Morning Ed: Media {2018.01.10.W}

[Me1] We need to do a better job of differentiating between dry fact-checking statements and explaining the context of statements. The former is yes/no, for the most part. The latter is inherently subjective.

[Me2] A study looks at the role the media plays in perceptions of crime using a natural experiment in Italy.

[Me3] Nathan Robinson writes about how social justice media is undermining social justice for clicks and money.

[Me4] Breitbart can run from its endorsements, but it can’t hide. If your sole criteria is hates liberals and mainstream conservatives, you do run the risk of promoting Nazis as they do manage to piss off both.

[Me5] The creator of the concept of Fake News has regrets. It’s almost humorous how quickly this turned into an own goal.

[Me6] The good news is that in the overall “fake news” seems to mostly be preaching to the choir who are actually getting most of their news elsewhere. The bigger danger isn’t crap being made up on Facebook, but the sense of validation some of it gets on closer-to-mainstream outfits like Fox and company.

[Me7] It’s not often you hear reporter complaints about reporter pay being too high. But men’s pay is too higher than women’s pay, apparently.

[Me8] This is not a headline you expect in 2018. So are they going to start hiring reporters again?

[Me9] Eric Garland is on the warpath.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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27 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Media {2018.01.10.W}

  1. M3: Stuff like this is going to continue as long as Google and Facebook eat up most online revenue from ads. That being said i am a cranky older person who hates click bait writing conventions but lots of people go for it. The thing about news is that doing it well is hard, expensive, and often boring for most people. Celeb X tweeted Y is cheap and easy. CNN seems to spend an inordinate amount of time on the reporting about tweets so I find it hard to blame .mic.

    Me4: I am just surprised they haven’t gone full Nazi yet.

    Me7: The BBC is more closely governmental and funded via taxes than PBS. It is cherished in a way that most Americans would find incomprehensible. This is good old fashioned British socialism!!

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    • Adding to what Saul said, there seems to be an inherent problem in treating news as a business as M3 noted. Businesses exist to make a profit while news is supposed to give relatively accurate information on the state of the word to the readers and viewers, although what is relatively accurate information is an ideological question. Relatively accurate information doesn’t make money though.

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    • Me7: Is the BBC that cherished? Its definitely part of the cultural landscape of the United Kingdom but it isn’t without its critics, generally on the right but really across the spectrum. I think most British people treat the BBC and the oldest commercial channel ITV as the way Americans treat the networks, something that just is. More information is needed to know if the BBC is really as loved in the UK as American liberals want it to be.

      Its also not necessarily a socialist institution even though its public. There were several commissions to determine the relationship between the BBC and the British state. Its more like a NPO that happens to work in the area of media than providing services for the less well off.

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    • I was distressed to see that even the small local news channels in my parents’ town have gone clickbait style for headlines to “tease” their upcoming stories

      One was:
      “Facebook to shut down” and under it, in smaller type, “its ‘M” Personal Assistant”

      C’mon, guys, you’re better than that….

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      • That’s been going on for decades.

        “Are pedophiles driving your kid’s school bus? Tune in to a Channel 8 exclusive at 5:00PM!”

        “Are serial rapists wandering your neighborhood? Tune in at 7:00!”

        “Are you going to be devoured by fire ants tonight, while local mechanics overcharge you for labor they never performed? TUNE IN AT 9:00!”

        “If you don’t watch our 6:30 PM special, you will literally drop dead where you stand.”

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        • LOLOLOL This is such a perfect depiction of how I felt hearing the local news headlines when I moved here, vs how they worked where I grew up. (Canadian newscasters in small towns really don’t get that agitated about things, even when they are actually big serious things they SHOULD throw some drama into. It would be undignified.)

          Maybe @fillyjonk’s small town used to be more like CBCPEI and is now more like LocalColoradoAffiliate?

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  2. Me8: They use the M&A code word “synergies”. This means that they will fire staff, not hire. Since they say “geographic synergies”, I assume they mean eliminating things like redundant state capital reporters.

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  3. Me3 – iow, I liked social justice before it sold out and went all commercial.

    More charitably, what is interesting (to me) is that the same focus by the right wing media sphere on clickbait triviality and pseudoscandal did not undermine their main effort – just the opposite, it got Donald Trump elected President.

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    • “I’m not a member of an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”

      The left-leaning clickbait sites are not connected to the goal of electing Democrats like the right-leaning clickbait/tabloid sites seem connected to the goal of electing Republicans. They still only managed to get DJT a freak victory.

      Plus left-leaning clickbait sites generally don’t have people like the Mercers to bankroll them.

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  4. If “Social Justice” signaling is a good way to gain status in a sub-culture, we’re going to see a number of people signaling “Social Justice”. The thing to wait for is when the next big way to gain status in the sub-culture shows up and see who flips over to that and who sits still and continues talking about the importance of listening to the voices that are queering fat embodiment among POC.

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          • Are you familiar with the Woes of the Pharisees? Wikipedia has a good breakdown of the rants of Jesus here.

            He spends a lot of time on stuff like hypocrisy.

            Here, I’ll copy and paste the three biggest ones from the woes (I prefer the RSV to the NRSV, but what can you do?):

            They taught the law but did not practice some of the most important parts of the law — justice, mercy, faithfulness to God. They obeyed the minutiae of the law such as tithing spices but not the weightier matters of the law. (Matt 23:23-24)

            They presented an appearance of being ‘clean’ (self-restrained, not involved in carnal matters), yet they were dirty inside: they seethed with hidden worldly desires, carnality. They were full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matt 23:25-26)

            They exhibited themselves as righteous on account of being scrupulous keepers of the law, but were in fact not righteous: their mask of righteousness hid a secret inner world of ungodly thoughts and feelings. They were full of wickedness. They were like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones. (Matt 23:27-28)

            The Pharisees were not worshiping G-d, they were merely signaling that they were worshiping G-d.

            Do you see how this translates to the difference between “Social Justice signaling” versus “advocating for Social Justice” or do I need to go into further detail?

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            • Oh no, that clears it up.

              “Signaling” is an accusatory term.
              And if I assume this is related to Me3, then it probably fits.

              What is odd is that “signaling” from what I can tell, is usually reserved for leftist causes.

              For instance, the monetarization of outrage referenced by Me3 is a direct ripoff of rightwing outrage scams, where the latest Obama-coming -for-your-guns outrage is peddled next to ads for gold or such.

              In fact, “Conservative Signaling” can be said to be the entire Fox News business model.

              P.S. I am from a Catholic background. We don’t read the Bible. We pay people to do that.

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              • What is odd is that “signaling” from what I can tell, is usually reserved for leftist causes.

                Yeah, that seems accurate. When righties do it, the go to is usually “hypocrisy” or, if especially religiously-based, “pharisee” (which, as Schilling will point out, is unfair to the pharisees).

                But now that I think about it, we haven’t really needed a term for non-religiously based (but very much moral outraged-based) hypocrisy until the last few decades.

                Not surprising that a new term surfaced.

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              • I think that’s right. The left often signals in silly, easily mockable ways. Signals from the right, on the other hand, are so presumptively pro-American they not only can’t be easily mocked, they usually go unnoticed and so pass under the “signaling” radar.

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                • They can be easily mocked, I think, but those who think the signals are good, pure, sensible, non-partisan things – they may not perceive the mockery.

                  Like, Obama’s outrageously unamerican tastes in sandwich condiments.

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  5. [Me3] It’s a little dismaying that Robinson misses the most damning indictment of what he asserts is Mic‘s strategy for manufacturing outrage: it didn’t even work as a money-making scheme! Forget about cargo cult social justice activism, they had a cargo cult business model.

    On the other hand, the link to Current Affairs‘ pivot to video was great, as was this quote:

    You can even still believe Amy Schumer’s film is racist (I can’t remember anything about it anymore, honestly) while having a clear order of priorities for the injustices you want people care about.

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