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Sinclair Made Dozens of Local News Anchors Recite the Same Script (nytimes.com)
393 points by aaronbrethorst 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 315 comments



It seems like the issue is a lack of competition, if I don't like what Sinclair is saying I can not watch it, but if they own all the stations then I don't have that choice. The FCC did all this while everyone was distracted with net neutrality, so even if it came up again there the FCC knows how to distract people already. I'm just not sure what I as a viewer/voter can do about except wait for the next election, and even then, there's no guarantee that the candidate who wins is going to do anything about it.

But... looking at the list of stations Sinclair owns[0]... where are the markets that they control all the stations, defined as ABC+NBC+FOX+CBS? I honestly don't see any. Is this more of a concern if they do manage to get all of these, or if the merger with Tribune Media goes through?

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_stations_owned_or_oper...


[flagged]


Er, "mainstream media" includes local news organizations...

When I grew up, local news was (surprise!) somewhat independent. Each television show had their own particular style of reporting or emphasis on what they tended to cover. I never considered local TV news to be terribly great in quality compared to the newspapers, but at least it wasn't monotone in nature.

So, there's nothing really wrong with the spiel per se (everyone has bias and opinions). Except that it was pushed to 100s of television stations via local news channel, to be read exactly out loud as written.

That's a pretty strong argument to torpedo the merger. Forget the political angle... apparently on Sinclair stations, there's a push to make local news and national news no different. This is what really is terrible. Approve the merger and you probably will get the same effect of the massive consolidation of US radio in the 1990s after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the mergers pretty much killed off programming that focused on local and regional tastes or music, killed off the already dying freeform DJ outside of community radio, which stagnated music variety considerably (https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/perfect...)...)

In the end, what Sinclair is doing is probably going to is not good for their long term business anyways. This mass-scripted thing has drawn quite a bit of negative publicity, for a start. And using the 1990s radio example, well, terrestrial radio is quickly dying due to irrelevance. The "800 lb gorilla" winner of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Clear Channel (iHeartMedia), recently went bankrupt after all.


I don’t disagree. I only watch local stations for weather and traffic unless a major event takes place in my city.

I felt firsthand the crushing effect of clear channel on radio in my market and do not want that to happen to television.

Edit: I’m still kind of confused why local stations cover national stories unless they concern a local event or story (or just do a super generic AP-style readout if there’s a major US story). But most of my local stations have national affiliates that already cover national stories (ABC NBC CBS)


Why was iHeartMedia the winner of the 1996 act?


I mean, if that's the case then they're not wrong. No single company should own all local media, ever.

trose 10 months ago [flagged]

are we getting russian trolls in HN as well? I thought we were here to have intelligent discussions. Not political nonsense about "mainstream media"


You are trying to dismiss my point of view by accusing me of being a Russian troll?


It isn't ok to insinuate astroturfing, shillage, etc., in HN arguments. This is in the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. Please don't do it here, regardless of how much people are doing it everywhere else.

If you have evidence of abuse, or are worried that it might be happening, you can email us at hn@ycombinator.com and we'll take a look. Obviously, if we find abuse we'll deal with it. But not without looking at the data.

What's not ok is to cheaply invoke these categories because someone holds different views from you or posted a bad comment to HN.

I've posted about this a ton if anyone wants to read more: https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20astroturfing&sort=by....


FYI, the article seems to be linking to a reupload of the original video for some reason.

This is the original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWLjYJ4BzvI


Nah, they've just linked to another upload -- if you want to know the account, the link under "social media" points to the same video as the embed one.

Besides, the original is Deadspin's article[1]. The video was downloaded and posted on Youtube. The Reddit user said that oneself. Deadspin, of course, also got the idea and news elsewhere, e.g., the linked ThinkProgress video in the article.

[1] https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/how-americas-largest-local...


For anyone interested, I'm always open to PRs for the "Media Literacy for Engineers" doc I put together:

https://github.com/nemild/hacking-engineers

Examples like this are what I include, about how third-parties can manipulate media sources for their own ends.


Charlie Brooker did an excellent spoof video of the way news is reported. The video is 8 years old (made in 2010) but it still rings true today:

How to report the news:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHun58mz3vI

Every TV news report on the economy in one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN2iVe8_Ato


It is important to reinforce the wholesomeness, and trustworthiness, of your brand or product when that product faces the significant risk of potential legislative regulation in light of growing aversion to its decades-long embrace of lies, manipulation, and 'fake news' in the pursuit of ratings and shareholder value.

Sinclair has taken up the mantle of PR Firm to engage in some preemptive damage control. 15 years ago all you had to say was "Fair and Balanced."


You are way way way way too optimistic... It is clear by the current state of our politics that there is no repercussion for lying.

The fact that Sinclair has been growing is evidence of that.


It's kind of sad to see a potentially important discussion here devolve into a: off-topic threads about policy (DACA), or partisan trolling about #fakenews to derail the subject away from Sinclair.

That said, something I'm curious about... how many people still get their news primarily from local tv broadcast in this day and age? And what are the age ranges of those people? Lacking any actual data, I'd suggest by complete conjecture that it's not that many, and they skew much older than the general population. I'd be surprised if anyone under the age of 30 watches local tv news regularly at all.

I know that personally, I watch so little local news that when I do, the cognitive dissonance is kind of jarring. And when do I watch it? Mostly, when visiting my Baby Boomer in-laws...


I watch morning news in the Chicago market for weather and traffic. I suppose I also get local news. And I get irked because I don't think cute Youtube videos are news but regardless of the station I can't seem to escape that. I'm getting tired of the transplant doctor that dresses up as a Star Wars character (the big furry thing) to deliver good news. Maybe I'm getting too old or just not enough of a Star Wars fan. (Wookie. That's the thing that the doctor impersonates.)

I looked for Sinclair station ownership in this market and according to The Book of Knowledge (Wikipedia) there is none.


So, this explains the creepy video I saw over the weekend, of numerous news stations reciting the same canned speech, verbatim. When I see one station doing it, or similar sentiment from multiple stations in their own words, that might slightly temper my cynicism about the (lack of) objectivity and truthfulness of the news. But when I see shit like this, it only serves to harden my cynicism.


>So, this explains the creepy video I saw over the weekend, of numerous news stations reciting the same canned speech, verbatim.

Local news stations receive packages and content with scripts pre-written from national networks and other sources all the time. It's not a conspiracy, and it shouldn't cast doubt on the truthfulness of a story.

Television news is a scripted medium, and most stations don't have the time or talent to write a completely unique script for every newscast from scratch.


When it's the introduction to a news package, fair enough.

When it's a politically charged attack on competitors, it crosses a pretty uncomfortable line.


The branding of those stations is the core problem, no?

Says ABC/NBC/Fox - but actually that's just a logo.

Why not have them clearly labeled as Sinclair, then consumer would know. And maybe still be fine with it.

This way it's indeed shady.


Nothing new. I worked in a newsroom as an intern and most major news stations rely (maybe, relied, it's been a few years) on a tool like ENPS. It's made by the Associated Press and has a "wire" feature where new stories come into. So, e.g., if there was a plane crash, that message would be pushed out to all newsrooms that rely on ENPS.

The news producers were lazy, too. They'd literally take the script that ENPS pushes out, tweak a few words, and put it on air. I was working in a minor midwestern market (Toledo, Ohio). If you watched the evening broadcasts in the same market and nationally, you'd frequently see the same stories and similar verbiage popping up.

Being surprised by a broadcast group like Sinclair was forcing a narrative is like being surprised that the sky is blue. The "news" is highly filtered and easily controlled. To think otherwise is deliberate ignorance.

The broadcasting industry is corrupt and untrustworthy as all hell. My father worked in it at a high level (owning licenses and stations) and he'd frequently come home from trips either stone faced or frustrated beyond belief: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/business/media/22spectrum... (he's the stately looking black fella throwing a fit in this piece).

To trust anything the mass media tells you is to severely handicap your intelligence. Unfortunately, large swats of the general public do exactly that.

/rant


OK but while you're making a cynical critique you're (perhaps inadvertently) creating a false equivalence between reportage (of events like plane crashes, notwithstanding the possibility of editorial selectivity/framing) and straight up opinion/editorial that doesn't inform the viewer of any facts whatsoever. This is not just as bad, but qualitatively worse.

I'm a fan of your Dad by the way, I remember that article when it was originally published.


Fair enough. That wasn't my intent. Just noting that the facade we see as consumers of this stuff is not the reality behind the scenes (and to ever expect it to be is careless). You're right, this is infinitely worse.


There is a significant difference between using a common source like a news wire and being told 'by corporate' what you will say. A news desk can decide what wire stories to print and how to edit them, but can't do the same for directives and scripts from the Sinclair mothership.

Don't try to claim these are in any way equivalent.


> Don't try to claim these are in any way equivalent.

Not my goal (see comment on other reply here). Just pointing out that the media as a whole is not to be trusted in any way shape or form. Like I noted on the other comment above, this situation is far worse than what I saw in the newsroom; just not surprising having seen the machine at work.


Almost like Trump was playing 4D chess and exposes fake news by using fake news to spread fake news.


Where do you suggest people go to get their news instead ?


National/international news from AP and Reuters is about as politically neutral as you can get. Major news networks, even overtly partisan ones like FOX News, rarely outright lie - their bias is in sins of omission. You can watch ABC, CNN, FOX, or read the NY Times or Washington Post, and take it with a grain of salt if it starts feeling one-sided.

The internet is a wonderful thing.

But the heart of the bias problem isn't that the sources are biased, at least if you stay away from outright nonsense like InfoWars. Rather, the problem is that people are biased, and then start looking for news that reinforces our biases. We can even read the same story and get entirely different interpretations of it (see all the arguing downthread about DACA negotiations).

Facts are (mostly) objective; interpretation is always subjective.


It's less about finding different sources and more about learning how to critically evaluate what you hear (i.e., not blindly letting your own biases accept the narrative as it's delivered).

It also depends on what the story involves. The example I gave above—a plane crash—is very objective. Something bad happened, people were likely hurt, authorities are investigating, etc. Where it starts to get murky is when a story taps into an ongoing narrative like gun control.

Notice how the major news networks were (and still are) each pushing their own narrative around the Parkland shooting. The left-leaning media were pushing the need for more gun control and anchoring that to the victims, the right was babbling on about how the left was just trying to steal everyone's guns and why gun ownership is positive. It's where you're being told that one side is "evil" that your antennae should go up.

In situations like these, it's worth considering what is factually true, what is opinion/emotionally-driven bias, and working hard to form your own opinions.


One must try to find points of view from all "sides", and then apply critical thinking to everything that one reads/hears. Every source is very biased and full of a lot of (mostly, really) shit, but the facts can be discerned if personal biases give way to objective analysis.


That's the logical failing of the moderate - to reduce everything to opinion and bias, and ignore the existence of fact.

If one side says 2+2=4, and the other side said 2+2=6, the truth is not that 2+2=5 and everyone needs to stop being so partisan.


What better way to drive home the point that news is bought to influence people, then to buy a bunch of local news channels and use it to tell people that? There is some beautiful symmetry here, even if it was unintentional.


