I think they are optimizing for survival.
Serious news is expensive, and at this point, a niche market. Few people would consume it (or even be capable of doing so), even fewer are ready to pay the real price of it.
So they did the next best thing: they changed to please the market in a way that makes money. Grabbing a lot of attention, as cheaply as possible, so that you can sell it to the highest bidder.
You think it is self destroying, but only if you see it as from the point of view of a body that should inform people. But as a group that needs to survive, it's a working strategy. Certainly easier to implement than finding a novel way to survive doing the right thing.
Infortunaly, this will lead to suffering for the entire society. But that's the way our economical system work. It assumes that the markets balances things out. Unfortunatly, the common good is not something most individuals prioritize, or even conceptualize, when buying things. Often, they actually can't, because their survival depend on more pressing day-to-day matters.
I suspect that's correct. It's hard now to find any news outlet now that sticks to "Who, What, When, Where, Why". This is a consequence of pay per click, probably.
The left and the right now both have a checklist of mandatory positions required to avoid punishment. Those positions are in many cases contrary to fact. That's not good. Denial has become a core part of American politics.
When was the news ever "Who, What, When, Where, Why?"
It's always had a slant as long as I remember. Here's "the most trusted man in America" calling ror the U.S. to get out of Vietnam:
What is that if not a partisan political opinion?
The news has always chosen what and what not to report. Just deciding what is and isn't newsworthy is a political decision. Heck, my conservative friend used to read the Wall Street Journal. I'm talking when we were kids (10-12) I'd argue with him about whether Reagan was a good president. I thought even then he had a highly colored view of reality and I'm sure he thought the same of me.
BTW, I don't think the problem is the press. I think it's a lack of open-mindedness, critical thinking, and healthy skepticism. We get what we deserve by not educating our kids better about how to consume information and consider view points outside their own worldview.
What was partisan about what he said? He made no mention of US political parties. He simply said that the war was failing and it needed to end. May I suggest you are projecting your partisanship onto this?
Objective journalism is not about giving both sides an equal voice. It is OK to use rationale and logic to support one side over the other. Should all journalism about evolution also include equal time for creationism?
You don’t have to give time to things that are objectively untrue, but a fair journalist should acknowledge when other opinions exist.
Saying, “I think we should get out of Vietnam. People are dying, we’re spending too much money, and we’re probably going to lose” is bad journalism. Saying, “According to a recent poll, fewer than 40% of Americans support the war in Vietnam. Commonly cited reasons for the lack of support are the death toll, the economic cost, and that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Most supporters of the war say we should continue fighting otherwise all the soldiers that have given their lives will have died in vain” is good journalism.
And yes, a journalist covering the creationism vs. evolution debate should research and interview people from both sides. If you don’t then you’re writing an opinion piece and not doing journalism.
But I'm not sure I see why journalists should try to be strictly objective. A journalist is in a unique position to identify the BS, provide analysis and context, and help the reader understand what to make of the competing narratives.
I really enjoyed, and highly recommend, a recent podcast on this subject: http://www.sceneonradio.org/s4-e11-more-truth/
Some journalists that specialize in a particular field become experts, but it takes time to learn. Journalists don’t have some secret way to learn faster than other people.
Journalists do get training in interviewing experts and writing. That’s what they should stick to. Just like we really shouldn’t pay attention to a celebrity’s opinion of an issue that they don’t have special training in, we really shouldn’t be paying attention to a journalist’s personal opinion- we should rely on them to talk to experts and convey information, but their ability to form an opinion isn’t any better than yours.
It’s true that they may not be experts in everything that they report on, even if it’s their niche. Eg I think Kara Swisher does a reasonably good job of representing technology related things but there’s things she says that are not really true.
However the one thing journalists do cover well and have good expertise in is current event and politics. They are closest to the sources. And thus they become pretty good at identifying BS in those narrow fields at the very least. Given that, I certainly value their “take” on what the current events portray.
They are only "good" at this because so many of them worked on campaigns and there's a revolving door between that campaign work and the politics desk at media organizations. That isn't a badge of honor, or a signal that they know what they're talking about. It's a mark of partisanship, and they try their best to cloak it when they do their reporting ... but then they go back to the campaign when their guy is running.
He may not, but having been through the grinder (on both sides), I do. I'm not even talking about the Ben Rhodes' quotes about them being young idiots.
> However the one thing journalists do cover well and have good expertise in is current event and politics. They are closest to the sources. And thus they become pretty good at identifying BS in those narrow fields at the very least. Given that, I certainly value their “take” on what the current events portray.
Funny. Meet Gell-Mann Amnesia:
The Vietnam War was started by a Democratic administration and continued by a Republican one, through several Congressional midterm elections. It was a bipartisan effort, so I don't see how having an opinion on it, for or against, can count as partisan in the sense of advocating for one political party over the other.
Well this is Hacker News, if you phrase it as a question about are we living in a simulation they will take it seriously, but of course a simulation would imply someone or something running it...
My point is that there was never an "objective" news that didn't fall somewhere on the left/right spectrum and which colored how that source presented the news.
> Objective journalism is not about giving both sides an equal voice. It is OK to use rationale and logic to support one side over the other.
I agree. But don't you think that reporters at The Atlantic and at the National Review both think they are doing that? Or NPR vs Fox News? And yet they present very different views of the news.
> Should all journalism about evolution also include equal time for creationism?
You won't find me arguing for that.
If we had an algorithm to sort fact from fiction then that would be fine, but we don't. Our method for sorting fact and fiction is to ask an expert. Experts are not reliable in political situations because there are experts who are willing to believe anything for money.
Particularly for economic questions where it is likely that the experts have a financial stake in one political outcome.
People of course have wildly different standards w.r.t what "better" means.
And once shaped, the goal is hard to change. It takes more than facts or logical arguments to change one's idea if what the ideal world looks like. It's part of your identity, it's intertwined with your community.
If a scientific finding in evolutionary biology which undermines some previously fundamental aspect of genetics or the timeline of natural selection (a finding which Creationists would exult in promoting and probably exaggerate for their own biases) is not given its due time in the trade journals then yes, we'd have a serious problem. While I realize this may not quite be what you meant, because Creationism simply isn't scientific, evolutionary biology as a matter of being a human endeavor is certainly subject to bias in publication.
Ideally a concept like "getting out of the war" could be a non partisan concept. Back then perhaps, but in 2020 definitely, there's no room for that. Maybe because of the internet, maybe because of cable news, I dunno, but even a single stated position plops you on the right or left in America. Sure it's not ideal but it's reality.
If only Republicans knew how many American communists were pro-armed-populace. If only it were possible to be conservative and reconcile your preference for self sufficiency and blue collar values with the ideals of people living on a commune, or the Green and Sustainability movements. But no, Climate Change is Fake News and Guns Are Bad. Full stop.
That was an op-ed piece. It's fine for media to do op-ed if it's identified as not news; the most trusted papers have done it forever. Real journalists (tm) can absolutely do neutral, fact-checked, 5-W, reporting on one story and then express an opinion in a different column:
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
The problem with journalism today is not opinion, but that we’ve allowed “newsish” to pose as real news, to the extent that people can’t tell the difference. And on top of that I don’t think people are generally equipped well to recognize opinion as such.
Nowadays I follow American news channels for entertainment (both CNN and Fox Bews are soooooo skewed). I usually go to CBSN or AlJazeera for 'boring' unskewed news.
I think one of the things ailing us is that cynical partisans have been quite successful at pulling ever-growing amounts of our lives into this gravity well. Dry, straight, factual news has its place--but it also leaves a narrative-vacuum that partisans will happily fill.
It's been going on longer than the internet era. My dad jokingly blames entertainment tonight for starting the entertainment news trend, and while I don't think that's likely the reason, it does show an apt comparison. News has definitely become more like entertainment tonight, for nearly as long as entertainment tonight has existed.
It's a problem when every news broadcaster reminds me of fox news from the 90's and they're now actually considered a proper news outlet.
Now for people that have noticed a distinct decline in news quality over the last ten years specifically, this may have something to do with it.
In 2012 restrictions were lifted by the government banning government disseminated news, essentially propaganda to the American public.
Since then, there's been a big push, by both sides of the media, to tell their approved stories. These companies lobby the shit out of the government.
Both the government and news companies have it in their best interests to keep major news organizations as shallow entertainment willing to spout whatever the message of the day is.
It's not much better than if the news was state run media, it's just hidden a lot better and government and private interests share the same goal.
The internet effectively broke this model.
No news outlet has ever really done that (and why is usually a matter of subjective ascription, rather than fact, anyway.)
The illusion of unbiased news comes from a time when the major national media were a small set of corporations with largely similar institutional biases, and when advertising was less targeted so number of eyeballs was more important than a narrow, focussed audience, passionate, demographic, favoring a blander presentation and more effort to avoid offending any large group, rather than trying to appeal very strongly to a narrow, specific group.
I blocked CNN from my phone because checking it repeatedly all day gave me high blood pressure.
1) You believe that the press did a good job during this unusual period.
2) You consider some of the sins of the past to be the fault of partisan press, at least in part.
By optimising for user engagement, media is ignoring the effect it has over society at large.
This is actually an argument for government sponsored news outlets implemented in a politically neutral manner; i.e. the television shouldn't just be a mouthpiece for the state/the ruling party.
For an example of state-financed but politically independent organisation, one can look at the civil servants system in the UK.
It may not even be possible for them to cover politics in a "neutral" way, because anything but the party line on a political issue is heresy to the partisans. If you gave people the hard truths on partisan issues you'd have both sides trying to shut you down because everything you said would be contradicting one side or the other.
This is the same ABC that reports on the BLM protests in Australia, is happy to parrot the 434 Aboriginals have died in custody since 1991, but fails to include the facts:
58% of deaths were due to natural causes
32% of deaths were due to hanging
5% of deaths were due to drugs/alcohol
4% were due to external trauma
In total, 9 Aboriginals have died in custody from unlawful acts from custodial staff. 10s of thousands of people are violating social distancing orders, because 9 people have been killed unlawfully since 1991. The ABC AREN'T REPORTING THAT. Instead, they have activist after activist deriding the system that is killing black men.
It's all bullshit.
In 2019, the Australian Institute of Criminology did a study on deaths in custody, and its conclusion was:
Indigenous people are now less likely than non-Indigenous people to die in custody, largely due to a decrease in the death rate of Indigenous prisoners from 1999–2000 to 2005–06.
So don't go around telling people the ABC isn't biased.
EDIT: To be clear, this doesn't mean there aren't things we should be doing better, given that Aboriginals make up 28% of the prison population, its just that the current narrative openly being pushed by the ABC and others is pure, unadulterated bullshit.
Case in point about the difficulty in covering politics in a manner most would consider neutral.
Or both. Both American parties are full of contradictions.
The very definition of an oxymoron.
He said everyone thinks they want the news to be deeply insightful and informative, but the people who would consume that product tend to go out nights and do interesting things like attend ballets or go to museums, or go to things like the aspen festival. Or at least they are just reading a few articles online.
They make news for the sort of people who just binge television news constantly. These people don't have a custom rss feed to make that efficient, and that is a special type of person.
"We run the market test against PBS every night."
If PBS started hitting numbers, every other station would jump to that model immediately.
The reason is clear. While there is distraction, the real issues are unaddressed and they can keep putting their hands in your pocket when you aren't looking.
Also, excessive pseudo-socialism is a great tool to drive down wages and have the whole world compete against each other. Locust capitalism.
Also, I see your account was created an hour ago.
As for the pseudo-socialism part, I have no idea what it could mean either.
Example: The US healthcare system. The financing is through socialist policies (Medicare, state assistance, regulatory requirements/incentives for employer-provided insurance), but the system itself if thoroughly corrupt and inefficient.
Example: "Affordable housing" subsidies/requirements. Instead of actually addressing high housing costs in general, set aside an inadequate amount of substandard housing with burdensome hoops to jump through to get it and call that a solution when it isn't.
Example: Environmental rules that apply to where a product is manufactured but not where it's sold, so that instead of eliminating pollution, manufacturing jobs move to countries that allow pollution.
The half measures are the worst of both worlds. You get the inefficiency, incompetence and unaccountability of central planning and the externalities, corruption and high prices of market failures.
