Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Fake News!

When I grew up there were three networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS, which had news broadcasts which were not openly of any political viewpoint, but were frequently accused of being liberal by conservatives. Today, there are the cable channels FOX, MSNBC, and CNN. We all know, I take, it, which of these channels is the most politically conservative.  The expression "fake news" abounds, and is deliberately used by Donald Trump (he said as much) to discredit any journalism critical of him. 
How do we apply fairminded thinking to what we hear in the media?  Even for practiced thinkers, it isn't easy. I recommend that you not try to find some piece of journalism that opposes your political perspective, and find bias in that. That is just too darn easy, and it wouldn't create growth in yourself as a critical thinker. Thus, if you're a liberal, don't tear apart some Fox News report accusing it of bias. That's like shooting fish in a barrel. If you are a conservative, don't go looking at the Washington Post or the New York Times, or CNN, to find bias. Again, that's way too easy. Find a source you agree with, and try to find bias from your own side. 
Some material from news sources are opinion pieces, and some are there to report facts. If it is an opinion piece, it's by definition on one side, and there's nothing wrong with that. But ask yourself if the opinion piece has material in it that would convince someone on the other side to question what they think, or, if it would only convince someone who agreed with the reporter to begin with. If it supposed to be factual reporting, we can ask if bias has crept in. Even when something is biased in favor of one viewpoint or another, it often contains real factual information that is worth knowing. Identifying bias does not imply entail that the entire article can simply be dismissed as worthless. 

48 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

Overt bias is only one of many problems with our media.

Starhopper said...

There is something very specific to America going on here right now.

I lived in England for many years, and the newspapers there made no pretence to objectivity. The Guardian was leftist. The Times was conservative. The Independent was.. well, independent. And the tabloids were just there for what we call on the internet "click bait". Yet the populace of the UK is the furthest thing from being divided into two irreconcilable camps as we are in these United States.

There are times when I wish we had lost the Revolutionary War. I sincerely believe the world today would be a far better place if we had.

(I say "we" in a rather amorphous sense, since my own ancestors lived in Poland until the 20th Century.)

Dave Duffy said...

I think this is good advice Victor, but misses the point. It's not about bias, but about what the media thinks is important. (at least as headlines, which is all I can take in sometimes).

Example One: I used to listen to NPR every morning on the drive to work. There were always local stories about Fresno California, the city I worked in. Without fail, there were stories about gays, always positive, always presenting the gay community without flaws. Fine, I have no ax to grind with any "community." Other than the Gay Pride Parade, the gay community does nothing important and is mostly boring, even though NPR works hard to make this community try to sound interesting. In contrast, the Christian community runs the two homeless shelters with soup kitchens, the most important hospital in town (St. Agnes), there's a large number of Evangelical and Catholic churches with outreach to the youth (that's why they build gyms), outreach to drug addicts, prostitutes, gang members. The best NPR can muster about the church is sex crimes. For a community that freely gives, in contrast to the government programs, there are many interesting stories unreported.

Example Two through Ten: Too much for a blog comment. I don't worry about bias, I reject the BS narrative.

Legion of Logic said...

Dave hit a big one there. Most of what the media decides is newsworthy, even if the story itself is completely factual, will reflect the ideology of the reporters. That sort of narrative bias is more difficult to detect, but just as damaging.

Joe Hinman said...

I recommend the book Manufacturing consent by Noam Chomsky,It;ps dated because written in the 80s it supported his view on Central America. It shows why the media is intrinsically conservative and why right wing groups get to paint it as liberal. I also worked for a media group called "Fairness and accuracy in Reporting," (FAIR) I was the local contact guy for that group.

Joe Hinman said...

local new around the country is being takenover byight wing concerns andius becoing propagandamachine for trup,:

Sinclair Braodcasting threat to Democracy

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Victor Reppert, I suggest you read Ayn Rand's two biggest works, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In a small story at the beginning, I forget which book or maybe both, she writes that architects that did the old style of architecture (classical architecture) were not promoted by the press. What was avant garde, revolutionary, these architects were promoted in the press. Ayn Rand was pointing to how the press was manipulated to change the architectural style in America. The media was used to steer people toward choices. Architects that were old-style were diminished and those that built asymmetrical, ugly buildings were promoted.

