Author Topic: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)  (Read 15534 times)

D.W.

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Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: February 14, 2017, 03:28:12 PM »
Is the current fixation on “Fake News” actually helpful?  While it’s driving me nuts about now, I find myself asking this question.  In the not too distant future, or right now, depending on who you ask or your budget, we will be able to “fake news” at level previously reserved for clever Hollywood plots.  Already we can’t believe what we read.  We need to find multiple sources that are not just copied from each other.  The technology exists / is under development or refinement for two particularly terrifying tricks.  First is mapping facial movements from one person onto a model generated through an alarmingly small sample set of video of the target person.  Second is an ability to build a speech library in order to make someone say what you want, again with a fairly small sample set.

Before even the next presidential election cycle there could be in place the ability to turn any candidate into a puppet to convincingly say whatever you want them to, live on TV.  Maybe I’m wrong on this, or maybe it’s already possible.  While it’s still obvious right now if you are looking for it, the technology is already good enough if people aren’t focusing that much.  Tech still lags a little?  Joining us by satellite connection is Mr. X!  Oh the picture quality is a little low due to the connection, sorry about that folks.

We’ve already got politicians who will tell you with a straight face, “I never said that.”, when there is video ‘evidence’ they did, and often not long ago and unambiguously.  What happens when they tell us that… and they are being truthful?  How do you recover from slander that everyone believes came out of your own mouth?  I SAW you say it.  What if they saw you interact with someone in real time let alone a recorded/doctored video?  We are struggling mightily with just false WRITTEN stories. 

Is there any way to inoculate ourselves against such tactics?  Is having a “war on media” and accusations of “fake news” right now, before things reach a critical mass useful?  Can we create a source of information disbursement of “news” that is credible and respected?  If not, what does a post-informed society look like?  Do you believe we already live there?

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 03:50:47 PM »
Media sources currently thrive on viewership and no other factor. As long as that remains so things will get worse, not better. Some X-factor needs to be introduced if the system is going to be reformed. This might be a market-induced change, such as an "honesty score" that get crowd-voted in some manner, or maybe new laws of some kind. The previous laws requiring networks to tell the truth became defunct when new media sources other than the main networks began to compete with them. It's not clear what the fix should be, but as long as there is value in manipulating and lying to the public, those practices will not only continue but will increase in sophistication to the point where it's no longer possible to tell by simple observation what is true and what isn't.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 04:50:44 PM »
Yes, there's a way, but it won't be done.  Do what Mexico City has done with polution -- a rotating week where two days a week, any one car cannot be on the roads.  Shut every channel down and clear that bandwidth for 2 days per week.  Forcing American viewers to find another news source for those two days.  Force them to become aware of the existence of other points of view.

Gaoics79

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2017, 06:30:07 PM »
Bring back the fairness doctrine?

Seriati

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 10:18:54 AM »
Break up major media companies into smaller groups and re-impose restrictions on ownership that allowed the creation of media empires.  Change the liability laws to provide greater protection for news stories produced by your on staff journalists and strict liability for stories that are printed from a wire service.  Basically, force more people and view points into the market and force more conflict between those view points.

I guess you could impose term limits on news anchors as well (half joking).

D.W.

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 10:50:55 AM »
Reducing "cross posting" of news stories may help.  A clear industry standard way of knowing what is an opinion piece based upon other sources material vs. an investigative piece your company broke would help.

Just making people responsible for what they post as clearly their content rather than reporting on other's reporting...  That could help I guess.

My larger point is that tech wise, our ability to fabricate false narratives is about to make an evolutionary leap.  The only way I see avoiding it is if the "major outlets" can restore trust, and do so fast.  That doesn't mean they have to be unbiased, but there has to be a bright red line between reporting of facts and what is happening / being said, and what is their opinion or interpretation of those facts and events. 

Right now, that's eroded and in may cases non-existent.  That environment combined with technology that lets one "invent" news in the form of fake interviews, quotes or live footage is... well, terrifying. 

Pete at Home

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 07:24:02 PM »
Break up major media companies into smaller groups and re-impose restrictions on ownership that allowed the creation of media empires.  Change the liability laws to provide greater protection for news stories produced by your on staff journalists and strict liability for stories that are printed from a wire service.  Basically, force more people and view points into the market and force more conflict between those view points.

Yes.  Sherman act either applies or should be adapted to apply.  Surprised and delighted that we agree on this point.  I thought I was out in the field alone on that one.

TheDeamon

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2017, 09:06:53 PM »
Bring back the fairness doctrine?

Please no, that's more likely to be an abuse rather than the alternative. Besides, it wouldn't be used to "fix the news media." It would be used to take Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck off the air on the talk radio circuit.

While getting Hannity off the air in particular may be a public service almost everyone can agree to,  I'm not sure that the precedent set would be a good one.

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 09:18:23 AM »
I don't think you "fix" the media from the supply side. You have to teach people to think critically so that they look at some of the stuff CNN puts out and says, "really?". You have to teach people to be skeptics. That they should read all the words, and look up the ones they don't know. That somebody screaming a soundbite is not news. That, absent news media getting multiple sources, that YOU have to get multiple sources - and that means tracking down originals, knowing what reuters and AP are and how they function. Knowing how to spot a regurgitated press release (especially in financial and business "news" - which is even faker than other kinds).

But it would probably be easier to outlaw TV, radio, and internet than to get all that to happen. I can't even get my close friends on facebook to perform a 30 second search to filter out the false stories and memes that are trivially disproven, or to even embarrass them by pointing it out. That's on both "sides" of the political spectrum, BTW.


Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 10:33:22 AM »
I don't think you "fix" the media from the supply side. You have to teach people to think critically so that they look at some of the stuff CNN puts out and says, "really?". You have to teach people to be skeptics. That they should read all the words, and look up the ones they don't know.

This would be nice...in maybe 500 years. Right now this isn't a tenable suggestion, broadly speaking. A large culture shift would be needed over time, although I do agree that it's always the right time to begin moving in that direction.

However I would caution you in placing too much trust in skepticism winning the day, because I believe that even a well-disciplined mind will only be resistant - but not immune - to the effects of propaganda and being misled. Simply put, the individual doesn't have enough information on hand to personally vet content enough to reject certain kinds of things out of hand. In many cases you can remain 'undecided', but the way certain information content is structured you don't have to believe it, only to hear it, for it to have its effect. It's kind of like radiation; you can put on some protection, but unless you have a full-body suit (i.e. cut yourself off from all media) you're getting irradiated to some extent even if you're aware it's happening. Orwell would teach us that manipulation of language alone is enough to change how minds think, and I would agree with him. So not only do we have to be cautious about accepting ideas, but even about accepting how words are used. And indeed, this very issue is at the forefront of our social discourse right now.

Maybe in some far-flung future when our grasp of reality is so good will be we able to wholesale shrug off harmful data. Until then I think it will be a fact that the source of the content will always achieve some success persuading and misleading so long as the content is being consumed. And if it's available it will be consumed, therefore leaving us with the rock-and-hard-dilemma of either accepting that we're going to be brainwashed to some extent, or else gutting the freedom of what can legally be put into print (i.e. to remove the freedom to lie to the public as a protected right).

D.W.

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2017, 10:09:12 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohmajJTcpNk

This is one of such software tools coming soon to a propaganda toolkit near you!

D.W.

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 10:21:20 PM »
I like the way the conversation went.  But I wanted to be clear about what I see on the horizon.  We may be reaching a technological threshold where critical thinking is simply not enough.  Even the most cynical and careful among us may be out matched.

OR... a major media operator will fall prey to bait of the manufactured variety and take a serious blow.  Perhaps one who has enemies in high places.

