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Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

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Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby Blue&White » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:34 pm

At more than one point, Nat asked about people distrusting the news media and where people get their news from. I thought the media is a topic worthy of its own thread.

Anyway - Nat, if you are out there, I'd like to get your opinion on this: How to Write Propaganda for the NY Times

I think this essay does a decent job explaining why many people, from both ends of the political spectrum, hold the media in such disdain.
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby psu_dad » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:39 pm

I had a subscription to the Boston Globe for many years. I put up with their liberal editorial bias because I thought they were mostly intent on getting to the truth. Some time (15-20 years) ago, that began to change and I dropped them. It became increasingly obvious that they weren't content to limit their political agenda to the editorial page. They were clearly letting it impact reporting of the news.

I remember around the time I dropped them they had one columnist my SIL loved. She wrote a metro column featuring a lot of "slice of life" articles about life in the city. When my SIL asked me what I thought of her, I said "To be honest, I don't believe some of her stories. I think she literally makes up stuff". Some time later, she was fired for making up stuff. A lot of stuff. Turned out, she had been "interviewing" pretend people involved in made-up incidents for years. Not always, but often.

That wasn't the reason I dropped the Globe, but I thought it was hilarious that it took the Globe so long to figure out this woman was making up stuff.
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby Carl Spackler » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:20 pm

The news business has an inherent problem. The business side negates the news side. Do you report on a sponsor if the truth is negative or ignore it completely. Business is based on profit, news is based on reporting facts in an unbiased manner (yes I know it doesn't happen, anywhere but it's supposed to). Business depends on clients, news depends on volunteer listeners seeking facts about news makers and events. There was never a time that the news wasn't corrupted by business and we haven't discussed agendas, partisanship, bias, favoritism, activism, etc.

In the end no matter what anyone here believes or supports we don't have enough of an impact on things to effect change individually. "if voting really mattered they wouldn't let us do it." Mark Twain
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby psu_dad » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:02 pm

The "business" aspect has really affected the Boston Globe. When I first subscribed back in the late 1970's, they had two massive forms of income: advertising and classified listings. They were both a License to Print Money. The classified section on Sunday was ginormous. At the time, it was the only practical way to make job openings known to the public or to sell used items like cars, furniture, etc. My company used to occasionally run a 3x5" job listing and a guy in HR told me it cost $10,000 (in 1979 dollars) to post it in the Sunday Globe. The internet made that source of revenue go bye-bye. And with their readership now drastically reduced, ad rates have plummeted.

They now rely much more heavily on subscriptions and have succumbed to the pressure to give their (mostly liberal) readership the bias in the news reporting that they desire.
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby Nat@PSU » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:13 pm

Really interesting article.

Listen, I'm not implying there isn't bias throughout the news. But I want to know what's happening the in world. And I live in Collegeville, so well, I don't know what my options are.
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby psu_dad » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:57 pm

But I want to know what's happening the in world.

Well. Look on the bright side. There isn't much you can do about what's happening the in world anyways.

"We are all kings or pawns." -- Napoleon Bonaparte
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby Blue&White » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:06 pm

Carl Spackler wrote:The news business has an inherent problem. The business side negates the news side. Do you report on a sponsor if the truth is negative or ignore it completely.


In the case of NBC, ABC, CBS and PBS the answer was "ignore" Archer Daniels Midland used to be a huge sponsor for all their Sunday morning shows and NPR's "All Things Considered". ADM was involved in a massive price fixing scheme in the 90s. And, if you know about that, you don't know about it because you watched "Meet The Press", "This Week", etc. because not one of them ever managed a single thing about it. Not one time. I'm not sure it was covered on their news programs either. So, this is not a new problem and it's not just a result of increased news competition. At least the broadcast news has been compromised for some time now.
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby psu_dad » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:08 pm

Yes, but ADM provides us with high fructose corn syrup. So there's that. Try enjoying a 44 oz. Slurpee without it.

-------------

PS - As I recall from that ADM debacle, the executive who ratted them out to the FBI was subsequently found to be knee-deep in illegal activity himself while at ADM. He eventually did time. That's the kind of company that makes you proud to be a capitalist.

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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby Blue&White » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:28 pm

Nat@PSU wrote: And I live in Collegeville, so well, I don't know what my options are.


They are rather limited. Being informed takes effort. In terms of how not to be a sucker, there is no easy answer. I think, as with many things, the first step is admitting you have a problem. There is nothing wrong with checking the normal MSM to see the headlines. Just be aware of what their biases are. Look into who owns them. Take, for example, the Washington Post. WaPo is owned by Jeff Bezos. So, it's a sure bet that their editorial board is going to have a Bezos-bent to them. Sure, they say they are independent but, really, they aren't. And, even without Bezos, WaPo has not found a war they didn't like. When you read them, you need to know that going in.

A lot of "credible" news outlets will bury the lead. Or bury important factors way down in the story. Read the entire article. Think critically. Look for more than one source. Figure out who is just full of shit and can't be trusted. There are some good sources out there. I link to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone from time to time. He's left leaning and certainly has his own biases, but he generally owns them. Glen Greenwald, an American writing out of the UK for The Intercept is another good guy to read. If his name sounds familiar, it's because that's the guy who Edward Snowden handed all the data to that he took from the NSA. Both Greenwald and Taibbi are liberal in their politics, but both have a dim and distrusting view of modern governments that I think a conservative can appreciate. Hell, our own Chas has posted links from Taibbi in the past.

Two other good sources are the Naked Capitalism and Zero Hedge sites. There are probably some good right wing sites as well, but I don't know them. I'm sure they are there, though. The trick is to find writers who are wiling to criticize "their" side and try to provide objectivity. It takes some searching to find them, but they are out there. Read the NYT and WaPo for the high level stuff, but know their agendas. They are not neutral reporters of the news. They have not been for years, if they ever were.
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Re: Lies, Damn Lies and the "News" business

Postby psu_dad » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:43 pm

The NYT is printed at a facility in Queens. The building is carefully climate-controlled to ensure that the ink dries and bonds to the paper properly. This makes the NYT ideal for wrapping fish.

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