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Old 28-02-2019, 10:46   #541
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

When the Media becomes the Purveyor or Propaganda and Fake News rather than the Facts and New....YES they become the Enemy of the People. That's just an obvious statement in my opinion. The debate then is what is Fake News...what it True and what is Propaganda. It's pretty hard to argue that the Mainstream Media today is not Biased and One sided. Look at Laura Logan from CBS News who came out and admitted the Obvious and was then boom....she is dismissed from 60 Minutes and CBS. I guess Speaking Truth to power when out with the Free Love.
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Old 28-02-2019, 10:59   #542
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

I found this article refreshing in its simplicity and attitude towards becoming intellectually "stable" as a mariner
https://gcaptain.com/methuselah-man/
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Old 28-02-2019, 11:07   #543
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Exile/Cyan, I don’t think we fundamentally disagree here, so I’m not going to try and rebut further. Seems our difference is in focus or nuance rather than foundational.

I think you said it best Exile; what we’re seeing are symptoms. The state of journalism is a symptom, as it the rise of Trump and other similar political developments around the world (including here in Canada where we’ve got our own perversion of justice scandal going on). Identity politics is another very worrying development. We could all probably add to this list.

Feeding back into the theme of this thread, it behooves all of us to try as best can to see our own biases. It’s part of being intellectually honest — it’s just so damn hard to do sometime .
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Old 28-02-2019, 11:11   #544
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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I found this article refreshing in its simplicity and attitude towards becoming intellectually "stable" as a mariner
https://gcaptain.com/methuselah-man/


Some wise words indeed. If only we could all live up to these standards all the time, or even most of the time.
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Old 28-02-2019, 11:28   #545
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

"Just the facts, Ma'am".

If only journalism were that simple. (more to the point, if only those words were actually said on the TV show 'Dragnet'. They weren't. You can look it up, as any good journalist would do.)
News content can be roughly divided into the categories of news and opinion. News pieces attempt to provide information on a current event, while opinion pieces attempt to persuade readers/viewers to adopt a particular position on that event.


News articles should be factual, and usually answer the classic questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. If they are responsible, well-trained journalists, they would have done research, verified facts, revealed the sources of their information (when appropriate), and identified statements of opinion (when included) from those sources.

Opinion is meant to supplement the news portion and provide for an exchange of ideas; and (lately) to entertain. There are typically two types of opinion. One is “editorial”, which are statements made on behalf of the newspaper/broadcaster itself. What you are reading now is editorial.
The other type of opinion is called “Op-ed” (or Analysis) which stands for “opposite editorial.” It is named this, because it would traditionally appear on the opposite side of the editorial page. Op-ed includes guest columnists or submitted opinion pieces.
An observation based on the facts of the issue, and years of experience covering a beat, which I would describe as analysis, isn't the same as a view that comes out of left/right field, without supporting arguments; or in other words, personal opinion.

There are some who cling to the belief that journalists are, or should be, neutral at all times. This notion of complete impartiality, sometimes called "The View from Nowhere", forbids any analysis, let alone opinion, by journalists.
I’m not making a case for more polarized and opinionated scream fests. Instead I think there is lots of room in the media landscape for reasoned, intelligent, informed and educated debate about current events. The opinions expressed need to be backed up with a body of experience, built on research and facts. Otherwise they are rarely worth the time taken to express them.
In 1987, the Reagan administration repealed the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine. That paved the way for the rise of right-wing talk radio. And then came the cable news channels, with their 24 our news format, where the news industry evolved from essential facts to infotainment and opinion. After all, they had to fill 24 hours with “something” people might watch, vs the ½ hour allotted to Walter Cronkite, in his day.
The rise of opinion journalism, not just among cable, and the web media, but elements of the legacy media as well, magnifies the problem of the dearth of objective news reporting. For instance, about five years ago, the Associated Press announced a turn towards opinion, euphemistically referred to as “accountability journalism”.


