Why are you arguing? I am not arguing: I am presenting facts you do not like. Learning the ways of media skepticism.

Ideologues prefer propaganda to facts, and when someone presents a fact that challenges their theory, they immediately accuse the other person will accuse the presenter of the fact of arguing.

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That’s not arguing. That is showing, for instance, there is a confirmation bias tainting the ideologue’s argument.

It is showing an alternative to the sink or swim fallacy. It is showing their personal attack or appealing to authority is not divine decree.

Media skepticism is not about disbelieving journalism: it is about rejecting their methods of information-gathering and demanding a more disciplined profession. It is demanding that reporters show how they come to their conclusions than merely accepting it without question.

It is about looking directly and critically at journalism and demanding a better defined report.

Decades of television news has not improved over time: there is still happy talk, kickers, and stupid stories telling viewers that it is hot or cold outside.

Why hasn’t television news ever changed? Why does every outlet do the same thing? Why is the structure still patriarchal?

Why does the press all walk lockstep structurally?

That is a fact. Not an argument.

Facts are not just answers: they are questions to challenge ideologues who wish to mindlessly stick to rules instead of venturing out into the world of understanding reality and truths that do not adhere to hypothetical constructs or sanctioned insanity.

So no, it is not arguing when challenging faulty theories with facts. We need to find facts to challenge lies and propaganda.

It’s the only way to ever find the truth.

The Enigma of North American journalism: there are no heroes in their tales.

The Guardian, generally, is a very good newspaper, but it doesn’t always get North American mindsets.

Such as this article discussing press freedoms and its opening shows its naiveté:

Independent journalism holds the unaccountable to account and shines light on the darkest corners of our world. It seeks to inform, to ignite, to inspire and to spark debate. Yet in one of the traditional bastions of a free media – the United States – that is under threat.

That would be true if North American journalism was functional. It isn’t. It hasn’t been for a very long time.

I have always said journalists are soldiers fighting a war to liberate truth from lies. The problem is journalists have no idea what truth is nor what is reality. If they had, they wouldn’t see their fortunes collapse.

The press has spread lie after lie. We have Stephen Glass spewing lies outright. We had Judith Miller tell the world about nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction. The press told Americans about Iraqi soldiers killing Kuwaiti infants. They never bothered to tell the world the role PR played in the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. They assured people about the economic soundness of Enron and WorldComm.

We cannot ignore the numerous errors the press spread in 2017 in trying to convict the American president in the media. These were not minor flubs.

I wrote books on the extent of the rot in the profession, and I had to leave more out than I could put into my books.

The problem becomes when a profession is that perpetually irresponsible, they leave themselves vulnerable to their enemies. They lose public goodwill. They lose strength, and often, the detractors have every right to shut down a troubled industry.

The biggest enemy the press in North America have at the moment is themselves.

As it stands, journalism needs a revolution within before it can worry about those who oppose them. The extent of the rot is too big ignore, and defending a profession that needs an intervention will do no one any good.

An interesting article in the Japan Times about sontaku journalism

It is well worth reading.

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Sontaku journalism is the kind of journalism that proactively ingratiates itself to power players and governments. North American journalism has practice this kind of journalism in many ways: Harvey Weinstein did not get away with as much as he did, for example, without the press giving him fawning coverage.

Any time the press lavishes praise on someone in power, it is a form of sontaku journalism.

The Japan Times is questioning it, and acknowledging it exists, not making excuses for it. Had the North American press done the same, we’d still have a viable profession.

Journalism’s cultural ignorance and why it failed.

The Vienna Secession had many interesting points that journalism should have had paid attention to as they began to flounder.

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The old guard artists back then weren’t giving the new kids a break, and they decided to strike it on their own.

The Vienna Secession was part of the wave of Art Nouveau, but they had some interesting ideas.

They wrote manifestos, and decided to create new kinds of art, and went with it full force: from architecture to sculpture to even furniture and jewelry.

It sought to completely transform art.

In a way the movement for a short-lived one, but it was just long enough to help establish a new generation of artists who went on to be successful in other styles, such as Modernism. It served its purpose.

The Internet did no such thing for the profession, even if it should have. Journalism still collapsed, mostly because the Internet exposed the weaknesses of the profession. If the medium is the message, than the Internet’s message was simple: journalism isn’t working.

What the Internet should have done was transform the profession. It could have improved the product.

Doctors, for instance, have an oath to vow to do no harm. They, like lawyers, real estate agents, teachers, and even hairdressers, have to have a license to operate.

Journalists have neither oaths nor a governing body overlooking their ability to uphold their promises. They produced no manifestos or movements.

It should stand for truth, but time and again, it stands for nothing.

