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We’re losing the information war (seattletimes.com)
221 points by dthal on Mar 31, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 312 comments



I think it shouldn't be forgotten that all this craze have a much easier time spreading since the western states did spread a lot of lies through the media in the second half of the 20th century.

One example i've actually lived, is when tchernobyl exploded, french media showed maps of the radioactive cloud stopping at the borders (due to winds) and never going in. This was of course a huge lie that e everybody now admits.

Then, we had the false testimonies at the UN of various sorts ( koweitien poor lady in the first gulf war that was in fact a member of the royal family), and colin powell for the second one.

And if i go back in time, JFK is the mother of all conspiracy theory, since no true investigation clearly explained what happened, and so the only explanation we have is the one of a lone crazy guy ( which remains unconvincing to many people).

So, all in all, i would say this trend of systematically questionning the official explanation is a very healthy one. It just needs to become more mature, and maybe be one day a new form of investigative journalism.


This is not a "trend of systematically questioning the official explanation". This is blatantly and aggressively pushing out propaganda using conspiracy theories as medium.

This shit won't teach people to critical thinking, it only generates more noise to defend against. People will learn to ignore news even more than they do now. Maybe they build a twitter and facebook spam-filter to help with noise. So we isolate ourselves into bubbles that no new idea can penetrate. Basically, the reverse from systematically questioning the information.


Alex Jones is often the person to trot out when you want to discredit the alternative news media. What you then get is exactly the reaction you just got, which is aggressive push-back and a desire to never research the topic yourself.

Because what just happened in your head? You generalized and lumped all alternative news media into a group that is exactly like Alex Jones; far out and kooky.

This is the desired effect.

The fact is there are many good alternative news sources, that go out of their way to try and find out the truth behind the corporate bought out main stream media.

Just because there is one bad apple, does not mean all other news sources are exactly the same.


The difference was that investigative journalism used to cough up documents, videos and proofs before running to the presses.

Now it's a string of 'anonymous official' and the new form that tries harder to be legit 'anonymous official heard X person say', with X a famous and readily recognizable character out of government.

At that point is hearsay vs hearsay. Reputable outlets are trashing their reputation and dragging it in the ground in the name of 'faster news' - but then it's even harder to normal people to tell what's grounded, what's likely, what's a half truth and what's propaganda.

It's far to easy to get position from a crackpot conspiracy theorist and wash them up into a better thought post on a unbranded website, so google searches now dig up as much trash as good posts for many important topics, and because the writing style and source weight is the same (hearsay) it'll be increasingly difficult for people to process.

This is especially true for controversial topics that sit at the edge of personal knowledge. I.e. some day ago I was curios about methane plant total lifecycle impact compared to solar panel disposal or solar concentrator plants, and happened across this article that brings up some interesting points, backs them up with some easily verifiable math and shows a greater complexity to a topic I thought was more straightforward:

http://energypost.eu/wind-solars-achilles-heel-methane-meltd...

and the problem is... I have no idea if anything written in there is actually true. it looks true, it sounds a reasonable and balanced analysis, but for that article there are three stating the contrary, and I have not the instruments for differentiating which is good and which is pushing an agenda, since it's not a clear case of partisanship (like you'd expect from articles pushed from 'the union of conservative scientists')


The difference was that investigative journalism used to cough up documents, videos and proofs before running to the presses.

That's not really the case. The Washington Post didn't have any of that when they published their original Watergate scoop. The story came from an anonymous source (the famous "Deep Throat").

The difference is that traditional investigative journalism has a process for establishing the likely credibility of anonymous sources. For a controversial piece, it ultimately comes down to the author's reputation and the editor-in-chief's judgment: will we bet the credibility of our paper on this story?

So-called alternative media generally don't seem to care. Their writers will absorb from anonymous and second-hand sources without much editorial oversight. If a story is revealed false, they can just ignore or delete it.

The problem is that people now assume that Washington Post and Breitbart operate on similar editorial standards. Superficially they're both news websites with a miserable comment section, so the confusion is understandable in a way...


> The problem is that people now assume that Washington Post and Breitbart operate on similar editorial standards.

I'm afraid the WaPo have themselves to blame for this. In the early 2000s they (and the NYT, and CNN) bet the credibility of their paper on yellowcake, Curveball, and Bush's 16 Words. And they believed lies because they were being told by people in respectable positions, and they dutifully forwarded them on. When they were proven wrong, they responded with a mix of doubling down; claiming that while they were wrong, no one could have known better; and publishing retractions buried in the back pages.

That doesn't make places like Breitbart credible, but it does make the WaPo (etc) incredible. So alternative/mainstream can absolutely not be the dividing line for judging credibility. You have to judge outlets (and articles) individually.


Essentially, the average reader can't tell the difference between well-cited reporting and questionably-cited reporting. Which seems reasonable, given that both now heavily feature "anonymous sources in senior government positions."

I think the accelerant to the problem is the increased throughput of news. If I throw out complete BS on my news site, no one is likely to fact check me unless it's a major story. And why would a reputable news org waste their time replying to "Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton had a secret genetically engineered Aryan baby"?

If it isn't debunked, then only the crackpot article is read, and it plays to the "mainstream media isn't covering this" conspiracy. If it is debunked, then (a) someone has to read the source that debunks it & (b) it gets spun as "well, of course they're trying to cover this up."


That energypost article is clearly pushing an agenda. Like many anti-renewable articles it basically devolves into numerology when it starts talking about capacity factor.

Their methodology is like me saying that if you only drive your car 3% of the time, then you must be spending 97% of your life in taxis. And therefore any problem with taxis is a catastrophe, and we should probably not build any more cars, until my firm delivers it's flying car that it's been promising since the 70s, which will be perfect and have no issues at all, ever.

Methane leaks are an issue that reduce the good news about the switch from coal to gas but the article they've built around that is so bad it has deeply damaged my faith in thorium based approaches, if supporters of that tech have to stoop to such lows. That's how shoddy the argumentation is.


> I have not the instruments for differentiating which is good and which is pushing an agenda, since it's not a clear case of partisanship (like you'd expect from articles pushed from 'the union of conservative scientists')

It it a joke?

"Mike Conley and Tim Maloney, long-time members of the Thorium Energy Alliance, have calculated what they call a “Worth-It Treshold” that gives the answer."

Thorium Energy. Which never worked safely or economically, even if it's "promising" since around end of the WW II.

https://whatisnuclear.com/articles/thorium_myths.html

It's a good approach to calculate the total costs, including the need for the gas plants, also for wind and solar, but the same has to be done for nuclear, not about the gas plants, but all aspects of direct or indirect subventions that nuclear also had or is assumed to get, including again the totals of the whole infrastructure and all aspects of handling the waste etc.

E.g. the cost of nuclear has to include the costs of Fukushima and equvalent events. Or if you worry about the nuclear bombs, the cost of somebody who shouldn't getting the bomb (even the dirt bomb) material.


> It it a joke?

no, that's the whole point of it. to someone coming outside of energy field research, nothing has raised a clear warning.

the only thing that looked fishy is that they were more about trying to convince people than stating facts, and that's why I didn't stop my inquiry there, but after looking around a little more I just couldn't establish trust (and establishing trust isn't my job either way, I'm not gonna research a curiosity topic for days on end, my time is limited)


This is an age old counter intelligence tactic.

Plant a loud, incoherent, emotionally charged agent posing as a supporter for something you don't like in order to discredit their unwitting supporters.

Not asserting Alex Jones is doing this, rather that this type of tactic is not uncommonly used.


"Alex Jones is an inside job!" Hehe, As much as that cracks me up and I would actually love for it to be true... I would need solid lines of evidence and multiple sources backing it up to accept that as true. (Which is exactly why infowars has always fell flat with me)


There is a pretty good conspiracy that Alex Jones is actually Bill Hicks after the CIA gave him a make-over and use him as a controlled opposition source.


Has he ever addressed that publicly? It would be soooo delicious seeing him debunk a conspiracy using simple logic the same way others do to him. I wonder if his followers would be too far "gone" to be able to feel the cognitive dissonance that should invoke. I will have to look into this more tonight for a laugh.


The first time I heard the word 'globalist' was on Alex Jones' radio in ~2000. He was just as nutty then, so this sure would be a long con.


On Joe Rogan's podcast, he claimed to have a lot of connections in the military and intelligence community. Not saying it's proof of anything, but it does make one think...


I agree, It does make one think... just not critically think.

Even if his personal claim about military and intelligence connections are true, it isn't evidence of anything, as you alluded. For example, most of the people he has connections with could also think he is a crazy wingnut.


AJ is probably not crazy; I think it's rather clear that he does not believe what he says, he's just performing, and getting a solid income from it. It's sad most of his audience can't see through it; it's like watching a bunch of adults think a Power Rangers or Godzilla movie is a documentary. Sad.


I haven't really watched his show before, so my impression of him comes from things like the Joe Rogan interview and having seen some clips. I think that he roughly believes what he's saying but is playing a hyperbolic character for entertainment value. I think he's a lot less crazy in actuality, though still a pretty out there guy.

Also, his clips about the frogs being turned gay makes me laugh every time I see it. That and when he tears his shirt off in rage at the globalists and runs off into the night.


I'm just asking questions man!


Just one bad apple?

Seriously?

I think is very hard to not find anything deeply rooten in the alternative media/conspiracy/whatever...


Which news sources do you think are good?


You could start with something like Paul Craig Roberts, Global Research, Carl Denninger, Bill Still, ZeroHedge, The Corbett Report, Rice Farmer. I use many other ones, but those should be decent entry points to find your own preferred sources.


Zero Hedge is garbage. The one use we found for it on the trading floor was as a contrarian signal for predicting stupid retail flows. Bloomberg dove into some of their shenanigans last year [1].

More specifically, their content tends to be (a) reprints of Stratfor, Bloomberg or Reuters articles (just read the original), (b) bad financial market predictions and (c) unsourced, unambiguous and untrue rubbish.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-29/unmasking...


I tend to agree with the Zerohedge assessment: the rare times they discuss something I have any first-hand professional experience with (e.g. Automotive industry) they spin outrageous tales based on flimsy "proofs".


As is Global Research


>Paul Craig Roberts...ZeroHedge

PCR thinks Charlie Hebdo was an American initiated false flag.

Zero Hedge are okay when they're talking some financial subjects, but go off the rails in anything political related. That comment section is a cesspool.


>...the corporate bought out main stream media

Why is that you think a huge organization of professional journalists (a profession with an independent ethics code and enforcing body) is easier to "buy out" than a handful of white dudes blogging on the internet?


