We Don’t Need No Thought Control

It never fails.  Someone gets in a discussion (yes, on Facebook. Where else? It’s where the fossilized stupidity of ages past has come to die and decay, forming a substratum not unlike oil, but far less useful.  Well, unless you’re a blogger in need of post ideas.) about some of the latest misdeeds of the press, like say CNN’s bizarre pivot from all Russia all the Time to threatening posters for funny memes (Yes, of course I can barely resist the GIF posts when I see that.  Unfortunately they take more time than writing.) and someone comes on and laments the days when the media was “objective.”

This is when I’d dent my desk with my head, except I have one of those standing desks that’s made of plastic which pops right back up.  Good thing too.

I too would love the mythical times when kings were just, ordained by G-d and pulled the sword from the stone.  They are as real as the days of “honest” media.

Look, take it from someone who went through journalistic training.  EVERY good journalist (a minority as in all other professions) TRIES to be unbiased.  This is relatively (but only relatively) easy when writing about the incident on first and main where a dog bit a man.  It is far less convenient/easy when writing about a politician who embezzled something.  And since politics touches everything these days, the result of the media’s obsession with makign the personal political, it’s becoming impossible to report ANYTHING objectively, including the dog/man incident.  I mean, do you want to get mobbed by PETA? What about people who love leash laws/  What about the lobby to eliminate pit bulls?

Having training in journalism, and friends in the profession, I can tell you those “great” long ago times when all newspapers spoke with a unified voice, the narrative made sense and “everyone agreed” on what was sane and sensible, were anything but bipartisan, or impartial.

What they were was UNIFIED and totalitarian, in the sense that your entire media experience came from a very small number of people, who mutually vetted each other, and who had all been educated in the same colleges and believed the same things.

Two of the things most of them believed was that the purpose of journalism was to improve the world (not just to report news) by leading people in the direction of justice and peace, and all that good stuff that progressivism promised (but never delivers.)

In the days where to reach an audience you needed a newspaper gig, to step out of that line got you labelled a bad person or a right wing extremist with the same fervor that a gonzo group of women, men, all colors and shapes, and very definitely libertarian, if anything got labeled nazis, white supremacists and sexist and homophobic by the national press, when they dared question the holy science fiction zeitgeist.

So no one did.

I will not go into the several media misdeeds from that time of “unified” opinion.  Ask any veteran about the Tet Offensive and the Vietnam betrayal by the media.

I’m simply going to say, like Heinlein did, at about my age, that I’ve never seen any event I was witness to reported with ANY degree of accuracy.  In fact, often they are completely and insanely wrong.  But the report fits the left wing “narrative” in which they are good and moral so there’s that.

Prior to the industrial era, and the unification of newspapers and the distribution of some of those throughout the nation, shaping the opinion of all the smaller wanna bes, media was gloriously, loudly, obviously biased.

Stands to reason. Being humans we can’t hope for “no bias.”  No, listen to me, it’s impossible.  My husband and I are as close as two human beings can be, and have been married for over 30 years.  Yet if we both witness something and describe it, our different backgrounds and natures come to the fore.

So pre-mass-communications, each newspaper had its slant.  And readers could choose to read in their comfort zone or out of it.

In the end, though, they knew what slant the paper had, which is the next best thing to the impossible “unbiased.”  You can then discount the slant if you wish.

The new media is taking us there again, and it’s a beautiful thing.  It means that dissident voices can be heard again, and those in positions of power have to be afraid of public opinion, even if they are anointed “progressives.”  It’s the only thing that keeps the progressives in check.

Stop lamenting the days of “objective” news reporting.  There was never any such thing.  There was “unified” news reporting, which is almost for sure a give away that someone is playing with it.  There is no such thing as an unbiased human being.  There never was, there never will be.

Revel in the multitude of voices and perspectives.  It means you’re more likely to be able to find out the truth.


262 thoughts on “We Don’t Need No Thought Control

  1. and all that good stuff that progressivism promised (but never delivers.)

    “We’ll deliver your Utopia in 30 centuries or less, or else your apocalypse is FREE!!!”

    1. Sir? I would like to return this Utopia you sold me, it seems to be faulty. All wrong-think diversity of thought keeps dying off.

    2. The utopia is always in the future, or occasionally in the past (although then it is usually admitted it was not perfect, just better than what we have now). Like a rainbow it seems to be something you can only see and admire from afar, but never reach and never touch.

      Now if we all only got wise to that, and just settled for admiring instead of trying to reach it (any version). They can be quite pleasant to look at. From afar.

      1. Plus they are rainbows not everyone can see. Even if my ideal world could be created I am not sure I would want it. Too many people I would miss would hate it so much as to not go.

        1. That just means you need to bring them and properly reeducate them. Isn’t that how they do it.

          1. I have more respect for my friends as individual people…and some of it isn’t even “wrong” by standard definitions of wrong just different tastes.

      2. “Jam tomorrow.”

        Incidentally, I have actually driven through and under rainbows in a couple of unusual situations. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but given the right combination of misty air and light angles, you can. (Specifically, the Cherry Creek Reservoir dam in the Denver area and I-5 north of Yreka on a meteorologically interesting day.)

    3. There were some fairly-conservative newspapers, once upon a time. I’ve read clips from them. Granted, not many, and they didn’t grow into major chains.

      1. In the 60s the family that owned the San Diego papers hired a retired Marine general to be the publisher. Once I started reading more than the front page and the funnies my mom changed the morning paper to the Los Angeles Times (which at that time did not have a separate San Diego edition) because she caught me reading the editorial page and she didn’t want my mind poisoned with all of that right wing stuff.

            1. I’ve got that T-shirt! I remember lamenting after Reagan’s win, “if we survive the next four years, we’ll be pretty well off.” We did, and pretty much did well, and I switched my party affiliation to the Stupid Party.

              I was in California in ’82, and Tom Brady’s enthusiastic embrace of Proposition 8, AKA: “You don’t really need all those handguns” convinced me to vote R. It’s been more or less R since, though my congress critter didn’t get my vote, because GOPe.

  2. Had something like this discussion last night with the family. Back in the day they did a better job of counterfeiting disinterest.

    1. But the Broadcast Journalism class I had in 1973 taught me that the way to see if I was doing news right, even if I was at a station that just did “rip and read” from the wire services, was to compare my story choices (excluding purely local stories) to the front page of the New York Times.

    2. The real reason smart phones is so hated is because of the phrase:
      “Really? I don’t remember it that way, let me look it up.”

      1. Sure. And then you run into, “If it’s not online, it didn’t happen.”

        I run into that with engineering stuff. Over the years I acquired a nice collection of papers and books that are primary resources, written by the people who did the original work. Modern engineers use textbooks, which are derivatives of summaries of abstracts of… oops, substantial errors seem to have made it into What Is Known over the years… It’s not all that unusual for a paper to be cited for one thing when it says the exact opposite.

        “Show my sources? You’re the one at an engineering school, try that “library” place and they’ll get a copy for you. You can probably get them to do that via their web page. Or are you too lazy to even do that?”

        (unfortunately, normally yes)

        1. Oh, goodness, source creep!

          Definitely always check the primary source if you can– and they keep adding more and more of those primary sources to the internet! ❤ ❤ ❤

        2. I keep trying to explain to my students that they don’t know enough to know if they can trust what they find on the ‘Net. And every year they still get chomped in the buttinski.

          1. ….suddenly I feel much less bad about my frequent protest that I don’t know enough about a subject to research it.

  3. Personally, I miss newspapers with open and disclosed bias. The town I went to school in had the Republican and the Democrat.

    1. I enjoyed going through the archives and seeing which papers were Democrat, which were Republican, and who was Free Soil or Populist. It was right there, either on the masthead or above the editorial. And whenever a different party won the city or county election, their paper got all the government business, leading to the other party’s paper decrying nepotism and government favoritism. 🙂

        1. Grew up in Philadelphia when the city had four major papers (Inquirer, Daily News, Bulletin and Tribune) and a several independents.

          There were two majors when I moved into the area where I now live. For those who remember him, this is where Tony Snow cut his editorial teeth.

        2. Cities??? Lady, I’m so old I not only remember when towns* had two papers, I’ve delivered both while not yet in High School!

          *communities of less than 100,000

          1. Sounds intensely urban to me.

            Only a handful of the 75 counties in my state have a population that large. Only the capital (Little Rock) is over 100,000. The next largest is 86,000. There are probably a dozen entire counties with populations under 10,000. And they think it’s getting crowded…

            1. I think he’s pointing out that people will talk about “cities” and then get corrected because they’re “tiny” and have less than 100k.

                1. Still too many folks. Mine had about 300 or so students K-12,and still does for a county of ~900 sq miles and about 1900people total.

            2. Imagine my surprise when i went and checked my local area, to find that my hometown now has a population of over 15,000. When I was a wee lad (I did wee a lot – oh, uh, never mind 🙂 ) in the late 60s/early 70s, the population was below 500. The county I live in is currently estimated at just over 125,000.

              Wow, we’re making the big times!

          2. Look at Chronicals of America, Newspapers.com, or NewspaperArchive.com. In the 1800’s, once you got enough for a church, a newsprinter would move in. Towns of a couple hundred had at least a weekly and the county seat would likely run a daily. Regional newspapers might serve an area with 100,000 but usually less, especially out in the boonies.

        3. When I reached greater Cincinnati in the 90’s, there were still two daily papers. The Enquirer was the morning Republican paper, and the Post was the afternoon Democrat paper, though they shared a joint printing facility for 30 years, until the Post’s 2007 demise.

        4. In our small neck of the woods, we had the “Delta Distorter” and the “Daily Stress”, as well as local delivery of the Detroit Free Press. I think the DFP had a small local section for the central U.P.

          1. At minimum, the editorial pages usually differed significantly. Which stories got how much coverage often varied, and sometimes even the slant.

        5. Growing up, Chicago had 4 (yeah, I just admitted growing up there). The Tribune was rock-solid R, while the Field papers (Daily News and Sun-Times) were pretty left. The Trib’s afternoon version:L Harald-American, with other names later on, was pretty conservative, but died first of the bunch.

          I was long gone by the time the Trib went Blue..

          1. What part of the city? My wife is a Southside Irish girl…79th & Troop St., St. Margaret’s parish

            1. We lived in the NW side (Harlem and Higgins) til I was 2, then we did a 6 year stint near Detroit. When my dad got transferred back to Illinois, we moved to the suburbs (near LaGrange). My mom’s parents lived near H & H for about 45 years–right on the flight path to O’hare.

    2. Where I live there’s one paper, which does not state its bias, but the NYT editorials it prints surely do. And their pro-Dem and anti-GOP articles and columns.

  4. I’m having trouble understanding what the Russian “interference” with the 16 election is supposed to consist of. Creating votes? But the Dems are the master of that. I think it’s just someone found a few blogs and sites of apparently Russian origin that were against Hillary. “Hillary will not give you enough vodka! Or potatoes!” that sort of thing, to deceive the American masses.

    1. It was necessary for the apparatus to a) explain why Her Royal Clintoness lost and b) how Trump’s “victory” does not make him president. Thus they made a call to the Eighties to reclaim their foreign policy.

      You remember the Eighties’ foreign policy? When Reagan was a dangerous simpleton certain to destroy the world in a nuclear conflagration through his confrontational approach to the USSR? When Lyin’ of the Senate Ted Kennedy colluded with Russian leadership to get Mondale elected (you could look it up but don’t bother looking for it in the MSM news of that era)?

      1. Yes, in twenty years they will be lamenting that the Republican president is not the sage and prudent Trump.

        1. Heck, they’ll say that no matter the year gap post Trump- be it right after, 4 years, or 8.

    2. ALL of us are having trouble understanding it. Like many, many mythical creatures it has different descriptions. But even relatively smart progressives swallow it all, including but not limited to that votes were manufactured.
      Considering their panic at Trump examining voter roles, maybe it’s projection?

      1. Like many, many mythical creatures it has different descriptions.

        And if you thought human adolescence was confusing, imagine a mythical’s with various descriptions one is expected to live up (or down) to.. and often conflicting descriptions at that. For what it’s worth, the answer is the same: not worrying about what others expect, just be the best you you can be. (Not ‘Best ewe, you can be’ unless, of course, you happen to be a female ovine.)

      2. Local papers here now seem to be hinting at treason, or some such, with the junior’s actions. He met somebody or something? Or was it dad? He also met somebody. And seems to be getting way too well along with Putin. Or something.

        The comment sections on the online editions are even more inflamed, right now. Half seem to be expecting some sort of legal actions any minute now.

        Wake me up, somebody, if something actually happens. This is getting too tedious to follow. :/

          1. If they keep this up for the whole next 4 years this is going to way more boring. And frustrating. Heaven help us if he gets a second term.

            BTW, can you imagine what might happen if he successfully managed to groom his daughter to become the first female president of your country? 😀

            1. (OK, 3 and 1/2 years now… it just feels as if the election was just yesterday, the way the news keep going about things maybe sorta kinda connected to them and on anything even a little bit hinting at their it-has-to-have-been-an-election-fraud -obsession)

            2. His daughter, and his wife, and really him for much of his life, were/are not conservatives in the USA sense. The daughter is supposedly somewhat leftwing but hey, if they create another fine conservative attacking her because she is committing the crime of being related to Trump . . . so be it.
              Trump bragged about “Vote for a Winner” congratulating 0bama for his 2008 win. He gave the max to the far leftoid governor of Virginia, and that was not long before he jumped up and announced he was running as a Republican.There is a long and sundry list as to why so many “Never Trump” folk come from the right, and not all are Establishement Repubs. I was certainly not in favor of him as the nominee, but hey, better than Hillary, I figured.
              So far, he has surpassed my expectations.
              That he causes apoplexy on the left, is just a side benefit.

              1. Keeping Hillary out of the White House and putting Gorsuch on the Court make Trump an resounding success. Everything beyond that – including driving the Democrats to raving lunacy – is gravy.

        1. And yes, pretty much nothing about what Trump (and family) has perhaps done otherwise, except for meeting some people and being in some meetings and trying to ruin American healthcare and dooming the Earth to burn because something. And he of course tweets a lot. But otherwise he seems to be doing nothing, as far as local media in my country is concerned. They are pretty obsessed with him, but only as far as his possible impeachment is concerned. That and what perhaps happened during the election. Because it should have been the woman who won, I suppose.

          1. Per the ranking Democrat on the House Goose Chase Committee* it appears Donald Trump, Jr. has violated his “oath of citizenship.” What that oath might be or when it might have been taken is as yet unknown.

            Huns are hereby invited to imagine Democrat and MSM reactions to any Republican, such as Paul Ryan or Ted Cruz, accusing a Democrat of violating such oath.

            *Admittedly the technical title of that committee is “House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence” but in thirty-five years of close observation I’ve yet to see any sign of intelligence in that chamber.

              1. Domestic. Wild Geese, Irish or otherwise, have to be smart enough to survive in the wild. I’m not sure some Congresscritters rise to that level, on either side of the aisle.

                1. “Survive in the wild,” heh.

                  And now I’m fantasizing about taking a few random Congresscritters and dropping them off in the wilderness somewhere with a pocketknife and a book of matches. “You’ve got a week to make it back to civilization if you want to keep your seat. If you don’t make it in a week, we’ll send out a search party.” I’d bet just about all of them would be bear poop in three days, max.

                  1. How about we drop them off in the middle of the ocean with a large rock and a boat anchor instead?

                1. Haven’t all of Trump’s wives been immigrants? Or at least junior’s mom too? Maybe they got confused and assume that means he had to become a citizen instead of being born one, considering all the other stuff which is now getting printed as serious and worthy of consideration that might fit right in.