The actual video they talked about is linked on this [1] page... It's mildly haunting to watch...

[1]: https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/how-americas-largest-local...


I do see this as a bad thing, but I also know that everyone under 40 gets their news from the web. The target audience for these channels are older people who don't read news online or on mobile phones.

In a way, Sinclair is becoming a TV streaming service.

I sense the badness, but I also think they run the risk of spending a lot of money on a wasted effort.

You can only influence people if they're dumb _and_ watching your news programs. Seems like a dwindling market if you ask me. People already have FOX News and they've reached their ceiling (35% of the population). Sinclair is going to run into the same demographic problem.


I have gotten my news from web for 25 years but I still watch local news 2 night s a week - to see coverage of some local issue, to check on the weather or see a bit of a baseball game, or just by default.

And while people over 40 are generally in the second half of their lives and heading for the demographic exits, that doesn't mean they're politically irrelevant. They're far more likely to vote, more likely to be homeowners/property tax payers (with the political heft that that gives), and have greater financial and political heft than their younger counterparts. You're naive if you think they're just bumbling along without thinking of much of anything. Just because you find that demographic boring and personally irrelevant doesn't mean they can't exert political power over you int eh aggregate. Many such people are willing to have their opinions shaped or validated by broadcast media and act accordingly.

Take Fox News; it's easy to make fun of their audience, because who int heir right mind would take people like Sean Hannity seriously? And yet millions do, and their existence and hostility cannot be wished away.

Incidentally, just "getting your news from the web" is no guarantee of objectivity either. Come on, we live in a society where people in high places tweet links to Infowars or Qanon conspiracy theories non-ironically.


I agree with your assessment, but my "gut" feeling is that Sinclair is over-reaching and the expectation won't match the spend. ESPN just announced their streaming service ESPN+. This is just another nail in cable TV's coffin. In a few years, broadcast television may be on its last legs.

We're on the verge of a Spotify for TV where you can pick your own channels, including which "local" channel you want. Some people may still pick the Sinclair run station and be influenced, but my point is that we're reading this Sinclair deal in the context of the past.

And people have an interesting habit of recognizing when they're being manipulated and they call B.S.

First West Virginia, now Oklahoma where school teachers are fed up with tax cuts that only benefit corporations and the wealthy and end up taking away from teachers and students.

We have a tragic and unexpectedly organized and mature set of Florida teenagers that are giving the NRA a run for their money. They may have knocked a Fox News mainstay off the air by forcing most of her advertisers to bolt.

My sense, and it's just intuition based on the news of the day, is that people are just starting to push back. Sinclair probably needed the FCC changes 10 years ago. I think it's probably just too late.


>You can only influence people if they're dumb _and_ watching your news programs. Seems like a dwindling market if you ask me.

The amount of people watching TV is going down, but the proportion of people who think uncritically is skyrocketing.


Lest you are in too much of a bubble realize there are many people that live in areas with poor or absent internet. I suspect there are, in fact, people under 40 that get their news from local television.

You may also want to reconsider that only dumb people can be influenced by this or other means of manipulation.

And... if you can influence 35% of the population, it is fairly easy to get a voting majority from that point given participation rates. Especially, as others have said, if you are influencing the rather large and active over 40 population.


Isn't the rate of voting much higher for 40+? As a method for controlling a large block of voters, this probably pretty effective. How many of these people are also going to see other sources of news? They probably have the TV on for comfort (fear), everything else is a side effect.


So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/98079918342580224...

I think it's reasonable to conclude that POTUS likes that Sinclair compels local news anchors to recite scripts that present a favorable impression of, support for, his policies or him personally.

This is the American crony capitalism version of what Putin did with his state media in order to gain and retain control of the country, and destroy his adversaries. Trump won't have to have his adversaries poisoned. He's poisoning the ability for people to triangulate. And near as I can tell this is what people who support him want. They do not want contrary opinions. They want an autocrat.


A certain conservative radio talk show host has a hobby of stringing together identical-sounding phrases from various sources in the establishment media, as if they all read from the same memo. It seemed certain someone had coordinated their talking points.

Is the Sinclair issue that much different?

Presumably the former example was performed by a group of like-minded individuals operating under some flavor of free will, who arrived at a consensus. But we can't be sure that was the process. They might have been coerced, or merely chose to parrot each other regardless of circumstance, because they found themselves so well aligned.

Sinclair, on the other hand, assumed obedience by virtue of signing the checks.

That said, I don't know if this situation is as scary as it used to be, now that we've had some experience with the power of more monolithic-appearing news sources such as FB and Google.


This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.


Or our constitutional republic, as the case may be.


A constitutional republic is a type of democracy. Trying to draw a distinction there is beyond splitting hairs.


I agree that a constitutional republic is a type of democracy, but a democracy is not a constitutional republic. Both systems are a representational form of government, but in a true democracy the majority rules. In a constitutional republic, constraints are placed upon the government which, ideally, work to protect the minority.

For example, in a pure democracy, gay marriage would not be a thing, because the majority voted against it. However, because we are a republic, and the government is compelled to recognize the minority and protect their rights, gay marriage is now legal.

I don't think this distinction is "splitting hairs," since it is of vital importance to the minority.


The United States is a monarchy now, you just don't realize it yet.


It's about as dangerous as Twitter spam. If people's votes are swaying based on the trash that is cable news and fake Twitter accounts, I'm not sure we had much hope for government-by-the-people to begin with.


I agree. 232 people control the news that 277 million americans are allowed to see. ([1] from 2012). Many of us have been pounding this drum for a long time, including Trump himself. I think it is this control at a national level that the Sinclair news anchors were being told to warn people about, but the NYT has flipped the narrative on them, and now they're the bad guys. Genius, but unfortunate.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-...


Your take doesn't jibe with Sinclair requiring their stations to air Boris Epshteyn and his, uh, "analysis".


> Many of us have been pounding this drum for a long time, including Trump himself.

Can you cite that? It sounds like prime material for Reddit's /r/TrumpCriticizesTrump/


Cite it? Fake News has been his mantra for awhile. I think you'll find it.


I don't see how "fake news" relates to media monopolization. It's just a fallacious outright rejection of unpleasant news.

In fact, Trump just stated he supports Sinclair's monopolization.


Monopolization is highly beneficial to facilitating fake news, you don't see that?


It's the other way around. Fake news is selective ignorance that distracts from the cancer eating away at our formerly-educated electorate.


One entity owning multiple outlets and therefore having the ability to broadcast a consistent message, as literally shown in the video, not only does not facilitate fake news, but can not? It acts as an antidote to fake news, in all cases?


"Fake news" is a symptom of consumer ignorance, and beneficial for facilitating monopolization.


Please answer my question.


Which one? They looked rhetorical to me.


It is not "are allowed to see" but "chose to consume". This whole "fake news" jazz is for the wrong reason.


Agreed. This has been no secret and a lot of people have absolutely been pounding this drum for a long time.

Bernie talking about it in 1988 as mayor of Burlington: https://youtu.be/KIQ_Kj7uBeg


Isn't this pretty much the case for all corporate media? The narrative is set from the top down, and if anyone strays too far outside the Overton Window, they're punished. Example: Phil Donahue getting fired from MSNBC for speaking against the war in Iraq.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Donahue#MSNBC_program


This message was tailored to push the "fake news" narrative of the current administration under the guise of journalistic integrity. It is designed to engender absolute distrust in non-Sinclair media, which given Sinclair's enormous market share[0] is unwarranted and harmful to the democracy.

Why would this be classified by Sinclair a MUST run segment for likely one reason? Easy: to curry favor with the White House to clear the path for further consolidation. Trump speaks glowingly of Sinclair,[1] despite what others consider to be anti-competitive acquisitions and mergers and detrimental to a healthy free press.[2] Yet, Trump has taken action to prevent CNN from merging with Time Warner which is currently being tried in a courtroom.[3] The difference is that CNN's news reporting is very unfavorable to this White House.

This is not how a democracy remains healthy, or, really, how one continues to exist.

[0] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2017/05/07/sin... [1] https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/02/trump-defends-sinc... [2] https://www.vox.com/2017/5/15/15598270/sinclair-broadcast-im... [3] http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/21/media/trump-comments-att-tim...


I think the point was that it was true for the national corporate media, but the local stations were somewhat protected until ajit pai allowed Sinclair to start sucking all of them up. Now the problems with MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, etc will pour into the local news stations as well. All local news and national news will be controlled by highly concentrated oligopolies. These past years we are seeing much more concentration of something that was already concentrated.


Phil Donahue was not a news anchor. What makes this case different is that this is scripted material posing as real local news as part of basic cable package. Most people will not treat this as crafted message from a corporation, but actual news.


Isn't most corporate cable news a scripted message read from a teleprompter?


National anchors clearly have a boss that they listen to, but they also pretty clearly have a pretty large amount of editorial control over their shows.


>they also pretty clearly have a pretty large amount of editorial control over their shows.

The case of Phil Donahue indicates otherwise.


I think the Phil Donahue case fits just fine with what I said. They didn't have any way to control what he was gonna say other than canceling his show.


Which, again: Phil Donahue was not a news anchor.


Did he discuss news and current events on a television show? If so he can be called a news anchor, or a news presenter. Why are you stressing the semantics if not only to euphemize?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_presenter


It might be due to Fox News getting out of a lawsuit by claiming what they broadcast isn't news but entertainment (at least in the prime time slots)


Do you have a source for this? After googling "fox news entertainment lawsuit" it appears this may be a myth

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/fox-skews/


A lot of people believe that, but it's far from proven in the general case. There are some proven examples of the US government influencing news (at home and abroad), there are clearly advertiser influences, there are political influencers (e.g. Fox News) on partisan channels.

But I haven't seen evidence for it as the norm. Obviously this piece was published by the New York Times, for example.


>I haven't seen evidence for it as the norm.

You might like Spin, a 1995 documentary composed of unauthorized behind the scenes footage of the political maneuverings of newscasters and politicians.

https://youtu.be/PlJkgQZb0VU


This is a non issue for my household either way. We cut the cord a year ago and haven't missed the spin doctors and commercial breaks.


You've never seen these kind of videos before? Local news stations have been gutted for at least a decade and they get just about all their non-local content in this way.


Reminds me of when Trump won the Republican nomination-- a gob of stories ran with basically the same theme and spin.

There's no such thing as straight news. It's all spin, one way or the other.

Here's Politico's take on the Trump speech lockstep reaction: https://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/trump-convention-spee...


The interesting thing here is the groupthink believes this methodology is unique to Sinclair.


In my eyes, this is a clear set/spike play. A huge corporation, enabled by their corrupt allies in the FCC, buy up hundreds of "local" stations. They then use the local cred/reputation of these stations to suggest that fake news is rampant on other sources (not controlled by Sinclair). They then tilt the dialogue nation-wide. Meanwhile, the average citizen is unaware that their trusted local anchor is bought/sold, they lack education and resources to educate themselves, and they are pushed further towards whatever dialogue the Sinclair executives are paid to push them towards.

Does anyone from either side of the aisle consider a national corporation owning local stations and forcing scripts down their throat a good thing for the marketplace of ideas?


