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maryte

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Location: Blinding You With Library Science!
Gender: Female


Posted: Aug 3, 2017 - 12:14pm

This seems on topic for this thread:  ACLU-WV Brief on Behalf of John Oliver
aflanigan

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Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 3, 2017 - 11:59am

 Lazy8 wrote:
 aflanigan wrote:
So what do we do to produce smarter consumers of information? Should we have some sort of formalized bullshit detection training in public schools? Leaving people to wander the intertubes unguided, as you note, usually results in their finding information that confirms their biases, rather than brings enlightenment.

Formalized training has tended to lag well behind both technology and culture. I think people are figuring it out on their own.

The marketplace has incentives to respond quickly. The schooling of most kids isn't driven by market forces so it responds when forced to by political changes. Snopes emerged without government intervention while schools were still teaching kids to use Apple IIes.

Who taught you to use Google? Wikipedia? Did you sign up for a class, or figure it out on your own or with online tutorials? Cultures evolve constantly to deal with the new tools that present themselves, but they don't evolve at the same rate for everybody. There will always be tails on the curve, but nevertheless the curve rises.

 
I think you are missing the point.

Anyone can google "vaccines and autism", but none of the results that get spit out carry a number or any indicia representing the veracity of the "information" found on the page.

Up unitl a few months ago, then, you would likely have been presented with pages supporting a causal link between vaccines and autism, and pages that attempt to debunk such false claims. 
Now that Google has tweaked its algorithm to keep false info out of its search results and offers a fact check tag with the help of snopes and politifact for some search results, you won't find bogus vaccine/autism articles and websites showing up at least at the top of the page, but this relies on some sort of human vetting, just like editors and newspapers do. Which I'm getting the impression you are no big fan of because you find them biased.

People who are willing to be open-minded can certainly learn over time to distinguish BS and nonsense from factual/reliable information, especially after getting burned by false information a few times, but people don't always have the luxury of getting repeated attempts to make the right call. Worried parents who consider bringing their acutely ill child to a homeopathic practitioner on the advice of a friend/relative/minister will find listings for "Doctors" near them on Google, and their child may not survive the results.

And it is something people like you and me who are pretty good at detecting bullshit need to be concerned about, too, because decisions are being made every day that potentially affect us, and the people making them may not be able to distinguish fact from fiction. Or they may be highly prone to confirmation bias.

So the idea of "caveat emptor" as the sole mechanism of dealing with the harmful effects of misinformation/garbage information/psuedoscience is not a comforting one.

As far as the "curve rising", do you have any data to show that people are now less likely to be duped by misinformation than 50 years ago, or a century ago? My sense is that if anything, people are tending to be more gullible, but that's merely a subjective opinion.


Lazy8

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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 3, 2017 - 10:19am

 aflanigan wrote:
So what do we do to produce smarter consumers of information? Should we have some sort of formalized bullshit detection training in public schools? Leaving people to wander the intertubes unguided, as you note, usually results in their finding information that confirms their biases, rather than brings enlightenment.

Formalized training has tended to lag well behind both technology and culture. I think people are figuring it out on their own.

The marketplace has incentives to respond quickly. The schooling of most kids isn't driven by market forces so it responds when forced to by political changes. Snopes emerged without government intervention while schools were still teaching kids to use Apple IIes.

Who taught you to use Google? Wikipedia? Did you sign up for a class, or figure it out on your own or with online tutorials? Cultures evolve constantly to deal with the new tools that present themselves, but they don't evolve at the same rate for everybody. There will always be tails on the curve, but nevertheless the curve rises.
aflanigan

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Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 3, 2017 - 8:28am

 Lazy8 wrote:

1. There are fewer traditional media outlets to hire journalists, no question. They are competing in a market where there are too many suppliers chasing the same eyeballs. There will be consolidation, already underway; when the Des Moines Register can instantly reach readers in Talladega, Alabama that is going to drive down the need for an independent news source in each place. A lot of small town newspapers and radio stations are being bought up by conglomerates. I don't wring my hands over this, I see it as a sign that those small town newspapers weren't serving their readers well enough to keep their attention.