Your injection of race in to this topic does nothing but belittle your criticism.


I disagree. The premise for someone to believe all this BS, isn't that they're convinced by the new theory, but that everything the conventional media or the government say is probably false, and made to hide some hidden agenda. That's the root upon which all the additional propaganda can prosper.

And the embarrassing truth than conventional media and politics refuse to admit is that there are good reasons for people not to believe them anymore.


> everything the conventional media say is probably false

Exactly, and I'll take an example on the gender pay gap situation. Why this one? Because it drives crowds like crazy. If I take this random article [1], and it's a general trend, its title is a lie in the face of the very statistics that its sources are based on (and note that the underlying source isn't even scientifically cross-checked). The title and intro says women are paid $0.76 for a $1. After integrating a few criteria, it says that the measured difference is 2.4% (and that's without even taking into account all considerations). But most people in America only remember the 76% figure, which would depict a disgustingly macho situation... if it were true.

When you hear, let's call them, "mainstream media" deforming a story from 2.4% to 76% and spinning off a title depicting a disgusting image of men (and I didn't even start cross-checking the study, I'm just using the article's own source), it's hard to trust that journalists aren't hugely deforming other stories.

It's not a tiny problem: When the same journalists try to alert on Trump's behavior with women (which probably are crimes, so it's quite bad to elect such a president), they get brushed off by voters as a probably biased piece by an undercover Democrat who's trying to turn everything into sexism (like the article above).

So, yes, credit to conventional media: Not so much.

[1] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/05/men-still-earn-more-than-wome...


This isn't false news, I just think you are misreading the article. It states that overall (the uncontrolled gap according to the study) the gap is 24% (not 76% fyi) but when controlling for education, experience and title the gap is 2.4%. Point being, a gap still exists, even when controlling for these various factors...which is reflected in the title: "Men still earn more than women with the same jobs"


The point isn't the specifics of that one article. The point is that because most news organizations have soiled their reputation by misconstruing statistics to generate outrage, many people don't trust legitimate outrage-worthy articles anymore.


I may be missing something, but you seem to have debunked your own comment.

The headline is "Men still earn more than women in the same jobs" and in your comment you both a) say this is a lie based on their figures, and b) quote their figures as saying Men earn 2.4% more than women in the same job with matched experience.

Are you sure you're not more part of the problem than the media you're attacking?

Weirdly, this is far from the first time I've seen someone angrily declare that the gender pay gap doesn't exist, and then cite sources that says it does. Which is kinda weird when you think about it.

edited to add:

I think what's happening here is that someone has decided that the simplistic figure of 76% or whatever doesn't count. Because you can compare apples to apples, which gets you the 2.4% figure. And they're so keen to make that point (and relevantly to rail against the "sexist anti-men mainstream media" which basically doesn't exist) that they ignore the still existing gap, even under those circumstances.

Which kind of distracts further from the point that if women have been systematically excluded from high paying roles for decades, or are penalised harshly for giving birth, then that'll still show up in the total figures, and can still be considered a problem even if some people want to say "it's your own fault for choosing to have children, anything that befalls you from that point is on you, and has nothing to do with society".


> You seem to have debunked your own comment.

Are you saying my comment is debunked because 2.4% is still a gender gap? If so, this is why I say it would be good for journalists to interview scientists: They'd help understanding the difficulty of depicting reality with statistics (see next paragraph). The article just shows raw, non-scientific statistics, spun with an inaccurate interpretation, instead of showing integrity by properly reporting scientific studies.

2.4% average means the gender gap is wider in some sectors, but also negative in other sectors. A 24% pay gap would make it likely that gender gap is wide in all sectors. This is entirely another story: The first one shows general despise on women; The second one shows a society where men reach good progress in integrating women despite some sectors that remain misogynist (and racist, probably). The title tries to spin the first one: Does it show integrity?

The article could, for example, list sectors where women are still badly considered, and show that there is progress in others. For example, if you only take the 150 large US cities, women's pay is usually 8% larger than men[2]. Surprising, isn't it? That hints that agricultural jobs or smaller cities are more misogynist, and other sectors are the opposite (favorable to women) – and that's when we start depicting a situation we can act upon.

I've only shown 2 facts in this comment; Hundreds could be said about the single, short article I've brought to you. Although we could debate all day long, I'd rather expect journalists to show both sides of the story. That was supposed to be their job, wasn't it?

Of course it's easier to title an article "Women are paid less", because it doesn't depict the possible ways of taking action, but rather spreads outrage of both camps (feminists and equalitarians). Ignorance and outrage, of course, creates views and votes.

[2] http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274...


Look, it's fairly obvious that you are in fact the one with a partisan take on this, that's torturing the data until it tells you what you want. Any accusations you're lobbing at the media are clearly projection.

e.g. your link, which you characterise as "women's pay is usually 8% larger than men" and claim is surprising, is much more limited in your source:

"Here's the slightly deflating caveat: this reverse gender gap, as it's known, applies only to unmarried, childless women under 30 who live in cities."

And they go on to explain it very succintly, there's 3 female graduates for every 2 male graduates in these areas in that demographic. People with degrees make more money than people without. Surprising? No. (And while I haven't run the numbers, this appears to show that the male graduates are still being paid more than their female peers, there's just less of them!)

So you've railed against the 76% percent figure and said the 2.4% is better (but still not perfect) because it doesn't control for every variable, but you're happy to use any old figure to back up your own case. This is very weak sauce.


> you are in fact the one that's torturing the data until it tells you what you want.

If a journalist issues a press article claiming "Women earn less than men", he/she's the one who extracted a story out of the statistics, and they ought to be very well justified to say that, because such titles create outrage against men. And I'm just cross-checking the title against the own source of the article and it already shows huge weaknesses.

I reckon that -24% (raw average), -2.4% (on equal jobs), +8% (for big cities) or +15% (in NYC/Atlanta) are figures that are up for discussion, but that is exactly my point: All of this analysis should be in the journalist's investigation (and eventually cross-checked by a scientific) before warranting the claim that women are underpaid.

> there's 3 female graduates for every 2 male graduates in these areas in that demographic

That is another concerning problem that isn't taken very seriously either: Since we've helped help women reach males' wage levels, shouldn't we help men reach females' education levels? Shouldn't that make the headlines too?


You've just repeated your false fact "+8% (for big cities)" after I corrected it, with a quote from the source, in the very comment you replied to.

You provided the link in the first place and yet you're happy to misquote it twice in the face of correction. What hope for any kind of conversation is there now?

People might take your cause more seriously if you even put slightly more effort into your lies, or alternatively told the truth.


> You've just repeated your false fact "+8% (for big cities)" after I corrected it

You "corrected it" by showing the criteria that were used to obtain samples with the same profiles. Yours wasn't a correction or a proof of falsehood: The scientist performed the required steps to be able to determine the wage gap with "all other variables being neutralized".

The false fact is "Women are paid 76% of men's pay for the same work". I'm unable to find words to explain you what "for the same work" means, and how such titles are consequently a lie.

Note the article doesn't actually say it, but every reader does understand it: It shows how wrongful the writer's intent is.

Do you want to know why I'm pointing this out? Based on 10 years of career in programming and reading hundreds of statistics on those topics, I've witnessed that women are promoted faster than men (3 years vs 7 years), assuming the same number of hours worked, the same results, the same IQ, the same training – but of course such a testimony from a man is not going to be accepted by people like you, so I have to rely on public sources to raise what is false about existing press articles. It is, however, very frustrating that:

- Studies on wage gap are not even close to scientific accuracy (They never properly compensate for same profiles - At least if we talk about people who have suspended their career to carry a baby, let's compare it to people who have done a gap year abroad),

- A lot of men had to leave their expectations for promotions, in order to make room for women, and when we put the proof of this "woman effect" in the eyes of people, we're merely acknowledged with a recognition of the fact like "Ok, yes, I reckon, we have to sacrifice a generation of men to give women the manager's jobs", and we don't even get a tiny "thanks" or a pat on the back.

- And yet the figure that depicts men as the most awful kind of persons always make the headlines. Try finding a worse title for the article, if you don't believe me.

Once again, I'm not against positive action for women, as long as we also help men for their problems too (men commit suicide 3x as often as women, are homeless 2x as often, are bad students 50% more often than women, etc). Most help networks are organized in sexist ways (budgets and preference being given to women, even for suicide prevention).


The 8% figure was not "all other variables being neutralized" as I pointed out in my first comment on the matter. It didn't take into account the number of graduates. And even if it did, it would still only apply to the specific demographic that it was based on.

If you continue to quote it as "women in big cities earn more" then you're just wrong. Factually incorrect. You have no basis on which to make that statement.

Now, why should I believe any other unsourced statement in your posts? How does throwing your credibility away help advance your case?


There has never been good reason to believe them. Sometimes you can see that clearly. Consider how Germany, Japan and Russia were portrayed in movie newsreels during 1900-1970, and in TV news. It's all propaganda.

Edit: For example, why did the US leave so many troops in Germany after WWII? Standard dogma is the Cold War. But, perhaps not surprisingly, some German veterans weren't all that happy about the outcome. About occupation. That came out in disputes about pacification after the US invaded Iraq.


>Standard dogma is the Cold War.

Yes, it's "standard dogma" to use your pointlessly biased phrase. It's also an incredibly plausible explanation considering that Russian troups were stationed in East Germany and in the rest of Eastern Europe.

>But, perhaps not surprisingly, some German veterans weren't all that happy about the outcome.

That's right, some of those who had faught in the Nazi war were unhappy about having lost.

However, most Germans never voted for Hitler in the first place and once liberated they happily went on to become one of the most prosperous nations on earth. All during "occupation" as you call it.


Pretty safe to say that those in West Germany were happier to lose to the US or UK forces than those in the East losing to the Soviets.


Yes, but I fear that the US may have drawn a somewhat flawed conclusion from that success. I think the outcome of toppling a dictator depends hugely on the reason for that dictator's ascent and the cultural context.


They were happy to loose to the West who had less reason (by an order of magnitude or more) to hate them.

That Stalin was butcher seems a bit mute compared to the German responsibility of the savagery of the Eastern Front.


It's perhaps worth remembering that Putin is from Leningrad, and that his older brother died in the German siege. Also, he was close to Yeltsin, and watched him die from alcoholism, after relentless humiliation by the US and allies.

So it's a fair bet that he has issues.


(deleted)


Sure - but you are talking about those spreading stories, he was talking about those - far more numerous - who are consuming stories, from all sides. You shifted the frame. There's nothing we can do about some people coming up with... "theories", they will always exist unless you have a dictatorship and total control. However, they are harmless just like a virus meeting a well-vaccinated group of people is harmless.