Think of how useful to a boy-who-cries-wolf an uncovered "fake video" of him crying wolf would be? 
"I never said that!"
(and what if he didn't?)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 10:27:48 PM by D.W. »

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2017, 11:15:54 PM »
I like the way the conversation went.  But I wanted to be clear about what I see on the horizon.  We may be reaching a technological threshold where critical thinking is simply not enough.  Even the most cynical and careful among us may be out matched.

I think we're already there. At best a diligent and informed mind will be able to resist accepting narratives, and most likely the result of this is going to be great caution in accepting any narrative presented, even those that are true. There isn't enough data available to be sure what to be believe (IMO), but using deduction and best-guesses can allow for a reasonably clear picture in broad strokes.

A good piece of evidence for that fact that we're already outmatched is that if you observe the community of people who reject mainstream narratives, many of whom are very intelligent, you'll rarely find agreement between any of them - even about broad details about what's going on! The skepticism subculture is basically a train wreck, and when places like Info Wars are among the more prominent of these you know there are issues there. Based on that alone I think it's safe to say that 'critical independent thinking' is insufficient to put the pieces together in a convincing fashion. The problem, really, is that so much of the information we consume is way beyond even being second-hand; it's sourced from who-knows-where, and the original source (if it was known) would often weight heavily into its trustworthiness. But since the source is typically obscured the information available is a huge jumble and figuring anything out is like doing a jigsaw puzzle with no picture to match it up against.

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 10:01:08 AM »
 I agree that we are already at the threshold, perhaps not that critical thinking in not enough but that the traditional  tools of critical thinking and discernment are failing in the information age

I would argue that issue isn't that  "There isn't enough data available to be sure what to be believe" but that there is two much information to be sure what to believe and the skill of discernment has not kept up.

This disconnect between information, knowledge and wisdom is terrifying

D.W.

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2017, 10:03:58 AM »
Quote
This disconnect between information, knowledge and wisdom is terrifying
A problem further compounded by the desire for outsiders who render those over reliant on "conventional wisdom" almost functionally crippled.  Or at least removes their edge in predicting outcomes...

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2017, 11:19:48 AM »
This disconnect between information, knowledge and wisdom is terrifying

Wisdom can be tough, depending on one's first principles and how they are meant to apply to life, but certainly I agree there is a disconnect between information and knowledge. I would specify that "knowledge" in this case should be taken to mean "true things about reality", because in many cases a person "knows" things that are not, in fact, in any way connected to reality even though by virtue of knowing them they feel real in the person's interior life. Using this kind of distinction, I would argue that at present the average American has more information and is less knowledgeable than probably any previous generation of Americans. The ratio of how much of one's information is knowledge (using this definition) is probably extremely low right now, and this is the main problem: what is being peddled and consumed is information, and translating any of that into real knowledge is very hard for a person to do. How do you take something you learn and then conduct the process of vetting it, as for example "This data does correspond to a reality independent from my imagination, and is therefore solid"? It's very hard to do, especially when even the raw facts are in dispute by alternate sources and the distributor of the information isn't trustworthy. Even worse, there has been a trend in recent history away from even acknowledging that there is any objective reality to which each person must submit.

I think we would see a big change in the mental atmosphere of life if somehow the conflict of interest in peddling information was eliminated. Right now there is gross incentive for private parties to create narratives that suit their purposes, which don't have to be entirely untrue but create mental characterizations that favor them at least. This is so because there is monetary advantage to doing so; take away the monetary advantage and there would be no purpose in spending so much energy creating these narratives. The way the economic system is currently structured there is pretty much maximal incentive to screw with people's heads, and little to no incentive to try to propagate truth simply for the betterment of the populace. When the game is so designed, the major players will always go for the primary 'win' condition regardless of what effect it has on human life.

D.W.

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2017, 11:34:46 AM »
Any way to accomplish this other than taking shelter behind pay walls?  Not to sound cheep but I don't see convincing the nation/world that information that IS free, is flawed.  :)

Wayward Son

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2017, 11:44:07 AM »
Quote
Right now there is gross incentive for private parties to create narratives that suit their purposes, which don't have to be entirely untrue but create mental characterizations that favor them at least. This is so because there is monetary advantage to doing so; take away the monetary advantage and there would be no purpose in spending so much energy creating these narratives.

While I agree with just about everything else you say, I wouldn't say that the monetary advantage is the only incentive.

Ideological advantages are also paramount.

Persuading a large portion of the population to believe something that is true has huge political advantages--which easily convert into monetary and power advantages.  So eliminating the monetary advantage will only push the problem down one level.

I think the primary way to fight fake news is to hold those who report the news accountable.  If they are wrong or mistaken, they must admit it, or they must be dismissed.  Of course, you will have to know that your "alternative facts" are more trustworthy than the new report.  And you will have to account for your own biases.  But through the accumulation of evidence over time, those who will bend the truth should become apparent.

With luck. :(

D.W.

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2017, 11:54:35 AM »
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If they are wrong or mistaken, they must admit it, or they must be dismissed.
By whom?  Giving any government the power to "dismiss" an outlet sounds... catastrophic. 

The "best case scenario" that I could think up is some international agency who's sole mandate is to fact check.  Part of their work would be to create, or result in, composite scores of trustworthiness for stories per outlet.  Then, we could get to a point where browsers or standardized banners on a site link in their score from this outside agency. 

Now that does nothing to solve how to make people trust this agency if they feel it is politically motivated to attack "their perspective". 

We could also use industry standards to label any particular piece as a first hand report, an interview with someone (potentially ranking or cautioning against their level of bias) and then, pure opinion piece. 

"Fake News" could well be (and by many accounts already is) weaponize.  We want 2% military spending for NATO?  How about 0.5% spending for safeguarding our internet and our media sources from attack?  It may take a lot of man-hours to do this job.  Maybe our taxes pay for it.

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2017, 12:04:43 PM »
Quote
Right now there is gross incentive for private parties to create narratives that suit their purposes, which don't have to be entirely untrue but create mental characterizations that favor them at least. This is so because there is monetary advantage to doing so; take away the monetary advantage and there would be no purpose in spending so much energy creating these narratives.

While I agree with just about everything else you say, I wouldn't say that the monetary advantage is the only incentive.

Ideological advantages are also paramount.

Well, I didn't mean merely cashing in on sponsors at the lowest level. I sort of meant that in some way, shape or form, it will boil down to money somewhere down the line. Even if news media stations were mandated by law to function as non-profit organizations (which I wouldn't mind!) there would still be major incentive by third parties to use them as conduits for spreading their own information around, who in turn would stand to make money. So not only would the media have to be divorced from money, but also from having any levers that other private parties could pull to bend the media to their ends.

Maybe I'm cynical when I say this, but I think most so-called ideological divides in the U.S. as we see them in politics are just about different factions vying for funds and gravy. I do not believe that they fundamentally have as their agenda to help anyone by teaching them some kind of truth. There are plenty of groups around that probably do try to just help people, but they aren't the ones lobbying the Congress, let's just put it that way. The minute there is a gravy train with figures in the billions, you can be sure there will be all sorts of 'ideological' opponents battling for it. The problem always lies in the incentive. I honestly don't blame the scrappers going after it, even though one might argue that as individuals they should know better.

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2017, 12:45:43 PM »
I like the way the conversation went.  But I wanted to be clear about what I see on the horizon.  We may be reaching a technological threshold where critical thinking is simply not enough.  Even the most cynical and careful among us may be out matched.

Possibly, but we as a society are not even close to doing the most minor of vetting. Thus, the constant retweeting, reposting, and liking of "famous guy said THIS" meme pictures. Trivial research with the information we already have would go a long way to making the ground less ripe and making fake news less lucrative - which is largely what drives its proliferation.

I want this to be true! <CLICK>

Technology of creating videos is hardly necessary when you can just misquote someone in print (at least as long as literacy is a thing. Alexa, respond to all posts critical of <current president> with a Like and Retweet!

Despite what Rene Descartes proved or not, I believe that my senses are accurate. Likewise, I believe that all global news sources are not conspiring to tell me something that is not true. They may all lie, but they'll be telling me different lies that won't match up. Like suspects talking to detectives. If BBC, ABC, NPR, Al Jazeera, Snopes, and Le Monde are all telling me something happened, I'm going to accept that it happened. This presumes that I've read who their source is suggested to be. If it comes from "a senior white house official who spoke on condition of anonymity" without corroboration, I'm going to downgrade that intelligence. I'll wait to see how the information plays out, how the people who should know the truth are reacting, if more people come forward with information.

As far as stopping people from telling lies or distorting the truth, even setting the political bits aside, wouldn't this largely rule out all advertisements? I recommend The Space Merchants and The Merchants' War to see what both paths look like. Mokie-Koke!


Seriati

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2017, 12:48:24 PM »
I think the primary way to fight fake news is to hold those who report the news accountable.  If they are wrong or mistaken, they must admit it, or they must be dismissed.  Of course, you will have to know that your "alternative facts" are more trustworthy than the new report.  And you will have to account for your own biases.  But through the accumulation of evidence over time, those who will bend the truth should become apparent.

Won't work, won't even come close to working.  It's premised on the idea that true and false are easily identifiable, and quite frankly they aren't.  Complex issues can have multiple right answers, even answers that conflict, where none of them are factually wrong but they are all dependent on what your goals are.  There's also almost no way to account for deliberate bias, how do you address, equivalent candidates on one side being labeled "innovators" and on the other side "unqualified"?  Neither statement is objectively true or false, but with enough repetition they certainly change what people believe.  It's the same reason every conservative is an "ultra conservative" and the media has yet to find a "ultra liberal" or "ultra progressive" (they can barely find a liberal).

When you couple that with interest driven science that produces "studies" that are designed to support policy positions rather than objectively discover truth, you get an even nastier web of "fact-based" reporting.  Fact checkers, who are nothing more than opinion reporters (heck, even the idea of fact-checkers as distinct from journalists should tell you everything you need to know about how far journalism has fallen, before you even consider how far fact-checking has fallen) make the situation even worse, with people citing to them as greater authorities without any objective consideration or vetting.

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2017, 12:49:54 PM »
As far as stopping people from telling lies or distorting the truth, even setting the political bits aside, wouldn't this largely rule out all advertisements?

Right you are ;)

cherrypoptart

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2017, 01:26:46 PM »
Just adding to what Seriati described, you often have situations where everything reported is completely accurate in every way down to the last detail, but it's the stories that don't get reported on at all that mislead by omission, and you'll never know. For instance, the German government and a complicit media acted to entirely cover up the story about the mass rape of German women in public by hundreds of immigrants acting in concert. The media could have reported on completely true stories about immigrant doctors saving lives, immigrant engineers improving fuel efficiency, and immigrant chefs fusing cultures in dishes that are a culinary delight. Fact checking won't do you any good because all of those stories would be true down to the last warm and fuzzy detail. And you'll never know what you didn't know. That's also fake news. And it's completely real news too. Once you find out this is happening there is almost no way to avoid paranoia about what stories are being covered up or just ignored. The media can't report on every thing that happens so of course they have to pick and choose. It's what they pick and choose to cover or not to cover that sets the agenda.

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2017, 02:26:58 PM »
The media can't report on every thing that happens so of course they have to pick and choose. It's what they pick and choose to cover or not to cover that sets the agenda.

It is absolutely true that one can choose to report on something to whatever degrees one might like. There are also "true" things that mislead, like the particular photo that you choose to go with an article. The photo actually happened, but it often wasn't from the event being reported upon. Other times something is popped in and later retracted - like when a Dominican paper puts Alec Baldwin's picture on a Trump article. I don't really believe that was an honest mistake - it gave them tons of attention. That's why it is good to have a variety of sources and be capable of noticing the differences.

Then there's the words that you use to describe an event. Will you call some guys throwing rocks... Thugs? Terrorists? Citizens? Protestors? Rioters? Mob? Unidentified Men? Will you describe the size of the group as huge or small, or try to give it a concrete number? All of these are ways to persuade the reader to accept the author's take on the situation, and in many cases the author may be genuinely trying to describe a scene accurately, but cannot avoid adding their own cultural bias and life experiences, or other reports that you've seen in the past.

BBC, Jan 5, "Germany shocked by Cologne New Year gang assaults on women"

CNN, Jan 10, "Cologne, Germany: Hundreds of sexual assault charges from New Year's Eve"

Daily Mail, Jul 11, Revealed: 1,200 women were sexually assaulted by 2,000 men in German cities on New Year's Eve

The implication of the Mail article is that there was a massive coverup. But reading into the articles shows that in Cologne, there were 600 reports, which is in fact "hundreds" that CNN reported. And the BBC article talks about 1000 men being involved.

I don't mean to try to defend any point of view on that particular topic, but rather pointing out it can clearly be taken two ways, and that's on a quantitative set of facts, let alone all the other factors that come into play with that story.

That's why the idea that we could have some kind of Media Czar who could rule on who tells the truth and who doesn't would be problematic, dangerous, and ultimately lead to less certainty and more confusion.

TheDeamon

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2017, 02:32:52 PM »
Any way to accomplish this other than taking shelter behind pay walls?  Not to sound cheep but I don't see convincing the nation/world that information that IS free, is flawed.  :)

I think it'd be awesome if someone came up with a credible crowdsourced/crwodfunded and functionally independent news organization. The challenge there is "drift conditions" that invariably crop up, and the reality that both sides are more than willing to flood such things with either people, or money, if not both if they think there is a decent chance that they can "take it over."

Which brings us back to "follow the money" which is the very problem that we're seeing with Fox/CNN/MSNBC/et al.

But it also makes a compelling case for a stricter set of anti-trust laws that apply specifically to "news organizations."

What we need is not bigger/better news organizations. We need more/smaller (tactical) news organizations, and better aggregation options, which also means options beyond just the AP and Reuters, or Google for that matter. However, the issue once more comes back to follow the money. Those many, smaller, news organizations are only likely to be as effective as their funding allows them to be.

Which is a large part of the problem "the news media" in particular has been having since the 1990's. The Internet and other technologies has fundamentally changed their business model, and they're still trying to work out how to make things work financially in this new reality. The Local newspaper has been largely replaced with the internet.

The broadcast/cable News Networks are dealing with increasing levels of viewer division and subdivision, as well as many of those viewers largely "tuning out" entirely on the cable news networks, and likewise going online for their news. (And doesn't even get into the impacts experienced in advertising revenues with the advent and wide scale adoption of DVR's and people being able to skip commercials)

So part of "our problem" is that News Organizations across the nation are "starving" for money as their previous revenue streams decrease substantially, and this is in turn helping feed their desire to play up anything that "will generate eyeballs on their product" so they can make money. Likewise, that decreasing amount of money coming in also translates into less ability to actually do "original journalism" and in particular the investigative type. 

But it is a hodgepodge and mixed mess, many of the local news people are often living near the poverty line, if not below it. While the ones who are on the national tier are often signing multi-million dollar contracts. Which makes it a small wonder that they have a hard time funding more in depth journalistic resources when Matt Lauer is getting paid $28 Million/year to host the Today Show for example. He could single-handedly fund the staff for several news rooms if he wanted to.