Thats just socialism.
The definition of socialism is social ownership of the methods implemented. In all cases above, the public at large owns the cost (and benefits) of the methods implemented:
Medicare, Medicaid, affordable housing etc. We all pay for them, full stop.
Just because some of the programs have worse outcomes than elsewhere in the world, doesnt make them "less" socialist policies.
Socialism is meant to be a counter-force to unrestricted capitalism. America lacks this counter-force. Instead, America has a (so called) Left that is afraid of being branded "socialist". Because they cannot embrace genuine socialist policies for fear of upsetting their very wealthy and powerful patrons, they are trying to win votes by appealing to people's pathological tendency to form rival tribal groups. This is quite the irony, considering that socialism's original rallying cry was the (inherently trans-tribal, trans-national)"Workers of the World, UNITE".
True socialism looks for opportunity in horizontal social partitions (the social classes), whereas nationalism looks for opportunity in vertical social partitions (ethno-linguistic and religious segregations). This is why nationalism is the capitalist class's preferred evil -- it directs the dissatisfaction and anger of the lower classes against each other, away from the wealthy. Both the American Left and American Right are focusing on the vertical (tribal) partitions -- it's just that the Left is very polite and composed about it.
This is what (I believe) the GP tried to imply with the term "pseudo socialism".
Accurate. Agreed. And a completely fair business decision. We all have bill to pay.
Unfortunately, they (wrongly) continue to sell this new version of their craft (?) as journalism. The masses buy in - confirmation bias is a powerful force - and we are today exactly where we should be: Truth is fluid. Editorial is journalism. Everyone - blue, red or orange - gets hammer their facts into their echo chamber. Etc.
It's important to realize that there is no democracy or democratic process without a health and proper Fouth Estate.
Btw, Tali Sharot's "The Influential Mind" is a great read on the subject on influence.
Edit: their to there. with to without.
How is the general public supposed to learn what is happening though? If the entire MSM had adopted this new business model, and with the whole fake news thing that's been drilled into people's heads for so long, along with the narrative that anyone that disagrees with trustworthy organizations is a conspiracy theorist...is there a path out that consists of anything other than a major player committing financial suicide by breaking ranks, or them all deciding to come clean simultaneously?
Bloggers might be the one bright spot, but what percentage of the population reads blogs, and if they started to get too popular they may be framed as conspiracy theorists before long too. Not a good situation, unless you're China or Russia.
If you happen to see this late reply and have any recommendations of such people, I'd appreciate any suggestions you could make.
That's a good question. In theory I'd like to suggest they think. That is, develop critical thinking skills and some basic analysis skills. Yes, it's a big ask. But it would be useful across the board. Basics such as: confirmation bias, correlation vs cause, conflict of interest, and such. These skills are not as common as they should be.
That aside, broadcasters and publishers should be required to label news as news and editorial as editorial. Anecdotally, many people don't understand the difference, or why it matters. It's difficult to have discussions when "the facts" most people cite are based on editorial opinion. Sadly, hammer that option often enough and loud enough and it becomes "true."
Even so, it's a massive problem. There's still too much wiggle room for senders to "baffle them with bullshit." (See below.)
Editorial: My definition of news is: facts that are not only true but are also relevant and important. Anything - true or not - that doesn't meet this standard - again, to me - is fake news. In other words, when important and relevant stories are buried with trite fodder, the fodder is fake news. Just because something happened, just because some is true doesn't make it news. The sun coming up again is not news.
It is not about the economics of the American Press, it's about the lynchmobs that have formed around thoughtcrime and the sometimes public hounding of people who don't push the proper narrative.
There might be economic factors intertwined with the push for more groupthink, but I think there is a link missing in the chain of logic from this article's subject matter and your reply.
I agree with you entirely except for this. For the poor, yes. But there are plenty of people the more pressing day-to-day matters is not survival but how to hoard even more wealth and advantage than they already have. Like sending their children to private schools despite that only exacerbating the already gross iniquities of life for poor children vs elite children. Or figuring out how to upgrade to an even nicer house or which gentrifying neighborhood will yield them the best returns in 10-20 years once it is fully taken over.
This is why NYT is going to stop growing if Trump loses in November. With no need to resist there is no need to subscribe
NYT's most passionate tribe is not the Left, they're not left enough for them. But they're not playing to a tribe, but the passion itself. Seattle is no longer front page news for the NYTs because articles talking about hippies sitting around in drum circles not beating people up, or being beat up by police, is boring.
I’m not an American, so no horse in the game - but this is obsessive.
But TFA isn’t about bias so much as the the left leaning press eating itself with doctrinaire purges.
Slow down. This is the hackernews equivalent to "yada yada yadaing" over the real stuff. You say points big and silly you can't backup. I work at a business news organization, and know someone who just left WSJ. Now, think again how you'd tell them face to face they're niche? You're gonna tell them how the media business works? Like what are you going to say?Are you claiming FB is a new organization? In fact, are you really saying anything at all?
Those issues are important, but what I find most concerning about your reply is "the way our economical system work".
You're either not in management, are an incredibly crappy manager, or don't know anything about it. You do it for the money like some lame reach for that Tesla R&R refrain to argue for lower intellectual (ethics/morals) standards ... that's the beginning of the end for organizations ... what you fail to get is that other organizations who are not so easily sold your sale of good will be still doing the news and fighting the good fight.
Those who understand money the best and make the most over the long term know best money is NOT the measure of all things.
I mean, those kinds of market failures are exactly what large parts of "the left" are frequently highlighting.
If only subjectivity is true, society must fragment. Everyone forms a different view -- unity is lost
Do people just want to pay and read opinion. Or do they seek a reality truth
The second goal will succeed no matter what newspapers do
It's not working though. A lot of people canceled their NY Times subscriptions after the "Send in the troops" op-ed. Massively pissing off your customer base like that is not a winning move.
If a group of supposedly "peaceful, law-abiding protesters" is going to make the revolting moral equivalence of corrupt cops to properly behaved cops, they shouldn't complain when they themselves are considered equivalent to the worst among their group.
David Dorn, a black ex-police officer, and 14 other people died due to the unhandled looting.
If they would have sent National Guard in to protect storefronts those deaths would have never happened.
