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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.


Thats not pseudo socialism

Thats just socialism.

The definition of socialism is social ownership of the methods implemented. In all cases above, the public at large owns the cost (and benefits) of the methods implemented: Medicare, Medicaid, affordable housing etc. We all pay for them, full stop.

Just because some of the programs have worse outcomes than elsewhere in the world, doesnt make them "less" socialist policies.


"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.


[flagged]


> 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.




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