Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Tracking Political Manipulation Through Social Media (ycombinator.com)
77 points by sajid 54 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 64 comments



I will start taking research like this seriously when authors will start discussing media spin as part of the problem. If you think bots are a problem, but news websites engaging in blatant, Orwellian language and fact bending are not... you should at leas be able to back it up with comparative research on effectiveness, which I've never seen being done. Online "discussions" of political topics are saturated with links to traditional media.

Increasingly, I think giving up on "news" and social media altogether is the best solution. I've quit most of it. HN is the closes thing to social media I visit. I watch YouTube, but limit videos to specific educational content.


Indeed. People have come to treat the news not as a dull obligation to be informed about the world so that they can make boring but important decisions, but as a form of entertainment. It's more akin to watching sports on TV, except that we actually have skin in the game and some affect on its outcome.

You don't really need this news on a daily basis. News that actually affects you is rare; news that you can apply is rarer. You do get to make a decision every couple of years, and you do have some ability to affect things even between elections, but the vast majority of daily news consumption is more about getting to shout at the players on the TV rather than actually achieving anything.

So I applaud your decision to opt out of it. You can get everything you need to know about the next election in a few hours, two Novembers from now. Unfortunately, in the meantime, a lot of people will be using the shouting-at-the-TV to reaffirm their preconceptions of their own righteousness and the villainy of their opponents, and their decisions will be based largely on exacerbating that.


I notice you put "news" in quotes. Online discussions of news and aggregators are a terrible, bubble enforcing way of engaging with the news. And I would be cautious to call our online news (and cable news) 'traditional media.' They are a different animal. Even quality print publications have vastly different standards for what they publish online vs what gets printed. That said, while I'd agree that spin may be a bigger problem now due to this, spin has always been a problem. However, I think the way we engage with the news, as consumers, has made spin more detrimental than it has been in the past and perhaps more dangerous. To me, this consumerist model is the "news," but there are still great ways to engage with the news - you don't have to give it up.

As a high-schooler I was lucky enough to take a news focused civics course, where we received a subscription to Time Magazine and the local paper. Every day we'd get together and discuss the news, differing viewpoints in different media sources, and try to ferret out the "Orwellian language and fact bending" you discuss. To do this we had to engage with different news sources and actually _read_ the articles. Not just five or six mutually reinforcing headlines and a bunch of reddit comments.

As I sad, there are still good ways of engaging with the news media. There are plenty of publications still producing quality journalism, and publications that provide a thoughtful aggregation and discussion of the news. The Week comes to mind immediately and has continued to act a little bit like that class for me. I would not read David French without it, but I'm glad I do. Similarly, I keep a subscription to the local paper so I can read the local news (The rest of the paper is mostly wire trash, so I don't make a point of reading all of it) High Country News to keep up with regional news, and a few other monthlies for in-depth thinking and analysis of the news.

There's a stark difference in what the "news" is once you disengage with the 24-hour-cycle-driven consumerist news model - which the internet is incredible are reinforcing- and choose to engage, rather than consume, with news and analysis. The spin starts to fall away, and partially because it becomes more explicit. The monthlies I subscribe to have a very open, very clear agenda.

To put it in a much shorter way, we all need to stop reading "news" stories with headlines of "...and the internet blew up" or "...caused a tweet storm..." and instead engage with (vs consume) media about the macro in quality publications where you can identify the viewpoint and then seek out opposing view points.


You honestly do not consume any news about current world events, whether local, national, or international? Or do you just mean that you continually and deliberately ignore political news? I mean, that's not exactly rare: 100 million eligible voters (42%) did not even care to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election[0]; I suppose they either don't believe their vote would matter, or that Hillary and Trump were the same enough. I would think there are still easily tens of thousands of those people are still indifferent about the electoral process. Anyway, to me, it's easy to see how sports, video games, TV shows, porn, eating, alcohol, weed, and drugs can be seen as more interesting than, for instance, the current "battle" about if, when, and where the 2019 State of the Union address will take place.