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2017, 02:52:19 PM »
Quote
Won't work, won't even come close to working.  It's premised on the idea that true and false are easily identifiable, and quite frankly they aren't

I disagree.  Objective events that happen are identifiable. This pretense that they can’t is a false premise perpetrated by those who are intentionally trying to manipulate.

This idea that ‘the media’ in all of its permutations could as a global conspiracy be working together for some end… would be an accomplishment I cannot imagine. 
This tactic of undermining objective fact is another tool of those who wish to manipulate facts.

Note how when those that talk about ‘fake news’ in with a sweeping brush seldom identify the stories in which they suspect are fake. 
For example: The leaks are real but what the leaks reveal and or put into question is not real. (so should not be reported on)
That so many Americans are not asking for better clarification on what in the claim of being false is actually false and why is very disturbing.


Cherry mention “mass rape of German women in public by hundreds of immigrant” as being an example of under-reported events, a covered up, and even global conspiracy.  Yet a quick search reveals that that is not the case.

“The attacks sparked an international outcry, a debate about women's rights, the sustainability of Germany's asylum policy, and social differences between European societies and those of North Africa and the Middle East.  The attacks prompted Germany to update its laws, making it easier to deport immigrants convicted of sex crimes and broadening the definition of sexual assault to include any sexual act that a victim declines through verbal or physical cues. Previous law made no mention of consent and required a victim to physically resist their attacker”

This seems to be a failure in ability to determine a difference between the objective happening and speculation about what happened and how it was reported.  I can’t but wonder if Cherry issue was not that the event was under-reported but that the response to the reporting did not create the hysteria  that would help achieve/manipulate his own moment’s agenda. 

It’s interesting, when my brother in-law talks about the agenda of the ‘media’ he refuses to accept that he also has an agenda in doing so… In his mind he is right and that being right there can be no agenda. 

TheDeamon

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2017, 03:02:16 PM »
Cherry mention “mass rape of German women in public by hundreds of immigrant” as being an example of under-reported events, a covered up, and even global conspiracy.  Yet a quick search reveals that that is not the case.

You're missing the narrative and context alike on that one. The complaint was that for the past several years the German Press has been deliberately ignoring or downplaying reports of Muslim Immigrants/refugees sexually assaulting Germans... Until the problem became so rampant that they couldn't ignore it any longer.

IE. They set the stage for the mass-rape even in Cologne, because they were previously acting as enablers for them.

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2017, 03:06:16 PM »
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Won't work, won't even come close to working.  It's premised on the idea that true and false are easily identifiable, and quite frankly they aren't

I disagree.  Objective events that happen are identifiable. This pretense that they can’t is a false premise perpetrated by those who are intentionally trying to manipulate.

I look forward to the day when you report infiltrating the white house to give us your private report on identifying the objective facts of what go on there. Or if you want an easier case you can feel free to make your way to DNC/RNC headquarters and record the minutes of backroom conversations that happen there. Of course I'd sympathize if you don't want to aggravate your own government, so as a bonus mission you can take a field trip to Syria where you can make your way through contested territories and comb the streets of Aleppo looking for clues. I will certainly read your report on objective events. Of course, I'll also ask who's funding your expedition :)

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This idea that ‘the media’ in all of its permutations could as a global conspiracy be working together for some end… would be an accomplishment I cannot imagine.

If you were aware of how few parties control the vast majority of major media it would make it a lot easier for you to imagine. The mechanism of how this could be (or is) done isn't complicated or far-fetched, which of course is different from demonstrating that it actually happens. But the argument that it's implausible for this to happen is the idea I find far-fetched.

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This tactic of undermining objective fact is another tool of those who wish to manipulate facts.

Yes. But there are two ways to proceed once you realize this: 1) Argue in favor of believing more of what's reported, on the grounds that it's probably objectively true, or 2) argue in favor of believing less of it. I imagine you can guess which choice I'd advocate.

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For example: The leaks are real but what the leaks reveal and or put into question is not real. (so should not be reported on)
That so many Americans are not asking for better clarification on what in the claim of being false is actually false and why is very disturbing.

I'll not be caught defending Trump's gaffs, however one thing to keep in mind here is that there is a lot to stories behind the scenes that we don't hear about. On the one hand someone like Trump (or any high-ranking official) may want to blow the whistle on something bad, but on the other hand there are laws about revealing sensitive information to the public, and additionally political ramifications of telling certain things even though they do pertain to the case. And these factors can shift rapidly, so that in one instance one may want to report "illegal leaks" and feel it's best to call them false since the public isn't supposed to know that information, even though in reality they're true but that wasn't supposed to be verified. And yet if some third party (such as Wikileaks) demonstrates that they are true it makes the person speaking look like a liar or a fool even though his/her choice of what to disclose wasn't entirely a matter of just telling the plain truth with no complications. So I try to distinguish between damage control that ends up going wrong, versus attempting to keep a state secret that goes wrong, versus actually lying to the public to mislead and manipulate them. Parsing the motive may be a hazy process, but I think there are more and less excusable reasons for failing to disclose all available information when referring to something. 

Wayward Son

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2017, 03:36:26 PM »
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Quote

If they are wrong or mistaken, they must admit it, or they must be dismissed.

By whom?  Giving any government the power to "dismiss" an outlet sounds... catastrophic. 

Not the government.  Each of us, individually.

I think the primary way to fight fake news is to hold those who report the news accountable.  If they are wrong or mistaken, they must admit it, or they must be dismissed.  Of course, you will have to know that your "alternative facts" are more trustworthy than the new report.  And you will have to account for your own biases.  But through the accumulation of evidence over time, those who will bend the truth should become apparent.

Won't work, won't even come close to working.  It's premised on the idea that true and false are easily identifiable, and quite frankly they aren't.  Complex issues can have multiple right answers, even answers that conflict, where none of them are factually wrong but they are all dependent on what your goals are.  There's also almost no way to account for deliberate bias, how do you address, equivalent candidates on one side being labeled "innovators" and on the other side "unqualified"?  Neither statement is objectively true or false, but with enough repetition they certainly change what people believe.  It's the same reason every conservative is an "ultra conservative" and the media has yet to find a "ultra liberal" or "ultra progressive" (they can barely find a liberal).

When you couple that with interest driven science that produces "studies" that are designed to support policy positions rather than objectively discover truth, you get an even nastier web of "fact-based" reporting.  Fact checkers, who are nothing more than opinion reporters (heck, even the idea of fact-checkers as distinct from journalists should tell you everything you need to know about how far journalism has fallen, before you even consider how far fact-checking has fallen) make the situation even worse, with people citing to them as greater authorities without any objective consideration or vetting.

Very true, Seriati.

I know it's true because I see this happening on the Right at this very moment. :(

I'm sure you see it happening on the Left as well. :(

What we need to do, individually and as a society, is to dedicate ourselves to facts and truth.  To examine our sources.  Decide for ourselves if their facts prove their opinion.  To question.  And to leave our minds open when there is no definitive answer.

This is not going to provide a quick fix.  We have years or decades ahead of us where we really won't know what is true and what isn't.  But unless we are willing to work to find out what is factual and what isn't, then our nation is doomed.  Because how can a democracy address problems when we cannot agree on the facts??

But we can start doing better right now.

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2017, 03:57:09 PM »
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The complaint was that for the past several years the German Press has been deliberately ignoring…
I have issue with the use of the word ‘deliberately’ implying a conspiracy with intent which at best can only be speculation.

The German Press is all is forms may have been ignoring the complaint for many reasons not requiring a conspiracy.
That the story never disappeared to me indicates that the not all the media ignored the issue. 

