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How Culpable is the Media?


Ten oz
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Why do people still believe roving gangs were murdering people in the Superdome after Katrina? Why do people still connect Saddam Hussein with Al Quada? Why is does Climate Change share equal time with Climate Change Denial? How can people make informed decisions about elected a Gov't to represent them if they are so poorly informed?

 

 

I think it shows that however valid/profound the initial design/message is; time, interpretation and corruption can make that design/message mean what those in authorities wants it to mean, it’s Chinese whispers by design rather than accident.

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I think the problem with mandating guidelines for news nowadays is that many "news" sources are individuals and groups running blogs, websites, or social media profiles. Any "effective" regulations would impinge on the peoples' liberty in expression. What about media hosted outside of the US, should we censor that? Impose regulations on people living in other countries?

 

If they were implemented, who would decide whether a piece is fair or not? That's not a point that's just "one of the things that will be fleshed out", it's an inherent problem with the idea. People are very regularly fallible and filled with biases, and having them censor the media would certainly skew the public's access to information in their direction. It's infeasible to find a team of hyperrational, unbiased people to do it without causing harm.

 

Look at the presidential contenders. Consider that much of Bernie's support has been rallied outside of traditional sources, and that a significant proportion of his support is spread through misinformation and bias-tricking marketing techniques. Consider that much of the vitriol against Trump is rallied in traditional sources, and that a significant proportion of that vitriol is spread through misinformation and bias-tricking marketing techniques too. And my support's with Bernie, but most of his supporters come from the same informational camp as Trump's.

 

Even in this thread it's clear that this would be a program, not in writing but in constitution, targeted against conservative sources and ideas. In a conservative institution, it might be the other way around... but it's not.

 

Is the only alternative to let everything flow freely and have people decide for themselves what to believe and what's veritable?

 

I was considering the idea of anti-subversion laws recently, that using techniques known to take advantage of our cognitive biases and heuristics for political purposes should be illegal. I.e. stuffing a subtle message of climate change denial into a documentary or film about puppy mills, or outright telling people who support animal rights that a belief in climate change is deeply intertwined with a belief in puppy torture. What if they cite some article in a journal skepitcal of climate change? What if it's hogwash? We know a bulk of social science and humanities research is much more subjective and speculative than scientific, but there's a lot of institutional power behind it, so calling such a film misinformative or subversive wouldn't fly too well. What about people who don't know they're using subversive "mind control" techniques in their advocacy/criticism, but just figured the methods from her experiences with people and media?

 

I think the solution would be a sort of "defense against the dark arts" against manipulation and misinformation taught to children at an early age. So that, while they might all be willing to use such tactics to further their own ends in the future, they will all be equipped to evade them when targeted.

 

In effect, regulation would be effective for implementing your own ideology and shuttering others', and it's clear a few in this thread are happy to oblige such a system.

Very well written post. I agree completely.

But this doesn't address the problems with the news. Do you think the news should be treated differently than the sitcoms and game shows, since it was originally developed to inform the public with multiple perspectives? Without that, station owners get to use an outlet they should NOT be able to exploit to promote their own agendas while unfairly detracting from competitors.

The program is the vehicle for delivering the advertising. It is really all one in the same at this point. Kind of like the circus in ancient Rome. It's all selling consumerism.

NOTHING can save us from the levels of spin generated at us by marketers who've studied the us meticulously for the last 60 years or so.

 

Those corporate titans who own all of the mass consumed media have their own interests and will use thei megaphones to shape the way people think, to change the narrative, to choose sides, and they do this in ways that helps them gain more power, wealth, and control. They are far more culpable than the amorphous faceless concept of "the media." These are actual people making actual decisions that lead us ingest more infotainment than information.

The above two posts are too conspiratorial for me. I think it is much more organic in origin. It doesn't need corporate titans or a cabal of marketers. Just average people working to meet there quarterly objectives in order to get their bonus. They all have the same imperative. So at this point they (we) all work together like ants in a nest. The problem isn't with some boogeyman. The problem is our human nature.