                  Or they are just daydreaming. As if something like that might enable them to kick the whole family out of country, or at least enable them to raise some doubts as to whether dad was eligible for his job after all. Or something.

                  They do seem to be awfully confused whatever it is right now anyway. Or trying to confuse everybody else, maybe. Hard to make any sense of those news at least.

                  1. They also talked about kicking Trump out of the country (after impeaching him, of course). So, I think their notion of “citizen” might be a little … off. (Given they support unfettered, non-assimilated immigration, there’s good evidence for this.)

            1. Really bothers me that the ranking moron, err, Democrat on the House Committee is ignorant of the fact that Don Jr. is a natural born American citizen and not required to take any oath of allegiance. Nor has he been required to take any oaths that I know of since he doesn’t hold any official or appointed positions in our government. He’s probably had to sign a bunch of non-disclosure agreements to see and hear classified material, but that’s not apropos to the issue at hand.

              Considering the content of the current oath of allegiance uttered by new citizens, Progressives might want to dump that line of attack or find that said newly minted citizens deciding that the Progressives are the true domestic enemies of the Constitution.

              “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

              I do have a problem with that phrase, “I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law”, which sounds suspiciously like legalization of state slavery.

              1. entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty
                Pfft. The law doesn’t even support that, as “dual citizenship” is rampant.

                And, I concur on the “slavery” comment.

                1. I do not have dual citizenship. It is against the law for a Us citizen, but winked at. I however sent my passport back to Portugal, with a picture of me shaking my sandals.

        2. May be a reflection of what is in American media.

          There’s a hypothesis that coverage can be tested against.

          Covering the most incredible bizarre line of attack first gets the extreme allies and extremes enemies talking and polarized. When that starts getting quiet, a slightly more credible story along the same line of attack gets introduced. Being slightly more credible, it pulls a few more people from the disinterested center into the polarized discussion. It may end up with factions more polarized than if the most credible stuff was disclosed first.

          If you try to look at it from a paranoid counterintelligence perspective, of course there are reasons to be concerned about Trump. The mothers of his children grew up in the soviet union, and his current father in law was a communist official. Obama and the Clintons are also concerning from a paranoid counterintelligence perspective. The Clintons may have been outright economic and political saboteurs incited by the soviet union. Obama’s nuclear policy is heavily soviet agitprop, and in the past he was part of their nuclear agitprop influence network.

          The truth? I’m not certain. But by media standards, applied evenhandedly to everyone, anyone who does not only wish for the complete extermination of the Russians must be a Russian spy.

          China and Iran are also enemies were intelligence is concerned. The Clintons had ties to China in addition to Russia, and the Obama administration is deeply interesting where Iran is concerned.

        3. Summary of objective claims I’ve seen so far:

          Trump Jr. is contacted, maybe by a friend or associate, with word that a lawyer (who is Russian) has evidence that Hillary is getting illegal foreign aid for her campaign.

          Trump Jr. goes to a meeting for this claimed information.

          Attractive female lawyer shows up, goes “gosh, what was it you were told this was about? No! I’m all about stopping adoptions of Russian kids!”

          Trump Jr. round-files the memory as an activist trying to get facetime with a candidate by claiming something that would actually get them to show up.

          1. Streiff on redstate is claiming that the Russkie has ties to the Democratic oppo firm which produced the Trump dossier, and apparently wasn’t in the country legally at the time of the meeting.

              1. But it would make sense if this is the next step in “more credible story that still doesn’t stand up well to intense scrutiny”. Now I’ve got to wonder how much of “Trump stole the election with Russian help” is in fact being promoted by the Russians to weaken the US. We can be pretty sure that they are brazen enough for that.

            1. Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff addressed the same question today:

              According to her sworn declaration, former Russian prosecutor Natalia Veselnitskaya was denied a U.S. visa to travel to the United States from Russia to participate in litigation. Although she was subsequently granted immigration parole to make the trip, her parole was set to expire on January 7, 2016. Her request to extend was denied on January 4, 2016.*


              Veselnitskaya used the meeting with Trump, Jr. to lobby against the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that blacklisted Russians who were determined to have engaged in certain human rights violations. Veselnitskaya’s role in the Russian lobbying effort to undermine this Act was later cited in a complaint alleging that she and others promoting the same cause failed to register as Russian agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

              … [T]he same complaint cited Fusion GPS as also lobbying against the Magnitsky Act without having registered as Russian agents. Fusion GPS is the firm hired originally by an anti-Trump Republican and then retained by Democrat backers to develop the bogus anti-Trump dossier.

              The complaint called Veselnitskaya, Fusion GPS, and Rinat Akhmetshin — reportedly a former Russian GRU counterintelligence officer — “the cohort of Russian agents allegedly involved in the ongoing effort to undermine the Magnitsky Act.” That Act of Congress, by the way, is named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian attorney who, after reporting large-scale Russian corruption, was arrested and died in custody under suspicious circumstances.

              Is it just a coincidence that Veselnitskaya was aligned with a group that was developing a dossier on Donald Trump?
              [END EXCERPT]

              It would seem that if anybody is colluding with the Russians t undermine confidence in American elections it would be the Democrats and their agents among the MSM.

              *From a letter Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has written to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

        4. There are those ranting that who are unmoved by getting the Constitution quoted at them. Indeed, I read with my own eyes an assertion that while it was not treason by statute, those patriotic Americans who love the Constitution and laws would regard it as such.

      3. There is the possibility that their panic is well founded – given how close many states are, even a small margin of fraud could win the elections.

        Take that away and they may never again win anything at a national level.

    3. Pooty poot was mad at Hillary for iirc campaigning against someone he supported in Ukraine. So he had his men hack into the DNC, release them to WL, And start viral stories about her. Trump was aware of all of this and either got data directly or supported it.

      It’s not like any other nations were providing information or support for das furheress. They just gave money for the great philanthropic work of the foundation that paid all her close relatives and many advisors.

        1. But that’s what all 170 intelligence gathering agencies said. You must be a Russian plant only telling fake nooooz.

          Just giving the storyline they are using.

            1. To be fair, Clement Vallandigham managed to shoot himself in the back fatally, while demonstrating how come his client was innocent of murder, because the victim had shot himself in the back. (The lawyer version of “Hold my beer and watch this.”)

              But he was a Copperhead, and apparently fairly flexible, too.

        2. From the stories at the time, it sounded like a *lot* of groups hacked the DNC. The Girl Scouts probably hacked Hillary’s server…

      1. I’ve heard from multiple sources that there were a lot of attempts to hack the RNC which failed, due to not having someone do the Total Freaking Idiot Ball on their password.

        1. Ya. Same. But it just means the Russians did it to cover their tracks. They weren’t trying as hard

          1. Obama Administration black ops:

            How Obama’s White House weaponized media against Trump
            Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Adam Schiff have both castigated Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for his handling of the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. They should think twice. The issue that has recently seized Nunes is of vital importance to anyone who cares about fundamental civil liberties.

            The trail that Nunes is following will inevitably lead back to a particularly significant leak. On Jan. 12, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that “according to a senior U.S. government official, (General Mike) Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29.”

            From Nunes’s statements, it’s clear that he suspects that this information came from NSA intercepts of Kislyak’s phone. An Obama official, probably in the White House, “unmasked” Flynn’s name and passed it on to Ignatius.

            Regardless of how the government collected on Flynn, the leak was a felony and a violation of his civil rights. But it was also a severe breach of the public trust. When I worked as an NSC staffer in the White House, 2005-2007, I read dozens of NSA surveillance reports every day. On the basis of my familiarity with this system, I strongly suspect that someone in the Obama White House blew a hole in the thin wall that prevents the government from using information collected from surveillance to destroy the lives of the citizens whose privacy it is pledged to protect.

