Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Exactly! People say: "I think Wikileaks is not a neutral party". Dude, NO ONE is a neutral party. This thing doesn't exist! All sources have bias!



> All sources have bias

Some are more biased than others. I think that's actually what people are discussing: how biased is Wikileaks? How heavily curated is the information they are releasing? Throwing up your hands and saying everyone is biased is a lazy answer to a difficult problem.


Right. But it's curious that "How biased is CNN?" gets shut down any time it comes up as a serious topic. From the whitewashing they did on the genocide in Bahrain (after accepting money from that government) to the misleading coverage of Syria, Snowden's mass surveillance disclosures, US torture program, Iraq War - to its current poor coverage of the humanitarian crisis being caused by the US intervention in Mosul.

It would be wonderful to discuss the role that different outlets play and different biases come in. But it's difficult because any time the topic comes up "faithfuls" from all sides come in and it starts to look more like a sports or religion debate than it does an illuminating conversation.

Yeah, Wikileaks has some biases.

I actually think they are incredibly important biases. Also, I don't think they are nearly as "anti-American" as some panic about.


There is now some data showing one way CNN is biased --Breitbart and Fox News seed the media environment with disinformation, and eventually mainstream outlets pick up that disinformation. (Torture is a good example - the right really wanted to bury discussion and largely did).

http://www.cjr.org/analysis/breitbart-media-trump-harvard-st...

Another way to say this: only one side is willing to blatantly lie. Luckily media outlets are starting to realize that and moving to coverage of the truth not just what people say.


This is whataboutism. (it may be inadvertent)

Firstly - On HN people do bash the media, but its based on the context of the conversation.

So on a discussion on wikileaks, very few people are going to make the side jump to criticizing the other media channels.


I don't think it is whataboutism in general. (It probably is if it's specifically targeting the HN thread, but that's now how I read it.) It's not just waving at someone else's misbehavior, it's noting that a double standard (examine bias in case A, acknowledge but ignore it in case B) is producing an agenda.

In mainstream discussions, there's a pattern of discussing WL bias against a baseline of whatever American mass media says. To repurpose a point from up-thread, that creates a situation where "how biased is WL?" is both a legitimate question and a misleading distraction.

If you want to create an informative media diet, you might ask "how biased is each source, in which direction?" You won't find objective truth, but asking that at least lets you curate inputs so that you won't have important information from any side go completely unmentioned. Lots of people I know do this, adding up equations like "NYT and Intercept both skew left, but one is largely pro-government and one anti-. BBC is moderately pro-government, but since it's a different government it reports US news better." Asking about Wikileaks is vital in that context.

If you want to distract from unpleasant facts, you might ask "How biased is Wikileaks in the direction of Russia?" And then the answer is treated as inherent bad - the more biased, the less attention should be paid. "All news is biased" is defeatism, but "all news is biased, how biased is Wikileaks?" is still manipulative because it ignores the magnitude of non-WL bias. I see that trick used a lot when US politicians and reporters cover Wikileaks, and it smuggles in an that we don't need to seek balance, just exclude a few too-biased voices.


My purpose was to talk about biases of media outlets in general rather than discuss the biases of one particular media outlet (Wikileaks).

Wikileaks has important biases. So does CNN. Wikileaks does important reporting. So does CNN.

Of course these are just two outlets. I don't mean to focus just on the two.

(Of the two I think Wikileaks would be the most missed, were it to disappear.)

My point is that it is incredibly important to discuss and take into account the biases of the outlets information is being published by. This is how I intended to discuss the bias of CNN and if you look you will see I brought this up under the context of the parent comments of my own. Namely, it is not quid pro quo.


Every news medium, even you as a human being, makes intentional and unintentional selections on what to publish or not. As long as the published documents are not fakes (and independent sources verified them), motives are secondary.

If what is published is true, projecting motives in the publisher are an obvious attempt to distract from the message by questioning the messenger. The message is a fact, your interpretation of the messenger is at best guesswork, at worst fanfiction.


What exactly is difficult here?




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: