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Greg Davidson
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quote:
In all three cases, it's really ugly.
I believe that the real ugliness is the propaganda technique of consistently promoting false accusations and then never taking accountability for the falsehoods. Or phrasing them in Fox News language "Some people say..." or other aspects of a whispering campaign designed not to persuade via a coherent argument substantiated by proof, but rather by repetition of innuendo that gives the appearance of smoke and thus fire.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
quote:
In all three cases, it's really ugly.
I believe that the real ugliness is the propaganda technique of consistently promoting false accusations and then never taking accountability for the falsehoods. Or phrasing them in Fox News language "Some people say..." or other aspects of a whispering campaign designed not to persuade via a coherent argument substantiated by proof, but rather by repetition of innuendo that gives the appearance of smoke and thus fire.
I would agree with this, except that I would ask you to whom you think Fox News, or any news outlet for that matter, should be held accountable? You tune in to the channel, the channel has the show you expected. Mission accomplished, product delivered. It's like being upset that what you learned on CSI isn't really true, although it's true that the reputation for "delivering truth" is something people impute to the news and this is taken advantage of. 100 years ago the term "newspaper man" was a maligned one, and it was generally assumed that a newspaper was owned by someone with an opinion and that it was going to be a propaganda rag. What's changed is the people's faith in it, not the medium itself or how it works. I guess I would attribute this weird faith to 20th century war propaganda and patriotism, and maybe to television seeming so different from print that people didn't carry over their basic assumptions about print over to the screen. Either way I don't think it's that fruitful to point a finger at one 'news' station and be frustrated that it serves an agenda other than Socratic wisdom.
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Wayward Son
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Yes, but as you point out, people do have faith in TV news today. This whole thread is about how Fox is trusted by the largest group of people. So Fox has an obligation to be truthful, for those viewers. And to correct their errors when they occur.

So pointing out that the media was not reliable 100 years ago and people shouldn't expect much out of it is beside the point. People trust it now. So the media is obliged to respect that respect and report the truth as best as they can.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Yes, but as you point out, people do have faith in TV news today. This whole thread is about how Fox is trusted by the largest group of people. So Fox has an obligation to be truthful, for those viewers. And to correct their errors when they occur.

So pointing out that the media was not reliable 100 years ago and people shouldn't expect much out of it is beside the point. People trust it now. So the media is obliged to respect that respect and report the truth as best as they can.

No, you are exactly wrong. Imputing faith in the truth-telling of a TV show doesn't oblige the TV show to do anything, not even morally. That's like in Stephen King's Misery where the fan thinks she is owed something for being invested in the story. The only thing one might accuse a news network of is stating in its advertisement "we only tell the truth" or something like that, where a case could be made that such a statement constitutes false advertising. Other than that you can either tune in or not at your discretion and believe what you want.

If the news stated a ridiculously false fact such as "giant eagle carries away White House in its talons" then there would be trouble, but to merely suggest certain facts, either by organizing information in certain ways, omitting certain things, or offering suggestions that lead the audience (i.e. the more subtle propaganda techniques) is up to the viewer to parse or resist.

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TomDavidson
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By that logic, drug dealers are not morally culpable.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
By that logic, drug dealers are not morally culpable.

I like your analogy, as there is something common to both types of business, the legal aspect aside. However I should specify that I meant news networks are not morally obliged to tell the truth purely because people trust them. If we want to get into pure ethics then we could make the case that any person, whether at a news agency or otherwise, has a moral imperative to do what will help his fellow man see truth and become better. In this broad sense it would be sensible to hold news people to this philosophical standard, as people, but not as "news people". I don't think adding in the job description changes the standards of one's intentions towards others. But in reality a great percentage of human activity ends up being zero or negative sum, where someone gains at the expense of others somehow, and to specifically blame the news for this when most other areas of life involve the same thing is really to be displeased at the fact that information distribution makes people powerful. It is the technology, and not the people who use it, that is the important element here. Any given group can be honest, manipulative, or dishonest; the question is what powers are permitted to that group? I think the answer would be to look at how power distribution is assigned, rather than how it's used when assigned arbitrarily.

[ June 06, 2015, 03:18 PM: Message edited by: Fenring ]

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Greg Davidson
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Fenring,

An interesting line of thought - ultimately, any claims to morality or ethics are arguable unless everyone in the discussion has agreed to an unambiguous and specific code of morality, or if there is someone who all accept as the legitimate decision authority on morality.

