When journalism goes bad

User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 15736
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Eric the .5b »

I'm struck by how, using their definition of "mass shooting events", a phrase couched in images of piles of dead people, it turns out that these events average less than one person dead.
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
Cet animal est très méchant / Quand on l'attaque il se défend.
User avatar
Professor Professorson
Posts: 17
Joined: 05 Mar 2021, 10:30

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Professor Professorson »

Eric the .5b wrote: 11 Mar 2021, 15:02 I'm struck by how, using their definition of "mass shooting events", a phrase couched in images of piles of dead people, it turns out that these events average less than one person dead.
The really appalling/ironic thing is that mass shootings/killings have been happening at pretty much the same rate for a hundred years, but mass media has hyped such occurrences into a "thing". And I'm not even talking about any kind of political bias (even though that obviously exists); it's just simple tabloidism. If it bleeds it leads. And I honestly don't know how or if that will ever end, considering human nature. It probably won't.
"Here in Switzerland, we only have one method of negotiation."
User avatar
Eric the .5b
Posts: 15736
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:29

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Eric the .5b »

Professor Professorson wrote: 11 Mar 2021, 15:58
Eric the .5b wrote: 11 Mar 2021, 15:02 I'm struck by how, using their definition of "mass shooting events", a phrase couched in images of piles of dead people, it turns out that these events average less than one person dead.
The really appalling/ironic thing is that mass shootings/killings have been happening at pretty much the same rate for a hundred years, but mass media has hyped such occurrences into a "thing". And I'm not even talking about any kind of political bias (even though that obviously exists); it's just simple tabloidism. If it bleeds it leads. And I honestly don't know how or if that will ever end, considering human nature. It probably won't.
To my knowledge, it isn't even a consistent rate, but a rare occurrence that bounces around like statistical noise. But yeah, that's largely the case.

Still, there are political organizations pushing these definitions of "mass shooting" for a reason. And they've gotten broader over time, describing fewer people involved (which, unsurprisingly, causes a jump in the number of events). I half-seriously expect some group at some point to come up with a definition that doesn't require a gun to have been fired during the "event".
"Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
Cet animal est très méchant / Quand on l'attaque il se défend.
User avatar
nicole
Posts: 11125
Joined: 12 Jan 2013, 16:28

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by nicole »

Oh

"Fucking qualia." -Hugh Akston

"Sliced bagels aren't why trump won; it's why it doesn't matter who wins." -dhex
User avatar
Warren
Posts: 31049
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Warren »

nicole wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 14:56 Oh

How can this be???
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 21194
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

nicole wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 14:56 Oh

Yeah, this is getting reported widely and, for the record, I don't consider the WaPo or the NYT nearly as reliable as news sources as I once did.

As long as I can remember reading newspapers, most reputable papers have fessed up when they got a story wrong. They also invariably did so with far less fanfare, typically burying the correction to some obscure corner of the A Section. Be that as it may, acknowledging error is vastly better than not acknowledging error.

On point, however, does anyone seriously doubt the MSM weren't literally all but on Biden's election campaign staff? And, fwiw, I'm fine with that. Hard cases make bad law, as the saying goes. Trump was a hard case and, I hope, sui generis. But should his likes stand a chance of winning the presidency again and there's any sort of viable alternative, I hope the press goes in the bag for the alternative again.
User avatar
dead_elvis
Posts: 2000
Joined: 01 May 2010, 15:26

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by dead_elvis »

While truth is truth I'm having a hard time seeing a huge deal here- I would expect a third party to not necessarily remember something word for word, and the characterization of it isn't *that* far off, though "most important job in the country" to "national hero" is a stretch (but I could see how someone could characterize it that way. If you have the most important job in the country, and you nail it, *wouldn't* that make one a hero in some peoples' eyes?)

And "find the fraud" is just a pithier way of saying "if you look, you'll find dishonesty".

I don't understand the "gotcha". It's an exaggeration at best, not a mischaracterization.

