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The American Press Is Destroying Itself (taibbi.substack.com)
489 points by cjbest 57 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 564 comments



I don't think they are.

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.


Serious news is expensive, and at this point, a niche market.

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.


I'm 48. My family had a newspaper subscription (in my case, the Miami Herald). I've been a consumer of news all my life, mostly print media. (My family rarely watched local news except for when a hurricane was headed our way, but would often watch programs like 60 minutes.)

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn2RjahTi3M

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 is that if not a partisan political opinion?

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?


Saying that the USA should get out of Vietnam is an opinion. You do not have to explicitly mention a party to express a partisan position. “Real” journalism reports the facts of what’s going on and lets people make their own decisions. They can interview people and report the opinions that other people hold, but they should try to avoid inserting their own biases. Walter Cronkite leveraged his position to express his personal opinion to the nation- that’s political.

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.


I of course agree completely that a journalist should be open minded, aware of their own bias, conduct thorough research, interview knowledgeable people, and all of that. At the end of this process they are ideally quite an expert in whatever they are writing about.

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/


If you’ve ever read a journalist’s take on a subject that you’re an expert in, you’ll realize that they do not become experts after researching a story, nor are they any better at identifying BS than other people.

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.


I think you may have a bias against journalists =p.

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.


>However the one thing journalists do cover well and have good expertise in is current event and politics.

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.


> I think you may have a bias against journalists =p.

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:

  - https://www.epsilontheory.com/gell-mann-amnesia/


>Saying that the USA should get out of Vietnam is an opinion. You do not have to explicitly mention a party to express a partisan position.

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.


And yes, a journalist covering the creationism vs. evolution debate should research and interview people from both sides.

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...


Wait, there are people who think we are probably not living in a simulation? Next thing you know, someone will try to claim that free will is real.


Okay, elide "partisan" from my comment.

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.


It’s okay to take positions on factual matters even if a political party also happens to take that same position. If one party believes the Earth revolves around the Sun, and the other party disagrees, it’s not exactly “partisan” (at least not in the pejorative sense) to take a side on that matter.


If that is the standard, political parties will just start claiming that all their opinions are factual (as happens in practice, coincidentally).

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.


It's not only money. People are ready to believe (or to claim they believe) in things they think will make the world a better place (for some definition of better). This where the real partisanship lies. Tell a white lie, turn a blind eye, jump to conclusion, ... are all easy things to do if they justify moving the needle towards a world you truly think it's better.

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.


I didn’t mention opinions which are claimed to be factual matters. I mentioned factual matters. The fact that people can lie isn’t exactly new.


You are right, all media coverage is filtered. But that filter used to be considered something to be minimized, balanced out and carefully managed


> Should all journalism about evolution also include equal time for creationism?

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.


It feels strange to question what's partisan about cronkite's statement on an article highlighting instances where positions didn't pass a party's smell test.

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.


> Here's "the most trusted man in America" calling ror the U.S. to get out of Vietnam

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


Watergate was a long, difficult, expensive and risky investigation for the journalists and newspaper involved. They did it because, in their opinion, Nixon was doing something wrong. Without opinions, what would motivate real journalism?

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.


I'm a Mexican living in mexico. When I was a kid? My dad was subscribed to Time Magazine. In my opinion it was quite informative and nin-skewed.

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.


For what it's worth Al-Jazeera is owned by Qatar and this has been known to color their reporting. One site I use to check myself on the bias of news outlets is below - the example in this case being Al-Jazeera.

https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/al-jazeera/


You may find The Economist to be, if not less skewed, at least skewed in a manner which doesn’t line up as much with USA concepts of partisanship.


It may not always matter or be distinguishable, but don't lose sight of the fact that there is a difference between having opinions, and having partisan opinions.

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.


He's basically saying "We lost". Which was objectively true.


You're right. The problem are the number of people who have post modernism at the core of their thinking - the idea that there is no objective truth.


But he was "the most trusted man in America". People across the political spectrum trusted him to reliably and accurately report what's what. There are figures like that today - Joe Rogan comes to mind - but I don't think anyone could become so trusted while adhering to the speech codes outlined in the article.


It doesn't help that there's not really any competition with news any more. Nearly every small news outlet is owned in some way by a larger one and those are in turn owned by an even larger one. Everything is fed top down, so even small local stations end up showing the same news as large ones. The main problem is news isn't news any more. It's entertainment, it exists to tell a story, not explain current events in an objective way.

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.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-...

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.

https://www.propublica.org/article/meet-the-media-companies-...

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.


It’s not a question of changing habits it’s the content syndication model that broke down. It used to be if a reporter spent months researching something other news organizations would often pay to publish the same content. As better content directly had higher value, the risk vs reward equation changed.

The internet effectively broke this model.


> It's hard now to find any news outlet now that sticks to "Who, What, When, Where, Why"

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.


It's rather depressing. I think it feels like living in the 60s, everyone knows that nuclear war will be a disaster and everyone expects it to happen tomorrow. At least I have a first class ticket on the Titanic.


I’ve always thought the Christian Science Monitor struck a good balance. It’s almost bland these days compared to the hyper charged headlines and slants you see in other papers.


Reuters is the best I’ve seen at “just the facts”. Very little sensationalism.

I blocked CNN from my phone because checking it repeatedly all day gave me high blood pressure.


For whatever it's worth: I'm a mostly conservative person who dislikes Trump (that seems to me that should be a tautology, even if it seems to others it's an oxymoron). I've been looking for tolerable media - something that doesn't give Trump a pass. I've found National Review to be an interesting read because the writers there seem to frequently disagree with each other. To my knowledge, none of them have been punished for these disagreements.


You should check out The Dispatch (https://www.thedispatch.com) if you haven’t already. Co-founded by Jonah Goldberg, formerly of NR.


My local Annapolis newspaper, the Capital Gazette, does a pretty good job on that.


The press as a high minded arbiter of truth is a relatively new concept; historically journalism has been bitterly partisan and often misleading at best. Arguably the current trend is a return to historical norms, not an aberration to be feared.


The current trend may not be an aberration, but it should be feared.


It should only be feared if:

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.


Journalists of the past basically started the Spanish–American War


For sure. I wouldn’t want to go back to that specific period of journalism.


And journalism has exacerbated every single Middle Eastern or African war/armed-conflict in my lifetime.


Hence point #1; I think that the press has done a better job at pretend objectivity during my lifetime than it has at actually being objective.


The most common way the free market fails to do the "right" thing is by ignoring externalities.

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.


You're always beholden to the paymaster.


Case in point, the BBC does a lot of good reporting in general, but they're rarely critical of the government.

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.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has been rightly critical of our government, and has been hit with pay cut after pay cut.


The ABC are not neutral. They lean centre left. Our current government is conservative, of course they are critical of it.

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[1]:

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.[1]

So don't go around telling people the ABC isn't biased.

[1] https://aic.gov.au/publications/sb/sb17

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.


> rightly

Case in point about the difficulty in covering politics in a manner most would consider neutral.


One could argue that a journalist's duty is to be critical of the government, regardless of the specifics. The ABC might still be considered neutral.


> be contradicting one side or the other.

Or both. Both American parties are full of contradictions.


> state-financed but politically independent

The very definition of an oxymoron.


That is how public media works in many parts of Europe. It is not an oxymoron, but a great idea when done right and it has been working well for decades. Think of it like constitutionalism for media. If the politicians suddenly start changing this constitution it is a clear red flag to voters as it's considered off-limits, so they mostly don't touch it.


To echo your point, there was an Aspen festival panel a few years ago where a network news rep/owner was refreshingly honest.

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.


I think the problem is deeper than just the press. These identity flame wars are sponsored by almost all big (non-news) corporations.

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.


Or they got as far as they could with sex appeal and moved on to the next best rationality bypass mechanism, tribalism.


What is "excessive pseudo socialism" and "Locust capitalism?"

Also, I see your account was created an hour ago.


Locust capitalism might be related to this: https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2013/04/03/the-locust-economy/

As for the pseudo-socialism part, I have no idea what it could mean either.


> pseudo socialism

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.


For the US healthcare system you can add poor people without insurance using emergency rooms as their primary point of care. Emergency rooms are required to treat them, they can't pay, so those costs get shifted to other people. Worse, the care they receive is usually the bare minimum and there's a good chance they end up back there. Overall a horrifically inefficient way to socialize medical costs.


"Locust capitalism" seems to be a verbatim translation of German "Heuschreckenkapitalismus", which is a phrase commonly in use to describe hedge funds and other large conglomerates buying other companies without regard for social issues like workers' jobs.


In the same way that decaf is coffee without the caffeine, (and phone-sex is sex without sex), pseudo socialism is socialism without genuine socialists. In the USA -- and increasingly in Europe -- we've seen the socialists' ranks get eroded by our societies' blind pursuit of ever-greater profits at the expense of the common good. This has resulted in the subordination of most aspects of life -- including most aspects of political life -- to the central mechanics of the market. Politicians cannot win elections without capital, which subordinates them to the capitalists. This is why they routinely support corrosive policies (like hobbling healthcare, turning a blind eye to the opioid crisis for decades, decreasing taxes, regulatory capture, etc) and oppose policies meant to better the public uniformly (like free healthcare, free education, net-neutrality, higher and transparent taxation, independent and effective regulatory bodies, etc). In short, they are obligated to support policies that will generate profits for their wealthy patrons, at the expense of everyone else.

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".


If you're going to down-vote me, could you at least offer an explanation as to why? As it stands, there's an infinity of possible objections you can have with my comment. It would help to know what they are, so that I can at least _try_ to integrate them into my thoughts and perspective.


> 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.

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.

https://www.amazon.com/Influential-Mind-Reveals-Change-Other...

Edit: their to there. with to without.


> 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.

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.


There are an increasing number of streaming independent journalists (at least that’s what they claim) that support themselves through patreon. These small ops can often go into excruciating detail on their pet subject matter and follow the story rather than construct a narrative. They often tend to go back and correct themselves when new information is discovered - something MSM is loathe to do (where’s the corrections on collaboration/cooperation now that we know the basis for all the noise was campaign financed muck?)


True, it's good that these people exist and that they have a means (for now at least) of earning an income from it.

If you happen to see this late reply and have any recommendations of such people, I'd appreciate any suggestions you could make.


> How is the general public supposed to learn what is happening though?

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.


Agree with all your points...yours is a very rare stance around these parts, it's nice to see.


Your comments are only tangentially related and I suspect you did not read the article.

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 don't know, I think you'll wind up with a bunch of journalists charging independently to produce media, such as the author of the piece does or something like the kickstarters that produce long form docs.


Interestingly, this market force seems to lead to media very similar to that of the USSR. The only thing currently missing (everybody agreeing with each other and adhering to a specific non-value-based narrative is there) is the media speaking on behalf of the people.


> Often, they actually can't, because their survival depend on more pressing day-to-day matters.

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.


True, subscription is the main revenue source, not ads in this new media environment. So the way to optimize is to find a most passionate tribe and serve their point of view.

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


Are they? Centrists aren't a particularly passionate tribe, and the NYT's is about as mainstream media as it gets. They're going to have an absolute field day leading up to and including November, no matter who wins or loses, playing up, well, everything.

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 a NYT subscriber - NYT is downright obsessed with Trump, and the all consuming anguish from the Democrats. I’m not saying right or wrong, I’m just saying that reading their opinion section - where editorial bias can _really_ come into play - you may find most opinions revolve around Trump and his policies. It is so ingrained into the newspaper that they cover Trump negatively even when he does something agreeable just because what he stands for.

I’m not an American, so no horse in the game - but this is obsessive.


I am a subscriber to the NYT as well and lean center right politically. The NYT is without question the best newspaper in the country, and worth reading despite their editorial slant. Ignore the front page and the op-ed section and their coverage is wider, deeper And better written than any other US newspaper. (The Washington Post is good for politics, but mostly cause it’s the local paper in a one company town.)

But TFA isn’t about bias so much as the the left leaning press eating itself with doctrinaire purges.


Maybe because Trump lowered taxes on people in red states by raising taxes on New Yorkers.


>So they did the next best thing: they changed to please the market

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.


> 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.

I mean, those kinds of market failures are exactly what large parts of "the left" are frequently highlighting.


I suppose the cause is society and news believing their opinion is truth. Rather than there being a truth worth seeking

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


Seems like optimizing for short term gains over long term sustainability. A mistake lots of businesses make.


> But as a group that needs to survive, it's a working strategy.

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.


I am not American and don't live there but have American friends. Most of them anecdotally were happy about the op-ed you mention - they probably aren't members of your political tribe. But then they don't subscribe to the NYT anyway. My point is that the GP is right, this is survival. They tried to be neutral by publishing an op-ed the other side probably liked. Didn't work and therefore it pushes them more into one camp to survive. Just a guess based on anecdotal information.


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> 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.


It seems fair.

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.


[flagged]


It wasn't just property damage, and insurance isn't magic.

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.


The peaceful protesters explicitely don't want that. You may disagree with them, but don't pretend it is for them.


I do disagree, and it is for their safety, many of them are getting hurt.

I don't care if they want it or not, if they don't, they don't know what's good for them.


The problem here is that the protestors are against what they perceive as excessive use of force. Sending in the national guard would escalate the situation further. One of the reasons these protests persist is that they elicit from the police much of the behavior they detest. The protests are self-fueling.


Letting them do whatever they want is not a valid choice, no matter how they feel.


If Taibbi is reporting accurately, that's not what he said, and the NYT even had to issue a correction to clarify that he didn't say that.


They reported at the beginning of May that subscriptions are at a high:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/06/business/media/new-york-t...