[0] http://archive.is/NDUkb


>You honestly do not consume any news about current world events, whether local, national, or international?

Not intentionally. Information about big things still leaks through websites like HN and Slashdot, through articles/interviews about "non-newsy" subjects, as well as through people I know.

I've considered quitting HN and Slashdot too, but I need up-to-date technical information to do my job effectively. Can't find a good alternative.

>100 million eligible voters (42%) did not even care to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election

When I need to vote these days, I approach it as buying a piece of electronics. I dedicate time to research my options. As in, sit down and spend several hours or days searching for relevant (to me) information on the candidates. Obviously, this might include news articles if they are relevant, but those have to be articles about something specific (e.g. some particular thing a candidate did in relation to a particular social or economic issue I'm interested in).

It's a tedious process, but I think it's better than passively and continuously consuming whatever some media outlet cooks up to fill their air time, print space or website home page.


This interview should be held up as a definitive educational material for anyone working around social media platforms. Really shines an important spotlight on how bad actors manipulate digital information, and how to adjust business and mental models towards mitigating platform manipulation into the future.

Really pleased to hear how much research and thought is being done in this area now. Looking forward to hearing more from this team.


Giant media corporations owned by billionaires, run by millionaires, and overwhelmingly staffed by members/partisans of a single political party pump out propaganda on all of their mediums 24/7 and totally dominate and saturate public opinion but we are supposed to understand that "bots" are a threat to democracy? As someone who has been deemed a "bot" by people who do not wish to hear information they do not like on more occasions than I can recall, I note an insidious aspect of this emphasis on "bots" is that it allows the ready dismissal of any individual expressing heterodoxy and glorifies/sanctifies the "official" media previously described. Yet we saw this past week that social media users were able to win a rare victory in bringing the "official" media to heel for their lies and manipulation in setting upon a group of innocent schoolchildren. The official media hates it when their marks push back and thus we get propaganda like this study.


Well we also had social media users falsely doxing some family because they thought one of the kids was involved in the events in said video:

https://www.dailywire.com/news/42442/leftist-mob-wrongly-ide...

And there have been attacks on media sites, blogs, etc that admit their previous coverage was wrong and their attitudes towards the kids unwarranted.

So sometimes its the public bringing the media to heel, sometimes its the other way around, and sometimes it both groups acting like idiots and not doing any research whatsoever.

But yeah, there is definitely an undertone of disdain towards the internet, freedom of expression, outsider journalists and news sources, etc from the established corporate ones. And a lot of the 'initiatives' I've seen for monetising news sources, tackling bots and 'fake news', etc definitely seem very anti consumer/anti rights.


Yes, the giant media corporations bleat about the importance of a "free and independent press" out of one side of their mouths whilst simultaneously shitting all over the mediums that are most accessible to the average person and allow him or her to amplify his voice.


People have organized protests based on Internet chats, FB groups etc, I know because I’ve attended several such protests in the last couple of years based on FB alone. Nowadays it’s pretty hard to gather people on the streets using “traditional” media like TV, radio and print press. Not impossible, just harder, at least an order of magnitude harder. As such controlling the internet means controlling democracy, i.e. the power (kratos) of the people (demos).


> Giant media corporations owned by billionaires, run by millionaires, and overwhelmingly staffed by members/partisans of a single political party pump out propaganda on all of their mediums 24/7 and totally dominate and saturate public opinion but we are supposed to understand that "bots" are a threat to democracy?

Yes? At least if we're talking about hostile nation-state sponsored bot networks and influence campaigns. Domestic media companies and personalities are perversely incentivized to polarize us, in order to make a buck, but still have vested interests in the stability and health of the nation, at the end of the day. The social harm resulting from that dynamic is just a side-effect of plain old greed or agendas. Its a problem that also needs addressing.

But hostile nation-states are something else entirely, they have very different motivations - social harm and instability are direct goals, not simply side-effects - and these actors are out of reach of our legal system and domestic regulation.