            The leaking of Flynn’s name was part of what can only be described as a White House campaign to hype the Russian threat and, at the same time, to depict Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate. On Dec. 29, Obama announced sanctions against Russia as retribution for its hacking activities. From that date until Trump’s inauguration, the White House aggressively pumped into the media two streams of information: one about Russian hacking; the other about Trump’s Russia connection. In the hands of sympathetic reporters, the two streams blended into one.

            A report that appeared the day after Obama announced the sanctions shows how. On Dec. 30, the Washington Post reported on a Russian effort to penetrate the electricity grid by hacking into a Vermont utility, Burlington Electric Department. After noting the breach, the reporters offered a senior administration official to speculate on the Russians’ motives. Did they seek to crash the system, or just to probe it?

            This infrastructure hack, the story continued, was part of a broader hacking campaign that included intervention in the election. The story then moved to Trump: “He…has spoken highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin, despite President Obama’s suggestion that the approval for hacking came from the highest levels of the Kremlin.”

            The national media mimicked the Post’s reporting. But there was a problem: the hack never happened. It was a false alarm — triggered, it eventually became clear, by Obama’s hype.

            On Dec. 29, the DHS and FBI published a report on Russian hacking, which showed the telltale signs of having been rushed to publication. “At every level this report is a failure,” said cyber security expert Robert M. Lee. “It didn’t do what it set out to do, and it didn’t provide useful data. They’re handing out bad information.”

            Especially damaging were the hundreds of Internet addresses, supposedly linked to Russian hacking, that the report contained. The FBI and DHS urged network administrators to load the addresses into their system defenses. Some of the addresses, however, belong to platforms that are widely used by the public, including Yahoo servers. At Burlington Electric, an unsuspecting network administrator dutifully loaded the addresses into the monitoring system of the utility’s network. When an employee checked his email, it registered on the system as if Russian hackers were trying to break in.


            Ignatius used the leak to deepen speculation about collusion between Putin and Trump: “What did Flynn say (to Kislyak),” Ignatius asked, “and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” The mere fact that Flynn’s conversations were being monitored deepened his appearance of guilt. If he was innocent, why was the government monitoring him?

            It should not have been. He had the right to talk to in private — even to a Russian ambassador. Regardless of what one thinks about him or Trump or Putin, this leak should concern anyone who believes that we must erect a firewall between the national security state and our domestic politics. The system that allowed it to happen must be reformed. At stake is a core principle of our democracy: that elected representatives control the government, and not vice versa.

            1. “How Obama’s White House weaponized media against Trump”

              That’s like saying I weaponized my cats against string.

    4. At least it has a point. It may be over-inflated hyperbole, but at least the basic charge is understandable, and might be serious if true.

      Contrast that with the presidential election of 2012, where “Binders!” somehow became a horrible slam against Romney.

    5. The news media does a great job of obfuscating it. The impression they seem to want to create is that Russians somehow hacking into all the voting machines and added lots of extra votes for Trump. This is false for a couple of reasons.

      1) If the Russians had really done this, they would have added enough votes to tip the popular vote into Trump’s favor as well.

      2 and more importantly) There has been no evidence of any tampering with the voting machines themselves that has been reported.

      I work in IT and have an interest in infosec (securing computer systems against hackers for the laypeople here). So I find (and get referred to by friends) a lot of hacking stories. There were a few major incidents in 2016 that were traced back to Russia– although the reports I read either didn’t mention, or couldn’t prove, that the Russian government itself was behind it. It seems more likely to be the work of Russian civilians who hack for money. These are the big 3 Russian hacking events.

      1) Several states during the summer reported Russian hackers had gotten into their voter registration data and stolen identity information (names, addresses, etc., possibly SSNs but I can’t recall if that was specifically mentioned, and I don’t feel like digging back for them). This was in separate systems from the voting machines themselves which are not connected to the internet to prevent hacking attempts. This is mostly concerning because people’s identities could be stolen for monetary gain just like when Target got hacked. But the media at the time spun it like Russians were stealing people’s votes.

      2) Russians hacked into the DNC servers and stole a bunch of information and released it on wikileaks. This is where we got the Podesta emails and so on that became a big deal, and, the media argues, swayed the election in favor of Trump. This is really the source of the Russian interference in the election stories, since releasing that stuff, could, in theory, have swayed some undecided voters to vote for Trump, or have swayed some democrat voters into not showing up.

      3) Russians attempted to hack into the RNC servers, but were unsuccessful. Presumably they would have released the same sort of stuff to wikileaks had they gotten in, but the RNC had better infosec procedures than the DNC had so the Russians didn’t get in. This has been spun into the ‘collusion’ story, since, the media feels, clearly if the DNC was hacked, the RNC should have been hacked too. And the failure on the part of the Russians to hack the RNC was clearly due to collusion between Trump and Russia.

      There were some other events last year (and some this year) as a lot of Russians and Chinese (and other hackers in other countries) make a lot of money off of the identities and information they can steal from compromised computer systems, but those are the core ones that seem to be where the media stance of Russian interference and Trump collusion come from.

      As an aside, I always tell people that a good rule of thumb is to assume your identity is already in the hands of hackers. Your credit card number will get used by someone somewhere, and the only real protection is to watch your own card and bank statements and keep track of things yourself. Credit monitoring only gets you so far.

      1. The layman doesn’t understand that email is inherently insecure, and how easily lots of people could have gotten their hands on the Podesta etc emails. It reflected badly on the DNC people that they didn’t restrict the damaging communications to secure lines of communication. Especially considering that Clinton was already accused of putting information that needed to be secure on insecure lines of communication, and that under the prior administration there had been a scandalously high number of intelligence and information security breaches.

        It is likely that few probable Clinton voters were very aware of the DNC leaks, and would not have changed their votes if they had been aware.

        To have really swung the election, the Russians would have needed a better grasp of Americans than Clinton’s NYC bunch had. Okay, maybe that isn’t very hard, but I’d suspect domestic sources before foreign.

        There were allegations of Russian twitterbot ‘Alt-Right’ proponents interfering in the primaries. However, there’s the usual question of voter access. The mainstream media was heavily promoting Trump during the primaries, would have had more access to voters, and perhaps are Russian stooges.

        This is perhaps the real face of the much vaunted future Information Warfare.

        1. It reflected badly on the DNC people that they didn’t restrict the damaging communications to secure lines of communication.

          Be fair, they average like 60 years old.

          My mom is a techo-geek, and a paranoid conservative, and STILL has trouble with some of this stuff.

        2. Email is inherently insecure,

          My father once explained it as email is like a postcard, and everyone who passes it along (i.e. The servers through which it is routed) can read what’s on it.

          Encrypting the email is like putting a letter in an envelope. So one who passes it to it’s destination knows what the contents are.

        3. This is Hillary we’re talking about. The same Hillary that should be in federal prison for mishandling classified docs.

      2. and more importantly) There has been no evidence of any tampering with the voting machines themselves that has been reported.

        Can you imagine being the poor SOB charged with checking machines in KNOW DEMOCRAT STRONGHOLDS for voter fraud?

        High holy cow.

      3. Several states during the summer reported Russian hackers had gotten into their voter registration data and stolen identity information (names, addresses, etc., possibly SSNs but I can’t recall if that was specifically mentioned, and I don’t feel like digging back for them).

        Hubs has similar interest/knowledge, and has been ranting about how it was VOTER ROLES that were “compromised.”

        So they know your name, your address, whatever identifying information your state holds, and if you voted…but not how you voted.

        *dryly* I at least know my Washington voting information is safe, they didn’t connect it to my SSN….

        Yep, in the sense of “making publicly known information that one side wishes was secret” the Russians are totally freakign guilty of interfering in the election.
        Just like we are anytime we do a Get Out The Vote thing with factual information in foreign countries.