Those peaceful protesters deserve protection from the looters as well btw.
I don't care if they want it or not, if they don't, they don't know what's good for them.
Scanning the google results for “nyt subscribers” I see them reporting 5 million in Feb and 4.7 million in Aug 2019, so it looks to me like subscriptions have been accelerating in recent months.
Can you please share the information you have regarding mass subscription cancellations due to this op-ed? I would like to see it.
Seems like a fireable offense to print something you didn’t read, when it is quite literally your job to.
Notice how they didn't say HOW the OPINION piece didn't meet their standard.
The whole thing is absolutely bizarre
But as a whole, it's working.
They are just copying each others, because they can see what works and what doesn't. But because everything has a context, and luck is involved, they will be many dying anyway.
Reducing the cost could be one way to compete with "non-serious news".
Then you have to actually write in such a way that the reader/viewer gets only a series of facts, and any inferences or opinion they draw should be their own.
That ain’t cheap.
I’ll cite a specific example to make this case. See this paragraph:
> Cotton did not call for “military force against protesters in American cities.” He spoke of a “show of force,” to rectify a situation a significant portion of the country saw as spiraling out of control. It’s an important distinction. Cotton was presenting one side of the most important question on the most important issue of a critically important day in American history.
What Cotton actually said:
> One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.
It’s very clear to anyone reading Cottons article that the call is to deploy troops to subdue he largely peaceful protests, which are painted as overwhelmingly violent in the beginning of the article. The author of the current article is simply using selective words to further his argument.
The other arguments are similar in nature. So while it appears to be a good read, it actually is not.
If Cotton explicitly stated that all protestors were in violation of the law, then I stand corrected, but otherwise I’m not convinced this is as cut and dry as you make it seem.
I want to take this opportunity to make an important point: I could easily have accused you of disinformation for promoting what appears to me to be an illegitimate “spin” on Cotton’s column. But I didn’t because I know you’re just trying to call it like you see it. What I want you to understand is that this is what everyone is doing, Matt Taibbi included. We’re all trying to interpret things as best as we can. Sometimes those interpretations don’t line up, but that doesn’t mean everyone who disagrees with you is purposefully spreading disinformation. (Maybe some are, but I believe most people are trying to be accurate.)
I don't care.
I live in one of these so-called riot zones and my company's office was looted.
I do not want active duty soldiers pointing weapons of war around my neighborhood for any reason.
Especially with how municipal police forces have dealt with (and escalated) these situations.
I'll not have my home treated like a failed state or enemy war zone.
How many leaders of the regions affected by the looting rallied to this call?
How many military leaders did Cotton call upon to support his case?
How many of those affected by the lawbreaking does Cotton represent?
A vanishing fraction.
Taibbi thinks hes being clever splitting hairs but he's missed the whole point.
Cotton's repugnant article was an obvious partisan hack job, a towing of the Trump line, dogwhistles included.
In the NY Times' own words, the article lacked basic fact checking and did not meet the paper's editorial standards- Bennet very obviously fucked up in the loudest possible way.
These are excellent concerns, and I fully agree with you on those. But we can debate about them (at what point is it necessary to intervene to stop violent protests? With which means, what would be an acceptable use of force?). You can express your disagreement in full and mark your distance from Cotton's opinion.
Instead misrepresenting what Cotton wrote, accusing him of inciting murder and forcing the editor to resign are not legitimate objections. Seems simple enough?
Nobody is misrepresenting what Cotton wrote. Everyone who is following the situation closely rather than just reading the words knows what consequences could be to the proposed actions and are justifiably horrified by it.
Frankly, I don't even think that this is true. I think the US police is just hyper-violent, mostly for cultural reasons (both on the side of the police and on the side of the criminals). The 2.3 million inmates in US prisons are the demonstration of a deeply flawed culture in that respect. And the fact that blacks are disproportionately engaging in criminal behaviour (for whatever reason) makes them more vulnerable to police violence. But just framing this as a racism issue is misguided. There, I said it.
> This week, rioters have plunged many American cities into anarchy, recalling the widespread violence of the 1960s.
> New York City suffered the worst of the riots Monday night, as Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by while Midtown Manhattan descended into lawlessness. Bands of looters roved the streets, smashing and emptying hundreds of businesses. Some even drove exotic cars; the riots were carnivals for the thrill-seeking rich as well as other criminal elements.
It’s immediately clear that it’s not a nuanced argument he seeks to make, in his view protestors and rioters are one and the same. If his desire was to use the military on only the rioters he could have mentioned that distinction. However, that would reduce the thrust of the argument: why deploy overwhelming military forces when the rioters are a minority? If they’re a minority can they not be controlled with existing law enforcement ? Instead of weakening the case he chooses to ignore the distinction, which is deliberate and insincere.
Cottons op ed: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/opinion/tom-cotton-protes...
Tom Cotton: Those excuses are built on a revolting moral equivalence of rioters and looters to peaceful, law-abiding protesters. A majority who seek to protest peacefully shouldn’t be confused with bands of miscreants.
You're doing exactly what Cotton warns against just a paragraph later from the part you quote. I'm actually baffled.
If we can't agree on things said in a single straight forward op ed, how are we (humanity) ever going to have any real conversation? Is this the Great Filter of Fermi's Paradox?
Consider another example. Tough on crime laws were not explicitly designed to incarcerate large number of POCs by the the letter. But the difference in how different communities are policed meant that POCs communities often ended up being targeted more anyways. Lawmakers who created such laws would say “ Its meant to target hardened drug criminals, just the bad apples” but in practice it doesn’t really matter.
In this case, the op ed explicitly paints an incredibly biased picture of the situation on the ground and uses that to justify a heavy handed response. There is absolutely no way for a militarized response to differentiate between peaceful and non peaceful responses and Cotton knows that. When the military is involved, it means one thing only: curfews, rigidly enforced. All protests shut down regardless of their nature. One line saying “ please not the peaceful protestors” means absolutely nothing.
> If we can't agree on things said in a single straight forward op ed, how are we (humanity) ever going to have any real conversation? Is this the Great Filter of Fermi's Paradox?
