Morning Ed: Media {2017.02.22.W}

Social media was meant to unite us, but according to Alex Berezow instead created a perfect storm.

The title explains it all: How a former editor allegedly used Vice Canada to recruit drug mules for a global smuggling ring.

In case you ever wanted to know what happens to the archives of defunct newspapers, Slate covered it some time back.

Bryan Curtis writes more on the politicization of sportswriting. Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that it’s actually hurting the quality of the work.

An upside to Trump? His war with CNN could make cable cheaper!

Conservatives have pointed out that our last president had his own little war with the media, and then claim the media was silent when it was about Fox News. The thing is, that latter part is not true.

While the Fox News report on Sweden that Trump alluded to had some serious journalistic problems, he’s not crazy to believe that Sweden is having some issues. Kevin Drum just wants people to use valid numbers when discussing it, even when inconvenient.

For the love of heaven, media, stop putting the words “election” and “hacking” together. Especially with articles showing people voting.

Ugh. I do hate it when I find myself agreeing with Gawker people.


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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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153 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Media {2017.02.22.W}

  1. Social Media: It’s a cancer. The only thing useful it’s done is provide more cat photos and reveal how ignorant and stupid americans are. And of course it lets me stalk hot chicks.

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    • If I could get social media that was NOTHING BUT cat photos, though, that would be just peachy.

      the problem is, I started following a few sites that seemed to promise cat photos (or nice landscape photos), that suddenly decided it was Very Urgent they shifted to being Very Political. Feh.

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      • Yes, I rue the day that disapproving rabbits.com and cuteoverload.com shut down.

        There is at least i can hazcheeseburger.com for dog and cat pics. I get on social media rarely and only to check my jujitsu class stuff. It’s a wasteland. I’d rather be playing Fallout 4 in a visual fake real nuclear wasteland than read FB.

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        • I STILL mourn Cute Overload.

          I’m on twitter, and I admit, it has its attractions for me – I don’t do texting or instant messaging, but a few times in my life when things were going REALLY BADLY, I had a few friends who were on at that time and were willing to virtually “sit with me” (and in a couple cases, offered prayers) because I tweeted out my worry or distress.

          What I follow on twitter is about 50% people I consider friends on some level, 30% cute or funny stuff, 20% businesses I want to follow (e.g., a yarn shop that posts their deeply discounted specials there)

          Facebook feels too much like “popular kids'” table in school for me to want to venture in there. Twitter is more like where the weird kids with poor impulse control fit in. (And Instagram is the hipster photographers, and Blogger is either the emo kids who keep giant journals, or the hopelessly-behind-the-scenes kids who think blogging is still cool… And Snapchat is that girls’ bathroom where the bad girls go to smoke and pop diet pills)

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        • Yeah, that too.

          Even some of the quilting and knitting magazines have decided to Go There.

          I think MY dystopia, if I chose to write about it, was a world where everything was relentlessly political and you were harangued for every choice you made.

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  2. Social Media: I think that social media breaks the big sort in a way. We do find people whose social-political-economic views are very different than ours. The thing is that no one knows how to approach the limits of reasoned debate and rhetoric. It seems like humanity has a nearly endless faith in the powers of logic, reason, and rhetoric (read: I can make anyone believe in my POV or all views will combine together to a moderate middle.) The problem is for many areas is that there is no compromise view between positions X and Y but media short hand and laziness has made us think “Mr. Smith has some left views and some right views. He must be a moderate.” Mr. Smith might just be inchoate in his political thoughts.

    So you have people interacting with the opposites but everyone is still a stranger so the automatic reaction is “OMG. How can you think that?”

    I am surprised that we are still so naively faithful in the powers of reason and rhetoric to change views.

    The Vice link does not work but the description is awesome.

    Politics and sportswriting: I think the big issue I have with all the pearl-clutching on this issue is that sports being “neutral” seems to help the right-wing more than the left and the right-wing really knows this. Lots of Americans really like sports but I think the general view is that sports are more traditionalists especially football. This allows manly men to do their manly men things on fields of semi-battle and valor. This is a very traditionalist thing and helps the Republican worldview on how they see themselves and the United States. It makes reform of the sports world hard to impossible to take out the politics including the general corruption in the NCAA (free labor making colleges liberal), it allows for the hiding of various scandals like concussion gate, the cartel nature of the NFL or other leagues, sexual harassment and assault on women, Sandusky, etc.