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.


The op-ed was published on June 3rd.


I’m asking if you could please share links to the information you saw about about the widespread subscription cancellations that you referred to.


The other half cancelled their subscription because they fired the editor, so they lose-lose really.


They fired the editor because he admitted he himself “did not read the piece”.

Seems like a fireable offense to print something you didn’t read, when it is quite literally your job to.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/busi...


I bet he didn't read the piece, if he had he would have known it would have pissed off their base.

Notice how they didn't say HOW the OPINION piece didn't meet their standard.


The newsroom revolted against the editor that published the "Send in the troops" article and got him fired. So for this anecdote it was the right strategy, it just didn't happen soon enough.


From the same organisation that published an op-ed from the Taliban.

The whole thing is absolutely bizarre


Individually, each entity composing the group we call "press", may find itself in geopardy.

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.


How can we make serious news less expensive (to produce)?

Reducing the cost could be one way to compete with "non-serious news".


You can’t reduce the cost of “real journalism” by much. It takes lots of time and manual effort to find and vet sources, dual-source all facts, piece together the puzzle from sets of verified facts without making non-factual leaps.

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.


For those in the comments that haven't read the article, I highly recommend you check it out. While the comments are talking about the survival of news media and "tone-deaf" titles, the bulk of the article is about the Overton window[1] shifting to the point where rigerous journalism questioning outrages of the time is becoming untenable, weakening the news overall. It's a very good read.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window?wprov=sfla1


I would advise care when reading it. It’s not immediately clear but it uses very hand picked facts to paint a very different picture of what’s actually going on. I call these kinds of articles disinformation-lite; not outright lies but selectively picking events to portray a hypothetical scenario that doesn’t really hold true.

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.

(Emphasis mine)

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.


I’m a bit confused, since the section you emphasized appears to prove Taibbi’s point: Cotton called for force against “lawbreakers”, not “protestors”. You can argue that the troops would in practice end up attacking both groups, but that’s a separate question from “did Cotton suggest deploying troops to attack protestors?”

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.)


> Cotton called for force against “lawbreakers”, not “protestors”

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? None. How many military leaders did Cotton call upon to support his case? None. 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.


> I do not want active duty soldiers pointing weapons of war around my neighborhood for any reason... I'll not have my home treated like a failed state or enemy war zone.

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?


If members of my community are being killed with abandon across the country by the police and it provokes largely peaceful protests against that, then an action which seeks to misrepresent the situation and argue for the use of militarized forces against such protests is de facto calling for an increase in killing of the more people from my community.

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.


> If members of my community are being killed with abandon across the country by the police

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.


I think your confusion is warranted. Context is important. I wanted to cite more from Cottons op ed but was afraid it would be too much words. This is the beginning of his essay:

> 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...


You: 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.

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?


He explicitly claims that rioters sometimes outnumber both the national guard and police. I think it’s unlikely that such a statement makes sense without drawing no distinction between protesters and rioters. Saying that the ‘peaceful’ shouldn’t be confused with the ‘roving bands’ seems more rhetorical, or even aspirational, given that he’s not really trying to distinguish himself (and this is clear throughout the piece).


I stand by exactly what I said. Context is important and words in isolation mean nothing, and that paragraph was explicitly designed to protect the outcome of what he’s really calling for.

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.


He doesn’t even mention protests or protestors in those quotes, so why do you believe he’s equating rioters and protestors?

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?


The vast majority of politicians have been very careful to differentiate between peaceful protestors and rioters/looters specifically because they know people will have the same exact discussion we are having now. Competent politicians are very careful about their choice of language. They weren't born yesterday and neither was Tom Cotton.


He does make it explicit that rioter =/= protestor:

> 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.


Something that Cotton also said recently on Twitter: "No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters."

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 quarter" also means [0]:

>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.)

[0] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/no%20quarter


Cotton isn’t some rando posting a comment on Facebook. 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. If he meant something different there were other ways to express it.


"No quarter" wasn't in the essay. It was a tweet. Does "his editorial staff" review everything he tweets?

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."


> Does "his editorial staff" review everything he tweets?

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.


Between the colloquial meaning listed in dictionaries, and the technical meaning found in military law books, which is "the well known one"?


I can agree that anarchist can be a belief system or lifestyle that can be practiced without breaking the law. Anarchism as a belief, anarchist as a noun.

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.


Here is a link to the op-ed for anyone following along who wants to read it: https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1375.

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:

> 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.

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.


That's quite clearly not what he said unless you believe protestors to be lawbreakers.

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.


He did not take significant pains to separate them, that is the whole point. Please cite sections of his essay that support your hypothesis.