ETA or did the original story claim that it was from his lips to god's ears? I thought it was clear they were relying on a source.
"Never forget: a war on undocumented immigrants by necessity is a war on all of our freedoms of association and movement."
User avatar
Warren
Posts: 31049
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Warren »

dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:34 And "find the fraud" is just a pithier way of saying "if you look, you'll find dishonesty".
No. This is where WaPo shows "We'll believe and print the most outrageous thing about Trump".
"Find the fraud" is a command that carries the unspoken instruction to manufacture the fraud if necessary. Fraudulent fraud if you will. "If you look, you'll find dishonesty", is merely a statement of belief. It's a total mischaracterization that in the beforeworld would have gotten editors fired. But since it was committed in the great cause of besmirching the Bad Bad Orange Man, the only thing wrong with it, is it didn't convince his supporters to stop supporting him.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
User avatar
Pham Nuwen
Posts: 9366
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 02:17

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Warren wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:44
dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:34 And "find the fraud" is just a pithier way of saying "if you look, you'll find dishonesty".
No. This is where WaPo shows "We'll believe and print the most outrageous thing about Trump".
"Find the fraud" is a command that carries the unspoken instruction to manufacture the fraud if necessary. Fraudulent fraud if you will. "If you look, you'll find dishonesty", is merely a statement of belief. It's a total mischaracterization that in the beforeworld would have gotten editors fired. But since it was committed in the great cause of besmirching the Bad Bad Orange Man, the only thing wrong with it, is it didn't convince his supporters to stop supporting him.
I cant tell with you sometimes. I really cant. The President doesnt call an election investigator without an action in mind. But this doesnt mesh with your views on media so all nuance is now out the window.
Goddamn libertarian message board. Hugh Akston

leave me to my mescaline smoothie in peace, please. dhex
User avatar
nicole
Posts: 11125
Joined: 12 Jan 2013, 16:28

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by nicole »

dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:34 While truth is truth I'm having a hard time seeing a huge deal here- I would expect a third party to not necessarily remember something word for word, and the characterization of it isn't *that* far off, though "most important job in the country" to "national hero" is a stretch (but I could see how someone could characterize it that way. If you have the most important job in the country, and you nail it, *wouldn't* that make one a hero in some peoples' eyes?)

And "find the fraud" is just a pithier way of saying "if you look, you'll find dishonesty".

I don't understand the "gotcha". It's an exaggeration at best, not a mischaracterization.

ETA or did the original story claim that it was from his lips to god's ears? I thought it was clear they were relying on a source.
Seems like if you expect a third party to not necessarily remember something word for word, you should not print that third party's claims about direct quotes, and reprint those quotes all over dozens of headlines.
"Fucking qualia." -Hugh Akston

"Sliced bagels aren't why trump won; it's why it doesn't matter who wins." -dhex
User avatar
dead_elvis
Posts: 2000
Joined: 01 May 2010, 15:26

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by dead_elvis »

nicole wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 17:35
dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:34

ETA or did the original story claim that it was from his lips to god's ears? I thought it was clear they were relying on a source.
Seems like if you expect a third party to not necessarily remember something word for word, you should not print that third party's claims about direct quotes, and reprint those quotes all over dozens of headlines.
Oh certainly, perhaps I'm misremembering and, being lazy, have not googled news articles from the time. Buuuuut really we know what Trump was trying to do, and that's the outrageous thing. The president doesn't just call up a county (edit for accuracy: as noted below, state) bureaucrat as an equal just discussing the issues.
Last edited by dead_elvis on 16 Mar 2021, 13:10, edited 1 time in total.
"Never forget: a war on undocumented immigrants by necessity is a war on all of our freedoms of association and movement."
User avatar
Warren
Posts: 31049
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Warren »

