I was visiting friends during a couple of major air accidents in the past couple of years (The MH370 and MH17 incidents in particular), and was astounded at the propensity for news stations on ALL channels to fill every minute of the day with news 'updates' on the events that eventually descended into getting quotes and theories from just about anyone they could get to talk in front of a camera.
I was only exposed to that for a few hours at a time, but I found it absolutely exhausting to be bombarded like that. Not only that, I used to be a commercial pilot, and I could not believe the amount of disinformation and outright ridiculous theories being bandied about by so called 'reputable' news sources.
No thanks. I would rather control my own news firehose, and be selective about the information that I want to learn more about.
This is true every time there is a news story on about anything that somebody around me is an expert on. It's always "what the hell are they talking about!?"
I've seen this directly, too. I've been on the local news quite a few times, and EVERY TIME what they end up broadcasting, and what I was explaining to them are different things.
What's really really scary to me lately is all of this talk about "fake news", which originally referred to outright lies that were part of click-farms, but is now being talked about as if CNN and MSNBC are somehow the only source of "real" news.
Frightening. Really truly actually frightening to me.
"Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know."
The problem is that writing about 25 different countries in a single issue doesn't mean they actually have experts on most of those places or people on the ground to do original reporting. Often, it devolves into British or American writers regurgitating inaccurate information from the Internet. But if it's the only thing you read about, say, forest exports from Myanmar, you have no reason to question it.
The easiest way to see this is to be a non-US/UK/EU person and read an article in the Economist about your own country. Then you realize that all the other articles are just as simplistic and uninformed.
I've noticed that in The Economist the articles about my field of technology, work, and my small home country, have been accurate to the point that I suspect they have had experts in the field involved in creating them. That gives me confidence in the articles about issues I'm not intimately familiar with.
That is why The Economist is one of the few news sources I read after cutting out following daily news completely. As a result I'm much better informed about the facts and issues than I was when reading huge amounts of daily news. It boils down to a difference between consuming mostly noise and consuming mostly signal.
For instance, recently there was a writeup on quantum computing in which they made a somewhat hyperbolic claim regarding D-Wave. This gave me pause; however, the point was clarified in subsequent paragraphs, thus restoring my confidence in their analysis.
Much like the parent poster, I too have dropped many of my daily news sources, but not The Economist. I've yet to find a publication which matches it in terms of coverage and accuracy--not to mention their exceptionally high-quality audio recordings of each edition (perfect for commuting!).
Ive noticed the economist has a habit of playing policy games.
In that case they publish nonsense to further certain policy aims.
But often its well researched unbiased material.
not that easy to tell the difference.
but infinately better than the junk put out by the likes of the bbc fox cnn times etc.
But the nice thing about the newspaper (The Economist refers to itself as a newspaper, not a magazine) is that they provide pure opinion journalism and as a reader you know exactly where they are coming from.
While I agree a lot with the publication (for example: they argued to liberalize drugs, or advocated gay marriage literally decades before it was chic). I encounter my share of (what I lovingly refer to as) full-of-shit opinions, with which I wholeheartedly disagree.
Overall, though, it's one of the last remaining publications, on which I put a certain amount of trust because they usually know what they're writing about and even on the subjects on which I (partially vehemently) disagree it's always an interesting read.
Because they argue their position intelligently and competently. It won't make me a believer, but it's useful and interesting to get the counterpoint from a reputable and trustworthy publication and sometimes get your dogmas slightly shaken in the process.
I'm a long time subscriber to the Economist, ever since I was in high school. I appreciate their breadth of reporting and their commitment to provide opinionated takes on news while also giving a balanced take on news. Very few times have I felt the "Murray Gell-Mann effect" while reading it. I can recall just one instance they have been wrong about a topic I'm knowledgeable about. That's a better record than any other publication I read.
I stopped reading TE because I was put off by their too steadfast belief in monetarism as the be it end all. To their credit, they are pretty upfront about that though.
The times I read an Economist article about my country or my line of work the coverage was actually very good, but your milage may vary.
In the past ten years it seems to have drifted gradually leftward. Sometimes I can't reconsile The Economist of 2000 with the one of 2016. Did The Economist move gradually to the left or did I move to the right?
The Economist were always Mill/Smith liberals, in favour of free trade, light but effective regulation, against the War on Drugs, pro-migration etc. They have a strong tendency to recommend economic liberalism regardless of what the problem is. These days the "right" have moved to "illiberal" positions - restricting free trade and migration. That may be what you're seeing.
My subscription is up in January, and -for the first time in 25 years- will NOT be renewed.
Because I cannot think of any publication that I would call completely impartial (it also would make for pretty dry reading).
The structure of a typical science section doesn't help. There are typically only a few reporters--often only one-- and they tend to cover whatever's timely (e.g., has recently been announced/opened/published), which doesn't let them build up much expertise. I think this also explains why pop-science articles tend to conflate background (here's what was known before this paper was published) and whatever actual result was: it's all new to the reporter.
That said, I was recently interviewed by CBC about my research and I thought they did a very good job. Everyone seemed prepared, asked reasonable questions, and the final product matched what I said!
Also for lots of things there is generally the direct source available if it is economic/legal/statistically relevant and a quick skim of that is a good get you up to speed thing. The writer made mention of something as 'interesting' so that's just a key to me to go looking for information in that direction where otherwise I would not.
He was also known for getting even basic science wrong, like in "Jurassic Park," where the scientists fill-in missing dinosaur DNA by splicing it with reptile and amphibian DNA. Anyone who has studied dinosaurs knows that their closest living relatives are birds. How could someone with so many references and claims of research in his books miss such an elementary fact?
Then there was that embarrassingly awful book attacking the idea of climate change... but I think Crichton is a great example of this Gell-Mann phenomena. I know many people, even academics, who have read his books and will bring them up as having a degree of science fact.
Because following that scientific fact would have ruined one of the major plot points of the story? Fiction authors do take some liberties to suit their fictional stories.
It's not at all evident to me that every article in a more reputable news source will make errors in every thing they report on.
I see people asking why we can't have a meaningful dialog about the subject and it's because at least half of us don't understand the basics of the issue.
Sure the main details are all there, but the small details are changed/ omitted to fit the mould of the story the author had in mind.
This was not stated. The opposite was implied in GP's case.
It's relevant to mention this, but it is emphatically not what was being described.
I think people are turning off MSM big time after this election.
He should have stuck to fantasy land, err, show business.
Who better to explain profiteering from misogyny, lying, hysteria, anti-intellectionalism, war-mongering, amnesia, obfuscation than Micheal Crichton?
Wow, that could hardly be more wrong. HN has repeatedly demonstrated expertise in a very wide range of subjects. Sure there is a bias towards software but that's hardly the limit. Even if HN was only read by SW exports assuming that they don't know about anything else is ridiculous. Not that HN is nonsense free. Your comment for example.
Although I agree with this, there is also a lot of nonsense and factually incorrect statements. Not everyone is an expert in every field, and many people will make bold claims about topics in which they're not well versed – even on HN. Unfortunately, this applies to me as well sometimes.
Negative publicity from news sources the typical registered Republican had a fairly low opinion of almost certainly helped him greatly in what was arguably the more difficult contest for him to win.
Operation Pied Piper, The DNCs 2016 Strategy From Wikileaks part of Podesta release
1) Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election;
2) Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents;
3) Muddy the waters on any potential attack lodged against HRC.
Pied Piper Candidates
see the attachment with email for the Strategy.
Maybe Ron Paul should have gone for that kind of infamy :-D
But it appears that these days, the rush to post something that will get clicked on bypasses all the actual information that people might want to know.
Take the recent tragic crash in South America that wiped out a whole football team. When I heard about the scale of the accident, one of my first questions (as a former pilot, and knowing the carrying capacity and safety reputation of most aircraft) was "I wonder what aircraft model it was?".
