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Old 01-16-2012, 06:31 AM
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Angry Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

I'll kill the suspense and state up front that its non-existent liberalness is not the problem.

Let's start with the Associated Press. I used to work for them, so I know first hand how much of the "reporting" they do is actually just translating other country's local wire services, but it's their consistently awful sloppiness that then spreads to every news outlet around the world that really gets my goats on fire.

Exhibit A: Ancient Female Singer's Tomb Found In Egypt's Valley Of The Kings. The lede:

Quote:
In a rare find, Egyptian and Swiss archaeologists have unearthed a roughly 1,100 year-old tomb of a female singer in the Valley of the Kings, an antiquities official said Sunday.
Anything look funny about that? Like 1,100 years ago isn't all that ancient maybe? Like maybe the Valley of the Kings wasn't exactly in use anymore 1,100 years ago?

Now scroll all the way down to the fourth para from the bottom and you'll see this:

Quote:
The coffin of the singer belonged to the daughter of a high priest during the 22nd Dynasty.
How is it possible that a human writing this article (or more likely compiling it from press releases/local news stories) doesn't immediately see that discrepancy? You don't have to be an expert to know that Dynastic Egypt ended long before the Middle Ages, surely. For the record, the 22nd Dynasty dates to between 945 and 712 B.C., so they can't even claim it was a typo and that they meant to say 1,100 B.C. instead of 1,100 years ago.

What about the editorial chain of command? Even if the author is deeply confused, how does nobody else pick up on the mistake before the story is broadcast worldwide with this absurdity in the topic sentence? There are hundreds of outlets now carrying this erroneous story, some even include the ridiculous-on-its-face date in the title (o hai Washington Post).

Only a couple of outlets (ABC, MSNBC) among the 20 or so that I read have edited their version of the AP article to correct the mistake. The rest just regurgitated the wire story as is. Meanwhile, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys at AFP somehow managed to get the basic facts right.

I just wanted to rant about this story because it's been bugging me all night, but feel free to use this thread to illustrate other instances of the mainstream press violently fucking the dog.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2012, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

So they missed the mark by about 1,700 or 1,800 years. What a nitpicker you are. I suppose you never made a teensy-weensy mistake like that.
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

I notice they didn't detail how they knew she was a singer, I guess you just had to be there. Can they access an 8-track player, and put some of her work on Youtube?
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

They buried some of her lyrics with her. Evocative stuff.

Quote:
Eye bird Anubis wave eye eye ankh bird snakes entwined lion lamp bird owl reeds hand.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlokd View Post
They buried some of her lyrics with her. Evocative stuff.

Quote:
Eye bird Anubis wave eye eye ankh bird snakes entwined lion lamp bird owl reeds hand.
That's really catchy, did they find any of the music to go with it. I hope she wasn't a 'Johnny one note'.

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Old 01-16-2012, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlokd View Post
They buried some of her lyrics with her. Evocative stuff.

Quote:
Eye bird Anubis wave eye eye ankh bird snakes entwined lion lamp bird owl reeds hand.
Which translates roughly to;

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:21 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

:deadpoke:
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
I notice they didn't detail how they knew she was a singer, I guess you just had to be there. Can they access an 8-track player, and put some of her work on Youtube?
The article that changed the date to be correct states

The woman, Nehmes Bastet, was a singer for the supreme deity Amon Ra during the Twenty-Second Dynasty (945-712 BC), according to an inscription on a wooden plaque found in the tomb.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

:yeahthat: Her name and titles were engraved on a stele found in the burial chamber.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Remember the old Bloom County strip where Opus was applying for a job as the movie reviewer for the local newspaper? In the interview, the editor kept asking Opus questions about the movie-making industry, and Opus' replies indicated that he knew exactly nothing about movie-making.

Finally, in frustration, the editor asked for some examples of his vocabulary. Opus replied, "putrid!", "it stinks!", etc.

The editor immediately replied, "You're hired!"

[This is from memory; I don't remember the exact wording.]



I sometimes suspect that most news organizations hire their science reporters on that principle. On at least two occasions, I've been interviewed by local newspapers for my expertise on some subject or other. In both cases, I tried to explain the answers to the questions being asked of me, and in both cases, I pointedly told the reporters that their questions were sufficiently complex that the answers could not be reduced to simple, one-sentence sound bites.

In both cases, that's more or less exactly what they did, however. And so the articles were at best misleading, if not downright false in some of their claims.



Another problem with the "mainstream" media is that they're so terrified of being seen as "biased" that they bend over backwards to report "both sides" of any remotely "controversial" story, even when there aren't two sides.

As the late, lamented Molly Ivins once pointed out, if a reporter quotes someone as saying that under Hitler, the Nazis did some bad things, then -- in the interest of "fairness" -- the average newspaper will hunt up some Nazi apologist to insist that Hitler was really a great guy who loved all people (especially Jews) and was simply a victim of bad press.