He couches all of his points in a painful separation/distinction. It's one of the main points of his op ed.

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?


It’s fine to be wrong. I missed that paragraph in his essay.

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.


I've read all your comments and like others, find your thought process confusing.

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.


If only you spent the amount of effort analyzing his essay rather than my comments.

> 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.


> 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.


>It’s very clear to anyone reading Cottons article that the call is to deploy troops to subdue he largely peaceful protests

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?


How can you ignore the fact that the vast majority of protestors have been peaceful and that using the military to subdue the rioters means that they will crack down mostly on the protestors?


Do you have any examples of high-quality qualitative reporting? I can somewhat see your point but it seems endemic and hardly specific to this post, to Matt Taibbi, or journalism/punditry in any given time and place.


Using selective words to further his argument is Taibbi’s shtick as that’s “old journalism “.

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.


It's been a lot more than one journalist.


That's true, and I usually like Taibbi, but I think he's misreading the issue.

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.


The problem is that an angry Twitter mob can get people fired from all kinds of institutions/companies. While Twitter and universities might not be the mainstream thought, they can still ruin your life.


> the bulk of the article is about the Overton window[1] shifting to the point where rigerous journalism questioning outrages of the time is becoming untenable,

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.


Thing is, when the New York Times was "the newspaper of record", everyone read it. When they only print what will pass muster with the howling mob, for fear of losing their jobs if they offend, then only the howling mob will read it. But the howling mob doesn't have enough members to support the New York Times.

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.


People also seem to be unaware that howling mobs move on...you just have to wait them out. Stand firm and they'll quickly find another target to bully.


Case in point: remember last year when the governor and the AG (I think?) of Virginia were caught in blackface 30 years ago and the lieutenant governor was revealed to have raped a woman in college 20 years ago? And they all refused to resign? Everyone forgot about that a month later.


> And they all refused to resign?

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.


In this case two of them hadn’t committed crimes and the third had a statute of limitations that had passed so there wasn’t really corruption involved, just a refusal to listen to protests.


Like I said, mechanisms, not animus. Get laws on the books (or into the constitution of your state if necessary) that provide avenues for removal. Spell out standards of behavior and consequences for violating them and enforce those standards. The mob is not the solution.


Same with Canadian PM Trudeau. Out came multiple videos of him in blackface. The media dropped it in a few weeks.

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.


The only thing I admire about Trump is his megalomania and ignorance makes him impervious to politically correct McCarthyites. The Twitter mobs will move on, just wait a little while.


Easy to be impervious to one mob when you have an equal but opposite mob to support you.


And yet, his so called mob has done... nothing here.

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 for one am glad that most the 2A crowd, on both sides of the aisle, don't seem to presently think shooting people is be a good idea. As for people not in that crowd who seem to think otherwise (or at least criticize the 2A crowd not thinking otherwise)... well I'm glad they don't own guns. If you don't actually think otherwise, it seems very perverse to criticize them for their restraint.


[flagged]


You can't do this here, regardless of how strongly you disagree. Perhaps you don't owe the other side better (perhaps you do), but you definitely owe this community better if you're posting here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


There's a couple breaches of the guidelines in that post there buddy. Would you care to try again?


Please don't respond to a bad comment by breaking the site guidelines yourself. That's explicitly in there also: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.


Apologies Dan


>you just have to wait them out.

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.


But they tend to burn down whatever they are around before moving on.


There's a flip side to that though which is that the other side of the aisle is also a howling mob. The discourse across the board has become so radically polarized that it's impossible to reconcile the competing world views. In the mean time, there's apparently a belief in the news room that centrists are rare enough that they need not be catered to.


Centrists would be somewhat rare it it hadn't become a slur for both extremes to label anyone that's not an extremist.

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.


[flagged]


This is exactly what I was talking about. You make a bunch of assumptions about peoples' political opinions that are incorrectly portraying them as centrists and supporters of nazis if they don't adopt your world view. "Us or them" is killing America. Lack of nuance and intelligent discourse is destroying us.

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.


[flagged]


> Doesn't it make them a Nazi enabler, though?

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?


[flagged]


Did you grow up with 49% of the voters in this country, or are you generalizing them based on caricatured versions of your anecdotal experience?

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".


[flagged]


I'm very familiar with the Nacht und Nebel directive, but not with that particular film. In fact, "Night and Fog" was the first image that came to mind when I saw a protester being kidnapped and shoved into an unmarked vehicle recently. [1] I can perhaps be forgiven for thinking that it might be a good time to get off the fence and pick a side.

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?

1: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-06-06/video-un...


There really isn't more to the "extreme left" than equality and dignity.

