EppsNet Archive: Media

The Jemele Hills of the World

20 Sep 2017 /

That’s a great opinion. It’s intelligent, well thought out . . . haha no it’s insane.

I hope ESPN gets this woman some professional help because she’s detached from reality.

If we’re talking about actual white supremacists, like KKK members, there are only about 10,000 white supremacists in the whole country (population: ~320 million). With those numbers, white supremacists are not even a fringe group. They are on the fringes of the fringes.

Most of the media, from ignorance or ill will, play along with the idea that white supremacists are a powerful force, political and otherwise, that has to be reckoned with but they aren’t.

Trump is not a white supremacist. Other than maybe the 10,000 people noted above, the people who voted for Trump are not white supremacists.

I’m sure a lot of people are burned out on this sort of foolishness from the Jemele Hills of the world, i.e., I am all about inclusion and tolerance, I love people of all races, genders, religions, hair color, eye color, but if you don’t think exactly the way I do, you are a racist, sexist, homophobic, white supremacist Nazi fool.

There’s not even an effort to marshal facts or logic into a coherent argument. Just “Oh you don’t see the world the same way I do? How is being a Nazi working out for you?”


What Happened?

13 Sep 2017 /

According to this review by Piers Morgan, Hillary has narrowed down the list of people and entities responsible for her 2016 election defeat to James Comey, Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and his supporters, Mitch McConnell, the mainstream media, the New York Times, Matt Lauer, Fox News, Jill Stein, men, women, white people, black people, Joe Biden, Anthony Weiner, and the Electoral College.

Notably absent from the list: Hillary Clinton.


A Fake News Taxonomy: 7 Types of Mis- and Disinformation

9 Sep 2017 /

First Draft makes an interesting effort to classify different types of misinformation (the inadvertent sharing of false information) and disinformation (the deliberate creation and sharing of information known to be false), based on the type of content, the motivations of those who create the content and the ways that content is disseminated

Here are the categories they came up with, in descending order of intent to deceive:

  • Fabricated Content: New content that is 100% false
  • Manipulated Content: Genuine information or imagery is manipulated
  • Imposter Content: Impersonation of genuine sources
  • False Context: Genuine content is shared with false contextual information
  • Misleading Content: Misleading use of information to frame an issue/individual
  • False Connection: Headlines, visuals or captions don’t support the content
  • Satire or Parody: No intention to cause harm but potential to fool

We used to have the Five W’s: who, what, when, where and why. Now we have the Eight P’s:

  • Poor journalism
  • Parody
  • To provoke or to “punk”
  • Passion
  • Partisanship
  • Profit
  • Political influence
  • Propaganda

Fighting Fascism With Mob Violence

28 Aug 2017 /

Here’s how different media outlets covered yesterday’s Berkeley rally . . .

USA Today and the Sun-Sentinel, a Florida paper, play it straight up, telling us what happened and who was responsible: Black-clad anarchists stormed the rally, fighting against hate by kicking and punching people until police intervened.

https://www.facebook.com/topic/Berkeley-California/113857331958379?source=whfrt&position=2&trqid=6459150791684243580

https://www.facebook.com/topic/Berkeley-California/113857331958379?source=whfrt&position=2&trqid=6459150791684243580

Even the Washington Post, the most left-wing, anti-Trump paper in America, which recently informed readers that there is no political violence on the left, got this one right.

https://www.facebook.com/topic/Berkeley-California/113857331958379?source=whfrt&position=2&trqid=6459150791684243580

The Daily Mail uses the same photo as USA Today but reports only that violence broke out between the two sides. If they know any more about who was responsible, they’re not saying.

https://www.facebook.com/topic/Berkeley-California/113857331958379?source=whfrt&position=2&trqid=6459150791684243580

Finally, NPR reports that scattered violence between left and right marred an otherwise peaceful protest. NPR notes that a radio host tried to protect a man he was afraid would be beaten to death by “a group of protestors.” If you click into that story, you see that the next sentence is “It’s unclear how the aggressors were aligned.”