That being said, the coin of the realm in public debate (including on-line discussion forums) is made up of words and meanings. Those who promote falsehood are degrading the value of public discussion itself. If we posit a world in which everyone is adhering to a Fox News standard of truth (the ends justify the means), public discussion becomes meaningless.

In a sense, this is brilliant tactics. If one faction can so poison the well of public discourse, then they develop an immunity to criticism of specifics. If the answer to every policy question gets first determined by which faction is promoting it, then loyalty trumps specifics. And if you posit a morality where truth-telling is optional, you can further inoculate your ideology from criticism by asserting that every faction promotes falsehood equally. And the final defense, in response to a comprehensive analysis that shows a pattern of false assertions, might be to just ignore the analysis or to change the subject with another inflammatory falsehood.

As I remember the Card's document chartering this website, a morality that welcomes falsehood is not the foundational ethos on which the Ornery American Forum was developed. This isn't binding on people who don't wish to follow the rules, but at least the rest of us can see their character based on their choices.

[ June 06, 2015, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Fenring
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Greg,

I think you misunderstood me. I was not suggesting that telling truth is optional if one wants to be ethical; I was saying that in life being ethical tends to be entirely optional. I would never advocate for anything other than raising up one's fellow man, but at the same time I wouldn't pretend to hold one particular agency of power (the news) to some standard not applied equally to everyone else. I was addressing what I think is a misunderstanding regarding news companies being some kind of philosophical agency rather than just a business.

I think each person, answerable only to his own conscience and sense of right, has a kind of broad obligation to serve others as well as himself. It's not a job description that gives him this obligation, it's simply being human. Beyond stating "he is a person" there is no further statement that needs to be made to insinuate a duty to others. To suggest "he should be honest because he is a newsperson" is, I think, to actually undermine that person's more general responsibility and to ascribe characteristics to private companies which are dangerous if taken on faith.

Until we have an "office of the clerics of truth", or some other sci-fi organization that prizes truth above power or prestige, I would always advise someone to think for himself rather than to accept at face value statements issued by private interests. And even then I'd keep a careful eye on what the clerics say [Smile]

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Greg Davidson
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I do agree with you and should have stated that part more clearly; the ethical lapse of those who create the falsehoods of Fox News are morally culpable because they are people, not because they are newspeople. Being in the media gives them a megaphone that amplifies the impact of what they do, and that compounds the severity of action, but it is not what makes it wrong inofitself
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Fenring
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Yes. And I would add that not only do they have a megaphone, but it is one offered to them freely. They did not seize the podium, it was merely available and they took it. But when we begin to realize that lines of communication are the most powerful thing we might begin to reassess how haphazardly we dispense control over them, and how little we notice how that power is used.
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Mynnion
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I am reminded about a pair of articles I read last year. The first was a son stating that he had lost his father to Fox News. The second was a response fro his father. The fathers comments to his son were telling. He stated that Fox news had not created who he was but that he and those like him had created Fox News.

Fox has created a "news" outlet that feeds people what the want to hear. Ideally we would live in a world where truth was more important than having our personal fears and ideas validated. Unfortunately many if not most Americans are more interested in protecting a vague idea how things used to be from any change that might challenge that idea. This is of course reinforced by those who benefit from these ideas.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I still maintain its a poor question when people on one side (the Democrats) who have NO actual knowledge of the rules will be inclined by political leanings to choose the "correct" answer.
Are you not of the opinion that Republicans with no actual knowledge of the rules will be inclined by political leanings to choose a given answer? Because if the problem is simply that actual events do not frequently align to the Republican narrative, that does not make me more sympathetic to their sources.
No. I said the questions were designed so that the disputably "correct" answer aligned with the bias of the left. If the goal is to determine politically correct thoughts, these questions are winners.

If the goal is to determine whether viewers of a news source are better or worse informed, they are hopelessly confounded.
quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
I don't know why President Obama took this approach. I think perhaps it was about power or about belittling his opponents. Or perhaps because he is not a natural born citizen.

In all three cases, it's really ugly.

This is pretty much the only reason I even investigated the question. There's just no good reason not to have produced the proof. It's a little inconceivable to me that in running for the office of the President the burden of proof is not in fact on the candidate.
quote:
Originally posted by GregDavidson:
I believe that the real ugliness is the propaganda technique of consistently promoting false accusations and then never taking accountability for the falsehoods.