This is called Dynamic Silence.

The "press" is a weapon. Throughout the Early Modern Age, pamphleteering, the pressage of journalism, only promoted revolution. The Media IS war. It is a false paradigm that "journalism" is this non-bias objective reporting, it is not. It has always been biased and it favors its own over others. Journalism attracts revolutionaries. Revolutionaries promote their own. Like to Like.

You think Prof. Reppert that reality is supposed to be paradise. No---its war. Who is in control of the media---conducts war against what it hates.

I watched Watergate as a kid. Every night for ten minutes Every night was Watergate, Watergate, Watergate, until the Media chased Nixon out of town.

FISA court. Silence by the Media. The FBI presented false evidence to the FISA court to gain Wiretapping of Trump campaign workers. NO Media. Silent Media! The Media doesn't care. Here we have government officials using the government powers to spy on the Trump campaign and the Media is silent. Watergate? Watergate was a bunch of private individuals breaking into a Democrat office. But now? What about the silence regarding Bill Clinton's rape and gropings?

It is all war. The media is war. But now---the Liberals don't control all the media and now Liberals cry!

Wiretapping an opposing campaign should be outrageous to all---but CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post----don't care.

Dave Duffy said...

Using KVPR FM 89.3 from 7am to 8am as my one example, I think most, if not all, the stories reported were as accurate as a reporter can make in a one to two minute segment. Yes, the gay coming out to his Christian parents had some drama. Yes, the male cop who wants to become a female received plenty of scorn. Yes, the youth pastor or priest molested the children in his care. No bias and real world events.

If, however, I only had NPR and not my own experience and other media to interpret the news, I would be left with the impression that the gay community is reasonable, rational, inclusive, wonderful. The Christian community, not so much. I would know nothing of Poverello House, the Fresno Rescue Mission, the seriously damaged people and families seeking redemption in the church.

Joe Hinman said...

on Metacrock's blog

Lord Lord when were you on welfare?

Hugo Pelland said...

What's the proportion of the US population that would write something like what W.LindsayWheeler wrote?

Starhopper said...

What proportion? Probably about 30% of voters, which means about 15% of the total populace. That's how many people in the US actually support our fake president.

Hugo Pelland said...

Ya you might be right Bob, but supporting the president doesn't necessarily imply falling for conspiracy theories of the evil media being at war with the good folks of this country...

Starhopper said...

You are correct. They are overlapping circles in a Venn diagram.

However, I would hazard that a large proportion of Trump supporters do fall for such nonsense as spewed by Wheeler. And it is a verified fact that Trump himself does so.

Hugo Pelland said...

Yea... sad but true.
Anyway, I try to stay positive, it's not literally a civil war right now and I think most people, by far, agree it's not something we should ever get close to.

Dave Duffy said...

Hugo and Bob, list 25 controversial topics and give your opinion. What percentage would agree with you on all 25? 5-10%? Meaningless question. What amazes me is that I live next to people who see the world completely different than I do, even on some fundamental issues, and I can still do business and live in peace. That's not meaningless.

Starhopper said...

"What amazes me is that I live next to people who see the world completely different than I do, even on some fundamental issues, and I can still do business and live in peace. That's not meaningless."

Same here. In fact, I have a few of such in my own family.

Dave Duffy said...

But unlike combox venting, family can sting.

Hugo Pelland said...

Dave, that's not really what I was talking about. Wheeler wrote something that, to me, sounds paranoiac and extreme. It's from a far right position in that case but it could be from a leftist too.

What I am wondering is how many people are getting more and more extreme in theor distrust of the "other" side. Hopefully it's not worse than before, but surveys tend to show a stronger polarization. So, I'm a bit worried extreme viewpoints like those expressed by Wheeler are becoming more common.

Go read the last few comments on that thread:
http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2016/03/discussion-zone-for-atheism.html

To give a taste, from the last entry:
"...Self-righteous scofflaws are unlimited aggressors against law-abiders. Self-righteous scofflaws are predators without restraining morals and their morals support predation without "traditional" morals - at which they scoff (hence "scofflaws")

Scofflaws are takers. They are above the laws of civilization. In fact they hate western civilization and the whites that produced it. The Left is entirely comprised of such scofflaws..."