My brother in-law feels ‘the media’ is not reporting the story of the Pro-Life movement to his satisfaction (when America was great and the debate was headlines every week fro years!) and views this as a conspiracy of ‘the media agenda’.  Of Course if he owned a media outlet this issue would be front and center of his agenda which I suspect why he accuses ‘the media’ of having an agenda.  He sees in others what he knows of himself but cannot see. It would also be likely that, unless his media outlet was a talk radio station deep in the heart of evangelical Christian's his media outlet would go broke.  That the national media is not reporting on his group’s latest protest may not be a pro-life or pro-choice agenda but pro-ratings and profit (or that the majority of people just dont care to debate the issue anymore) does not occur to him, nor does he see that his own biases in his ‘reporting of facts’ about  the media agenda. What he is really angry about is that the people are not responding to the issue in the way that he wants.


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One thing to keep in mind here is that there is a lot to stories behind the scenes that we don't hear about.

No doubt, however that fact does not make it a conspiracy of ‘the media’. You can not report on what you do not know about. You might speculate but speculation is not news.
Perhaps part of the problem is a failure of the people in discerning the difference between news, speculation and opinion.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 04:03:30 PM by rightleft22 »

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2017, 04:10:43 PM »
That the national media is not reporting on his group’s latest protest may not be a pro-life or pro-choice agenda but pro-ratings and profit (or that the majority of people just dont care to debate the issue anymore) does not occur to him, nor does he see that his own biases in his ‘reporting of facts’ about  the media agenda. What he is really angry about is that the people are not responding to the issue in the way that he wants.

It's unclear to me exactly what point you are making here. Are you saying that the media rightly should be reporting based on ratings and profits, in which case it's no conspiracy but good business sense? Or are you arguing that even though it's bad for news media to report based on profits that's a different problem from one of conspiracy? If the latter, I don't think it's an either/or proposition. If the former...I disagree.

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2017, 04:34:51 PM »

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I look forward to the day when you report infiltrating the white house to give us your private report on identifying the objective facts of what go on there

Objective facts are what, where, when, who and are in most cases easily confirmed.

The issue we usually have is as to why and how which is often speculation and opinion.  In most cases credible news outlets identify when they are entering into speculation. That said reporting on what this or that person said about why and how, though speculation on their part, is still news and objective fact – in that his person said it. So it gets messy.

A decision to report which statement to print maybe biased which is why multiple media sources should be sought out but always with that in mind.

Maybe it’s a matter of consumer laziness as we want ‘the media’ to sort it out for us…

When I hear about a news event I find it helpful to check how the information is being reported from local, national and international source’s … while trying to be as conscious of my own biases as possible. 



rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2017, 04:35:26 PM »
Quote
It's unclear to me exactly what point you are making here. Are you saying that the media rightly should be reporting based on ratings and profits, in which case it's no conspiracy but good business sense? Or are you arguing that even though it's bad for news media to report based on profits that's a different problem from one of conspiracy? If the latter, I don't think it's an either/or proposition. If the former...I disagree.
I’m saying that every media company has an agenda conscious or not and it’s up to the consumer to recognize. The idea of conspiracy on such a scale is absurd and unhelpful.

In the main, the first five to ten minutes of most news shows is news - This was said, this event happened, this is how some people are reacting/responding… it the rest that often crap.

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2017, 04:48:06 PM »
You're missing the narrative and context alike on that one. The complaint was that for the past several years the German Press has been deliberately ignoring or downplaying reports of Muslim Immigrants/refugees sexually assaulting Germans... Until the problem became so rampant that they couldn't ignore it any longer.

IE. They set the stage for the mass-rape even in Cologne, because they were previously acting as enablers for them.


If you go to Brietbart, you'll find an article where they scream the headline:

REPORT: Migrants Committing Disproportionately High Crime In Germany While Media And Govt Focus on ‘Far Right’ Thought Crimes

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Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers account for around 2.5 per cent of Germany’s population, but were also massively overrepresented.

Amongst total offences, non-Germans accounted for 27.6 percent while illegal immigrants and asylum seekers accounted for 5.7 percent. Of homicides, the figures are 29.3%/8.2%, and of sexual assaults, the figures were 20.5%/4.8%.

Wow, that sounds pretty bad. Massively overrepresented. And lots of stats to make it sound scary. But the straight up math (5.7%) shows that "massive" in this case is a little over 2x? And that had it been "normal" representation we'd be looking at 2.4%. And, if you normalize for other factors (unemployment, etc) how far off would it be? The portrayal is that this group of people is completely changing the face of crime in Germany, but its really little more than a blip in the grand scheme. Which is why most outlets reported it that way.

Following the original report cited and linked by Breitbart:

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The increase is mainly due to an increase in the political right (+ 44.3%) and left-wing (34.9%) violence.

Wait, what's this? I though Breitbart told me that this was about far-right thought crime? First, this is actual political violence, which isn't what a thought-crime is. It's an action-crime. Second is the convenient stripping of the significant increase in left-wing violence.

Now, you can do this exercise on any source - including BBC, ABC, etc. I'm suggesting that this approach be taken by all readers, rather than people picking one source and chugging it like a solo cup full of beer. Or worse, snorting headlines from their facebook feed. Just say no to junk news addiction.

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2017, 04:52:02 PM »

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I look forward to the day when you report infiltrating the white house to give us your private report on identifying the objective facts of what go on there

Objective facts are what, where, when, who and are in most cases easily confirmed.

If this was the case things would be a lot easier to parse. When a news report quotes Trump as saying such-and-such at a press conference, yes, it's surely easy to verify that since there would have been many witnesses, as well as perhaps cameras and so forth. That really is a paint-by-numbers thing to report on, speculative content and spin aside. But that's a straw man type of example in the word of reporting on things dishonestly. As others have mentioned, how to do you vet "small crowd" for content when at a rally there was certainly a crowd of some size, and the qualifier being somewhat subjective? This is where verification doesn't happen just like that. You'd need to know context, typical crowd sizes for such an event, the sort of event it was supposed to be, etc etc. Including all of that context is something that goes above and beyond merely stating something that is technically correct, at least from a certain point of view.

But it gets far worse in foreign events, where even context won't help you and you can't know what to make of actual reported facts. For instance I heard many American news reports about disastrous carnage being perpetrated by Assad's forces in Aleppo, how he was oppressing the city, conquering it, what have you. And then I heard conflicting reports from elsewhere that the ones doing the oppressing were on the ISIS side of the fence, and that the people in Aleppo were universally in favor of Assad freeing them from their oppressors. How do you vet that, other than by going to Syria and doing on-the-spot reporting personally? I'll tell you that I, for one, am going to do no such thing, and so I literally have no way to vet such stories other than by hearing both and assessing them based on other contexts. But as is, there is no material way for even an intelligent, discerning person to listen to such a report and to be able to just conclude whether it's true or accurate. Not enough data; arguably no data in some cases. Another Syria example is the manner in which the fighting against the rebels was being reported, where the U.S. was claiming to be fighting ISIS and other insurgents, while at the same time decrying Assad and Putin for claiming to do the same, with the linchpin of that narrative being that Assad was only attacking moderate rebels and not ISIS, which of course makes no sense since ISIS was the one taking his territory away. There are other reasons that narrative made no sense but I won't get into that here. But the news was nevertheless repeating sound bites fed to them from the white house about Assad attacking 'the good guys' in Syria (whoever that was supposed to be) and committing 'atrocities' on the forces that, I suppose, had 'rightfully' conquered half the country.