2. Oh holy crap yes. It's still too easy to lie to people. I'd hasten to point out that t'was ever thus, it's just that now people have an easier time finding lies that appeal to their prejudices rather than to the prejudices of the editors at media outlets and seek those out.

3. See 2, above. We'll get better at it as we live with the internet longer and shed our old habits. Kids entering college now have never lived in a world without Google. It has never been easier to debunk a lie. It has also never been easier to spread one. Our future depends on training those kids on how to fight the latter with the former. The arc of human history reassures me that we'll eventually get this right.

4. See 2, above.

5. I rest my case.

 
So what do we do to produce smarter consumers of information? Should we have some sort of formalized bullshit detection training in public schools? Leaving people to wander the intertubes unguided, as you note, usually results in their finding information that confirms their biases, rather than brings enlightenment.
Lazy8

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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 2, 2017 - 1:53pm

 aflanigan wrote:
Nowhere did I say that journalism was once subsidized by government/not a private enterprise activity during our history.

Instead of trotting out a straw man argument, maybe have a go at accepting my invitation to a civil discussion about the health and future survival of investigative journalism?

1. Yes, there is still good journalism being done. It seems however that the ease with which it can find a stable home to exist is disappearing. Do you agree with this, or do you think it is thriving?

2. Maybe part of the issue is that it's still being done, but is being drowned out by a proliferation of bad journalism and outright crap/fake stuff? 

3. The "direct to consumer" notion you mention is intriguing, but like "direct to consumer" medical information, is ripe for abuse. Most consumers of news aren't well equipped to distinguish BS from good journalism.

4. Old school organizations in theory have layers of vetting (well, maybe one or two), which work imperfectly, but most of the time I assume they work pretty well. 

5. EDIT: I used the phrase "government subsidies" in reference to an alternative to profit-based journalism that is not likely to expand any time soon. Schafer mentioned journalism done by NPR as being "directly subsidized" (it receives about 14% of its budget from federal, state, and local govts.) but that sort of direct government support is not likely to be significantly enlarged, particularly when some on the right are not happy about taxpayer money is being used for what they consider "biased news". And it does create the potential appearance of an interrelationship which would potentially tarnish the notion of a truly independent fourth estate.

1. There are fewer traditional media outlets to hire journalists, no question. They are competing in a market where there are too many suppliers chasing the same eyeballs. There will be consolidation, already underway; when the Des Moines Register can instantly reach readers in Talladega, Alabama that is going to drive down the need for an independent news source in each place. A lot of small town newspapers and radio stations are being bought up by conglomerates. I don't wring my hands over this, I see it as a sign that those small town newspapers weren't serving their readers well enough to keep their attention.

2. Oh holy crap yes. It's still too easy to lie to people. I'd hasten to point out that t'was ever thus, it's just that now people have an easier time finding lies that appeal to their prejudices rather than to the prejudices of the editors at media outlets and seek those out.

3. See 2, above. We'll get better at it as we live with the internet longer and shed our old habits. Kids entering college now have never lived in a world without Google. It has never been easier to debunk a lie. It has also never been easier to spread one. Our future depends on training those kids on how to fight the latter with the former. The arc of human history reassures me that we'll eventually get this right.

4. See 2, above.

5. I rest my case.
aflanigan

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Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 2, 2017 - 1:22pm

 Lazy8 wrote:
 aflanigan wrote:
No, but thanks for once again putting words in my mouth!

{#Wink} 

Sorry, it's hard to parse what you wrote any other way. You described investigative journalism as being in decline, and list the forces driving that decline as the profit motive and a lack of government subsidies. If you meant something else maybe you should elaborate.

 
Nowhere did I say that journalism was once subsidized by government/not a private enterprise activity during our history.

Instead of trotting out a straw man argument, maybe have a go at accepting my invitation to a civil discussion about the health and future survival of investigative journalism?

Yes, there is still good journalism being done. It seems however that the ease with which it can find a stable home to exist is disappearing. Do you agree with this, or do you think it is thriving?

Maybe part of the issue is that it's still being done, but is being drowned out by a proliferation of bad journalism and outright crap/fake stuff? 

The "direct to consumer" notion you mention is intriguing, but like "direct to consumer" medical information, is ripe for abuse. Most consumers of news aren't well equipped to distinguish BS from good journalism.