In this way, the mainstream media often seriously mis-inform people.

Take the "controversy" over Global Warming. On the one hand, you have 99% of climate scientists saying one thing. On the other hand, you have a handful of people (most of whom have no relevant training whatsoever) who are heavily funded by the fossil fuel industry saying something else.

By treating "both sides" as if they have equally valid and well-supported claims, the media seriously misrepresent the issue.




Another important point that Molly Ivins once made is that you've got to pay as much attention to what is not reported by the mainstream media.

For an illustrative example, she brought up a UPS strike in Tennessee. All the reports in the mainstream press focused on how much the strike was costing UPS, and on how this would inconvenience people who were waiting for packages to be delivered.

Lots of the articles included quotes from interviews with UPS executives who were bemoaning how much money the strike was causing the company to lose.

What the articles didn't include were any serious examinations of why the workers were on strike. Instead, they treated the strike as being exactly like some sort of natural disaster -- just one of those things that happens from time to time, but has no detectable causes and is not anyone's fault.

None of the mainstream media made any serious effort to interview labor leaders to find out why the workers were on strike.


As Ivins pointed out, this is the norm when it comes to reporting on labor issues. The mainstream press almost always focus on the concerns of the owners and almost never on the concerns of labor.




I remember reading a fascinating report from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) a few years ago. In it, they showed that the Press Releases given out by the Bush II White House were being run as-is by numerous news organizations.

That is, a great many of the "articles" being printed in the newspapers regarding Administration policies and other goings-on in the White House were literally just re-typed White House Press Releases. If I recall correctly, AP was one of the biggest offenders.

I doubt that too much has changed since then.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
I remember reading a fascinating report from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) a few years ago. In it, they showed that the Press Releases given out by the Bush II White House were being run as-is by numerous news organizations.

That is, a great many of the "articles" being printed in the newspapers regarding Administration policies and other goings-on in the White House were literally just re-typed White House Press Releases. If I recall correctly, AP was one of the biggest offenders.

I doubt that too much has changed since then.
Some time back, when the Denver area had two major newspapers, one of them* reprinted a press release I wrote on the front page of the business section, with a little bit of sloppy and IIRC inaccurate filler at the end. Someone even put their byline on it.

Thing is, just about every time I've read or seen a story in the mainstream general-interest media about a topic I knew something about, or an incident I had direct knowledge of, there was something wrong. Sometimes something insignificant, but a lot of the time something really important. So I have great empathy for people who are nerds of things I am not a nerd of when they complain about something in the media.

Also, I don't believe most of what I read or see in the media beyond simple accounting of events, and often not even that.

* If I could confidently remember which one it was, I'd totally call it out, but I am not positive enough about that.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

It makes more sense that the mainstream media will never report about the reasons for a strike if you remember that they are all owned by major corporations. That's why I prefer to call them corporate media.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Another problem with the media, especially now with the almost instant reporting of stories, is the need to get 'something' out there for people to see and read. So rather than getting the whole story they rush to get a story out, and often should retract or correct, but once it has been reported there is a reluctance to admit an error. In the recent cruise ship disaster there is something that doesn't look right. In some of the photos it clearly shows a long gash and a piece of rock lodged in the port side of the hull, but the ship capsized to starboard. In one of the early reports it stated that the visable gash was in the right side of the hull, which was incorrect. What seems wrong is that if the damage was on the port side, that is the side that should have flooded first and the ship would have listed to port, not to starboard. This leads me to think there is more damage on the sunken side of the hull which is not visable, unless the rocks had actually pushed the port side of the ship up causing the capsizing to starboard. At this point there are too many unanswered questions, and too much premature reporting only adds to the confusion.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Does anyone remember the accadent at TMI. I live in the area and during the event someone I knew had reason to travel, and it seemed that the farther away he got the worse the story was, from a minor incident here to a major disaster farther away. Media had to exagerate to make a better story.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

Three Mile Island? I vaguely remember it. From what I can recall (I was in North Carolina at the time), the media were reporting it as a disaster just short of Biblical proportions.



The "if it bleeds it leads" mentality occasionally results in hilarity.

Back when I was at Washington State U., I got an e-mail one day from my mother about the "riots" at WSU and asking if I was okay.

Huh? What riots?

I asked around and finally discovered that some kids at a party had gotten a bit loud and that somebody had called the cops. This being Pullman, the police came over and politely asked them to turn down the noise. One kid was drunk and mouthed off at the cops. His buddies got him calmed down and the "incident" was over.

And for some reason, that made it into the national news, and was apparently reported as a "riot."
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

I don't think you can call Three Mile Island a minor incident, though. It was ranked a 5 on a scale of 1-7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Chernobyl is a 7.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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I don't think you can call Three Mile Island a minor incident, though. It was ranked a 5 on a scale of 1-7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Chernobyl is a 7.