True story, NPR couldn’t figure out how the “aggressors” were “aligned.” They must have had some big brains working on that one.

https://www.facebook.com/topic/Berkeley-California/113857331958379?source=whfrt&position=2&trqid=6459150791684243580


An Insignificant Number of Confused, Poorly Organized Losers

26 Aug 2017 /

News networks have been running a two-week-long (with no end in sight) infomercial on white supremacists and white nationalists and neo-Nazis as though they represent a powerful force that has to be reckoned with, a vast army of domestic terrorists, which they don’t.

The most important thing to know about white supremacists and neo-Nazis is that there are actually not very many of them.

The leading white supremacist organization is the Ku Klux Klan. How many members do you think the KKK currently has? Take a guess. Keep in mind we live in a country of more than 320 million people.

Estimates of current KKK membership run between 5,000 and 8,000 members. Is that less than you thought?

As for neo-Nazis, the New York Times ran an article a few years ago on the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which they identified as the largest neo-Nazi group in the country. Take a guess how many members the National Socialist Movement has.

According to the Times, the National Socialist Movement has about 400 members.

“White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?,” published this week by BBC News, suggests that roughly 10,000 Americans might qualify as active white supremacists.

They mention “groups like the NSM” as being active in 32 states, without mentioning that the groups are very small. Describing a small, poorly organized number of people as being “active in 32 states” sounds a lot scarier than saying “about 400 members.”

A collection of 10,000 people represents less than .01 percent of the US population. If you want to flip it around, you could say that 99.99 percent of us are not white supremacists.

White supremacists are an insignificant number of confused, poorly organized losers. That’s how they should be referenced in media reports: “an insignificant number of confused, poorly organized losers.”

How did such a small, loosely connected group of people manage to capture such a large national mindset?

President Trump was portrayed by opponents during the 2016 campaign as the second coming of Hitler. His supporters were portrayed as white supremacists and Nazis.

After he was elected and the concentration camps failed to materialize as predicted, Trump opponents were still on the lookout for opportunities to resurrect the Nazi theme.

The only way a “Trump is courting the white supremacist vote” theory makes sense is if you don’t know what the actual numbers are.

If you do know what the numbers are — about 10,000 people — it becomes mathematically ridiculous. No one wants or needs the support or endorsement of white supremacists at the cost of pissing off the other 99.99% of America. No one is saying “I’ve got to capture the Nazi vote — all 400 of them.”

My guess is that most media people, who according to Harvard University are very biased against Donald Trump, don’t know or care what the white supremacist numbers are. They just push their narrative and follow the crowd.

But there must be at least a few who do know what the numbers are and are just yanking our chains.


Poll: Most Black Americans Don’t Want Confederate Statues Removed

22 Aug 2017 /

NPR and PBS News Hour conducted a poll asking whether statues “honoring leaders of the Confederacy” should “remain as a historical symbol” or “be removed because they are offensive to some people.”

Results by race:

White: 65 percent of respondents said the statues should stay, 25 percent said they should be taken down and 8 percent were unsure. (I know these numbers don’t sum to 100 percent but I’m taking them directly from the link above.)

Black: 44 percent stay, 40 percent remove, 11 percent unsure. (Same comment as previous.)

Latino: 65 percent stay, 24 percent remove, 11 percent unsure.

The media, which according to a Harvard University study are very biased against Donald Trump, have been flogging him with this issue for the past week and a half, the thinking being that anyone who doesn’t support the removal of Confederate statues is a white supremacist, in which case 75 percent of white Americans are white supremacists, as are 60 percent of our black citizens and 76 percent of Latinos.

Confederate General Thomas

Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson


The Victimized Media

16 Jul 2017 /

In the age of Trump, it’s acceptable for reporters to claim they “never wanted to be part of the story,” while waiting in a green room to go on TV and talk about themselves.

Joe and Mika


Big Losers

27 May 2017 /

I saw this headline on an AP story today — Poor and disabled big losers in Trump budget.