 

The viewers tune into the nonsense. We're more culpable than anyone. We demand this garbage. We consume it en masse. We turned the Discovery Channel into a place to watch moonshiners, the Science Channel into a place to watch pumpkins get chunked, and the History Channel into a place to watch ancient aliens as the key builders of the pyramids. Reality shows about the Kardashians and toddlers in beauty contests and women who have litters of children are orders of magnitude more popular than C-Span and PBS. We demand the content. They merely supply it.

No. The media didn't do this. We did!

The above is proof to me that the problem is organic. What chance does a kid have who thinks pumpkin chunking is science, that believes ancient aliens built the pyramids, or believes the Kardashians have lives to aspire to? We put our kids in front of the TV to watch this crap. How many generations of advertising did it take to get to this point. I would say about 5 (120 years). The only way to stop it is to question every deeply held conviction you have. You have to ask who planted the conviction in my mind? Coke, Maytag, Dunkan Yoyo, Verizon, your favorite political party, or all of the above.

 

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Very well written post. I agree completely.

The program is the vehicle for delivering the advertising. It is really all one in the same at this point. Kind of like the circus in ancient Rome. It's all selling consumerism.

 

The above two posts are too conspiratorial for me. I think it is much more organic in origin. It doesn't need corporate titans or a cabal of marketers. Just average people working to meet there quarterly objectives in order to get their bonus. They all have the same imperative. So at this point they (we) all work together like ants in a nest. The problem isn't with some boogeyman. The problem is our human nature.

 

The above is proof to me that the problem is organic. What chance does a kid have who thinks pumpkin chunking is science, that believes ancient aliens built the pyramids, or believes the Kardashians have lives to aspire to? We put our kids in front of the TV to watch this crap. How many generations of advertising did it take to get to this point. I would say about 5 (120 years). The only way to stop it is to question every deeply held conviction you have. You have to ask who planted the conviction in my mind? Coke, Maytag, Dunkan Yoyo, Verizon, your favorite political party, or all of the above.

 

 

 

 

 

Since you’ve already admitted that you’ll vote Trump because he represents “your favourite political party” maybe you should be asking this of yourself?

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The above two posts are too conspiratorial for me. I think it is much more organic in origin. It doesn't need corporate titans or a cabal of marketers. Just average people working to meet there quarterly objectives in order to get their bonus. They all have the same imperative. So at this point they (we) all work together like ants in a nest. The problem isn't with some boogeyman. The problem is our human nature.

 

 

Companies spend billions on advertising. They have advertising departments that create multi phase ads and are constantly evaluating the success of their marketing. CEO's are paid millions on top of millions and graded against their ability to make stock values move. Yet I often see it pointed out how conspiratorial it is to assume these conglomerates have a strategy or plan. As if it is unreasonable to assume that professionals tasked with influencing the image and perception of people, places , or things are successful in doing so. Marketing campaigns are campaigns. They have objectives and goals which they actively work to achieve. There is nothing conspiratorial about pionting that out. There really are Energy companies funding climate change denial research for the media to air along side honest climate research. It isn't all just a conspiracy.

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Since you’ve already admitted that you’ll vote Trump because he represents “your favourite political party” maybe you should be asking this of yourself?

I do all the time. Do you question your own political beliefs?

 

Companies spend billions on advertising. They have advertising departments that create multi phase ads and are constantly evaluating the success of their marketing. CEO's are paid millions on top of millions and graded against their ability to make stock values move. Yet I often see it pointed out how conspiratorial it is to assume these conglomerates have a strategy or plan. As if it is unreasonable to assume that professionals tasked with influencing the image and perception of people, places , or things are successful in doing so. Marketing campaigns are campaigns. They have objectives and goals which they actively work to achieve. There is nothing conspiratorial about pionting that out. There really are Energy companies funding climate change denial research for the media to air along side honest climate research. It isn't all just a conspiracy.

Why just look at the CEOs. There are an army of people paid thousands on top of thousands for participating. There kids have seen a lot of adds about the new Nintendo and they expect mom and dad to deliver. So mom and dad need there bonus. I believe ever one of them thinks they are doing the correct thing in participating. You don't think their are lower level executives waiting to take the spot of the current CEO who will do just exactly the same thing.