Interesting the IAEA headquarters is in Vienna Austria, which goes along with my statement that the farther away you are the worse it is. There was a popular comment arround here after the incident "We had a Nuclear Disaster and No-one Died". TMI's position on that scale is a bit exagerated.

The IAEA has offices in some very nice locations, I wonder who is feeding them money?
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

:rolleyes:
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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The IAEA has offices in some very nice locations, I wonder who is feeding them money?
Just a wild guess, but I suspect it's the U.N.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Quote:
Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
I don't think you can call Three Mile Island a minor incident, though. It was ranked a 5 on a scale of 1-7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Chernobyl is a 7.

Interesting the IAEA headquarters is in Vienna Austria, which goes along with my statement that the farther away you are the worse it is. There was a popular comment arround here after the incident "We had a Nuclear Disaster and No-one Died". TMI's position on that scale is a bit exagerated.

The IAEA has offices in some very nice locations, I wonder who is feeding them money?
Do you even know what happened at the Three Mile Island accident? Either you don't, or you don't understand just how serious a slagged reactor chamber, heavily contaminated coolant, or a containment building that can no longer be safely entered is in a nuclear power plant...
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Quote:
Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
I don't think you can call Three Mile Island a minor incident, though. It was ranked a 5 on a scale of 1-7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. Chernobyl is a 7.

Interesting the IAEA headquarters is in Vienna Austria, which goes along with my statement that the farther away you are the worse it is. There was a popular comment arround here after the incident "We had a Nuclear Disaster and No-one Died". TMI's position on that scale is a bit exagerated.

The IAEA has offices in some very nice locations, I wonder who is feeding them money?
Are you an actual poster or some kind of conspiracy wingnut spambot account?
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post

The IAEA has offices in some very nice locations, I wonder who is feeding them money?
Just a wild guess, but I suspect it's the U.N.
Yup. About the IAEA. The IAEA is an organization whose mission is "to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies," in its Member States, including countries like Japan and France that have far more extensive nuclear energy programs than the US.

It's not a media outlet, and its scale isn't based on anti-nuclear panic or long-distance rumor mongering. IAEA scientists from a variety of disciplines assess the impact of various incidents. The Three Mile Island number was assessed 15 or so years after the accident. It's the opposite of some knee-jerk media freakout.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Another problem with the media, especially now with the almost instant reporting of stories, is the need to get 'something' out there for people to see and read. So rather than getting the whole story they rush to get a story out, and often should retract or correct, but once it has been reported there is a reluctance to admit an error. In the recent cruise ship disaster there is something that doesn't look right. In some of the photos it clearly shows a long gash and a piece of rock lodged in the port side of the hull, but the ship capsized to starboard. In one of the early reports it stated that the visable gash was in the right side of the hull, which was incorrect. What seems wrong is that if the damage was on the port side, that is the side that should have flooded first and the ship would have listed to port, not to starboard. This leads me to think there is more damage on the sunken side of the hull which is not visable, unless the rocks had actually pushed the port side of the ship up causing the capsizing to starboard. At this point there are too many unanswered questions, and too much premature reporting only adds to the confusion.
Could they have mirrored the photograph ? I've seen that, where in the interest of layout or something they mirrored a picture so it shows a person writing with their left hand when in the actual photo and reality they were writing with their right.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
Another problem with the media, especially now with the almost instant reporting of stories, is the need to get 'something' out there for people to see and read. So rather than getting the whole story they rush to get a story out, and often should retract or correct, but once it has been reported there is a reluctance to admit an error. In the recent cruise ship disaster there is something that doesn't look right. In some of the photos it clearly shows a long gash and a piece of rock lodged in the port side of the hull, but the ship capsized to starboard. In one of the early reports it stated that the visable gash was in the right side of the hull, which was incorrect. What seems wrong is that if the damage was on the port side, that is the side that should have flooded first and the ship would have listed to port, not to starboard. This leads me to think there is more damage on the sunken side of the hull which is not visable, unless the rocks had actually pushed the port side of the ship up causing the capsizing to starboard. At this point there are too many unanswered questions, and too much premature reporting only adds to the confusion.
Could they have mirrored the photograph ? I've seen that, where in the interest of layout or something they mirrored a picture so it shows a person writing with their left hand when in the actual photo and reality they were writing with their right.
I'm not sure I think I saw a later account that stated the damage on the port side in the photo, but I haven't seen anything about the submerged portion of the hull, probably too early for that as they are still trying to recover bodies. First things first, get out the story, recover bodies, and then find out what happened.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Why the Mainstream Media Really Sucks

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Do you even know what happened at the Three Mile Island accident? Either you don't, or you don't understand just how serious a slagged reactor chamber, heavily contaminated coolant, or a containment building that can no longer be safely entered is in a nuclear power plant...

Yep, did you read my post? I live in the area, and I know how serious it could have been, but wasn't. One of the concerns was that the core would burn thru the floor and explode (Steam explosion), I also remember something about a bubble that didn't burst.
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