The profession never observed history to improve itself. It never observed art or science to see how to make themselves a better profession. Professional appropriation has its place, and journalism never considered the ways to make themselves stronger.

Had it been a profession of idealism and pragmatism, we would have seen an evolution along with a revolution.

Instead, it chose to stick to a few untested rules as it slowly floundered into nothingness.

 

More proof that Facebook doesn’t “get” news, let alone information verification. Really, guys. Pander to your users some other way that won’t annihilate the information stream.

Facebook doesn’t get news, information, journalism, or facts.

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They are going to deem a news site’s “trustworthiness” by surveying their users.

Do these users have first-hand knowledge of the publications? How to gather, verify, and analyze data? Are they trained? Have expertise? Have direct knowledge of the publication, the stories, or the methods?

No.

So how does this method do anything?

It doesn’t. It is relying on amateurs doing work for free.

Not very professional at all.

And how is this different than the status quo, in essence? People post articles they think are trustworthy on their newsfeeds, and you see them in the Trending sidebar.

Remember all that to-do about “fake news”? Who put those articles up there, commented, and shared them?

Facebook users!

Facebook is treating news like the old game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, using the “Phone a Friend” or “Ask the Audience” lifelines to make decisions.

This is a company that is clueless about information, as in, knows zilch. Nothing.

And it glares.

Facebook should just get out entirely. They cannot handle it. They can handle other things, and should stick with their strengths.

News has always been their weakness, and they can’t fake it.

This method is an outrage to anyone who cares about quality information because this makes an already bad situation a farce.

Sloppy journalism terms, part one: Fact Check

The National Post has a Bloomberg News wire story about whether or not certain grossly misreported stories from the press singled out by American Spoiler Donald J. Trump were “fake news,” and decreed that is article was a “fact check.”

The stories in question were retracted by those who reported them; so let’s end a silly discussion. Journalists, to this day, harp on every real and perceived peccadillo of the president, no matter how petty and minute…but when their own gross negligence is exposed, boy, do they come up with a laundry list of twisted excuses why their sins are virtues, and why even banal things others do are just bad.

The press has now been reduced to weaselly and jealous older sibling tattling on their younger brother every chance they get. It has been truly pathetic.

But they are trying to bolster their credibility after being caught in numerous blunders all while framing it in clinical terms, the press has used the phrase “fact check.”

Fine, what does that mean?

What is your process of “fact-checking”?

Minimum number of sources? Standardized methods? Balances in place to prevent a confirmation bias? Appeal to authority, and the like?

No to all of the above.

It is just a word used to sound smart.

But let’s take it one step further: how good have journalists been at checking facts?

This week, a child fooled the press, who never bothered to “fact check” her statements.

It is a sloppy term that doesn’t actually mean anything. It just sounds as if someone did something “official” without having any standardized and empirically-tested protocols.

It really is that bad.

Let’s take a very recent example: a report that the “NYPD” raided the offices of Newsweek magazine.

Articles here, here, here, here, and here.

With contradictory accounts. Yes, it was the NYPD, no it wasn’t.

Where is the fact-checking? Why don’t reporters know what is going on with another media outlet?

Various media outlets sort of cribbing from each other with all sorts of “we don’t really know” narratives.

There are all sorts of reasons for a police to raid a media outlet. We cannot assume the outlet is good, bad, or neutral. Sometimes the reasons may be justified; other times, it is an outrage.

There are no facts to check here. Just gossip.

So when children can play the press, and when people in the profession cannot tell you anything definitive about a possible major happening in the newsrooms of a national publication, the notion of “fact-checking” becomes absurd.

It’s the reason the term is meaningless. 

The scientific method places all sorts of checks and balances when conducting studies, from double blinds to placebos.

Journalism has no such equivalent in its gathering — or in its fact-checking.

This has always been a serious void in the profession, and one I have discussed at length in all three of my books: that the absolutely essentials of the profession have no set standards and basic terms have never been truly defined.

Do not ever wonder how journalism failed: it failed because it never had the discipline to have gold standards and then know what needs to be done to improve their product.

And yet they have the audacity to say they know something about facts, when they do not even see the owns that did them in.

Huffington Post ends exploitation of citizen journalists

Huffington Post seemed like a good and easy platform for aspiring writers who wrote for free, but now that avenue has been closed.

Facts have been devalued by those who proclaim to be news producers, and their poor quality shows. Everyone has opinions. Everyone has a life “hack” for removing stains from shirts.

They don’t have usable and reliable facts on the things that matter.

Now Huffington Post is cutting the deadweight. It will devastate those who still haven’t clued in that “clippings” and resumé puffing doesn’t translate to a legitimate career, but the Post’s model wasn’t working.

Nothing in journalism right now is working.