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Old 12-01-2019, 09:41   #166
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I think it was the USSR that described BBC as the most powerful form of propaganda because it's so subtle you don't realize it.
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It's arguable that maybe a few of the papers still are - eg NY Times, Washington Post. Maybe even the Wall St Journal. But because somebody once found an article or two too [left/right] for their tastes, these sources are now dismissed totally by the tribes as "biased".
It's not "an article or two," but rather the political orientation of the editorial leadership of the media source and whether they want to impart their views on their readership. What priorities they set, how much coverage they want to give to different stories, whether those stories are placed on the first page or buried. It goes way beyond just the op-ed page these days.

There was a time when I used to be a religious reader of the NYT. Their political orientation was liberal of course, but it seemed more contained to their op-ed page. But even then they had Bill Safire and a couple of others to balance out the more liberal opinion writers it seemed. In any event, the editorial board's orientation was all up front and that was fine. But then I started to notice a subtle but increasingly pronounced liberal bias in their front page stories, and eventually the entire newspaper seemed to become a mouthpiece for the political views of the editorial board. Regardless of my own personal orientation, why would I want to form my political opinions based on "facts" that are being skewed by people I know nothing about? It's the subtlety & deception which leads to the distrust, but not everyone is aware of it.

The BBC is still useful for me in that it provides an international perspective on events outside & within the US. But the liberal bias is well known and obvious, but again only if one is aware of it. Heck, if the old USSR is complementary of your propaganda skills there must be something to the accusations of bias!

But none of this necessarily calls for dismissing media outlets outright for their left or right bias. Even Fox often has liberal commentators in the mix on many of their panel discussions, and more so it seems than CNN puts conservatives into their's. Although it's often uncomfortable tuning into or reading opinions you disagree with, dismissing sources of information outright leads to group-think and echo chambers, thereby increasing the polarization which is so commonplace in our current culture. Besides, how different media organizations get labeled is very much a function of where the consumer lies on the political spectrum. As we've just witnessed, one poster views the NYT & WP as still relatively neutral, whereas another sees them as having become irresponsibly biased. Rather than these different outlooks leading to yet more partisan wrangling, I think it may be best to just better educate ourselves about why different people have different opinions, as uncomfortable to some as those opinions may be.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:50   #167
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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They don't always tilt this way on every story -- that's just simple-minded labeling.
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It's not "an article or two," but rather the political orientation of the editorial leadership of the media source and whether they want to impart their views on their readership. What priorities they set, how much coverage they want to give to different stories, whether those stories are placed on the first page or buried. It goes way beyond just the op-ed page these days.


Anyway... you're helping make the point that there's apparently no source you'd trust despite knowing that bias is a possibility.


Edit - check this out. It's a rating of the bias of many news sources as judged by Americans, with no attempt at normalization. You seem to be a bit further right in your assessment in some regards, especially on BBC.


Here's Pew's take. Other links here.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:58   #168
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BBC, France24, RT, Aljezeera.. used to check out CNN but its Trump obsessed these days so a lot less.. also look at China24.. this gives me a broad perspective to draw my Own conclusions from.
It sorts out the propaganda pretty well and gives a fair perspective as far as I am concerned.
Also watch Sky but like Fox they have an obvious agenda.. they cut folk as soon as the conversation goes where its not suitable..
Great for Kardashian fans and other butterflys tho'..
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:01   #169
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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For me they can target all they want I just dont look at the annoying ads.. I buy ignition coils for my bike and suddenly bike ads pop up, book a hotel, the same but in spite of all the targeted crap on here for me I've never clicked on one yet.. Wasted energy collecting my data, but I guess it suits the lazy shopper.
Boatie, there’s easily accessible tools that do a decent job of blocking of this stuff. I don’t suffer from much of what you describe, and what is now the norm:
  • I don’t used Google (Duck Duck for me).
  • I certainly never sign up for an G or FB or whatever accounts. All except CF of course .
  • I block all of the background trackers using Ghostery. Nearly all websites are tracking our web actions, not just Google. For example, right now, AS I TYPE, Ghostery is blocking six background snoopers and trackers running right here on this CF page.
  • Run AdBlock to stop all unwanted advertisements. This makes the web so much more pleasant, and fast.
In addition, I also maintain my own domains and use my own mail servers. This allows me to set up trackable addresses when I am forced to sign up for something. If one of these gets spammed, I can first tell what the original source was, and I can easily toss the email address.