Oh, it's more overt than that.

Ajit Pai has been rolling back FCC regulations preventing Sinclair from massively expanding its media empire. In exchange, with Pai acting as a go-between for Trump and Sinclair, Sinclair promised Trump that he'd get better media coverage. [1]

Reddit had a large thread about this video over the weekend. Most of the comments were the usual garbage, but there was some good stuff in there: https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/88ll08/this_is_what...

[1]: https://gist.github.com/shakna-israel/a5df6c9c70ccfce3ad3c27...


>Does anyone from either side of the aisle consider a national corporation owning local stations and forcing scripts down their throat a good thing for the marketplace of ideas?

Is this like there being only 1 Facebook, 1 Google, and 1 Twitter, all of which have recently begun to "fact check" the content users put on their services?

I think it's important to have a broad dissemination of information about these kinds of things, but if all that is happening here is a targeted freakout because John Oliver did a story, then no thanks.


The only reason this is getting so much press is because it was favorable to Trump. If we look at left leaning abuses of "news", it gets buried in downvotes and derided as "both sides".

If you really want to combat the problem, you need to attack the root of the problem - for-profit 'news' organizations.

There should be regulations around ownership and foreign funding of anything that labels itself "news" or "journalism".


No for-profit news organizations? That don't take money in exchange for delivering consumers eyeballs to advertisers I presume?

I hope then that you subscribe to your public broadcasting stations (read: fund PBS and NPR news reporting--are you OK with that?) and have told your representatives to fund those organizations.

If not, then you're looking for something that cannot be achieved and will forever be moving the goalposts. Media in the US or anywhere else, even when it is best, has never been un-biased. But it has been more honest and fair.


How is that any different from major news organizations like CNN with a national reach clearly pushing biased anti-Trump news constantly?

It's funny: Trump attacks CNN for being fake, biased news, then CNN responds by focusing all of their negative reporting on Trump, becoming exactly what Trump says they are. People would have had much more respect for CNN if they had stuck to the middle path in the face of Trump's insults.

We should not turn a blind eye towards some instances of bias in media simply because they reinforce our own values and beliefs.


> It's funny: Trump attacks CNN for being fake, biased news, then CNN responds by focusing all of their negative reporting on Trump, becoming exactly what Trump says they are.

CNN reporting negatively on Trump doesn't make them "fake". He's a bad president and a bad leader; reporting on that means you're telling the truth. Fake mean lying, not reporting truth you don't want to hear.


Have you read their editorials? They're so biased and poorly written that I can no longer regard CNN as a good news source.

It's a case of "two wrongs don't make a right." Lowering reporting standards because the other side lowered reporting standards means we have no good news.

Not being able to trust the media (both CNN and Faux news) is a bigger problem than electing a lousy president.


Instead of derailing with "you too", can we focus on one thing at a time?

National news programs are a separate issue from secretly biased local news.


That's not derailing, you are trying to split hairs to stifle discussion. Global media is pretty clearly biased against the current administration. It seems that Sinclair is the asymmetrical response. Discussing them in the larger context of the US news is completely valid.


It's hilarious. Just like Facebook privacy issues only blew up when it might have benefited Trump, but it was fine when Obama used that data (on a much larger scale), it's funny that NYT is suddenly paying attention to this coordinated reporting campaign when they and the national TV media parrot Media Matters all day, every day. It's easy to find a dozen examples of national TV talking heads all using the same phrases and vocabulary to report on some pro-left or anti-right issue.


The data that the Obama campaign used, and the one that the Trump campaign may have used (it is clear they had it, unclear that they used it) were very different both in collection and in scope. The Obama campaign asked supporters which of their FaceBook contacts they thought were likely to be receptive to messages from the team, and only collected the FaceBook handles. The information shared with the Trump campaign was collected (not by the Trump campaign) was far more reaching than just the FaceBook name, including a lot of personal information both about the people who installed the "personality test" app, and the personal information of all of their FaceBook "friends".

Trying to equate these two is just not honest.

Separately I would expect the same phrasing and vocabulary to emerge in the media. They are all talking to the same general pool of sources, and listening to each other. What I do not expect (and smacks of authoritarianism) is for them to all be reading from the exact same script.


MIT technology review, July 2012 on Obama app implies that it could've collected more than just 'facebook handles', where does that information come from?

" The app’s avowed task is to give people a quick and easy way to access the volunteering and organizing functions that worked so well for Obama in 2008. But the permission screen that comes with the app makes clear that it has another purpose as well. When I installed the app, I noticed that it said it would grab information about my friends: their birthdates, locations, and “likes.” "


CNN doesn't stand up and say "we're devoting our reporting resources to all things anti Trump, this is our bias, it's not secret". They simply report the news they choose to report.

Just like Sinclair.

People watch the news hoping to get an accurate depiction of reality. When only one side of a multifaceted situation is reported on, the depiction becomes distorted.

It's never OK to do this, regardless of whose side you're on.


This actually isn't remotely comparable to what Sinclair is doing. Not remotely. I am tempted to say that you know it's not comparable and that you're simply outright lying, but I'll restrain myself, and instead just note that you're completely and outrageously incorrect.

CNN is not dictating what its personnel report and it's certainly not coordinating forced fake "reporting" in unison by dozens of TV stations, or forcing anyone to air Sebastian Gorka, etc.


>CNN is not dictating what its personnel report

this is incredibly naive.

>it's certainly not coordinating forced fake "reporting"

CNN itself may not be the coordination center, but leftist media does coordinate its reporting, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JournoList


Not to mention rigging the presidential debates by providing the questions ahead of time to its chosen campaign.


Anyone who thinks that this "rigs" a debate in any meaningful way is watching too much Hannity.

Debate questions are not some big secret surprise; the candidates drill for MONTHS on all the likely sorts of questions that could be asked. And there weren't any "gotcha" questions asked in the debate in question; just straight-up stuff that any prepared candidate could answer in his/her sleep.


Can you skip the ad hominem attacks, please?

There is an obvious difference between knowing the range of questions vs knowing the exact questions on, eg, a qualification exam. The full list of questions is usually public beforehand, the exact questions you get is not.

The same logic applies to the debate. Knowing the exact questions gives an advantage, allowing one side to tailor and concentrate their message. Once you know what is going to be asked, you can prep more extensively in that space, while the other side is spreading out their efforts, being less efficient.


You're right. I have edited my comment. I apologize.


You can insult my reading level all you want, I'm just the messenger.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/donna-brazile-finally-adm...


Replying to Bud on this one... I would certainly do better on my midterms if I know all the questions first.

Just because you've covered the material doesn't mean there's not a distinct advantage in knowing the questions ahead of time.


"CNN is not dictating what its personnel report"

Come now, you think managers and executives at CNN are just playing board games all day?

No, they're crafting policy and setting the direction of news room reporting.


...which is different than dictating.


>I am tempted to say that you know it's not comparable and that you're simply outright lying, but I'll restrain myself, and instead just note that you're completely and outrageously incorrect.

Obvious cognitive dissonance tell right here.


If your own cognition weren't so dissonant, you would know that cognitive dissonance only afflicts those of particular political leanings.


This is a more insidious problem than any one media property because the very structure of the local news organization -being small and distributed - gives them a unique credibility for most viewers because they assume that their local news team is more closely align with their local beliefs, values, and interests. People do not assume every word from a local news anchor is the exact script for the entire country.

Further, it is one thing for them to use the same script. It is entirely another thing for the script to be "you can't trust any other news outlet because they all report fake news with no research or verification. YOU CAN ONLY TRUST US". I have never seen that message on CNN. You may not like CNN's coverage of Trump, but they do not undermine every other media outlet.


>I have never seen that message on CNN

Give me a break. You don't remember "This an Apple", one of the most elitist, pretentious advertising campaigns in recent times:

""This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you that it's a banana. They might scream, 'Banana, banana, banana,' over and over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe it's a banana, but it's not. This is an apple."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vckz6EAn30Y


Fair point. I have never seen this add campaign.


IIRC this ad campaign wasn't a "trust only us" campaign; it was a direct response to the never-ending calls of "fake news" from the president and right-wing against CNN. In a world where the the president literally sends out his press secretary to lie on Day 1 about the size of his inauguration crowd, this is a reasonable (though I suspect utterly useless) response.


All news is based. Anyone telling you otherwise (that they are fair and balanced and unbiased) is lying to you. I don't need CNN to explicitly tell me their biases, because they are not my only source of news. It's not CNN's job to make sure i get unbiased news. It my job to make sense of biased news and weave it into a consistent mental model of the world. This let's me do things like watch CNN and Fox News and recognize when they're not telling me the full story. That's the only way to fight this kind of thing.


If all news is biased, then what Sinclair is doing should be no big deal. They have a message they're pushing, just like everybody else.

Do you believe that?

And if everybody has a bias, it also shouldn't be a big deal for me to ask you: What's yours?


It's one thing to put your message out there without having to constantly inform everyone you're biased, as CNN does. It's quite another to put your message out there and insist that everyone else is biased and therefore unfair and untrustworthy. This is what Fox News and Sinclair are doing. They don't want you to watch anything else, because it gives away the con.

> What's yours?

That's the thing about bias: It's multifaceted, and often subconscious. I could list some biases I'm suspicious I have, but this list would be incomplete and inaccurate.


If they had to put a disclaimer in front of every local news anchor saying "the following content was produced by Sinclair Corporation in collaboration with President Trump", there would not be a problem. Just like we do with other kinds of political advertisements.

The problem is not the bias. The problem is the deception about who is responsible for the content. And yes, this falls into the same category as government employees in St. Petersburg masquerading as US citizens while publishing political propaganda.


If all news is biased, why bother watching any it?


Because nothing in the world is perfect, and by acknowledging that you and others all have implicit and explicit biases you can use your critical thinking skills to learn about the world without blindly accepting other people's biases as your own?


When people say something is biased, they usually mean to an unreasonably high degree. As you say, the nature of the universe dictates that everything is biased in some way. While a news source inevitably has to pick and choose what stories it's going to report, most people would not consider it "biased" if it simply reported what events occurred and did not take place in writing opinion pieces. On the other hand people consider news to be biased when it skews too far towards editorializing content and telling people how they should interpret reality.

Take for instance every time the POTUS makes a speech, and I'm talking about presidents long before Trump; as soon as they stop speaking, every new station cuts to a group of pundits to tell you how you should interpret what the president just said. It's not journalism at all, and anyone who pays attention to politics a lot would be just as qualified to be a pundit. Why should anyone trust that level of bias over what was actually said? If the opinions of political junkies are more important than what was said, then we're basically screwed because it's not the people who decide how to view events, but it's news organizations who pay people to dictate opinion that create the narrative around events.

Yes, you can certainly sift through bias using critical thinking skills, but this only gets you so far when the news itself becomes more bias than actual reporting. We don't live in a perfect world where everyone is capable of critical thinking. If we did, then almost everyone would shut off the TV as soon as the president is done speaking. Instead, we live in an imperfect world where having highly biased news is really dangerous for a society that hasn't proven to be capable of coming up with its own perspectives when other perspectives are being foisted upon them by the press and the state.