Old school organizations in theory have layers of vetting (well, maybe one or two), which work imperfectly, but most of the time I assume they work pretty well. 

EDIT: I used the phrase "government subsidies" in reference to an alternative to profit-based journalism that is not likely to expand any time soon. Schafer mentioned journalism done by NPR as being "directly subsidized" (it receives about 14% of its budget from federal, state, and local govts.) but that sort of direct government support is not likely to be significantly enlarged, particularly when some on the right are not happy about taxpayer money is being used for what they consider "biased news". And it does create the potential appearance of an interrelationship which could tarnish the notion of a truly independent fourth estate.


Lazy8

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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 2, 2017 - 12:20pm

 aflanigan wrote:
No, but thanks for once again putting words in my mouth!

{#Wink} 

Sorry, it's hard to parse what you wrote any other way. You described investigative journalism as being in decline, and list the forces driving that decline as the profit motive and a lack of government subsidies. If you meant something else maybe you should elaborate.

I'll go ahead and point out in advance (assuming my characterization of your point is correct for the moment) that the profit motive has always existed, that the vast majority of journalists (especially those renowned as investigative journalists) have always been employed by profit-making companies, and the government subsidies you seem to think might help have never done much for investigative journalism.

I'd go further (having read the review) and criticize a point Shafer makes: FOIA foot-dragging (real as it is) isn't a likely cause of this decline, as the Freedom of Information Act only dates to 1966 and the federal government has never been enthusiastic about following it.

I have to wonder if you really read this review yourself; Shafer points out that most of what investigative journalism is concerned with is government malfeasance, and that limiting the scope and reach of government would lessen the need for it. There would still be private-sector scandals to expose of course, so we will always need journalists, but in the modern age we can do a lot of it ourselves. You don't have to get the Washington Post interested in your revelation anymore, you can leak to all the world's newspapers at once. With a camera in every cell phone they'd never be able to hide Paul McCartney's death anymore!

With all these pressures being applied there is still great investigative journalism being done, and finding a decent audience. It tends to get directly from the journalist to the reader without filling the coffers of the rest of the industry, and there are an awful lot more people who want to be journalists than their talents will justify or the market will bear. How to make a living performing a task people can increasingly do themselves is not a problem limited to journalism. Nothing is stopping any of us from doing investigative journalism except the desire to be well paid for doing it.
aflanigan

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Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 2, 2017 - 8:58am

 Lazy8 wrote:


So the fourth estate didn't used to be based on profit-making companies back in the golden age? It used to be government subsidized?

Tell me more of this planet you speak of.

 
No, but thanks for once again putting words in my mouth!

{#Wink} 
kurtster

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Location: where fear is not a virtue
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 1, 2017 - 3:56pm

 Lazy8 wrote:
 aflanigan wrote:
So for those who decry fake news, bad reporting, political corruption, etc. and wonder what happened to the golden age of journalism, the $64,000 question is: How can a fourth estate based on profit making companies, independent of government subsidies (which would reek of the potential for propaganda), continue to ensure the survival of good quality investigative journalism when it doesn't make you much money?

Democracy's Detectives (book review) 

So the fourth estate didn't used to be based on profit-making companies back in the golden age? It used to be government subsidized?

Tell me more of this planet you speak of.

 
... You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 1, 2017 - 3:40pm

 aflanigan wrote:
So for those who decry fake news, bad reporting, political corruption, etc. and wonder what happened to the golden age of journalism, the $64,000 question is: How can a fourth estate based on profit making companies, independent of government subsidies (which would reek of the potential for propaganda), continue to ensure the survival of good quality investigative journalism when it doesn't make you much money?

Democracy's Detectives (book review) 

So the fourth estate didn't used to be based on profit-making companies back in the golden age? It used to be government subsidized?

Tell me more of this planet you speak of.
aflanigan

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Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 1, 2017 - 3:18pm

So for those who decry fake news, bad reporting, political corruption, etc. and wonder what happened to the golden age of journalism, the $64,000 question is: How can a fourth estate based on profit making companies, independent of government subsidies (which would reek of the potential for propaganda), continue to ensure the survival of good quality investigative journalism when it doesn't make you much money?