There is a lot of this that was in fact factual and suspicious. Why are you painting with such a broad brush? I don't want to accuse you of doing what you are criticizing, but you're clearly not parsing the question raising facts from the speculations here.
Which of course, is your way of conducting...
quote:
a whispering campaign designed not to persuade via a coherent argument substantiated by proof, but rather by repetition of innuendo that gives the appearance of smoke and thus fire.
I'm also absolutely fascinated by the direction this thread has gone, where people seem to believe that Fox has a duty to provide "facts" acceptable to those on the left, even where the facts and the conclusions drawn from them, are legitimately debatable, at the same time we have a thread that essentially claiming that politicians, again specifically those on the left, shouldn't be held accountable for lieing to us. Just curious how you parse that a media outlet should be more accountable for being honest with you than the actual people that you're electing to make the laws that govern your life.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
even where the facts and the conclusions drawn from them, are legitimately debatable
I think the issue comes in when you try to parse what "legitimately debatable" means. I do not, for example, believe that it is "legitimately debatable" whether Obama was born in Hawaii or not.

quote:
Just curious how you parse that a media outlet should be more accountable for being honest with you than the actual people that you're electing to make the laws that govern your life.
Well, first off, no one is suggesting that Fox pundits be arrested. Secondly, no one is suggesting that politicians not be held accountable for lying. And thirdly, politicians are not commonly accepted as sources of truth, whereas one might argue that this is the popular conception of the news media.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
even where the facts and the conclusions drawn from them, are legitimately debatable
I think the issue comes in when you try to parse what "legitimately debatable" means. I do not, for example, believe that it is "legitimately debatable" whether Obama was born in Hawaii or not.
And why is that? Do you have some evidence that no one else does?

It's not legitimately debatable, based on Hawaii's assertions, that he is eligible to be President, it's more than legitimately debatable about whether the provable facts justified those assertions.
quote:
quote:
Just curious how you parse that a media outlet should be more accountable for being honest with you than the actual people that you're electing to make the laws that govern your life.
Well, first off, no one is suggesting that Fox pundits be arrested.
Why is that a first off? I'm not aware that anyone is suggesting the politicians be arrested either (unless their lies also comprise criminal conduct).
quote:
Secondly, no one is suggesting that politicians not be held accountable for lying.
You should read the thread again. People repeatedly did so.
quote:
And thirdly, politicians are not commonly accepted as sources of truth, whereas one might argue that this is the popular conception of the news media.
If you ask if the media always tells the truth, its your view that the answer will be yes? I think you're making an unsustainable claim there. There's not a single person on this thread who hasn't expressed that they think they "other sides'" media is dishonest in how they present things.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
it's more than legitimately debatable about whether the provable facts justified those assertions
Yeah, see, I think you wouldn't be able to say that with a straight face had you not drunk the Kool-Aid.

quote:
People repeatedly did so.
No, they didn't. There are multiple forms of accountability. What they said is that it would politically impossible in the current climate for Democrats to prosecute the previous administration for war crimes. One might hope, for example, that even the worst idiot wouldn't vote in the future for anyone who worked for the Bush Administration, or hire them to provide legal advice.

It's also important to note the distinction between "should" and "can." I have no doubt that many people acknowledging -- quite sensibly -- that Democrats can't possibly pursue war crimes prosecutions wishes that it could happen, because they believe it should.

quote:
If you ask if the media always tells the truth, its your view that the answer will be yes?
But the presumption is that they should. Politicians are not considered secondary sources of information; no one calls a politician to ask what the weather is today, or what caused that fire at the bar down the block. They are primary sources -- they create news, and are cited by secondary sources. The primary function of a secondary source is to relay accurate information about what primary sources are doing; the primary source actually does stuff.

[ June 10, 2015, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
it's more than legitimately debatable about whether the provable facts justified those assertions
Yeah, see, I think you wouldn't be able to say that with a straight face had you not drunk the Kool-Aid.
Says the man who's idea of an evidenciary standard is that his assertions require no proof (nor will any ever be offered).
quote:
quote:
People repeatedly did so.
No, they didn't. There are multiple forms of accountability. What they said is that it would politically impossible in the current climate for Democrats to prosecute the previous administration for war crimes.
What does that have to do with their assertions about it not mattering whether Hillary Clinton lied, or President Obama lied? They weren't able to articulate a basis for voting for a person where its okay for the person to deliberately deceive you as to what they stand for, other than to trust them despite their proven propensity to lie.