>as soon as they stop speaking, every new station cuts to a group of pundits to tell you how you should interpret what the president just said. It's not journalism at all

I disagree entirely. That is the essence of journalism. Not to tell you what to think, but to provide context that helps interpret.

For example, reporting that people at a Trump rally were shouting "Lugenpresse" is one thing. Providing the historical context that such language was used by the Nazi's as a pretext for cracking down on the free press and on Jews is another. Just hearing the first may make you aware of a fact, but the second tells you the truth.


Why do you think bias makes something not worth watching?


That's not necessarily what I am implying. I'm challenging the idea that, if all news is biased(beyond simply picking and choosing stories), one can reliably find the truth by essentially making a Venn diagram between biased sources and analyzing overlaps. I neither believe nor disbelieve that it's a pathway to truth. I have my skepticism because it provides no form of validation; if all sources are too highly skewed, any overlap becomes highly suspect and simultaneously difficult to test.


I am a roboticist, so I view this as an exercise in signal processing. A news agency is like a sensor, reporting that an event happened. We don't know what or how or when, so we use different signals and fuse them to arrive at a better understanding of "truth". The nice thing about sensor fusion, is even without external validation as to the truth, you can still approximate it with certainty using otherwise very noisy sources that may be biased one way or another. That's how I view watching the news.


That's an interesting perspective. Do you think that humans are capable of similar sensor fusion? If so, then does that mean that we shouldn't be worried about bias?


I think some humans are capable of this, but most aren't. We should be worried! But the answer to handle bias isn't to eliminate it, but to account for it appropriately.


> All news is based.

The truth isn't biased, so if the news reports the truth, "x said y" and we have evidence that x said y, then it is not biased and therefore all new is NOT biased.


That's not true at all. If I say "x said y", and don't tell you that "y said z", then that is biased, while telling you only the truth.


That's called a lie by omission, so in such a case, if you wanted to tell the truth, you'd have to include "y said z" or you'd be lying.


Right, so how do you determine how much you have to say to tell the "truth"? If someone makes a claim about an economic policy, is it "lying by omission" to not talk about the impact previous similar policies have been enacted? Or is that inserting your bias? If you aren't telling people the facts behind the claims then are you telling the truth? Which facts you decide to share or not share can be biased.


The choice of what facts to include and which to omit can result in bias.

This simple ad by The Guardian on perspective shows how news can easily show biases [1].

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3h-T3KQNxU&list=LL8yCOjMrFJ...


You still think the truth is objective after a year+ living in this alternative fact world? There is no such thing as a "truth" anymore. Even cold hard figures are negotiable. Remember "The employment rate was fake news before but it's very real now"


Don't let lies get to you. Never give up, never surrender.


It's not that lies are getting to me, it's that I've changed my view about the all-convincing nature of facts. I never before understood how easy it is for people to just pick and choose a set of base facts to support whatever reality they want to live in.


What truth you choose to report is biased. News can be biased by selective disclosure.


CNN is a network. It is not station ownership.

Stations have obligations in return for their licensing. Some of which require them to serve the public good. Local newscasting falls in that category.

Sinclair is turning that "public good" into propaganda. This is counter to the license terms. At least, in my opinion. Maybe we'll see that addressed, in court, at some point.

There are also marketshare caps, created to prevent this kind of bias from gaining dominance of the broadcast market. Sinclair has been lobbying and buying its way towards circumvention of those caps.

Numerous studies indicate that, with all the changes in media, many people still go to their local broadcast news station for their news, and that they have a higher level of trust in it than in other sources.

Arguably, when you turn on CNN or Fox -- networks, that cable and satellite providers can choose to carry along with however many other channels they want to sell you -- you know what you're getting.

This, by contrast, is a creeping menace of bias, masked as your trusted local news source. (And as other "public service" broadcasting. Whereas people reasonably argue that the demonstrated bias to one political agenda, as well as the masking of the source of said programming, is not "public service".)


I'm disappointed that the above comment got so many downvotes. It's an important observation in the bigger context.

I used to get most of my news from CNN, and the amount of "bad" anti-trump editorials they publish really scared me. CNN has a lot of anti-Trump articles that take a trolling tone.

We (me and CNN) didn't vote for Trump, and we (me and CNN) don't like him, but that's no excuse for bad journalism. Part of a democracy is getting along when you loose the election.


Well, for one: CNN isn't getting a sweet new FCC head honcho to shape policy to benefit them. Second: do you understand the difference between a free press and a propaganda machine, right? One goes against the government's views, the other one pushes it.


"One goes against the government's views, the other one pushes it."

No, that's not it.

A free press is "free" because it's unconstrained by a Government or capricious regulation, not because it "goes against the government's views". Sometimes members of a free press will support the government, other times they won't.

It's not a priori virtuous to go against the Government's views. Sometimes the Government is right and sometimes it's not. Like everyone else.


Your definition of free press ignores the impact of government involvement in the press and preferential treatment it confers on specific organizations. Where the government favors one media/press organization and gives preferential treatment, every non-preferred media outlet is less free because they are constrained in ways the preferred outlet is not.

You're right it's not inherently virtuous to go against the Government's views. But it is inherently bad to push government views in exchange for preferential treatment which is what appears to be happening here and with the National Enquirer.

If you are concerned about a free press, you should be equally concerned about the commingling of government and press such that the government captures certain media properties and converts them to state run media. Free press means a separation of government and press; any governmental involvement damages a free press.


> A free press is "free" because it's unconstrained by a Government or capricious regulation [...]

Add to that monopolistic corporate power.



Seems like we need to get more people cord-cut immediately...


Youtube recommends far more dangerous stuff.


So that they can be manipulated by internet media monopolies instead?


Last Week Tonight (John Oliver) dove into this last year. It's really frustrating that they can leverage so much political sway under the cover of "news reporting". Then forcing news stations to broadcast this garbage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvtNyOzGogc


He did a follow up last night with this new development.


"👎" to the John Oliver reference. His "reporting" is as biased as it gets. His show is written in a style that convinces the subconscious to accept presented arguments without engaging any serious logical scrutiny. Just try to remember if at any point during any of his broadcasts you actually analyzed the subject of his monologues, rather than simply furthering the thought-process that he was laying out for you. Chances are that you never have because it's written to be persuasive (obviously) and only incidentally informative. Sadly, I know this is precisely what many people now believe "journalism" to be...


Can you refute the claims in the video posted? The style is unrelated to the validity of the claims.


Validity of claims is one thing. Validity doesn't equal truth or objectivity. "Fake news" includes cases where the presented claims may be technically valid, but the "lie" exists in the omission of inconvenient claims which would invalidate the intended message of the story. The use of certain agreeable facts to drive a greater agenda rather than inform the viewer. Style is related, as it is the method through which a presenter can evoke a particular response in the viewing subject and entice the mind to follow along and be guided. This sort of psychological manipulation is common in people, beginning from childhood. In advanced forms, you have the con man or other such subversive entity, who has mastered the art of manipulation.


What is being omitted in this case that invalidates the story?


John Oliver hosts a late night talk show and he is primarily a comedian. He is not a journalist so your commentary on journalism seems misplaced on this point.


what are you trying to say? That given he is comedian, his reporting is less credible or audience should receive his stories less seriously or what? Given that he throws a joke from time to time, does it mean that it's less reporting and more comedy?


> That given he is comedian, his reporting is less credible or audience should receive his stories less seriously or what?

As he is primarily known as a comedian, there is no way to confuse him as a journalist doing "news reporting". This calibrates the critical thinking dial in my brain.

> Given that he throws a joke from time to time, does it mean that it's less reporting and more comedy?

Have you watched the show? The joke to content ratio is very high.


you are confusing jokes with fiction. It is possible to tell true story with additional jokes there and there without fiction. And I think here is confusion - for me Last Week Tonight seems like serious show which tries to do a lot of research to present some facts to audience in entertaining way.


Can you give me an example of unbiased reporting on television?


I would say that hacker news is actually a fairly objective aggregator. It's also participatory, which hopefully checks bias at some level. But, as this isn't television... it's not a valid example, in response to your question. Also, hacker news isn't ad-supported, which is nice.


But there is still bias here. Bias in the stories submitted, in that they're skewed toward the I interests of white male 20-30 somethings. Not a lot of diversity of opinion and point of view here, which is another way of saying prevailing bias.


PBS is pretty good, despite attempts by the right to brand them as liberal. Watching the PBS News Hour, you can almost see the anchors gritting their teeth as they give equal respect to guests spouting right-wing fabrications, but they still do it to remain as neutral as possible.


Probably not a universally unbiased source, but I think that many sources occasionally engage in objective reporting. I also think that number is probably decreasing in these times...


Trump recently took DACA off the negotiating table, announcing it in a tweet, citing a Fox News & Friends segment on 'caravans' of inbound immigrants: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration/trump-say...

The President is watching this same garbage and making policy decisions based on it. Let that sink in for a moment.


If you watched the state of the union, you know that Trump made a proposal about DACA that was such a huge compromise to the left, that much of his base raised hell. The left refused that compromise, and refused again, when he asked for DACA and the wall to be addressed in the latest spending bill. Since he has twice been rebuffed on his compromises, he's going the other way. That seems reasonable to me.


I remember Trump saying he would sign literally any immigration deal brought to him by a bipartisan group, and when they did what he asked he rejected it, thanks to Stephen Miller. Then Chuck Schumer basically told Trump to name how much he wanted for the wall, which Trump refused to do. Then the government shut down and Trump relished in blaming Democrats.

> The left refused that compromise

Why was a compromised needed again? Every congressperson, R and D, when asked said they supported a permanent DACA fix. Why should Democrats be willing to compromise on something like lowering the number of legal immigrants admitted for something everyone claims they want. Why should the left compromise to fund a useless wall the President insists will be paid for by Mexico? Problem seems to be Republicans don't really want to admit they're in favor of deporting in all-but-legal-status Americans from their home land.

> Since he has twice been rebuffed on his compromises, he's going the other way. That seems reasonable to me.

Sarcasm? That's what's known as cutting off your nose to spite your face, assuming trump was sincere at all about DACA in the first place, which is highly questionable.


Democrats should be willing to compromise because they value the DACA fix more than their opposition to border funding. They are instead doing the same thing Republicans did to Obama, refusing to compromise in order to whip up their base.

Any politician that compromises an inch these days will be portrayed as an immoral enemy and attacked by some vocal part of their own base.


"They are instead doing the same thing Republicans did to Obama, refusing to compromise in order to whip up their base."

Democrats are in the minority though, not the majority like the Republicans had during Obama's tenure. If they want something done then they can do it.


Republicans started out in the minority during Obama’s term, but Democrats bled seats like crazy, especially after ACA. They are using the same playbook now, using tax reform as the rallying cry like ACA was.


It's hard for me to politely express just how disappointed I am in the direction this conversation has gone. It's total garbage. It started with what should have been a "holy shit" point, just a few comments above, and almost immediately turned into an "us vs. them" argument with basically zero value to anyone.

Look at how polarized politics has gotten. It's happening right here.