        3) *is busy laughing at how the Dumb Ignorant Techno-Phobe Evils had better tech sec.*
        3)B; it’s possible the RNC was actually a hacked, and it was so boring/useless the hackers didn’t share it.
        To be fair, the Podesta stuff WAS insanely juicy.

        On the aside– yeah. I had a clearance, my husband has a clearance, my brother has a clearance, my dad had a clearance, I don’t have a CLUE how many of the Gazillion Cousins have a clearance… China Haz Gotz my info, thank you morons in charge of the check system.

    6. My own theory of the crime is that Russia was out to sew chaos and doubt. The goal was not so much to influence the election but to be SEEN to have influenced the election enough that no matter who won a large chunk of the American population would scream that the results were illegitimate.

      Hillary was already covered. There were the big Russian contributions to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees to Bill at a time when Hillary’s State Department was approving turning over 20% of US uranium production to Russia. But quite aside from that, there were already plenty of people with active Clinton Derangement Syndrome (plus some with cases in remission from the 90s.) It’s entirely likely that Russia has everything that was on her insecure private server, and could leak that at any time.

      So they had Hillary covered and had a head start on Trump because basically, every member of the family except the 13-year-old has done business in Russia at some time. The pre-election leaks of the DNC e-mails being traced back to Russia was a bit of pump priming.

      Trump, while in the process of winning the election, said and did enough things to create Trump Derangement Syndrome, first on the Right and then on the Left (though the Left’s case didn’t go critical until November 9.) Not being a politician, and largely surrounded by non-politicians, luring them into stupid stuff (like Don Jr’s meeting) was trivial.

      So Russia had all of their bases covered. No matter who won, Russia won.

      1. Putin’s apparently been very happy with Obama’s weakness. He would have wanted that state of affairs to continue. I think that after the primaries, he concluded that none of the possibilities were a threat, and that he could afford to obviously undermine them at his leisure.

      2. You could’ve pushed me over with a feather when Trump actually won– not just “got in a not-laugh-in-his-face range,” but won.

        The theory that any Russian involvement was in terms of “make the REALLY OBVIOUS WINNER look bad” makes a lot of sense.

        1. I remember a feeling of pleasant relief and mild surprise. (I had voted and then religiously stayed away from all news media until the next morning.)

          1. Being in Washington, I voted long before election night, happened to stay up late… and dang near fainted when I heard Bryan Suits in California talking about how holy heck, wait a sec, the Hillary Tsunami wasn’t happening…. dozed off, then heard him saying “Hillary just did a “get back here tomorrow,” followed by a “Trump just announced Hillary conceded” thing.

    7. I’ve never been entirely clear on which candidate the Russians were supposed to be backing (or opposing.)

      But if they’re responsible for the Wicked Witch not becoming Madame President, we ought to at least send them a “Thank You” card…

    8. So, everyone knows Republicans are insanely afraid of Russians…in fact more than they fear women, gays, and brown people (but not as much as trans people because current hot minority).

      Hillary lost which is unpossible, but rubes don’t know what is unpossible so they have to be convinced that Hillary losing is the worst thing evar.

      Given Republicans are insanely afraid of Russians if they belief that Russians elected Trump they will demand Trump be thrown out so Hillary becomes President because she came in second and that’s in the Constitution. (1).

      So, it is clear that the truth narrative (because some Math Guy who was totally a black Muslim lesbian who the Nazis killed in a camp and put his stuff out under some German name) proved that truth is stronger than proof or something like that because of the Narrative Incompleteness theorem that was the whole point of this big art and music book I carried around in the mid-80s but didn’t read because it was hard.

      So, that’s how Russia influenced the election.

      (1) In fact, if Trump is impeached expect cases being made to repeal the Eleventh Amendment and challenges in the courts to it being ratified. I was I was kidding, I’m not sure I am.

          1. Ugh, hit enter too soon.

            A very naive reading of Godel’s theorem is truth is stronger than proof given that any complete axiomatic system has an infinite number of undecidable proposition, mathematical statements that can’t be proven within the system so you can assume they are true or false. Each assumption creates a different mathematical system.

            I figured liberals who think they know everything would use “truth is stronger than proof” to justify Russia articles which have to be true to convince Rethugulicans to quit supporting Trump even if they lack evidence.

            I guess my joke was also incomplete.

      1. Actually, I expect the first attempt to involve “fruit of the poisonous tree” from the exclusionary rule.

  5. Well, unless you’re a blogger in need of post ideas.

    First decent reason I have seen for subjecting oneself to the insanity that thrives on Facebook, another reason to be happy I don’t blog.

    If I did blog I expect that The Spouse would put an end to it. Me with my face red, head spinning and steam rising from my ears does not make for a pleasant companion.

  6. Commenting on the title.

    Several years ago I read a review of a collection of stories on Utopias.

    The reviewer complained about how many of the stories involved mind control of some sort.

    Can’t remember if the review really thought utopias could happen without mind control or if he was mainly complaining about the “mind control”. 😦

    1. There is no mind control in Utopia. We are all very happy here. There is no mind control in Utopia. (smiles unsettlingly)

  7. I have been always bringing up the concept of a biased media. Some people just don’t get it or understand the myth of media being unbiased. Of course I blame Walter Cronkite for helping create it in the first place.

  8. Good post!

    People think of bias as if it is something that someone does on purpose. For the most part, it is not. Every bit of info that we receive (see, hear, etc.) is routed into our brains through a filter of past experience (expectations, beliefs, etc.) to give it context so that our brains are able to process the info. That colors the information whether we realize it or not.

    It is easy for someone to see another person’s bias when in conflicts with their own. It’s not so easy for someone to see their own bias, or the bias of someone with the same or similar views… since it just looks like “the truth”.

        1. Innocent bias is no problem, is rather a normal thing. Not innocent is the sort of activism that says the other guy shouldn’t get heard.

          I suppose it’s also “normal” for people whose fame & fortune depend on being louder than their predecessors to increase their activism and move toward suppressing their competitors, but I prefer a society that recognizes and deprecates those who go to extremes in doing so. That’s the balance that keeps civil society… civil.

      1. My point was more that bias is inevitable. Someone MIGHT get close, if they were completely honest with themselves. However even then it would be hard to discern one’s own bias from the real truth.

        As far as journolist. That wasn’t so much “bias” as outright anything-for-the-cause politicking in the guise of journalism. Which wasn’t really what my comment was about.

        1. Just having bias is not the issue. The one sided nature and cheerleading is. Normal bias when there is both sides can cancel out.

  9. …I’ve never seen any event I was witness to reported with ANY degree of accuracy.

    Yup, I have observed it myself.

    One of the times was when one of the local papers reported that the local school board had failed to discuss an important matter at their most recent meeting. I was sitting next to that reporter at that meeting when board did discuss the matter – at length.

    1. Well, I’ve read reported events that I knew for a fact never happened. And we’re not talking abut Men in Black here, either.

    2. Part of my job while deployed was ‘read news and inform the commander of things that might jump out and bite him’ since one of HIS jobs was to run interference for the people actually doing work. US news tends to lie by commission more readily than European. European news lies by omission and heavy spin. (US news will omit as well, but they’re more willing to make things up.) Many other countries news have only passing contact with what might be reality (but we’re not sure. They got ‘US troops’ and ‘Iraq’ right most of the time. Everything else was a toss up.)

      1. Tell me about it. I had to go to the Gatestone Institution page to find out where criminal assaults were being committed in Germany. Because the German media are not reporting attacks by “migrants.” Regular crimes of passion, drunken sprees, automotive stupidity leading to injury or death, yes. Political scandals sometimes. “Refugee” crimes (if committed by), no.

        1. Look at what’s been happening for years in every major US city, where race is not mentioned unless it’s white. Same kind of lie.

          1. …and with the predictable result: The unmentioned race/ethnicity/religion, instead of being protected from criticism, becomes the default assumed identity of the malefactors in any story that doesn’t specify otherwise.