I read through 3 articles on common news sites which didn't state this information at all. Two of them didn't even have the airline or carrier name published in their story. I ended up resorting to a pilot discussion forum, where I found out the information I wanted.
When television news first appeared in the US, some claimed the death unfiltered information, which was already filtered, while others claimed the death of newspapers. The first didn't change much and the second barely changed.
24/7 cable news was already in vogue before Dan Rather's incident, who I believe claimed the high road, which helped remove Dan Rather. All that changed when the revenue sources changed.
What I personally find hypocritical is the different standard for "breaking" news versus "regularly scheduled" news. Bryan Williams was excoriated for honoring veterans and having a normal, human memory. Breaking news and special updates are blatantly suspect and misleading, feeling line "spray and pray", with minimal or no fact or source checking, and there appears to be no consequence. I believe the Rather case was egregious and the Williams case trivial.
I have a link to a study I need to find and post relating to the amount of international news viewing by country. More international news generally means more sources, purportedly meaning more viewpoints and balance.
It feels like P. T. Barnum is running much of today's media outlets. Sensationalism combined with instant gratification gets more views = more ad revenue. "Always follow the money." as told to Bob Woodward in _All The President's Men_.
Really makes you wonder how many other con jobs they've tried to sell us, before the tools existed for independent parties to get their own research out to the public. And now they're telling us to beware of "fake news", as if they haven't been publishing it themselves for decades at least.
I am surprised by that too. This whole "fake news" thing appeared out of thin air around the US election and is reportedly a new phenomenon - as if most of the "regular" news coverage wasn't already of various degrees of fakeness.
Maybe I am misreading you and other posters here, but I am getting the idea that people don't think this is a real thing or that it's no worse then actual news. This shit is real, harmful, and really not hard to find. I have a pretty trimmed down Facebook account but I would see multiple fake news posts shared by people every other week or so this past year. The way people talk about manipulative ads here could be applied to these articles. The worst part is they are incredibly easy to debunk, but no one gives a shit about checking what they read.
Can't say for others, but personally, I do believe the phenomenon is real. But I don't see it as something significantly different than "regular" reporting. It's a difference in degree, but not in kind. Regular news already only pays lip service to factual accuracy.
I can remember several scandals over the years from the big news agencies that would be considered "fake news" by today's standards. They range from just being wrong to outright fraud. This is nothing new, this crap existed before there were websites. It's just that people simply choose not to remember to continue their desire to have something whine about.
It is also an old tactic by people wishing to discredit those that disagree with their agenda, whether it is political or economic.
I believe that was the intent all along.
Blocking the bad ones and blessing the good ones are two sides of the same coin. We seem to think as long as government isn't doing it, it's not "censorship" and no problem. But we learn that time and time again, various governments major tech firms are actively working together.
Even more fun.. where did you hear the term "fake news" or where do you hear it regularly? Is it the same people who claim they're the "real news"?
Whether you agree or not, if you ask any suspect if they're guilty, the answer is "No!"
The first two were both NYT journalists - one a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1932 - and the third covers the 1890s, so let's stop acting like it's new, unique, or exists exclusively on one side or the other. This is how much of the modern press started.
Any search of history can find fake news going way back; the difference today is the ease of producing it and how easy it is to spread rapidly.
I mean, obviously: http://www.nationalenquirer.com/photos/barack-michelle-obama...
That started this era of nonsensical analysis and up to the second coverage of random car chases, progressed to constant updates about other random things, and then the 9/11 ticker sent it to the moon.
I'm genuinely curious to know where it's talked about as if CNN and MSNBC are the pinnacle of reporting?
Honestly I never hear/read anything but hate for them?
this is an intentional ploy designed to conflate the issues of tabloid-trash and dissent.
we don't even need a ban for the tabloid trash... but once we link it to dissenting from the mainline and call it the deciding factor of the election (a huge leap...), we put the mainstream media who have proven to be incompetent and dishonest back at the wheel.
Well, it's sad. But, in part, you can relax:
The "fake news" is just a current
meme and will go away
in at most a few weeks.
You can hear so much about
such a meme because the
news organizations form herds,
gang up, pile on.
A friend of mine who remembers NYC some decades ago explains that the NYT wrote the stories and the rest of the MSM, especially the TV evening news, just went along -- easy, "no real work about it".
Yes, no doubt much the same applied to tribes. If everyone joins in, then can bring down an elephant, mastodon, bison, reindeer or some such, no one member of the tribe is at much risk of injury, and everyone in the tribe eats that day. If some guy in the tribe just wants to sleep through the effort, then maybe the rest of the tribe won't let him eat!
Don't worry, Congress is going to fix that for you if the "Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016 ", H.R. 5181 passes. We'll have trusty folks over at the "Center for Information Analysis and Response"  to help us by "disseminating fact-based narratives" (!) to aide in determining whats true and whats false. How handy!
Completely agreed from personal experience. Not new but always worth re-iterating.
The news can't even get the basic facts right without twisting through addition or omission.
How are we supposed to rely on them when factual sources are suspect/false in the age of fake/lie-news?
Find experts. Do your own research.
They sent a reporter with a camera crew and he spoke to them for over one hour about his political views and ambitions. In the end, only a single soundbite ended up in the piece. It was a metaphor he used somewhere inbetween, so forgettable that I can't even recall it.
I noticed their feed back then starting to change from a simple and useful dissemination of their newspaper articles, into a conduit for posting tabloid style or inflammatory/unverified web links and popular memes.
I questioned them a couple of times on this in the comments area, but was told on both occasions by the page admins that their Facebook page was a 'fun and social' outlet for their paper, and if I wanted 'real news', I should just buy a copy of their actual paper.
Shortly after, I noticed that their print paper started to echo their Facebook feed, in terms of unresearched articles simple copied and pasted from other sources. I stopped following them on Facebook and stopped buying their paper shortly after.
When clicks, eyeballs and stickiness trumps good journalism, then that pretty much closes the door for me.
The channel start with the best intentions of conveying legitimate unbiased news to inquisitive educated audiences... but eventually the supply of news seekers gets depleted, while investors and advertisers demand more. The channel is "forced" to keep expanding so they start catering to people that don't seek out news... steadily devolving into click-bait infotainment articles.
Low-brow content alienates the original news seekers, and they leave for cleaner sources of information... but by now the channel's legitimate reputation is lost. They must double down on the infotainment market to keep turning a profit.
Eventually that gets saturated too, so the channel abandons their original (expensive) legitimate news reporting and continue chasing low-brow audiences, competing against all the other devolved spam-news sites. If their name held enough trust, they might chase profitable corporate/political puff-pieces ("fake news" aka lies).
It feels like an awful game-theory scenario.
So yeah, no surprise they deliver more of the 10 minute pieces and quality goes down. If we don't pay we get what we pay for - nothing. Hot air..
In the 2010s, "breaking news" apparently means early news cycle filler as opposed to late cycle filler that's already been reported 47 times in the last 24 hours, so after the attention grabbing fanfare, the breaking news is the national christmas tree lighting ceremony in DC, or surprisingly it snowed in the winter in the midwest yesterday, or congress is boringly making sausage as usual, while I'm sitting there waiting, come on, whats the breaking news part, did the ISS re-enter, has a political leader died, has a new war begun? And then they go to yet another old person pharmaceutical commercial, because those are the only people who still watch news channels, and I'm all question marks. Where's my important news?
We watch the occasional TV show via on demand streaming (guilty pleasure="The Voice", food for thought="several long form journalistic features, tv documentaries etc")
The improvement to our quality of life at home as been significant. In the little free time our daily chores still leave us, we simply play with our daughters (lego, board games, silly play) or read a book with them.
The only concern I have is with the kids growing up. Is the lack of exposure to daily news going to make them less aware of the "world out there"?
After all we could make the choice to live without TV/News after growing up with it. All that news noise is part of our accumulated view of the world. How will this affect someone growing up?