Pham Nuwen wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:58
Warren wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:44
dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:34 And "find the fraud" is just a pithier way of saying "if you look, you'll find dishonesty".
No. This is where WaPo shows "We'll believe and print the most outrageous thing about Trump".
"Find the fraud" is a command that carries the unspoken instruction to manufacture the fraud if necessary. Fraudulent fraud if you will. "If you look, you'll find dishonesty", is merely a statement of belief. It's a total mischaracterization that in the beforeworld would have gotten editors fired. But since it was committed in the great cause of besmirching the Bad Bad Orange Man, the only thing wrong with it, is it didn't convince his supporters to stop supporting him.
I cant tell with you sometimes. I really cant. The President doesnt call an election investigator without an action in mind. But this doesnt mesh with your views on media so all nuance is now out the window.
Nuance? I can't find any nuance within five districts of this story. Of course he had an action in mind. He wanted her to investigate for voter fraud which he was convinced the whole country was awash in. I'm not saying otherwise.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
User avatar
Pham Nuwen
Posts: 9366
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 02:17

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Pham Nuwen »

He called THE TOP ELECTION INVESTIGATOR OF GEORGIA to tell her to investigate voter fraud in Georgia????????? And that's it? Nothing more to see or wonder about there? Do you hear yourself?
Goddamn libertarian message board. Hugh Akston

leave me to my mescaline smoothie in peace, please. dhex
User avatar
Warren
Posts: 31049
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Warren »

Pham Nuwen wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:15 He called THE TOP ELECTION INVESTIGATOR OF GEORGIA to tell her to investigate voter fraud in Georgia????????? And that's it? Nothing more to see or wonder about there? Do you hear yourself?
I don't. I don't see what has got you so animated.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
User avatar
Pham Nuwen
Posts: 9366
Joined: 27 Apr 2010, 02:17

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Warren wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:18
Pham Nuwen wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:15 He called THE TOP ELECTION INVESTIGATOR OF GEORGIA to tell her to investigate voter fraud in Georgia????????? And that's it? Nothing more to see or wonder about there? Do you hear yourself?
I don't. I don't see what has got you so animated.
I guess nuance really isn't your thing then.
Goddamn libertarian message board. Hugh Akston

leave me to my mescaline smoothie in peace, please. dhex
User avatar
lunchstealer
Posts: 19574
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:25
Location: The Local Fluff in the Local Bubble

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by lunchstealer »

dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 17:45
nicole wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 17:35
dead_elvis wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 16:34

ETA or did the original story claim that it was from his lips to god's ears? I thought it was clear they were relying on a source.
Seems like if you expect a third party to not necessarily remember something word for word, you should not print that third party's claims about direct quotes, and reprint those quotes all over dozens of headlines.
Oh certainly, perhaps I'm misremembering and, being lazy, have not googled news articles from the time. Buuuuut really we know what Trump was trying to do, and that's the outrageous thing. The president doesn't just call up a county bureaucrat as an equal just discussing the issues.
Yeah I think I'm MOSTLY team d_e here with just a touch of nicole.

Overall I'd call this imprecise but not inaccurate, but they should've done a better job making their error bars clear from the beginning.

And yeah he was leaning on her to manufacture the stuff he wanted to see. "Find me those 11,574* votes," is a real quote, and telling someone to look where the vote is in the other guy's favor because there's a lot of dishonesty there is the same thing. The source may've punched it up, the reporter may've assigned quoteness to what was paraphrasing or the source may've just straight conflated the 'find me the votes' part with the 'look here you'll find dishonesty' part.

*the number may be off but it was whatever the exact number of votes needed to win.
"Dude she's the Purdue Pharma of the black pill." - JasonL

"This thread is like a dog park where everyone lets their preconceptions and biases run around and sniff each others butts." - Hugh Akston

"That's just tokenism with extra steps." - Jake
User avatar
Warren
Posts: 31049
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:03
Location: Goat Rope MO
Contact:

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Warren »

Pham Nuwen wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:23
Warren wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:18
Pham Nuwen wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:15 He called THE TOP ELECTION INVESTIGATOR OF GEORGIA to tell her to investigate voter fraud in Georgia????????? And that's it? Nothing more to see or wonder about there? Do you hear yourself?
I don't. I don't see what has got you so animated.
I guess nuance really isn't your thing then.
Oh bite me.
hmmm you might have a point.
lunchstealer wrote: 15 Mar 2021, 18:30 And yeah he was leaning on her to manufacture the stuff he wanted to see. "Find me those 11,574* votes," is a real quote, and telling someone to look where the vote is in the other guy's favor because there's a lot of dishonesty there is the same thing.
I can see that.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT
User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 25728
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by JasonL »