>"This shit won't teach people to critical thinking, it only generates more noise to defend against."

Feeling the need to "teach" people how to think, and the desire to "defend against" scary speech or thoughts is exactly why the alt-right has risen up and Donald Trump is POTUS.


that's not what he said, and there was no "uprising". the same people voted for an extreme candidate when there was no charismatic opponent (Obama) to vote for.


>>> People will learn to ignore news even more than they do now.

Do you really believe people have learned to actually read the news in the past ?


Well, now that you mention JFK, I'm reminded of "The Realist".[0] Lol. And maybe the CIA manipulated Oswald into killing him. CIA will reportedly declassify some relevant documents this year.[1] But I doubt that they'll be interesting.

0) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Realist

1) http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/16/us/jfk-assassination-consp...


I recently heard something about JFK wanting to disband the CIA so they 'knife to throat him' I am not sure/never really looked into this. Too bad, lots there. Moon rocket, his lobotomized sister or something. Shiiiettt just bags of meat.

edit: I want to clarify I'm not a conspiracy promoting person. Also I am not a person who believes the Earth is flat/we didn't go to the moon, I'm also not religious. That is all I'll say.


>I recently heard something about JFK wanting to disband the CIA so they 'knife to throat him'

This theory goes back a long time, and like most things, there are nuggets of truth in it...

...but also like most things, reality is far more complicated and nuanced.


Thank you! Remember how cosy each administration is with their left/right leaning media publications.


You say lots of lies and the best you can come up with is Chernobyl winds and some hand waving about JFK?

That's not lots of lies.

Your comment smacks of the very conspiracy this article talks of.


I also pointed at two lies at the UN that were used to trigger wars (the second one being a bigger one than the first, because irak was truely invading koweit).

Those are the biggest ones i can remember without thinking too much, but then there's all the state operations during cold wars to change regimes, the hidden financing of one ideology to fight another ( talibans vs communists in afghanistan comes to my mind). All the state dirty little secrets than you learn about decades away, and cast a different light on the news of their time. On top of that you can add regions like the middle east , where there's almost no reliable source of information, but yet news agency keep pretending that they can do their job.

I'm not a conspiracionnist at all, because i think that at the moment 99% of those alternate news are boggus. I just think it's a good start that people starts asking themselves questions about what they see and hear, even when it comes from a supposedly professional source.

Edit : i checked, and the koweitian girl fake testimony wasn't in the UN, but at some US caucus. Which was broadcasted all over the news channel.


Good article. I thought the statement ""The true common denominator, she found, is anti-globalism"" makes a lot of sense.

For those of us who like to maintain national sovernty (thus dislike 'trade' deals) and mistrust globalists, the news media does seem biased.

I am in my 60s, and most of my life I could be considered a slightly conservative democrat, but in the last decade I have embraced a philosophy of 'small is better' and 'distributed is better than centralized.' It was an eye opener for me how much the news media favored Clinton and in general treated Sanders unfairly. Anyway, living through last year really made me believe that the news media is just a tool for the financial elite.


> in the last decade I have embraced a philosophy of 'small is better' and 'distributed is better than centralized.

I also feel this way, and as a result identify more and more as "conservative" in that sense, and my own work is almost entirely focused on building tools for smaller and smaller organizations. I put very little stock in new government solutions to social problems. But there is a HUGE caveat:

We have centralized systems right now that work sort of OK and people are relying on them to survive. We simply do NOT have the decentralized systems yet to replace them. For that reason I do not support the conservative platform of destroying centralized government. It's premature.

The tech for decentralized governance and survival is proceeding rapidly. Solar panels, 3d printing, blockchains, crowdfunding, same-day shipping... We are very close to not needing the welfare state and its monopoly utilities. But we are not there today, and to try to dismantle it first is dangerous.

I think the reason people want to destroy the welfare state first is that they think we won't have the motivation to build the decentralized infrastructure until we have the centralized infrastructure taken away. But I think that's wrong. Corporations like Amazon are not yet providing truly decentralized infrastructure. That stuff, things like Ethereum, are coming, but we barely understand them.

The same applies to housing, agriculture, etc. We have big agriculture, but little agriculture, that's truly independent from the big chemical companies, is just not a freestanding system yet.


A question only intended as such: could you explain what you mean by the word "globalists"? Thanks!

e: I should clarify that I'm not being sarcastic or snarky and am genuinely interested in what "globalists" means -- I've never read it or used it, I am hesitant to look it up because I feel it might not get a fair shake in whatever I read, and was wondering how this user uses it.


I'll try to do both sides justice although I'm sure there are people representing either side that could correct me on many aspects...

I think of 'globalist' as being something of a perjorative/having at least a slight negative connotation. It describes a perspective where all humans are part of a global community/family. You could contrast it with 'nationalism' (which has it's own negative connotations--the two sides provide derision against each other) in which nations should be independent and sovereign.

Critics of globalism argue that it centralizes too much control, planning, finances and government, leaving locals with less autonomy. Nationalists are not fans of e.g., the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, etc.

Critics of nationalism argue that international cooperation brings many benefits and that nationalists are merely racist or xenophobic. It's harder to list organizations that globalists are not a fan of because most nations have at least one nationalist movement. Brexit would be a good example in the Anglosphere.


Another criticism of globalism is the global labor pool, which is a major problem in the US. People can't unionize when the jobs can be shipped to a country with a lower quality of life. It takes away workers' leverage and guts the middle class.


The shame is in the blaming of the 'foreign' workers for this problem. This is a problem fundamental to the idea of exchange value itself. The solution is not to isolate from international reality.


> The solution is not to isolate from international reality.

What do you mean by this? If you mean protectionism isn't the answer, then I have to disagree.

Global trade between countries with vastly different economies is simply not fair and continues the policies that keeps the poorer country poor. For example, Mexico has a minimum wage of $0.48/hr, and its citizens have a pretty poor quality of life. When a rich country ships its jobs to the poor country, it facilitates the policies that lead to a poor quality of life for the citizens of the poor country and leads to a race to the bottom to see which country can offer the cheapest labor, all while gutting the middle class of the richer country. Sure, more wealth is created in the process due to capital movement optimization, but what does it matter if that wealth is only given to the capital owners?

I agree that we shouldn't blame foreign workers. It's the fault of the politicians and economists who made global trade between vastly different countries the norm.


Yeah, I'm interested in the original user's self-identification as someone who mistrusts globalists. Thank you for the summary!


There are many ways to look at it, but the way that seems to get most people riled up is

"one who seeks to centralize political and economic power by eliminating competing political and economic structures & institutions"

...implied is that they are doing it for their own gain, and not for the benefit of mankind.

Remember one truth: dictators come about through a centralizing of power, not a decentralizing it.


A globalist is someone, usually a politician or corporate executive, who thinks that national borders shouldn't matter, and that people, capital, and goods must flow freely over them. It's often used pejoratively (no one calls themselves globalist). For example, Euroskeptics call almost anyone in the EU government globalist.


This is a capitalist's pan-utopian dream: people, capital, and goods flowing freely over borders. Almost as if nations didn't exist!

What about taxes and the [re]distribution of benefits? [sound of rusty monkey wrench entering complex gear mechanism].


I'm not convinced of any arguments against 'globalism' per se, but I think you are using two different notions; globalism vs internationalism.


Yeah the whole "globalist" thing is stupid to me. There are better ways to articulate the position that don't originate from conspiracy theorists.


A "Globalist" is someone or some entity that seeks to take advantage deregulation and the liberalization of financial activities. Essentially capital flow moves where the profit margins are maximized with no regard for the nation state


Isn't that privatization (at global scale)?


I can't help but come to exactly the same conclusions.

I'm not exactly a young guy either so maybe it's having lived through (i.e. seem) more. Or maybe it's being grumpy suspicious old guys. Or maybe we are right.

Whatever it is it seems there are a fair number of people who feel the same way at this point, more than there used to be.


I'm the opposite, perhaps it's because I've seen politicians in my country (UK) blame a larger entity (the EU) for many of their own failings. It's been an easy target for them and sadly I only see that increasing over the coming years.


Globalism would be truly great if consumers and workers could actually reap the benefits.


Globalization (perhaps not actual globalism) has lead to billions of people being lifted out of abject poverty. They have not become middle class consumerists themselves, but globalization has lifted them out of abject poverty.

One may ask if domestic as well as foreign/alien (international) companies could pay the locals more... but at some point, paying the locals more disincentivizes globalization (it is no longer a competitive advantage with respect to the home country workforce).


The concepts of globalism and free trade derive from simple Western economic models that are incomplete and have many externalities that bear examination. The Samuelson paper I reference elsewhere in these posts is just one example of how the simple models fail.

Most economic models omit the social aspects of life. In the drive to "globalize" societies, groups, families have been destroyed, religious and social communities relocated, torn apart, and decimated by economic forces in ways we barely understand. The search for meaning (factors that economics fails to address) continues nonetheless. The yearning for the old life is strong but control lies, for now (as usual), with those who have money.

We need to constantly remind ourselves that a model is a model of only one part of a world (and possibly incorrect at that).


There is a simple dichotomy that challenges every individual in our society.

At the personal level, we are told that we "need to take care of ourselves."

Simultaneously, at the macro level, we are told that we need to "trust in established institutions." Government, corporate, etc. Institutions that are ever more "globalized."

Well, which is it? More and more people are realizing -- re-learning -- that you have to have local control in order to take care of yourself.

And, if you can't take care of yourself, what does the rest matter? There's only so far that the rhetoric of "sacrifice" will take a social system (aka society) that is destroying its inhabitants.


Its because of things like "russians hacked election" I see people say it and repeat it everywhere and on many news sites.

Now when I look at the evidence with a critical eye based only on facts, what I see is "DNC hacked". Now you may go on to say it may have effected election etc but there is no proof whatsoever that the actual "election" was hacked. Huge distinction to me.

Lot of it boils down to incentive to get clicks. "Russians hack election" will get more clicks than "DNC hacked".

Waits for downvotes from people who believe russians actually hacked the election!


Nobody, in any significant numbers, has ever claimed or believed that there were direct manipulations of vote counts. This is a pure strawman. Saying the Russians "hacked the election" is just a sloppy shorthand for the, at this point well-established, attacks on the process that did occur. Nobody is intending it to mean vote-count changes.


It's sloppy biased shorthand. How you summarize things has huge consequences to how people think about things. "Hacked the election" makes it seem like the results are illegitimate. Informed people know the difference, but the average person is watching like 5 minutes of a news a day and reads the headlines and maybe the lead.