For instance, my younger son is super interested in space and space exploration. Whenever I see a news article or announcement on the web (or even right here on HN), I read up a little about it and then seek him out with a "Hey, did you hear about ...". This often leads to a great discussion, and ends up with us sitting in front of the computer to visit the NASA or ESA websites to get more information, photos or videos direct from the source, without much editorial slant on it.
It's all about piquing their interests, without overloading them with a lot of garbage. They've got enough on their plates with school and social activities etc., so curating their news for them like this is I think useful, plus also leads to some good father/son bonding time where we talk about big ideas like adults.
As may be expected, they also get tired of this sometimes, and they know it's coming, so I try to pick and choose items at random and just let others go. I believe--well hope really, that this encourages them to think and ask questions themselves and not dread another dinner with dad :)
Only two things to not like about TWAN, coverage of politicians photo ops, and for a weekly show its simply too short.
But I guess as the kids grow older they will inevitably come into contact with the mother of all noise machines... the internet. Then the problem will be to teach them how to filter...
All that news noise is part of an unreliable, distorted view of the world. The article gave you the solution: read books.
No 2010s kid is going to get "street cred" socially by walking into school talking about how sick Buicks are and Crestor is awesome and its almost but not quite the 15th anniversary of John Ritter's death.
> No thanks. I would rather control my own news firehose, and be selective about the information that I want to learn more about.
My worry is: Isn't this what caused the fake news / misinformation silos? By being selective about our information sources, aren't we distancing ourselves from how a majority of the world lives and thinks? And as product developers (as majority HNers are), isn't it in our benefit to understand as much of the world as possible?
For instance, I absolutely loathe 'celebrity news', but most main news sites here that I go to have at least one or two articles on rubbish like that as their lead, and I have to dig to find the stuff that is relevant to me.
To use the example of air accidents above - I rarely find out anything useful that I want to know from popular news sources. Of course, I hear about the incidents on them, but when I want to dive deep, I go to specialist forums or sites where people in the know are talking about it.
Similarly for mundane things like sport. If I want to find out more about, say, Formula 1 races, I will visit certain sites that I know have motor heads discussing things. That way I can learn about future car developments, driver contracts etc. Mainstream sports news seems to want to talk about dirt and gossip for just a handful of drivers.
They are using the technique of formula fiction, that is, what the ancient Greeks discovered as a sure-fire way to get and hold the attention of an audience.
So, in that formula, there is a protagonist the audience comes to
identify with, that is, care about. Then
the protagonist has a problem.
Through various highly in doubt and
improbable victories, from skill,
guts, determination, smarts, luck, whatever, the protagonist
wins and at the end gets the girl.
Can see a version of this formula
fiction just as orchestral music
with no words at all in the Richard
Strauss Ein Heldenleben as at
So, to use some words, there is a man, the hero, aka, protagonist, nice
guy, cruising along in life. Then he
encounters his adversary, nasty,
menacing, bad dude (flute, etc.). Then
starting at about 10:00 in the
performance above, he
sees HER, the girl (solo violin --
IMHO one of the best
solo violin parts in orchestral
She's a dream!
But, soon, she's also darned hard to get
and gives him a really tough time, a
worse time than
even Isolde gave Tristan in
where he wouldn't take his
eyes off of her and she
flatly refused even to look
Near 14:00 she really
chews him out!
Soon she starts to be nice.
About 15:00 they
really start to smile at each other!
Around 16:00 they are
He keeps trying and eventually
hear the music of the climax
when he kisses her or
your life is so much easier now:
Have that climax music
queued up ready to
go at a single button click
at just the right time
with her on the living room
sofa. Trust me: Richard Strauss
understood her much better
than you do!
Just about the time the
hero is to settle down
to a wonderful life of
love, home, marriage, children,
the adversary returns.
The hero goes off to
battle, maybe as in the
Edmund Blair Leighton God Speed
There is a big battle with the bad dude.
Tough battle. Comes and goes.
Finally the hero wins the battle.
Then there is victory music.
Terrific victory music.
As in art, the "communication,
interpretation of human experience,
emotion", the victory music communicates
well what a really big victory
must feel like,
bigger than getting
10 KLOC of code to run,
a Series A, a big M&A offer,
an IPO, anything in business.
Really great victory music.
If want to do a foil deck with a mash up of
some media content
for a presentation
to investors, maybe in
the last slide in the foil
deck use the Ein Heldenleben
victory music as background.
No words, but it would be
tough to miss the message!
Of course, not even a big IPO
could come up to the Richard
Strauss music, but, well,
there were no words for
lawyers to use to sue for breach
In the performance at the link
above, the victory music
is before 30:00 with the
climax in the next minute or so.
At the end, after the hero
has hung up his sword and
is fading away, the girl
is really nice to him.
If going to play with formula
fiction, then might as well
play with some of the best of
it! Right, at one point the
treble line suddenly goes
up and the bass line, down.
So, it feels, say, expansive,
Ah, Richard Strauss, expert
in applied psychology of
Good thing that human
emotions haven't changed
much since he wrote his
So, the race car drivers are made into protagonists people identify with.
Similarly for what the tabloids do
with celebrities. Similar to
what a lot of TV news show producers
try to do with their anchors.
Put all of it into various buckets, e.g.,
manipulation, light entertainment.
But it's not information.
Side note: I'm continuously amazed at the breadth of knowledge and reference on HN. Is it perfect? No. It is, however, frequently a breath of fresh air. It reminds me that polymaths still abound, and fondly reminiscent of the old /.
For some more good Richard Strauss, there is
with the scene of the presentation of the rose from his opera Der Rosenkavalier (rose carrier) where the two women are Anne Sophie von Otter (Octavian) and Barbara Bonney (Sophie). So, in the story Octavian is dressed as a man and is delivering the rose to Sophie, the one dressed as a woman. Super nice singing by the female voices with a super nice duet. Bonney is cute as a kitten.
While I appreciate your commentary on the music of Strauss, I disliked this particular comment. Is encouraging emotional manipulation really what we want for the younger generations?
There's nothing wrong with sharing music with others, what matters is the intent. Sharing music to enjoy together, great. Sharing music you may not enjoy just to get your rocks off, not exactly the best thing in the world.
You are fully correct. We don't want that.
But, then, is there an alternative? My first girlfriend, she was 12 and I, 14, I
regarded as an angel. She was and
remains the prettiest human female
I ever saw, in person or otherwise.
She was burned into my brain: For the rest of my life I will no more be able to
forget her than I will be able to forget
my own name.
My goal with her was for us to be early teen boyfriend-girlfriend, with some
protection against being lonely, some
additional affection and compassion, one
more person who really cared about us,
some romance, security of knowing
that our relationship was going to
continue, hold hands, hug, and kiss,
with nothing wrong and nothing
I never tried to manipulate her
emotionally, but there were a few
times when she got emotional
anyway; those times, I declined
to take advantage of her; i
guessed that a day later she or
her mother would be angry. No way
did I want her hurt, in any way, from
any source, for any reason, at any
time, and I was ready to risk my
life to protect her from being hurt.
So, in reality, what I actually did
was what you want teen boys to do.
My remark, the one you didn't like,
was partly a joke, but there is
a germ of inconvenient truth
there -- it can appear that too
often there is such manipulation,
taking advantage, or overpowering
emotions or nothing at all. Or, maybe
it's as in the Strauss music or
too often just doesn't happen.
Maybe the larger lesson to teen boys
is, really love the girl, no way hurt
her, seek to protect and care for her, but realize what an expert
once told me, "Of COURSE, women
are MUCH more emotional than
men. That is the cause of all the
problems." So, net, maybe,
the boy should try
to let her be as emotional as she
wants but stay rational and prudent
himself and do his best
to let her have, help her have
with full safety.
Usually it appears that
not many people in our society
are quite as sensitive to
emotionally or even physically,
as you are, or
I was with that girl I loved,
but I can partly agree with
But I will say, there is evidence
that some girls very much
seek some of various possible
forms of emotional experiences
and will resent a boy who
does not so contribute and
respect a boy who does.