You can make the same case for news reporting on the Libya regime change, or any other hot issue center where the reports were so conflicting that even if you believed them you'd end up believing a set of irreconcilable and contradictory facts. It's not easy to find out what is true, but often it's very easy to know that what's being said cannot be true, but it's illogical or contradictory.

So tell me how to reasonably vet that kind of news reporting now that independent reporters on-scene is a thing of the past, and that most big stories like that come through a narrow set of clearing-houses before trickling into the news networks?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 04:55:26 PM by Fenring »

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2017, 10:53:52 AM »
For something like that, I first look to aljazeera because I expect them to get somewhat better access. I found an opinion piece that looked promising as a starting point. She's not affiliated directly with a news organization, and actually was present in Syria. She points out two people who are taking the position "Assad's not so bad". She cites four other organizations who have investigated their claims.

She's doing a much better job citing her sources than most of the major news organizations. She draws the distinction between rebels, isil, a couple of other groups I'm not familiar with.

If you follow through to the snopes article, they point out that Bartlett (pro-Assad) is associated with RT - that drops her credibility. She cited election results as the reason to believe the Syrian people are highly supportive. I think we can generally agree that election results are not that helpful as a support indicator in that area. A quick fly by wikipedia shows that opposition groups boycotted the election. Since this was during a civil war, areas held by anti-Assad forces didn't get to vote.

We also have the reports from refugees on who they were most concerned about. I don't have the time right now to follow that thread, since it isn't very easy to get at that information - especially since they might say "Assad" in order to enhance their chances.

Off to see who's killing whom. I start with references to doctors without borders - who are less political than other groups. This leads me to a CBS article that describes air strikes conducted by the Russian military that struck a blood bank and a children's hospital. WHO is cited, 126 attacks on medical facilities, all by Russian/Assad forces. I take a pause, and realize that might be just because of who is under seige (if Damascus was under attack by rebel/ISIL forces, would it look the same way?).

I'm not trying to address every point you brought up (particularly whether Assad was giving ISIS a pass), but rather to show my thought process on how I make my best assessment of "what's really happening over there".

As we're busy bashing the press, let's take a moment to acknowledge key breaking stories - like the NY Times reporting on Cambodian bombing. A response to which was the paranoid Nixon engaging in wiretapping reporters as enemies of the people....

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2017, 11:08:01 AM »
Off to see who's killing whom. I start with references to doctors without borders - who are less political than other groups. This leads me to a CBS article that describes air strikes conducted by the Russian military that struck a blood bank and a children's hospital. WHO is cited, 126 attacks on medical facilities, all by Russian/Assad forces. I take a pause, and realize that might be just because of who is under seige (if Damascus was under attack by rebel/ISIL forces, would it look the same way?).

This is a good but hazy area, because I don't know whether these facts are cited in their proper context. For instance, if many building were bombed and two of them were actually medical facilities thought to be military targets, that's bad but not the same as if they were intentionally targeting medical facilities as a policy. I will point out that American forces did exactly the same thing in terms of bombing medical buildings in Afghanistan, and in that case there was no plausible excuse about it even being an mistaken target; they knew what it was. That doesn't rule out incompetence as the cause, but in any case if it happens even to U.S. forces who have dominating air power then it can't come as a shock for Syrian forces to sometimes hit targets like that too (assuming a charitable interpretation). And let's not even get started on what the Saudis have done in Yemen, not like the MSM is going to jump on that like they have on the Assad situation. Gee, maybe it's because special interests have been pushing the invasion of Syria. Big surprise.

Incidentally, I also have no doubt that ISIS are exactly the kind of people who actually would use medical buildings as military shields. Whether or not this was the case I don't know, but when weighing whether or not Assad's and Putin's forces did 'good things' or 'bad things' I try to take into account the fact that I mostly lack context on what really happened with any given event (like the bombing of a hospital).

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2017, 11:10:28 AM »
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But it gets far worse in foreign events, where even context won't help you and you can't know what to make of actual reported facts

So tell me how to reasonably vet that kind of news reporting now that independent reporters on-scene is a thing of the past, and that most big stories like that come through a narrow set of clearing-houses before trickling into the news networks
?

The examples you gave with regards to the foreign events are indeed difficult to vet. Who is reporting the story, - state, independent, national, local, individual reporter… will influence the way a story is reported and muddy context. But that does not mean the event didn't happen - which is where we seem to be going.

I know I’m not explaining myself very well.

The majority of ‘The media’ reporting on all these possible viewpoints is not a conspiracy… the issue is in how we the consumer use the information we get and/or allow the information to affect and or manipulate us. Even here in on this thread those arguing that the media is unreliable are using the media as source to underline their argument of which they are certain of. (Appear to be certain of) That to me is a contradiction.

If all media is unreliable all opinion must be unreliable. Yet that is not how we are acting or should I say reacting to the information we take in.

We can’t be sure of anything yet we are sure we are right and everyone must agree with our view of events and what we ‘know’ – even as we argue that the source of information can’t be trusted. Such as state can only lead to cognitive dissonance, mystification, and a collective schizophrenia.

The question I ask is who gains by undermining the process of discernment. Who benefits when a factual event can be discounted as even happening just because the intent, the how and why can’t be known with certainty. If this is conspiracy where not looking in the right direction.

You say Objective events that happen are not identifiable. I say that the Objective facts of an event are identifiable, the what, the where, the when… while yes, the context, implications, the how and why which are influenced by the manner in which they are reported will always be uncertain. That has always been the case.

I get it If someone only relied on Fox news and CNN as their ‘news’ source how could then not end up frustrated and confused - especially as the majority of time on air time is speculation, opinion and not news.  That is not a conspiracy. Our job as a consumer is to discern the news from speculation, opinion and bias (mine and the reporters) and make the best judgment we can, open to being wrong and learning better. At least then their is the possibility of dialog.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 11:13:16 AM by rightleft22 »

Seriati

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2017, 11:22:31 AM »
Quote
Won't work, won't even come close to working.  It's premised on the idea that true and false are easily identifiable, and quite frankly they aren't

I disagree.  Objective events that happen are identifiable. This pretense that they can’t is a false premise perpetrated by those who are intentionally trying to manipulate.

When was the last time the media reported on objective events without coloring them?  The entirety of cable news is nothing but a slant on events, literally every tv news show (beyond the local news, and sometimes even then) is an exercise in trying to guide your thinking.  Every election of what they choose to cover and what they choose not to cover is exercise in slant.

Do they cover every town hall?  Or just the ones where a protester from a favored cause has gone to stage a rant? 

I watched CBS this morning.  They choose to cover the what of Trump's plan on immigration (to enforce more of the existing laws than Obama did, but still less than all) as if it were an aggressive assault on freedom.  Not one mention of "undocumented" let alone "illegal" aliens.  Focused completely on their arguments that, following our actual laws, will make us "unsafe," break up families (nothing prohibits families from leaving the country together), and cost Billions of dollars. 

Is anything they said objectively false?  Pretty obvious though that it's slanted.  You might see it better, if they'd chosen to focus on crime statistics or the high profile cases where immigrants murdered people, if they had elected to focus on safety, or the inherent justice in following the actual laws.  Or maybe if they elected to focus on how immigration enforcement is favored by the vast majority of the electorate.

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This idea that ‘the media’ in all of its permutations could as a global conspiracy be working together for some end… would be an accomplishment I cannot imagine.