I’m not sure what that is so I can’t address that directly. It’s not a black and white argument as you seem to imply though. Context is extremely important and words in isolation mean absolutely nothing.
It seems like you’re reading the words “riots” and “rioters” and assuming that they must be Cotton’s terms for “protests” and “protestors”, but why make that assumption?
> Some elites have excused this orgy of violence in the spirit of radical chic, calling it an understandable response to the wrongful death of George Floyd. Those excuses are built on a revolting moral equivalence of rioters and looters to peaceful, law-abiding protesters. A majority who seek to protest peacefully shouldn't be confused with bands of miscreants.
Literally, "no quarter" means that combatants are to be killed rather than taken prisoner. Figuratively, it means to give one's full effort to achieve an overwhelming victory. Especially with the inclusion of anarchists, it's hard to reconcile that with the idea that he really wants to cast this as a matter of law enforcement. His is, to put it bluntly, a fascist sentiment.
I know some people feel like the f-word is overused, but it's pretty well accepted that one of the elements that separates a genuinely fascist movement from mere authoritarianism is the normalization of extrajudicial violence against political opponents. Not to put too fine a point on it: historically, anarchists were often specifically targeted for such fascist violence.
I can't tell you that Tom Cotton is a fascist in his heart, but he is very definitely speaking their language.
>no pity or mercy —used to say that an enemy, opponent, etc., is treated in a very harsh way
It's plausible that he meant this in the way you describe, but I think it's more likely he was using fancy language to emphasise that the city and police shouldn't tolerate things like the CHAZ or rioting and looting. Essentially, he's trying to criticize the local governments for tolerating these things and not putting a stop to it. (Easy way to try to score political points.)
And should everything anyone says be given the worst possible interpretation, or should we, as in the Hacker News guidelines, "respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize."
Most Senior Government officials do, yes.
And Occam’s razor applies: I would argue that using an alternate interpretation of what he said rather than the well known one is going absolutely against the spirit of that hacker news guideline.
Insurrection, rioting and looting are actions that are breaking the law. How long should this behavior be tolerated? Perhaps it's just a phase the people need to go through in order to release pent up energy. The concern is, though, that each time a city is burned and looted and people are beaten and killed and the rest of the country sees no consequence to the rioters, looters and insurrectionists, it lowers the barrier to partaking.
By reporting only the mayhem, the press becomes the gateway drug to anarchy.
It is true that it does start of by talking about violence, rioters, and harm that's come to the police. But after that he explicitly says that these should not be confused by the protesters:
The majority of the op-ed is a fairly straightforward argument for deploying federal resources to help police, how that might be done, and why it needs to be done.
This is the most controversial paragraph it would appear (following the above paragraph).
> One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers. But local law enforcement in some cities desperately needs backup, while delusional politicians in other cities refuse to do what's necessary to uphold the rule of law.
The op-ed doesn't seem particularly controversial to me. Whether or not a given city takes the action outlines in it -- yes, sure, that might be controversial. But this seems like the basic argument that is made by people in support of sending in troops to supplant police. I struggle to see why the views of a good chunk of the population should not have a public platform to be presented & discussed.
He took significant pains to separate out protestors from those who were rioting and looting and includes a defense of protesting as a right in the article.
Is your brand of rhetoric here the reason why everyone feels like they have to belabor their points by "refreshing" a distinction every two paragraphs lest you forget? It's a weird amnesia, and I want to you consider the possibility that you want him to equate rioting with peaceful protesting because without that, you don't have much of a point.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine your thought process is to read something like the quote someone brought in the sibling comment of mine. And you go "ah, a-ha ok so he did make a distinction". And then a few paragraphs later you switch 100% back into "but he probably didn't mean it right here! gotcha. ;D"
How else am I to interpret any of your comments in this thread?
But there is a reason why that paragraph was missed, and Ive tried to portray the reason why that might be in my other comments.
I’m not trying to change your mind. I’m trying to address the reasons why his op ed was deemed to be so revolting. A lot of the comments seem to confess a kind of willful blindness to the awfulness involved in that essay and I’m trying to make a good faith argument to explain why that perspective is justified.
You started by saying, "I would advise care when reading it". Now you're saying you somehow "missed that paragraph in his essay". So you've been attacking Cotton without having actually read what he wrote despite telling others to read it carefully, but that's OK because "it's fine to be wrong". In fact you seem to be suggesting you ignored it deliberately: "there is a reason why that paragraph was missed"
In one comment you said, "Nobody is misrepresenting what Cotton wrote". Yes they are: that's what this entire subthread is about. You have been constantly mis-representing what he wrote and people keep pointing that out by quoting the article.
I suspect the core problem is revealed by this comment:
"Context is extremely important and words in isolation mean absolutely nothing ... that paragraph was explicitly designed to protect the outcome of what he’s really calling for."
Words in isolation mean absolutely nothing? Context matters sure, but not to the extent that actual words mean nothing at all. Your position here is that what people say they believe doesn't actually matter in the slightest, and should be ignored in favour of vaguely defined "context". Who defines this context? I guess you do. In fact in this world view Cotton can say something as clearly as possible and it should still be ignored, because what he "really" means is - obviously - the exact opposite.
But you're also trying to have it both ways:
"This is a US Senator whose essay was reviewed by his editorial staff before being sent to the times. He is saying exactly what he meant to say"
So now I think we're all hopelessly confused. Which is it? Is Cotton saying "exactly what he meant to say" or is he saying the opposite of what he meant?
Finally, you state "I’m trying to address the reasons why his op ed was deemed to be so revolting". I'm afraid you aren't succeeding. I can't figure out if it was revolting because of the words he wrote, or the words he didn't write, or if those words are meaningless and it's all about "context", in which case it appears no op-ed written by him could have ever passed muster regardless of what it said. This looks a lot like a slippery argument that Sen Cotton simply shouldn't be allowed to speak at all.
> Words in isolation mean absolutely nothing? Context matters sure, but not to the extent that actual words mean nothing at all. Your position here is that what people say they believe doesn't actually matter in the slightest, and should be ignored in favour of vaguely defined "context". Who defines this context? I guess you do. In fact in this world view Cotton can say something as clearly as possible and it should still be ignored, because what he "really" means is - obviously - the exact opposite.