> Yet we saw this past week that social media users were able to win a rare victory in bringing the "official" media to heel for their lies and manipulation in setting upon a group of innocent schoolchildren. The official media hates it when their marks push back and thus we get propaganda like this study.

I mean.. social media (twitter, in this case) is where the video was shared and then amplified. We'll see how things develop, but some investigative reporting so far is suggesting that it may have come from an "inauthentic" account and amplified by a bot network. If that's the case, it will be interesting to find out if it was a foreign or domestic network.


>At least if we're talking about hostile nation-state sponsored bot networks and influence campaigns.

typical mumbo-jumbo of ominous sounding buzzwords that hinge on nothing but a laughable DHS report and the same intelligence agencies that have repeatedly lied to the american public to further their global agenda inherited from the cold war. unless you were referring to the bots that systematically post toxic nonsense within seconds of every single one of trump's tweet?

>in order to make a buck, but still have vested interests in the stability and health of the nation, at the end of the day.

are we reading the same news? are we really going to pretend this nonstop media hysteria is driven by greed and not near fanatical ideology? they are interested in maintaining the status quo, that is a very different concept than the stability of a nation as a whole. if things were going so well we wouldn't be here to begin with.

"Russian bots" has become the new Orwellian way of dismissing dissidence.


> typical mumbo-jumbo of ominous sounding buzzwords that hinge on nothing but a laughable DHS report and the same intelligence agencies that have repeatedly lied to the american public to further their global agenda inherited from the cold war.

Independent researchers, journalists and the social networks themselves are all contributors in the ongoing effort to understanding the scope and nature of social media manipulation, so no - this all doesn't hinge on any single report.

But even so, the big bad intelligence agencies actually do work in the national interest, at least some of the time - so there's nothing particularly wrong or stupid with considering information sourced from them. As tempting as it is to mainline the kind of hardcore conspiratorial cynicism that would make one believe otherwise, it can result in a distorted, simplistic view of the world.

> unless you were referring to the bots that systematically post toxic nonsense within seconds of every single one of trump's tweet?

I don't read Trumps tweets or their comments, but possibly yes.

Unfortunately the wider issue here of state-sponsored social media manipulation has been co-mingled wrongly with the various politicized Russia/Trump collusion narratives. But these strategies were being deployed before Trump and will continue after Trump, and are aimed at causing civil unrest via tribalism - the kind of tribalism on display in the whole Convington protest video controversy, and possibly in comments on Trump's tweets - everyone is a target.


[flagged]


Your allegation is fitting, as that was another bit of viral fake news from the weekend. The alleged harassers were proven not to be part of the Covington Catholic group.

Confirmation bias is tempting, but maybe everyone (including the media) should be more skeptical before taking the word of a tweet for granted? The poster saw a few boys in the midst of a crowded multi-march weekend and falsely ascribed the encounter to Covington in retrospect after the original controversy blew up.

Interesting aside - Bots were found to be the viral sharing element accelerating the original spread of the Covington controversy: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/21/tech/twitter-suspends-account...


I'm gonna need you to cite your claim that the other video of the woman being harassed was fake news.

And the full video [1] of the situation does not exonerate their racist actions.

[1] https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/dont-doubt-what-you-saw-wi...


It's weird how when we talk about political manipulation we always talk about bots and fake news as only fringe media, while we overlook the biggest manipulation that comes from right wing concentrated multimedia like CNN, CNBC, etc. They have been caught publishing made up stories, communicates, fabricating witnesses multiple times. Like, dunno, Saddam's weapons of mass destruction comes to mind.


We also tend to overlook the US government's own propaganda efforts, via the Smith Mundt Modernization Act.


That’s because content like this is political manipulation, in meta form.


I think establishment outlets is a better characterization than "right wing". think of CNN and Fox News as two vectors with left and right components, but both conveniently adding up to a net upward direction (just look how excited they get over the prospect of more intervensionism, and let's not forget Fox coverage of Trump until they realized they had to get onboard). That overlapping part is the neo liberal + neocon establishment, both equally averse to "far right" and "far left" momentum, which typically share a common resentment directed toward the top of the pyramid.