That's so extreme... isn't it? Yet, Wheeler sounds not that different from that, and I have heard people on the Left make similar outrageous statements about the Right. Was it always that bad?

Legion of Logic said...

Our real president isn't well liked. :)

Dave Duffy said...

Hugo, yes in a world of 7.44 billion you can find anything you are looking for in craziness, every day, all around the world. Can you send me a quote of left wing, secular madness just to test your mettle?

Hugo Pelland said...

Dave, that's my point yes, we can find crazies easily. That's the problem with Stan from Atheism Analyzed; he finds the crazies in the Left and generalizes that half the US population is like that. So if you want examples, easy, just scroll through his posts... Did you think my point was that the Right only is like that? That's what your comment seems to imply, as if I only see right-wing crazies. That's such a wrong interpretation. I literally just said the opposite.

My question, or concern, is whether or not more and more people are generalizing based on these extreme examples, and thus becoming more and more polarized. Also, I would hope that the many many rational people who read and comment here would give their take and, hopefully, agree that most of us do not wish for things to get worst, more polarized, and with bigger gaps between sides.

Starhopper said...

"family can sting"

No, we love each other too much for that. My family ranges from xenophobic white nationalism to far-left quasi-communism. When I'm with my kin, I think of myself as a centrist.

Dave Duffy said...

Starhopper,

Blessings to you and your family.

Dave Duffy said...

Hugo, I'm not interested in Stan. I asked that you show me what you think is craziness from the Left.

Dave Duffy said...

Just for the hell of it:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/09/opinion/sunday/bills-belated-metoo-moment.html

Hugo Pelland said...

Well, forget Stan if you want, but the blog can stand on its own for some examples of craziness from the Left. Of the top of my head, I can think of rad fem wanting to label any man-woman sexual encounter as rape, or peotesters at UC Berkeley not letting white students on campus one afternoon, things like that... not sure whether you're skeptical that 3xamples exist or just want to know what I would label as extreme. Can you explain why you're asking? i.e. isn't it obvious that there are extremists within pretty much any large groups?

Dave Duffy said...

Thanks Hugo, I wanted to know what you thought was extreme. That was the reason for my question. Although, as you mentioned Stan's blog (whoever that guy is) with a link I was hoping you would do the same for the left: a link or two.

I think it was a different university that wanted to ban white students for the day. My son goes to a UC, which are about the best universities in my state. He describes the politics there as pretty lame. The're just kids and the worker bees (professors) are just government employees. Mundane at best.

Anyway, send me some links to the craziness on the left, I'm interested in actual news and not fake news.

Joe Hinman said...

Dialogue with "skepie" [I am skpetcal] om Metacrock's blog

Material and immateiral existence

Legion of Logic said...

Here's some left-wing extremism, Dave.

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Twitter-CEO-Dorsey-Gets-Backlash-For-Eating-at-Chick-fil-A-485094521.html

Hugo Pelland said...

Ya I think that's a good example that Legion posted.

Regarding UC Berkeley, it is really the one I am talking about.
https://reason.com/blog/2016/10/26/video-uc-berkeley-protesters-built-a-hum
Some kids blocked the access to campus, but only for White students.
Interestingly enough, I was in class that night (doing a part-time MBA at Haas) and did not see any of this at all. I learned about it months later actually...

Another good example is the one you hinted at Dave, where students at Evergreen college wanted to ban White students for a day; a flip on the 'Day of Absence' where students of color wouldn't show up. Bret Weinstein tried to oppose the movement and got vilified and asked to resign by the students for it. Something so absurd given that he's been a left-wing activist all his life!
https://nypost.com/2017/05/31/college-melts-down-over-plan-for-white-people-free-day-on-campus/
His brother, Eric, has been even more outspoken on the issue. He had a good interviews with Dave Rubin and Sam Harris for instance.