For a profession that is so cautious it'll throw the world "alleged" before someone who is caught on camera murdering someone, I think it's a pretty big sign of some bias.

I'm sure the right wing bias'd papers have found a term that minimizes the hacking too.


I have to ask - if the information presented to the public about the election candidates was false, how can we expect that the public made a reasonably informed choice about those candidates?

Strikes me as a perfectly valid definition of a hack; a social engineering hack, but a hack all the same. We see those all the time in our own life; we call it fraud or failure when it succeeds, and attempt to roll back to a known good state. Why is an election different?


Our system has to deal with mistruths because there is no way of filtering out lies. We do this by allowing all opinions and positions to make their case and letting the people decide.

Also, the "hacking" actually exposed true information about the candidate. Which makes this an even harder situation. Is the election illegitimate because the people got to learn MORE, true information?

There is a clear and concise way of stating this. Russia attempted to influence our election.

I don't think redefining releasing information as hacking really helps anyone understand this. Did Entertainment Tonight hack the election by releasing the pussy tape?


> Nobody, in any significant numbers, has ever claimed or believed that there were direct manipulations of vote counts.

They don't need to. But the choice of phrase is important. What "hacked the election" does is make people draw false inferences without actually saying something like "they hacked the ballot box." The media knows people consume information in bites and rarely deep dive, and "hacked the election" is the perfect way to make people think the "election was hacked" when the truth of the matter is "the DNC was hacked". And if we really want to get technical, the "hacking" was to guess that John Podesta's email password was "password" -- but by glossing over those details the average person is lead to believe that some elite team of Russian hackers slaved away for months or years figuring out how to discredit the DNC by exposing their own misdeeds.


> Nobody, in any significant numbers, has ever claimed or believed that there were direct manipulations of vote counts.

Huh?

https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies...

> Half of Clinton’s voters think Russia even hacked the Election Day votes (only 9% of Trump voters give that any credibility at all). Six in ten Trump voters believe there were millions of illegal votes cast on election day. One in four Clinton voters agree with that, though it’s likely that the illegal votes Clinton voters think were cast were quite different from the illegal votes Trump voters see. In an Economist/YouGov Poll conducted a few days after the election, just 2% of those who voted on Election Day said they saw any ineligible voters trying to cast a ballot (and there was almost no difference in the proportion of Clinton supporters and Trump supporters saying this).


That's the point though, this 'sloppy shorthand' distorts the reality. Words have meaning, and we should use the words that best describe what happened which is the DNC was hacked and all their dirty laundry was aired.


Not to mention, taken on the word - no evidence declassified - from the intelligence agencies most of these people were howling about after the Edward Snowden revelations.


> Waits for downvotes from people who believe russians actually hacked the election!

They waged overt info war, combining state run hacking efforts of political opponents with an army of paid trolls to degrade a democratic process. Yes "Russians hack election" is too simplistic, but to dismiss what happened is equally as wrong.

This is warfare.


>This is warfare.

No, it isn't.

This is common behavior that Sovereign states engage in all the time. One of the most fascinating things that has happened after this election is how easily people are lowering the bar to declare something "war". What has happened? Should we "declare Cyberwar" on Russia now? Do you think we're not already engaging in both defensive and offensive Cyber, shall we say, "activities" against the Russian Federation?

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/22/506625913/database-tracks-hist...

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/01/08/been-hacking-el...


Did Russia, via a not so subtle proxy in Wikileaks, directly and openly attack one candidate in favor of another? No, it's actions followed unwritten rules of espionage.

They wanted to get caught. They wanted to openly break every rule. They are daring a response, b/c they have nothing left to lose.


Quibbles with your word choice aside, I'm not denying that it's possible (it's worth noting that we've yet to see actual, hard evidence for it) or even probable that they did (though the thought experiment works much better if you think they wanted to embarrass a President Clinton, not the candidate...seeing as how everyone else outside the US thought she'd win too). I'm simply noting that this is normal behavior for these countries stretching back half a century and, personally, I don't think it's worth starting WWIII over John Podesta's shitty password habits.


There seems to be a lot of people who cannot handle the possibility of the NY Times being wrong enough to be skeptical about. They get very upset and worried about what happens when people loose faith in such institutions. They then delegitimize the distrust others have for traditionally trusted news orgs and reduce people who read alt sources (left or right) to fools.

You can call them idiots all you want but in my adult memory there have been several scandals at the Times that have challenged my trust.

Until you can empathize with someone who reads infowars you're never going to solve the problem of fake news.


The problem is, people willing to reject the NYT out of hand, and who lose faith in all mainstream media, seem either unwilling or incapable of applying the same skepticism to "alternative" sources like Infowars.

I won't call them fools, but I will say many seem less interested in truth than in bias confirmation.


And there's also the possibility that the NYT et al have 1) done bad things in the past but 2) have also done good things For example, Noam Chomsky rightfully called the NYT "a bad paper" but he still read it every morning because it's one of the best sources of what's going on.


I would argue that, despite its obvious biases, the mainstream media still reports more fact more often than do alternative sources. Both the mainstream and alternative media can report fact, or can report lies, and both can be used as a means of control.


Yes, exactly! None of these things are mutually exclusive.

Decrying liberal/conservative media bias while being stuck within that same spectrum is an entirely impotent critique to me if you don't understand the structural incentives that make all media outlets opposed to reporting truth/facts to the public (cf. *Manufacturing Consent).


>I would argue that, despite its obvious biases, the mainstream media still reports more fact more often than do alternative sources.

Which alternative sources? NewsMax? Reason.org? The Intercept? Or some crank youtube channel run by a single person?


Quoting currently top comment: > Pointing to specific counter-examples is like identifying NASA with the failures of the Challenger -- it completely misses the forest for the trees.


So let's keep score.

NYT. Wins: too many to count. Losses: 3

I don't quite see your point.


I think this is what a lot of people in this thread don't understand. They want a narrative, you're either the good guy or the bad guy.

We all know about the NYTimes' failure in the buildup to the 2003 Iraq War but what about a story like Hoosick Falls where a chemical company had been dumping perfluorooctanoic acid into the drinking water?

I have been reading the paper for decades and I can say that for every Iraq War failure there are hundreds of Hoosick Falls stories that involve important investigative journalism.

The NYTimes makes mistakes but it is a net good to society. There is a current trend in popular culture where if a solution is not perfect then it shouldn't be implemented at all. There will never be an objective media and you should be highly skeptical of any media that claims that as their advantage.


> The NYTimes makes mistakes but it is a net good to society.

This isn't my concern though. The next layer of error beyond "good guy or bad guy" is "net good or net bad". My concern is that the NYT isn't just wrong occasionally, but wrong in systematic ways representing unconscious bias or direct manipulation.

Hoosick Falls was a clear good. We need more news organizations with the weight and investigative will to take on that sort of work. The NYT is excellent at this, and I hope it continues to be.

But... well, the NYT toed an establishment line in 2003, contributing to a deadly, misjudged war. In 2004, they sat on a major warrantless surveillance scoop for two years until a reporter forced them into it via book publication. After the Snowden leaks, they creatively claimed that he had decided which documents to publish without press input (the exact inverse of the truth). A Times reporter published a major article from the information Snowden provided, then argued for his prosecution because the article she wrote had nothing to do with illegal privacy violations. The list goes on at enormous length, and I only regret not keeping links to have handy on demand.

So I'm not comfortable saying "1 Iraq to 100 Hoosicks". My objection is that the errors that do occur point align with each other, and align with a narrative of expanded state power and foreign intervention. There may not be any objective media, but it's still important to speak up when the losses and the wins fall on different lines.


The problem is, that many people think the "failure"s were not failures, but plain lying. And so then the newspapers don't make it up for it, if they actually do good journalism on topics where they don't have a hidden agenda. Also, if you believe that, than you also don't know what other failures haven't been uncovered, so you loose trust.


Were those failures plain lying? As a person who tried to be critical in both 2003 and in retrospect I'm not so sure about that.

I would encourage you to read the actual papers and the later analysis to come to your own conclusion. The OPEDs leading up to the war are particuarly interesting. If you have a NYTimes membership (I'm sure they have some form of free trial) you can access the "timesmachine" which is great UI they built to navigate archived papers back to the 1800s

There is a lot of rhetoric flying around on both sides today. As in most conflicts I find the reality to be much more nuanced and less clear cut. The temptation to omit details to fit the narrative is in my opinion the only thing you can count on from all media sources.


I think https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/us/international-students... is plain lying of the most common kind the NYTimes does: selective citing of statistics so you can claim that everything you said is true but you create an impression at odds with reality.

See http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/03/one... for more details.

You are of course correct that omitting details to fit the narrative is what's going on here. This particular case is more egregious that most in that "details" is "two out of the three equally important numbers in the study's results".


Personaly I don't know if they were lying(I was speaking of what other people believe), as I don't read the NYT that often (I am not a US citicien) and not at those times. But what I know from german newspapers, I think it is very possible. At least lying in the sense of bending and twisting words, leaving out context to intentional misslead the reader of what actually happened. This I can witness every day

Or in the context of Irak, maybe they did not formally lie, but did know that the persons they quoted did. Which would count as the same for me.


>>There seems to be a lot of people who cannot handle the possibility of the NY Times being wrong enough to be skeptical about.

>NYT. Wins: too many to count. Losses: 3. I don't quite see your point.

You're illustrating it.


Ok, but compare it to most any other news source.

What's your point? You're not making it.


>To your request of my opinion of the manner in which a newspaper should be conducted, so as to be most useful, I should answer, "by restraining it to true facts & sound principles only." Yet I fear such a paper would find few subscribers. It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it's benefits, than is done by it's abandoned prostitution to falsehood. Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knolege with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. General facts may indeed be collected from them, such as that Europe is now at war, that Bonaparte has been a successful warrior, that he has subjected a great portion of Europe to his will, &c., &c.; but no details can be relied on. I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.

-Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell 14 June 1807

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_spe...


Well we can all appreciate quality news. Where do you find it if not the times? Yes, they've had problems, like all human entities. How far does that deviate from average? I think their quality is certainly worth paying for, although you need to adjust for bias, as everywhere.


This is not a football match, there are bigger and smaller “scores”. Losing the Iraq war for one, easily destroys a generation of wins — just think about the consequences.


This lady talks as if false flag state-sponsored terrorism for political purposes does not exist.

As evidence that it most certainly does, I would suggest the work of Dr. Daniele Ganser (University of Basel, Switzerland) on Operation Gladio - NATO-sponsored terrorism in post-WW2 Europe, a notable example of which is the Bologna rail staion massacre, which killed 85.

https://www.danieleganser.ch/assets/files/Inhalte/Interviews...