Ah, someday I'll write a book, Girls 101 for Dummies -- Boys.
The Strauss music was about all of
life, and I was just mentioning
the part where the two
fell in love! I was mentioning the
Strauss music as a grand example
of formula fiction, and that is
one of the pillars of the news business which the OP was talking about.
Then one discovers that dialects arise from a common language with differences in geographic or societal culture and history.
Linguistics and etymology are fascinating topics, _almost_ as much fun as building (and test breaking) fault tolerant distributed systems.
If I wanted to know how majority world lives and thinks I would go and sample this information in real world by traveling and talking to different people, and not getting this info from people who have their own agendas to push onto me and who call themselves journalists.
I hear a lot of people say this these days but it doesn't really count for much if you regularly watch Netflix or other ondemand Internet based TV instead.
The difference is that it is totally under our control, and we can select the content (and reject it) at will. The pure lifestyle changes around this (i.e. we as a family would far rather be caught up on other creative endeavours rather than watching TV) have been significant.
That term originally appeared to describe workplace conditions and biography.
However, nowadays it is mostly used to describe media consumption. You decide when to listen to news or watch a certain show, the same way you decide when you read the next chapter of a novel.
In reality, time sovereignty is the only worthwhile thing wealth gets us, because time is our most valuable resource, a non-renewable one at that.
You enjoy watching movies, sitcoms, documentaries, etc, on a 27" computer monitor? Just buy a TV and external hard drive, it's so much better watching stuff on 55" TV on a couch...
Also, my couch is a floor. It isn't as glorious to stretch out on as one might think.
But your criticism of television does not support the idea of disengaging from news altogether.
This is what I hear from real experts every single time their subject is dealt with by the news. I've experienced it first hand myself with certain technology-related news where I've been heavily involved in the real thing. So when they report on economics, health or anything else I'm not an expert in, I assume that the real experts are shaking their heads just like I shook mine.
You can learn Arabic or Russian and go to Ukraine or Syria or Iraq and inform yourself talking to the people there, both sides of the story, or you can let the TV media tell you what is happening.
I have done it(I don't know much Arabic and a little Russian but I have traveled there) and it is quite an astonishment that what TV shows you has nothing to do with reality. I remember talking with a Syrian showing me a CNN video from US News of a Syrian manifestation(from natives that were being flood by foreigners with bad intentions), they reduced the audio volume and told everybody the manifestation was from the other side(the side that US was supporting).
The fact is that people that understood Arabic could listen what the protesters were saying and they(CNN) DID NOT CARE.
They did not care because it is a numbers thing, most Americans don't know Arabic, and millions of them will watch the channel and make themselves an idea from the eyes and ears that people in power have chosen for them.
The city where the protesters went into war and was bombarded for years and nobody displayed it on the news. Now it is displayed every single day because the people the US is supporting is losing there. Now it is so important civilians in this city, when for years they simply did not exist.
If you control the perception, you control the emotions that people will feel, and you could make them do exactly what you want. They will even believe they are "free", because they are to behave as they wish, but they are not because emotions are quite automatic.
If my memory serves me, tabloids like The Enquirer have been sitting on news stands for as long as I can remember. So how did this fervor over "fake news" coalesce so quickly and uniformly?
Mainstream outlets move in lockstep with each other and these are the final, desperate death throes of an outdated and superfluous institution. Don't expect they'll go down without a fight though.
Ironically, that post was doing great until it got flagged.
Edit 2: It has been unflagged
Edit 3: Flagged again.
When I follow a link from Greenwald's piece I see this tweet that was sent by Eichenwald: "Russian gov manipulates email to @johnpodesta. Publishes disinformation. Takes it down. Trump recites false info." https://twitter.com/kurteichenwald/status/785676641880027136
I interpret "manipulates" as claiming that the emails to Podesta were changed by the Russian government before they were passed to Wikileaks. Referring to them as "disinformation" also claims that the contents of the emails have been modified. And I take "recites false info" to be reiterating once again that the emails are not genuine.
From the outside, it certainly seems that Greenwald is justified in saying that Eichenwald claimed that the emails were fake. But apart from reading this quote, I'm not familiar with the details here. Could you be more specific, and specify a exact quote from Greenwald that you feel is deliberately distorted, and a corresponding quote from Eichenwald that shows the undistorted truth?
This isn't in itself proof that Greenwald was lying, since this requires additional knowledge of his internal mental processes, but it leaves open the possibility. I still think the phrasing in Eichenwald's tweet implies alteration, but with knowledge of the specifics of the article I agree that it can be interpreted differently.
But as 'nostrademons' points out, the current version of the article reads differently. I'll switch to a Dec 1 archive.org link in case it changes again: http://web.archive.org/web/20161201141729/http://www.newswee....
This version starts with a photo caption that includes the words "faked document". It's been changed to include the words "altered documents" multiple times. While couched in a hypothetical, it explicitly says "the Russian effort to quote an altered email". I feel certain that that the new version has been written in a manner that encourages the reader to conclude that leaked emails may have been altered and should not be considered authentic.
I don't know if these changes were made by Eichenwald or by someone else at Newsweek, but I think the post-publication changes strengthen rather than weaken Greenwald's overall claim that there as a strong media narrative to discredit the authenticity of the leaked Podesta emails. While the original article seems accurate, I find the changes that were made to it to be substantial, disingenuous, and worrisome. I'd be very interested to know how these changes came about.
It checks out, and at least on that point Eichenwald seems to be closer to the truth than Greenwald is (Greenwald hardly has anything to say in his own article about the details of the Eichenwald situation, only name-drops and sneers). It looks like this is Greenwald raising his hackles because he perceives his work with wikileaks to be under attack from Eichenwaldl.
First publication: Oct 10, 2016: https://web.archive.org/web/20161010235349/http://www.newswe...
Differences start around paragraph 6.
Can you show me what warrants a high degree of certainty for that claim? Because as far as I know there is no evidence for this beyond the tenuous circumstantial nature of Clinton's dirty laundry helping Trump, and a Trump presidency is less likely to start a war with Russia.
> There are two possibilities: One is that both the Russians and Donald Trump were tricked into believing of a manipulated email or the Russians manipulated it and Donald Trump fell for it
Greenwald counters emails were not doctored/manipulated and that saying they are is "Fake News" itself.
Greenwald is actually right: The emails were not manipulated as far as we know, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that there was no manipulation (e.g. thanks to gmail DKIM signatures).
The quote taken from the email that Trump and RT/Sputnik attributed to Blumenthal was indeed misattributed and actually a quote from an Eichenwald piece that Blumenthal merely copied in full into his email. That criticism is very valid, but that misrepresentation by Trump and/or RT/Sputnik does not make the email itself "manipulated".
Others are signed by hillaryclinton.com, which was likely compromised as well.
The email in question is not one of those, and uses the 2048 bit key (emailid/2038).
Also, your assertion that hillaryclinton.com was compromised ... where did you get that? Those emails were released by the govt because of FOIA requests. The DNC was hacked and therefore "compromised" by persons unknown (but some people did a lousy job of attributing it to Russia). The DNC is not hillaryclinton.com, tho.
Following that, my assertion that hillaryclinton.com was compromised was completely evidence-free. That's a personal assumption due to the significant lack of security expertise by the maintainer of the server. There are plenty of emails sent between clintonemail.com and the DNC gmail accounts that CC Podesta and were included in the Wikileaks dumps.
The DNC was hacked by two Russian actors according to CrowdStrike. I trust CrowdStrike in this assessment.
The instances of so-called "fake news" that I have seen are quite easy for me to "verify" as fake with relative confidence: it's generally an explicitly partisan source with a shady-looking website making an outlandish claim that is not corroborated by any traditional news outlet. The situation you've just described sounds much more difficult for me to verify.
Seriously though, the article is comically bad. It oozes bile and anger and it's so comically and blatantly one-sided it's almost funny in a so-bad-that-it's-good way.
And this one avoids words like 'shameful' and 'disgusting'
>The supporters of Andrew Jackson began spreading a rumor that Adams, while serving as American ambassador to Russia, had procured an American girl for the sexual services of the Russian czar. The attack was no doubt baseless, but the Jacksonians delighted in it, even calling Adams a “pimp” and claiming that procuring women explained his great success as a diplomat.
Pizzagate had nothing other than fever dreams.
In contrast, all of the wars you talked about were based on real things. The Iraq war was started on falsehoods but the media was reporting what government officials were saying and attributed those claims to them. They should have been more skeptical, yes, but that's a completely different level of discussion compared to a bunch of trolls and gullible people free-associating completely unfettered by reality.
It turned out to be rather profitable for him.
A self-confessed fake news creator made a dubious yet flattering claim about liberals not believing fake news because they were too smart, which fell apart upon a brief check, and liberals everywhere believed it. Brilliant.
FBI suicide, 569k: https://graph.facebook.com/?id=http://denverguardian.com/201...
Atlanta shooting, 222k: https://graph.facebook.com/?id=http://baltimoregazette.com/a...
Everybody leaves in a mad rush, and soon the oilman is alone with a surprised St Peter who says that he may do as he pleases in this now-empty oilman district of heaven.
The oilman turns to St Peter and says: "You know, there might actually be some truth to that rumor..."
Naivity and foolishness are not partisan traits.
It erupted across every news channel precisely as Pizzagate did. If you searched on Google News for "Pizzagate", what you would get was "FAKE NEWS!" "FAKE NEWS!" "FAKE NEWS!"
The MSM hasn't been this desperate since it was shrieking to high heaven there was no chance in any universe in which Donald Trump could possibly win the US election. Whether this is because the MSM is desperate to cover up this issue - like the Pizzagate investigators allege - or there is some other coordinated motive at play (like not losing control of the narrative), its obvious the campaign is coordinated and aimed at some specific desired outcome, one way or the other.
Pizzagate itself is just a mountain of circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is not necessarily evidence of a crime, and often leads people looking at it to jump to incorrect conclusions. But trying to sweep it under the rug with frantic cries of "FAKE NEWS!!1!" does nothing but make conspiracy theories grow.
There are some extremely strangely-worded emails that came out of John Podesta's Wikileaks. All kinds of bizarre pictures on Comet Ping Pong's Instagram. They use code words identified by the FBI as pedophile code words - but it could be coincidence. One of the neighboring pizza restaurants to Comet Ping Pong had an FBI-identified pedophile symbol in its logo (since removed) - but it could be coincidence.
What a real journalist would do is say, "Huh. There's a lot of odd circumstantial evidence here. Let's get to the bottom of this and either rule it out or see what questions are still on the table."
What the MSM is doing instead is taking down articles on high level pedophile rings, like this one that no longer exists on NY Times:
Then trying to tar and feather anyone who asks questions as a "Fake News" personality.
I don't know if there's any merit to the claims around Comet Ping Pong and the Podestas. It could just be some people are REALLY into pizza and when they talk about having small children in pools as entertainment those kids are there to sing Christmas carols or something. But the MSM's frantic efforts to drown it out by screaming about "fake news" is the Streisand Effect in action. They're giving anyone who wants to believe in a conspiracy even more reason to think there is some deep cover up that extends to the highest levels, and giving this thing legs it wouldn't have if John Podesta broke his tweet silence and just said, "This is all ridiculous and none of it is true," or the MSM did an investigative piece that conclusively explained away the things the Internet sleuths pursuing Pizzagate are hoisting up as evidence of a conspiracy.
So a mainstream media source - the AP is as mainstream and widely syndicated as it gets - running a story on an unrelated and probably actually real paedophile conspiracy in Norway after the Pizzagate 'revelations' becomes "MSM is taking down articles on high level pedophile rings" because the NYT removes news agency articles after a fixed period
(even ones about fake news - e.g
And the many reports into the story aren't proper investigative journalism because - shock horror - the journalists don't agree with 4chan that "cheese pizza" is a term identified by the FBI as a pedophile codeword that nobody in their right mind would ever use in a pizza store.
Heck, it's basically the non gaming equivalent of the 'gamers are dead' stories that become suspiciously widespread after GamerGate took off.
So far, non-mainstream outlets have proven a whole lot worse. Call me a small-c conservative, but I'm going to keep supporting civil society over the conspiracy theorists.
That's a rather normal phenomenon, sometimes when someone coins a new term, everybody else jumps on the bandwagon.Sometimes the term makes it into the fixed inventory of the language, sometimes the fad goes away. That's as true for "fake news" as it is for "abso-fucking-lutely" or "glashole".
> Mainstream outlets move in lockstep with each other and these are the final, desperate death throes of an outdated and superfluous institution.
What an utter nonsense! You must have been brainwashed by social media and shitty blogs that sell opinions as news.
There is a fairly good reason why mainstream outlets "move in lockstep with each other": They let one and the same reality dictate their news rather than making it up like the online trolls from St. Petersburg. I'd be rather worried if they didn't "move in lockstep" and each of them was reporting something else as news...
The president elect is a birther and anti-vaxxer. Bannon had a leadership role in Trumps campaign. His cabinet is a clown-car of conspiracy peddlers. Google and Facebook are taking action to squelch fake news. Fake news is a subject of interest to many influential individuals and organizations. If it weren't covered by mainstream news it would be irresponsible.
Do you honestly not see the difference between creating fake stories about celebrities and then creating fake stories about people in the government, stories that end up having far reaching real world effects?
>of an outdated and superfluous institution.
Oh brother. If anything this last year has proven exactly why the publication and editing model should flourish for quite some time. Because as of this year, I guess whatever makes you feel better is clearly more valued over what is actually true (see all the reports from Breitbart and company, especially in regards to the Clinton emails, or even global warming), especially with people who believe that "fake news" is just some kind of conspiracy theory accessory for the "MSM" to keep their grip on the industry.
"Fake news" is just yellow journalism by another name, and "fake news" is "uniformly" being talked about because it became readily apparent over the course of this last year that people believe and act on the information presented from yellow journalism. And _apparently_ for some people any action taken to correct yellow journalism is decried as censorship. Truth is not oppression.
No, but automatic removal of fake news is censorship, since all of us in here should know that determining truth by algorithms is really an unsolvable problem in _very many important cases_.
It could/would probably be reduced to a source credibility score, but credibility is subjective.
That there is part of the problem. That is a very western phrase that reflects an ingrained system at the root of the problem. Binary is for silicon. There are multiple sides, or there is one. There is almost never exactly two. But we are trained to expect equal time for "both sides". It makes people think they are well-informed, when in reality if you are hearing exactly two stories you are almost certainly being hoodwinked.
This isn't Hotelling. Hotelling occurs where the proponents choose their sides, their stances in a debate. When a news organization wants to inform people that a meteor is heading to earth, picking a pro and con pundit isn't hotelling. That's just manufacturing a controversy where none exists. Note that weather forecasts rarely give "both sides" ... until one wants estimates beyond next month. Then they have to bring in the pro/con people in that manufactured controversy.
A careful citizen should dismiss two-sided debates, or at least realize that "both sides" is a marketing trick. Read the research. Read, and understand, the statistics.
It basically means there are two sides (at least) to everything, that can't just be disregarded. Exceptions prove the rule, of course.
On another point, Hotelling's law is a really poor example when it comes to debates or questions of politics, in my opinion.
Then you get people who lack critical thinking reading crap published by anonymously owned (read: Russian or Russian sympathizers) "news" websites, and they believe it because, "you need to decide for yourself what you believe" and "everyone lies anyway".