That being said, I feel it would not be doing justice to the topic to not point out that these examples of extreme viewpoints from the Left, even though there are many, are still nothing compared to the extreme of the Right, in my opinion. David Pakman did a great segment on that almost a year ago now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Coc4NScW4Y

This is why I repeatedly asked Legion why he said there was 'constant attack on whiteness' here in the USA, as if it were as bad as the examples of racism and xenophobia that poc in general are subjected to. I truly don't know what these 'constant' attacks are nor who experience them. Being white in one of these most SJW-ish area of the country, I have absolutely zero concern because I am white, and as I just said, I even go to college in one of these bastions. But, somehow, people far from these bubbles, in deep red territory, are the ones who complain that Whites are being attacked, because of examples like those above.

Legion of Logic said...

"This is why I repeatedly asked Legion why he said there was 'constant attack on whiteness' here in the USA, as if it were as bad as the examples of racism and xenophobia that poc in general are subjected to."

Because new examples are reported on a daily basis. Of course these are sites and groups that seek this behavior out and highlight it, but they don't lack for material. I don't necessarily think these people are representative, but I also don't see much in progressive thought that lends itself to opposing such ideas (extends to other things like sexism as well). Perhaps I've missed something.

Hugo Pelland said...

Well I am definitely missing something because I still have no clue what 'constant attacks' you are referring to. What are these daily reports about? Who is attacking who for what?

In other words, even the examples here are not symptoms of such constant attacks in my opinion. Take the UC Berkeley case; was it some attack on whiteness? Hardly. It was a bunch of kids trying to make a point, badly. They were not even attacking Whites per se, they were just trying to raise awareness and show how it might feel like to be treated differently just because of the color of one's skin. They were dumb to go about it that way, but it was not much of an attack...

So again, what does it even mean to talk about constant attacks on whiteness?

Legion of Logic said...

I'm assuming you've never seen any of this stuff, Google search included? I've been following it for years, so to demonstrate what I've seen happening for years to someone who isn't even aware it exists seems somewhat daunting, particularly since you appear opposed to the idea despite knowing nothing about it. Can you offer me something that makes the effort seem possible to be worthwhile?

Legion of Logic said...

Also, a daily occurrence meets my criteria of "constant". I get the feeling unless it's mainstream, it won't meet yours.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Ron Unz over at his site the Unz Review has an article on how FDR wrote letters to many newspaper editors to quash John T Flynn, quite the newspaper reporter---who outed FDR's son and Eleonor making, in today's money, millions from business connections. Flynn reported on the total and complete failure of the New Deal. Ron Unz records that the Mainstream media in the 1940s---censored people they didn't like, just like today:

But unlike their Stalinist analogs from a couple of years earlier, the American victims who disappeared around 1940 were neither shot nor Gulaged, but merely excluded from the mainstream media that defines our reality, thereby being blotted out from our memory so that future generations gradually forgot that they had ever lived.

He has an exstensive and very long article on this history worth reading: The Great Purge of the 1940s
...

Hugo Pelland said...

Google search for what?
You've been following what?
What is happening, to whom, from whom?

I honestly have still no idea what you were talking about when you referred to 'constant attack on whiteness'. It must mean that it refers to something we label differently...

Was the example I just discussed, at UC Berkeley, one of these 'attacks'? But then, as I said, it wasn't much of an attack so does it count?

I get the feeling you'll just call me ignorant because it's so obvious to you, it feels so right that you don't even need to rationally explain it.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Here is another great quote from Ron Unz, who is Jewish, :

The combined influence of the pro-British Eastern Establishment together with powerful Jewish groups was deployed to clear the media of opposing figures, and after the Germans broke the Hitler-Stalin Pact by attacking the USSR in June 1941, Communists and other leftists also joined this effort. Polls seem to have shown that as much as 80% of the American public was opposed to such military involvement, so any prominent political or media figure giving voice to that popular super-majority needed to be silenced.

Silenced indeed! The Great Purge of the 1940s

The Deep State exists to Further the NWO. Anybody who disagrees---Will be Run over.

What did the Borg say? "Stop Resisting. We are the Borg---You will be assimilated".

Legion of Logic said...

"Google search for what?"

