars fans has reached new heights of disgrace.

Coordinated efforts by these “anti-SJW” groups to lower the ratings of movies like Black Panther or The Last Jedi is terrible enough. Now the trolls and bigots have gone as far as cyberbullying celebrities and industry leaders, to drive them into seclusion, out of a job, or worse.

Kelly-Maire-Tran-WookiepediaIs this the behavior of “fans”?

You would think pop culture is looking as grim…

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Overwatch League & Deaf Support – Not What It Seems

Overwatch League & Deaf Support – Not What It Seems

Pop Culture Uncovered

Audiences following the Overwatch League (OWL) saw an interesting segment on Watchpoint, their preview, recap, and news series. Watchpoint’s Stage 4, Week 3 Recap focused on a Deaf fan, 14-year-old Danik Soudakoff, and a discussion of his experiences with an ASL interpreter.

Most of the piece highlighted how Blizzard provided an interpreter for Deaf fans in the live audience, while another part focused on the obstacles faced when interpreting the English commentary.

Specifically, Soudakoff and the interpreter created new signs to represent the characters names. ASL usually requires fingerspelling of names, but that takes too long; instead, a new sign was invented for each character to allow for easier communication.

Overall, the segment appeared inspiring – Blizzard showed their support to a Deaf fan, new signs were created for ASL users, and the Hearing audience was given insight into Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) Overwatch enthusiasts. This evidence of Blizzard’s…

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Whitewashing: The Irony of FOX’s ‘The Gifted’

Whitewashing: The Irony of FOX’s ‘The Gifted’

Pop Culture Uncovered

FOX’s latest attempt at the X-Men universe has brought some positive reviews. I was drawn in when a friend told me how relevant it was given the modern social climate.

They’re not wrong: X-Men has always been an allegory of racism, bigotry, hate crimes, etc. From social discrimination to government oppression, The Gifted’s parallels with today are all too eerie.

As I looked more into the characters and actors, however, I realized there was a significant faux pas. Here was a show about racism that itself was committing a racist act: whitewashing.

John Proudstar, the Apache mutant known as Thunderbird, is played by Blair Redford; while an impressive actor, Mr. Redford has only tenuous claims to Native American heritage. In fact, you can’t find a confirmation about his ancestry, other than casual mentions about “roots” and “descent.”

In other words, he’s what the Internet calls…

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BookCon 2018 and Tee Franklin: An Accessibility Failure

BookCon 2018 and Tee Franklin: An Accessibility Failure

Pop Culture Uncovered

These days, inclusiveness and diversity have become favorite themes of many conventions & pop culture as a whole. From a focus on minorities, to movements against sexual harassment, to talking about inclusion itself, pop culture really does progress alongside society.

That being the case, you would think that (by now) convention organizers wouldn’t have to be reminded about basic empathy, forethought, and consideration for various groups of people. Unfortunately, it would seem that you’d be wrong.

This past weekend, the following tweet was posted by Tee Franklin of Bingo Love fame, after an incident at BookCon in New York City:

Ms. Franklin, a queer, black, and disabled comic book creator, was invited to speak on a panel about diversity in graphic novels. Upon arriving, however, she…

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