I don't think most people in the United States would consider CNN or CNBC right-wing. That's more Fox's purview.


Cue a thousand commenters descending to tell you that no party in the US is sufficiently socialist to be considered “left”. But of course, Fox is not authentically right, either.

CNN is inner party (Dem) media, Fox is outer party (Rep).


> right wing concentrated multimedia

I read that to mean: their primary focus/concentration is criticism of the right-from-center political wing. Perhaps poor wording on the OP, but I read it with the understanding that no one would consider CNN or CNBC (did they mean MSNBC?) favorable to the right. The bias is very clear with regard to those outlets.


"Most people in the United States" haven't admitted to themselves that the overriding purpose of all popular news media is constantly, insidiously to advocate for more spending on armaments and war. Historically that would have been considered rightist, but in the current context one could be forgiven some confusion...


I'm sure that's how it comes across to a far-left isolationist, just like the popular news media probably comes across as "insidiously advocating for greater globalization and surrendering American sovereignty" to a John Bircher, but that's probably because the commentators who say these things are extremists, not because the vaguely-centrist media has an appreciable agenda.


Haha "far-left" that's hilarious. I'll need to take the 2A bumper stickers off my pickup... "Isolationist" that's pretty good too. That must be why I lived and worked overseas for years and why I'm married to an immigrant. "Isolationist" has been redefined in USA (with the popular news media's help, of course) as "reluctant to drop bombs in other hemispheres". In every other place on Earth, it would mean something like "reluctant to do business or socialize with those from other nations". (Hint: we're the ones who have this wrong.)

Really I'm just a pacifist. I've paid attention to lots of awful things going on around the world for a few decades, and I've noticed that many of them can be traced back to USA Wars On X, where X is "Communism" or "Terror" or "Drugs" or "Oil Pipelines" or whatever. Our nation continually commits and suffers myriad evils in order that armaments manufacturers may be further enriched. It would be difficult to respect anyone who isn't an "extremist", by the lights of the popular news media who support those evils.


The isolationists of 1940 often travelled overseas, married immigrants, or sometimes even were immigrants themselves.


Oh great, now I'm a Nazi sympathizer, and you're still using the wrong definition of "isolationist". I guess we're done here...


The archetypal historical example of "isolationism" was American isolationism between the World Wars. And those people also called themselves "pacifists" and "non-interventionists" and "anti-war". I'm not saying you're a Nazi sympathizer, I'm saying your expressed opinions are indistinguishable from the views of people, some of whom history later came to judge as Nazi sympathizers.

> I've paid attention to lots of awful things going on around the world for a few decades, and I've noticed that many of them can be traced back to USA

Yeah, this is the kind of Noam Chomsky crap that makes you come across as "far-left", or "the kind of person who sympathizes with foreign dictatorships". My apologies.


I told myself I was done, but you've committed a foul here. By cutting off the quote at 'USA' rather than including the full 'USA Wars On X, where X is "Communism" or "Terror" or "Drugs" or "Oil Pipelines" or whatever', you make it seem that I don't value this country and its citizens. What I don't value are the stupid wars those citizens are tricked into feeding with their sons and their taxes.

Also, Noam Chomsky is twice the man and twice the American that anyone in this thread can claim to be. You don't know that, not because it isn't true, but because you are ignorant.


> ...you make it seem that I don't value this country and its citizens. What I don't value are the stupid wars those citizens are tricked into feeding with their sons and their taxes.

This could have been an exact quote from a publication of the America First Committee in 1940.

> Also, Noam Chomsky is twice the man and twice the American that anyone in this thread can claim to be. You don't know that, not because it isn't true, but because you are ignorant.

Noam Chomsky is a genocide denier. That's a hard moral line to me. Sorry it isn't the same for you.