He also did an interesting lecture on 9/11, examining the evidence on the tenth anniversary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fUT7XgLiTY


One part of the article caught my attention

> Starbird says she’s concluded, provocatively, that we may be headed toward “the menace of unreality — which is that nobody believes anything anymore.”

I think a cynical and distrustful populace is a threat to effective and functioning national institutions.

As an example, I was talking to someone I worked with who is from Iran about roads and driving. He was telling me that in Iran the roads can be very dangerous, because drivers don't follow the rules of the road, or the rules themselves are inadequate. In fact, Iran is in the top 10 countries for most dangerous roads[1].

I was shocked by what he was saying, surely if so many people were harmed, there should be some public outcry that something so simple as poor traffic policy and enforcement is leading to deaths. Where are the bereaved family members? Everyone benefits from safer roads. This isn't something that would fall across idealogical lines either. This seems cut and dried.

When I asked him why people aren't protesting or demanding change, he laughed and said if there was some sort of mass movement to reduce traffic fatalities, the first thing that would spring to peoples minds would be something along the lines of "What is really behind this movement, who stands to gain politically from this?". It is a degree of distrust and cynicism that leads people to organize into the smallest family units, because they don't trust any larger institution.

I think the United States could end up down this path as well, where we are all so cynical that we withdraw our participation and input from the larger institutions. Rather than try to improve a flawed system we would rather say "It only looks out for itself, so I will look out for myself."

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/06/07...


One thing I kind of wonder is why is there an expectation that the political game at large is supposed to be interpretable or legible? In other words, why shouldn't politics be strange? In most adversarial games we're bound to encounter sabotage and misinformation, with circumstantial evidence being the only kind you can encounter.

So full out dismissal of conspiracies just because they "seem like tin-foil hat stuff" seems naive. It's hard work to dismiss bullshit but equivocally easy to dismiss what might otherwise be viable paths of inquiry. It is possible to take a rational approach.

http://www.collativelearning.com/conspiracy%20theories%20-%2...


I think most people just don't know that the political game is a strategical, competitive game. Most people believe the common narrative that politics is the service(!) that should make your life comfortable on a city-wide, country-wide and global level which you pay for with taxes. E.g., $10/month to netflix for that I can watch tv shows. $400/month to government for that I don't get robbed by barbarian hordes from other countries.

It's not the smartest point of view, but it's very common.


Actually I'm not sure the exact opposite isn't what's more common

I see a lot of people basically caught up in the narrative soap opera of 'who gets to be in charge', and who the perceive good guys and bad guys are

And actually very little object level 'are we getting good customer service here?' analysis

I'm sure there's some drama behind who gets to be CEO at Netflix, but the strategy behind that game is largely irrelevant to me


I think we are both right. You explain how politicians misunderstand the public's view. And I explain how the public misunderstands the politician's view. Both exists at the same time.

Of course for us it's most important to get a service level as good as possible. But at the same time if we want to understand politicians we can not just assume that they would care about the same thing. They will use arguments about service levels if they are smart, but that's never their intentions.

From a purely logic point of view, of course the other people's problem is only important to us if we need to influence them. That happens quite often though, and some people could also argue that if we want to be better than the people we critize than we need to deliver on empathy which is mostly what we miss from others.


> It's not the smartest point of view, but it's very common.

And the opposite view, that the government is an evil entity lurking in the shadows, out to get you and your family is smarter? Amusing.


That's not the opposite view. The contesting view I support is that the government is a group of struggling humans playing game of thrones with each other (but mostly without the killing, firing is enough).

E.g. the change of mind of Erdogan (a very common topic in European media these days). Coming from the taxes-for-political-service point of view, one would argue that Erdogan has become a really bad leader, killing and firing many of his people and fighting against the EU who is publicly acting like the big supporter of human rights. From the game of thrones point of view though it looks like he's struggling for years to get support from the EU, but they don't really support him. Now he seems to get support from Russia and maybe even China, so he decides to make EU the big enemy because that gains him favor with his people and strengthens his ties to Russia. From that point of view it's suddenly a very logical, maybe even smart move. One might even argue that he doesn't have another chance and if he wouldn't do it, he would end up losing his job, dead, or in jail and being replaced by another who is more willing to play good boy for the Russians.


That's one of the more naked uses of "false dichotomy" that I've seen in a while.


"Rent extraction" is a much more banal but also evil class of explanations.


Just watched a short video by one of my favorite podcasters, Doug Lain, on Althusser's concept of ideology [0]. To Althusser, there are two ways to make a society think a certain way: via repression (military force, economic force, etc) or ideology (why a pine tree in your house during Christmas, anyway?). What you're saying seems to me like using dismissal as a repressive force (by forfeit of social accord/klout/capital) for the sustenance of ideology (in this case, that things are as they seem without need of intricate/conspiracy theories)

[0] What is an ideology? (or Althusser was crazy?) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4NNDZ4X63I


p much yo


word


"News at 11: Humanities professor shocked to discover many people disagree with mainstream academic & globalist groupthink"

(and no, I don't think social science is a real science)

You don't need to study this stuff professionally to see what's going on here.

1) Trust in institutions has been falling steadily for a long time. That's because modern institutions are not trustworthy. Vast conspiracies were posited, laughed off as tin-foil-hattery, and later exposed as true (Snowden being the canonical example). Large federal governments like the US Federal Govt and the EU became more and more opaque, with ever larger and more byzantine bureaucracies and regulatory frameworks that seemed to create a game of tails we win, heads you lose. Judges interpret the law to suit their political preferences, not what a plain reading or common sense would seem to imply. And so on.

2) Whilst trust in institutions has been falling steadily for a long time, trust in the mainstream media has collapsed dramatically in relatively recent times. This too is fully deserved: people don't trust the traditional news outlets (in the USA) because they lie a lot and are nakedly biased. The difficulty of finding any national newspapers that supported Trump and the practice of outlets that had never declared before in their history declaring for the 100% globalist/liberal-elite-style Clinton, summed this phenomenon up. The subsequent artificial mass hysteria over Russia and the (dubious at best) Russian "hacking" of the election reinforced this idea: the media is as locked in a form of groupthink as Washington itself is.

You can't repeatedly teach people that there are no reliable sources of information, and that conspiracy theories are sometimes real, and then act surprised when large numbers of people start seeking out alternative sources of information that more frequently support conspiracy theories.


That's because modern institutions are not trustworthy. Vast conspiracies were posited, laughed off as tin-foil-hattery, and later exposed as true (Snowden being the canonical example)

Modern institutions may or may not be trustworthy, but AFAIK they weren't laughing off "vast conspiracies" which later turned out to be true. For example, I'm not aware of any mainstream media which laughed about the echelon program which later turned out to be true.

It's true that mainstream media didn't write about these theories, but one can easily argue that was reasonable given the lack of evidence.

It's important to note that details matter when reporting news, and these details were unknown prior to Snowden. It's also true that often the details get ignored (as one can see by the number of people who think that the PRISM program says that Google/Apple conspired with the NSA when in-fact it says the opposite), but I'm not sure that is completely the media's fault.


I first heard about the Echelon/5 eyes network on 60 Minutes some time in the early 90's. I remember controversy about it flagging people for mentioning "bomb" in phone calls, so I would say I did hear about it from the main stream media.

People still called it a crazy conspiracy theory when I brought it up, but I usually attributed that to them not watching enough news, not watching too much.


I'm still pretty sure the stories about flagging calls for mentioning keywords in the 90's were urban legends. The sort of computing power to do that didn't exist then.

It's a conspiracy theory pasted onto a kernel of truth (Echelon).

Even after snowden there is a lot of the same stuff going on. The stuff he leaked sure didn't show that the NSA was doing some sort of active analysis on all communications. Though at least now it's probably within the realm of technical possibility.


Whoever downvoted this: Downvoting should be for comments that are low quality or don't contribute to the conversation, not perfectly fine comments with which you disagree.


I don't necessarily disagree with everything the parent wrote, nor did I downvote, but maybe "I don't think social science is a real science" is not the greatest starting point for making a genuinely social point.

It's like saying "I don't think physics actually exists, but here's my take on gravity."


Isn't that a pure opinion, of which you simply disagree? It is hardly a rare opinion at that. It's been a problem for the field since the start:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/is-social-s...

There's no contradiction between having views on social issues, and believing that people who call themselves social scientists maybe aren't following the scientific process as usually understood.


Oh, he was not saying that there are bad social scientists. This is a completely valid statement to make.

However, calling a discipline unscientific is not a matter of taste or opinion. There are a bunch of scientific methods and as long as you stick with them, you are scientific. No matter how well received your results are. (This, by the way, holds also true for climate science.)

There is a clear contradiction between calling social science unscientific and then relying on their concepts (trust, institutions, applied law, globalism, groupthink, etc.) in the very same argument.

edit: I can not answer to anyone anymore since I'm "submitting too fast. Please slow down." Sorry.


There is something to the argument that the inability to experiment limits scientific rigor.


Yeah, but to a certain extent that's true of things that no one doubts are science. Evolutionary biology is limited by the fact that evolution is non-repeatable, for example.

I used to be an archaeologist. Definitely a field where you can't experiment; you're studying the evidence left by the past. But good methodology in archaeology is making hypotheses about what you expect to find in a new excavation or an inadequately studied old collection, and then testing those hypotheses. Yes, there's a problem with controls, but that's not unique to social science.


Evolution has been proven experimentally, so I'm not sure why you're picking on that specifically.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experimental_evolution

Archaeology isn't a science either, even though I've studied it myself and ancient civilisations are a particular favourite area of study for me. Archaeologists and historians in general frequently do things that wouldn't match the usual understanding of the scientific process: that doesn't mean we shouldn't study history, but comparing the fields credibility to that of physics is really problematic.

But to clarify, when I said "social science" I was referring to people who explicitly call themselves that. Archaeology and even psychology wouldn't count under that definition - but if someone actually says they are a professor of social science, to me that's an immediate red flag because the "research" produced by such people is in my experience usually just a complicated and expensive form of personal politics blogging.

Jonathan Haidt has done a lot of good talks on this topic. There's a paper here:

http://heterodoxacademy.org/2015/09/14/bbs-paper-on-lack-of-...


I downvoted it because spreading the myth that "mainstream media is lying" is both low-quality and dangerous, and is otherwise a litany of right-wing talking points that add nothing new to the discussion. I'll gladly reconsider if OP can give me a specific example of the New York Times knowingly publishing a statement of fact, in the last year, that turned out to be wrong.


