A sanctimonious, hypocritical (national) media | A Pragmatist's Take | Douglas Moran | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

A Pragmatist's Take

By Douglas Moran

E-mail Douglas Moran

About this blog: Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s). As a grad student, I belonged to an org...  (More)

View all posts from Douglas Moran

A sanctimonious, hypocritical (national) media

Uploaded: Aug 17, 2018
"Are you willing to pay for quality journalism?" is a promo I routinely receive. And my rhetorical response is "Does that mean you have an intention of starting to provide it?"

This week, the Boston Globe promoted a combined effort by hundreds of newspapers to publish editorials criticizing Trump for his attack on press coverage, one of them being the ^Weekly^. Big problem: The editorials I have seen have largely followed the example of the Globe and the NY Times of treating the media as providing the ideal of a free press, rather than the current status of agenda-driven, political partisanship. For example, when an article from The Washington Post pops up in my news feed, I ignore it because I have learned the probability is that it is erroneous and propaganda.

The NY Times recently hired a racist (Sarah Jeong) for their Editorial Board, and when called on it, their explanation didn't align with the available facts. Furthermore, they had problems only with her "rhetoric", staying silent about her attitudes underlying that rhetoric.

The NY Times editorial argue that Trump's statements about the press put reporters in physical danger. Yet the NYT and many other media outlets have no problem falsely identifying people and groups as being White Supremacists/Nationalists (= AltRight), putting their lives in very real danger. I hope that this isn't a threat here in Palo Alto, but in some other locales physical harassment is already a reality for low-level activists, such a bloggers and members of college Republican Clubs.

The need to push their political agenda is so basic that they label as "White Supremacists" a group whose leaders are non-Whites, with a substantial portion of the membership being Blacks and Hispanics.

Who the media regards as a danger to their reporters is full of absurdities. A group of Trump supporters chanting at CNN's Jim "Narcissus" Acosta? Most definitely.
Antifa hurling bottles, rocks and potentially lethal fireworks at reporters? No, it goes against their narrative that only the Right is violent.
How about Progressives/Leftists at demonstrations where camera crews who are trying to do interviews, get their equipment smashed or stolen? Again, no.

Antifa stands for "Anti Fascist Action", which has been designated a (left-wing) domestic terrorist group.

At a demonstration in Berkeley, a man was trying to use his body to provide some separation between a group of demonstrators and photographers. He was on his knees so that they could shoot pictures over him. An Antifa member smashed him in the skull with the equivalent of a large hammer (a bicycle U-lock). After failing to get a conviction in an earlier similar case,(foot#1) the Alameda District Attorney bargained the charges down to a mere ^nolo contendere (no contest)^ plea to a misdemeanor with no jail time. Again, silence from big media.(foot#2)

In various of my previous blogs, I have pointed out where the mainstream media (MSM) has presented as "news" a false narrative that was almost certainly deliberate. There are stories where I know enough about the topic to sense that something is off, and I look for primary sources. For example, there was a story about a demonstration where the MSM claims that one side started the scuffles, but the raw video shows that those reports had snipped out less than a second showing the other side throwing the first punch. Or the fuller video of a statement reveals that the MSM was using statements way out of context. Similarly for excerpts from documents.

Then there are the articles seemingly designed to mislead the reader. For example, consider an Associated Press (AP) story about a demonstration: "Portland police arrest 4 and seize weapons as right-wing and anti-fascist protesters clash", 2018-08-05. The lead photo shows three demonstrators holding up two Nazi flags. You would reasonably assume that these are right-wing protestors, unless you read the small type caption and knew that the "counter-protestors" referred to were Antifa. My link to the AP version is dead/moved, but the ^LA Times^ republished it with little/no alteration.

The MSM editorials make a big point about the need for a free press to point out Trump's "lies". No question that Trump routinely produces falsehoods, ranging from transparent exaggeration to whoppers to apparent lies (definition: knowingly false, intended to deceive). Yet the MSM media incessantly lies about Trump, so when the MSM claims that Trump lied, how are we to know whether it is Trump or the media lying? Or both?

The Boston Globe editorial contained one such: "president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the 'enemy of the people.' ?"
Then there was "it sends an alarming signal to despots from Ankara to Moscow, Beijing to Baghdad, that journalists can be treated as a domestic enemy." Yeah, right. Those and many other countries were treating journalists that way long before Trump even announced he was running for President. The right-wing calls this "Trump Derangement Syndrome", while the term "Trump Anxiety Disorder" is being pushed by some psychotherapists (a new revenue stream).

The Boston Globe editorial and derived ones claim that "The press is necessary to a free society because it does not implicitly trust leaders". For those of us who remember the MSM being cheerleaders for the Iraq War and so many other sketchy government policies, please hold your laughter.

For those newer to politics, the editorials' claims of the importance of objectivity rings hollow given the full-court press for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.