Google "whiteness" for starters. And if you honestly can't find anything objectionable even in a generalized search like that, then your values are too alien for me to comprehend or analyze.

"You've been following what?"

Huh? What I've been talking about.


"What is happening, to whom, from whom?"

To people from leftists. Seriously how am I supposed to answer such a question with years' worth of material?


"It must mean that it refers to something we label differently..."

Very possible.


"Was the example I just discussed, at UC Berkeley, one of these 'attacks'?"

Let's talk about that. In the scheme of things, no one of them is of great consequence, just like some idiot calling a "person of color" an epithet is not of great consequence in of itself. But what I notice is that these instances occur, and there is dead silence from the left. I've heard many prominent conservatives condemn racist statements from other conservatives. Where are the leftists condemning racist behavior toward whites in general? THAT is my primary objection - not the frequent anti-"whiteness" attacks themselves, but the seeming lack of distaste of such behavior from the left. That's a problem. Unless I missed their reactions?


"I get the feeling you'll just call me ignorant because it's so obvious to you, it feels so right that you don't even need to rationally explain it."

I don't find such behavior profitable in any way. I do know these things occur frequently, I do know that it's wrong and harmful every time it does, and I do know that I have yet to see anyone prominent on the left speak out against it. The latter could simply be due to my having missed it, but the first two things are facts. If you don't wish to be aware of them, that's fine. If you wish to downplay their importance (since there are people negatively impacted by them), then I'll simply point out that I'm the only one of us who actually objects to racist behavior, because I don't differentiate. Racism is racism, and it's either forgivable or it isnt.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

Fake News? Try Fake Science!


By Tom Feilden 22 February 2017
Science is facing a "reproducibility crisis" where more than two-thirds of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, research suggests.



By Brian Handwerk smithsonian.com August 27, 2015
According to work presented today in Science, fewer than half of 100 studies published in 2008 in three top psychology journals could be replicated successfully. The international effort included 270 scientists who re-ran other people’s studies as part of The Reproducibility Project: Psychology, led by Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia.



Ian Sample Science editor Thu 27 Aug 2015 14.00 EDT
Of 100 studies published in top-ranking journals in 2008, 75% of social psychology experiments and half of cognitive studies failed the replication test


All colleges and universities are Leftist. Most Scientists are Leftist.

Most Scientific studies can't be replicated! Ohhhh....Noooooo.....

Fake News, Fake Science---created by Leftists----because they don't live in reality.

Hugo Pelland said...

""What is happening, to whom, from whom?"

To people from leftists.
"

But I am asking you specifically about what these 'constant attack on whiteness' are; yet you went even broader. The question I am trying to get you to answer is 'why do you think Whites are being attacked?' How can you interpret all of these years of "years' worth of material" to conclude that Whiteness is under attack? Perhaps that's not quite what you think, but then what does 'attack on whiteness' means?

Is it only about discussing ideas of how, over several decades, whites were in power and have created certain structures of power that made non-whites suffer? Given that you asked to Google 'whiteness', there are 15 things that could be discussed: here's one. Hobart and William Smith Colleges is offering a course next year to teach students how “objectivity” and “meritocracy” function as “white mythologies.”

Ok, that's silly. One of the worst example we can find. But is that an attack on whiteness? I don't see it... why, why not?

And for every single example of these 'years of material' I would say the same, but you wouldn't. So I am asking you to explain why you see these examples as an attack, from the Left, on Whites. Or, what else is that grand narrative from the Left to the "people"?

To contrast, I don't see the Left nor the Right as perpetrating attacks on Whiteness nor POC nor LBGTQ, etc... there are disagreements on positions and policies. That's all. Focusing on each side's extremes, which do literally want to kill others sometimes (see jihadists/skinheads,) and generalizing that there are 'attacks' on entire groups of people happening, is exaggerated and misleading, perhaps even dishonest if purposely done.

Hugo Pelland said...

A good reminder from Bret Weinstein, during his testimony on the Evergeeen case:
https://youtu.be/uRIKJCKWla4
Power and control issues.
Polarization and tribalism are dangerous.
And how it isn't from "the" Left, it's from "elements of" the Left.

Starhopper said...