We have media mega-businesses now which are feeding total garbage to people, astroturfing it so that viewers feel like they're getting information from someone they can trust, and we have a President that is getting information from the same kind of sources and is citing that when announcing policy decisions.

I don't care which "side" you're on, I think that's wrong, corrupt, and terrifying. If it were a Democrat doing it, hell, even citing NPR, I'd still be horrified.

Some of Trump's base thinks there's some kind of deep state thing going on, where there are people in government that are controlling things behind the scenes, independent of whatever administration is in office at the time. You know what? They're absolutely right, save for one little thing: the people doing the controlling aren't in government, they're in offices in shining skyscrapers, and they own the news.

And they would really appreciate it if we wouldn't talk about that, and instead just continue to argue about the stupid wall.


The point I was trying to make is that compromise is critical in government, but our current political climate is antithetical to any.

The media controls the conversation, and at the very top, I believe that's driven primarily by business interests — not political beliefs.


They literally offered DACA in exchange for a wall. Trump administration then tried to change the deal and push for the RAISE Act on top of it.

That's called negotiating in bad faith.


Ds were gonna give him ALL of the border wall money that he wanted - like $25B - and he still backed out.


The funding in that bill was over 10 years, with very little up front. It was also missing key immigration reforms that Trump said he needed to see.

He is pretty clear about what he wants to see, and I’m pretty sure that he sees no deal as better than a bad deal. He’d rather keep the issue in play through mid-terms, or collect some additional policy points (gun control?) that he can throw in the mix to ultimately craft a bill that achieves his core policy objectives around national defense and immigration.

I think immigration policy will be the big issue for the midterms, it will be interesting to see it all play out.


> He is pretty clear about what he wants to see

Going to have to disagree on that. At best, his policy positions can be described as tenuous... more typically, amorphous.


> It was also missing key immigration reforms that Trump said he needed to see.

"Key immigration reforms" is a great way to spin additional constraints on legal family-reunification, that exact program which allowed Melania's family to join her here in this country. He's closing the doors that he and his family used to come here and amass wealth.


Well it was more than just chain migration he wanted changed. Also the “diversity lottery” and overall limits.

No question Trump represents a large segment of Americans who want to see less immigration overall, and more selective granting of visas and green cards.

The doors, so to speak, would remain decidedly open, to the tune of about a half million green cards per year. Historically average.


Visas would be disproportionately skewed toward people from well-off countries, effectively closing the door to people who want to pursue better lives in America for themselves and their families.


>No question Trump represents a large segment of Americans

There is plenty to question here. Given the CA news and additional leaks regarding the campaign he ran, Trump does not in fact represent a large segment of Americans. At best, he represents a well-targeted, vocal minority.

Specifically, with his actions and his words he is representing and providing a megaphone for the worst xenophobic elements of our society [1].

>The doors, so to speak, would remain decidedly open

Speak to anyone with DACA or TPS, those doors are decidedly closed.

1. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/trump-d...


You might want to recheck Trump’s approval ratings.

Oh and the “Trump Defends White Nationalists” trope? Here’s the video [1] and here’s the quote;

“You had some very bad people in the group. But you also had people, that were very fine people, on both sides.... So you know what, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-nazis or the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally, but you had many people in that group other than neo-nazis and white nationalists, okay, and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

If you have an issue with DACA maybe talk to your congressman. Trump’s been trying to get a legal fix for DACA for months now.

As far as TPS is concerned, maybe the “T” doesn’t stand for what I think it does, but 2001-2018 seems pretty generous for the Salvadorans. Unless you’re telling me those countries are still too ravaged from natural disasters over a decade ago to return to?

But I’ll stand by the assertion that while we do have borders and we do enforce immigration law, we also provide entry for half a million immigrants a year. It seems like you’re claiming that because you can cite a specific special interest that isn’t being granted special citizenship outside the legal system that has existed for decades, therefore the doors are closed and that’s somehow xenophobic. I personally think that’s inaccurate and perhaps hyperbolic. While you’re entitled to your opinion, I think a large portion of the country will continue to have reasonable and open debate as to what levels of immigration is right for the country, and how we should select for those immigrants, without resorting to calling it xenophobic.

[1] - https://youtu.be/JmaZR8E12bs


>you had many people in that group other than neo-nazis and white nationalists, okay, and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.

You should recall what the rally was about, and what "that group" was trying to accomplish. That group was opposing the removal of monument to a general that fought a treasonous war against our country over the right for humans to keep other humans enslaved. Heather Heyer, an anti-racist protester, was murdered by a member of "that group" that ran her over with a car.

>Trump’s been trying to get a legal fix for DACA for months now.

Trump has been using these children as pawns in a ploy to close doors for legal immigrants. He does not offer fixes, the conman only offers cons.

> As far as TPS is concerned, maybe the “T” doesn’t stand for what I think it does

TPS was a compromise reached with a cadre of powerful xenophobes. It in no way excused or repaired the damage done to El Salvador by the civil war promulgated by the US-backed right-wing government[1]. The people that were displaced by the war and earthquake should have been granted asylum and a path to full citizenship, instead they were left in limbo and abandoned by our leaders, on both sides of the aisle.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvadoran_Civil_War


They didn’t want to budge on chain migration or the lottery, Trump ran on both those so wasn’t going to budge either. He didn’t back out so much as never get in.

Wish congress would have moved forward and put a bill on his desk, despite his statements he would have had to sign it or lose face.


McConnell and Ryan refuse to consider bills unless 50% of their party supports it. This essentially prevents any bipartisan deal on issues such as immigration.


Polls have indicated that the DREAM Act is supported by an overwhelming majority[0]. If representatives don't mirror that support, then the problem is with them, not the bill.

[0] http://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2017/sep/19/...


Trump's issue was with what was left out.

'68 percent of Americans said they oppose "the lottery that randomly picks 50,000 people to enter the U.S. each year for greater diversity.' https://www.npr.org/2018/01/23/580037717/what-the-latest-imm...

Family based (chain migration) is more evenly split according to article.


The lottery system doesn't select random people, they're qualified and vetted before being put in the selection pool.


You are right! But also, the problem is that in red states, Republicans have managed to gerrymander the crap out of their districts to ensure they won't get unseated no matter how badly they represent their constituents.


I don't think very many left-of-center people would agree with your assertion that it was a "huge" compromise. They wanted tens of billions of dollars for a symbolic wall, closing of several legal immigration processes, etc. There are several DACA fixes sitting in congress but Republican leadership refuses to bring any of them up for a vote.


>They wanted tens of billions of dollars for a symbolic wall

In fact the wall would have been physical, rather than 'symbolic'


I believe symbolic here means that it won't actually function to deter illegal immigration, at least not proportionally to spending that money on other efforts.


Is Israel's border wall symbolic or physical?


I am not sure what your point is. A thing can be both symbolic and physical. Let me know what you want me to clarify. I thought I was pretty clear in the above comment.


Physical things can be symbolic...

A wall symbolizing keeping out foreigners without actually doing anything useful to do so is pretty much the definition of symbolic.


yes, I meant that the wall will physically exist but it's more of a symbol - a KEEP OUT sign of sorts - than an effective tool for border security... or at least not a cost-effective tool.


Basically the opposite happened. There was a congressional compromise the would have given DACA and funding for the border wall then the White House came back demanding additional sweeping changes to legal immigration.


Also, Ds have tried to work directly with Trump to secure a solution for DACA and areas of agreement have been blown up every time by the Stephen Miller/John Kelly faction of the administration. The reality is that there will never be a DACA "compromise" or solution, other than complete dissolution and further ramping up of deportations, while Miller & Co. are in the WH.


Didn't Democrats offer to fund the boarder wall in exchange for a DACA bill? What more compromise is there?


[flagged]


Except they actually did:

"The president picked a number for the wall, and I accepted it,” Schumer recalled in the midst of the shutdown. He had agreed to a significant sum of money for the wall—reported to be $20 billion, ... The White House ultimately rejected the offer, and later that night, Senate Democrats withheld their votes for a stopgap spending bill."

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/democra...


Yes they did. A 3 second search would provide plenty of support for the fact that Democrats and Republicans have offered funding for the wall in exchange for certain DACA and immigration reforms.

1. http://azdailysun.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/a-time...

2. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-23/schumer-withdraws-...

Just because Trump offered something doesn't mean Democrats didn't also offer something.

Further, Trump says a lot of things, he contradicts himself constantly, some times in the same sentence, so we can act like his statement in the state of the union was some ironclad agreement.


> Trump's offer was made for the nation to hear

Yes, politicians often make statements for people to hear that are not in alignment with their preceding or following actions; Trump is not especially virtuous compared to other politicians in this regard. In fact, he's been frequently noted for the wide gulf between many of his public statements and not only his subsequent actions, but even his other public statements that are close in time.


You should not blindly believe whatever Trump says

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-trump-isnt-taking-d...


That is not an accurate summary of what happened. Trump killed any possibility of compromise, insisting on extreme proposals once Congress started to act. Here are the details of what happened back in February on this because it is too long and complicated to summarize here: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/15/immigration-daca-s...

Who knows what Trump really wants? One day he says generous things about DACA, the next he wants to kill it. I think it depends whether he watched Fox news in the interim. Or spoke to Stephen Miller.

He did the same thing with gun legislation. Says promising things in front of the camera, but then kills anything meaningful after checking in with the NRA and/or Fox news.


Do we have to be on the left to think Trump is a nut? Does Trump own the right?


I'm sorry, but apparently the "Right" (as a broad term encompassing a set of different ideologies) is dead. The American "Right" has been replaced by "Republicanism" and dissent is not allowed. If you are not 100% in agreement with Trump, you are Antifa.

I wish I was kidding.


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No, it is in fact not "sad" that Democrats will not allow Trump to spend billions of dollars to build an ineffectual and innately-offensive "wall" between us and one of our closest allies. There can be no "compromise" on proposals as offensive and wasteful as this.


also, Mexico was gonna pay for it, 'member?


I 'member.


If you believe anything Trump says during a speech, then you are doing it wrong. Always look at the man's actions, instead of paying attention to his words.


I was surprised Democrats didn’t compromise on that, I think they are too focused on making Trump fail at any cost.

I’m all for increased immigration and amnesty, but I’m not in support of open borders, so a compromise for increased border security sounded like good policy to me.


No one is seriously proposing open boarders. Anyone on the right telling you otherwise is selling you a straw man. And let's all remember, a border without a wall is not an "open" border. That's not what that means.


I consider them open now, in practice not law.

Despite also supporting amnesty, chain migration, and increased visa quotas I’ve been told I’m racist for wanting a secure border. Racist for not supporting border policies that create an underclass of undocumented, helpless workers.


Open boarders worked well in the early united states. I don't want to go back to closed boarders between New York and New Jersey.


Uncapped unskilled immigration works great when you have jobs available, and early America had plenty of those. Coupled with zero entitlement programs it was a perfect recipe for growth.

Doesn't work so well now, it would put enormous pressure on social programs already near their breaking point, and drive unemployment sky high as unskilled jobs are diminishing. Crime would increase as poverty is positive correlated.