The media leads for Obamacare and the Iranian nuclear deal have both made public statements about how easy it was to mislead the press. In the latter case, a profile of Ben Rhodes in the New York Times Magazine ($) ^The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama's Foreign Policy Guru^ (2016-05-08) has him saying "The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns... They literally know nothing." and how he played to their ignorance, career aspirations, partisanship and ideology.

From the Q&A of a panel at Stanford's Hoover Institute ^Cardinal Conversations: Christina Sommers and Andrew Sullivan on "Sexuality and Politics"^: ^@1:23:16^ Comment from prominent journalist Andrew Sullivan about the political atmosphere in current newsrooms.

My newsfeed is inundated with less-than-trivialites whose only motivation is to criticize Trump. For example, there was a widely reported story that Trump's smartphone had auto-correct/completion. Only it was presented as such, but as his misspelling his wife's name "Melania" and "Melanie". For security reasons, the President's smartphone is periodically replaced, which presumably means the dictionary is rebuilt from scratch. These idiotic stories -- one category of "fake news" -- make it hard to find real news. Or maybe this is what the MSM is focused on, since it is so much cheaper to produce than real news.

Various editorials criticize Trump for attacking the essential credibility of the press. Sorry, but they should look in the mirror. As more and more information became available on the Internet, more and more of us became aware of just how mediocre a product the MSM was producing. Sure, we had heard a news publication described as "never let the facts get in the way of a good story", but now we could see it for ourselves, and we passed it on to friends and family. During the Iraq War, I regarded several non-US newspapers as an essential corrective to what I was reading in the US MSM.

The credibility of the MSM was in tatters before Trump came along. A significant portion of Trump's support came from people recognizing the failure of the elites, with the media elite being one of those. Perhaps the long-term failure of the media elite was a factor in Trump's election.

----Freedom of Speech----

Freedom of speech and of the press are equal partners in the First Amendment, because both apply to distributing ideas in different media. Rhetorical Question: Is a podcast covered as speech or part of the press? Depends. If it is live-streamed, it is probably speech, but if it is recorded, it would probably be regarded as press.

Despite this tight linkage, I see the MSM repeatedly coming down on the side of censorship of speech, using the pseudo-category of "hate speech" to rationalize suppressing ideas with which they disagree.

The Social Media Trust (oligopolies colluding) -- Facebook, Google/YouTube, Twitter, ... -- have banned people because the Trust disagrees with their politics: The purported rationales don't stand up to even cursory examination because the Trust doesn't ban far worse behavior by those adhering to their dogma. I regard the social media platforms as instances of "the press". So why isn't the MSM screaming about this? Might it be that their high principles apply only when it suits them (in which case, they aren't actually "principles").

When there is violence or threats of violence by groups like Antifa to deprive people of their free speech rights, where is the MSM? Ignoring or minimizing the intimidation.

----Intimidation of Press??----

The editorials claim that Trump's conduct is intended to intimidate them. Evidence of intent? Evidence that they are self-censoring real news? Not that I can see.

----Enemy of the People----

I believe that Trump is more than half right on this when it is applied to the current national press and not the concept of a free press. I see a MSM that profits -- economically, ideologically -- from stirring up animosity and division. The MSM labels people with mainstream positions -- center right and center left -- as extremists. It distorts what is actually being said. Marketing studies have long shown that outrage and conflict get more viewers.

My newsfeed gets articles from major MSM publications about the coming Second Civil War. Such stories may get views, but they are normalizing the idea that political violence may be necessary. If one feels they must read such, do so in a private browser window to avoid it being used to recommend more of such articles.

The MSM has actively worked for years against what these editorials point out are the reasons that a free press is crucial for a democracy.

None of what I have said here is unique to me. These points have been common in critiques of the MSM for years, and have largely fallen on deaf ears.

----Footnotes----
1. Failed prosecution:
^Update: Jury finds 5 men not guilty of assault during 2017 Berkeley protest^ - Berkeleyside, 2018-06-18.

2. Eric Clanton, the Berkeley Bike Lock Basher:
The only competent coverage I found: ^Eric Clanton takes 3-year probation deal in Berkeley rally bike lock assault case^ - Berkeleyside, 2018-08-08.
Do a web search on the term in the header.You will see little coverage of this result, other than in the Conservative media,and also minor coverage of the attack and of Clanton being ID'ed as the perpetrator.


----
An ^abbreviated index by topic and chronologically^ is available.


----Boilerplate on Commenting----
The ^Guidelines^ for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.

I am particularly strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", do not be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.
A slur is not an argument. Neither are other forms of vilification of other participants.

If you behave like a ^Troll^, do not waste your time protesting when you get treated like one.

