Biased news

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
Chad
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Re: Biased news

Post by Chad » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:53 am

It would be interesting to see the percent of news articles/reports that were untrue in each decade. Is the proportion of untrue stories from reputable outlets (not the ones on the edges of the graph) bigger now? Or, are we just better able to see, track, and identify them because of the vast improvement in communication?

Spartan_Warrior
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Re: Biased news

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:26 am

@RJ: From what I can tell, it's an appropriations bill for the entire intelligence community under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which includes the CIA as well as the FBI, NSA, DEA, DHS, military, state department, etc. (See Sec. 101). Section 501 specifically refers to the establishment of an "executive branch interagency committee", which implies cooperation between several agencies that would obviate any restrictions on any particular agency, like restrictions on the CIA's domestic operations... if, in fact, such restrictions actually exist in practice. (I personally don't believe so for a second.)

@George: Speaking of the CIA influence on public opinions, it's interesting to note that Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post and second wealthiest person in America, has $600 million in CIA contracts involving data collection through Amazon.

TBH, on the rare instances I read a WaPo article, I do so with the thought, "Let's see what the CIA wants us to believe today."

@Ego: Can you elaborate on the self-correcting mechanisms of journalism? TBH, I don't understand how it can be compared to the scientific method which involves replicable circumstances and peer review, as opposed to second- and third-hand reporting of one-time observations filtered through the mouthpiece of six for-profit mega corporations. Indeed, if their truth-verifying and self-correcting mechanisms are comparable, perhaps I should have less faith in science. :?

@Chad: Good question. I'm inclined to believe the improvement in communication is simply revealing the falsehoods and half-truths that have always been peddled, rather than a recent increase in falsehoods and half-truths. I'm not sure which scenario is more alarming, actually.

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jennypenny
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Re: Biased news

Post by jennypenny » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:24 am


BRUTE
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Re: Biased news

Post by BRUTE » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:17 am

jennypenny wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:24 am
From Politico ... The Media Bubble Is Worse Than You Think
very interesting. for reference, brute had a very rude awakening in the election. he had not realized how much he himself had been stuck in the bubble. consequently, he stopped reading the Times.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Biased news

Post by ThisDinosaur » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:29 am

That article made me think of the Sand Pile theory of history discussed here recently. The idea that major events result from a confluence of factors, and we like to rationalize them after the fact. The various narrative explanations for the election outcome are probably all true, in the sense that they are contributing factors for different groups of people. The first election I was old enough to vote in was Hanging Chad: Bush v. Gore. Most of the subsequent elections have also been pretty close. Flip 200 million coins and then make up a story about the result.

IlliniDave
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Re: Biased news

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:33 am

I haven't been a consumer of MSM since 1998. So this makes perfect sense to me and fits with what I see. There are increasing trends toward people clustering in cities/urban areas and with air travel and the forms of communication available, it's very easy to ignore vast swathes of the country. Unfortunately we're seen as rubes and buckets of deplorables, which makes the MSM-types reluctant to attempt meaningful engagement. I don't think there is a likely solution. With the trend of demographics it won't be long before, even with the electoral system, the non-urban population can safely be ignored.

Dragline
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Re: Biased news

Post by Dragline » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:09 am

ThisDinosaur wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:29 am
That article made me think of the Sand Pile theory of history discussed here recently. The idea that major events result from a confluence of factors, and we like to rationalize them after the fact. The various narrative explanations for the election outcome are probably all true, in the sense that they are contributing factors for different groups of people. The first election I was old enough to vote in was Hanging Chad: Bush v. Gore. Most of the subsequent elections have also been pretty close. Flip 200 million coins and then make up a story about the result.
Well, yeah it does suffer from that age-old reconstructed correlation = causation problem. Consider the ignored yet obvious fact that the conservative media outlets are located in the same population centers. That's because they are -- surprise -- centers of population, where most concentrated human activity is likely to occur. For example, Breitbart is a creature of that hot-bed of conservatism (not) known as West L.A./Beverly Hills: http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywo ... story.html

Get a few data points, shave off the ones you don't like (here, the rest of the media outside newspapers and internet publishing) and these articles are very easy to construct. If the theory behind this article held water, the conservative media outlets would be concentrated in red states and the liberal ones in the blues.

This reminds me of the spurious headlines/articles that "most Americans don't pay federal taxes" that are based on re-defining "federal taxes" to mean only "federal income taxes."

Hindsight with selected statistics are 20-20.