Yes, let's take it as read, all pacifists are actually secret Nazis. How do you know what you think you know about 1940, anyway? Lindbergh accepted a medal from Germany before the war, so that means he was culpable for Auschwitz? The same brave pilot who in his forties flew 50 combat missions and helped the Army Air Corps and Marines develop better tactics that shortened the war? Wait, you're not criticizing him for shortening the war, are you?

Also, these fucking genocides. Yeah, they're terrible. (You're also completely misrepresenting what Chomsky said about Cambodia, another clusterfuck caused by CIA when they sponsored the coup in 1970, after NSA executed the Tonkin Gulf Deception in 1964 to destabilize the entire region in the first place.) I really thought it was a bad idea to kill half a million Iraqis. I don't care that you don't feel the same. There is nothing holy about a bunch of people who have nothing to do with America being killed by another bunch of people who have nothing to do with America. The problem is that USA keeps destabilizing legitimate governments in all parts of the globe, arming terrorists, and using the resulting chaos as justification for our own disastrous military operations. The problem is USA soldiers using USA munitions to kill people who have nothing to do with America.

You are not well enough informed to make moral judgments about USA military activity. You should blame the popular news media for your ignorance.


That's what it looks like to a "far-right" isolationist, too. If you hadn't noticed, Trump has been trying to extricate the US from conflict in Syria, with the media nearly unanimous in opposing this goal.

US news media is in fact generally pro-war and pro-globalization, and these are appreciable agendas which are only deemed "centrist" because they are shared by the two major parties. Outlets like CNN closely reflect the consensus of the governing elite, even when it is quite markedly out of step with the prevailing opinion of the public on any given issue.

Labeling positions which don't enjoy the endorsement of state-affiliated institutions as "extremist" is a common tactic to solidify control of the discourse. This comment reads to me as nothing more than naked worship of power.


> Trump has been trying to extricate the US from conflict in Syria, with the media nearly unanimous in opposing this goal.

The media, the left, and the remotely sane parts of the right are largely opposed to the specific mechanism; very few are opposed to the (purported) goal of extricating the US from the conflict in Syria.


The specific mechanism of withdrawing US forces from the area? I seem to recall a lot of hand-wringing from neocons about specific withdrawal strategies from Iraq, but the bottom line was that Americans would remain in Iraq.

You can't say oh, I'd like to extricate myself from this conflict, but also force a specific outcome. That's having your cake and eating it.


> The specific mechanism of withdrawing US forces from the area?

The timing, manner, and surrounding supporting activity (or lack thereof) of that withdrawal, yes.

> You can't say oh, I'd like to extricate myself from this conflict, but also force a specific outcome.

Perhaps, but you absolutely can choose the manner in which you attempt to extricate yourself from a conflict with an eye toward the likely impacts of that extrication.


Oh, that we might ever take such care when starting wars rather than when ending them...

After we abandon our misguided efforts in e.g. Libya and chaos reigns, it might be tempting to ask ourselves how the abandonment might have been more methodical or whatever. Well, it would be tempting for BHL or HRC. Wiser, less bloodthirsty observers wonder more about whether the entire conflict could have been avoided.

Actually, now that I'm reminded of Libya (easy to forget if you're just watching MSNBCNNFox...), I'm also reminded of the decidedly non-methodical way that abandonment went down. Essentially, every military vehicle was confirmed to have a full tank of gas, and all our soldiers booked the fuck out. They didn't stop for souvenirs, they didn't worry about what would happen the next day, they just left. Sure, Libya is a smoking hole, but it already was by the time Qaddafi had his intimate encounter with HRC's bayonet. Nothing additionally terrible happened because we left in a hurry. Syria still has a functioning state! Surely they'll be able to handle a quick withdrawal, whenever DJT distracts the Pentagon long enough to get it done.


We could quite literally reparent your comment under a discussion about Iraq circa 2007 and it would not look out of place coming from a neoconservative. And no wonder -- those are the same people who now form the "remotely sane parts of the right," according to the so-called left.

> The timing, manner, and surrounding supporting activity

Presumably the timing is too soon, the supporting activity not vigorous enough, etc, etc. Let's kick the can down the road another year, surely our underspecified war aims will be closer to fruition.