Maybe it's less noticeable in different countries, because Russia is not investing as much into distorting the public opinion there, but in Central and Eastern Europe you can see it quite easily.
>The city where the protesters went into war and was bombarded for years and nobody displayed it on the news. Now it is displayed every single day because the people the US is supporting is losing there. Now it is so important civilians in this city, when for years they simply did not exist.
Reusing old/different footage and claiming it's something else. What else is new?
You don't mention any specifics, so it's impossible to disagree.. "Now", what is now? Since when? Bombarded for years? Starting when?
What is this manifestation you speak of, where did it happen?
(I'm non-English speaker, cannot judge, just my opinion).
-From Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 11 June 1807
We have at least a veneer of nonpartisan purpose to the major newspapers of today, although you can argue they still have a bias. Online news/blogs/etc. are more analogous to the newspapers of the early Republic.
That's the problem here. The signal-to-noise ratio is too low in the news in general. I've spent the whole last year reading speculation about Clinton's emails, Trump's cabinet picks, and shocking news from "anonymous sources" that turned out to be 99% noise when the final draft of the news came out. Why did I waste so many hours reading baseless speculation masquerading as authoritative information?
I'm not wasting my time on noise anymore.
I don't get sucked in, and also just get an idea of what people think is important that day/week. Usually it is just noise but it can be at least helpful to know when things have happened. The headlines are enough for me.
Paying attention to current events and bearing witness to some of the darkest aspects of human history is important at a societal level and if you don't think it is important to you personally then consider yourself lucky to live a life where the real world doesn't creep in often. Understanding topics such as why refugees are fleeing conflict, the societal changes due to automation etc, and the consequences of climate change are critical to a healthy and functional nation.
Personally I can't stand the breathless hysteria/sensationalism of most mainstream American media organizations (particularly television) and prefer organizations that favour accuracy and historical context over clickbait.
But, how do you even know what really happens? Mainstream news is ridiculous in its intent because it literally is "if it thinks it stinks, if it bleeds it leads". There is nothing good to get from mainstream news. Nothing. Sliced and diced to the most emotional snippets you could conceive of.
I feel bad for people that just get trampled on from all over the world, but that's as far as I let it go. During the 2nd Bush election I went all out, I was into trying to 'make a difference'. I protested, traveled, got involved with local and national groups, was surveilled, and literally was putting my safety on the line to try to make the world a better place.
In the end, he still got re-elected and some of the most corrupt people in U.S. history continued their rampage. It was bad enough the first time, but the second time completely just blew away my foundation of what I thought was just in the world. I never trusted the news or politicians after that. They are not here for 'us'. They ALL have an agenda whether you like it or not. There is such a disconnect between 'content' and real people - it's pathetic and there's no where that that comes out more than from tv.
After all of this, I've decided to just act locally and contribute to causes that want to fight the good fight but, in my mind, are in for a lot of suffering and struggle (eff, aclu, center for human rights, amnesty, etc). It takes a toll on one when you are struggling and it's nonstop uphill.
My wife and friends are always coming up to me with the latest tragedy that has surfaced on facebook. family members, the latest shooting or crash, or death or whatever. I choose to remove myself from all of this because it does _no good_ to me and for me.
Unless I actually go to those places and involve myself with those struggles (see point 5 in op), then I'm just fooling myself by being 'concerned'.
Tv and news is a waste of precious time and there are much better ways to affect and change the world than being sedentary and 'informed' yet doing nothing.
The only ways to mitigate this is to use a healthy amount of skepticism, to educate yourself on the historical context of ongoing current events, and to be aware of the slant that even the most impartial news source may have.
I don't disagree in regards to acting rather than just being informed and that acting locally is probably the best way we can make a difference. Likewise with burning out on media!
Our education system was supposed to deliver critical thinkers. Either the system failed you (and possibly a generation), or you have forgotten its lessons.
I can't fix the World or the dark aspects of the human soul, but hopefully made my local area a better place since I dropped-out of the news-cycle a few years ago. I use my former news 'time-budget' to become invoved in Council business, to follow the activities of my local politicians and to just go and do stuff that benefits people around the town.
I feel better informed as a result and I'm no longer surprised and enraged by 'unexpected' changes in my local environment.
I helped to fix a pothole in a local road last week. Utterly irrelevant on a global scale, but then so is a plane crash in Colombia.
Or not, maybe it would be better. Imagine country where people are mindful about their immediate surrounding and don't buy into ideological bullshit sold by mass media.
Want to send young men to some war? Well tough luck, if there is no conflict at the doorstep then this move is probably to benefit someone else, not you.
Refugees overflowing streets? Common sense tells you to take a look at what kind of people they are and if they are good and acknowledge their situation and want to better it, then help them. But if they act like arrogant invaders then common sense would be to tell them to bugger off. Yet media adhering to its ideology would tell you that you are wrong to use common sense. That somehow WYSIWYG is not right here and that some abstract oppression these people are fleeting from is more important.
>and the consequences of climate change are critical to a healthy and functional nation
Lets see how in future china deals with climate change as opposed to societies with 'well informed' citizens.
And that in turn leads to negative outcomes.
More authoritarianism, more withdrawal into closed communities, more willingness to vote for leaders who will solve the "terrible state" of the country / world by any means necessary, more enthusiasm for punishment over empathy, more othering of whichever ethic/social group that's currently being blamed for Everything Being Bad.
If you're trying to gain an accurate understanding of the world, starting with sources with an extremely strong incentive to bias the hell out of your worldview is probably not the best way to do it.
And if you're just trying to understand and mentally experience the worst humanity has to offer, then history books have plenty of really horrible shit in them, generally far worse than the 21st century so far (thankfully).
I think on the way to that happening, the world would become a much better place before it gets worse. Only a very tiny percentage of us needs to try to understand events around the world and repeat to peers what they think is worth repeating, then those peers repeat to their peers what they thought was important to hear, and so on.
It's already kind of happening since journalists aren't a big percentage of the population, but instead of filtering out the important stuff, it's what we call the "media circus" and big business.
You are confusing reading/watching the news with being informed. Trusting superficial and biased news is disinformation.
Being a witness, a citizen journalist, an activist, and reading books thoroughly is another thing.
I agree it is not a good idea to watch the news. It's probably a good idea to read it.
> To be clear, I’m mostly talking about following TV and internet newscasts here
Title is clickbaity, but that's not any commenter's fault.
I can see where the misunderstanding may have come from -- I could have explained it better originally.
This is just silly.
> I told them that people in my life would let me know if anything occurred that I needed to know.
This is so true. I told my girlfriend the same thing after she got mad that I quit news and said "Oh, you'll need to know important local news (stabbings, crime in San Francisco, protests for traffic etc).
That 1 time where someone 4 blocks from my home got run over by some dummy doing facebook live in her car while driving, the convenient store guy in my block asked me "Hey, did you hear about that so and so got run over." I said no, but you just told me. :)
* It puts the burden of collecting and summarizing relevant news on others
* You are at the mercy of the grapevine effect, which only gets worse as more and more people take up this solution so your news takes more hops before you receive it
* And, most importantly, your sources are also not getting their news first hand; their sources the very same crappy news outlets that you yourself rejected.
Not following the news is a perfectly rational choice. You'll be less stressed, much happier, less distracted therefore have better self-knowledge and a better capacity to self-actualize, and you can spend more time with your kids (who really need it).
In life, there aren't the uninformed and the informed. There are the uninformed and the misinformed.
There are like five journalistic camps that feed into my grapevine, and they all report the same stories, and spin five different opinions on the same daily topics. Thus, the grapevine provides the same complete set, five times, redundantly.
All of the stories from these camps are useless. The stories are not, in fact relevant, and so I do not care how slowly they appear at my feet. I usually just step over them anyway and go about my business.
Please don't change the subject to downvotes. The HN guidelines already contain two admonitions against this and I'd like not to add a third.
I hope, it will help.