    So we have to examine what is really neutral and what is really “neutral.”

    I thought the worry with Trump was that he would regulate his enemies but help his friends which would not really lead to cheapness in anything.

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    • The problem isn’t that “We do find people whose social-political-economic views are very different than ours.”

      The problem is that people whose free time is devoted to sexualizing pictures of the raccoon from Pocahontas find other people whose free time is devoted to sexualizing pictures of the raccoon from Pocahontas.

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        • As a fan of the cartoon, and a collector of the (older) toys…yes, this. I don’t like having to explain “I like it, but I’m not one of THOSE fans” but I guess that’s kind of any fandom.

          Fandoms are the worst.

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      • We also find people who absolutely have actual proof that their bodies are infested with hair-thin worms that cause strange tumors to erupt from their skin and inflict horrible systemic pain that lasts for days on end.

        And who absolutely have actual proof that the mercury in their kid’s vaccine are the reason he plays video games for sixteen a day and bites you when you try to take the controller away.

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      • Sports writing – It’ll be interesting to see if a backlash develops. I know a lot of people hate getting lectured by ESPN about politics, and their subscribership has been falling lately. I’d bet that some outlets are going to adopt a “no politics” rule. I don’t think there’ll be a conservative sports analysis alternative, though. Neutrality won’t carry a cost, but right-wing activism would.

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            • Other possible solutions include:

              not reading offending sportswriters;
              reading offending sportswriters with a critical mind;
              demanding diversity-of-politics at sports desks;
              reading and supporting sportswriters with a point of view that you share.

              The pro-capitalist point of view is so deeply embedded in this country that it’s actually quite funny to see conservatives yelping about pro-labor writing.

              Whatever happened to the marketplace of ideas?

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              • Francis – Did you read my comment? I cited ESPN as an example of the first item on your list, and I explained why I didn’t think that the last item on your list would work. That’s half your list of “other” ideas. As for the middle two, I’m not the kind of person who demands diversity of politics at someone else’s private-sector workplace, and while I do believe in reading political opinions with a critical mind, I don’t think it’s obvious that a person sitting down to a sports page should have to.

                Now let’s be honest: do you really think that anyone on this site is against a marketplace of political ideas? And did you think I was yelping?

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                  • “If you cannot and will not accept the constraints imposed on you by your fellow citizens, then I encourage you to find a country more amenable to your philosophy. ”

                    ….and who said that again. Surely not anyone preaching about the marketplace of ideas. Also not even the first in a dozen in the faction that has said it here.

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                    • Position 1: Participate in the marketplace of idea, lose, accept your losses, but keep trying to persuade people to your point of view.

                      Position 2: Assert that you do not accept the social constructs (which include, obviously, the concept of the marketplace of ideas) that are the basis of this country.

                      My assertion: Position 1 and Position 2 are not identical.

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                      • Position 1. Live in the most individualistic republic on earth, and promote keeping it that way.

                        Position 2. Give up and let the social constructors think they own the country through their liberal social democracy.

                        My assertion: Position 1 and Position 2 are not identical.

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              • “Whatever happened to the marketplace of ideas?”

                (I say that women should have a reasonable expectation that biological males will not be permitted to enter their restroom facilities)

                “Why would you say such a harmful, hurtful thing?

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                • Does anyone really want that? Someone who is by all outward appearance a male entering the ladies room and saying “It’s fine, If you did a gene scan you’d find that I’m XX. Geez, you’d think after they passed that law they’d put some damn urinals in here.”

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                  • I’m pretty sure the idiots behind these laws have never thought it through and have no idea that FtM transgender is even a thing.

                    In fact, to the extent most of them have thought about it, they think “Like them Drag Queens on TV”.

                    Otherwise, the point you just brought up would have occurred to them.

                    (And frankly, the whole bathroom bill thing is nothing more than an obvious attempt to replace the fading ‘gay marriage panic’ that was so effective in driving socons to the polls during the early Bush years. What’s pretty interesting is how badly it’s failing. It’s being pushed in Texas, and support from socons is..lukewarm at best, and the House seems reluctant to take the bill up at all. It seems a lot of politicians don’t see it as a winning move.)