I’ve provided enough reasoning about why context is important in my other comments and I’ve sure you’ve read that since you’ve been reading all of them. Context is important to understand what the outcome of a policy results in. It is not an academic debate as people on this forum seem to think. You can be a racist without saying explicitly racist stuff; adding a disclaimer that one is not racist doesn’t really change anything.
> So now I think we're all hopelessly confused. Which is it? Is Cotton saying "exactly what he meant to say" or is he saying the opposite of what he meant?
That was in response to 2 different things. He said exactly what he meant wrt giving no quarter (isolated tweet, different from essay) while paying lip service to the distinction between peaceful protestors and rioters in the essay. Which is why, again, context matters.
> Finally, you state "I’m trying to address the reasons why his op ed was deemed to be so revolting". I'm afraid you aren't succeeding. I can't figure out if it was revolting because of the words he wrote, or the words he didn't write, or if those words are meaningless and it's all about "context", in which case it appears no op-ed written by him could have ever passed muster regardless of what it said. This looks a lot like a slippery argument that Sen Cotton simply shouldn't be allowed to speak at all.
It’s possible, yes. I am human and I make mistakes. Not perfect. But the amount of length that people like you go to try and discredit others rather than take a moment to understand another perspective is staggering, while simultaneously claiming to “fail to see why his essay was controversial”. It points to not a failure to understand but an unwillingness to.
Is it? Because to me he very clearly and explicitly talks about people that are breaking the law - rioters and looters.
The opinion piece by Cotton literally says this:
>Those excuses are built on a revolting moral equivalence of rioters and looters to peaceful, law-abiding protesters. A majority who seek to protest peacefully shouldn’t be confused with bands of miscreants.
>But the rioting has nothing to do with George Floyd, whose bereaved relatives have condemned violence. On the contrary, nihilist criminals are simply out for loot and the thrill of destruction, with cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa infiltrating protest marches to exploit Floyd’s death for their own anarchic purposes.
How can you read these lines and say that it is very clear to anyone that he meant deploying troops against peaceful protesters?
He’s railing against, ultimately, the evolution of information distribution.
He’s calling the media industry recent exclusion of one journalist the end times?
Go start a YouTube channel. Someone THAT good shouldn’t need a day job.
A hundred years ago most people were self employed.
This weird bubble of human history where we all got talked into working for “financially viable” tribes is deflating.
Taibbi is ultimately sticking with what he knows, being all alarmist the world is changing and not buying into what he thinks is important anymore. He doesn’t have the same monopoly on visibility.
The real overton window has moved a little bit, but a lot of this is really about Twitter. Many institutions, including universities and publishers, act like Twitter outrage represents their real readers and communities.
This isn't true. Twitter is a thick bubble that gives the loudest voice to the angriest, most passionate outrage-mongers. Sometimes they use it for good causes, other times they're way outside the mainstream. They also firmly believe, in a way that's constantly contradicted by polling, surveys, and talking to people in real life, that they're not only right but the majority.
I can't say for sure that it's getting worse, but it feels like.
That’s not an Overton Window shift, even if it was happening (which it is not); an Overton Window shift would change what the outrages are; making questioning popular outrages less tenable would be a narrowing of the window rather than a shift. But there is widespread and viable news media coverage questioning the outrages of the day, more than any time previously I would venture. It's just that the media is more focussed on catering to various isolated demographic and ideological markets (some more for advertising sales reasons, some more for political propaganda reasons, but the net effect is the same), and so in any particular outlet there is probably less tolerance for stories questioning the outrages of that outlets target audience. But, while the Overton Window may have shifted and/or narrowed/widened over time, this isn't a sign of it so much as the increasingly narrow audience focus of much of the media.
That is, catering to the most vocal segment of the Right Thinkers is a ticket to an ever-shrinking readership, because 1) everyone who isn't a card-carrying member of the Right Thinkers leaves, and 2) the Right Thinkers shrinks as the majority repeatedly throws out people for not being right thinking enough.
Which is why a system based on policing corruption through public outrage is doomed to fail. You need to have a system that has actual mechanisms--investigations, prosecutions, and convictions--to keep a lid on corruption. Public shaming doesn't work because the public has only so much attention span, and there is soooo much corruption.
Unfortunately, the media only drops these things when it's a politician they like. Anyone right of Obama gets hounded with scandals, real or imagined, as often as possible, forever.
Which, I know, is very frustrating to those who are salivating at the thought of seeing them provoked. The unanswered cries of "where's the 2FA crowd now?!" have, admittedly, been very satisfying to watch.
I'm not sure this is true. My experience is that either the mob is destroyed by force, or they manage to convert enough out of fear that they end up controlling the institution they were attacking.
Moderates are far more common than centrists. But these day's you're either completely toxic and insane or you get ridiculed as a centrist for not caring enough.
There's more to the extreme left than "Everyone deserves to be treated equally and with dignity."
Politics in the US lacks nuance. You can be politically moderate and lean towards the left. It isn't simply conservative wolves in centrist clothing.
I can vehemently disagree about many things that extreme leftists do and still vote for one over Donald Trump. But that doesn't mean voting for Donald Trump automatically makes someone a Nazi either.
Calling Trump a nazi seems incredibly disrespectful to people and their family who actually lost their lives to real nazis.
Are you aware that you don't actually know what Trump supporters think? That your opinion is based on heuristics running on top of the absolutely tiny sample of the real world that you've been exposed to, much of it likely incredibly biased if not outright untrue?
I haven't and don't plan on voting for Trump. However, you can't generalize a group of people consisting of approximately 60 million very easily. Even if you can't fathom why they would support him, there's a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and ideologies within that massive group.
There are also many different political issues that have significant impacts on peoples' lives. Not everyone gets the same information about these issues. Even if they did, not everyone interprets and values them in the same exact way. I would bet most people voting for or against Trump are trying to do what they think will make the US a safe, fair, happy place to live. The problem is that many political issues are incredibly complex and most of them don't have clear cut solutions. Even in cases where they do, people still can't agree on the best course of action.
Some people like to hand wave the complexity away by taking the stance that "one party just wants freedom and equal rights for everyone and the other wants the opposite".