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 is North Korea? Cuba? Soviet Union? Doesn't sound like equality and dignity to me.

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.


Let’s see, a state that no longer exists and two of the worst examples of left based ideology nation states.

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.


Not a higher count of authoritatian states. A higher fraction.

Far-left: 100% Far-right: 100%


You put "extreme left" in quotes as if there isn't such a thing and its simply a way to malign mainstream liberals. Once again this is the kind of tribalism I'm talking about. All or nothing. Purity tests.

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.


I mean, Donald Trump literally reversed transgender health protections this week. If you're voting for a Republican, you're voting for the party of Donald Trump and efforts like that which take away the rights of certain classes of citizens.

You can't vote for a party and try to avoid taking the whole package deal. You get what you voted for.


But that logic means that if I vote for a Democrat, I'm also taking the whole package deal. And, bluntly, there aren't very many people that actually support all of that package deal.


Yes, that's right. I don't agree with the full package deal, but I think it's far better than the alternative

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.


And if I also disagree with some of what the other party is doing, then what? "Don't vote" seems to be the only option you have left. And I strongly disagree that that's the best option.


Then you compromise and pick the party that you think best accomplishes what you want.

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.


Instead, do as all thinking humans: vote for the third party that most appeals to you. I've been swapping between the Greens and the Libertarians... this year looks Green so far.


[flagged]


This is trolling. There's no view that requires that level of disrespect. If you continue to post flamebait to HN we will ban you.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Even the guy who started this site had something to say about shitting on orthodoxy:

>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.

http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html


pg would most likely have just banned you a long time ago. He was like 100x quicker to ban HN users than we are, and he never gave warnings like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22709413 or https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22606579.


The charitable interpretation of the centrists position is trying to straddle the line between "I believe the government should be responsible for intervening in order to secure equal outcomes for all people" and "I believe individuals should be responsible for their owns lives and own outcomes." Or something along those lines. Centrists are not centrists because they embrace some negative, immoral 'other side', but because they recognize the other side has it's own values that are good and worth preserving. Many centrists likely see themselves as trying to strike a balance between these values.


How do you situate Max in Oakland on this spectrum? Taibbi writes about him at length in the article - and his original comments were https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/1268390704645943297.

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.


Lol this sentiment is exactly the problem being discussed and you've inadvertently provided a great example for the thread to examine. Thanks!


Please don't be a jerk in HN threads, no matter how wrong another commenter is or you feel they are. Nothing good is going to come of it.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Agreed on all points. Appeals to centrism are a negotiation tactic; not with the one considered too extreme who should be more moderate, but to the third party who is watching who is sympathetic to the one calling for moderation. It benefits the status quo, and therefore is innately conservative.


No, centrism is to also find areas of consensus and pursue them, however imperfect. For instance, criminal justice reform has made some progress recently. Gradual decriminalization of some recreational drugs as well.


I don’t disagree. I view the two as mutually compatible rather than exclusive. Incrementalism is working within the Overton window to affect change within the system. Progress happens in fits and starts as well as by design and committee.


Do you have any evidence to support your theory? The NYT recently hit 6 million subscribers (print and digital) which is a record high.

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.


Counterpoint, from Ezra Klein of Vox (https://www.vox.com/2020/6/10/21284651/new-york-times-tom-co...):

> 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.


It would be hard to argue that a view is universally repugnant when it is espoused by an elected official and there is at least a significant minority of voters polling in support of the view. Given those criteria, we should argue that outright racist or sexist views are both unacceptable and not universally repugnant. I'm still supportive of editors who refuse to publish in those cases.

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.


I mean, I agree, but why be inaccurate with this statement?

> 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 wrote "at least a significant minority", which includes majority views.

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 understand now, but I think the natural reading of that phrase is that it refers to a minority of some sort.


> Given those criteria, we should argue that outright racist or sexist views are both unacceptable and not universally repugnant

I think you’ll find classifying what counts as “outright racist or sexist views” constitutes a legitimate controversy.


I wonder how much division in the country plays into this. I keep hearing references to there being at least two countries within the US. Is this maybe the outcome of using the sphere model from the Vox article higher up and applying it only within the "blue country"?


It's unlikely. As the article describes, many of the views considered unacceptable are popular even among Democrats.


But I think Klein is failing to engage with the core issue, that many of the positions now outside the bounds of acceptable discourse in newspapers are held by a majority of Americans and considered reasonable by a supermajority. If newspapers systematically refuse to represent views that most people hold, how can we trust their objectivity?


The news is not objective. There is no such thing as a “view from nowhere.” Editors make decisions daily about what even is news, and that is a subjective process.