 

Think about why we need to have the scientific method. The scientific method prevents us from falling victim to our human nature. Humans have a tendency to find what the want to believe and dismiss detracting data.

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Think about why we need to have the scientific method. The scientific method prevents us from falling victim to our human nature. Humans have a tendency to find what the want to believe and dismiss detracting data.

 

So perhaps some kind of regulation of the news media needs to happen. Like the scientific method guides and mandates how we explain our reality, and holds a scientist's feet to the fire, maybe we need to put back in place the restrictions that used to give us a more balanced and informed view of the world. As you imply, sometimes an authority needs to simply say, "For this type of function, you need to stay above these guidelines". Journalism might actually be trusted again.

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So perhaps some kind of regulation of the news media needs to happen. Like the scientific method guides and mandates how we explain our reality, and holds a scientist's feet to the fire, maybe we need to put back in place the restrictions that used to give us a more balanced and informed view of the world. As you imply, sometimes an authority needs to simply say, "For this type of function, you need to stay above these guidelines". Journalism might actually be trusted again.

As Sato said above, that would just be putting other biases in charge. There is no law enforcing the scientific method. The scientific method is best practiced by individual scientist. The same goes with journalism and those that rely on it. How hard is it to ask "who is trying to sell me soap?"

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As Sato said above, that would just be putting other biases in charge. There is no law enforcing the scientific method. The scientific method is best practiced by individual scientist. The same goes with journalism and those that rely on it. How hard is it to ask "who is trying to sell me soap?"

 

I'm only talking about the kinds of regulations we used to have, the kind that allowed journalism with integrity. Didn't I mention Chet Huntley? Check out some of his broadcasts, tell me where his bias was, please.

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I'm only talking about the kinds of regulations we used to have, the kind that allowed journalism with integrity. Didn't I mention Chet Huntley? Check out some of his broadcasts, tell me where his bias was, please.

So if Donald Trump gets elected, almost impossible I know, but if he does you want his administration and his justice department enforcing these laws? Besides, the supreme court has ruled. The government can't control free speech in the ways you would like. Individuals are responsible for believing or not believing what journalist tell them.

Also, it is not just what Chet Huntley reported. It is what he didn't report. Who decides what is news? The government? The news editors?

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So if Donald Trump gets elected, almost impossible I know, but if he does you want his administration and his justice department enforcing these laws? Besides, the supreme court has ruled. The government can't control free speech in the ways you would like. Individuals are responsible for believing or not believing what journalist tell them.

Supreme Court did not strike down the laws we had in place. We just sat back and allowed politicians to change them. We could elect other politicians to change them back.

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The media makes its money from advertising.

When newspapers first went online you could read their content for free.

Now the newspapers that I like to read online: New York Times, Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun, have gone to a subscription-based model. You get to read 10 articles for free each month, and you have to subscribe if you want to read any more than that. So advertising revenue alone is not a sufficient revenue stream to keep their operations profitable.

Edited by Bill Angel
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So if Donald Trump gets elected, almost impossible I know, but if he does you want his administration and his justice department enforcing these laws? Besides, the supreme court has ruled. The government can't control free speech in the ways you would like. Individuals are responsible for believing or not believing what journalist tell them.

Also, it is not just what Chet Huntley reported. It is what he didn't report. Who decides what is news? The government? The news editors?

 

Certainly not Drumpf or Clinton. Sanders, definitely. We have good models for this. Pre-Reagan Fairness Act, and the BBC News is a good example of state media that informs. In fact, BBC News is one of my best perspectives about the US. It gives me a base line between the extremes of FOX News and Huffington Post.

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When newspapers first went online you could read their content for free.

Now the newspapers that I like to read online: New York Times, Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun, have gone to a subscription-based model. You get to read 10 articles for free each month, and you have to subscribe if you want to read any more than that. So advertising revenue alone is not a sufficient revenue stream to keep their operations profitable.

Try viewing those sites incognito (chrome).

 

 

Certainly not Drumpf or Clinton. Sanders, definitely. We have good models for this. Pre-Reagan Fairness Act, and the BBC News is a good example of state media that informs. In fact, BBC News is one of my best perspectives about the US. It gives me a base line between the extremes of FOX News and Huffington Post.