Hazardous as the post-trust era may be, it shouldn't cause despair. It's all right for us to be skeptical of what we read and hear. How could I say otherwise? I'm a skeptic . It's my nature to question what I hear & read. While I shouldn't cynically dismiss everything people tell me, I should ask for evidence, and avoid buying into bogus narratives. Being of a skeptical nature has made me a more skeptical news consumer.
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Old 28-02-2019, 11:30   #546
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Feeding back into the theme of this thread, it behooves all of us to try as best can to see our own biases. It’s part of being intellectually honest — it’s just so damn hard to do sometime .
Indeed! But imho it's not enough only to be able to see our own biases, we must also be able to discount them enough to be intellectually honest! For that I think the best approach is to do what this thread is allowing us to do, namely freely express opinions in an atmosphere where they can, in turn, be freely challenged (or not). I suppose this is one thing we can put in the plus column when it comes to the internet. I mean how often does this opportunity arise anymore in person-to-person discussion?
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Old 28-02-2019, 12:00   #547
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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...News articles should be factual, and usually answer the classic questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. If they are responsible, well-trained journalists, they would have done research, verified facts, revealed the sources of their information (when appropriate), and identified statements of opinion (when included) from those sources.
Yes, and THIS is what most journalists still do most of the time. It is simple misinformation or deflection to label all news as “fake”. Most is not.

The basic toolbox of a reporter hasn’t changed since the demise of yellow journalism. Gather the facts, as best as can be ascertained. Get as many independent sources as possible, and be skeptical of everyone. Present all sides (which sometimes leads to a distortion of scale). And most importantly, try and be aware of your own persona biases, and counter accordingly.

Reporters are humans (at least until AI enslaves us all ). All humans are biased creatures. It’s how we make sense of the world. But good reporters operate knowing they are biased, and make efforts to identify and counter these. Success is never 100%, but that doesn’t mean they are intentionally misleading.

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Opinion is meant to supplement the news portion and provide for an exchange of ideas; and (lately) to entertain. There are typically two types of opinion. ...
Exactly right Gord. Editorial is intended to be subjective. It is opinion, it is analysis or commentary. And it’s why traditionally was kept tightly walled off from news. Sadly, these walls have slowly been dismantled over time, much like the wall between advertising and editorial has also diminished.

In the not so distant past, editorial and op-ed were clearly identified and located in a newspaper or broadcast. Today editorial is splattered all over the “news” sections. Less discerning or skeptical readers/viewers can easily miss the distinction today, and be fooled into thinking what they are reading/seeing is news, when it’s just some blatherer telling us what (s)he thinks.

There is definitely a role for editorial and analysis. Always has been. The problem we face today is the continual bleed into the news sections, without clear delineation.

And of course, there are the outright efforts to misinform and lie in the media. Luckily, those are largely to be found in niche areas with clearly targeted audiences. But their effects too are influencing the broader media landscape.
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Old 28-02-2019, 12:34   #548
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Yes, and THIS is what most journalists still do most of the time. It is simple misinformation or deflection to label all news as “fake”. Most is not.

I think this is debatable. The "fake" label is misleading and sorta silly, but if we look at what is commonly considered as network, cable and print media they all have an obvious liberal bias and are constantly attacking the current administration, even to the point of blaming Trump for some of the exact same policies & outcomes Obama pursued. The exception, of course, is Fox which is heavily biased the other way, although they seem to be increasingly covering conservatives who are Trump detractors.

The basic toolbox of a reporter hasn’t changed since the demise of yellow journalism. Gather the facts, as best as can be ascertained. Get as many independent sources as possible, and be skeptical of everyone. Present all sides (which sometimes leads to a distortion of scale). And most importantly, try and be aware of your own persona biases, and counter accordingly.

What seems to have changed in the reporter's toolbox is the emphasis on the reporter him or herself becoming the "news," and if they're lucky maybe even a presence on youTube.

Reporters are humans (at least until AI enslaves us all ). All humans are biased creatures. It’s how we make sense of the world. But good reporters operate knowing they are biased, and make efforts to identify and counter these. Success is never 100%, but that doesn’t mean they are intentionally misleading.