The opinion pages are not objective. The news should be objective. If they aren’t objective then they should be clear about this otherwise people believe it as objective. That’s the whole point of news.


It is not possible for the news to be objective. Even the decision of what is news is a subjective process. If the news appears objective, that only means you share the perspective of the people reporting on and editing it.


I understand your point: any writer has a point of view and it may ooze out in his choice of words.

But a reporter should resist the desire to editorialize and instead emphasize the 5W's: who, what, where, when, why (and how):

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

If reporters did so, much contention would disssipate and we'd get more information (news) and less opinion - IMO a good thing.


We would still get bias. Pretending it does not exist is worst then actually visibly admitting it.

In particular, who, what, why is extremely sensitive to unadopted bias.


Please do not put words in my mouth: I'm not pretending that bias doesn't exist.

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?]

giardini 57 days ago [flagged]

Don't put words in my mouth: I'm not pretending bias doesn't exist.

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"]


This comment breaks the site guidelines egregiously. Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I suppose the cause is society and news believing their opinion is truth. Rather than there being a truth worth seeking

If only subjectivity is true, society must fragment. Everyone forms a different view -- unity is lost


That is a lazy argument. It’s possible for the news to strive to be objective.

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.


It gets even worse. If you ignore the problem by not talking about it and only fringes discuss it - people will go to the fringes to hear what they have to say. And you may get big surprises at the voting booth.


Well not all extremist views are the same. White nationalism and UBI may both be fringe views (maybe the latter isn’t but let’s assume so). I think it’s fine to not mainstream extremist views that call for extermination or discrimination of certain sections of society even if the views have a chance to affect the polls. These fringe views have existed throughout the life of the US and it’s only when they get mainstream attention that they get energized. Every so often they flare up into the mainstream but then get killed by the rottenness of the people that espouse them.


Reddit expunged the Donald. Now it is its own cesspool. And it is growing..

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.


Most of white American would’ve supported siccing the police and military on the civil rights movement in the 60s. That doesn’t mean that newspapers should’ve advocated they do so. The same holds true here.

Ethics are not equivalent to populism.


The newspapers in the 60’s didn’t pretend that 100% of the population was behind the civil rights movement. When racist politicians spoke, they got their platform. People could read, and decide for themselves.

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.


Part of the evolution of norms is a change in what’s acceptable and what isn’t. The N word was considered acceptable in print but isn’t anymore, even if the argument is being made by publicly racist politician. We agree as a society on what is considered offensive and not and that changes with time. Deplatforming people who refuse to adhere to that change is part of the evolution of society.

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?


[flagged]


This comment breaks the site guidelines. Would you please re-read them and stop taking HN threads further into flamewar? We've had to ask you this many times already.

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.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Yes, it absolutely does.

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?


[flagged]


It was US state policy to reject Jewish refugees while our wealthy industrialists conspired to profit from the Nazi regime. The German American Bund had branches across the US and Hitler‘s writing was featured in the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/1941/06/22/archives/the-art-of-propa...

If you’re going to invoke Godwin’s Law type arguments, you at least have to know the actual history.


Since the US has outlived the russian, german, french, japanese, and british empires, USSR and select other totalitarian states while not stopped being democracy I would say that US society commitment to the principles of marketplace of ideas had indeed protected and furthered the US democracy. All while being a lot more bigoted society.


How did the US “commitment” to democracy and a “marketplace of ideas” play out in Indonesia again?

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


[flagged]


I suggested that we should make it more obvious that some elected politicians are white nationalists.

That is different than giving all white nationalists a platform to spread their garbage.


Please tell me what the majority of americans support that is unacceptable to talk about? I'm guessing your idea of the super-majority is at best questionably a super-majority.


The article gives several examples.


At this point objective truth is buried deep inside the media’s “sphere of deviance” that the media has decided on.

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.


That sounds like uncritical support for manufacturing consent, to me.

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.


I mean it's not like taibbi is speaking up for child molesters

Unlike, say, the NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/pedophilia-a-diso...


"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Just making an observation on what is and is not permitted to be published in the NY Times is all


Your characterization of the linked article could not be more wrong. They write about acknowledging the disorder of sexual attraction to prepubescents (=pedophilia) to prevent child abuse.

Last sentence:

> 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.


I think they really undercut their argument with "not a crime" in the title. They may be technically correct for non-offenders, but it's incredibly naive to think such a phrase in the title won't get a lot of scorn and suspicion, even if their hearts are in the right place.


It's not only "technically correct" but correct in every possible interpretation I can imagine.

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.


Is espousing sympathy for pedophiles better or worse than the guy who was (probably) fired for tweeting that non violent protests work better than violent protests.