The problem is that the people you don't like will have their turn at the wheel from time to time. Also, you point out that you can find various sites for perspective as well as the one's you like. You get that because of freedom of speech. Enjoy it while you can.

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The problem is that the people you don't like will have their turn at the wheel from time to time. Also, you point out that you can find various sites for perspective as well as the one's you like. You get that because of freedom of speech. Enjoy it while you can.

 

I don't think there should be a wheel. I don't think anyone should be able to spin that wheel in a direction that supports private agendas. I think our news sources should be required to give us facts, and let us choose how we use that information to direct our own ships.

 

That's all, just the news. They need tighter regs on truth in advertising overall, and a few other tweaks to keep things honest, but I'm not talking about changing the format of anything but the news. Neutrality agreements used to be required as part of the charter to use federal airwaves. Why are we giving that away again? Isn't that a stupid way to negotiate, Mr representative of the business party? Freedom of speech, when used to inform Americans of the events that shape their lives, should be held to its highest standard. Informing the People is a daily duty that's part of defending the country. We need to raise the bar back to a point that makes us proud again.

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Try viewing those sites incognito (chrome).

 

The problem is that the people you don't like will have their turn at the wheel from time to time. Also, you point out that you can find various sites for perspective as well as the one's you like. You get that because of freedom of speech. Enjoy it while you can.

No one here is saying freedom of speech is a bad thing. The regulations being discussed would only apply to specific forms of media. Twitter, Facebook, Forums, and pundits on cable news and talk radio would not be impacted at all. You seem to be ignoring that there is a difference between punditry and journalism, opinions and facts.

Freedom of speech is very important but also has limits. Professors at accredited Universities don't get to teach that the world is flat or that men have one less rib than women just because they choose to. Free speech and free expression doesn't mean freedom from information one doesn't like. We all learned to count, leanred our ABCs, learned not to bite, and to call our teachers ma'am or sir. When I was in grade school the fact that we had 50 states wasn't an opinion the first admendment empowered me to challange. There are some basic structures and truths society needs. As an adult if I want to argue that there are actually 51 states or 27 letters in the alphabet I am able to. I can take to the public square, print flyers, or tweet up a storm about it. I have that freedom. No one here is saying I shouldn't.

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I don't think there should be a wheel. I don't think anyone should be able to spin that wheel in a direction that supports private agendas. I think our news sources should be required to give us facts, and let us choose how we use that information to direct our own ships.

 

That's all, just the news. They need tighter regs on truth in advertising overall, and a few other tweaks to keep things honest, but I'm not talking about changing the format of anything but the news. Neutrality agreements used to be required as part of the charter to use federal airwaves. Why are we giving that away again? Isn't that a stupid way to negotiate, Mr representative of the business party? Freedom of speech, when used to inform Americans of the events that shape their lives, should be held to its highest standard. Informing the People is a daily duty that's part of defending the country. We need to raise the bar back to a point that makes us proud again.

First, there is no such thing as "federal airwaves". There are public airwaves owned by the people, not the government. Access to them by the people are guaranteed under the first amendment rights to to assemble and free speech. The government is supposed to only regulate the use of frequencies to make the process orderly. Of course the government crosses that boundary all the time. Take for example the selling of spectrum to private parties like wireless companies. There is a name for that. It's called taxation. Why should the people pay for something they already own? When the government sold my spectrum, I don't remember getting a check. Did you? No, we pay the tax when we purchase wireless plans and pay our monthly bills. Now they are trying to buy spectrum back from broadcasters, spectrum they never purchased, so they can sell it at an even higher price to broadband wireless providers. Just more taxation. The government never gets tired of taxation.

 

I'm sorry if you don't like democracy, but those that get elected have their turn at the wheel and interpret legislation the way they feel. Nothing you can do but vote, hope for the best, and keep your powder dry.

 

 

Free speech and free expression doesn't mean freedom from information one doesn't like.

It seems to me that you want laws so you can stop hearing what you don't like on the public airwaves to me.