            E.g. political dirty tricks? If the malefactor is named and doesn’t have an (R) after his name, these days we tend to assume he is a (D) and the media organ just isn’t saying.

            Expect the same to happen with European crime reports – any that don’t specify an obviously European name and/or “long time resident of Kologne” etc. will start to be assumed, as a default, to have been committed by an Islamist immigrant.

    3. My mom– who really didn’t need to be disillusioned, she’s a gentle destroyer of illusions– hit that point when she did a fact-packed letter to the editor….

      Which they edited to say the exact opposite, without any indication it had been edited, and the BLEEPING MORONS kept her name on it.

      As it happens, it was by email. The same issues with my hands that I have, mom has in spades, so we don’t write much by long hand.

      She printed out the emailed letter to the editor and hands it to people.

      Their circulation dropped a lot for that moronic choice.

    4. My first major journalism project was a after-action review on published news. Which is where my assumption that most news reports are wrong comes from. I decided not to join the field, but perhaps I should have. It would have been a hard road, but what isn’t?

      1. If they couldn’t have tempted or threatened you into selling out your integrity, they would have disemployed you.

        “The have a right to know!” [only what we choose to tell them]

  10. Even if the Russians did “interfere”, so what? At least they used their own money.

    So long as “organized labor” exists to extort contributions to the Democrats from their opponents, the Democrats have nothing to teach anybody about fairness, except as a bad example.

    1. It’s only interference because some alleged Russians did the job that the news media was supposed to be doing. Probably some obscure unwritten rule dealing with non-completion in journalism by ‘outsiders’.

      1. I have noticed that none of the coverage has looked at the substance of that Trump, Jr. meeting: to obtain Official Russian Government documents detailing Hillary’s corruption. Inquiring minds wonder what such documents have supposedly revealed? Money laundering at the Clinton Global Initiative? Quid pro quo speech fees? Brokering a deal to give Russia effective control of the world’s uranium?

        Biggest WTF moment of the kerfuffle:

        Schiff: Trump Jr. Violated the ‘Oaths of Citizenship’
        The ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee addressed the latest revelations related to Russian election interference.
        Donald Trump Jr.’s willingness to meet with a Russian agent last year to obtain incriminating information on Hillary Clinton represented “a breach of civic responsibility” and a “violation of the oaths of citizenship,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told reporters Tuesday.


        “This was unethical. It was, I think, in violation of the oaths of citizenship to willingly solicit, receive, encourage foreign intervention in our election. So this is a very serious business, whether criminal laws were violated or not. There are a number of criminal laws that are implicated here, and we see again a kind of shifting defense from the Trump Organization,” Schiff said.

        [END EXCERPT]

        Just exactly what “oaths of citizenship” is Schiff blathering about? Does he think Donald Jr. is an naturalized American? Is there no-effing-body in the MSM who thought Schiff’s rhetoric was odd enough to warrant a follow-up question?

        As far as that goes, didn’t any journalist reporter press stenographer present think to ask Rep. Schiff about Teddy Kennedy’s efforts to back channel the Russians to get Reagan out of office?

      2. “non-completion”? Or “non-competition”?
        If a typo, might not be an inappropriate one.

  11. I had to push away a moment and watch the gif before trusting myself to comment. Right now the only difference between the media and a syphilic strumpet is that the strumpet provides something of value.

    Historically, the idea of an “objective” media might be tied to the rise of wire services, where the unified voice was the result of newspapers carrying the same source. Given that my introduction to the word propaganda was from my mother in response to a news story, that assumption was by no means universal.

    1. At least we can cure syphilis. The MSM isn’t curable even by composting, assuming you get your news from ground up trees.

                    1. well, for the most part it’s a scary number law, because except for the GI (fits in a standard size 1911 frame), what .50 is going to be concealable? even a 500 S&W in the snub is a massive hunk o’ rock to try and hide. And leaves open silliness like the 275 grain jhp GI at 875fps not legal, but someone crazy enough can carry a short barrel 454 casull tossing a 300 grain XTP 1650fps or so (and likely not hanging on to the thing after squeezing it off)

              1. I used to have a .50 muzzle-loading naval pistol replica. That big round ball was humongous. You shot once, flipped it around, grabbed it by the barrel, and brained your opponents with the heavy brass ball on the butt end of the pistol while they were trying to find you through the smoke cloud.

                    1. Something to do with WP and the rotate function. If it rotate from landscape to portrait weird text in the reply box, it reverses the order of the words. I have had too delete long posts because I set the phone aside and it rotated. It has also done it if I hit send, and set the phone down a bit to soon

  12. Reminds me of the Clark Gable & Doris Day movie “Teacher’s Pet” where Gable plays an editor without a higher education. He ends up in a journalism class taught by someone without any reporting experience. One of the sections is a brief lesson in how to write a story:

    From IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052278/quotes?item=qt1215019
    James Gannon: [providing an impromptu lesson to Barney] By the way, you heard about it, didn’t you?
    Barney Kovac: What?
    James Gannon: Found him dead.
    Barney Kovac: Who?
    James Gannon: Boss.
    Barney Kovac: No kidding. When?
    James Gannon: Two minutes ago.
    Barney Kovac: Where did they find him?
    James Gannon: In his office.
    Barney Kovac: What did happen?
    James Gannon: Some dame shot him.
    Barney Kovac: Some dame sho… Why?
    James Gannon: Barney, you have just asked me six very important questions: who, what, where, when, how, and why. That’s what every news story should answer.

    And all stories are supposed to aim for “Accuracy. Accuracy. Accuracy.”

    Another memorable scene was the one where they are given an assignment to type up what happened. While everyone else is pecking at the keys, Gable’s character whips something off and passes it in. She criticizes it for being too short and being done too quickly until she reads it out loud, and then realizes it did get the key elements in.

    That’s what journalism USED to be seen as even by Hollywood.

    1. That’s a charming movie, even though Gable is a bit long in the tooth for the role.

      Sigh – you shoulda seen him when he was young! It seemed like it happened one night!

      1. BTW – it does not appear available on Youtube, but there’s a sweet MGM short from 1936 — Important News — featuring Jimmy Stewart in a bit role:

        When a well-known gangster is killed in a small town, the local newspaper editor must decide whether the story is important enough to his readers to put it on the front page.

        Of course, the best depiction of Journalism In Action was in the Howard Hawks film, His Girl Friday:

        Of course, his depiction of big city politics is none too complimentary.

  13. At a young age, I realized that even an unbiased report was useless when the “facts” we’re totally wrong.
    It’s scary just how wrong a reporter can be, even when you spell it out for them.

    1. especially when you remember learning the facts the reporter got wrong – in elementary school!

      1. It reinforced itself when my sister came back from the hospital after spending over a month, much of it in ICU, and I stood next to Mom and Sis as they spelled out names etc, and I think the only thing the reporter got right was a date. Got the year wrong iirc, but the month and day was right.

  14. I am Canadian and I hate our domestic press, I read a lot of US and UK news because Canadian reporters would rather have people ignorant than actually report on things.

    Canadian reporters joined at hip with politicians and bureaucrats, they are little more than boosters or propagandists now.

    America has first amendment, which allows multiple voices to be heard if you search for them, while UK still has ideology papers that acknowledge their bias, whether centre, left or right.

    1. Canadian reporters joined at hip with politicians and bureaucrats, they are little more than boosters or propagandists now.
      You misspelt Liberals. I have seen very few reporters that have reported accurately or honestly on Conservatives for most of my life. CBC being the worst of the lot.

      1. There is a definition of journalist which runs along the lines of Journalist: a person trained to discover the facts of a matter and kicking sand over them.

        In searching for it my first thought was Ambrose Bierce, as sardonic a wit as ever there was but journalists seems a topic he was loathe to touch. OTOH, I did find these delightful definitions:

        Conservative: (n.) A statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

        Cynic: (n.) A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.

