Morning Ed: Media {2018.02.07.W}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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75 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    [Me4] This is why I stay off social media and never look at twitter or any of that crap. Apparently reading the stupid thoughts of strangers being outraged is important to many folks. Dumbasses.

    [Me6] Thank god this guy wasn’t a reporter spiking a news report. Then he’d be just like everyone else in the field–letting his biases or his fears-control the news.

    [Me7] These guys define the term “journalist”.Report

  2. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Me2: I can’t be the only one here to read Rupert Murdock(!) complaining, “Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable,” and spit out their coffee.

    Seriously, he wants to complain about scurrilous news sources? Takes a lot of damn nerve…Report

  3. Avatar pillsy says:

    [Me1] is pretty depressing. Maybe it would be less depressing if I didn’t detest TYT so much.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Me4 – hey, what do you know, a worthwhile sequel to the original smash hit.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    1. How will the media cover Trump’s military parade?

    2. If the media genie were to grant me one wish, I would wish for a total ban on media. No media source, especially 24 hour cable news, should ever be allowed to talk about tweets in stories or turn tweets into news. The “x teeeted about y” story is the most pernicious out there and debasing to intelligence and discourse.

    There is no need for 24 hour cable news to exist but it does and it constantly needs new content. So they go for endless speculation and gossip. They are not journalists, they are courtiers.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Agreed. The nut-farmers of the left and right endlessly point to that vacuous chasm for examples of left wing and right wing nuttery. If the only examples of the nuttery you’re complaining about are some idiotic tweets or even a whole mess of idiotic tweets then the nuttery in question is NOT significant and in no way is broadly embraced by a given side of the political spectrum.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


        I would change my position slightly. I think that there can be a viable 24-7 News Network. However, it would be expensive and most people would probably find it dull. Thus, it would not be a profit-maker. The problem is that Trump’s tweets are cheap, plentiful, and a nearly infinite supply of low-hanging fruit. Plus tweets lend themselves to “infotainment.” Why spend the money on serious investigative journalism like this when you can have hours of content from Trump’s deranged and audacious tweets, speeches, etc?Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to North says:

        It’s like just about everything: the 5% or so who are just batguano crazy are the ones who are held up as if they were the average.

        Yes, I’m on Twitter. But I follow relatively few people, and I have a “locked” account (as in: you can’t RT me and you have to ask to follow me. I started that MAINLY to avoid the surprise of “oh hai, a student is following you” but it also allows me to easily winnow out the bots. Not that many bots have tried to follow me.)

        I find it’s useful for long-distance “chatting” with a few people I know (we never got into AIM or similar, and I don’t like to text)Report

        • Avatar North in reply to fillyjonk says:

          Believe me I understand that Twitter has its uses. My problem is this weird journalistic and commentator tick that if someone says something on twitter it represents anything other than the (usually misspelled, ill considered and hash tagged) very slightest thought of that single user.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to North says:

            I’ve come to use Twitter a lot recently and I my feelings about that are pretty close to what I imagine a methamphetamine user thinks when he contemplates the issue of his own self-esteem.Report

          • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to North says:

            I may be a little prickly about it because it seems to me that “I’m not on (name whatever social media)” has become, for some, the “I don’t own a television” of the 2010s.

            I’m also alone an awful lot so it’s nice to have imaginary friends on the Internet. The ones in my head stopped talking to me after I turned seven.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to fillyjonk says:

              I hear you and I have absolutely no beef with Twitter qua Twitter in of itself. It’s just when tweeters or outside observers start treating tweets as anything more than what they are that I start facepalming. Dreher, to name a common right wing nut farmer*, went on a rant about a supposed liberal pogrom against Ross Douthat for an article he wrote in the NYT and what that said about liberalism at large. The pogrom in question; a bunch of angry tweets.

              *And one who alternates with quite entertaining or interesting right wing commentary which makes him readable.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to fillyjonk says:

              Imaginary friends on the Internet are a key part of not going mad in suburban New Jersey, AFAICT.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The media will cover Trump’s military parade with great fanfare. It will be all over the place, impossible to ignore. Fox would say how great it is because Trump is the Leader. The mainstream networks will treat it as a great patriotic rah-rah American show. MSNBC will say how terribly fascist it is but will be there nonetheless because they are the official channel of the opposition. Either way Trump wins and everybody loses. The real way to cover it is to ignore it. Trump must be reminded that he is impotent.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The real way to cover it is to ignore it. Trump must be reminded that he is impotent.

        Well, uh… sure. That’s absolutely accurate except for the fact that the press will have to cover it, will giddily want to cover it, and will enthusiastically place Trump front and center of it. Trump knows this. And you guys continue to think Trump isn’t a genius.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      that should be a total ban on media mentioning tweets.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        This is untenable when Tweets are the primary way that the President of the United States communicates with the public.

        So first Twitter needs to ban Trump for his endless, flagrant TOS violations.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to pillsy says:

          Trump’s twitter use isn’t the problem, tho. All he’s doing is capitalizing on more fundamental problems in our popular culture or, more generously, he’s exposing the problems of that popular culture by weaponizing its worst aspects. He’s basically using a signaling-based culture to attack itself and a signaling-based culture has no antidote for that.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        a total ban on media mentioning tweets

        What better way to tell people “if you want the real story, you have to get on twitter and follow Trump yourself because you cannot trust us”?

        Seriously, is there a *BETTER* way to get people on Twitter?

        Oooh, and then have Twitter try to limit Trump?

        Oh, my gosh. We’d have a new Twitter company overnight.

        “Trumper” or something.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Getting Trump off Twitter and onto Gab would probably make the user bases of both platforms much, much happier.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

            Evolving into yet another instance of this, then.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:


              I primarily differ from Alexander because I think the end result is somewhat better than the status quo.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              That blog is interesting, because back when I was a conservative, I was of the opinion that the mainstream press was biased in favor of liberals.

              But even then, what my beef was, shared by most conservatives I knew, was that outlets like the NYT and WaPo, the evening network news anchors like Dan Rather and Harry Reasoner and magazines like Time and Newsweek were liberal, but only slightly.
              In other words, our complaints were that they slightly loaded the dice in framing, like abortion became a discussion about “choice”. But it was only the rabid fringers like the Birchers who were accusing them of being overtly biased and unreliable.

              I remember the National Review’s obituary for Walter Cronkite being very laudatory and respectful, politely pointing out that while he was of course liberal, he was pretty fair and balanced.

              Then along came Fox, and they were like every conservative’s fever dream of a biased news source, except dialed up to eleventy and in the other direction.

              What is gone now, is the idea that there was a neutral platform that both sides could appeal to and benefit from, and yeah, it was the conservatives who unilaterally withdrew from the agreement.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Since the President of the United States saying stupid shit is news, just as his walking the streets of D.C. in his underwear and talking to himself would be, you can’t not cover it. But what I’d like to see is a daily front-page sidebar entitled: “S**t The President Says,” which would simply print the damn things, with, at most, basic fact-checking, and not cover them as real news unless something comes of them.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to CJColucci says:


        Yes and no. I just think it is too much low-hanging fruit for the networks and on-line media but especially for the 24-7 News networks.

        I never watched much CNN (or Fox or MSNBC) but they play CNN on the TV in the kitchen of my shared office space. I catch it when I go to copy and scan things or get a glass of water. Damn is it stupid. Most of it is not really news but endless speculation and gossip and a torrent of “breaking news” that is not really breaking and often not news. So put as one of the people in the “Trump’s tweets are a distraction!” camp.Report

        • Avatar pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          One of the problems is that the fundamental premise of 24-hour news networks like CNN is that it is virtually unavoidable that they will end up filling time with tedious trivial bullshit.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:


            Which is why I say there is no need for a 24-7 news network! I do think that they could be interesting and do real journalism if they dedicated themselves to long, investigative documentaries in the manner of Front Line but that would be very expensive and no one would watch.

            CNN went by and maybe still goes by the old News Radio format. People aren’t expected to watch or pay attention in long bursts. What they did not imagine (maybe?) was that 24 hour news would become unavoidable in many public or semi-public places because it is the least offensive thing you can show and people sound really cranky when objecting to the news.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Re: Parade

      OT: Trump is totally a fascist.
      ME: Meh, wrong Italian… he’s a Berlusconi wannabe
      TRUMP: Let’s have a Military Parade!
      ME: ?
      ME: Ok yeah, that time I heard it.

      p.s. I still don’t think he’s a fascist or that we’re anywhere near danger of fascism… but I’ll add one chit to the fascist wannabe pile for this one on your behalf.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine says:

        As a vet, his demanding that the Pentagon do this kind of crap offends the hell out of me. It’d offend me if any President did it. To be ordered to engage in such pomp and spectacle to satisfy the ego of any man, be it General or a politician, is BS.

        Yes, the military does do pomp and spectacle, but usually by request, and the people doing it are volunteers (like when I was in Navy Band, I volunteered for the duty), or it’s something for the military itself (like honor/color guards – which is still a duty one volunteers for).

        ETA – That’s what the Pentagon should do, call for volunteers. I would be interested to see how much of a parade they can put together if every person in it had to be a volunteer.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          He wants tanks and artillery rolling past in review. Can a tank volunteer? Can a road volunteer, because the ones those things are gonna head down are gonna need some work after.

          I suspect DC itself is going to flatly reject any parade routes at all (unless overruled by Congress) solely on the “It’ll cost us millions just for repairs and security”.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

            Tank crew would have to volunteer, obviously.

            And yeah, urban streets are not designed to handle armor rolling around. If he wants a parade, he should go down to Fort Bragg, or fly out to one of the proving grounds for the day.

            If I was president, I wouldn’t want a parade, I’d want to go watch tanks running a war game.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Trump wanted one for his inauguration, if I recall correctly. Hand to god, at this point I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a leak about how Kelly had to talk Trump down from having a Commander-in-Chief uniform made for him to wear around.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Morat20 says:

                “M- Hmm, mm-hmm, yes, Mr. President, here in America we call that uniform a ‘business suit’. And FYI the tie is worn no longer than the belt.”Report

  6. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Me4: Why I will never have a Twitter account.Report

    • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I will dissent, at least in part.

      If you curate your TL properly, it can actually do a lot to extend, rather than contract your horizons, in much the way that good linky posts around here do.

      Free, my opinion of a lot of commentators has gone from, “total wingnut asshat” to “generally insightful center-right commentator with occasional wingnut asshat moments” just because I see @trumwill or @dscotto re-Tweeting their good stuff, where before I would only stumble across them at their worst because I friend would email me a link with words to the effect of “look at this total wingnut asshat”.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

        I have enough trouble keeping FB usable, and if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a useful common platform for arranging play dates for the kids and keeping in touch with family/friends, I’d have more fully ignored my account there.Report

        • Avatar aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I use FB solely to have some idea what my cousin and her daughter are up to, but beyond that, it is pretty useless. I can see using it like you do, but other than those reasons…

          (On the other hand, I see many places online are farming out the comments to FB, so maybe? Or not as I am pulling back from commenting in general.)Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      That was a good piece, but it doesn’t engage with what I find the most interesting part of the whole deal: Twitter is a giant Skinner box training people to be exactly this ragey and crazy, because that’s what drives engagement. Human beings are, indeed, terrible.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        There is clearly no more appropriate time to quote one of my own Tweets, thereby driving further engagement!

        Twitter is the purest manifestation of the human impulse to say, "Oh God this tastes disgusting! Want to try it?"— pillsy (@DucksForDuckGod) June 9, 2017


      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Human beings are capable of being terrible. You put a person in a position where he can punch someone in the back of the head anonymously, he’ll do it. Ditto with the opportunity to help someone anonymously. The problem is that Twitter is all the former.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Entirely possible, but since I am dispositionally conservative, I automatically compare Twitter to earlier eras, that Golden Age when people were nice and civil and discussed issues thoughtfully around the cracker barrel.

        I am thinking of all the contemporary accounts, from Twain, to Dickens to Thackeray to Wharton in which they show how these cultures consisted of vicious petty gossips, and the coin of the realm in society was to have the fastest most wicked quip, the hottest take, the most savage burn.

        I am imagining a Mean Girls type remake of Dangerous Liasons, where the tools of seduction and betrayal are Twitter and Instagram. or a House Of Mirth where a Kardashian type girl goes from social influencer, to ignored has-been, revealed through her tweets and followers.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I would love to see Twain tweeting. That would be gold….biting, cutting to the bone but gold.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

            I would love to see the Kardashians at the Bourbon court, the scene chronicled by Dickens.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              It was the best of tweets, it was the worst of tweets.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

                It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man with an Olympic medal and a hidden desire to transition to a woman, must be in need of a woman with unmarried daughters and a multi-season deal of reality programming.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Heh. Can’t stop laughing at that one.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:


                I know you’re being playful and I’m not speaking as a moderator in any way – I’m not even upset, just tired – but I’m not sure if you already know that it’s grating to many trans people (self included) when people talk about pre-transition trans women as men with “hidden desires to transition to a woman”. This model, that trans women who are not out (regardless of what gender they are passing as) *are* actually men, is part of a larger frame that supports anti-trans violence, and so it just… grates. Even when it’s in a perfectly innocuous context like this one.

                Jane Austen would never be so maladroit, were she writing from a modern perspective in the modern day.

                Even about Caitlin.

                “a woman whose male seeming was so perfect as to win her an Olympic medal,” maybe. she’d be more elegant, but.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Maribou says:

                (FWIW, also, Caitlin was already taking HRT before she met Kris but stopped for a while because … figuring out who you are safe to be in a relationship is hard even for rich famous people sometimes. Also WHY DO I KNOW THESE THINGS I’VE NEVER EVEN WATCHED THE KARDASHIANS AAAAAAAAAAAAH *moves to a hermitage*)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Maribou says:

                Your edit improved my comment immensely.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                This demonstrates why it is so urgent that voices other than those who are always in the dominant majority get a chance to speak directly in their own words, without being filtered through us.

                When women, transpersons, or people of color demand that there be more diversity of writers on shows, or in magazines, or on selection committees, it is often lampooned as merely feelings or Balkanization.

                But they provide a perspective that people like me just can’t possibly see and deepens the conversation.Report

              • Avatar Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Mrr.. I think my perspective on most of what you just said is rather different than yours, but don’t want to get into hashing it out today – there’s nothing wrong with yours, I just don’t fully agree that those are the reasons why it’s urgent. Or that folks who are not *cough* #ownvoices as the hashtag goes (for whatever voices), cannot sometimes have a shockingly perceptive (and useful to everybody, including the people they’re successfully emulated) ability to communicate another perspective as-if-their-own even when they don’t share it. (Matt Ruff springs immediately to mind). Oh, but there I go getting into my reasons for disagreeing. Sorry. 4 hrs of sleep total the last two nights.

                I’m glad you appreciated the edit.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to greginak says:

            Me too! The old master would have been like a whale shark in a school of krill!Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:


          They already did Dangerous Liasons with high school students but pre-Social Media. I like your House of Mirth idea.Report

        • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I don’t think Twitter, or the Internet in general changes people so much as it amplifies them.

          My go-to example for incivility in politics is still the caning of a Senator in the Senate chamber, and that was 150 years ago.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        I think there was an episode of the Smurfs about this.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      See also: Police – who typically encounter people having a very bad day and how it skews their perception. For all I criticize the police, in this, they most certainly have my sympathy, and I doubt most departments do anything to try and help officers cope with that aspect.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        When cops had to walk a beat they at least got to interact with people as cops on better behavior at times. These days cops just seem to see people at their worst.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I question whether it was better back then. A lot of cops were corrupt and on the take. The stereotype of how in certain neighborhoods you became a criminal or a cop had truth in it. Our principals regarding how police interact with the public are all from the last 70 years or more recently. They probably had a lot more impunity and approval to use force in the past then they do know as hard as that is to believe.Report

          • Avatar aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            @saul-degraw is right, walking or driving it makes no difference. A racist cop is a racist cop. That and some areas are too vast to walk a beat in. A cop would get two, maybe three blocks in Phoenix or Dallas. Not to mention any rural or suburban area.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      If social media is like public restrooms, we can go for the European solution to clean them up. Hire a bunch of pensioners to be the moderators of social media and keep the place clean. European public restrooms use this system and it works. Those places are immaculate compared to what we have in the United States.Report

  7. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [Me4] Mostly I thought this was funny, but then, I stay away from Twitter.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Me6: I’m glad that I am not in charge of defending “the media” against charges of bias.Report

  9. Avatar Maribou says:

    Apologies for veering off-topic, though it certainly is media-related in its own fashion:

    RIP John Perry Barlow.

    So far I am not best pleased with 2018’s dealings with people who matter to me (at whatever intimacy or remove).Report