If you have high IQ but lazy at explaining of basic things for regular Joe, regular Joe will downvote you, because he cannot follow you nor discuss with you.
At work, to check is my explanation is simple enough, I play a challenging game while thinking (I use sopwith, my IQ is about 140): if I'm able to think and play at same time, then my brain has some power to spare, so it is simple enough for people with IQ about 120. If not, then they will not be able to follow me. I use that technique for almost decade. Works well at work, when I have time to explain, e.g. in comments to tickets, emails, and so on.
They're just like other Muslims but they take percepts that are valid in Islam and run with them to the ridiculous extreme.
Same goes for cutting down on Social media or regulating your consumption of news. There is nothing to be gained by turning into a puritan. It makes you feel good about yourself for a while but you're just cutting yourself off from vast dimensions of human experience.
Its possible to read HN once a day just to keep up instead of refreshing it every few hours.
Its possible to stop visiting twitter every hour and perhaps use it a few times a week.
Its possible to restrict your reading to good long form articles in NYT or WaPo or The Economist.
If we started completely cutting out anything and everything that had a remotely negative influence the logical conclusion is that we end up turning into Puritan Wahhabis who don't drink alcohol , ruthlessly suppress sexuality and generally lead colourless lives.
Downvoters , I'd appreciate if you gave your reasons.
That might be partly due to the very nature of social media and news these days being made to be addictive eg. clickbait titles. Making people end up in a loop, without noticing and before they know it they've wasted hours on it or worse created a habit that is hard to control.
For which the only solution seems to be to go cold turkey in that case. As it seems much harder to reduce usage than to stop it entirely. So I guess it's a matter of what stage you identify yourself in, in this news and social media detox.
You could go on a "fast" , ie avoid it for a while to break a destructive dependency but avoiding entirely ?
Its not that you have to ignore all news sources because of the possibility of bias (or easy, emotion filled "emotional truth" nuggets that fill so much of the discourse), but that you should be aware of these issues and react accordingly. Take time to reanalyze whether the narrative being pushed really makes sense. Compare it to other sources and validate the findings.
Don't just throw out everyone and only trust "NYT" or "WaPo" or "Fox News".
From a rational, logical, and chemistry point of view, one cannot have a balanced view or understanding without positives and negatives.
The only thing that makes it work is critical thinking; or at least rational thinking, though rational thinking is easy enough to manipulate by any sophist. Recognizing the forms leads to recognizing the art of sophistry as it occurs. However, emotion is even easier to manipulate and inflame, ridding one of the possibilities of rational thought.
The people I know who are absolute news hounds end up knowing all the talking points of the talking heads, but don't actually think for themselves. I'm on the board of a small prep school and one of the most important things we do is teach critical thinking. This includes analyzing statements from a historical perspective, recognizing that the speaker probably has an agenda and memorization of the logical fallacies.
In the '80s I was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh ... he was entertaining and for the most part, did talk about current events. I felt informed. In '92 when Clinton was elected, his monologue quickly became hateful and negative. My mood was dramatically worse and I became hateful too. Funny since the Clinton years were coincident with a huge boon in my businesses. And then I found myself repeating his talking points without even thinking about it.
Finally I realized that I didn't actually believe much of it ... and when I looked at the vitriol the other side was spouting I didn't believe it either. I think it's pretty important to know the facts of what's happened in the world but you can't do that through news.
Now I completely ignore the news channels and generally skim through headlines. Some headlines are factual while others are purposely skewed to the writer's biases. It's easier to tell that someone has an agenda from the headline and I even occasionally read the first paragraph. I don't miss the period of my life where I was under the influence of the news channels, and I spend the time I've recouped in my community ... I find it easier and more useful to know the pulse of the area where I live.
In the end, it is unlikely that all of us will have an impact that goes beyond our local community. What is the point of endlessly fretting over things far removed from us, and far out of our control? We can't all be heroes, and we can't all be a guiding light for the world, so what can we do?
We can be a force for good in our local community! I think it's the healthiest mindset to have, even if you do want to stay informed about world events.
You need a balance. Neither extreme works.
It's a rather universal principle.
In my experience, the people who actively don't follow any news at all are fully aware of their blindside. They just don't care (or have judged, quite reasonably, that they have more immediate personal concerns)
The worst people are those who are glued to the TV or net, closely watching things as if the future of the world depended on whether they knew politician X was fired right now or five minutes from now. They attach far too much drama and emotional involvement in matters which they have no control over. In addition, they're just as much in a bubble as the ones not engaged at all. The tragedy is that they don't realize it.
If you're in a discussion with somebody who doesn't follow the news, as long as they are reasonable, you can cover common ground fairly quickly, then get to whatever your point/question is. If you're in a discussion with somebody who is glued to the news, you can spend hours teasing out their bias and failing to reach any kind of common ground at all. That's because news promotes rhetoric instead of the dialectic. People are being taught to argue like lawyers over whatever beliefs they have because they spend hours invested in a medium that shows them lawyers arguing about events. They teach themselves how to have a closed mind.
Nope. I'll take a non-news consumer with an open mind over a msm news consumer any day of the week. Life is too short to program yourself to be so hard-headed and impervious to change.
But I think someone's opinion on this will differ depending on where they fit on the political spectrum.
Right-wing thinks MSM has liberal bias - would rather people avoid it.
Left-wing wants people to consume more MSM - vice-versa.
(The two are not remotely the same.)
As a side note, I know precisely zero people who I would describe as "moderate" on the left-right spectrum who are at all enthusiastic about the state of 2016's news media. Of all political groups, I'd say that they're the most likely to be critical of the mainstream media.
A guy like me turns the "news" on and at best it feels like an advertisement wrapped in a reality show. At worst, it feels like a bunch of young children yelling at each other on a playground. There's an infinite amount of noise out there and it's my job to control the tuner and volume buttons.
All that said, I presume the real problem comes into play here when the ill-informed make decisions based on their position without acknowledging the situation.
TV news is the "at worst", but your description of "at best" sums up how I feel about all news better than I could have.
There is something distinctly off-putting about the sheer volume of advertising in news publications. It gives me this subtle sense that to be a "proper citizen" I must: read news; buy things.
I read on Quora from a senior editor at the Economist that the reason they charge the same rate for digital and print subscriptions is that because it's harder to ignore or block the full-page advertisements in the print, they are worth more to the advertiser, and therefore offset the cost of printing and delivering weekly subscriptions.
Isn't it a little weird that we place so much trust in our sources of information which, in turn, (almost) entirely rely on advertising revenue?
However, I also believe that TV news and constant news checking are unnecessary and can make you depressed. You can easily get a wrong perception of mankind in general and the stupidity of other people by consuming too much news. This happened to me recently with news about Trump and the composition of his new government, for example. I genuinely got depressed from this. So I've limited my exposure a bit. It's not as if I won't find out who's in the new government anyway, and I don't need to hear about obviously stupid tweets, deliberate ignorance of facts and involuntary attempts to lead the world to WW3 every day. (What makes me depressed is ignorance, especially deliberate ignorance, not other other political views, and I'm sure I speak for many people in saying so.)
I've also found out that newspapers and their websites are much better than TV channels and their websites, so I'm now surfing to the Washington Post from time to time to keep me informed. Since I'm not living in an English-speaking country, subscribing to a good English international newspaper in paper form is a bit too expensive for me, but I've also found out that the International New York Tribune (formerly International Herald Tribune) is a great printed source for the weekend, and it's available at every international newsstand in the world. It's informative but not so long that you spend a whole afternoon on it. My girlfriend loves it and buys it all the time.
As for a bias of news, sorry I can't confirm that at all. Every news source is and always has been politically biased in one way or another, but in my experience the only people who complain about this are those who are unable to distinguish news from opinion and are heavily biased themselves.
Its important to ask yourself why you trust a certain news outlet.