Chad
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Re: Biased news

Post by Chad » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:47 am

I'm not sure eliminating decent news sources is the answer. It's not like those sources represent only 10% of the people. They actually represent at least half the population and, as the article points out, these "liberal biased" news agencies actually covered the Clinton negatives rather extensively.

The population map at the link below almost matches the Internet Broadcasting Jobs 2016 map in the Politico article exactly.

http://www.businessinsider.com/half-of- ... ies-2013-9

The Politico article does a good job of noting how these news sources aren't necessarily not the "real America", but that they are a separate part of America. This is true and it ties into something we have talked about on here a long time. Cities are becoming the centers of power and mega-cities, specifically, benefit the most.

So, is the problem bias, in that these main stream sources generally put out articles that are not factual? Probably not. The problem, as the article suggests, is more social. It seems more likely they just don't cover the stories from all the angles. A new wind farm is reported on and the article notes it produces X number of gigawatts, X less pollution, etc, but the coal power plant being closed down is merely a footnote in the article. This is probably the bias that is actually happening. Of course, this is not communicated by the disaffected very well, which is one reason making it difficult to solve.

@Dragline
I agree, but it could be a little different. Could both the liberal and conservative media be the targets of the disaffected? Yes, the liberal media seems to have been the main target for years, but in some ways the disaffected seem to be slowly becoming dissatisfied with the conservative media outlets too. It's probably why they have steadily moved to the extremist outlets like Breitbart and then going further extreme like Info Wars. Of course, these don't have good information at all, especially stuff like Info Wars. Hopefully, they realize that eventually.

However, the problem of them not feeling they are represented would still exist. Now, is that lack of representation as bad as they suggest? Probably not, but I'm sure they will still think it is. Doesn't mean there isn't an issue. I'm just not confident they will meet anyone halfway with a constructive solution.

Dragline
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Re: Biased news

Post by Dragline » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:22 am

Chad wrote:
Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:47 am

@Dragline
I agree, but it could be a little different. Could both the liberal and conservative media be the targets of the disaffected? Yes, the liberal media seems to have been the main target for years, but in some ways the disaffected seem to be slowly becoming dissatisfied with the conservative media outlets too. It's probably why they have steadily moved to the extremist outlets like Breitbart and then going further extreme like Info Wars. Of course, these don't have good information at all, especially stuff like Info Wars. Hopefully, they realize that eventually.

However, the problem of them not feeling they are represented would still exist. Now, is that lack of representation as bad as they suggest? Probably not, but I'm sure they will still think it is. Doesn't mean there isn't an issue. I'm just not confident they will meet anyone halfway with a constructive solution.
The media (both liberal and conservative) is just a convenient scapegoat for public figures who are not performing well and their erstwhile followers and surrogates. It provides a cathartic outlet for Jane Q Public to express her rage.

We need to think about why the Politico article was even written in the first place, and the underlying narrative or beliefs that feed these kind of articles and this kind of thinking. The underlying premise of "we should engage in endless hand-wringing about the media" is that the media somehow magically dictates how people think and what they do. If you read the NY Times you are indoctrinated to vote Blue! If you read the Washington Times you are indoctrinated to vote Red! Form the mobs and get out the pitchforks!

If you believe this premise (and of course it never applies to "yourself" because "you" are enlightened and above all that -- its always "the other morons" at issue), you are easily swayed and emotionally incited by these "blame the media for the ills of society" kind of arguments and their offshoots. But the premise is largely false and this whole thing is just another version of the ancient scapegoating dance. It's also why the First Amendment includes a "freedom of the press" and not a "freedom against the press saying things about public figures they don't like". The media is a natural and easy scapegoat for public figures because it helps misdirect anger that might otherwise be directed towards them.

I fundamentally do not believe this premise, but believe that people choose their media based on their already favored narratives and beliefs, usually based on the five people they spend the most time with. By the time people reach their 20s they have had plenty of time to form these beliefs and the media has had very little to do with it when compared with their other influences (parents, upbringing/social status, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, five favorite books or television shows). Then they choose their media from there. And learn to blame the "other" media they don't like for society's ills instead of just blaming each other -- which could actually be dangerous because it could lead to violence and even civil war. So the media provides a convenient scapegoat that everyone has a chance to rail against and express their ire. It's cathartic. That's why it works for misdirecting anger and violence, which actually helps maintain order in society in its own peculiar way (per Mimetic Theory).

BRUTE
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Re: Biased news

Post by BRUTE » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:57 pm

well, brute used to read the NYT - and yes, they covered all the little Clinton things. still they predicted a 9999999.99999999.999% chance of her winning (.999999). brute realized they were simply wrong, and he had been misinformed by them.