Edited by waitforufo
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I think the issue is that there needs to be a return to watchdog status for the media. It will never be truly unbiased, such as giving communism a fair shake because the western world rejects communism, for many legitimate reasons. What the media isn't doing is pointing out the flaws in unchecked capitalism, and the corruption it brings. Markets do not correct themselves when monopolies are at play. The rise of new media shows that there is a market for quality programs funded through subscriptions. TYT is the biggest at this time. They are clearly progressively biased, but they aren't shills. They praise and criticism anyone who deserves either. The Ring of Fire is a bit more biased, but they link up with Thom Hartman. I just watched a clip this morning regarding Sanders' failure to connect with the progressive, and progressive black hosts, even with these programs reaching out to him. It took a petition to get him on the Young Turks. These are legitimate criticisms, and show poor management of Sanders' campaign at this level.

 

The media has incredible power shaping public opinion. People are easily swayed by things we have no conscious awareness of, such as the color or shape of a logo, or the temp of a drink when we make a decision.

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First, there is no such thing as "federal airwaves". There are public airwaves owned by the people, not the government. Access to them by the people are guaranteed under the first amendment rights to to assemble and free speech. The government is supposed to only regulate the use of frequencies to make the process orderly.

 

I fail to see your distinction. The fact is, our federal government is our instrument for regulating what broadcasting is allowed on these reserved frequencies. They belong to the People, which means the government. Our government is how the People get things done when it comes to political operations.

 

Free speech doesn't include the airwaves, nor does it guarantee access. We know this because they weren't around when the Constitution was written. Again, the People should be allowed to decide if they want their news "adulterated" by station owners, and others who have a HUGE conflict of interest when it comes to unspun information. As I said before, informing the People should be a part of our homeland defense. Accurate, unbiased reporting of what's going on in the world could have helped us stop so many of the bad decisions our leadership has made in the last 50 years.

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I think the issue is that there needs to be a return to watchdog status for the media. It will never be truly unbiased, such as giving communism a fair shake because the western world rejects communism, for many legitimate reasons. What the media isn't doing is pointing out the flaws in unchecked capitalism, and the corruption it brings. Markets do not correct themselves when monopolies are at play. The rise of new media shows that there is a market for quality programs funded through subscriptions. TYT is the biggest at this time. They are clearly progressively biased, but they aren't shills. They praise and criticism anyone who deserves either. The Ring of Fire is a bit more biased, but they link up with Thom Hartman. I just watched a clip this morning regarding Sanders' failure to connect with the progressive, and progressive black hosts, even with these programs reaching out to him. It took a petition to get him on the Young Turks. These are legitimate criticisms, and show poor management of Sanders' campaign at this level.

 

The media has incredible power shaping public opinion. People are easily swayed by things we have no conscious awareness of, such as the color or shape of a logo, or the temp of a drink when we make a decision.

From the above it seems to me that you can easily get what you want from the media, so there is no need for governmental intrusion. Others may prefer something different from you. The system is working for them as well.

 

 

I fail to see your distinction. The fact is, our federal government is our instrument for regulating what broadcasting is allowed on these reserved frequencies. They belong to the People, which means the government. Our government is how the People get things done when it comes to political operations.

 

Free speech doesn't include the airwaves, nor does it guarantee access. We know this because they weren't around when the Constitution was written. Again, the People should be allowed to decide if they want their news "adulterated" by station owners, and others who have a HUGE conflict of interest when it comes to unspun information. As I said before, informing the People should be a part of our homeland defense. Accurate, unbiased reporting of what's going on in the world could have helped us stop so many of the bad decisions our leadership has made in the last 50 years.

The distinction is simple. We have traffic laws to make driving an orderly process so you don't interfere with other drivers. No one, however tells you your starting place or your destination. The FCC simply assigns the frequency, transmission power, and antenna directivity. This is to keep you from interfering with other users of the airwaves. There are only decency limits on what you say. You can say what ever you want politically. You can also receive what ever is broadcast by anyone, including all government agencies including the military.

 

The people and the government are not the same. The government is the servant of the people. The government does what we say, not the other way around. The constitution limits what we can tell the government to do on our behalf. Why do liberals have a problem with this well defined arrangement.