What is really dangerous is the mainstream media (NY Times, Washington Post) running stories based solely on anonymous sources.

The public has no capacity to vet the credibility of anonymously sourced claims.

Almost all of the current media narrative on the Russian story comes from stories with nothing more than "American officials say".

Remember that "American officials said" that Iraq definitely had WMD. Public support for the invasion was built solely on anonymously sourced news. American officials were actually politically motivated ideologues manufacturing consent, with journalists at the New York Times like Judith Wilson playing the part of the useful idiot.

The same thing is happening right now. This [1] New York Times story is a perfect example.

There is no place for anonymous sources on issues of war and peace in a republic. Allowing this low a bar for journalistic evidence leaves us completely vulnerable to manipulation.

[1] https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/us/politics/devin-nune...


The choice is not to get the same information but from known sources. In most cases, you won't get the information at all.

And people misunderstand the mechanism here: journalists quoting unnamed sources put their own reputation on the line as a stand-in for their sources. They know the names, and they build relationships with these sources. The sources/treacherous illoyal leakers/whistleblowers are career politicians or officials, and their relationship with someone at the Journal or the Times is equally valuable for them.

Looking at the current storyline on Russia, I know there are daily leaks from "unnamed sources". But I can't think of a case where these sources turned out to be wrong – maybe there are, but I'm pretty sure the vast majority have turned out to be accurate. See for example "leak zero" of Flynn talking to the ambassador. We'll see about the example you added on Nunes' sources, but it seems like that information also has multiple confirmations by now.

I'd also like to point out that you're moving the goalpost and not answering my question, and that I actually thought about a specific exclusion of the NYT's failure on WMDs because it's getting old.

I also seem to remember that it was a very-much-not-anonymous Colin Powell who made the WMD case to the UN which actually allowed the US to invade.


> The choice is not to get the same information but from known sources. In most cases, you won't get the information at all.

Since the "information" is claimed to be from anonymous sources, there is no way to determine whether the information is accurate or wholly fabricated. Given the media's extreme bias now, it is not a given that it is not the latter.

BTW, seems like few people have seen this article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middlee...


>Since the "information" is claimed to be from anonymous sources, there is no way to determine whether the information is accurate or wholly fabricated. Given the media's extreme bias now, it is not a given that it is not the latter.

It's not immediately possible, but of course, as more information comes to light, you can verify of falsify it. So please show an example, from the last year, from the New York Times, where they published something from an anonymous source that was later disproven[1].

Here, I'll start with something that was proven to be right: Flynn's phone call with the ambassador was reported (with anonymous sources, on Jan 12th, and confirmed by the president's spokesman the next day: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/14/us/politics/f...

[1] Because I've learnt to qualify everything: This may actually happen on occasion, but I'd expect the journalist in question to acknowledge it, give an account of their relationship with the source, and what steps they are taking to avoid a repetition.


A major problem with anonymous sources is not just the inability to verify the claims, even more troubling is the inability to assess the motives of the source and their context and agenda.

The phrase "American officials" connotes an objectivity, as if the information was revealed by God himself.


> journalists quoting unnamed sources put their own reputation on the line as a stand-in for their sources.

Isn't that exactly the point? Their credibility is gone.


>> Looking at the current storyline on Russia, I know there are daily leaks from "unnamed sources". But I can't think of a case where these sources turned out to be wrong – maybe there are, but I'm pretty sure the vast majority have turned out to be accurate.

>> journalists quoting unnamed sources put their own reputation on the line as a stand-in for their sources.

> Isn't that exactly the point? Their credibility is gone.

What makes you say that?

I could see a good argument that they are not impartiality, but that seems a different thing.

To some degree one can look on a case-by-case basis.

For a specific example, I find Fox's George Russell reasonably credible, but he is clearly not impartial.

On the other hand, Fox's Judith Miller seems more impartial but has some pretty serious credibility issues.


> the myth that "mainstream media is lying" is both low-quality and dangerous

"low-quality" is a pejorative cop-out. What's dangerous is the mainstream media taking sides politically to such an extreme that the public can no longer gain a balanced perspective.

> litany of right-wing talking points that add nothing new to the discussion

Then you should equally downvote the respective left-wing talking points--except that doesn't happen here.

> I'll gladly reconsider if OP can give me a specific example of the New York Times knowingly publishing a statement of fact, in the last year, that turned out to be wrong.

When it comes to journalism, honesty is about much more than merely not making factually false claims. The media is expert at painting a tinted picture by selectively reporting what's convenient to their worldview. What's really interesting is that you seem to imply that they don't do that.


What's really interesting is that OP spoke specifically of lying, and there doesn't appear to be anybody able to back up that statement.

I'm using that statement because I've seen it repeated so many times, and it's the one that – unlike your equally common accusation of bias – has somewhat-accepted definition and could be proven.


The New York Times lies routinely.

Here's an example:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/world/europe/aleksei-nava...

"Aleksei Navalny, Russian Opposition Leader, Receives 15-Day Sentence"

I picked this one because it generalises: the statement that Aleksei Navalny is the "Russian opposition leader" is one you can find in every mainstream media outlet: WashPo, Reuters, the Economist, the BBC, etc. But it's false. I first fact checked this statement years ago and have occasionally rechecked it since to see if things have changed, but at no point has Navalny ever held a position that could be described this way:

- He isn't coming second in any polls

- He doesn't come second in elections

- Only around a third of Russians have even heard of him

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_Russia...

The former communist party does better politically than Navalny.

No matter which data set you pick, Navalny is never the "leader" in it ... except western media attention, where journalists act as if there are only two politicians in Russia, Putin and this other guy.

You can find endless other examples if you start fact checking, all from supposedly reputable sources. I can't even begin to list them all because we'd never end.

I suspect your belief that the mainstream media is a bastion of truth and factual excellence is not one that will be easily shaken, so you believe whatever you want to believe. But I've given you an example, as you asked.


To quote from the very article you're citing:

"At the urging of Mr. Navalny, tens of thousands of Russians — many of them in their teens and 20s — poured into the streets in scores of cities across the country on Sunday to protest endemic corruption among the governing elite, despite a blanket ban against unsanctioned rallies of any size."

I'd say that organising the largest protest against Putin in a decade does make you "a leader of the opposition". And if you're questioning his involvement with these protests, I'll let this Russian court make my point: "The court on Monday also fined him about $350 for organizing an illegal demonstration."


No it doesn't. "Leader of the opposition" has a clear meaning. By your definition Nick Clegg is leader of the British opposition because he was involved in organising a recent big anti-Brexit protest, but nobody in the UK would recognise such a definition.

Regardless of what you may personally believe about Russia or its politics, the statement that Navalny is "leader of the opposition" is simply 100% factually false by any hard, observable data.


leader |ˈlēdər| noun

1 the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country: the leader of a protest group.

• (also Leader of the House) (in the UK) a member of the government officially responsible for initiating business in the House of Commons or House of Lords.

You're arguing the second definition, which is specific to the UK.


I told you that you wouldn't accept my response, despite it being a data-based rebuttal to a statement of fact in the NYT, and you did not disappoint me.

Anyone can lead a protest, especially small ones. To be "the leader of THE opposition" you need supporters in great numbers in any country. Navalny simply doesn't. The polls show quite clearly that other politicians who run against Putin have higher name recognition and more popularity.

Just look at yourself - if hard polling data that contradicts a specific statement of fact can't convince you, nothing ever will. You'll always find yourself falling back on trying to argue that technically the NYT's statement doesn't mean what it seems to mean regardless of what counter-example is picked.


Hi there! Actual Russian here.

Aleksei Navalny is indeed a de-facto leader of Russian opposition.

>- He isn't coming second in any polls

Not true. [1] is the only major election in which Aleksei personally participated. He came second with huge gap between him and the third one (despite state-organized media campaign against him).

Moreover, it seems you misunderstand Russian political climate. There are no real political parties here except those loyal to Putin. Most "candidates" in that wiki list are sock puppets with the exceptions of Navalny and Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky is not really a politician at this point, so your ironic assessment of

> journalists act as if there are only two politicians in Russia, Putin and this other guy

…is actually true.

Here are a couple of other data points for ya:

- Navalny's NGO called FBK (Фонд Борьбы с Коррупцией, Anti-Corruption Fund) made two biggest investigations to date: on Chayka (Russian's Prosecutor General) [2] and on Medvedev (our prime minister) [3] ([4]). They have more than 20M views between them on Youtube alone (there are countless copies on other social networks) and the latter triggered biggest demonstrations in 5 years.

- FBK voluntarily publishes financial reports which you can find here [5]. According to them, FBK got 40 million rubles in donations during 2015. This alone makes them most-donated-to political NGO in Russia by far.

All in all, I believe this particular fact check lead you astray.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_mayoral_election,_2013

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXYQbgvzxdM

[3]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrwlk7_GF9g

[4]: I strongly recommend you to check those out, they have English subs

[5]: https://fbk.info/about/reports/


Hi there! You being an actual Russian doesn't change anything about my argument, which is about the reliability of western media and not Russia specifically, that just happened to be a convenient example.

Your rebuttal is that:

- The other higher polling and more well known politicians aren't "real" opposition politicians, they are just sock puppets.

- Navalny did well, once, in one city, in a race which Putin didn't participate in.

The first is your opinion only. You don't have data to support that, just your own political viewpoints. You being actually Russian doesn't make any difference; you can find people in the UK who think Tim Farron is the "real" leader of the UK opposition because he's actually trying to overturn brexit, but that isn't based on any hard data either.

The latter is irrelevant: I knew about that election and when the west says Navalny is "leader of the opposition" they don't mean against Sergey Sobyanin, obviously, as nobody in the west knows who that is. They mean against Putin. And regardless of what you may believe about the other politicians in Russia, "opposition leader" has a clear factual definition which he does not meet.

This political opinion is invariably phrased as if it were inarguably scientific fact in the New York Times and elsewhere. Your personal belief that it "feels" true doesn't change the facts: the media is lying.


Wonderful. He presented you the facts... and you've dissmissed them since they didn't fit your agenda.


No: I presented polling data. He said that the other politicians named in the polls aren't "real" but offered no data to support that, it's just his opinion.

If facts are defined by anything, they're defined by data. The data shows that Navalny simply isn't a major player in Russian politics, yet western media constantly and consistently claims that he is. Fact.


You see, it's quite hard to show to a person on the outside the absence of real political contention between the "official opposition" here and Putin's regime. It's the thing about showing an absence: I would need to provide you with a ton of context for you to appreciate the glaring complacency of the "official opposition".

Here are some examples, though:

- we had presidential elections in 2012. Per Russian law, there are only two entities who can sue for electoral fraud: a candidate whose score was harmed and a state prosecutor. The fraud was widespread during that voting, with dozens of filmed cases (see [1], [2], etc. One of fraud cases I witnessed myself). Guess which candidate stood for themselves in court? Not a single one.

- can you please name a single "opposition party" which participated in the recent (26th of March) protest?

- can you please name a single "opposition leader" (including 2012 candidates) who debated against Putin or demanded debates? In fact, can you please provide an example of any sort of pointed critique of Putin (like the curious source of wealth of his friends) from any candidate in the 2012 election campaign?

I should also note that you are very dismissive of my "opinion", and yet I'm definitely more knowledgeable of the intricacies of the political process here. I don't think that sounds like a desire for "facts"; on the contrary, you are trying to dismiss counterarguments to your (wrong) accusation.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEf9YSxobTE

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwwlBzmM8qs


IMO we should taboo "right-wing" and "left-wing" when discussing the reliability of the mainstream media. I'm a radical leftist, and I wouldn't trust the NYT or the WaPo if they said the sky was blue without double-checking with a more credible source. I think most leftists who were around in the early 2000s feel the same way.


http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/12/30/contra-nyt-on-economist...

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/03/one...

Neither probably constitutes an outright lie, but seem irresponsibly misleading to readers,both should cause readers to trust the nyt less


Trust in the mainstream media has only collapsed among a single group: the right-wing[1]. This is where your "it's just desserts" narrative falls apart. Study after study [2] shows that while the mainstream media is still popular and widespread among the majority, the right-wing have literally gone off and formed their own media-sphere.

And while there's no doubt that the media has engaged in deliberate propaganda -- though Snowden has nothing to do with this, the canonical example is actually Iraq -- it's highly doubtful that people are turning to InfoWars because they no longer trust the New York Times to give them verified, well-sourced, non-partisan reasonable facts and interpreting. That doesn't actually make any sense at all under even cursory analysis.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/19/as-hyper-conservative-medi...

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


I strongly disagree. While Democratic Party loyalists and the establishment center-left may trust the mainstream media, in general progressives and leftists don't. They're not going to InfoWars, of course; they're going to The Intercept, CounterPunch, Jacobin, Truthout, etc.


Trust in the media is also extremely low among those voting for independents, and only half decent among Democrats:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media...

If 51% trust in the media is seen as 'good' for the left wing, then standards have really fallen.


Apologies if I'm out of order but is there a particular reason why therpe1's posts are being marked [dead]? [dead] posts are difficult to read )in my browser at least).


If this was a broad-based phenomenon because the media is incompetent and is constantly hiding conspiracy theories then you wouldn't expect to see such the heavily polarized differences between parties that you do. (That is to say, let's say the media shouldn't be trusted after Iraq, it still doesn't explain why certain populations exhibit virtually zero trust (7%) and other still largely trust (60+%).)

And keep in mind, this is not a exclusively US phenomenon, you will find the same anti-media, anti-science, conspiratorial thinking across right-wing parties in many other countries. Now it's possible that the media in every country really is untrustworthy and the right-wing are especially tuned to this because they are more intelligent and sensitive to propaganda... but it's unlikely. The more plausible explanation is indeed that this distrust of the media is endogenous to the right.

My only point wrt the original article is that this notion of an "information war" is almost certainly incorrect. Putting aside electoral politics, the wild conspiracy theories that proliferate after every terrorist attack or mass-shooting incident aren't coming from foreign agents or even from political agents. Rather what you have are specific populations who have adopted this manner of conspiratorial thinking as a replacement for the establishment media. Highlight these populations on a map[1] and what you see find are stark boundaries that exclude cities. This isn't an accident or a coincidence which is why I think we can exclude base explanations like "people were fooled," "the media failed" or "Russia did it." Really, from an epidemological perspective this is not exactly a world-class mystery.

[1] http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/22/14762030/do...


To counter your assertion that it's just "the right wing" who have lost trust in the MSM, I would direct your attention towards: https://www.off-guardian.org


Left-Center here. Appalled at the media bias. You must not be looking.


Out of curiosity: Which way do you see the media being biased?


> The mainstream press periodically waded into this swamp, but it only backfired. Its occasional fact checks got circulated as further evidence: If the media is trying to debunk it, then the conspiracy must be true.

To what extent, then, is fake news culpable? If people are hell-bent on rebuffing the facts, how significant of an effect could targeting fake news websites have? I have seen similar thing happen in India, particularly forums with right-wing majority. Anything that sounds remotely critical is quickly shot down as a product of biased media. Every decision centric to right-wing view, no matter how damaging, is regarded as unassailable and they would fight to death to defend it. Arguing with facts is almost a lost cause .

It's been a long time since I was regular part of those forums, but, I do occasionally get to see their views on social media. No change whatsoever in their adverse opinions. I have a feeling that changing views of people for the most part is an uphill battle. Most people quickly associate their identity to a view and absolutely refuse to budge.


>To what extent, then, is fake news culpable?

Definitions first, fake news is not bad headlines, or bad reporting.

Fake news is specifically the creation of websites that look like legitimate news sites, with what look like legitimate articles, in order to generate click and ad revenue.

SO a concrete example is the creation of a site called "Mercury Sun reviewer", with articles talking about how Hillary is about to be indicted.

Its not really news, its fiction presented with a Headline and a byline.

---

For India, we've not really been dealing with Fake news in this manner, aside from maybe whatsapp forwards and propaganda.

The creation of masses of website just in order to convert people to click bots, doesnt happen. Internet penetration isnt high enough to afford it.

---

So fake news IS an issue, BECAUSE people will believe it without checking. Its a monetization scheme which callously targets politics and power.

The definition has been bent out of shape since it got mainstream.

I think for the HN crowd, this definition should work and stick

---

And I think I know those forums.


So, according to this definition, standard news sites are incapable of ever producing fake news since their website also serve as legitimate news site?

That does little more then raising the costs of implementing manipulative falsehoods by making the traditional news a gatekeeper.


No, a legitimate new site can also fall for the temptation to fabricate news in order to raise revenue or political favor (and for the person in charge, get a promotion/raise). The definition of fake news include intent, and the knowledge that the information is false. If you take away either of those two parts you don't get fake news.


Legitimate news organizations make mistakes or might be taken in by reporters with bad intentions, but as an organization, their intent and purpose isn't to produce fake news.


But if their intent is to profit, reguardless of ethics and facts? Sure 'real' news will be included, but mixed with questionable content. This is the real problem and situation.


Yes. Bang on.

Manipulation of truth - normal business as usual by news sites or bias. (Old news?)

Fake prose with headlines for click farms (and now, political gain) - Fake news.

essentially We've got an additional problem to deal with.

If a news site decides to fabricate an article - thats fraud/libel and also fake news


> Fake news is specifically the creation of websites that look like legitimate news sites, with what look like legitimate articles, in order to generate click and ad revenue.

So CNN, NYT, WashPo, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, etc.


Also known as sponsored content.


You're right. The problem was never really fake news it was more that a significant chunk of the population has abandoned consensus reality. This is not a US problem either. I travel a lot and everywhere -- Europe, Japan, Australia, India, and the US -- you see the same exact pattern played over and over. Right-wing partisans lose all trust in the established media[1] after decades of right-wing politicians insisting that journalists can't be trusted. Right-wing partisans deliberately constructing their own parallel knowledge community and this enables right-wing politicians to speak, completely unchallenged, about events that never happened and facts that aren't facts[2]. The end-game, where right-wing voters, having isolated themselves completely, begin to insist on more and more outlandish conspiracies[3] until we're talking about secret pedophilia rings and the Pope conspiring with Hollywood Jews and millions of fake voters voting in the most closely watched election in the history of the planet.

The interesting thing about this process is how deliberate and effective it is -- and I think, if you spend time on these right-wing forums, like yourself, you start to realize that nobody has been "duped," these people aren't fools, they are eager and willing participants in engineering a state of mass delusion. This was very apparent to Deleuze who grasped this very clearly:

  Reich is at his profoundest as a thinker when he refuses to accept ignorance or illusion on the part of the masses as an explanation of fascism, and demands an explanation that will take their desire into account, an explanation formulated in terms of desire: no, the masses were not innocent dupes; at a certain point, under a certain set of conditions, they wanted fascism, and it is this perversion of the desire of the masses that needs to be accounted for. (Deleuze and Guattari 1977: 29)
Like the war on drugs it is nonsensical to focus on the supply when the demand is so great. A population addicted to fake news, a population that wants to be propagandized, a population that will gather online in forums and message boards and self-propagandize, is going to find and consume fake news and generate conspiracy theories no matter what.

And I think a liberal society has to let this happen. It's not like China, the State is not going to deploy its own highly-trained, well-paid "media operatives" to find and destroy this alternative media ecosystem while lavishly funding the official media ecosystem. The whole point of liberal society is that desire is allowed to run its course.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/19/as-hyper-conservative-medi...

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

[3] https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/how-macedonia-became...


This is almost entirely what I too hold as the best intersection of facts which explain the current scenario.

I'm spending a lot more of my time looking at community behaviors online, moderation and moderation evolution, and any papers which cover this area.

This stuff is virulent.

I think we might be headed into a dead cat bounce period in the near future - a lot of people have become aware of this now, and the idea is obviously disseminating a lot more.

(3-4 years ago, I never saw this idea summarized and shared in a single piece, vs multiple times in the last 3 months.)

----

The fundamental motor, the gameplay loop which drives this is the degradation and competition in the media sector.

Competition for ads, consolidation, along with management targets would force magazines/papers to move towards language which would grab a larger audience and more attention.

And then you have the partisan right wing groups, created because they kept saying that the entire media is a liberal conspiracy.


> Like the war on drugs it is nonsensical to focus on the supply when the demand is so great. A population addicted to fake news, a population that wants to be propagandized, a population that will gather online in forums and message boards and self-propagandize, is going to find and consume fake news and generate conspiracy theories no matter what.

Interesting. And like drugs, people reach for fake news because they don't like reality.

So maybe the real question becomes: Why is reality so unsatisfying for so many people? It seems like there's an emotional gap that people try to fill with drugs, and a somewhat-emotional-and-somewhat-cognitive gap that people try to fill with fake news.

This reminds me of "Escape From Reason" by Francis Schaeffer.


I am fairly right of center but nothing in your narrative is anything I have considered worthy of attention.

There's plenty of good healthy center to right news. The garbage, left and right, is for consumption by the foolish. It also serves as inflammatory material to be used by extremists of the opposite ilk.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that, simply because a news source (no matter how loud) is present that any particular group of people takes it seriously.


Some arenas devolve into full-blown contests of self-interest and strategic game-playing. Politics, stock markets are pretty important so it's not too surprising that it happens.

But as humans we don't spend all our lives trying to mislead others and scraping for small edges.

People contribute to this forum, and contribute to open source, and vote, and contribute to their communities.

We are tribal, and hierarchical, and violent, but we are above all social.

Somehow we figure out social structures that work, that help people arrive at more or less objective truths and common ground.

Obviously, if a lot of people want to tear everything down, democracy and most social activities don't work. In the words of Madison "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea."

Cooperative social activities only work to the extent people believe the social institutions that coordinate them are legitimate. People only devote their lives to build, and risk their lives to defend, organizations and systems they see as legitimate.

HN has a pervasive community ethic and ‘pay it forward’ karma and reputation ecosystem that rewards people for sharing quality and burying fake news and garbage. It's also a lot of work from dang and the HN team.

The question HNers can be asking, is there a market design and technical affordances that can restore legitimacy to news? Tools to let people signal quality and build credibility and fight the noise machines? Or is the current market design the best we can do, and are we going to constantly see successful hijacks from all sides?


  It started with the Boston marathon bombing, four years ago. University of Washington 
  professor Kate Starbird was sifting through thousands of tweets sent in the aftermath 
  and noticed something strange.

  “There was a significant volume of social-media traffic that blamed the Navy SEALs for 
  the bombing,” ...

  Same thing after the mass shooting that killed nine at Umpqua Community College in Oregon:
  a burst of social-media activity calling the massacre a fake, a stage play by “crisis 
  actors” for political purposes.
I have noticed that infowars.com, when I have checked, has aligned with the Russian narrative. I have observed it casually but it has been too noticeable to just ignore it.


Infowars is anti-globalist. The Russian state is anti-globalist. Not really surprising that they'd have similar talking points.

Peter Hitchens does a good job of explaining why conservative anti-globalists like Russia – "Why I Like Vladimir Putin" https://youtu.be/UeO44STvnJw


And What is "anti-globalist"? Paul Samuelson's paper shows that the simple models free trade and globalism are based on are both incorrect and especially not all sunshine and flowers for the USA:

"Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization" by Paul A. Samuelson

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~noy/362texts/samuelson.pdf

from the paper:

"Act II, however, deals some weighty blows against economists’ oversimple complacencies about globalization. It shifts focus to a new and different kind of Chinese technical innovation. In Act II, China’s progress takes place (by imitation or home ingenuity or . . . ) in good 1, in which the United States has previously had a comparative advantage. (High I.Q. secondary school graduates in South Dakota, who had been receiving from my New York Bank wages one-and-a-half times the U.S. minimum wage for handling phone calls about my credit card, have been laid off since 1990; a Bombay outsourcing unit has come to handle my inquiries. Their Bombay wage rate falls far short of South Dakota’s, but in India their wage far exceeds what their uncles and aunts used to earn.) What does Ricardo-Mill arithmetic tell us about realistic U.S. long-run effects from such outsourcings? In Act II, the new Ricardian productivities imply that, this invention abroad that gives to China some of the comparative advantage that had belonged to the United States can induce for the United States permanent lost per capita real income—an Act II loss even equal to all of Act I(a)’s 100 percent gain over autarky. And, mind well, this would not be a short run impact effect. Ceteris paribus it can be a permanent hurt."

That phrase, "...an Act II loss even equal to all of Act I(a)’s 100 percent gain... " is haunting.


> The Russian state is anti-globalist

lol they are anti-globalist in that they can't play a significant role globally anymore, so they want to bring down everyone that does / can.


And keep in mind that our President has appeared on Alex Jones's (infowar) show, showers him with praise, and talks to him with some frequency [1].

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trum...


Our President made his name in Reality TV! That's no worse than The Gipper, I know. But somehow "Death Valley Days" doesn't seem so bad.


Reagan was governor of California for eight years between his acting career and becoming President. That gives considerable relevant experience for the Presidency. Trump's got nothing like that in his background.


Well, Reagan was borderline senile when elected, and clearly had Alzheimer's by the end. I don't know much about his work in California, but as President he was arguably a figurehead.

Trump speaks his mind, and may be wacky sometimes, but he doesn't seem senile, or a figurehead.


Er, Trump has repeatedly walked out of conferences without doing the thing that he called the conference for.

Aka, literally yesterday when he called a conference to sign an XO and then walked out without having done so. Pence had to pick it up and bring it to him later...


So his years as a business executive count for nothing?


Being governor of a state, especially a state with a very large economy that spans most sectors, a large and diverse population, and a very diverse geography gives direct experience in a large fraction of what a President does. All that is really missing is commanding a military and making agreements with foreign governments.

Being a businessman doesn't give anywhere near that level of relevant experience.


> Being governor of a state, especially a state with a very large economy that spans most sectors, a large and diverse population, and a very diverse geography gives direct experience in a large fraction of what a President does. All that is really missing is commanding a military and making agreements with foreign governments.

Well, except that governors make agreements with foreign governments [0] and command militaries [1].

[0] http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ln-climate-chan...

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Military_Departme...


So is there no businessman whom you would consider suitable for President of the USA?

And would _any_ past governor of California be a good candidate for President of the USA?

What states would you consider suitable training-grounds for governors who wish to transition to POTUS?

Is there _any_ job, civilian or military, other than state governor, that you would consider as suitable preparation for POTUS?

As a reference point:

"I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University." - William F. Buckley, Jr.


> So is there no businessman whom you would consider suitable for President of the USA?

I did not say or imply that. I think you are inferring a bidirectional implication where none was intended or implied.

A businessman can be a fine President, but the job of businessman (generally) does not provide more Presidential preparation than other jobs. A former stat governor can be a lousy President, but at least being governor will have put them in a job that is very similar to President.


Wait, who's years as a business execute? Trump's? He's more or less a complete failure as a business executive in any measurable or perceivable way other than promoting the Trump brand to gullible people. None of his businesses are a success in any quantifiable way whatsoever. Meanwhile numerous have folded or paid out settlements stemming from fraud or ineptitude.

Further, put aside any of that, he's a complete failure in his current position. Absolutely no leadership skills to speak of. Any policy efforts have been abject failures - Muslim bans defeated twice, gave up on making Mexico pay for the wall, or even building most of it at all... not to mention the AHCA was an embarrassment far beyond what I could've ever imagined (I mean, come on, we all thought the ACA would be repealed two months ago, given the GOP control of all the decision making bodies).

I hope I misunderstood and you were referring to Reagan, otherwise, I'm pretty confused as to why you think any of Trump's past work has been admirable or would've hinted at him being an effective President (which he certainly isn't).


They are highly relevant (positively or negatively) in assessing his suitability to lead a business with similar salient features to those common to the ones he's led in the past.

Beyond that, they are of only modest relevance at best.


yes exactly. as an "executive" he never even had to answer to a board, he ran things like a dictator (and was as corrupt as one)


They count for experience in business.


This isnt true. He was very popular before reality tv was a thing.


It's worth comprehending that there are other adversaries to the US other than the Russians. US OpSec sucks, it's punctured by not just the Russians but the Chinese, Israelis, Saudi Arabians, Syrians, Scientologists, Mormons, American communists and anarchists... the media is liable to focus on Russia because it's an easy target, not because it's the real one (or ones).


That must mean they are evil spies, no?

...or just idiots. Not all unfortunate behavior is an intentional attempt to manipulate.


or maybe the russian narrative happens to be right. I know, UNTHINKABLE! How can russians ever be right on any topic on anything?


Well, Russia has been repeatedly invaded. Overrun by the Mongols. The French, the Germans, the British, the Germans again. And threatened with nuclear attack by the US, after Japan surrendered. So they're paranoid, perhaps understandably.


About every nation in Europe has been repeatedly invaded, this is hardly unique with Russia. At least they didn't lose their statehood for a couple centuries like Poland or got a third of population exterminated like Belarus or got starved off into cannibalism like much of Ukraine.


rijrjrgyg says: "Russia lost 20 million people in WWII."

While rudely stated, The factual content of rijrjrgyg's post is an undeniable outrage of history "Losing statehood" would, in comparison, be a walk in the park.

"World War II casualties of the Soviet Union":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties_of_the...


Poland, on top of all the statehood problems, also lost 1/5 of it's population to WWII (6 million), which is a substantially larger share of the prewar population than the ~26.5 million Soviet losses were for the Soviet Union, and (again compared to population) Russia wasn't even the worst off of the Soviet Republics in thar.

So, no, Russia's WWII losses don't make Poland's problems a "walk in the park".


My sincerest apologies for that unthinking statement - losing statehood is always much, much more than simply the words 'losing statehood' - it almost inevitably includes war, strife and famine. And certainly every one of Poland's six million or more lost souls, each of those dislocated, wounded and in all ways harmed by war, was a loss to someone's mother, brothers, father, sisters and friends. Were we able to find these lost souls and somehow bring them back we would certainly do so. But words and acts fail: we are but human, not gods, and so Poland's loss, as well as the losses of all involved, will always weigh upon us heavily. What was lost was incalculable and irreplaceable. Who knows what we could have been had only it not happened?


Russians love to bathe in their victimhood and equal their participation in WW2 to Soviet, but worth reminding Belarus and Ukraine were parts of Soviet Union as well and suffered disproportionately more losses than Russia.


And they also like to forget that their (and not just theirs) losses in WWII were exacerbated by the fact that they were initially co-aggressors with the Nazis, not opponents of them.


> And threatened with nuclear attack by the US, after Japan surrendered.

You know, if they wouldn't try to capture Iran for themselves, they wouldn't be threatened with nuclear attacks.

Don't portrait USSR or Russia as purely innocent entities.

PS and invasion by Britain (if you're talking about Crimean war) was after Russian Empire broke the treaty by attacking Turkey.


in 2017 this matters for absolutely nothing. Germany and France have been at war for decades, does that mean if both their leaders were paranoid and warmongering they'd be justified? No, it's a different world.


As I noted in another thread, Putin grew up in the immediate aftermath of WWII. And he's from Leningrad. And then there's the Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. So yes, he has issues about all that, and so do many other Russians, and that's why he's so popular.


and is all no excuse for his aggressive, destabilizing behavior.


> I have noticed that infowars.com, when I have checked, has aligned with the Russian narrative

Damn ruskies are everywhere!

> but it has been too noticeable to just ignore it.

Just like US spending on science, space, and technology correlates almost identically with suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation:

http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

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