I've also found some post-war narratives out of Germany to be downright bone-chilling, such as 'The Lives of Others.' Definitely recommend that one if you haven't seen it. Are there any specific points raised by 'Night and Fog' that you have in mind?
The problem is that even suggesting that equality and dignity are valid as bedrock communal values in business, politics, law, and economics is considered an aggressively extremist ultra-left position in the US - and not a sane and mature common sense centre-left view, as it is in parts of Europe.
There's a reason for this, and it's to do with the real bedrock values of US culture.
Bottom line is the Left in the US operates the same way as the rest of US culture does.
And the underlying problem is understanding why, not complaining about superficial dynamics that are actually consistent with the way the culture operates as a whole.
What you're not getting is that equality and dignity aren't even compatible if you try to push equality to extremes. Dignity means giving people freedom to make their own choices and live as they wish; the opposite of dignity is enslaving them. But as soon as people can make different choices they'll start achieving different outcomes - inequality. Not to mention the need to forcefully people who step out of their assigned 'equal' band of achievement - there's nothing dignified about crabs in a bucket.
NK and Cuba and USSR stamped out inequality pretty well, and they gave up on dignity to accomplish that.
You sound like a rational person. If I give you three examples of current capitalist ideology authoritarian states (one more example than you gave), reason would dictate that you will of course instantly become a leftest because you are a rational person and by your own self-described logic, the correct ideology is determined by which ideological system has a higher count of authoritarian states.
There are leftists in the US to whom equality and dignity are the foundations of their belief system. However, that doesn't represent the whole of leftism in the US and it certainly doesn't represent the foundation of actual leftist extremism in America.
To clarify, I don't think most people that fall on the left half of the political spectrum in the United States are extremists. I think that due to their fanaticism and tendency to be more vocal, the extremists have a voice disproportionate to their actual size.
That doesn't mean they don't matter. It just means they don't represent as many people on the left as one would perceive them to based on social media and mainstream media.
I'm not a leftist extremist. I'm a socially liberal moderate that likes the general idea of free market competition but understands that completely unregulated markets are probably just as toxic and doomed to fail as attempts to form completely planned economies. Prudent regulation can minimize predatory and exploitative behavior.
I think there is a balance to be struck between people having individual freedoms and the ability of the government to take measures to prevent groups of people from making it impossible for marginalized groups of people to live enjoyable lives in the US.
My search for that balance is founded on a desire for equality and dignity. For example, I don't think a city or state full of racists/homophobes should be able to use States' rights protections to establish bubbles where its impossible for certain minorities to comfortably exist.
However, I believe that we are often really quick to take knee jerk reactions and pass legislation that may have unintended consequences when it comes to preserving everyone's freedom, equality, and dignity.
You may choose to ignore them, but there are vocal voices in the progressive movement that are racist and sexist and are more interested in establishing a society that revolves around revenge against white people. Some of them are nobodies, but some of them are influential people in places of power in various industries.
Leftist extremism exists. There are people advocating for violence against white people and men in general on Twitter for a daily basis. Reporting these people usually gets ignored.
I'm opposed to leftist extremism and conservative extremism. People that advocate for violence and who advocate for a new type of inequality are assholes, regardless of how many of their unrelated political opinions I might share with them.
I do, however, believe that the US has more work to do in regards to how it treats many different minority groups. I also believe that white privilege exists. I don't think every white person faces a life-changing situation where they benefit from it, but it happens. In my case I'm not sure how much of an impact it had, but it probably had an impact.
You can't vote for a party and try to avoid taking the whole package deal. You get what you voted for.
Again: You get what you vote for. Using 'I disagree with what my party is doing, but I'm voting for them anyways' as an attempt to avoid criticism doesn't work. That's the nature of US politics. If you vote for one party despite them doing some heinous things, then you tacitly support what they're doing. If you don't like it, then either don't vote or vote for the opposite party.
But part of that compromise is that you accept the party is going to also do things you don't like. Which is something you can't escape criticism for. Voting is approval for that party. You're choosing to value what Party B does over Party A, which means you weigh the negatives of Party B as being less of a problem than the positives.
That doesn't mean you get to avoid those negatives when someone else calls you out on who you decided to throw your lot in with.
>What scares me is that there are moral fashions too. They're just as arbitrary, and just as invisible to most people. But they're much more dangerous. Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good. Dressing oddly gets you laughed at. Violating moral fashions can get you fired, ostracized, imprisoned, or even killed.
I'm not asking a rhetorical question, genuinely interested in how you see this. It doesn't seem like to me like he falls in any of the categories you listed. Same with Lee Fang, the interviewer who got attacked for publishing Max's remarks.
Margins on digital products are lower than on print products but that's not unique to the Times and it's largely outside of their control. Ad margins have collapsed since their astronomical highs of the 90s and early 2000s because of the divorce of classifieds and news, rather than a collapse in total circulation.
> There have always been boundaries around acceptable discourse, and the media has always been involved, in a complex and often unacknowledged way, in both enforcing and contesting them. In 1986, the media historian Daniel Hallin argued that journalists treat ideas as belonging to three spheres, each of which is governed by different rules of coverage. There’s the “sphere of consensus,” in which agreement is assumed. There’s the “sphere of deviance,” in which a view is considered universally repugnant, and it need not be entertained. And then, in the middle, is the “sphere of legitimate controversy,” wherein journalists are expected to cover all sides, and op-ed pages to represent all points of view.
So I'm just quibbling with the word "universally" here. I would rather editorial pages be forthright about where their window of acceptability lies for them. I would especially advocate aversion to doublespeak, especially in journalistic contexts. Propaganda, even well meaning propaganda, is another enterprise.
> significant minority of voters polling in support of the view
We know that it’s a majority from the article:
> A Morning Consult poll showed 58% of Americans either strongly or somewhat supported the idea of “calling in the U.S. military to supplement city police forces.”
Is it because of the same fear that the article is describing in the press?
I was casting a wider net since I think minority views should be discussed, if for no other reason than they should be understood. Disagreeing with someone without even understanding their views is ignorant. Part of the benefit of current protests is catching people up on facts who were previously disengaged.
I think you’ll find classifying what counts as “outright racist or sexist views” constitutes a legitimate controversy.