> We could quite literally reparent your comment under a discussion about Iraq circa 2007 and it would not look out of place coming from a neoconservative.

No one had a plan to criticize in 2007. If you mean 2009-11, sure. Or, earlier in the same conflict, in 2004 from much of the Left and non-neocon Right against the Bush Admin in discussing how the neoconservatives desire to disentangle rapidly after the defeat of Iraq was leading them to ignore the lessons of defeats of past regimes stretching back at least to WWII.

And there's plenty of historical evidence (including the conflict that drew us back into Iraq and Syria) that there was merit to both of those objections, despite them coming from very different, largely opposed, ideological factions.


I'll admit I just plucked a year at random there and it was a poor example. You've aptly demonstrated your grasp of history but think it's a case of refusing to see the forest for the trees. The question in my mind is whether you've soured on the entire imperial project or not. Were the American objectives there ever realistic? Did the war ever make sense?

The Syrian conflict itself is far too big a can of worms to open here. We probably disagree on the ground truth of what precipitated the conflict there and who's fighting whom and for what reasons. Regardless, it's very hard to convince the average American that whatever geopolitical maneuvering is happening there is worth caring about - despite very hard propaganda push campaigns in support of it.

Back to the start of the thread, it was my observation that media outlets such as CNN, Fox etc are broadly pro-war... you're basically getting the range of perspectives between State and DoD and that's about it. The broad heuristic you can use to predict their editorial slant on any issue is use-of-force maximization. And that's definitely a discernible agenda.


> The question in my mind is whether you've soured on the entire imperial project or not.

That presupposes that at one time I supported the “imperial project”; as someone who repeatedly argued that it was an example of the crime of aggression for which we rightly hung a bunch of people after WWII, I don't think that is a valid premise.

OTOH, I don't think the illegality of how you got into a position does anything to.absolve you of responsibility for the consequences of the manner of your exttication; quite the opposite.

> Were the American objectives there ever realistic? Did the war ever make sense?

No, and no. But, unless we are in a sci-fi scenario where we get to rewind time and attempt to alter the past, those are entirely irrelevant questions—as they address only should we have intervened (and actually address some of the less important factors of that question, as prospexts for success are only relevant when provocation is established) but are largely irrelevant to the question of “given that we are there now, what is the most appropriate manner for extricating ourselves from that situation.”


What I intended there was not to accuse you of anything. I still think the question is relevant, because it may be that the political objectives were never realistic, and thus the effort is Doomed with a capital D, and dogged persistence can only result in perpetual war.

It's also possible that, given the political, religious/sectarian, and economic factors at play, the region is likely to "relax into a minimum energy state," so to speak, which is unlikely to be much perturbed by the specifics of withdrawal.

There are always better and worse ways to do something. The hazard of holding out for the optimal withdrawal strategy is that it aligns you with disingenuous people who don't really want an end to the thing at all. They will poke holes incessantly in any proposal because either they still think the thing is winnable, or prolonging it advances their personal or institutional interests.

I'm still curious to know what precisely is so complicated about US withdrawal in Syria, what the counter-proposal is, and what objective it's supposed to achieve. This thread is going to get depth-limited at some point though, so I may not find out.


> I still think the question is relevant, because it may be that the political objectives were never realistic, and thus the effort is Doomed with a capital D, and dogged persistence can only result in perpetual war.

I think that your equation of my argument about the need for care in extrication with something dependent on the viability of the original war aims is misguided; the concerns are almost entirely unrelated.


Obama's withdrawal from Libya was perfect, but for a few drone operators who seem to have lost their maps. We should do that again for Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Somalia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Uganda, Tunisia, Ukraine, Georgia, etc.


> ...and these are appreciable agendas which are only deemed "centrist" because they are shared by the two major parties. Outlets like CNN closely reflect the consensus of the governing elite...Labeling positions which don't enjoy the endorsement of state-affiliated institutions as "extremist" is a common tactic to solidify control of the discourse. This comment reads to me as nothing more than naked worship of power.