This is not about "sympathy".

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.


This is the most important story in the last 4 years. The press has gone wild. They think they have a moral duty to bring down Trump instead of reporting the news. Because of this they distort headlines and flat out lie in many instances.

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.


Trump is part of a long-term movement to dismantle the press.

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.


Trump is merely the momentary target of the process. The process is dying organizations always go hard left on the way out. Something to do with ease of entryism when no one else wants in, or if there's no monetary or social reward left in an industry there's always the left wing rewards of boastful humility and self congratulatory echo chambers.


This is a process I’ve never heard described before, but sounds interesting. Do you have any examples or further reading?


The content of 'Buildings Matter Too' article is worth reading, if you haven't seen it you definitely should. To me the editor resigning is not good.

https://www.inquirer.com/columnists/floyd-protest-center-cit...


The content had nothing to do with the editor resigning. It was entirely about the headline.


Is this really so hard for feeble-minded drones to understand? Two wrongs don’t make a right.


Taibbi at this point should start a new news co. He, and to some degree, Glenn Greenwald, have been the only two members of the press who seem to be unable to see the emperor’s new clothes in the parades of the last several years.


Have you seen the news show "Rising"? They have been staking out this space for about a year now. Taibbi and Greenwald appear there regularly. This show is probably the most interesting new development in American political media. The hosts have jokingly described their philosophy as "let's hate each other less and elites more", and present as a mostly-friendly pair of left and right populists.

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.


I can't take Taibbi and Greenwald's antagonism against "elites" seriously when they take every chance possible to defend the actions of a billionaire President and his billionaire-stuff Cabinet.


It’s their policies and actions that matter.

Looking at everything from an identity lens is a disease that has corrupted discourse in this country.


Yep actions > words > identity

This concept has been lost on many.


That's so far from accurate that I'm not sure how you got there. Both are squarely on the left and abhor Trump. Chomsky calls Greenwald his close friend, for example, and Taibbi wrote a book called "Insane Clown President" and was one of the strongest journalistic critics of the financial system.


"Elitism" isn't really about material wealth but a set of viewpoints and loyalties.


He did this a few years ago, basically in parallel to the Intercept. It didn't work out, and he went back to Rolling Stone afterwards https://theintercept.com/2014/10/30/inside-story-matt-taibbi...


Timing is everything, now's the time.


Taibbi is not alone in this, but he's prolific, consistent and the best. If he was anything less, traditional media relentlessly would tell us about his "fake news."

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.


Why not Tucker Carlson?

Just for the record, I subscribe to The Intercept and am a fan of Glenn Greenwald.


Tucker Carlson drops hints that he can’t see the emperor’s clothes, but he nevertheless describes their beauty in exquisite detail almost every other night. He knows exactly what he’s doing.



Alright, so he was wrong 8 times out of ~10,000 statements in the last 4 years? Or, am I missing something?


> Says the Potomac River "has gotten dirtier and dirtier and dirtier and dirtier. I go down there and that litter is left almost exclusively by immigrants."

I think you're missing something.


Help me understand what is wrong with that statement.

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.


You yourself said "what he believes". Not "what he knows". That's not an insignificant detail. That seems like slander, really. Also, without proof, how can anybody say whether it even did or didn't happen? There are so many credible sources with proof of large companies polluting water, why not use that as an example?


I get what you are saying and agree there is a difference between knowing something and believing something.

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.


The fact that politifact didn't report on everything else he said doesn't imply his other statements weren't lies or more importantly represented useful truths rather than propaganda and misinformation.


I think you're missing his nearly nightly racist, xenophobic dog-whistles.


Politifact is left-leaning and not usable as a bias check unless you are satisfied with that:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=is+politifact+biased&t=opera&ia=we...

There's even a site dedicated to revealing Politifact's bias:

https://www.politifactbias.com/p/about-politifact-bias.html


Are we reading the same results? The top result[1] says they show very little bias. It also days right-leaning sources say politifact is biased, but if these sources are being fact checked in a way they don't like, of course they would claim politifact is biased.

[1] https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/politifact/


Tucker is partisan, and hence corrupted, so regardless of how wrong or right he is on any given issue he isn't someone who could step into the role of a widely-trusted journalist. Taibbi could.


That's a fair point.

I will say that he isn't afraid of calling out the BS on the right.


But he always pulls his punches when it comes to the right. His book, "Ship of Fools," is the perfect example. He's insincere.


Morally flexible.


on what?


We've passed the point where people are willing to buy more tranches of gaslighting masquerading as journalism from existing and entrenched players, who have been part of the problem as far as the memory goes.

That ship sailed a long time ago.


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