This is why elections are about character assassination of the other guy.

The War Crimes part is barely relevant to the debate that I was referencing.
quote:
quote:
If you ask if the media always tells the truth, its your view that the answer will be yes?
But the presumption is that they should.
If there is not a presumption that politicians should tell the truth why DO we lambast them and run them out of office (party dependent of course) when they are caught not doing so? You've articulated a false distinction.

In fact, while people recognize politicians are liars, they almost invariably mean the other guys' politicians are the liars and they have great faith in their own sides. Even going so far as to right off lies as errors or unimportant, or my favorite, right wing witch hunts or conspiracies.

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scifibum
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Seriati:
quote:
No. I said the questions were designed so that the disputably "correct" answer aligned with the bias of the left. If the goal is to determine politically correct thoughts, these questions are winners.

If the goal is to determine whether viewers of a news source are better or worse informed, they are hopelessly confounded.

I'm confused about why you seem to think that the political significance of the question/controversy makes it less important that Fox News - which extensively covered the birther controversy - protected or reinforced the incorrect belief that Obama did not have a Hawaiian birth certificate. Can you explain that again? Just because there's a political divide on a question doesn't justify bolstering false beliefs. We don't need an equal time principle for every stupid conspiracy theory.

quote:
I'm also absolutely fascinated by the direction this thread has gone, where people seem to believe that Fox has a duty to provide "facts" acceptable to those on the left, even where the facts and the conclusions drawn from them, are legitimately debatable...
Yeah, it only seemed legitimate because Fox News, which is supposed to be mainstream and claims to be "balanced", decided to pretend that it was. (Along with a bunch of right wing pundits.) It just wasn't legitimate.

quote:
This is pretty much the only reason I even investigated the question. There's just no good reason not to have produced the proof. It's a little inconceivable to me that in running for the office of the President the burden of proof is not in fact on the candidate.
The biggest reason the proof wasn't produced right away is because the Obama campaign expected that if they let people make idiots of themselves over this issue, it would be to their advantage.

It's also because, you know, this "burden of proof" you are talking about didn't exist in any legal sense. Is there any limit to the "proof" a candidate must provide to disprove an allegation just because someone has manufactured one? Please describe the standard process of proving ones eligibility for the office of President that everyone but Obama followed.

...?

It's not like he disregarded a court order, or in any way flouted a legal demand to provide this proof.

If you think that CNN or MSNBC is just as likely to do the similar thing, and promote/protect factually incorrect beliefs because of political bias, that's one thing. But you seem to be defending Fox News's legitimizing of the birther nonsense, and that's...odd. It definitely seems more partisan than the partisanship you are attempting to decry.

----

Joshua, the "digitally altered" thing has been adequately addressed. It's easy to find. It's a normal part of common scanning/archiving processes.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What does that have to do with their assertions about it not mattering whether Hillary Clinton lied, or President Obama lied?
It's not that it doesn't matter. It's that it's impossible to make that the single standard by which a candidate is chosen. It is functionally impossible to find a national-level candidate who can't be shown to have lied about something.

quote:
If there is not a presumption that politicians should tell the truth why DO we lambast them and run them out of office (party dependent of course) when they are caught not doing so?
We don't. In fact, I am deeply doubtful that, if Nixon were caught as red-handed today, he would have resigned. He would have cast the whole thing as trumped-up charges from his political opposition, because politics are so cynical and partisan today that potentially enough people would believe him. The only time we run people out of office for lying is when they engage in some kind of financial crime or are lying about a sex scandal, and occasionally not even in those cases.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:


Joshua, the "digitally altered" thing has been adequately addressed. It's easy to find. It's a normal part of common scanning/archiving processes.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/29/expert-says-obamas-birth-certificate-legit/

John Woodman is a life long Republican who has spent countless hours investigating the various conspiracy theories. He has written a book. He has even done videos in excruciating detail if you have a spare couple of hours you will never get back. Part I

He does summarize on his blog:
http://www.obamabirthbook.com/http:/www.obamabirthbook.com/2012/09/genuine-world-class-computer-expert-evaluates-obamas-birth-certificate-pdf/

Or skip all that and go straight to Snopes.

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kmbboots
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Seriously, FOX?
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