However, if you make it past that initial surge, the 2nd generation could provide an enormous boost to the economy as long as education was prioritized.

Compare to uncapped skilled immigration and it's a much higher risk.


Rome had more than one tier of member of society, (eg citizen and non citizens) you could tie social benefits to certain social performance expectations such as military service, length of residency. I am not advocating open boarders or a multi tier citizen status structure merely showing possible solutions.


> Open boarders

Is that a new term for nautical piracy now that “piracy” has been stolen for copyright infringement?


They offered wall funding for a DACA fix. White House decided to change the deal and push for the whole RAISE Act. That's the definition of giving an inch and taking a mile.


What are my best and quickest options to legally expatriate out of the US?


In case your question was not a rhetorical device, or a troll, there are almost a dozen nations that enable US expatriates to stay indefinitely on non-work visas. Hang out in digital nomad forums and you will discover that with a few exceptions, most fund their lifestyle through remote work and do not declare to their host country their intention to remote work while on a non-work visa. Most nations aren't set up to handle the vagaries of remote work, anyways.

You sit in Thailand, contracted to a client headquartered in San Francisco, whose servers you solely work on sit in Montreal, and the team you work with offices in Berlin; if you try to go legal in such a situation, you will either quickly go broke on attorney, CPA and FX fees, the taxes every jurisdiction levies because there are no reciprocity agreements for many of those inter-relationships yet, or both. The situation is ugly even in supposed "streamlined" situations like NAFTA between the US and Canada; I've seen firms with offices in both nations, employees in both nations, and employees from one are still denied entering the other to do face-to-face work with co-workers, and it's gotten to such a ridiculous level that Legal just verbally signs off on a "don't ask don't tell" policy to declare upon entry that the visit is only for a (or series of) business meetings.

It's not difficult to perform the physical expatriation act. It's difficult to navigate the logistical tail of expatriation though, because movement of labor is still far more constrained than capital movement. Time-wise, it is like 2-3 orders of magnitude. I can flip a year's worth of even high-end labor in USD to CNY under all the capital controls in both host nations in 10 days give or take and make the transfer permanent. Whereas permanently moving my labor in compliance between the same nations is on the order of thousands of days, semi-permanently (residency) moving the same labor is on the order of hundreds of days, and moving labor within 90 days involves all sorts of strings attached that capital doesn't bother with. Issues surrounding healthcare, education (if you have or intend to start a family), cultural and social fit, language, taxes, housing, transportation, forex, etc. pop up when you really dig into the expatriation process, and an amazing amount of what you put up with are purely political constructs and not intrinsic to the actual move itself. So the question becomes not "What are my best and quickest options...", but more "here is my situation and anticipated future desires in lots of pretty intimate personal detail, now what are my options?"

I used to subscribe to the Church of Globalization, but once I delved into the actual practice of expatriation and realized just how much capital movement is favored over labor movement, that was the start of the crack in that edifice, and now I want Capital Globalization rolled back to reciprocity with Labor Globalization, and then roll both forward in tandem. When it gets as easy to move around the world and vote with your feet as with your financial tokens, then I'm fully on board with progressing globalization.


My name is disgruntledphd(2) (i lost my original account before there was password reset), and I approve of this message :)

The big problem in much of the modern world is that capital is free to move, but labour is not. This leads to a corporate beauty pageant, run by governments against one another to collect mobile tax revenues. This causes problems in richer nations (such as Britain and the US), which leads to lots of unusual political decisions (rather like the eponymous president at the top of this thread), while the corporations make out like bandits.

I personally believe that as the poster above, we should ensure that both labour and capital are equally mobile, as this will lead to better long-term outcomes. I make no representations as to the goodness of the short-term outcomes, however.


Germany or Canada.


The caravans are real. Buzzfeed writer Adolfo Flores is embedded with them — https://www.buzzfeed.com/adolfoflores


Those news anchors were either OK with the contents of the script they were ordered to read, or they were gutless cowards for not resigning or allowing themselves to be fired.


Here's some context around the provisions of the contracts these anchors frequently work under:

https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/980800914423406592

https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/980811757726810112

Essentially, if they were to chose to leave, they'd owe 40% of their base pay prorated by the remainder of their contract, as-well as the potential requirement to return some bonuses received. Vacation days are lost, and there are typically non-competes within the same region.


You have to almost admire the design of such a contract. The history behind how this spread throughout the local news industry has to be super interesting.

The conspiracy theorist in me feels that the chilling effect this would have on the independence of news anchors was intentional.


>Essentially, if they were to chose to leave, they'd owe 40% of their base pay prorated by the remainder of their contract, as-well as the potential requirement to return some bonuses received. Vacation days are lost, and there are typically non-competes within the same region.

That's entirely beside the point. They freely entered into those contracts. Now that push has come to shove, they chose money and personal well-being over their integrity and beliefs. (Or maybe they were OK with the message they were ordered to read, in which case their integrity is intact.)


The journalism job market ain't what it used to be. I find it hard to label people trying to keep their family fed and housed as "gutless cowards."


That's true, but getting paid a lot so that the personal sacrifices would be that much greater isn't greater moral ill for the news anchors. They could go and get regular jobs (ie at median pay when starting a different career, but are over-leveraged, basically. That's a tough spot to be in, but it doesn't make it OK to participate in further debasement of the system.


Yeah, I think very few outlets are doing well these days, aside from the New York Times and maybe one or two others. (Which makes it a little ironic for the NYT to stir fear about one company having too much power over what people see, especially since they're no strangers to pushing narratives themselves...)


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Well that Godwinned quickly.


Slippery slope is not a compelling argument.


At least ModernMech made an argument, which you have chosen not to do.

Dismissiveness is not a compelling argument.

Journalists have a social duty to tell the truth, as they understand it. This duty in particular extends to keeping a check on government. Participating in the deployment of propaganda is not a slippery slope, it is a violation of trust. If our journalists are willing to participate, then we have a problem.


> Participating in the deployment of propaganda is not a slippery slope, it is a violation of trust. If our journalists are willing to participate, then we have a problem.

I agree, and my intent originally was not to downplay the core problem, but to point out that dismissing them as "gutless cowards" was not the ideal way to approach it.


Or maybe they had families and mortgages and student loans that they couldn't drop on a dime because they got asked to do something basically unheard of on the nightly news? Sinclair affiliates are primarily NOT located in the kind of metropolises where a journalist could expect to get a job the next week, either.


You are insulting the wrong people. Please do not blame the victims for choosing not to walk willingly into homelessness and financial ruin. Blame those that allow such gross power imbalances to occur.


You're right that a power imbalance caused this but that doesn't let the news anchors off the hook. These anchors know what their talents are. They are trained to speak with confidence and to appear as an information authority to their communities. This isn't some cog in the machine tweaking a spreadsheet in an office building that leads to some guy losing a job 1,000 miles away. These anchors are allowing their faces and their voices and the direct trust vested in their personalities to be abused for propaganda.

These anchors should be pushing back because when the shoe drops (like it is now) they will be taking the heat for being paid stooges. They will be disgraced in their community and just replaced by someone else willing to read whatever they're told until it happens again.


How are we to know who they are when they have effective control of the media?

homelessness and financial ruin

News anchors in the Bay Area are paid about $4-500k. They may be operating under onerous contracts with clawbacks, but they could budget strategically or fight those contracts in court to expose how bad they are, either personally or via their union. Very few people have that kind of financial room to maneuver or the public following that would bring a sympathetic audience for a legal battle.


SF is not a typical market.

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/reporters-co...

Median pay for on-screen television news talent is less than $40k/year. That encompasses everyone, not just the anchors (aka "broadcast news analysts"), but the number for them is about $57k/year. The typical career progression is for people to move to larger cities, with larger and richer media markets, to earn higher pay.

The majority of Sinclair-owned stations are not in San Francisco.

But you are otherwise correct, the union hasn't been earning its dues here, and the highly-paid anchors haven't assumed leadership roles against the Sinclair contracts, either. Most individual anchors are not in a position of power with respect to their own employers. They may have a position of power over other people's employers, but they emphatically cannot run a critical piece on their own bosses and expect to keep sitting behind that broadcast desk, or any other.

Acting as anonymous source for a print news journalist (working for a different media conglomerate) is probably the best they can do.


Isn't that the entire model since long of the owners of multiple local news channels? It's a running joke on reddit since so many years.


The problem is that they’re the single largest television broadcaster.

Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, the company is the largest television station operator in the United States by number of stations, and largest by total coverage; owning or operating a total of 193 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in over 100 markets (covering 40% of American households), many of which are located in the South and Midwest.


With the shift to the various 21st century streaming platforms, broadcast TV in its traditional form is rapidly becoming the bastion of the elderly. The average traditional broadcast news viewer is 50+[1] so very soon Sinclair will be dominating retirement homes everywhere in America. It's a demographic that will literally die out from under them, and seems like a poor long-term investment.

[1] http://www.journalism.org/2016/07/07/pathways-to-news/


You may not be aware of this, but typically you don’t enter a nursing home at 50. Either way, Sinclair is also well into streaming services, which you could have discovered with even a cursory glance at their Wikipedia page. Of course, a huge number of people, especially people who vote, are in that same age bracket.


Why is the part about Sinclair news reporting on "Islamic terror" and "Trump support" singled out. Do they not report on anything else at all? Or is reporting on both this stuff by default a wrong thing to do?


Sinclair does not report on anything. Local TV stations do their own journalism, but Sinclair owns the station and can order the local broadcasters to read scripts.

Those topics are likely the only ones with concrete evidence.


Sinclair are a media company that owns local news stations. For the past few years, they've been feeding "must run" content (in the form of pre-recorded segments or scripts for anchors to read) to those news stations to be presented along side news.

Those segments are, overwhelmingly, right-wing talking points.


How much would it cost to buy all that airtime?


After making it about halfway through the comments here, I flagged TFA. It is probably "hypocritical" for me to say this, since I also have political opinions. Here it is anyway: despite the widespread understanding that "mainstream" news media leans Democrat, the fact that USA president is controversial and drives increased viewership has added tens of millions of dollars to their bottom lines. This would make a thoughtful person wonder just how committed to the Democrats (or "the truth"?) they really are. Similar observations about other media firms are left as an exercise for the reader.


Why is this news? Conan covered this years ago. https://mic.com/articles/77721/watch-conan-o-brien-bust-loca...


Because Sinclair just purchased more TV stations, so many in fact that it was banned under previous administrations at the FCC. At the start of 2017, the FCC just rewrote the rules allowing Sinclair to own a large swath of the US's local news capacity.

In many markets they're the sole source of local news.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-07/sinclair-...


They're also the most likely candidate to pick up the pieces when iHeartRadio goes bankrupt. They're going to have the strongest propaganda outlet since the times of Hearst newspapers. This is an abject failure of the FCC.


The FCC hasn't failed, here. They were intentionally hamstrung by the right wing.

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


I'm not sure it's a failure so much as the desired outcome for the right. Controlling the information people have access to allows them to fight against those pesky "facts" and "science".


Because it's still a problem and it's just getting worse?


I'm not clear why this is a problem. A corporation asked its broadcasters to make a statement on fake news. This statement sounds similar to others made by other corporate owned networks. Viewers are invited to comment on the website.


- people trust local media

- a single corporation owns a fuckton of those local stations

- the same corporation writes a script to broadcast on every station

- media hosts or journalists can't say "no". Do the job or lose your job. They're not free to report news without bias

- you don't know everything about everything, so you're inclined to trust the news because they're supposed to be neutral and report facts

- ultimately you internalize a biased opinion that was poured down onto you by the will of a handful of shareholders

Why can't you see the problem?


Not the person you're replying to, but I also have a hard time seeing the problem. Or rather, I can see the problem, but this is how I would've expected news to have been done for decades. I grew up when there was only 4 TV channels and no internet. I would have assumed CBS (or its parent) would have controlled all the CBS affiliates in this way in the 80s. NBC would do the same, etc.


Actually, no, back in that day long ago, in a world far away, the local broadcaster wasn't 'owned' by the big three. The local broadcaster was independent, and they got their feed for first run programming, and the "world news" from their affiliation (more akin to the local purchasing the rights to broadcast) with one of the big three majors.

There used to be actual regulations on the books that prevented this type of consolidation from happening. Then, sometime circa. the 1980's, those laws were tossed out, leading to today where one single corporate parent controls nearly 200 local broadcasters in a very direct way.


It's one (sinclair) pretending to be many (local news stations).

Standard advice is check multiple sources. This pretends to be "multiple sources" when really it's just one.

Sinclair is effectively and echo chamber on TV. Web standards, don't like it, navigate else where. TV Standards, change the channel, get the same stuff. See how that is much more dangerous?


But this is the way it's been as far back as I can remember. You might think reading your local news is an independent source, but it's often mostly a copy/pasta from Reuters or simply reporting that another news company said something. I never believed that my local "Action 9 News" caster was actually doing any journalism. Maybe for local stories, but for anything national they were just regurgitating the company line.


Newspapers pay Reuters for access to their stories because Reuters has pretty good writing on offer for less than it would cost the paper to do the work itself. They can choose what stories they want to put their name on, and they are even free to modify a story from Reuters if they want to. Reuters doesn't tell the newspapers want to print. It's not even a little bit similar to what people are talking about here.


Then I think the discussion should reflect that. So what has changed is that now there's apparently an explicit rule that news stations must continue to follow the behavior they've been exhibiting for decades. Also, there's a little more structure to it now.


No? A corporation forcing news outlets to issue editorial statements (and without disclosure) isn't remotely the same thing as a newspaper voluntarily paying Reuters for access to its reporting. It's like the difference between buying an apple at the farmer's market and having somebody pour bleach in your eyes. There's a level of abstraction where you could describe those two things in similar terms ("oh, you're just having a substance enter your body"), but they are not at all the same in any meaningful way.


I understand what you're saying, I'm just more cynical about old media than you are. Technically old media in the 80s could have theoretically expressed unique opinions that didn't toe the company line of the wealthy establishment, they just coincidentally never did. Now many of them are owned by the same company and use the same language.


I guess you're completely ignorant of the Fairness Doctrine, then.


A link, in case anyone is lazy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine


"this way" is not news reporting, it's propaganda.


"They're not free to report news without bias... they're supposed to be neutral and report facts"

I know I sound cynical, but does any thinking person actually believe that? That strikes me as incredibly naive.


They're not free to report news without bias

You're taking this out of context. You come to know your local news reporters, learn their biases, and they build some kind of trust with them. You might even see them at events or having a meal with their family and have a personal relationship with them. As stated a few times in this thread, Sinclair bought this trust & is violating it.

they're supposed to be neutral and report facts

It's not naive to think this. News shows and publications generally have a clear divider between "reporting" and {"opinion"|"editorial"|"analysis"}. I'd also like to think most people can tell the difference, regardless, between and opinion, "immigrants are good for the country" and declarative statements, "Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any President before him".

Now, if the guy behind the desk on your 11 O'Clock news incorrectly reports that the the head of the local hospital personally leads a "death panel" that decides if your grandmother gets to live, you can easily march down there and sort it out yourself, hell you might even know the head of that hospital and know right off that this is factually false. Soon, you won't trust this lie peddling news outlet again, and they'll have to make some sort of change.

Of course, there are organizations out there that lie when making declarative statements, like the "death panel" example above, but those are generally on the national/Internet level, because someone in Jacksonville, FL can't reasonably verify a story about what's happening across the country or in DC like they can with a story about the Jaguars, so there's always some shadow of doubt...

The key here truly lies in buying up local news outlets.


It is cynical, but it's also very common now to believe that, and that is very dangerous to democracy. The level of distrust of anything and everything seems to be at an all time high. The idea that one large corporation is using their power to further that distrust should cause pause, or at least some questioning about motives.


Well, trust is earned, it is not a right. So far they appear to be failing in earning people's trust.


It's ironic (cue pedants) because they're denouncing one-sided presentations that advance a particular agenda while using a facade of ostensibly independent-minded locals that are actually mouthpieces for their remote overlords.

It betrays that their indignation isn't so much over dangers to democracy as it is their loosening grip on the ability to frame the discussion of any given day.

https://youtu.be/TRBppdC1h_Y

https://youtu.be/0ljI-isM0bg


Except they're not "mouth pieces". Local journalists are much more independent than national ones. This instance by Sinclair of attempting to combat the national news broadcasters was a David vs Goliath attempt, and they are coming out of it much worse than David did.


"Independence" is incompatible with "being forced by corporate to grant your credibilty to their talking points".

You can't say Sinclair is "combating the national news broadcasters"; they themselves are a national news broadcaster. They just happen to like branding themselves with local faces.


Please explain how "independent" they are, in the context of them being forced to repeat a script from Sinclair news. I'm not even sure how you can miss the contradiction.


Haha, nothing gets you downvoted faster in Hacker News than expressing an anti-current-administration opinion. This place is being closely brigaded.


The problem is the corporation. Sinclair has it's own political agenda. Forcing anchors across the US to recite something is bad enough, but when that something is of questionable truth, and orchestrated to minimuze Sinclair's own propensity to push its right-ist agenda, it's downright scary.


Local stations are the least of our problems. 232 executives control news to 277 million Americans (from 2012). This was what I hoped the article was about.

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-...


Ignoring local stations makes the situation worse.


Yeah, just about as scary as GE, Disney, Time Warner et al. pushing their left wing agendas via CNN, MSNBC/NBC and ABC.

See, everyone can play this game in the Postmodernist world.


Ignoring the fact that there are far more than left/right in the real world, I take issue with the equivalency you're making between Right and Left in the USA. While both sides have many pet issues and wedge issues that are divisive and bad for democracy, the right is denying scientific truth and actively contradicting its extreme budget-hawkishness under the previous president. While the left is bought quite a bit, the right is even more bought by the Kochs, big business, and wealthy donors. Look at the only accomplishment of the right coalition: a major tax cut that expires quickly for everyone except the rich, who receive a massive win in perpetuity.

If you look globally, we don't have a Right/Left in the USA, we have an EXTREME right in power and a moderate left in minority. The GOP is the only party in the world whose stance is that climate change is a hoax. We withdrew from the Paris accord while Syria and North Korea have joined it. That is despicably anti-scientific. If you compare Obama's middle of the road left-ism to Trump's extreme right stances, its quite shocking. There can be no false equivalence between the R and L in this country, one is evidently far more extreme.


It's extraordinarily worrying to me that the American Left uses 'science' as a shield for its ideological positions and the adherents of its ideology lap it up and repeat it.

I don't care so much about the ideological positions. What I care about is the constant, systemic undermining of science.

Take your comment, for instance. You throw about the notion of 'scientific truth', as if this is even a thing. Science does not deal in truth. Truth is for the priests and the philosophers. This 'Temple of Science' American Leftists have attempted to create, where all beliefs of the American Left (like climate change, organic food, socialism, tabula rasa, and Boasian anthropology) are enshrined as 'Science', unassailable to criticism (criticizing them means you are 'not educated' or 'don't understand science') regardless the flimsiness of the papers published to support those positions, makes science a partisan field.

The American Right has been trained to hate and distrust science. They hate it. They think scientists are all frauds. Why? Because 'scientists', they are told, again and again, support all these Leftist ideological bents that are not science, and that those on the Right know, at some level, are not science.

Anthropogenic global warming, as an example, is utter nonsense. Without NOAA, NASA, and GHCN doing heavy manipulation of the raw data before the thousands of scientists who work on it ever see that data, you don't have climate change.[1] Without concealing historical sea ice data, these agencies don't have anything abnormal to report on that front.[2]

Right now, you have a situation in America where a bunch of zealots have claimed science as their own, to push their decidedly non-scientific, partisan ideologies... and the other bunch of zealots on the other side of the aisle have disclaimed science as full of shills and charlatans hoaxing the public for tax dollars.

I don't know if you actually care about science. I suspect you don't - otherwise you wouldn't be using 'scientific truth' (no such thing) as a shield for your ideology.

But I do, and frankly, when I see one side of the most powerful nation on Earth using science as its meat shield and the other side concomitantly coming to view science with hostility and suspicion, when science used to be an apolitical source of wonderment for people from all ideological backgrounds in that same country half a century ago, I am deeply afraid for the future of real scientific investigation.

[1] https://realclimatescience.com/100-of-us-warming-is-due-to-n...

[2] https://realclimatescience.com/government-arctic-sea-ice-fra...


GE, Disney, and Time Warner are left wing now? Did they radically change over the weekend and I didn't notice?


Citations please? Preferably from sources located near the middle of this diagram.[1]

1 - https://ei.marketwatch.com/Multimedia/2016/12/15/Photos/NS/M...


OK but now you have to explain why pushing a "left wing agenda" is supposed to be scary.

Was it voting rights? Is voting rights scary? Or perhaps universal health care? Is that scary? Or a public education? Wooow that's REALLY scary!

Come on.. scare us! We liberals love a good scary story!


It's easy if you just blindly accept the axioms of one of the groups. You accept the axioms of left wingers, so it doesn't seem scary to you. I'm not a right winger but they could just as easily say: murdering millions of unborn children, robbing us of our right to defend ourselves, denying the right to freedom of association, infringing on our freedom of speech, infringing on our freedom of religion, etc. Those are all pretty scary.


> robbing us of our right to defend ourselves

Well, the problem with that narrative is that most of the center-left is quite happy to find a comprimise. It seems like arms dealers are too, actually. It's mostly the NRA unable to disengage its PR machine from collapsing the entire narrative to "you'll take our guns" vs "total gun freedom".

So that itself is a good thing to bring up: it's impossible to disassemble with facts because it's already counterfactual.

Similar things can be said of the freedom of association and freedom of religion arguments. They're currently fixed by a narrative of constant assault that most folks freely admit is poorly supported in their daily experience, but that they're convinced (by media groups coordinated by Sinclair) are just over the horizon coming from them.