        Egotist: (n.) A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.

        Faith: (n.) Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

        Lawyer: (n.) One skilled in circumvention of the law.

        1. Gold standard for cynics:
          are you as amusing to those who DO NOT agree with you as Ambrose Bierce?


          THen GTFO before you damage your own side.

          (look, I’m not a cynic, but I’m against self-harm.)

        2. Iowahawk’s version is “to cover important stories, with a pillow, until they stop moving.”

          The latter portion is the stage of the story referred to as “old news.”

          1. It is possible I was, but I have read so many variants on the theme that I cannot distinguish between sources.

            Let this be a lesson to you: stop reading while you are still young so that you can always recall what your sources are. I could as easily be drawing from Twain or Heinlein.

  15. I can barely resist the GIF posts

    No, Sarah, unleash your anger and give in to the GIF side. If you only knew the power of the GIF side of the Web. 😉

    Okay, it’s a lame allusion. What do you expect from me?

  16. I remember newspapers clearly stating their affiliations in their masthead, back in the Lowlands. In the US, this is basically unnecessary, as (aside from the WSJ, Fox, etc.) they are basically ALL disc jockeys spinning the vinyls from the DNC with all their might.

      1. WSJ editorial pages are center-right, the news page reporters have to spit whenever they discuss the editorial page writers.

        FNC tries to be in the center, but the Leftward gravitation of the American MSM means the News center is somewhat to the Left of the actual center.

        Definitionally, no journalist is trustworthy.

        1. Correction:
          Definitionally, no journalist is trustworthy.

          Should read: all journalists can be trusted to misreport.

          1. It’s a market/supplier mismatch: Nearly all journalists are taught to believe opinion journalism is FAR more important than reporting the facts; while many readers want facts more than opinion, but are seduced by the entertainment value of hyperbole into buying an otherwise unsatisfactory product.

      2. And the WSJ and Fox are at best soft left.

        They’re only “right” from the perspective of media and politicians that are so far left they think Lenin was a moderate.

      3. Fox (and WSJ) are mainly the same people from the same backgrounds as the rest of the MSM. The difference is (was) not that they were different people or even had different politics, but that they reported on a slightly wider array of perspectives. Not, like, the whole spectrum or anything, but *some* of their coverage, for example on Benghazi and the IRS, explored facts and perspectives that the mainstream covered with that pillow.

    1. Perfect retelling and details should perk your ears. Gross facts may all be the same but if small supporting sentences or terms are identical it looks rehearsed.

  17. I can confirm that the media misreports plain facts. I won’t go into details, but reports on stuff I’ve worked on got VERY basic facts wrong.

    1. The biggest argument against that… dang it, “everybody reads articles and they get dumb stuff the reader knows wrong, but they turn the page and believe the rest” thing is that:
      there are a LOT of things to get wrong.

      If I tell you that I am 5ft tall, have a 30 inch waist, 35in hips, 30 inch stride and love blue green, and you report that I am 5 ft tall, have a 35 inch hips and stride, it’s laughably wrong IF YOU KNOW IT.

      If you don’t? Well… ti’s more than most folks knew.

  18. Interesting to see this the same day as stuff blows up online about how corporations are going to buy and destroy the internet. No not Amazon, Facebook etc but Comcast and such. So we have to move it under the organization that has 7 words you cannot say on tv.

    1. I know. Mozilla, you used to be so much better than this. (Was looking for something and accidentally used Firefox. Hyperbole much?)

      1. Ya. Cloudflare is posting popups on sites and anyone disagreeing is crucified as evil and wanting people to die. Write this as a consumer protection (minimum speed advertised for example) and I can actually agree, but this is just an excuse.

        1. I think Google wanted it very badly as a way to strong arm business partners and potential competition.

          I remember the stories back in the day about Google collaborating with the PRC on the Great Firewall. I figure Google learned something about political manipulation and censorship from that, and what a surprise, certain media and political interests in this country have a use for such a skillset.

          1. It is a case of “your solution does not match your problem”. So what problem are you actually attempting to solve. And in part, because the tech Giants only make money thru advertising, of course they don’t want an ISP to be able to say no to traffic. If an ISP could potentially slow the torrent of ads, there would be a huge change. But put a bureaucracy in charge and trap it in Amber.

            1. I detect an untapped market.

              Write a sorta custom firewall/gateway/traffic filter. It specifically blocks ad traffic, and gets an updated database of known ad sources over the internet.

              Take a rasberry PI or something. Put the software on it. Re sell it, specifically noting that the cost is the installation.

              Low budget way to wreck the ad suppliers good, without much in the way of legal recourse for them to stop it. Which I guess means it would be an IT war with google, which probably needs too much backing to be viable.

                1. Before Vivaldi could readily use (or before I became aware of such) Chrome plug-ins, I had been using Opera 12 which allowed by-site blocking of various annoyances. It was jarring how miserably bad most of the web is if left unfiltered. Now, I do not particularly mind advertising as such, but the advertisers idea that they MUST BE SEEN!!!eleventy!! even if it annoys (scroll, blink, flash, animate, auto-play.. ) makes me feel NO guilt whatever about cutting them off. They gotta eat too? Fine, be not-annoying. Otherwise? Starve and deserved your fate.

                  1. And my old anti-virus did the same (allowed for blocking individual sites). I didn’t use an “ad-blocker” because I understand the importance of ad revenue. I DID block certain ad sites that either tried to track me across the internet or had ANNOYING ads (same list as the Noble Ox for those criteria).
                    I need to find a way to do that again, now that I dumped the old anti-virus (for other reasons).

    1. I have heard/seen “controversial” described as indicating that the reporter or editor does not understand the issue. Seems about right.

  19. The 2017 AP Style Book is out. “pro-life” is now verboten. Climate change theories are now “climate science,” and it is wrong to describe those opposed to “climate science” simply as “skeptics.”

    Words related to terrorism are sanitized in the AP Stylebook. Militant, lone wolves or attackers are to be used instead of terrorist or Islamist. “People struggling to enter Europe” is favored over “migrant” or “refugee.” While it’s true that many struggle to enter Europe, it is accurate to point out that they are, in fact, immigrants or refugees.

    There are lots more examples. http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/media/341210-how-the-ap-stylebook-censors-pro-life-and-other-conservative-words

    1. So “climate science” is like ‘social science’, which is to say pseudoscience – on a better day. And reporters or “journalists” using the recommended terms are best described as either lying bastages or witless dupes. Well, there’s also Useful Idiot. More idiot than useful.

    2. I don’t know, I kinda like that “people struggling to enter Europe” one. Because they are NOT migrants. And they are generally NOT really refugees (though some are mixed in with that group).
      And, after all, a safe cracker is simply a “person struggling to enter a bank vault”, is he not?

  20. “The unbiased reporter is a myth, like the griffin, the unicorn, and the honest politician. We all have our biases, whether we want to admit to them or not.”
    — Babylon 5, “The Illusion of Truth.”

    Despite the fact that the quote really wasn’t applicable in the episode it was from, I’ve often thought there was a lot of wisdom in that. Even a reporter who is doing everything they can to be unbiased can’t help letting their worldview affect what they do. If you’re absolutely committed to just the facts and nothing else, the question still remains, the facts about what? That’s where I’ve found bias usually slips in.

    An abortion clinic bombing? Domestic terrorism, worthy of wall-to-wall coverage. The Gosnell trial? Strictly a local crime story of no interest to anyone outside of Philadelphia. Some college kid found a noose on his doorknob? Clearly an indication of deeply ingrained racism through all levels of society, and we must talk about this ad naseum. A dozen faked hate crimes? Nothing at all, not even worthy of reporting in the college papers of the schools where they occurred. A Republican caught playing footsie in the men’s bathroom? An example of how everyone with an R after their name is a hypocrite on gay issues and “family values”; better give it in depth analysis so everyone can recognize the pattern. A Democrat and supporter of gun bans caught smuggling assault weapons? Well, the arrest and conviction might be newsworthy, but no need to discuss the guy’s politics; surely they aren’t relevant.