I guess this is technically true, except you can also apply the same argument for anything that's far enough outside of the mainstream. The "governing elite" also doesn't want to legalize heroin, establish Scientology as the state religion, outlaw ranching, adopt communism, reestablish a monarchy, abolish Medicare, or turn California into an independent country. (Unless they secretly do.) "My particular non-mainstream view is only non-mainstream because of TEH ESTABLISHMENT" is a classic conspiracy theory.


The things you listed don't have a great deal of endogenous support among the populace, either.

I'm most interested in cases where there is shear between popular opinion and The Establishment, and who wins in those cases.

It seems to me that The Establishment consistently wins, and popular opinion slowly changes to conform with The Establishment, and not the other way around. It's a peculiar characteristic of Our Democracy.

At least we've come a fair way from the original claim that pro-establishment media outlets have no "appreciable agenda," so I feel the exchange has been productive.


> I'm most interested in cases where there is shear between popular opinion and The Establishment, and who wins in those cases.

> It seems to me that The Establishment consistently wins, and popular opinion slowly changes to conform with The Establishment, and not the other way around. It's a peculiar characteristic of Our Democracy.

Having same-sex marriage turned into a constitutional right, cannabis legalized in a couple dozen states, and Donald Trump in the White House are very prominent counterexamples to that contention.


The election of Trump was definitely point scored for populism. It also triggered a full scale immune response that we're still in the throes of. Generally, it seems to be working. His orders are blocked by the courts, his executive branch employees undermine him, his own party wouldn't fund his signature campaign proposal, the special counsel investigation drags on... I mean, it's not called the Resistance for nothing.

You can send a shock through the system at the ballot box, but you cannot divert its course.


> The election of Trump was definitely point scored for populism. It also triggered a full scale immune response that we're still in the throes of.

The fact that you ignored the other two examples kind of implies something about how you perceive the “establishment conspiracy”. One could just as easily say that Trump is a shadowy plot to distract people from the shadowy billionaire agenda of tax cuts, if they were so inclined.

What you have here is basically an unfalsifiable conspiracy theory. If I tell you about a time when public opinion changed the status quo and overturned the preferences of the “establishment”, you can just tell me it was the establishment all along. If I tell you about a time that “the establishment” tried to do something (the Vietnam War maybe?) that the public hated and resisted so much that they forced it to stop, you can explain that away, too.

It’s not even wrong so much as oversimplified. There’s no monolithic neoliberal establishment operating out of George Soros’ basement or anything. There is a general bias towards centrism and the status quo, but that’s because the status quo, almost by definition, is something that most people tacitly accept.

When it comes to foreign intervention in particular, the question is usually “which intervention”. We actually tried it your way, once—in 1993 we elected a non-interventionist president who wrapped up withdrawal from Somalia and refused to intervene in Rwanda. He didn’t stay that way, but a change in perspective just happens sometimes when your inaction leads to millions of innocent people getting hacked to death with machetes.


We should go back to doing things my way. R2P is horse shit.

I’ll let the strawmanning pass without further comment.


> We should go back to doing things my way. R2P is horse shit.

If the mass murder of almost a million people doesn't bother your conscience nearly as much as, for example, the use of NATO airstrikes against the Milosevic regime in Serbia, then we have a fundamental impasse in basic values. And I think you'd find a similar fundamental disagreement with at least a plurality of Americans, bolstering my contention that your opinion is merely unpopular, as opposed to under active suppression from powerful institutions.



Such an important book (and movie.) In my other comment I discussed a class I was lucky enough to take in highschool where explored media bias. But, I bring it up again because I think it's so important that every single person understand that "media bias" isn't necessarily a bad or good thing, it's just reality. However, it is necessarily bad when collectively we do not recognize it. Everyone should go through a civics class at least once where learning about the reality of the media landscape, bias, and motivations are key topics along with lessons on how to responsibly engage.


Trump got about $5 billion in free advertising [0]

That seems like far more impact than $50k from some memes.