If you're encapsulated in an atmosphere of one-sided bias, I don't know how you could possibly counter it. I'd say the "good" reporters you speak of are increasingly rare and may be headed to extinction.

Exactly right Gord. Editorial is intended to be subjective. It is opinion, it is analysis or commentary. And it’s why traditionally was kept tightly walled off from news. Sadly, these walls have slowly been dismantled over time, much like the wall between advertising and editorial has also diminished.

In the not so distant past, editorial and op-ed were clearly identified and located in a newspaper or broadcast. Today editorial is splattered all over the “news” sections. Less discerning or skeptical readers/viewers can easily miss the distinction today, and be fooled into thinking what they are reading/seeing is news, when it’s just some blatherer telling us what (s)he thinks.

There is definitely a role for editorial and analysis. Always has been. The problem we face today is the continual bleed into the news sections, without clear delineation.

Yes. No longer as simple as what Gord described. Most of the media now has the same sort of agenda as the most partisan of politicians, wherein the ends justify the means regardless of professional standards.

And of course, there are the outright efforts to misinform and lie in the media. Luckily, those are largely to be found in niche areas with clearly targeted audiences. But their effects too are influencing the broader media landscape.
Imho, these efforts are not so contained and infect almost all the information people are getting.
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Old 28-02-2019, 12:56   #549
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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When the Media becomes the Purveyor or Propaganda and Fake News rather than the Facts and New....YES they become the Enemy of the People. That's just an obvious statement in my opinion. The debate then is what is Fake News...what it True and what is Propaganda. It's pretty hard to argue that the Mainstream Media today is not Biased and One sided. Look at Laura Logan from CBS News who came out and admitted the Obvious and was then boom....she is dismissed from 60 Minutes and CBS. I guess Speaking Truth to power when out with the Free Love.
Agreed. The press is very biased and has done a great disservice to the people. It's almost comical how they slip in their liberal snarky comments in hopes it comes across as news. The Washington Compost is no better.
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Old 28-02-2019, 14:20   #550
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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Despite the narrative of biased journalism, the vast majority of reporting still happens to a fairly high standard of accuracy and balance. Bias exists — it exists everywhere there are humans, but most stories from sources who try to serve broad audiences DO get it right most of the time. The vast majority of Trump’s “fake news” accusations are demonstrably incorrect.
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Reporters are humans (at least until AI enslaves us all ). All humans are biased creatures. It’s how we make sense of the world. But good reporters operate knowing they are biased, and make efforts to identify and counter these. Success is never 100%, but that doesn’t mean they are intentionally misleading.
This seems to be a theme of yours, but I wonder if things have changed a bit since you and your colleagues carefully practiced the craft? I'm not calling you old, just old-school. (Respectfully.) If you believe that "the vast majority of reporting still happens to a fairly high standard...", then I will take your words more seriously than those from people who have never been a journalist.

Still, your helpful insider-insight does not reflect what I see. At all. It could be my bias or your bias, or it could be that the good reporters are the quiet ones. Not sure here. I would be happy to believe that this unprecedented bias in journalism is simply a "narrative" as you say. But I don't.
SV THIRD DAY mentioned the saga of Lara Logan. I won't provide a link because there are plenty of stories out there to search. (Lara not Laura) She also has insider knowledge, which might give pause to your "fairly high standard of accuracy and balance" assertion.
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Old 28-02-2019, 15:00   #551
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Here’s a simple test. Open up your local paper, or one of the serious national ones. Read the news stories — not the editorials, not the “analysis” or “commentary”; the news.

Now, did the reporter report the facts? Were all, or at least many sides, of the issue presented? Was it reasonably accurate? If something was amiss, was it due to some sort of liberal or conservative bias, or was it due to other failings. Remember, journalism is history on the run. Perfection is rare.

Read ALL the stories, not just the political ones, or the ones you are interested in. Do this honestly, and hopefully with full recognition of your own bias. You will find that most news is still done to the standards I am outlining.

I’m not at all saying there is no bias. And there are areas such as political coverage, where bias is more prevalent, but there’s a lot more news than just politics.