Why would they need a conspiracy?  Do college professors need to be engaged in a conspiracy to present a uniformly leftist worldview?  The press absolutely lacks a real diversity of worldviews, that translates directly into how they choose to present the news, even if they'd like to do otherwise they can not do so, because their own bias leaves them unable to believe that the other side's positions could be true.  They find themselves believing sources that agree with themselves far more readily than those that disagree, this really comes into play during the falsification process - they aggressively attempt to falsify the "oppositions" positions, and even strain and over attribute minor faults to imply they color the whole position, while finding themselves defending rather than falsifying positions they find agreeable, or just never even bothering to try to falsify them because they are "obvious."

Of course, that's before the last election cycle.  In the last election cycle, members of the press actively promoted abandoning objectivity.  They were so lost in their opinions that they decided it was their job to be activists and report on the "lies" (as they saw them), notwithstanding that they have no objectivity on those matters.

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This tactic of undermining objective fact is another tool of those who wish to manipulate facts.

True.  Too bad you miss it when it really happens.

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Note how when those that talk about ‘fake news’ in with a sweeping brush seldom identify the stories in which they suspect are fake.

I have noticed that you seldom identify stories that are "fake" and never actually take the next step to explain them.  Is that what you mean?

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For example: The leaks are real but what the leaks reveal and or put into question is not real. (so should not be reported on)

Pretty sure leaks are real (both sides seem to agree, Hillary's campaign, Donald's Whitehouse).  Substance can also be real, Podesta's emails sure did turn out to be so.  The Whitehouse leaks are more difficult to verify since they seem to take the form of "a highly placed source has informed us" of difficult to disprove but damaging statement. 

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Cherry mention “mass rape of German women in public by hundreds of immigrant” as being an example of under-reported events, a covered up, and even global conspiracy.  Yet a quick search reveals that that is not the case.

Others have better covered this.  The outcry is of the routine suppression that occurs.  We have examples a plenty in the US as well.  Race based attacks where a white person attacks a black person are more broadly covered than race based attacks where a black person attacks a white person.  Why would that be?  Initial news stories of active shooters where the suspects have Arabic names are generally very slow to identify them and even slower to link it to Islam, yet active shooters where there is even the vaguest suspicion of a conservative motivation jump to label it as such, and retractions are very slow even when it turns out the shooter is from the left (e.g., Jared Loughner). 

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This seems to be a failure in ability to determine a difference between the objective happening and speculation about what happened and how it was reported.  I can’t but wonder if Cherry issue was not that the event was under-reported but that the response to the reporting did not create the hysteria  that would help achieve/manipulate his own moment’s agenda.

You can't help wonder that?  You seem to be able to help from wondering if the actual statistics and details were not reported to specifically suppress sentiment that would interfere with your own moment's agenda.

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It’s interesting, when my brother in-law talks about the agenda of the ‘media’ he refuses to accept that he also has an agenda in doing so… In his mind he is right and that being right there can be no agenda.

And there, without realizing it, you identified the problem, you just made the common mistake of believe it applies just to other people.  My basic rule of thumb on arguing an issue is if you don't understand why the other side is right (not why they believe they are right) you really don't understand it well enough to have a firm opinion about why they are wrong.

TheDeamon

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2017, 11:43:55 AM »
I think my paradigm for today is that:

In Nazi Germany, the political/media narrative was about how diabolical the Jews were, and giving reasons to fear the Jews in order to pursue new laws to suppress them.

In Trump's America, the popular political/media narrative is about how afraid the Hispanics are of being subjected to enforcement of laws that have been on the books for decades.

And remember folks:

"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly." - Abraham Lincoln

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2017, 11:51:33 AM »
I appreciate your posts as being from someone so blind to their shadow and bias the true dialog is difficult if not imposable and so an example of the real problem we face today.

I have noticed that you seldom identify stories that are "fake" and never actually take the next step to explain them.  Is that what you mean?

You repeat the exact point I was making. That those use the label of fake news never actually take the step to explain them. (This is a common tactic the alt right and left use to end or muddy dialog – accuse the other of doing the very thing you’re doing while playing the victim.)

In the example I gave Trump labeled All the news stories about the information revealed via the leaks as fake without explaining why those stories were fake. He used the word ‘Fake’ a wide brush to successful redirect the conversation. Very clever very dangerous and that you and your movement can’t see that is very concerning

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And there, without realizing it, you identified the problem, you just made the common mistake of believe it applies just to other people.  My basic rule of thumb on arguing an issue is if you don't understand why the other side is right (not why they believe they are right) you really don't understand it well enough to have a firm opinion about why they are wrong

What a bunch of hog wash. You don’t know me, what I might realize. How many times have you used this argument which is just another one of your go to.  How very liberal of you to take in all accounts and rules as you see them equally to yourself and others and then don't.  Just another tactic to confirm your own bias

Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2017, 11:53:44 AM »
The majority of ‘The media’ reporting on all these possible viewpoints is not a conspiracy… the issue is in how we the consumer use the information we get and/or allow the information to affect and or manipulate us. Even here in on this thread those arguing that the media is unreliable are using the media as source to underline their argument of which they are certain of. (Appear to be certain of) That to me is a contradiction.

[...]

You say Objective events that happen are not identifiable. I say that the Objective facts of an event are identifiable, the what, the where, the when… while yes, the context, implications, the how and why which are influenced by the manner in which they are reported will always be uncertain. That has always been the case.

Maybe this is why you're so confused about what other people believe. If you truly believe the two bolded sections then I will suggest that you have a grossly mistaken sense of what it is you actually know. Unless you're sitting in a room for hours each day sifting media sources, writing down levels of how reliable information is, and cross-checking that against sources and conflicts of interest, then I will put it to you that it's literally not possible for you to have the kind of certainty about the "what, where, and when" of events around the world in contested areas. And even then you wouldn't have certainty, but just a high probability best guess. At it stands if you feel like you have a good handle on all the objective facts then that's probably a very bad sign. Part of the idea of questioning the media is also about questioning your own knowledge. Is it really knowledge at all, or just things you hear and accept? The difference between hearing about some event in Aleppo versus knowing that it happened is huge; you may not realize how much.

ETA - just a small point about your premise that it's the consumers' fault for not parsing the white noise sufficiently well: 1) I don't believe it's correct or even just to imply that every person ought to be a hobbyist detective to be able to know basic things about what goes on in the world, and in their own country. 2) Division of labor means that average people go to work, and that's their 'job.' It's someone else's job to report facts and to distribute them to the people. The average person should not have to do the reporter's job and try to determine what the facts are; if they do have to do that the reporter should be dismissed.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 11:58:01 AM by Fenring »

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2017, 02:10:41 PM »
Incidentally, I also have no doubt that ISIS are exactly the kind of people who actually would use medical buildings as military shields. Whether or not this was the case I don't know, but when weighing whether or not Assad's and Putin's forces did 'good things' or 'bad things' I try to take into account the fact that I mostly lack context on what really happened with any given event (like the bombing of a hospital).

You're entitled to draw your own opinions. I would take with a huge block of salt reports from the "rebels" claiming hospitals were being attacked for no reason, thinking that it is very possible that it is propaganda. If is coming from WHO and Doctors without borders, I'm going to find it more credible.

I'm reminded of reporting that Iraqis were killing babies in hospitals by disconnecting their incubators after the invasion of Kuwait. The US either swallowed it or was behind the story in the first place. News reports after the fact went like this:

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The cable reported eyewitness accounts of two incidents in which eight babies died.

A health worker at Al-Adan Hospital, the cable said, recounted arguing with Iraqi soldiers who demanded that babies be removed from incubators and respirators. One baby died "almost immediately" and four died within 24 hours, according to this account.

Two health workers at Al-Jahra Hospital, the cable said, reported that an Iraqi military doctor had ordered 12 babies removed from the neonatal intensive care unit on Aug. 26. Eight were removed from incubators and two from ventilators. Two died that day and another later, it said.