But a reporter should resist the desire to editorialize and instead emphasize the 5W's: who, what, where, when, why (and how):
If reporters did so, much contention would disssipate and we'd get more information (news) and less opinion - IMO a good thing.
In particular, who, what, why is extremely sensitive to unadopted bias.
What is "unadopted bias"? Searches with Bing and DuckDuckGo come up absolutely empty and I find the usage befuddling. I can find literally nobody and nothing on the Internet who/which speaks of "unadopted bias"?
[Is that better, Ycombinator mods?]
And WTF is "unadopted bias"? Searches with Bing and DuckDuckGo come up absolutely empty and an analysis of the language is befuddling. Did you just make it up, b/c literally nobody and nothing on the Innertubes speaks of "unadopted bias" except you?
From that I presume you not a native English speaker and I've possibly been trolled by a bot or an "idibot". That's a word I made up: it's a portmanteau of "idiot" and "robot" and means a robot with a low IQ. Two can play this game.
[+10 for use of term "portmanteau"]
Back when we had competition between independent news organizations in the US, the news was closer to being objective. Publications that frequently retracted major stories, or ran articles with flawed logic and sloppy conclusions lost market share.
These days, there’s basically no competition, and the major news outlets just spew transparent propaganda.
November is going to be interesting. Most mainstream pols seem to just be useless now, when any opinion right of the orthodoxy places you somewhere next to Mengele.
Fail to take a knee?? Clearly a Nazi. It is nothing new, normal Soviet propaganda.
Ethics are not equivalent to populism.
If an elected official wants to publish a racist diatribe, the press should circulate it as widely as possible. Informed voters make for a stronger democracy.
Burying the editorial because it would offend their readers just improves the racist’s chances of being reelected.
The racist politician will ultimately find a racist platform which would gladly accept their views. This would make it pretty clear to the public that the politician is racist, wouldn’t it?
This thread is managing to stay barely on the ok side, with many comments from many sides of the issue, including your own side. These other users are managing to stay within the guidelines, and there's no reason why you can't also. Please do so.
Think about LGBT rights. There was plenty of opposition to gay marriage, it was covered broadly and people had platforms. Slowly over time, opinions changed. Why? Because LGBT rights were publicly and transparently argued in the media. People heard opposing viewpoints.
Would it have been better if back in the 1950's gay marriage was verboten? No one can talk about it?
If you’re going to invoke Godwin’s Law type arguments, you at least have to know the actual history.
That is different than giving all white nationalists a platform to spread their garbage.
The article cites award-winning journalists being fired for running opinion pieces that a 58-80% of the population agree with (but that the fired editor disagrees with!), or for publishing error-free factual pieces.
It’s not just the press. When people point out the facts don’t support the conclusion or the math doesn’t add up in a COVID story, there’s a 50-50 chance it gets downvoted to oblivion.
I mean it's not like taibbi is speaking up for child molesters. He turned out to be factually right about a lot of this stuff, but it was completely unacceptable to say so.
Unlike, say, the NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/pedophilia-a-diso...
> Acknowledging that pedophiles have a mental disorder, and removing the obstacles to their coming forward and seeking help, is not only the right thing to do, but it would also advance efforts to protect children from harm.
They even explicitly recognized your mistake in the article, which is the tendency to conflate the disorder and the crime.
Do you know an interpretation in which the headline is wrong?
A mental disorder is not a crime.
Sure the title might be confusing for those who haven't thought about the difference between thought and deed, but that does not mean that readers should just not tell the truth about the articles conclusion. (..as our parents article description was clearly wrong.)
I've yet to see an intellectually honest criticism of this article.
Their argument focusses on how to prevent child abuse best.
There is really nothing controversial in there.
Imagine the hypocrisy where people woult opt to create a system that might end up enabeling child abuse just so that they can continue to celebrate their moral panic.
I no longer trust the media. I hate Trump as well, but you don’t do it through lies and distortion. You do it by presenting the truth. Reporters have crossed the line in the last several years and it shows. They are the worst propaganda machine in decades since the 80s and it truly is destroying itself, like Taibbi says.
Remember when Dan Rather was fired? It was over a story that had been carefully researched, both with written evidence, and with multiple recorded interviews with corroborating eye witnesses.
The excuse for firing him was that out of the 1000’s of documents they’d gathered, a few were forgeries. The reality was that he criticized W within a few years of 9/11, and the press decided that was off limits. We ended up fighting a useless war because no one was allowed to question the executive branch. That led to untold human suffering, and eventually the rise of ISIS, etc.
Anyway, by converting to a propaganda engine dedicated to ousting Trump, the liberal press is actually helping dismantle our democracy. They may as well be endorsing him for a third term in office.
They were on Joe Rogan recently (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA9Tpf5Uuxs), so their audience will probably spike. I find that even when I don't agree with them, their smartness is usually a breath of fresh air from the fetid stupidities of the mainstream (both left and right) media. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts, and whether they will continue to be able to work together. Regardless of whether one agrees, they're managing to host a freer discussion for the time being.
Looking at everything from an identity lens is a disease that has corrupted discourse in this country.
This concept has been lost on many.
It says something about our moment in history that it would take a maverick and upstart working at the edges of institutions to say something true about the great issues of our time.
Just for the record, I subscribe to The Intercept and am a fan of Glenn Greenwald.
I think you're missing something.
If he fishes there regularly and sees (what he believes) are immigrants dumping trash, then isn't that statement true? How do you what he saw? This seems like splitting hairs.
However, when someone believes something is true, that can mean multiple things, I take it to mean they think there is a high probability of something being true. He’s basically guessing. That means the only thing we have to go off of is Tucker’s word because he was there. And, as I ballpark estimated above, he’s generally correct when he says something according to the fact checking website, so I think he’s got credibility.
Also, Tucker talks about fly fishing every so often on the show, it’s a passion of his, so it’s very possible he has seen people, who he thinks are immigrants, dumping stuff.
Again, this feels like we are splitting hairs. He's pretty consistent about his view regarding immigrants (depends on situation). You may disagree with him, but that doesn't mean he is wrong.
There's even a site dedicated to revealing Politifact's bias:
I will say that he isn't afraid of calling out the BS on the right.
That ship sailed a long time ago.