It’s clear the media is picking Kamala Harris as their choice [1]

And already positioning her as the best candidate to beat Trump [2] This is all after how from the 2018 midterm they positioned her as one of the top Democratic contenders

[0] - https://www.thestreet.com/story/13896916/1/donald-trump-rode...

[1]https://thehill.com/homenews/media/426349-cnn-to-host-kamala...

[2] https://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/andrea-mitchell-asks-ka...


>free advertising

you mean 24/7 attempts at character assasination?


Trump's whole appeal is that he's an antiestablishment figure who says things nobody else is willing to say, that there is a shadowy establishment conspiracy to tear him down, and that it's also amusing when he "triggers the libs". When the media alternates between behaving like a shadowy establishment conspiracy to tear him down and behaving like "triggered libs", it helps him. The media might not realize this, but that's because this is one of the ways in which Trump has outsmarted the media and political establishment.


Is it really character assassination to report what you say verbatim?

If it is, that says more about ones...character than anything else.


Right, if only that's all they were doing. Just innocent verbatim reporting and clear contextual analysis instead of ludicrous and deliberate mischaracterizations of every single one of his talking points. How many times have I read about Trump's "dislike of immigrants", conviniently leaving out the illegal part? The list goes on and on. If you read foreign news, it gets even worse and more blatant since most of their readers don't have the luxury of understanding the source.


His policies and the people he surrounds himself with have made his disdain for legal immigrants clear.

Stephen Miller wants to reduce all immigration, not just the illegal kind.


See this strikes me as very representative of the whole misunderstanding surrounding his policies (whether intentional or not). You seem to conflate his intention of reducing the influx of immigrants with some kind of intrinsic xenophopbia that's often cited by the media to trigger an emotional response. I'm a legal immigrant myself, and yet I share his stringent viewpoint -- given all the effort, multiple tests and exams, interviews, references etc. I had to go through to earn my visa, I more than support a merit based system instead of conveniently ascribing (hell, projecting?) "disdain" to his administration. Mind you I support the same policies for my home country as well, which suffers from the same issues.


>You seem to conflate his intention of reducing the influx of immigrants with some kind of intrinsic xenophopbia that's often cited by the media to trigger an emotional response.

Trump speaks for himself.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-referred-...

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/12/07/trump_tot...


> His policies and the people he surrounds himself with have made his disdain for legal immigrants clear.

Like the immigrants he married and fathered children with?

>Stephen Miller wants to reduce all immigration, not just the illegal kind.

Why is this problematic?


No. But these days they often provide an editorialized summary. Or sometimes a libelous summary. Whatever you think of Trump, you have to think less of the media for this.


The free advertising infuriated me bitterly. I remember when Hillary Clinton had scheduled a major policy speech. So I took my lunch in a cafe to watch it on CNN. When I got there, the speech wasn't broadcasting and instead I got to see 30 minutes of an empty podium because Trump had announced a last-minute speech himself with reporters breathlessly speculating on what he might say whenever he took the stage.

It's not liberal or conservative bias for CNN, it's sensationalism bias.


It was just self-interest. Trump got better TV ratings than Clinton or indeed any other candidate got. (HRC could hardly complain because she got better ratings than decent humans like Sanders, Stein, and Johnson.) Until DJT retires from politics or someone with a comparable built-in potential news audience challenges him, that will continue to be the case. If you want to know who will be a serious contender in 2024, pay attention to who has a reality show in 2021 (if not reality show, whatever moves the needle for the masses in that barely-imaginable future [hint: watch to see what Chris Christie does the only thing that can stop that guy is a heart attack]). Forget about 2020. DJT already had it comfortably, and now Mueller and the House Ds are doing their damnedest to trigger a landslide...

The point is, the news orgs pretend to oppose Trump, but when no one is listening they say things like Les Moonves said before he got blackballed for doing what Hollywood bigwigs do: ""It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." [0] They don't actually care why advertisers pay them money, so long as the money gets paid.

[0] https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/leslie-moonves-donald...




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

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

Search: