Morning Ed: Media {2017.03.06.M}

Well, that’s embarrassing.

Inside the outrage machine! You might be thinking I’m talking about right-wing sites or social justice warrior sites, but… many are actually owned by the same people.

Ben Rothenberg says “Who, me?” There used to be a blow-up here and there over “niggardly” being misheard and then a hubbub, offered resignation, and a resignation retracted (most notably in DC). I’m beginning to wonder if we’re no longer going to do that last part of the ritual.

Michelle Ye Hee Lee writes of her experiences as an Asian fact-checker in the last election.

As Avon Barksdale said, “That [stuff] cost money. It cost time and money.” (He wasn’t referring to journalism, however.)

Josh Kraushaar asks what happens when everybody loses credibility? I am particularly concerned that the media will confuse “being tough” too much with “being hard” and not enough with “being accurate.”

We can scoff at this, but lest we forget once upon a time Sun Myung Moon was crowned King of Peace in the Dirksen Senate building.

Julian Sanchez on the Trump Tower Tapping thing.


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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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56 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Media {2017.03.06.M}

  1. Cheating runner: If you’re gonna cheat, don’t do anything that allows others to notice it. Shesh. Her excuse was pretty lame too.

    Outrage Machine: Damn, I wish I’d had thought that up.

    So is Michelle’s experience one of an “asian fact checking journalist” or a fact checking journalist who is asian”?

    Trump Tapping: This shit’s getting real. Next up. Trump goes to Area 51

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    • Re “Asian fact checking journalist” vs. “fact checking journalist who is asian” – that’s the entire point of the article.

      She wanted to be the latter, but did not get to.

      “I expected the volume of criticism to swell throughout the campaign, and it did. But what surprised me was just how fiercely racist and sexist the comments became.”

      “To the reader who made a snide Facebook comment about my being an Asian woman, I replied: What does my being Asian or a woman have to do with the quality of my work as a journalist? I received no response.”

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      • Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., all continue to exist. They are pernicious. If you are a target of these things, they can weigh you down a lot. People who are not targets of these things often underestimate their magnitude. Even small things, which in isolation can be ignored, when summed up over a lifetime of incessant bullshit —

        Look, libertarian types understand microeconomics pretty well, inasmuch as they often treat it as a religion. So they should understand compound interest just as well.

        Each day of my life I pay a small percentage tax from my energy and emotional well-being, which has not only the immediate cost that moment, but also the long term cost of the investment I could not make. Over the years this makes a big difference in what I can achieve. It is similar for most minorities.

        The lost opportunities for human flourishing cannot easily be measured.

        It is ideologically critical for some people to downplay this effect, inasmuch as the politics of radical individualism do not work well in the face of systematic injustice. After all, to argue “meritocracy,” one must believe that merit is the principal deciding variable.

        When we see evidence it is not — the evidence must be downplayed. It so much easier to believe it is the victim’s fault.

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        • Quantitative evidence that it is the victim’s fault will be ignored, obviously, as it contradicts liberal dogmas.

          Racism etc does cost a toll on everyone — including those highest on the food chain.
          This does not mean that everyone starts out on equal footing before culture gets ahold of them.
          And, worse yet, we’re selectively breeding for less fundamental equality, not more. Self-segregation is a wonderful thing!

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        • “Each day of my life I pay a small percentage tax from my energy and emotional well-being, which has not only the immediate cost that moment, but also the long term cost of the investment I could not make. ”

          V, I don’t want to seem insensitive, but don’t we all, to one degree or another?

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          • — I think that the compound interest metaphor should be sufficient for you to understand, if you think about it. Certainly everyone has bullshit in their life. However, a systematic bias, when compounded over a lifetime, can lead to a very large difference in outcome. Minorities face systematic bias, and therefore they face compound hardship.

            The point is, it is easy to say “That seems minor” or “Get over it” or “That wouldn’t hold me back,” when faced with an example of bigotry. However, you are not taking into account the full magnitude of a life lived under those conditions.

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            • v,
              *shrugs* it’s not all bigotry. it’s not ALWAYS someone else’s fault.

              PTSD getting triggered by every fucking tv show out there isn’t because unoriginal engineers are deliberately trying to cause heart attacks.

              We could, I suppose, change the logic books so that they didn’t use “p” and “q” as the variables. That would help a lot of dyslexics learn. But we don’t.

              Laziness and stupidity are just as likely to cause hardships (if not moreso), as outright bigotry. The banality of evil, ya know?

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            • I’m not disagreeing V.

              I’m saying that we all have things that bother us. You’ve scaled bigotry as being very high or the highest on this of things that bother folks. I’m suggesting that other people might have other things that bother them just as much that you don’t experience, or you don’t think is as bad as they do. It’s a perspective thing.

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              • — You can try to relativize everything I suppose. I mean, you can say “cancer is the same as a mild cold, cuz some person might endure cancer with more strength than some other person endures a cold,” and perhaps that’s true. On the other hand, it’s fucking idiotic.

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                • That’s not what I’m saying. You experience x amount of grief due to bigotry in your life. Regardless of what scale you rate it, it matters to you. How can you say someone else doesn’t experience the same quantitative amount of grief for something non bigotry related?

                  How can you quantify something someone else experiences when you cannot quantity what you experience yourself and communicate it to another person? That’s my point. It’s all subjective. Example: You experience X amount of grief from bigotry each day. Who’s the say I don’t experience the same amount due to shitty drivers on my commute each day?

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                  • — I can’t quantify things that way, but neither can anyone else, so it’s hardly a flaw.

                    I’m saying this: take two people with similar intelligence, similar psychological strength, similar economic and educational backgrounds, etc. Imagine one person is a member of the broad majority. Make the other a member of a distrusted, hated minority. You will see different life outcomes. Furthermore, even if you mitigate the most overt expressions of hatred, one will still see different life outcomes, inasmuch as all the little stuff adds up.

                    Most people can easily understand the cost of overt bigotry. We understand that, for example, being denied employment is going to hurt people, that direct violence will take a toll, etc. My point is, it is not only the ugly, overt bigotry that causes harm. It is also the little stuff.

                    For another example, take me, exactly as I am. I am not comparing myself to some cis guy named George who is into ultimate frisbee and Tarantino films. I’m comparing myself to myself, but one of us raised in a world with zero transphobia. I’m going to assert that no-transphobia veronica would very likely live a better life.

                    These things are hard to prove, inasmuch as social science is hard. There are some attempts to examine this, under the rubric of “microaggressions” or “minority fatigue,” but such research will always be weak.

                    My point: “constant low-grade bigotry has zero effect” is not the null hypothesis.

                    I repeat: “constant low-grade bigotry has zero effect” is not the null hypothesis.

                    How much of an effect should we expect it to have?

                    As I said, these things are hard to quantify, but think of compound interest.

                    This does not mean that every white guy will live a better life than every black lesbian. After all, some white guys have severe clinical depression, whereas some black lesbians just go through life with a great attitude. (Yay them!) What I am saying is that white guy with clinical depression at least doesn’t have to also carry the weight of racism, where that black lesbian does.

                    I hope we cure depression. We lose so much capacity to thrive because of that disease.

                    I hope we end racism. We lose so much capacity to thrive because of that human malignancy.

                    Etc.

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        • Your second to last and last paragraphs show why many libertarians tend to ignore things like racism, sexism, homophobia, and company. “Its hard to make a man understand when is salary depends on him not understanding” is a more poetic way to put it. The non-economic side of libertarianism, the part about radical individualism, doesn’t deal well with the fact that humans are social animals and that has a good side and bad side. The bad side being systematic injustice. Libertarianism also doesn’t like to deal with stuff happens and that life can turn on a dime.

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          • “Your second to last and last paragraphs show why many libertarians tend to ignore things like racism, sexism, homophobia, and company. ”

            Why do you think we don’t care about those things?

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          • Lee,
            Systemic injustice doesn’t explain many things about America. Controlled breeding experiments tend to give you interesting results.

            … Have you noticed that Australian women look an awful lot like Victorian English whores?

            (some traits breed true).

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          • ““Its hard to make a man understand when is salary depends on him not understanding” ”

            Yeah, that’s the first of my performance goals. *rolls eyes*

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    • And it was a half marathon at that.

      What I don’t quite get is that with the timing chips in the road races now, for them to even register as valid at the finish line, the chips had to pass over multiple checkpoints along the route. So doing the Rosie Ruiz thing (which I think this woman did) is basically impossible because the people looking at the results when people cross the finish line will instantly see something is up. (especially with this being a second place finisher so the winner has already run through the tape for the photo op.)

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      • The source article describes how she cheated much better than the New York Post article (natch)

        (which also includes some clues as to why she cheated – her trip was sponsored, and further sponsorship would come with winning)

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    • Why would she? To get a post or two out of it?

      “As the person who came in second place in a half-marathon, allow me to point out…”

      And now you’re running an HR department… how many positions would you say this person has disqualified herself for? How many jobs would you say “you know what? I’ll just move on to the next resume for this one…” if you saw this after googling her?

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  2. “’Tis some Kenyan,” Trump muttered, “tapping my whole tower floor—
    Only this and nothing more.”

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  3. This is very strange. I had intended to give y’all a link in response to the “outrage factory” link. The link was to Pew Research, who recently reported results that showed that articles showing “indignant disagreement” produces more likes, more comments and more reshares than either simple disagreement or agreement.

    So if the internet is full of outrage, it’s because we collectively love it. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    However, I can’t give you the link, because I’m getting a 503 from the home page of Pew Research. This is a surprise. Here’s Kevin Drum’s piece on it. (I would rather have given you the source.)

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  4. From Kraushaar:

    “Mean­while, it’s harder to find truly non­par­tis­an of­fi­cials who don’t have at least a ves­ted interest in a cer­tain out­come.”

    So what? A person can have a preference for an outcome without distorting the truth about the actual outcome. Or are we at the point where a person’s having a side is considered evidence that he’s unfairly favored that side? If so, that’s more damning about our current politics than anything in the article.

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    • Unlike the their claims, I never believed that reporters or media folks were unbiased, regardless of how much they said they were. I have no problem with consuming media that either has a bias, or attempts to have no bias, but to listen to journalists CLAIM they had no bias was beyond the pale. Everyone does. If you’re unwilling to admit it, you loose credibility, especially given the decent polling info that shows they do have a bias.

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      • You hit on a key idea: “attempts to have no bias”. There are only two perspectives that ever get discussed these days, an infantile “no bias exists” or a teenage “everyone’s lying”. The adult approach is that bias exists but it can be diminished through effort.

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      • I endorse Pinky’s response to you. I agree that it is aggravating to see people claim to have no bias. Nevertheless, bias has far more influence on how someone might select the facts that they present than with whether the evidence they present is, indeed, factual.

        People are biased, it doesn’t follow that they are lying. Most climate scientists might be liberal. Their data is still data.

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    • That article is pretty gutsy. It’s candid about President Obama not earning the award for any courageous political act that could have cost him support.

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          • Also receiving a nomination, Bush Sr, for putting together the domestic and international political coalition to conduct Desert Shield and Desert Storm*, and then breaking his pledge to raise taxes** which caused an insurgency in his own political coalition that cost him re-election

            *though the problem with those is that there were so ‘easy’, they made going to war after that, a decision more quickly made

            **I’d have to look up the exact timing, but the tax increases could have also prolonged and deepened the recession, which made them not only a political mistake, but an economic one (which in turn makes them even bigger political mistake)

            (Bush Sr gets a lot of demerits though for not being able to see past his preconceived notions of anyway out of the rising crime rate but doubling down on the drug war)

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        • The award started in 1989. Bush Sr. has already won it. I was thinking of those in office right now, or I guess I’d have to include office-holders of the recent year. I’m asking a Diogenes-type question.

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      • Obama was at least partially helped/hindered (depending on your POV) in that department by the unwillingness of Republicans to make many deals with him. He was, for example, apparently willing to make cuts to Medicare and Social Security to complete the Grand Bargain, before it collapsed.

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        • The Grand Bargain thing always seemed doomed to failure for one simple reason: The Republicans didn’t care about the deficit. They didn’t care whether Social Security got bigger or smaller. They cared about cutting taxes. Cutting Social Security or Medicare in exchange for tax increases to balance the budget was offering them something they valued at zero in exchange for giving up the only thing they valued at all.

          Proceeding as though reducing the deficit was the goal rather than a rhretorical tool used to get cuts to programs that could be used for more tax cuts was never going to get him anywhere.

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    • Right up there with cops getting medals or citations for courage or heroism for participating in a SWAT raid that terrorized or killed unarmed people.

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  5. Keep in mind, about the Rothenberg story, that everyone agrees that Rothenberg made a mistake BUT he has his job and Adler does not.

    And this isn’t new. Remember Tim Hunt, or Donglegate?

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