    There clearly is some active campaigning on the part of journalists, but I think there’s also a lot of this subconscious “news judgment” going on: not people trying to hurt the Rs and help the Ds, but just a genuine belief that the abortion clinic bombing is national news and the Gosnell trial is not. In some ways, that’s even harder to recognize and fight against than the outright “editorials masquerading as stories” that most people think of when they think about media bias.

    1. A couple of items worth noting about some of your examples –

      At the same time that Gosnell was being ignored by the media, we were getting wall to wall coverage of another murder trial. Jodi Arias killed her boyfriend (in Utah, iirc), and the media made sure that we got *constant* updates about the trial.

      But Gosnell, who had multiple (four?) women die on his operating table, and murdered countless babies by delivering them before “aborting” them, was merely a local crime story.

      Former California State Assembly member Leeland Yee (D – Prison) is, of course, the gun smuggler that you’re talking about. At the same time he was smuggling weapons into the US (having purchased them from the Filipino Islamic Terrorist organization MILF), he was also the sponsor of part of a very big gun control bill that went to the ballot here in California. He was also running for California Secretary of State at the time of his arrest, and the whole affair was too close to the election to remove his name from the printed ballots.

      He got ten percent of the vote in the election that followed.

    2. Those are not invisible biases, though. They are very clear decisions, based upon their ideals of a progressive society.

      Sadly, the phrase “just think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines, and you won’t go far wrong” (Instapundit) is way too accurate.

  21. Unfortunately they take more time than writing.) and someone comes on and laments the days when the media was “objective.”

    Oh! I get it! They’re speaking Military!

    You know, objective– a goal, the end point.

    So they bemoan when the media all agreed with them!

  22. “Back when the news was unbiased…” Um, these children who think that anything before they graduated high school clearly don’t remember “Yellow Journalism.” Was a thing, still a thing, always will be a thing.

    Although today we call it clickbait.

    1. As a long-retired history prof sighed, “Yellow Journalism does NOT refer to the Straits Times or the Shanghai Daily Worker!” Momentary pause, then gales of laughter from the rest of us around the table, and much hoisting of beer mugs.

  23. So, if a Russian individual comes forward and approaches a Trump family member claiming that they have evidence that the Russians are committing fraud to benefit Hillary’s election chances, it’s “Russians stealing election for Trump”?

    That’s what the current claims amount to.

    I wonder myself what it says, instead, about the democrats, that they are trying so hard to deflect to Trump…..

    1. Way back when, some goofball posted on alt.tv.animaniacs some nonsense about the mouse, Pinky. The quotation of it or some of it, “pinky is gay. i have proof.” (yes, with that lack-of capitalization copied from the original) became a running joke. The Trump-Russian collusion story? It rhymes. “trump colluded with russia. we have proof.”

    2. If you persist in employing logic and reasoning you will never adequately understand Progressives.

  24. Heh. The Power Line guys draw attention to this column by Byron York, who covered the Cliinton White House for the American Spectator:

    Trump-Russia investigation takes sharp turn toward the dumb
    Republicans were quick to point to a Politico story from January — it never really caught on — describing an effort by the government of Ukraine to sabotage the Trump campaign. “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office,” Politico’s Ken Vogel and David Stern reported. “They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.”

    The covert Ukrainian campaign had some effect — it helped forced Trump to fire his campaign chief, Manafort, in a shakeup that made a difficult August even more difficult — but has generated about one-millionth the interest that Russia’s meddling has produced.

    But even if Trump Jr.’s actions somehow broke federal election laws — Norm Eisen, the former Obama White House ethics chief, tweeted that the Trump Jr. meeting “clearly violates campaign finance law and likely implicates Don Jr. and campaign under conspiracy statute” — the general hyperventilation suggested some in Washington had forgotten that foreign meddling, with American acquiescence, has happened in previous presidential elections.

    Had they forgotten the representatives of foreign powers who weighed in on Bill Clinton’s behalf in the 1996 election? Anyone remember Yah-lin “Charlie” Trie? Or Johnny Chung? Or John Huang? James Riady? Maria Shia?

    Do they remember Chung — he was the one who in the pre-farecard era said the Clinton White House was like a subway because you had to put in a coin to open the gate — testified before the House of Representatives that the head of Chinese military intelligence told him: “We like your president very much. We hope to see him re-elected. I’ll give you 300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to your president and the Democratic Party.”


    Naturally, it is different because back then Billy Jeff was forced, forced to accept those bribes campaign donations on account of Republican refusal to pass campaign finance reforms.

    1. I’d forgotten the items you listed. But I always remember one item that you left off – the fund-raiser that Al Gore attended that was hosted by a group of Buddhist monks.

  25. Found out about a new video game yesterday called ‘Black the Fall’. It’s a side-scrolling puzzle game in which your character attempts to escape from a Communist society. The developers, Sand Sailor Studio, are a small 9 person team located in Bucharest, Romania.

    So yeah, they might know a thing or two about life in a communist regime.

    I was (as I often do) glancing through the reviews of the game on Steam. I tend to focus on the negative ones because they’ll usually highlight flaws in a game, and I can decide whether the flaw is an insurmountable problem for me. Of course, that requires that the person posting the review actually focus on the game mechanics. And with that last sentence, some of you might have already figured out where I’m going with this comment…

    One of the negative “reviews” was not, in fact, about the game mechanics. Instead, the individual was complaining because… well… I’ll let the reviewer speak for himself.

    “Looks good, but anti Socialist/Communist bias and agenda ruined it.

    This is very immature and historically incorrect to attribute totalitarianism specifically to hammer and circle and other Socialistic heraldry – symbols of freedom and liberty to so many

    Can we have socially aware games without obvious and childishly naive politically motivated nonsense?

    For those who don’t understand: yes, totalitarian inhumane societies can actually also be Capitalist in nature.”

    There are a few comments in response to this “review”, and one of the comments noted the 20 million dead under Stalin, and the 65 million dead in Communist China (which, iirc, is actually a low ball estimate, since the total number of Chinese that the PRC has killed isn’t known).

  26. Stop lamenting the days of “objective” news reporting. There was never any such thing.
    I’m not sure I entirely agree. There seems to have been a short time when truth was the objective of a reporter. Perhaps it was only “out west” or it was only in the ideals, but those ideals seemed to be truth (irrelevant of party or any utopian ideals) rather than “improving the world”.

    (If you aim for “improving the world”, truth can be a help or a hindrance to your goals. If you aim for truth, improving the world seems to tend to be a natural by-product.)

  27. Regarding bias in news reporting, it is fundamentally impossible to remove it. Even with the best will in the world to be even-handed, stories to be presented have to be chosen with the realization that it will bring the most advertising revenue/greatest number of listeners/viewers/clicks. News media are specialized entertainment, appealing to a specific audience demographic. Aside from his pretensions, there was no substantive difference between Dan Rather and, say, Monty Hall, other than that they appealed to different audiences (Rush Limbaugh is quite frank about this; he calls his commercial breaks “Obscene Profit Breaks”, and makes no bones about being fundamentally an entertainer). If there are a lot of good news stories, and a few about crimes, wars, and other catastrophes, the latter group will get more coverage, because they have found that that is what their audience likes to read about (this is immortalized in “If it bleeds, it leads.”). But it is going to give a distorted image of the world, becaused the world really does have more instances of good news than crimes, wars, etc.

        1. Bugger, usually it’s the other way around for me. Don Henley: Dirty Laundry. Only decent one I could find that would play here in Canada.

  28. Re: Don Jr – to put it in perspective, one need merely comment “No ambassadors were killed … so, at this point, what difference does it make?”

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