Let's keep things in perspective here. I am a 66 year old white person, who has never once in my entire life been attacked for being white. Not once. And I live in Maryland, which is probably one of the 2 or 3 "most leftist" of all the states. I live in a very diverse community. I am definitely a minority customer at my local grocery store.

So where is all this constant attack on whiteness? I'm not denying there may be some isolated incidents "somewhere", but if such a thing were so pervasive, why haven't I ever experienced it?

Dave Duffy said...

Hugo, you were right. It was the Evergreen college I was thinking of.

David Brightly said...

I don't think that Legion is talking about physical assaults or even incidents of animosity towards individuals. Rather, it's a sense that in some quarters, including some whites themselves, white culture and indeed white people are disparaged. There's the 'check your privilege' phenomenon, which has been reported on here in the UK, calls for reparations for historical harms caused to blacks by whites, and the academic notion of 'white hegemony' which has now entered the mainstream.

How seriously should we take this? It's very hard to say, and this brings us back to the theme of this thread. We each of us have a perspective on events. In the old days before the rise of social media we read a particular paper or watched a particular TV news. The perspective we received was a kind of average of the perspectives of that paper's or channel's writers, perhaps guided more or less by editorial influence. These averages changed relatively slowly. Today, if we get our current affairs from social media, we tend to get a view that reinforces our individual perspective. I don't do Facebook, Twitter, and others but I do look at videos on YouTube (Daniel Bonevac's philosophy lectures are great for doing the ironing) and follow some of the links that the 'Google' app on my phone sends me. You soon realise that these services note what you see and give you more of the same. You tend to see a unique sample of the totality of what's being offered that reflects your own personal prejudices. It's not even an average of other people's prejudices any longer. This produces a positive feedback effect that rapidly departs from the norm. It shouldn't be surprising in these circumstances that we acquire rather divergent perceptions of what is going on and how important it is.

Hugo Pelland said...

David, that's a great summary, yes, but that's exactly why I am insisting on the question 'what constitutes constant attack on whiteness?'

For instance, you say "I don't think that Legion is talking about physical assaults or even incidents of animosity towards individuals" and I agree, that's the feeling I get too, but that is what could be considered attacks on whiteness. So it must be something else?

But then, if it is indeed something else, like being asked to 'check your privilege' or reminders of past 'white hegemony' and some current events, we are talking about very mild things, isn't it? Nobody is truly being attacked, nobody is judged as a whole, and it is certainly not constant. And that point is actually more relevant. Maybe I should have made this clearer but that's actually the worst part of this claim, it's the word 'constant', as if Whites were constantly vilified, constantly on the defensive, constantly treated worse, constantly reminded that they suck or should change, something like that... it's just so far from the truth.

I.e. it looks a lot more to me of a case of some Whites seeing it as a zero-sum game. Non-Whites have been doing better recently, hence, Whites must be losing something. And because there are indeed some examples of extremism against Whites, these anecdotes are portrayed as 'constant' attacks on White, especially White men, as if there were some oppression going on.

David Brightly said...

By coincidence, an opinion piece in yesterday's Daily Telegraph under the title Our Faustian bargain with technology companies is slowly killing democracy. Behind a paywall but limited access for free is available if you register. Apparently the writer has just published a book titled ‘The People Vs Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and How to Save it)’. He says,

Under this model, even mild confirmation bias can set off a wild cycle of self-perpetuation. Let’s say you’ve clicked on a link about Left-wing politics. An algorithm interprets this as you expressing an interest in Left-wing politics, and therefore shows you more of it. You’re more likely to click again, since that’s the choice in front of you – which is interpreted as another signal. No one is intentionally programming for sensationalism – it’s just a mathematical response to our general preference for edgy and outrageous videos or headlines. It’s both a mirror and a multiplier.

That may be how the perception of constancy arises.

Hugo Pelland said...

"That may be how the perception of constancy arises."

Yep

David Brightly said...

If Bartlett is right and our innate confirmation bias is being amplified by social media maybe we should hold our political views less tenaciously. We should be more sceptical of our own objectivity. And maybe the more extreme our view is the more sceptical still should we be because the chances are that we haven't been looking at a broad sample of the facts.