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                      • They are not. We have a pretty robust tourism industry, we have a burgeoning tech industry, and a big aerospace industry. This bill didn’t do NC any favors, and companies (including the NFL) are being pretty blunt about how they’re going to react.

                        It appears to be the brainchild of the Lt. Governor and the head of the Senate. The GOP House leader has been pretty open about stating the lack of enthusiasm in the House. (Which is a pretty good signal for “Nobody really likes this, and I have no interest in whipping up votes, a clear majority would love to see this quietly die in committee”).

                        Seriously, you’d think the huge backlash every place this has been tried would sink in. I guess some people are stuck remembering the glory days, when DOMAs would drive your voters to the polls. Surely with just a tweak, queer-bashing can be a good issue again.

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    • “no one knows how to approach the limits of reasoned debate and rhetoric.”

      Well. You go first, maybe. I’m sure that none of the people on my side are wrong about their beliefs or their reasoning or their approach to conversation, and if they are it’s your fault for being such a jerk (on purpose, I bet).

      Maybe one of the problems is that people say things like “for many areas…there is no compromise view between positions X and Y”. Like, if you go into a conversation with the attitude that it’s my-way-or-the-highway, then no shit you’re gonna have trouble getting anywhere.

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    • “the big issue I have with all the pearl-clutching on this issue is that sports being “neutral” seems to help the right-wing more than the left and the right-wing really knows this.”

      So all writing, including sports writing, is expected to be a tool of Social Justice now?

      Tell me more about how there’s not an attempt to push liberalism into every possible orifice of society.

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  3. “Hack” is an interesting word. Its modern meaning started out as any kind of clever short-cut. Then it came to mean something computer-specific. Then it hit mainstream use in its earlier meaning (like “life hacking”). The word is obviously dangerous when it’s misunderstood. It parallels other discussions of “rigged” elections, “fake” news, political “lies”, and general “fixes” being in.

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    • The “hacked election” is the 2016 version of putting the words “Iraq” and “9/11” in the same sentence over and over until a critical mass of Americans thought Iraq was responsible for 9/11. You never actually say the thing you want to put into peoples’ heads, but you let them think it and push the connection as hard as you possibly can.

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    • hacking happens. even to elections.
      But let’s try some basic fucking game theory, shall we?
      Most of the time, hacking doesn’t make any damn difference. Seriously. You’re only going to use it if you’re close (otherwise it’ll be really obvious, and why not keep your powder dry?), and that means you’re probably near a 50/50 chance anyhow.

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  4. re fake news: Back when Trump lambasted CNN as fake news over the dossier, I was giving my daughter a ride home from school and I broke out laughing at a replay of the press conference. She asked me what was so funny, and I thought the idea of CNN being labeled as fake news was funny; they may have been out on a limb on their sourcing, but they’re a real news organization. She said that her AP human geography teacher always says CNN is fake news. What’s not fake news then? AP or have three sources.

    So basically this is a year long class, in which the teacher tries to have 10-15 minutes to discuss current events every day, and try to link these things up with the subject matter. It appears to devolve frequently into some meta analysis of the media and what we really know. I feel sorry for young people these days. Both of my kids were told throughout school that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source because it can be manipulated. I find Wikipedia fantastic, but I guess I grew up with real encyclopedias and a pre-WWW base of knowledge that makes me comfortable navigating reliability issues. CNN enjoys a presumption of reliability and something calling itself “Buzzfeed” does not. The list is being shredded.

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    • The sad thing is that nobody remembers where the term “fake news” came from, because now it’s just turned into a shorthand phrase for “I think that this article is primarily opinion and whatever facts it includes are presented inaccurately or incompletely”.

      It was in reference to some webpage that looked like a professional news site with an article claiming that Trump won the popular vote. It became a top Google search result for “2016 popular vote” (and variations of that search) so a lot of people started reading it and citing it.

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      • I don’t consider the term “fake news” to be sacrosant. It’s valid to note how the delivery of news can lead to distortion, whatever the means. I’m not persuaded that a bad CNN story and a fictional Facebook link are different in kind. And the term doesn’t carry a long tradition with it. “Hacking” calls up a certain image in a way that “fake news” doesn’t.

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        • I’m not persuaded that a bad CNN story and a fictional Facebook link are different in kind.

          They are not different in kind only if you hold that factual content is not a condition on what constitutes the news.

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          • I used an example of a bad CNN story and a fictional Facebook link. How is that holding that “factual content is not a condition on what constitutes the news”? It’s the opposite of that. I’m judging on factual content only, and disregarding the news source. I mean, what did you think I was saying, that you’d accuse me of not caring about the facts?

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            • Btw, Pinky, the specific story which resulted in CNN being labeled “fake news” by Trump and conservatives more generally – ie., the one in which they reported that worries about Trump’s Russia connections were running their way thru both the executive and legislative branches – is actually confirmed at this point as “real” news. Since what they reported back then is happening right now.

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            • So is the single critereon for a news source being “fake news” that it has to, at some point, publish a single thing that isn’t true? If that’s the case, are there any non-fake news sources? If not, is the term useful at all

              It seems like there’s a continuum between “creates stories from whole cloth to mislead stupid people” and “tries to get it right and succeeds 100% of the time.” People who bin news into one of the extreme binaries are either very confused or intentionally deceiving themselves to rationalize ignoring generally trustworthy sources in favor of ones that make them feel good.

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                • No, accepting fake news as fact is determined by whether it conforms to the listeners preconceptions and biases irrespective of the evidence. By that metric, the failure to base a judgment on evidence is the deciding characteristic, not that people make mistakes once in a while.

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                  • Again, I’m not talking about accepting fake news as fact (although your unquestioning confidence in CNN suggests that maybe I should be talking about it). I’m talking about fake news itself, and whether that designation should be reserved for certain outlets or applied to news stories that are based on falsehoods, irrespective of the confirmation bias of the reader.

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                    • I’m talking about fake news itself, and whether that designation should be reserved for certain outlets or applied to news stories that are based on falsehoods, irrespective of the confirmation bias of the reader.

                      If there’s no confirmation bias of the reader, then there is no fake news. It’s a functionally defined concept, Pinky.

                      Eg, you believe that CNN is a fake news site based on a Daily News story which provides no primary data or analysis to support the claim.

                      Look, media outlets have a bias, most famously (of course!) is Fox News who argued that they have no legal responsibility to tell their viewers the truth. Presumably Fox’ lawyers understood what the term “the truth” means, even tho Fox’s viewers don’t. So the difference between “real news” and “fake news” is totes recognized by the people (currently!) arguing that evidence-based reporting constitutes fake news.

                      Politics is the mind killer, dude. Fox News understands that.

                      Add: And I say that admitting that I actually like watching Fox News.

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                    • Adding:

                      although your unquestioning confidence in CNN

                      I don’t have an unquestioning confidence in CNN. That’s my point. What I don’t accept is that CNN is a Fake News Site news without evidence. The same type of evidence that engenders my confidence in any particular CNN story.

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                      • I think there are a few different categories that are getting mushed together:

                        1) creating stories that purposefully contain false information, with intent to deceive
                        1a) creating stories without any effort to check their validity
                        2) creating stories that unapologetically draw on a particular set of ideological assumptions (e.g. Fox, MSNBC)
                        3) creating stories with a genuine attempt to be unbiased but that are in fact biased due to the ideological beliefs of the journalist and newsroom (e.g. most of the MSM)

                        I think only #1 and maybe #1a should be considered “fake news”.

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                        • I agree. I hope that wasn’t in dispute.

                          I’m advocating for the roll evidence plays in our decision processes,and preserving the role it ought to play. Long Live Evidence! It’s the only thing that will unite differing ideologies.

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                          • Add: Hence my recently heightened and hypersensitive rejection of subjective semantics (ie., word as subjectively defined text). Like we learned from Mulder and Scully so many years ago: non-subjective reality is out there.

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                            • non-subjective reality is out there.

                              Only behind us.

                              And if we can change the narrative about how that non-subjective reality was measured, we can affect how we measure today’s non-subjective reality.

                              I imagine that the people who measure it incorrectly will eventually be overcome by the engineers of people who measure it correctly, of course… but, in the short term, there’s advantage to be had.

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                                  • I’ve been noticing (in the sense of commenting on) this stuff longer than anyone on this site, as far as I can tell. From the beginning of my time here I made arguments all the time about defining reality in terms of ideology (arguments which no one agreed with I might add…) tho I don’t necessarily expect you to remember. So it goes back a long ways.

                                    I’m merely noticing, again, where we are.

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                                  • Also, you apparently – intentionally or otherwise – missed the point of my comment: if you have an objective view from which to describe our current reality, then reality certainly isn’t behind you. It’s right in front of you, staring you in the face. Hence, your comment.

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                                    • Our current reality is a consensus reality.

                                      I’m outside of the consensus.

                                      And, again, I imagine that the people who measure it incorrectly will eventually be overcome by the engineers of people who measure it correctly, of course… but, in the short term, there’s advantage to be had.

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                                      • Our current reality is a consensus reality.

                                        If the consensus believed gravity was a liberal myth, apples would still fall on mathematician’s heads.

                                        Restricting it a bit: our political reality is not even a consensus reality, since lots of people reject that alternative facts and facts are equivalent.

                                        Restricting it a bit more: even our media reality isn’t a consensus reality, since conservative-based alt-media and mainstream media are going at each other like jackals.

                                        I have no idea what you mean.

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                                        • our political reality is not even a consensus reality, since lots of people reject that alternative facts and facts are equivalent.

                                          Who has which?

                                          Restricting it a bit more: even our media reality isn’t a consensus reality, since conservative-based alt-media and mainstream media are going at each other like jackals.

                                          There you go. We have two competing consensus realities. Both going at it like jackals.

                                          I imagine that the people who measure reality incorrectly will eventually be overcome by the engineers of people who measure it correctly, of course… but, in the short term, there’s advantage to be had.

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                                          • Who has which?

                                            Those who have evidence. As I’ve been saying, I can’t believe you, the guy who insists on measurability when it comes to policy justifications, is willing to abandon the roll evidence plays in argument merely because other people disagree it exists.

                                            Mind boggling!

                                            The only thing I can think of to account for it is that your anti-Dem/anti-liberal predisposition compels you to maintain a pretense of neutrality on the issue of facts and evidence until this whole thing gets sorted. Cuz if it were liberals arguing for “alternative facts” I imagine you’d be vehemently rejecting their arguments.

                                            Actually I don’t have to imagine that. You have a long history of doing so.

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                                              • I think the concept of evidence only makes sense in relation to the concept of truth. Supposing there is such a thing as truth, or more colloquially the concept that a statement can be true, evidence is the presentation of facts which support the truth of a claim, where a fact is an observable (demonstrable, measurable, etc) state of affairs that exists in the world.

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                                            • I can’t believe you, the guy who insists on measurability when it comes to policy justifications, is willing to abandon the roll evidence plays in argument merely because other people disagree it exists.

                                              Oh, I’m not abandoning the role of evidence. I’m merely becoming cognizant of how much less important evidence is than narrative.

                                              I imagine that the people who measure reality incorrectly will eventually be overcome by the engineers of people who measure it correctly, of course… but, in the short term, there’s advantage to be had.

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                                              • I’m merely becoming cognizant of how much less important evidence is than narrative.

                                                Oh, I hear on that. Is this new, tho? The difference, seems to me, is that whereas the old narrative overcame deleterious evidence by highlighting the good stuff, the new narrative is to undermine the very concept of evidence itself.

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                                                • “The difference, seems to me, is that whereas the old narrative overcame deleterious evidence by highlighting the good stuff…”

                                                  “Good stuff” is, of course, something that can be defined and measured differently depending on who you talk to and when. It used to be “good stuff” to point to the size of Negro heads and conclude that black people were inherently less intelligent–and this was solid stuff! Backed up by quite a lot of evidence and well-reasoned, rational, tested scientific theory!

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                                      • I’m outside of the consensus.

                                        Really? Man, what does that feel like? I can only imagine. Maybe you could share some of the unique experiences accompanying being outside the consensus to all those folks mired within it.

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                        • I’d add 4) creating stories with a genuine attempt to be unbiased, which are accurate, but which are embarrassing to the person speaking. This is more or less how the President uses the term.

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                      • Again, I’m not talking about accepting fake news as fact (although your unquestioning confidence in CNN suggests that maybe I should be talking about it). I’m talking about fake news itself, and whether that designation should be reserved for certain outlets or applied to news stories that are based on falsehoods, irrespective of the confirmation bias of the reader.

                        Let’s be honest with ourselves. Fake news is very much associated with sites and not content. Full stop.

                        Because of that, what your standard will do is allow articles to be classified as “fake news” which will then, by association, get the site classified as “fake news”. Let’s not bullshit ourselves into thinking that this won’t happen, and this is why I don’t accept your standard. It becomes a distinction without a difference.

                        Like Stillwater, I don’t have an unquestioning confidence in CNN, but if I follow your idea and the evidence you supplied, I’d have to accept that shoddy journalism counts as fake news and not shoddy journalism thereby ignoring the numerous degrees of separation between the two.

                        Hell, I could have written a Forbes-type story of my own to respond to some articles I’ve written about banks being able to influence the Trump Administration due to the loans on the real estate holdings. It doesn’t mean I thought the article I would have responded to was “fake news”. It was just a poorly-informed piece.

                        The goalpost moving I’ve seen recently is quite amazing. If I could do that in real life, I’d compete in Strongman.

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                        • “Let’s be honest with ourselves. Fake news is very much associated with sites and not content. Full stop.”

                          I don’t see it that way at all. Maybe I’m underestimating the impact of Trump’s applying it to CNN, but to me it’s an Aristotelian definition: that news which is fake. Not a news outlet, but news. I also sense – and maybe I failed to spell this out – that the frustration being expressed on this thread is that a term that had only existed briefly and was used as a critique in one direction was adapted as a critique in the other. It would have been convenient for liberals if the term only meant fake news stories against liberals from non-news outlets, which is how it started out. But it was adapted to mean fake news stories in general, which opened the door to pointing out that there were fake news stories against conservatives. The complaints have the timbre of a playground feud over a new kickball rule that backfired against its creator. There is no scholarly tradition or Federalist Paper preventing the re-interpretation of the term between its common meaning a month ago and its common meaning a week ago. And its re-interpretation is a valid critique, which shouldn’t be ignored.

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                • This seems like a phrasing problem. We can agree that a news story that is made up is “fake news.” If we stretch the definition of the word “fake” to its breaking point, we can probably agree that a news story that gets its facts wrong unintentionally is “fake news.”

                  My problem is that CNN is not “fake news.” CNN is a news agency that produces mostly factually correct news. There may be instances of “fake news” that get through it, but those are a tiny exception. As a rule, if a new story is published by CNN, its facts are more or less correct. When Donald Trump says, “CNN is fake news” and his followers believe it, he’s using the term very successfully to delegitimize real news.

                  And that’s what is usually happening when I hear the term, “fake news” now. It doesn’t mean, “If you research the facts in this article, you will find that it was fabricated.” Nine times out of ten it seems to mean, “I don’t like the source because it doesn’t flatter my preconceptions. I’m going to ignore it and take comfort in my preferred source of propaganda which I never vet for correctness.”

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                      • And Trump called Rubio “little Marco”, but Donald still has the smaller penis.

                        As I’ve said, I may be underestimating the impact that Trump’s statements have had, but as I’ve said, I have seen the term used in reference to stories, not outlets. I don’t recall having ever seen it used to refer to outlets other than by Trump. I simply can’t grant you a point when it revolves around the use of a word in a way that I’m not seeing.

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                    • I do too, but I rarely see it applied with evidence that the story is actually fake. I see it a lot more often as shorthand for, “I don’t think I’ll be listening to this because it upsets my worldview. I have Facebook pages that make my tummy feel a lot better than this.”

                      Just a ballpark estimate, I’d say it’s about 5:1 upset feelings versus actual calling out of fake news, and of the “actual” fake news they’re calling out, they’re usually picking at a particular factual claim or two instead of showing that the whole story is actually false.

                      So the term might be useful sometimes, but its net effect on the whole seems to be eroding our collective ability to decide what’s true.

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                  • My problem is that CNN is not “fake news.”

                    This circles back to my original comment. I don’t believe the teacher was using the “fake news” tag to entirely discredit a new agency, he was using it to make his students more critical readers. He doesn’t want CNN, but CNN plus two. Maybe it should be CNN, plus one, or some other external check for reliability, but from my perspective this is an entirely different world that is making more demands for someone wanting to be informed or someone wanting to bridge the gap.

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        • “Hacking” calls up a certain image in a way that “fake news” doesn’t.

          That image, if I’m to believe the press, is someone with bad posture typing at a laptop while wearing a balaclava.

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      • Yes. There as a storm of stuff that was completely made up that was circling around during and after the election. That’s not the same as news that makes mistakes or even news that presents the facts incompletely. There was (and is) literally fake news in the most basic sense of the words floating around the Internet, and all people seem to have taken from this is that they can use the words “fake news” to dismiss anything they don’t like.

        Instead of being a cautionary tale about how we select our media, it ended up creating a magic spell they can cast to take themselves into whatever reality they want and trust it completely.

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        • This. Exactly this.

          Fake news is made up stuff. Literally made up stuff. Without any basis in fact.

          It is not biased news you don’t like, it is not opinion pieces you don’t you don’t like, it is not even news stories that are *wrong*.

          ‘Fake’ has a specific meaning. It is ‘a forgery or sham’.

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            • So, the Clinton team saying that Wikileaks was going to release a “whopper” right before the election was fake news?

              Uh, no, a political campaigning saying things is not any sort of ‘news’ at all, at least not in the sense we’re talking about. We *shorthand* it as ‘news’, but it’s not. It might be covered *by* the news, a news story might be written about it, but it not a piece of news itself.

              Also, the Clinton campaign did not say that anyway. They told people not to *trust* things released by Wikileaks in the next few days, not that something *was going to be* released.

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    • Fake news is one of those terms of political art, much like “Assault Weapon” or “Death Panel”, that are used to bend or shift the timber of a political conversation to be conductive to what you are trying to say and the manor you wish the conversation to move. Sure, they can be in some way proved, but they are manufactured for a vastly different reason. Basically, if you want to take control of a conversation, you cannot be reactive, let the other side of an issue stake out the parameters of the subject. To take control you can create a word such as this to re-frame the topic.

      Hanley once told me the actual term for this, but it has faded from my mind. But generally, it moves a subject from a technicalish discussion to a moral discussion. This is the central idea of politics.

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      • Fake news is one of those terms of political art,

        Actually it isn’t. It refers to a real property in the world. That it has become an all-encompassing term of art is a symptom, not a cause.

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          • Fake news means not-real news means fictional news.

            Sure, I get the temptation to object to that definition because other people don’t use the term that way. But there actually IS a perfectly clear semantic value assigned to that term, one which flows from our normal, pre-theoretic understanding of the English language. :)

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            • The problem is that over time definitions, especially in the vernacular, change. Mostly they loosen. One very good example of this is the dreaded R word, which once had a medical meaning and definition, but as we all know, is now a slur. Fake news might once have had that definition that you favor, but has now moved to the realm of Agit-Prop.

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              • The term “fake news” has been with us for, what?, three weeks? Four? Eight? That’s too short a time for linguistic evolution to alter a meaning without conscious intent.

                Something else is going on here, Aaron, and it’s the corruption of terms which actually describe reality for purely partisan and ideological reasons, and in service to those ends. The goal is to obliterate reality is a constraint on ideology. And you seem to tacitly support that endeavor. :(

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                • “And you seem to tacitly support that endeavor. :(”

                  It’s all con(textual)… :)

                  Honestly, I am currently leaning more to the PoMo side of things, the reconstruction of logic, redefining of terms and all that jazz.

                  I don’t think the left and right are living in the same reality anymore, nor do I think either is wrong.

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                  • So, like how skinny jeans redefined fashionable men’s attire. I get it. I could feel you moving to the dark side.

                    Just remember to put a strike thru in all your comments, OK? {{quietly begins to sob}}

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                • The term itself was created for a political purpose. It was created with conscious intent. Its meaning was almost immediately challenged and expanded, consciously. I compared it above to a kickball rule.

                  Team A: “Over the fence is a score.”
                  Team B kicks it over the fence.
                  Team A: “Over the fence doesn’t count.”

                  The liberal side created the term to describe false news releases from non-news outfits. The conservative side expanded the meaning immediately to include false news releases from news outfits. That was a conscious decision, and it has a built-in critique: that a lot of garbage is accepted because the news outlet is viewed as reputable. * Additionally, President Trump has used the term to refer to news outfits that have issued false news, which complicates things.

                  * ETA: Fake is fake. That’s the heart of the critique. You should appreciate that, in your dedication to conforming to reality.

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                  • There is “fake news”, which are outfits that are in the business of peddling lies (stuff owned by Jestin Coler) or satire dressed as news (e.g. The Onion).

                    Then there are your actual media companies (NYT, WaPo, CNN, FoxNews, etc.) who have gotten real sloppy and are now in the habit of publishing actual news riddled with errors from the rush to be first to post or errors because the author and editors are filling in the blanks with ideological priors, as well as publishing opinions and editorials without always being clear that the content is opinion. This is less “fake news” than it is yellow journalism, but I can see how easy it is to let the definition slip to cover yellow journalism.

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                    • I think the definition of fake news is up in the air, as it’s a fairly new term. I also find that it’s a valid critique to point out how incorrect news stories influence people who think they’re being selective.

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    • Fake news also referred to bat shit crazy conspiracy stories, like the podesta/clinton child sex trafficking sleaze that was being peddled. Of course calling it crazy ass propaganda and conspiracy lunacy wouldn’t sound professional so “fake news” became a term. Of course since it is a vague euphemism it got used for other things as well.

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  5. I’ve seen some amusing articles on Deadspin (I’ll admit to really liking one a couple years ago about the Orioles resurgence as a competitive franchise) but over time stopped reading it for the same reason I can’t stand Samantha Bee or, for that matter, virtually anything on Fox News or talk radio. Smug question begging diatribes that affirm the biases of the audience just aren’t as intelligent or subversive as fans of it may think.

    All this type of entertainment does is take us further down the road of the politicization of everything. It’s a cultural dead end.

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  6. Sportswriting and politics: As it happens, I have been working up a piece inspired by that article in The Ringer. The short form is that of course sports and politics are intertwined, and therefore sportswriting is inherently political. This has been true since the start. You can’t opt out. Trying to supports the status quo, which is a political choice.

    On a side note, the conservative response is not entirely coherent. He suggests that liberal sportswriters (a) are OK with PEDS because of their politics, and (b) are keeping Curt Schilling out of the Hall of Fame because of their politics. The dog that isn’t barking here is Bonds and Clemens, who in the ordinary course of events would be no-brainers for induction on the first ballot. Are the sportswriters voting their politics or not?

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    • In one of his more intelligent posts, regarding China’s attempt to build up a football culture Uncle Steve noted that a lot of the modern European Far Right had its origins in football fan clubs, and that the CCP might want to consider the rather less political structure of American and Japanese corporate sports teams to avoid sports fans because a source of political opposition.

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    • I would vehemently disagree with your first point. There are occasions where sports and politics collide (racial integration for example), just like politics can with other types of entertainment. However it’s silly (and kind of reactionary in my view) to equate enjoying or commenting a spectator sport with endorsing a particular political view, just as it is to assume anyone who enjoys a particular type of music or movie genre is endorsing the politics (if any) of the piece.

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    • Both of the linked pieces on sports are limited by the fact that these are sports-writers writing about sports-writing. I think the main issue is that sports writing has mostly become superfluous given the myriad of free alternatives available, including the option for players to post their own comments, photos, etc. online. In this challenging environment some sports journalist have gravitated toward the realm of “media personality,” believing that its best to be talked about .

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      • I disagree that sportwriting has become superfluous. Beat writers for local papers largely are, but this is just one sort of sportswriting. I get may day-to-day news about the teams I follow from dedicated blogs. There generally is less fluff and more critical analysis. Speaking of analysis, we live in a new golden age, both with blogs specific to one team and from sites like fangraphs. Sportswriting is superfluous only if you exclude new media stuff like this.

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        • I really didn’t write that well. I meant a lot of legacy sports journalism like ESPN is failing to offer any value-added over online alternatives. I read my sport’s teams blog at SBN daily (which has a no politics and no religion rule) and fangraphs probably once a week., which I cannot recall having what I consider political posts.

          I think I’ve read two Deadspin articles and they were about topics I knew a great deal about and Deadspin was completely dishonest about the subject matter so I stay away.

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