It's certainly fair to claim left wing media has bias. We should always be watchful for bias and unfairness in our media. It's just that right now, unless you believe in hidden child porn rings in pizza shops being shut down by a secret Trump task force (the Storm, a literal extension of pizzagate), potential influence from demons/lizard people in the democratic party (Alex Jones pushes this narrative), or a global Jewish coordinated conspiracy that reaches down to the level of each individual life on the planet, and that ever Muslim is part of a coordinated global conspiracy to "end whitness"... Well you get the picture. Unless you believe in the output of this machine coordinated to spread this disinformation (and I say machine because we've got people freely admitting part of it is theirs, e.g., Cambridge Analytica), facts and uncharitable readings are sufficient from the left wing media.

A centrist or even a libertarian should have no problem picking their poison in the marketplace of ideas, unless they're genuinely bought into these increasingly absurd conspiracy theories that put 9/11-truther levels of weird to shame.


* Noting I'm arguing someone else's position. *

>Well, the problem with that narrative is that most of the center-left is quite happy to find a comprimise. It seems like arms dealers are too, actually. It's mostly the NRA unable to disengage its PR machine from collapsing the entire narrative to "you'll take our guns" vs "total gun freedom".

You too are collapsing the narrative to "NRA is evil." The power that the NRA has is that it can mobilize countless voters who support what the NRA does. Pretending that the NRA is a rogue organization that doesn't represent a huge segment of the population is disingenuous.

>A centrist or even a libertarian should have no problem picking their poison in the marketplace of ideas, unless they're genuinely bought into these increasingly absurd conspiracy theories that put 9/11-truther levels of weird to shame.

Tell me again how Trump is a fascist and neo-Nazis are taking over the country. And further that Trump who bombed the shit out of a major Russian ally (Syria) is under the thumb of Russia because of pee-pee tape in the same breath that you make fun of Trump for being a germaphobe (part of why he eats so much fast food).


> You too are collapsing the narrative to "NRA is evil."

I'm not sure if the NRA is evil or not. I don't think "evil" is a very good label for Atheists to use, and I count myself among that cohort.

I think the NRA's published position matches with my account. I do not think it's a helpful or reasonable position.

> Pretending that the NRA is a rogue organization that doesn't represent a huge segment of the population is disingenuous.

Quite the contrary, I think the NRA represents a rather small segment of the population. They're trying to broaden that segment with significant cash outlay and with very misleading arguments that turn things like, "Bans on modifications that allow semi-automatic weapons to achieve >2r/s sustained fire rates" into "They hate our freedom and they're coming for our guns and it's time to strike back." That's a chartiable reading of NRATV's current message.

> Tell me again how Trump is a fascist and neo-Nazis are taking over the country.

"Taking over" is certainly not the word. "Have always been here and are increasingly more exposed." Unless of course we ignore the continued defense of openly self-labeled neo-nazi groups right out of Trump's own mouth, this is a factual reading of the situation.

> is under the thumb of Russia because of pee-pee tape

Any president would fall prey to this rumor. It's hilarious. I wish Obama had a pee-pee tape scandal. It's quintessentially American.

What's I hope less so is the direct and numerous conflicts of interest that have been poorly handled by the Trump admin, the numerous (denied) allegations of campaign finance violations that were then not only proven, but plead guilty to by Trump's cohort.

Again: you're equivocating based on utterly meaningless and boring things. Sure, some leftits are dumb. For the most part, the center-left media ignores the majority of these stories after they come out (as has been pointed out in other places, Fox brings up the pee tape more over time than any other outlet). Nor have I actually ever even heard the phrase, "Trump is a germophobe" come up except as a refutation.

All this is smoke and mirrors, and an attempt to deflect from the truly frightening admissions that folk who ran the Trump campaign's media have made. They're literally suggesting the use of human trafficking to run a sex entrapment extortion game on politicans and you're like, "Well the libs believe in a peepee tape." I'm sure some libs believe in UFOs too, but this doesn't dismiss or excuse the facts at hand.


>I think the NRA's published position matches with my account. I do not think it's a helpful or reasonable position.

The NRA's position is no more unreasonable than forcing Christians to pay for what they believe to be child murder.

>Bans on modifications that allow semi-automatic weapons to achieve >2r/s sustained fire rates

Actually, after the Las Vegas shooting the NRA came out in favor of banning bump stocks. [0]

>"Have always been here and are increasingly more exposed." Unless of course we ignore the continued defense of openly self-labeled neo-nazi groups right out of Trump's own mouth, this is a factual reading of the situation.

Yep, they've always been there and while there's fluctuations the general trend is there are fewer and fewer of them. The largest neo-Nazi gathering in ages was a year or two ago and they managed to get a few hundred people to show up. The outsized media attention on these crazy people is to attempt to associate them with the approximate half of the country which happens to vote Republican. In contrast you can look at the media coverage of Antifa and other far left groups that have set fires and killed people over the last few years. It's very different and it's easy to understand why.

It's also important to look at the big picture here. Rather than condemning the alt-right he said there were "good people" on both sides of a rally where someone was killed and one of those sides was the alt-right. But do you know what that allowed him to do? He was in a position where he was able to go to Congress with a position supporting a path to citizenship for dreamers in exchange for increased funding for border control and some stupid wall funding. And there was hardly any push back from the far right. Giving them a tongue lashing might have made you feel better, but it likely would not have helped the country in any way.

>All this is smoke and mirrors, and an attempt to deflect from the truly frightening admissions that folk who ran the Trump campaign's media have made. They're literally suggesting the use of human trafficking to run a sex entrapment extortion game on politicans and you're like, "Well the libs believe in a peepee tape." I'm sure some libs believe in UFOs too, but this doesn't dismiss or excuse the facts at hand.

Some crazy right wingers have some crazy conspiracy theories like 9-11 truthers and pizzagate. Some crazy left wingers have some crazy conspiracy theories about GMOs, alternative medicine, vaccines, etc. But this isn't a discussion about who has the craziest crazies, this discussion is about how the mainstream media biases when reporting on all issues including the crazies.

[0]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/top-house-republica...


> He was in a position where he was able to go to Congress with a position supporting a path to citizenship for dreamers in exchange for increased funding for border control and some stupid wall funding. And there was hardly any push back from the far right. Giving them a tongue lashing might have made you feel better, but it likely would not have helped the country in any way.

This "Trump is playing 4d hyperchess and can see externalities that by the way didn't actually pan out because not only did DACA not go through, but Trump took it off the table spitefully because he couldn't secure wall funding" argument? Unconvincing at best. I don't believe it because I don't see evidence of it. But I certainly don't think that the desire to appease conservative Americans includes calling people who publicly state their goal is to establish a white ethnostate in the ashes of American democracy "good people." They're literally opposing the institutions and laws he swore to uphold.

> Some crazy right wingers have some crazy conspiracy theories like 9-11 truthers and pizzagate. Some crazy left wingers have some crazy conspiracy theories about GMOs, alternative medicine, vaccines, etc. But this isn't a discussion about who has the craziest crazies, this discussion is about how the mainstream media biases when reporting on all issues including the crazies.

And yet you're seemingly unwilling to quote, engage, or even acknowledge that side of the conversation?

I find that side of the discussion much more interesting.


>This "Trump is playing 4d hyperchess and can see externalities

Whether or not Trump's behavior is intentional or accidental, the outcome is the same.

>And yet you're seemingly unwilling to quote, engage, or even acknowledge that side of the conversation?

As I acknowledged multiple times in this thread, I'm not even arguing my own position. I'm pointing out that there are other ways of seeing the world, other axioms that can be accepted which make the mainstream media look very biased. I don't need to engage in an argument about whether neo-Nazis are worse than Antifa because it's irrelevant to our conversation. The topics I brought up were pretty mainstream things like abortion, gun rights, etc. You have brought the conversation to the fringe. But this isn't about the fringe. It's about the middle. Of course the bias is expressed in how the media talks about the fringe too, but again that's irrelevant. We probably agree on many if not most of these issues, but conservatives are not crazy in seeing that the mass media doesn't represent them fairly, or in many cases doesn't represent them at all.


All you're doing is deflecting and avoiding meaningful conversation about very serious issues involving data privacy and information manipulation in an effort to equivocate. I can read your other comments, and I can see how you play this game.

I'm uninterested in continuing with you in any capacity. Thank you for your time, but we won't speak again while you use this name. Goodbye.


This is my first message in this thread:

>It's easy if you just blindly accept the axioms of one of the groups. You accept the axioms of left wingers, so it doesn't seem scary to you. I'm not a right winger but they could just as easily say: murdering millions of unborn children, robbing us of our right to defend ourselves, denying the right to freedom of association, infringing on our freedom of speech, infringing on our freedom of religion, etc. Those are all pretty scary.

The whole point of the discussion is to point out that the world looks differently if you accept different axioms. I'm sorry if it bothered you that I wasn't willing to debate the merits of your views vs the views of the imaginary third party I described, but I think my intentions were clear here.


OK now you have to prove that Disney/CNN/etc. is pushing a pro-abortion agenda.

Or that they're pushing government to limit your rights to free speech or religion.

Where did Disney & CNN say government should limit your rights to free speech & religion?


I am not a conservative so I'm voicing what I understand to be someone else's opinion.

The major media companies including CNN heavily toed the government line that religious groups do not have the right to avoid paying for child murder on religious grounds.

Government funded public universities regularly hassle, cancel, and provide insufficient security for conservative speakers. This is government funded censorship and the media has carefully avoided putting it in those terms because they support the position of censoring conservatives.


Non-US citizen here. I just love how "left wing" is now defined in America.

Disney is now left wing. Yep.


It's unbelievable how narrow the overton window is, and people think it's larger than it really is. There is very little separating Democrats and Republicans in 2018, at least from party officials (I believe the population is further left than represented). Voting rights, universal healthcare, public education is not a concern of any "left" wing media any longer; that ended a long time ago. "Left" wing media also helped push us into the Iraq War, helping to set the stage for American approval.


It's gotten a lot larger this election cycle, though. Trump really enabled the liberal base, enough so that you hear talk about repealing the 2nd amendment.


I think it has gotten larger in reality like you said, but our Media doesn't display it even in the slightest because none of it is free from corporate interests.


I'm FAR more concerned about national stations like CNN than local Sinclair stations. Just anti-american agenda based news non-stop. Some of us happen to like the country we live in.


Can you clarify what you mean by "anti-american agenda"?

Questioning authority is absolutely the most appropriate task for the free press. IMO at least this part is not "anti-american".

Let's further the discussion -- take a look at http://lite.cnn.io/en -- there's about 40-50 stories there. Please pick the top five or ten and help illustrate which among those demonstrate the bias you refer to. Or if the problem is less widespread, please indicate which among the 40-50 there illustrate the bias.


You can like your country and still be critical of behaviour done in it's name. In fact - I would say it's a duty. If you care about something, you care about it's well being and reputation.

Would you call reporting on, say, The Mai Lai Massacre or the Kent State shootings "anti-american"? How about Monica Lewinsky or Watergate?


Systematically destroying the trust in all other sources of truth so that you are the only source of truth is a dangerous tactic that is used to consolidate power in the minds of a population. This argument needs to be called out any time its used and by anyone that uses it. I am on the left, if any democrat used this argument to gain power I would call them out.

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