But Mr. Roth said that Middle East Watch had interviewed about two dozen health professionals who had worked in all of Kuwait's maternity hospitals throughout the occupation, and that despite many second-hand reports, "no one we spoke to was able to confirm any instance in which the Iraqis had taken incubators or left babies to die."

...

Ambassador Gnemh said the embassy was told that approximately 250 babies might have been buried in mass graves at Al-Riqqa cemetery in Kuwait in August and September 1990.

Mr. Roth sharply disputed this, saying that Middle East Watch investigators had thoroughly examined the records at Al-Riqqa, which appear to have been meticulously kept.

So this is a type of urban legend that apparently spread. Some people may have co-opted the story and described it first hand believing it was true and wanting it to be known. Some people may have deliberately fed disinformation.

BTW, the title of that article seems highly downplayed. U.S. OFFERS DETAIL ON IRAQI ATROCITY - and notably not "US claims of Iraqi atrocity in doubt"

Now the same publication a couple of years earlier says:

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Human rights groups are the first to acknowledge that their estimates are conservative. "It makes a better headline to use the larger numbers," said Kenneth Roth, deputy director of Human Rights Watch, of which Middle East Watch is an affiliate. "But we find that the lower estimates often prove correct, so to maintain credibility, we report only what we can confirm."

"The situation in Kuwait makes 'Rashomon' look like a clear story," he concluded. "Without direct access to the country, it is very hard to be sure."

What seems sure, however, is that hundreds of people have been executed -- more by the security police and military intelligence than by soldiers -- in detention centers, in public, or in front of their families.

An Administration official said human rights monitors in the Government tended to believe the human rights groups' estimates rather than those of the Kuwaiti Government.

"We can't accuse them of lying," the official said. "But this is a highly emotional situation, and it's very hard to be cool and objective."

Atrocity reports involving occupied territories have frequently been incorrect. In 1914, for example, the Germans were falsely accused by the Allies of murdering Belgian babies at the outset of World War I; in World War II many diplomats said reports of German atrocities against the Jews were exaggerated.

So even in the fog of war, it is possible for a news report to be credible by specifically highlighting the uncertainty of the report. They point out your direct point, Fenring, about the difficulty being sure unless you are actually there. To form an opinion about such events, we tend to have to live without certainty. To support or disparage a policy, we have to make a call about what we find most credible.





Fenring

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2017, 03:01:10 PM »
I would take with a huge block of salt reports from the "rebels" claiming hospitals were being attacked for no reason, thinking that it is very possible that it is propaganda. If is coming from WHO and Doctors without borders, I'm going to find it more credible.

Agreed, and also with the rest of your post.

rightleft22

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2017, 04:08:13 PM »
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I will suggest that you have a grossly mistaken sense of what it is you actually know. Unless you're sitting in a room for hours each day sifting media sources, writing down levels of how reliable information is, and cross-checking that against sources and conflicts of interest, then I will put it to you that it's literally not possible for you to have the kind of certainty about the "what, where, and when" of events around the world in contested areas
.

I understand the issue Global news coverage which granted is more difficult to verify then local news but still argue not impossible?
That people don’t spend the time to investigate there conclusions about the news they hear is not a argument that it is not possible to do so. 

Are you arguing that because we can’t know with certainty why or how an event happened or the intentions behind it that we can’t know that an event happened? 
I don’t think you’re arguing that however I have seen others dismiss events using that reasoning and is becoming more common.

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I don't believe it's correct or even just to imply that every person ought to be a hobbyist detective to be able to know basic things about what goes on in the world, and in their own country
.

My point is that people are making statements of facts based on information that they aren’t investigating and label as relative and even fake because it is not knowable with certainty.
They don’t trust the media yet feel free to state their point of view about an event as a fact and certainty which I see as a self-defeating loop,  hypocritical, and dangerous and that can only lead to extremism.

Perhaps this is off topic but maybe it will explain my point of view

I had a discussion with a very religious person who argued that to be able to act in the certainty of one’s faith it is necessary that one faith be certain. I disagree. I think that a person can act with certainty while being uncertain, in fact those are the time when one leans on faith. (Fear is to courage as doubt is to faith, it is in times of doubt that one excesses ones faith.)   I think that the former thinking leads to extremism while the latter opens the door to humility and learning. 

I believe one ought to view the news one is exposed to in the same way.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 04:11:12 PM by rightleft22 »

Seriati

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2017, 05:05:47 PM »
Well here's a fake news story from today.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/did-immigration-officers-really-have-their-hands-tied-under-obama-as-sean-spicer-claims/

Here's the money quote:

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Whatever constraints agents might have faced, they deported more than 2 million immigrants during the eight years Obama was in office, more than in previous administrations. They sent back 409,000 in 2012 alone, a record.

Problem is this "count" has been debunked and known to have been debunked for years, and to be little more than a trick of how they changed the law and the counting methodology.  Here's just a couple examples of the hundreds that can easily be found (which means there is zero chance a competent reporter would have missed them).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.5da61ee1b75b

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html

So why is CBS including Fake News in its attempted rebuttal?  And will any in the MSM call them out on it?

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2017, 05:36:40 PM »
Interesting example. This particular article is AP sourced, and shows up elsewhere, almost verbatim.

A quick look shows other outlets carrying are washington times, some local tv

There seem to be relatively few outlets rebroadcasting, although my search-fu might be weak. I search for the Spicer quotation directly, to see who else is responding to it. I'm not seeing a lot there either.

Previous Snopes coverage does in fact label the "more than any other president" claim as true, but if you read their article, they point out a lot of the salient details.

Of course, I'm not even going to bother asking about whether Obama deported a lot or a little when spicer doesn't even make any such claim. This is an extremely bogus "fact check".

Spicer's claim was that agents had their hands cuffed, that some rules might have limited how many deportations there could have been. Comparing Obama's deportations to Bush's doesn't have anything to do with that. It immediately calls into question any other AP fact checking (A shortcut to use in the future, to avoid doing as much research).

Don't bother to read the comments, you won't find anyone pointing out anything other than "Trump is great!" or "Trump sucks!"

LA Times has a more factual view:

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Under President Obama, immigration officials increased deportations to an annual peak of about 400,000 people in 2012.

Following widespread outcry from immigration advocates, Homeland Security backed down on deportations, ordering agents to focus on expelling criminals, repeat immigration violators and recent arrivals. As a result, deportation totals fell to about 240,000 last year.

That second paragraph is certainly proof enough to consider Spicer's statement true, I would judge.

TheDrake

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2017, 10:41:38 AM »
Or you could take Russia's approach?

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Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the site would collect "fake news of leading western media", and provide primary sources and facts countering them.
However, it currently contains nothing but screenshots of news items with a big red "fake news" stamp, a link to the original story, and, in each case, the words "This article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality."


Seriati

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Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2017, 11:04:50 AM »
The problem is its far easier to make and broadly disseminate "fake news" or more commonly news that while true creates a fundamentally flawed impression in the reader, than it is to effectively refute and broadcast that refutation.  I put forward that example above because that's one where the refutation did get broad distribution (uniquely, in my view, its because the left pushed both the original story - to try and shut down Republicans calling for stronger immigration efforts - and also the refutation - because the story was causing issues with their Hispanic base, if the right had been responding, instead of the left, we'd never have seen it).  It's a good example of media hypocrisy where they let a favored party benefit in both directions on an issue.

Today, I was reading Larry Elder's opinion column and he did an anecdotal break down of how the media characterized parallel events depending on the party affiliation of the President.  It's not scientific, but neatly frames how easy it is to frame an issue to sway the opinion.  https://www.creators.com/read/larry-elder