The story includes a photo of the budget (see below), so I think it’s safe to say that the AP writer didn’t read the entire thing before announcing who the “big losers” are. He’s just flogging his own agenda. (See also Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump)

2018 budget

“Trump’s plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 makes deep cuts in safety net programs . . .” the story says.

What’s the difference between a “cut” and a “deep cut”? The latter sounds mean and scary. Why not just say something factual like “10 percent cut” or “50 percent cut” and let readers put their own characterization on it?

“Safety net programs” is also a loaded expression.

“Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over the next decade.” OK, there’s a factual assertion. But the government doesn’t use zero-based budgeting, in which each year’s budget starts at zero and all expenses must be justified for each new period. Government budgeting calls for incremental increases over previous budgets.

For example, if the cost of Program X is budgeted to increase 10 percent per year, and we “cut” it by 5 percent, the cost still goes up 5 percent. We can have budget cuts and more spending at the same time.

So “Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over the next decade” actually means something like — I don’t know the actual numbers, but something like “The cost of the food stamp program would have gone up by $800 billion over the next decade but because of the $191 billion ‘cut,’ it will only go up by $609 billion.”

Also — numbers in a federal budget look really big because the US is a big country with a lot of people — 320 million. If you wanted to give every person in the country 5 dollars, you’d need to have more than $1.5 billion on hand to do it.

A small number — 5 bucks — becomes a big number — $1.5 billion — when you project it to a national scale.

Food stamp costs of $191 billion over a decade comes to $19 billion per year. How many people receive food stamps? About 45 million. So $191 billion is only about $400 per person per year.

I saw Elizabeth Warren on YouTube emoting about the budget: Blah blah blah Donald Trump blah blah blah Betsy DeVos blah blah blah …

I could be wrong but I don’t think Elizabeth Warren or fans of Elizabeth Warren really care about people on food stamps, at least not enough to help out of their own pockets. I think they care about having the power to deem things worthy and then make other people pay for them.

Elizabeth Warren didn’t say “I am personally contributing $400 per year and I want all of you who are as outraged about this as I am to contribute $400 per year to make up the difference in the food stamp budget.” What would happen if she did?


Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump

23 May 2017 /

According to a Harvard University study, the mainstream media are very biased against Donald Trump.

Here’s a chart from the study, showing that the tone of some news outlets is negative in as many as 98% of reports:

Tone of Trump news coverage

I’ve noticed that even our local news station is about 90-10 negative on Trump coverage.

We have to look at the way the media handled Trump before he was elected. How many newspapers in the entire country endorsed Trump for president? I don’t think the number is zero but it has to be very close to zero.

Some newspapers — The Washington Post and New York Times come to mind — were virulently anti-Trump on the editorial page, which bled over into the news coverage.

Every news network except Fox was anti-Trump, the only positive news being that he was most definitely not going to be elected. Well, actually it was that he was definitely not going to be the Republican nominee, and then that he was definitely not going to be president.

The Huffington Post refused to cover Trump at all as part of its political reporting. All Trump news was published in the entertainment section.

And then he was elected president!

So everyone in the media had to either a) recalibrate their self-image from “We are super smart people who knew in advance that Trump would never be president” to “We are the dumbest people in the universe,” or b) commit to spending the next four years (at least) finding ways to say “we told you so,” e.g. “We told you he was a monster,” “We told you he was a moron,” We told you he was crazy,” etc.

Here’s a chart showing the tone of Trump coverage compared to other recent presidents:

Tone of Trump coverage

The media are setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president. No president in recent history is even close. Note that the media were mostly cheerleaders for President Obama.


Anything Bothering You?

23 May 2017 /
Brushing teeth

“Anything new?” the dental hygienist asks. “Anything bothering you?”

“Oh my god yes,” I reply. “The media coverage of Trump, for one thing.”

“I meant with your teeth,” she says.

“Oh my teeth are fine.”


The Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media

17 May 2014 /

Via The American Prospect, a left-leaning publication:

http://prospect.org/article/unbearable-whiteness-liberal-media


Why Aren’t Women Interested in Computer Science?