 

Free speech does include the airwaves. They are a public venue. Their are no restrictions or receiving any signal.

Edited by waitforufo
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The issue, more simply put, would be the lack of transparency in terms of conflicts of interest. Did CNN or MSNBC disclose their parent companies donated heavily to the Clinton campaign, for example? If they had to show the conflict of interest at the start of every segment, the bias would be very apparent. Same with disclosing climate change deniers sources of funding.

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"Advertisers could care less about the content carried by media outlets."

 

 

 

If the news or opinion articles are critical of their businesses they care a lot; the power to NOT advertise there is a potent one. Business friendly editorial policy is something we should expect from big media businesses that make their money from advertising by other big businesses; editorial policy will tend to be complementary to their bigger customers. Big media companies like any businesses, don't like paying taxes so don't expect balanced reporting or opinion that may suggest they pay a greater share in taxes for example. The corporate influence over political parties and politicians is also not something we should expect big media to investigate. There is a lot of culpability when it comes to our 'informers', but who is going to inform at the broad reach and scale needed?

 

Not being a US citizen perhaps I have a different perspective on US constitutional rights to freedom of the press - from here it looks more like it was intended that media owners are guaranteed the right to advocate politically, irrespective of truthfulness or balance.

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Often it's not even about being intentionally misleading, dishonest or misrepresenting facts though, but having a different slant. For example, I read both the Conversation and Quadrant; both news sources I find relatively reliable. The Conversation is somewhat leftist, however, Quadrant is more conservative. I read them both for comparison and generally find that although they're generally both factual and attempt to be transparent, there are different emphasis even on the same story. They'll each highlight different facts, or particular quotes, leave out data that they believe is unimportant, the choice of language. it doesn't necessarily make them dishonest or misleading but they have different perspectives. I don't think any news source is reliable on it's own, i have a handful of online news sources which I 'trust' and after reading about the same story 3-4 times from different perspectives, I form my own opinion. I'm not conservative, but will read them anyway for comparison.

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Often it's not even about being intentionally misleading, dishonest or misrepresenting facts though, but having a different slant. For example, I read both the Conversation and Quadrant; both news sources I find relatively reliable. The Conversation is somewhat leftist, however, Quadrant is more conservative. I read them both for comparison and generally find that although they're generally both factual and attempt to be transparent, there are different emphasis even on the same story. They'll each highlight different facts, or particular quotes, leave out data that they believe is unimportant, the choice of language. it doesn't necessarily make them dishonest or misleading but they have different perspectives. I don't think any news source is reliable on it's own, i have a handful of online news sources which I 'trust' and after reading about the same story 3-4 times from different perspectives, I form my own opinion. I'm not conservative, but will read them anyway for comparison.

Sadly there are some things covered so poorly that even 3-4 articles from different sources don't cut to the facts. I have found that often times we don't get the truth for at least a month after a story breaks. Initial reports often tend to be extrapolations, exaggerations, or so lacking in facts that they are works of pure fiction influenced by current events.
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Sadly there are some things covered so poorly that even 3-4 articles from different sources don't cut to the facts. I have found that often times we don't get the truth for at least a month after a story breaks. Initial reports often tend to be extrapolations, exaggerations, or so lacking in facts that they are works of pure fiction influenced by current events.

That's true. Most news stories contain very little facts in general. I would say that 'pure fiction' is an exaggeration too. Sometimes those stories can be extremely useful because although they may contain very little facts, they give you a lot of information about intent and motivation. One thing I find particularly annoying is the lack of referencing even in my 'trusted' news sources. References would would ensure a lot more validity and accountablity.

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The 24/7 cycle does seem to force journalists to rush stories to be the first to report. Again, the emphasis is on ratings and profit rather than on accurately informing the public the way it should be. This in particular seems to be a big problem. Stories that require depth get skimmed with this method, and as Ten oz mentions, waiting for a story to develop gives us more to go on than a cursory, kneejerk appraisal.

 

On stories like that, putting spin early in the news cycle seems foolhardy. I think is why they don't source themselves, and why the news gets to be more and more vague, so it can appeal to the most viewers.

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