Team "find me those votes" makes this correction a very minor one. If he'd not said anything in the neighborhood it would be a real story.
User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 21194
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

It's still at the very least sloppy journalism to put quote marks around something you haven't nailed down as an actual quote. But journalists aren't scholars or lawyers, they don't get in trouble for, say, omitting parts of a long quote without at least indicating part of the quote has been redacted. Their justification for that is that "as long as the actual intent or meaning" of the quote isn't significantly changed, it's fair practice. Let's ignore what counts as significance for a moment; if someone did that in an academic paper or a legal brief and it was discovered they'd be raked over the coals. And if the WaPo wants, as it has long wanted, to be perceived as the equal of the NYT, the so called "paper of record," then it damned well ought to hold itself to a higher standard than the Shitsville Tattler.

But, yeah, in terms of what's important about that story, it's still that the most powerful person in the world and certainly the most powerful person in Republican politics made a direct call to someone he (especially Trump) wouldn't cross the street to piss on if he were on fire and made his wishes known. The Georgia official can say how he wasn't intimidated and didn't see anything at all improper about the call and I believe that about as much as I believe the mom & pop store owner who tells the cops he saw nothing intimidating or improper about four hoodlums telling him what a nice shop he has and how it would be a shame if something bad happened to it.

If that's an exaggeration, it isn't much of one. If a four star general in the Regular Army makes a direct call to the Georgia National Guard's quartermaster asking about fucking anything, the guy at the other end is damned well going to be intimidated by the call. It's just nuts to argue or even suggest otherwise.
User avatar
Hugh Akston
Posts: 20320
Joined: 05 May 2010, 15:51
Location: Elev. 5280 ft

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Hugh Akston »

D.A. Ridgely wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 13:06 It's still at the very least sloppy journalism to put quote marks around something you haven't nailed down as an actual quote. But journalists aren't scholars or lawyers, they don't get in trouble for, say, omitting parts of a long quote without at least indicating part of the quote has been redacted. Their justification for that is that "as long as the actual intent or meaning" of the quote isn't significantly changed, it's fair practice. Let's ignore what counts as significance for a moment; if someone did that in an academic paper or a legal brief and it was discovered they'd be raked over the coals. And if the WaPo wants, as it has long wanted, to be perceived as the equal of the NYT, the so called "paper of record," then it damned well ought to hold itself to a higher standard than the Shitsville Tattler.
That's not entirely clear. When I was doing journalism in college and beyond, it was made pretty clear to me that quotation marks were for direct, verifiable quotes. Anything else would leave the publication open to libel suits and me personally open to discipline. The one SCOTUS case I can find about the matter was thrown out because the plaintiff was a public figure.

The public figure standard would clearly protect the WaPo in this case as well, but it's still bad practice.
"Is a Lulztopia the best we can hope for?!?" ~Taktix®
"Well if they're blaming libertarians again then things must be going back to normal." ~dbcooper
User avatar
Number 6
Posts: 3541
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:41

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Number 6 »

Hugh Akston wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 13:32
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 13:06 It's still at the very least sloppy journalism to put quote marks around something you haven't nailed down as an actual quote. But journalists aren't scholars or lawyers, they don't get in trouble for, say, omitting parts of a long quote without at least indicating part of the quote has been redacted. Their justification for that is that "as long as the actual intent or meaning" of the quote isn't significantly changed, it's fair practice. Let's ignore what counts as significance for a moment; if someone did that in an academic paper or a legal brief and it was discovered they'd be raked over the coals. And if the WaPo wants, as it has long wanted, to be perceived as the equal of the NYT, the so called "paper of record," then it damned well ought to hold itself to a higher standard than the Shitsville Tattler.
That's not entirely clear. When I was doing journalism in college and beyond, it was made pretty clear to me that quotation marks were for direct, verifiable quotes. Anything else would leave the publication open to libel suits and me personally open to discipline. The one SCOTUS case I can find about the matter was thrown out because the plaintiff was a public figure.