Chad is right that this is simply a symptom of economic power changing, which the article alludes to. since the early 90s, economic power has shifted more and more towards knowledge and services work, which works best in clusters, and therefore cities, and best in mega cities. media doesn't cover the buckets and baskets of deplorables, because no humans care about them, because they have no power.

in a sense this is only a back swing, maybe a reversion to the mean, maybe already past it. maybe there is no "natural", "fair", or "desirable" constellation of economic power.

Farm_or
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Re: Biased news

Post by Farm_or » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:29 pm

[quote=Dragline
I think I would be amused for hours just browsing dragline's personal book shelves.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Biased news

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:17 am


Riggerjack
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Re: Biased news

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:47 am

This came up over at:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/23/so ... nal-scorn/

Vox’s editorial voice is that of a smart, knowledgeable observer giving reasonable fact-based explanations of complicated phenomena, thereby making their viewers more informed citizens. Furthermore, much of the time they *actually do that* and these pieces are widely linked by other smart, knowledgeable people, which gives (or at least gave) them a lot of credibility. Then they use the exact same editorial voice for their left-wing opinion pieces. This is why many people I know who care about truth-seeking get *really frustrated* with them.

I’m not necessarily claiming that Vox is particularly bad for society or anything, just that I personally find them a lot more frustrating than, e.g., Daily Kos. And the reason for that is that I can *trust* Daily Kos to be biased and epistemically unvirtuous, whereas Vox is on the side of truth and reasonableness until they’re suddenly not. Frequently I read one of their articles, it starts off as a good like-Wikipedia-but-more-engagingly-written explanation of some controversy, and then halfway through they start repeating one side’s moral claims as statements of fact and I feel a sudden urge to slam my head against the wall. And I’m nearly certain that I’m not alone in this.
Here’s one that I thought was a pretty bad offender: “The Battle Over Identity Politics, Explained”.

It makes like it’s going to inform confused audiences about what this “identity politics” controversy is and why everybody is yelling about it. Then it says “The bigger battle isn’t about restricting speech on college campuses, but who exactly is accepted in America.”, without giving any clue that this is a moral claim made by one side that the other would say is simply wrong.

Riggerjack
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Re: Biased news

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:52 am

That pretty much sums up my issue with the media. But, since we make the media out of blue journalism students, taught by blue professors, trained by blue journalists, reporting to blue editors, living in blue counties of blue States, I don't see a fix in my lifetime.

ThisDinosaur
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Re: Biased news

Post by ThisDinosaur » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:21 am

Well Kahneman says we are better at seeing bias in others than we are in ourselves. So a blue state news room will interpret good polling data with a blue filter. This says to me it might be better to read Huffpo and Breitbart than to just read BBC and Reuters. If you read the first two, you just disregard what they agree on, and focus on the conflict in the narratives. The perception of the masses is reality or something.

Riggerjack
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Re: Biased news

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:58 pm

Or, as I have done, limit your news inputs to articles linked in posts you read. News rarely references anything I can do anything about. Outside my circle of control, and circle of influence, usually means also outside my interests.

It is good to have a general idea of what is going on, but most news is noise.

bryan
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Re: Biased news

Post by bryan » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:41 pm

Yeah.. (media) bubbles are quite crazy. Case in point you can see the Trump administration and their aloofness to many issues and Americans' real concerns. Even for my own media, e.g. Twitter, I have seen polls posted/re-tweeted akin to: A) if you are in SW industry B) if you are not C) just show me the results and after answering it's shown that A has a super-majority with ~thousand votes total.

My parents are not reading anything close to the same news/opinions that I am (even for sportsball my media differs e.g. videos of press conferences, interviews or player tweets versus the newspaper or TV).

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jennypenny
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Re: Biased news

Post by jennypenny » Tue May 14, 2019 10:20 am

I'll admit to being a Matt Taibbi groupie, but I really enjoyed this discussion of the state of journalism between Chris Hedges and Taibbi. Taibbi's new book is also good (you can get excerpts on his website).
Part One
Part Two

Jason
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Re: Biased news

Post by Jason » Tue May 14, 2019 11:10 am

This commentator argues that news needs to be read in the same manner as a juror processing opposing arguments in a court room.

https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2019/05/51698/

OTCW
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Re: Biased news

Post by OTCW » Tue May 14, 2019 5:07 pm

Reuters has been my go to for years. I like the NYT and WSJ for indepth reporting.

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