Democracy's Detectives (book review) 


Red_Dragon

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Location: Dumbf*ckistan


Posted: Jul 20, 2017 - 3:01pm

this.
Proclivities

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Location: Paris of the Piedmont
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 18, 2017 - 7:26am

 kurtster wrote:

You mean like 8 years of attacks of Fox News as illegitimate, the attacks on the Associated Press and Rosen of Fox News as criminals in particular ?

 
The "attacks" against Fox News' legitimacy (largely by non-governmental entities) could not really be considered "personal", and the AP and Rosen "investigations" you brought up are mentioned in the linked article; I guess you didn't finish reading it all.

 "The Obama administration also repeatedly threatened journalists with prison under the guise of investigations into leaks that allegedly threatened national security. When I was senior managing editor of the Associated Press, the Obama administration secretly seized the wire service's phone records in order to reveal AP's sources. A New York Times reporter, James Risen, was kept under threat of jail for years to pressure him to reveal his sources. An FBI agent accused Fox News reporter James Rosen of possible espionage for basic reporting. NPR and other news organizations reported on these actions and protested vehemently. These were chilling threats to obstruct journalism and even criminalize it. I and many other journalists said so. Risen described the Obama administration as the most antagonistic to the press of any since Nixon."

  One other difference is that we have a President-Elect who has expressed his desire to re-write the First Amendment (e.g.: "open up libel laws") several times.
kurtster

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Location: where fear is not a virtue
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 18, 2017 - 6:29am

 Red_Dragon wrote: 
You mean like 8 years of attacks of Fox News as illegitimate, the attacks on the Associated Press and Rosen of Fox News as criminals in particular ?
haresfur

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Location: The Golden Triangle
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 17, 2017 - 4:27pm

“If you, Mr. Trump, fail to take the Russian threat seriously, if you do not disentangle yourself from your business interests, if you promote corrupt or conflicted advisers and cabinet members, if you fail to understand the gravity of the foreign policy crisis you face, if you deprive millions of health care without an alternative, if you fail to act on the global threat of climate change, if you pit Americans against each other by race, gender, and religion, if you undermine science and reason … there will be an asterisk next to your name,” Rather wrote.


Red_Dragon

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Location: Dumbf*ckistan


Posted: Jan 17, 2017 - 3:48pm

We Cannot Tolerate Legal and Personal Attacks on Journalists For Doing Their Jobs
Steely_D

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Location: Biscayne Bay
Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 21, 2016 - 7:50pm

 aflanigan wrote: 
Did newspapers exist to make a profit and get eyeballs?
Skydog

Skydog Avatar



Posted: Nov 21, 2016 - 7:01pm

 aflanigan wrote: 
 Lazy8 wrote:  .
Steve Bannon will totally neutralize the news media, Trump just released an in-house produced video on YouTube of policies passing up the media.
.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xX_KaStFT8


Lazy8

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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 21, 2016 - 6:29pm

The fall of Salon.com

How a digital trailblazer and progressive powerhouse lost its way.

05/27/16 12:34 AM EDT

The low point arrived when my editor G-chatted me with the observation that our traffic figures were lagging that day and ordered me to ‘publish something within the hour,’” Andrew Leonard, who left Salon in 2014, recalled in a post. “Which, translated into my new reality, meant ‘Go troll Twitter for something to get mad about — Uber, or Mark Zuckerberg, or Tea Party Republicans — and then produce a rant about it.’ … I performed my duty, but not without thinking, ‘Is this what 25 years as a dedicated reporter have led to?’ That’s when it dawned on me: I was no longer inventing the future. I was a victim of it. So I quit my job to keep my sanity.”

aflanigan

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Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Mar 31, 2016 - 9:00am

Has the media totally lost its ability to be objective? Does it now exist purely to generate page views or TV ratings?


Trump also challenges the media’s notion of what it means to be “objective.” Among other things, Trump has frequently invoked misogyny and racism; he has frequently lied, and he has repeatedly encouraged violence against political protesters. As far as we’re concerned at FiveThirtyEight, these are matters of fact and not opinion and to describe them otherwise would make our reporting less objective. Other news outlets will bend over backward to avoid describing them in those terms, however.


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