There are measures we can all take to better protect our privacy, but I think it is impossible to be 100% secure from unwanted monitoring. Governments do it out of fear. Corporations do it out of profit. I’m not sure which is worse.

And in a post-Snowden world, no one should be under any illusion that the two aren’t closely intertwined (government & information/communications companies).
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:24   #170
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Media bias … yes, all media are biased in the sense that all humans are biased. To live is to be biased.

Speaking as a former reporter and 30+ worker in various media (mostly as a journalist), I observe that overt authoritarian-style bias is extremely rare here in democratic countries. It may be getting worse in the last decade or so, but it is still rare.

What isn’t rare is intrinsic human bias of the kind we all carry around. But most journalists learn basic methods to systematically counter this. And like most professionals*, most of the time most journalists do a pretty good job managing their personal biases. So yes, there is bias in the news sections, but it is nothing new, and it is constantly struggled against.

The problem these days is that editorial, passed off as “commentary” or “analysis,” is now bleeding into the news sections. It drives me absolutely NUTS to see this crap in the news sections, and especially on the 'front page’ of any news service.

As a reader or viewer, I simply do not look at this stuff. I have zero interest in what some babbler thinks about something. So-called “panel” discussion on TV are mostly useless bun fights. Utter waste. Give me the facts, give me the context, and let me do the thinking — this is what good journalism does, and still does to a large degree.

But bias exists b/c humans are not machines. It was always such, and will always be so … until AI puts us all out of business.

(*In CND/USA journalists are not professionals in the legal sense. Professional status denotes a stamp of approval from a professional body which receives its authority from the state. NA journalists have resisted this move. Not so in some other democratic countries.)
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:32   #171
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

BTW, the best way to get the least biased reporting on any big national event is to seek out news services that are far away. The closer any human is to an event, the more the people involved will care about said event, and therefore the more bias will be built into the observations.

So, for American big news, going to some international source is your best bet for unbiased reporting. Here’s a fun practice we can all easily do these days; take the same story and purposely compare how it is covered in various national and international media. It’s a good way of sussing out unconscious bias.

Note though, the further one gets from an event, the less nuanced and detailed the reporting becomes. The further afield one goes, the less local understanding is brought to the news. There is sometimes value to bias.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:55   #172
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

There are no news sources that do not reflect business-friendly corporate / billionaire / imperial warmongering viewpoints, only very occasional exceptions even in northern European media.

NYT/ WP / CNN / MSNBC are very right-wing afaic, the whole Overton window has been shifted so far to the near-Fascist Right in this country we are completely out of sync now with the rest of the developed world.

That fact is the result of very purposeful and well-funded long-term campaigns since the 70's, best PR/propaganda brains money can buy, and accelerating in the recent couple decades since 9/11.

And the resulting staggering growth of income / wealth / education inequality in that time is no accident.

The only thing holding back a future armed uprising is the fear of a police state and the public/private surveillance apparat. As the top-down class warfare gets worse, it can only be delayed, and the longer it takes the more bloody the conflict will be.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:08   #173
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Anyway... you're helping make the point that there's apparently no source you'd trust despite knowing that bias is a possibility.


Edit - check this out. It's a rating of the bias of many news sources as judged by Americans, with no attempt at normalization. You seem to be a bit further right in your assessment in some regards, especially on BBC.


Here's Pew's take. Other links here.

You provided links that contradict your view of the NYT and Washington Post, as well as signaling contempt for one side with “librul”. I think It can be helpful to understand that one’s own bias is typically difficult to accurately define alone.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:35   #174
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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You provided links that contradict your view of the NYT and Washington Post, as well as signaling contempt for one side with “librul”. I think It can be helpful to understand that one’s own bias is typically difficult to accurately define alone.
I said that it was arguable that NYT and WaPo (and WSJ) might be journalistically "good" enough to be considered trustworthy, without reference to bias (which was the subject of the links). And I posted those links as some other assessments of perceived bias in the US media landscape.

The whole meme of "all mainstream media is liberal, therefore not dependable" is shallow and not helpful. I think contempt for that view is warranted.

I think I've been upfront with my leanings; my interest in this particular phase of the debate is to show how accusations of bias function for many as a secret trapdoor. The NYT said that X did Y? pfft, they lean liberal, I can ignore it. It's a key element of the current hyper-partisan environment that I believe you pointed out.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:39   #175
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post


Anyway... you're helping make the point that there's apparently no source you'd trust despite knowing that bias is a possibility.