BTW, I agree that much of mainstream media leans left, much like much of academia. But this is nothing new. Good news reporting happens despite these biases, much like good science operates despite our human failings.

Quantifying bias in media is highly subjective, and fraught with pitfalls, not least of which is the fact that no large media outlet is a monolith. For example, Fox produces excellent news, as does the NY Times. It’s their editorial that I avoid.

Pew did an analysis a few years back. It places various major USA news outlets on a scale based on surveys of their viewers, so it is a backwards way of getting at bias. But again, none of these are monolithic outlets. What the audience it tuning into (news? Editorial? Ads? All??) is unidentified.

Ideological Placement of Each Source’s Audience | Pew Research Center
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Old 28-02-2019, 15:06   #552
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

On February 27th, 1968 during a CBS News Special Report, Walter Cronkite did something that changed America's perception of the Vietnam War, when he offered these parting words:

“Tonight, back in more familiar surroundings in New York, we'd like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet Offensive against the cities? I'm not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout but neither did we.
We've been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders...
Both in Vietnam and Washington to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. For it seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.
To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, if unsatisfactory conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations.
But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.
This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.”


To that point, Cronkite privately had been a strong supporter of American involvement in Vietnam. But, the generals, and even President Lyndon Johnson, had been lying to Cronkite, and to the American people, about what was really happening in Vietnam.

Unlike the punditry that dominates today's nighttime cable news shows, Cronkite's nightly newscasts were so measured, that it made his words after the Tet offensive all the more powerful.

When President Lyndon Johnson saw that newscast, he turned to his press secretary, George Christian, and famously said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost the country." Just one month after the Cronkite Vietnam special aired, LBJ stunned the nation by declaring he wouldn't seek another term as a president.

Government lying didn't end then. It returned in waves, with Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, with echoes of Vietnam in 2002 and 2003 when the George W. Bush administration built its case for another overseas war, in Iraq, on a bed of blatant falsehoods. And on and on.

Today, President Trump and his administration lie to the American people on a scale that is unimaginable, on matters as trivial as the crowd size at Trump's inauguration, and as important as the scope of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. What's more, Team Trump has declared that a functioning free press is the "enemy of the American people," and threatened other norms, from an independent justice system to voting rights, that are essential to democracy — and without democracy, journalism is useless.

Rising authoritarianism is a time to toss "on one hand, on the other hand" out the window. Journalists today have the same responsibilities that Cronkite had in 1968, to listen to every side, to be fair, and to always remember that "the more information, the better." But the ultimate responsibility is to the higher truths that — just like Cronkite's Saigon — come under daily mortar fire in Donald Trump's warped vision of America.
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Old 28-02-2019, 15:10   #553
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

Another factor for all readers/viewers to consider is the fact that the closer we are to a story, the more we personally know (or think we know), and the more likely we are to perceive failings in the coverage when the news doesn’t echo our perceptions.

One way to get a different perspective on an important story is to seek out foreign coverage. These sources tend to be more distant, so will often smooth over the rough edges, so to speak, and be able to present a story is more disinterested way. As a Canadian I love to compare coverage of the same story done by say Fox, CNN, BBC, RT and Al Jazeera.

Here’s another fun experiment: use the above sources to view different stories that are centred in each outlets home turf. Make sure it is NEWS you are watching, not editorial. Comparing the differences and the similarities, can sometimes illuminate local bias.
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Old 28-02-2019, 16:22   #554
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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"Just the facts, Ma'am".

If only journalism were that simple. (more to the point, if only those words were actually said on the TV show 'Dragnet'. They weren't. You can look it up, as any good journalist would do.)

There are heaps of that quote on youtube.


I liked this one that came up, even if I didn't hear that quote:


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Old 28-02-2019, 16:32   #555
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Re: Intellectual Humility & the importance of knowing you might be wrong

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One way to get a different perspective on an important story is to seek out foreign coverage.
Good point.
I'm curious if you read Lara Logan's words, a South African native, regarding the US media.
Both CNN and Fox have become opposite sides of a silly circus, imo. My first go-to is actually the foreign press.
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