The public figure standard would clearly protect the WaPo in this case as well, but it's still bad practice.
It's been a while since I committed journalism, but I agree with this. DAR's assertion that omitting parts of a long quote without highlighting the redaction is acceptable strikes me as directly counter to journalistic standards. (That's true, at least, for print journalism. TV or other video journalism seems to have different, and lesser, standards.)
Middle America is bestest America
User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 21194
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

It may well be contrary to best practices. I can't argue or prove otherwise. But I've seen the practice in print on a number of occasions including when the person being quoted was someone I knew and the entire text was available. In none of these cases do I know whether the reporter wrote it that way or it was edited that way, but it's a practice I've argued about with several journalists including a reporter for WaPo and every time the response I got was a shrug.
User avatar
Number 6
Posts: 3541
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 16:41

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by Number 6 »

D.A. Ridgely wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 14:07 It may well be contrary to best practices. I can't argue or prove otherwise. But I've seen the practice in print on a number of occasions including when the person being quoted was someone I knew and the entire text was available. In none of these cases do I know whether the reporter wrote it that way or it was edited that way, but it's a practice I've argued about with several journalists including a reporter for WaPo and every time the response I got was a shrug.
Much journalism these days is done in spite of best practices. On several occasions, I covered the same stories as reporters for bigger outlets, and it was always shocking to see how often they either missed the lead or reported things that were just not accurate. That was, unsurprisingly, especially true of TV 'journalists.'
Middle America is bestest America
User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 21194
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Number 6 wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 15:37
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 14:07 It may well be contrary to best practices. I can't argue or prove otherwise. But I've seen the practice in print on a number of occasions including when the person being quoted was someone I knew and the entire text was available. In none of these cases do I know whether the reporter wrote it that way or it was edited that way, but it's a practice I've argued about with several journalists including a reporter for WaPo and every time the response I got was a shrug.
Much journalism these days is done in spite of best practices. On several occasions, I covered the same stories as reporters for bigger outlets, and it was always shocking to see how often they either missed the lead or reported things that were just not accurate. That was, unsurprisingly, especially true of TV 'journalists.'
Indeed. And again, I'm not saying you or Hugh were wrong, I can only say I've experienced it at least second-hand and the attitude was, "Look, we didn't change what he said or quote it in a manner that was unfair to him, so what's your problem?"

And honestly, it's not a huge problem given those caveats, but it still wouldn't fly in academia or law. There really was a time that the NY Times was the "newspaper of record" both because it actually would print entire texts of important speeches and such and because it was considered the gold standard for getting the important stories and getting them factually correct and complete. That's not to say anyone ever thought the Times was editorially neutral or that its biases didn't leak into its news coverage, just that it was as good as you were going to get.

Before cable TV, back when there were three major networks, two to five or six major newspapers depending on how you counted, a few wire services and a few reliable trade papers, e.g., the WS Journal, even though network news departments were huge by comparison, they largely took their cue on the nightly news from what had made the front page of the Times. Until Watergate, no one considered the WaPo a must-read newspaper, let alone a competitor to the Times. Nowadays, you have to question the objectivity of the wire services, ferchristsakes!

Whatever anyone things about Bezos, he certainly has the wherewithal to turn the WaPo into the 21st century version of the old NYT. It's probably the most philanthropic thing he could do with a few billion.
Last edited by D.A. Ridgely on 16 Mar 2021, 15:56, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 31476
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: When journalism goes bad

Post by thoreau »

Number 6 wrote: 16 Mar 2021, 15:37That was, unsurprisingly, especially true of TV 'journalists.'
You mean models in slightly more practical clothes?
"...if that monkey gets any smarter it's going to start shorting TSLA."
--JD
Post Reply