Edit - check this out. It's a rating of the bias of many news sources as judged by Americans, with no attempt at normalization. You seem to be a bit further right in your assessment in some regards, especially on BBC.


Here's Pew's take. Other links here.
Yours would be a simplistic interpretation of the point I was making. The more nuanced one is that once one learns to recognize bias and understand its motivation, it allows the independence & freedom to source information from a much broader universe than tribal pressure & conformity would otherwise allow. I don't rely on journalists to tell me how or what to think, so it's easy for me to parse out information from various sources whether I "trust" their editorial boards or not.

As for the polling, I seem to perhaps be more in line with Cyan to the extent that I'm quite liberal on some issues and more conservative on others. This seems out of step with the more ideological people I encounter who conform to a much larger degree with their respective "platforms." I actually don't think my outlook is all that unusual amongst those who have a more pragmatic approach to problem solving, and therefore eschew hard & fast/all-or-nothing outlooks. I actually think most of us are in substantial agreement with many of the same end results, but differ greatly on how best to get there. There are just too many variables -- in my way of thinking anyway -- that go into a person's political makeup to be intolerant & disrespectful on those grounds alone.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:52   #176
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Media bias … yes, all media are biased in the sense that all humans are biased. To live is to be biased.

Speaking as a former reporter and 30+ worker in various media (mostly as a journalist), I observe that overt authoritarian-style bias is extremely rare here in democratic countries. It may be getting worse in the last decade or so, but it is still rare.

What isn’t rare is intrinsic human bias of the kind we all carry around. But most journalists learn basic methods to systematically counter this. And like most professionals*, most of the time most journalists do a pretty good job managing their personal biases. So yes, there is bias in the news sections, but it is nothing new, and it is constantly struggled against.

The problem these days is that editorial, passed off as “commentary” or “analysis,” is now bleeding into the news sections. It drives me absolutely NUTS to see this crap in the news sections, and especially on the 'front page’ of any news service.

As a reader or viewer, I simply do not look at this stuff. I have zero interest in what some babbler thinks about something. So-called “panel” discussion on TV are mostly useless bun fights. Utter waste. Give me the facts, give me the context, and let me do the thinking — this is what good journalism does, and still does to a large degree.

But bias exists b/c humans are not machines. It was always such, and will always be so … until AI puts us all out of business.

(*In CND/USA journalists are not professionals in the legal sense. Professional status denotes a stamp of approval from a professional body which receives its authority from the state. NA journalists have resisted this move. Not so in some other democratic countries.)
Outstanding post Mike, and all the more instructive from someone who's been in the profession. Thank you.

I too wish that editorializing could remain on the op-ed pages, and that news reporting could get back to facts and context. My sense is that it's gotten worse as our political divisions have heightened, but I'm not sure if that's the case or that I've just become more attuned to it. We've now gotten to the point where late night comedians are being relied on as "newsmakers." It's all fine & well until people become unable to understand the difference between fact and opinion.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:56   #177
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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There are no news sources that do not reflect business-friendly corporate / billionaire / imperial warmongering viewpoints, only very occasional exceptions even in northern European media.

NYT/ WP / CNN / MSNBC are very right-wing afaic, the whole Overton window has been shifted so far to the near-Fascist Right in this country we are completely out of sync now with the rest of the developed world.

That fact is the result of very purposeful and well-funded long-term campaigns since the 70's, best PR/propaganda brains money can buy, and accelerating in the recent couple decades since 9/11.

And the resulting staggering growth of income / wealth / education inequality in that time is no accident.

The only thing holding back a future armed uprising is the fear of a police state and the public/private surveillance apparat. As the top-down class warfare gets worse, it can only be delayed, and the longer it takes the more bloody the conflict will be.
Even a scintilla of intellectual humility would cause you to ponder whether your point of view is skewered by what seems like an extreme far-left vantage point. Could you be wrong?
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Old 12-01-2019, 13:12   #178
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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The whole meme of "all mainstream media is liberal, therefore not dependable" is shallow and not helpful. I think contempt for that view is warranted.

I don't think the criticism & distrust is targeted solely towards MSM because most of it is "liberal." That's too easy & self-serving. I'd suggest it's more about "all mainstream media is unduly partisan and unfairly biased, therefore not dependable." Again, it's fine when it's confined to the op-ed page or a segment of Hannity. The problem is when it's being presented under the guise of straight news reporting. It doesn't matter whether it's Fox or CNN, there's always an agenda it seems.

