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where were the SV / SF / Oak proper journalists on either end of this story actually scrutinizing a $10b monster?

Most journalists are not capable of narrating how e.g. a Rails application works. They're equally not capable of walking an interlocutor through e.g. Phase N clinical trials. They rely on people who actually have domain expertise to tell them what the ground state of the world is like. One would hope that a good journalist goes around and checks those representations, but this is not always true.

Every interaction I have ever had with a journalist attempting to use me as a source has decreased my confidence in the profession. I'm on like six organizations' internal lists as "Speaks English and can answer any Japan question." (My qualifications for this: I speak English, have a professional background which suggests bare minimum competence in a field which was once newsworthy regarding Japan, and then was in the NYT in that capacity. "Close enough!")

They've asked me to provide my opinion of everything from e.g. Abe's economic policies to whether the man on the street thought that the Japanese women's soccer team was counteracting the national malaise after the Tokoku earthquakes. When I give them the honest answer, which is that I'm a small software entrepreneur who does not know anything useful about nation-level economics policies and is sufficiently politically apathetic that me knowing that Abe is prime minister actually means that I must be paying more attention than usual in 2015, that does not result in them stopping the interview or taking me off their list.

Journalism is a high-prestige field which, to re-use Michael Creighton's observation, we understand is virtually never right about even the simplest consequential facts about things we actually understand, but we trust it to be accurate with regards to consequential facts about other fields, and this trust endures through every report that we have about journalists being catastrophically wrong. The alternative to trusting journalism is to believe that the New York Times and BuzzFeed hire the substantially same people to do substantially the same work for substantially the same reasons, and that the NYT is prestigious and BuzzFeed is not because the NYT has been BuzzFeeding for centuries.

There is some threshold of evidence that causes us to accept the BuzzFeed hypothesis, right? Right? God help me, I know I sound crazy, but I think I'm there.




> that does not result in them stopping the interview or taking me off their list.

Why would they take you off their list if you gave them an honest answer (I do not know)?

You clearly knew were to stop, so you did not misinform them . That is a valuable trait for an expert.


If it really is that bad, why read newspapers then? But, if you never read newspapers of any kind, how would you have any idea about what happens around the world?


Journalism is a high-prestige field which, to re-use Michael Creighton's observation, we understand is virtually never right about even the simplest consequential facts about things we actually understand, but we trust it to be accurate with regards to consequential facts about other fields, and this trust endures through every report that we have about journalists being catastrophically wrong.

There is some threshold of evidence that causes us to accept the BuzzFeed hypothesis, right? Right? God help me, I know I sound crazy, but I think I'm there.

Welcome to the ranks of conspiracy theorists. Anyone willing to admit difficult truths eventually winds up here.

Is there a time in the history of journalism where journalists were ever right about even the simplest consequential facts? That would at least explain why they're still considered a high-prestige field. Anyway, I'd love to find out how such a worthless field earned and continues to maintain it's prestige.


It seems to me that there is a trend that many people start to lose trust in the credibility of journalism. State-funded troll factories[1] probably helps with fueling this distrust. There are of course many valid reasons to criticize media publishers, but I sure hope we could avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/magazine/the-agency.html


This is the point: if there ever was a baby in that bath, it's dead now. Read what Patio11 wrote again and realize his situation isn't an isolated incident. It's the norm.

Tell me, cpach, why did you feel the need to defend the news establishment? You obviously think there's some value they're bringing to the table. What is that value?


I think parts of what the news establishment does are worth defending. Some parts are definitely despicable. I do not stand wholeheartedly behind them.

But as I said in another comment, how else would you have any idea about what happens around the world? Do you see no value whatsoever in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Economist? I'm not talking about The Sun, Fox News or Russia Today.

I see a value in organizations that have the funds to pay for investigative journalism. A recent example is the private jet scandal within the Swedish manufacturing company SCA.[1] The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet ran a series of articles about how the upper management at SCA misused the company's private jets, costing the company loads of money. Unsurprisingly the shareholders were not happy and many key persons had to resign because of this.

Had it not been for the articles in Svenska Dagbladet, how would the shareholders ever find out about this misuse of the company's resources?

[1] http://www.thelocal.se/20150123/one-of-swedens-most-powerful...


> how else would you have any idea about what happens around the world?

Since there's nothing I can do about anything anywhere else in the world, why should I care? Furthermore, if very little the news establishment publishes is correct, how can you say you have any idea what's actually happening around the world? You don't. With the readiness with which the news establishment will publish absolute junk, what makes you think they won't publish what they're told by their corporate owners or the government? When nobody does any fact checking, it leaves them (and you) vulnerable to manipulation.

> Do you see no value whatsoever in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Economist?

None.

> Had it not been for the articles in Svenska Dagbladet, how would the shareholders ever find out about this misuse of the company's resources?

Wow, you had to go all the way to Sweden to dig up an example for this? We're talking about the American news establishment. I have no comment on or exposure to European news. In the American media, investigative journalism is a dead art. The disclosures we see in the news are mostly done because we have a (more or less) open market which gives an incentive for all sorts of people and organizations to profit from these sorts of disclosures. That part of the system would work just as well without journalists.


> Wow, you had to go all the way to Sweden to dig up an example for this? We're talking about the American news establishment.

All the way? Has it occurred to you that not every participant in this forum is a US citizen?




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