You can read any reputable well-established newspaper in the world whose language you understand and be well-informed enough for anything except for making particular business decisions. It doesn't matter at all whether the newspaper is right wing and conservative or liberal and progressive. That's because they report the same daily news which is based on the same reality, and any newspaper worth reading clearly distinguishes between opinion and news. I've compared many newspapers during my lifetime, and the only differences between them in the news sections is in the selection (what goes to front, what's on page 3) and some bias in the presentation, and neither small differences in the selection nor any bias in the presentation is of much relevance to any adult with a brain of his own.
The tone of the paper is vastly irrelevant for its news contents, it only influences whether you personally like editorials and invited opinions or not, and these are not news, of course.
The far-right crazy papers, specifically the Mail and the Express, are notorious for leading with spurious non-stories and for making up post-factual "journalism" when it suits them.
You'll get a very distorted view of the world if you rely on them for accurate news reporting.
Non-political stories - major accidents, earthquakes, and so on - are more likely to be reported in a consistent way across all the outlets. But anything with even the faintest hint of a political angle - which includes a lot of news - will be mangled by each outlet's political slant.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with either site, and I do not endorse either site. My opinions are my own.
What does benefit me is what is going on in my local (as in town/municipality) government and community. Living in a European capital, even that is too much. I just don't follow those news either. I do follow cultural events, bird rescue fundraisers, local IT meetups, farmers' markets.
You see, you may be saying I am spectacularly ill-informed by some third-party information that is even less trustworthy than the so called "official channels", however, you probably live in the same sort of informational bubble. You argue with people on Facebook, you read your left or right wing media outlets, you are getting biased google search result and go with those. Maybe you are aware that others are affected by these cultural glass-walls, but not you, since you are aware of these issues. Well, you are probably just another brick in the wall. Sorry, no ad hominem here whatsoever. I simply wish to raise your awareness that
1. On average, you are not better than the average,
2. What you think really matters is probably not what really matters to me.
3. What do you care if some people are oblivious? Chances are, you know nothing about nutrition and go with the usual recommendations, just to end up being fat, diabetic or a cancer patient. What do _I_ care about that, though?
I'll be here, reading books on programming, organic farming, evolutionary biology and micro-brewing fruit wines. Oh yes, and dinosaurs, because dinosaurs and paleontology are real fucking entertaining and interesting to me. You do your thing. But don't force your "informed" standards on other people.
What sort of practical utility do you gain from being "informed" by "the news"? Could you give an example or two of how being informed by the news made you operate differently in your day to day life?
I run a software consultancy based in the UK. I work with a variety of subcontractors, most of whom are based in Europe. The outcome of Brexit might potentially have a significant impact on my way of working with Europeans; I don't think it will, but keeping abreast of that (developing) situation is fairly important to me.
I'm going to Venice on Wednesday. If there had been riots following the outcome of the constitutional referendum, I wouldn't be going to Venice on Wednesday.
And haven't news organizations been known to exaggerate/mischaracterize small peaceful protests as large scale riots? I would think simply looking up "Venice riots" on YouTube and filtering for the last week or month would provide you the information you'd need rather than watching a talking head read a teleprompter while the same short video clip plays on repeat.
(Incidentally, the Brexit polls were somewhat wrong, but they were not conducted by the newspapers.)
I make rather a point of saying "I don't know much about that" when the topic of current affairs that I'm not following come up.
Then again, that's partially because when I do want to know about something, I tend to deep-dive on it (https://medium.com/im-trying-to-fact-check-brexit). And it's largely because many of my friends are spectacularly highly informed on anything they're likely to comment on, and so any time I do slip and attempt to sound informed on something I'm not, I have about a 50% chance of sounding like a complete idiot.
So this may be much easier to do in my social circle.
I guess I can see how being unusually well informed in news relevant to a very specific economic sector might help one make a good investment choice or something, especially if you get that information before most others do, somehow. But general news? I think it's very unusual for that to improve one's life in any real way, especially compared to the time it takes. Knowing in detail the daily developments of e.g. the war in Syria or Trump's cabinet picks is of little more personal use than knowing who's backstabbing whom on Days of Our Lives. It's entertainment or a fairly low-value hobby, even when the reporting's well-done.
I'm a technology enthusiast, so I would rather read articles on that.
I also feel much happier when not informed about the politics about my country.
Do you want to know about awful stuff people are doing to each other across the planet or spend an extra half hour on your pet woodwork project?
Choose the project most of the time and you'll likely be happier, though less informed. Why is it so important to be constantly reminded how awful humanity is every few minutes?
Besides, I don't know for how long mass media has existed in its entirety, but TV only existed for maybe 60 years. Before that we managed just fine without it and I think we'll manage just fine in the future as well. We'll find other ways to connect with matters we care about, which is the basis of news anyway.
When things such as what we need to spend our time on become obligatory, and enforced by social pressure, people will feel entrapped sooner or later. That's what's happening now. The media keeps dividing us into so many categories, and then passes judgment on all of us. To them, no one can escape, no one is free, no one is good - it's the only thing that sells. We're all stampeded on by editorials and pounded on by inducing guilt and forcing ads. Conflict is a cash cow.
Personally I think that the importance of news is terribly overrated - I've yet to hear of any reason for why it should be important that resonates with me. As I've said, I've tuned out for many years.
That being said — as it, despite my intentions, might be considered a plug because I am a volunteer with them (i.e. I am not benefitting from more listeners, though do get a kick out of seeing the numbers increase), it feels more appropriate to detach this bit from my parent response.
In the UK we didn't get voting rights for all males until 1918, and voting rights for women until 1928. The US didn't get votes for women until 1920.
Before then, news had very limited popular political influence.
With the internet, we're increasingly seeing automated and industrialised fake "news" generation used for political leverage at the expense of impartial reporting of objective fact.
For most of the things we do, we don't need to weigh in the geopolitical consequences in the other side of the world. Common sense works most of the time. The news media are in continuous war with common sense.
So based on that, you could make a strong case that following the news will in the vast majority of cases turn an uninformed, dogmatic Democrat into an informed, eloquent Democrat, and same for Republicans, and therefore won't affect their vote. (Again, in the overwhelming majority of cases, not in all cases).
Then there's the issue of media quality. Is CNN high quality journalism? How much time did they devote to Yemen, then? (on the TV channel, that is) Is Trump eating KFC with a fork more important? The media blames Trump for this, but their ratings-obsession is their own responsibility.
The issue of Trump's phone call to Taiwan is a great example.
On CNN, you get pundit hysterics about Trump's "incompetence".
On Stratfor, you get an insanely good article that goes in-depth on the historical context behind the US-Taiwan "non-relationship", the reasons why Trump "highly" likely planned the phone call carefully, why the Taiwan issue is a red-line issue for China, and why this play on Trump's part could signal a shift to put China back in their place. As Stratfor says: "In the Track II talks between U.S. and Chinese figures, it isn't uncommon for the [Chinese] to berate their American counterparts while the former offer declarations of cooperation and critiques of their own government's policies", so this Trump move may bring much-needed leverage back to the US.
This is just an example of very high-quality vs trash media coverage. Avoiding the mainstream press and seeking specialized press seems like a basic requirement if you want to be informed.
There are 2 "problems":
- People that stay in their bubble and only follow biased news (which includes mainstream news, which has a mediocrity bias. Most people are in this category)
- People that choose to follow almost no news, because there's no person al benefit (after all, if following the news doesn't directly earn you more money, you're wasting your time. This category includes probably quite a few people on HN, but few nationally)
The former cannot be "solved" without censorship. The latter is what very few people talk about, and it does not want to be solved.
We all want to live in a society where most people are informed, except the personal ROI of it is substantially negative. The smart choice is to be underinformed, if you value your time. The people claiming "we all have a societal duty to stay informed" never bring this up, and never offer a resolution to this dilemma. Kantian ethics (what I do is moral if and only if the world would still be fine if everyone did the same as me) disregards the fact that nobody wants to be the sucker.