I think I've been upfront with my leanings; my interest in this particular phase of the debate is to show how accusations of bias function for many as a secret trapdoor. The NYT said that X did Y? pfft, they lean liberal, I can ignore it. It's a key element of the current hyper-partisan environment that I believe you pointed out.
It's unfortunate that this may be the case for some, but the MSM brought it upon themselves. People are weary of agenda-driven, hyper-political news. But for the majority who's daily thoughts aren't obsessed with politics, what I think they're really weary of is the ever-present BIAS, defined as "prejudice in favor or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be UNFAIR."
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Old 12-01-2019, 13:32   #179
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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...I too wish that editorializing could remain on the op-ed pages, and that news reporting could get back to facts and context. My sense is that it's gotten worse as our political divisions have heightened, but I'm not sure if that's the case or that I've just become more attuned to it. We've now gotten to the point where late night comedians are being relied on as "newsmakers." It's all fine & well until people become unable to understand the difference between fact and opinion.
I agree things are worse in the sense of the bleed of editorial into the news sections. I wonder (speculate) that it has something to do with how cheap and easy it is to produce “analysis” vs doing the hard work of quality reporting.

As for bias, like I said, it has always existed. But most journalism (not editorial) from most news sources is generally pretty decent. Not zero bias — no human is. But it’s a mistake to dismiss all media as liberal or conservative biased.

Here’s something we can all do to help reverse this trend: Don’t ‘consume’ anything that looks, feels or smells like editorial. If it says “analysis,” skip past. If it’s “commentary”, move on. If there are two or more people lined up in a panel, and they start arguing, turn it off.

If everyone stopped ‘consuming’ editorial then media companies would stop (or reduce) how much of it they fund.

But I realize this is nearly impossible to ask of people, b/c we all like to hear how right we are, and how wrong the other person is. News doesn’t give this. Editorial does.

BTW, I hate the whole concept of “consuming” media. It’s part of the systematic distortion of our societies. We are citizens first, not “consumers.” So much in western capitalist societies are now presented through an economic lens. It is another implicit (or perhaps explicit) bias that we should all push back against.
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Old 12-01-2019, 13:44   #180
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I don't think the criticism & distrust is targeted solely towards MSM because most of it is "liberal." That's too easy & self-serving. I'd suggest it's more about "all mainstream media is unduly partisan and unfairly biased, therefore not dependable." Again, it's fine when it's confined to the op-ed page or a segment of Hannity. The problem is when it's being presented under the guise of straight news reporting. It doesn't matter whether it's Fox or CNN, there's always an agenda it seems.
I believe first of all that this is a predominantly US-centric assessment, which I can agree with to some extent. And a known pitfall when journalism is subservient to profit. But I don't think it's accurate to take the same brush and paint the rest of the world with it - eg calling the BBC "liberal". No the BBC isn't liberal so much as the US is simply to the right of most countries. Nor do I perceive that they have allowed a bias to taint their reporting or integrity.

Re: "always an agenda" - I think one must be a bit more discerning of who actually has "an agenda". It's possible (if laborious) to actually assess this, story by story. But dismissing a source because of this alleged agenda is the escape hatch I was referring to.

Quote:
It's unfortunate that this may be the case for some, but the MSM brought it upon themselves. People are weary of agenda-driven, hyper-political news. But for the majority who's daily thoughts aren't obsessed with politics, what I think they're really weary of is the ever-present BIAS, defined as "prejudice in favor or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be UNFAIR."
Reality isn't fair; I think we've already been told that here. Yes "both sides..." but you won't convince me that the US right-wing and left-wing media are simply equal but opposite.

But again - this partisanship is a malaise that predominantly affects the US media. As suggested by Mike or Boatman, look from the outside in. See what the better members of the foreign press are saying about American stories. Often they strip them to the core and simply report on the actual occurrences and developments, and they don't have a dog in the fight.


[edit] - appropriate quote from one of my previous links:

Quote:
A key finding from the Pew survey is that conservatives have a higher level of distrust overall of news sources and consume a much narrower range of news sources. Liberal audiences trust and consume a broader range of news sources.
Therefore, there are more news sources that are rated or perceived as center-left/slight left leaning (especially mainstream sources); there are fewer news sources that are center-right. This represents the popular conservative discourse that the mainstream media has a liberal bias (and potential hostile media effect).
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