30 Nov 2013 /
The Big Bang Theory

According to this recently published research paper, women aren’t interested in computer science because of media portrayals like “The Big Bang Theory,” in which technologists are depicted as socially awkward, interested in science fiction and video games and physically unattractive.

If that seems like a compelling line of reasoning, you can read a more complete write-up in this WSJ.com article.

What I’ve never been able to figure out is why people are so interested in why women aren’t interested in computer science . . .


Rara Avis: Female Republicans and Tax-Paying Democrats

30 Aug 2012 /

Here’s a headline from NBC News coverage of the RNC:

Women share their reasons for being at the Republican National Convention

NBC does a lot of editorializing in their “news” coverage.

I propose the following headline for next week’s DNC:

Taxpayers share their reasons for being at the Democratic National Convention


You Don’t Count, You’re Not on TV

16 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

There’s this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught up in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what’s immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what’s right around them is unimportant. And that’s why they’re lonely. You see it in their faces. First the little flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you’re just a kind of an object. You don’t count. You’re not what they’re looking for. You’re not on TV.


Fair or Balanced

10 Oct 2010 /
James Randi

What needs changing is the way the media deals with the conflicting claims of science and pseudoscience. You can’t be “fair and balanced.” You can only be fair or balanced. To be fair is to tell the truth; to be balanced is to tell a truth, tell a lie, and then let the public determine which is which — and this, of course, isn’t fair to anyone. People are busy! They have jobs to attend, children to raise, hobbies to pursue. They can’t go out and investigate every last crazy claim. They deserve a media unashamed of telling the best truths it can.


Not in My Backyard

1 Oct 2010 /
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (Joe the Plumber) h...

James Taranto on press coverage of President Obama’s Backyard chats:

What’s most telling about these encounters is the absence of fear on the part of the citizens challenging Obama. In October 2008, in his own Ohio neighborhood, “Joe the Plumber” confronted the future president and objected to his tax-hike plans. Obama revealingly replied that he was eager to “spread the wealth around,” and the media pounced–on Joe. He’s not really a plumber! Joe is his middle name! Who knows how history might have been changed if the media had been as aggressive in investigating Obama’s background?

But now, it seems, the lesson of Joe the Plumber has been lost. Citizens feel free to criticize Obama with impunity. The reporters who wrote these stories don’t even mention the names of the critics, much less conduct opposition research against them on Obama’s behalf.


Dying Media

17 Oct 2009 /

It is bizarre that liberals who celebrate the unruly demonstrations of our youth would malign or impugn the motivation of today’s protestors with opposing views.

The mainstream media’s failure to honestly cover last month’s mass demonstration in Washington, D.C. was a disgrace. The focus on anti-Obama placards (which were no worse than the rabid anti-LBJ, anti-Reagan or anti-Bush placards of leftist protests), combined with the grotesque attempt to equate criticism of Obama with racism, simply illustrated why the old guard TV networks and major urban daily newspapers are slowly dying. Only a simpleton would believe what they say.


Welcome to “The Obama Show”

24 Jun 2009 /

During the eight years of the Bush administration, liberal outlets such as the Huffington Post often accused the White House of planting questioners in news conferences to ask preplanned questions. But here was Obama fielding a preplanned question asked by a planted questioner — from the Huffington Post.


Goofus and Gallant

23 Jun 2009 /

President Bush was unreflective and cocky for playing golf amidst serious world events.

President Obama’s “frequent golf outings reflect a cool self-confidence.”


Nut Cases on the Right vs. Nut Cases on the Left

15 Apr 2009 /

Liberalism . . . has been reduced to an elitist set of rhetorical formulas, which posit the working class as passive, mindless victims in desperate need of salvation by the state. Individual rights and free expression, which used to be liberal values, are being gradually subsumed to worship of government power. . . .

For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent. The nut cases on the right are on the uneducated fringe, but on the left they sport Ivy League degrees. I’m not kidding — there are some real fruitcakes out there, and some of them are writing for major magazines.


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