Comments

 +   15 people like this
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Mr. Moran -- I'm embarrassed for you. No previous US President in history has ever deliberately done so much to encourage political and social polarization as Donald Trump. You are grasping at one straw after another to criticize the press for resisting Trump's daily, sometimes hourly, attacks on the press. Embarrassing and disappointing.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Doug, this time you have hit the hammer on the head with this timely blog entry. Some friends and I had been discussing this very issue and it is well worth discussing.

I think the word "press" and media are interchangeable as the traditional written press by newspapers and the tv news channels are both part of a force that brings us the news that they want us to know from their point of view rather than giving us unbiased coverage of any particular issue and this goes before Trump came on the scene as a political player.

I have 3 examples that have bothered me.

1. Boko Haram. The media swamped us with coverage of the girls being kidnapped from their school in 2014. However, they had been active and were probably responsible for killing 6,800 people prior to this incident. Of those 6,800 many were school boys and the girls were left alive to return to their families. Boko Haram had destroyed schools and the deaths of people including boys and teachers, were almost ignored by the American media. It is only when the media started outburst reporting on the girls who were kidnapped and doing so to such an extent that Bring Back our Girls was the phrase on everyone's lips. Why didn't they report on all the schoolboys being killed and schools being destroyed by Boko Haram? Was that not as bad or headlineworthy?

2. Bengazi. In the very early aftermath of the attack, why was not more investigative journalism done? Why did the facts get buried and hidden? Why was the date which was 9/11 in Bengazi not reported even though it occurred on 9/10 in American time zones? Why was it left until Hilary declared her presidential run for the media to start looking back at this? If she had not run for president, would the whole affair have never been mentioned again except for historical accounts rather than political fodder?

3. Football players taking the knee. If the media had barely taken notice of this and not shown the players who were not standing and kept the cameras on those who were, would it have become such a big issue? Is this an example of how media attention has made this a bigger issue than it might have been? We are not into the football season proper and yet the amount of time for talking heads discussing whether or not this is going to be an issue this season must equal any other time being broadcast on the actual topic of the football itself. Is it a case of the cart being put before the horse?

As for Trump himself, one of the things he is good at is providing smoke screens to hide other things. It seems to me that whenever he famously tweets something outrageous he is taking media attention away from other things that are happening. Is this Trump playing the media? Is he himself driving the "fake news" by providing fodder for scandalous headlines that he can later denounce as fake for reasons known only to himself and his close allies? Is he more clever than we think on how to hoodwink the American people? And if the answer is yes, how is he going to use this strategy in the run up to the 2020 election?

I hope you don't think I have gone off topic, but this is something I think is a bigger problem with the press than we imagine. If we are being played by the press to only take note of the issues that they want us to take note of, then who is the bigger fool? Are we really being manipulated?

I for one try and follow foreign press to get a more balanced view on issues. But once again, the foreign press are often slow to take up an American issue until the American press have already garbled it.


 +   14 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Anon

Notice that nowhere did I support Trump. I criticized the press relative to their idealized notion of what they think they are.

The inability to see this distinction is part of the blind tribalism that is such a problem today.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Ashford, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 3:45 pm

"I believe that Trump is more than half right on this when it is applied to the current national press and not the concept of a free press."

Please verify for us - that sentence came out as you intended?

Also - can you point us in the direction of MSM feeds promoting a coming 2nd civil war? I missed that one.

"articles from major MSM publications about the coming Second Civil War"

Thank you.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Ashford

> "Please verify for us - that sentence came out as you intended?"

I don't know how you interpreted it. The MSM is not fulfilling its part of the social contract that makes a free press essential to a democracy. As I argued, they are exacerbating the anger, animosities and divisions in our society. I looked at a sample of the Russian tweets during the 2016 election and didn't see anything that wasn't routine from the MSM (this is not a defense of the Russians, but a critique of the MSM).

"...MSM feeds promoting a coming 2nd civil war"

"Let me Google that for you": The first three results are about a movie. The next is from the LA Times entitled "Are we headed for a second civil war?" followed by "Second civil war likely, 31% of US voters say in Rasmussen poll".

As to what feeds: I use multiple browsers. In Firefox, the default news is Google News. In Microsoft, I am stuck with MSN news.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Resident: "Is he himself driving the "fake news" by providing fodder for scandalous headlines..."

Various media critics and political commentators have made a similar point: That Trump serves up trivialities to the "Outrage Machine" of the media to distract the media away from legitimate news. Its a win-win for him since the over-reaction to the trivialities doesn't seem to hurt him, and may help him a little (victim of the media).


 +   4 people like this
Posted by 2nd civil war, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:25 pm

2nd civil war is a registered user.

Doug,

Did you actually read the LA Times "article"? It's an op-ed piece.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Anon (first comment here): "No previous US President in history has ever deliberately done so much to encourage political and social polarization as Donald Trump."

When I ask people what their evidence for this is, the responses are almost entirely media distortions of what Trump actually said. For example, when Trump called members of the MS-13 gang "animals", the media (and leading Democrats) claimed that he had said this about all illegal immigrants, possibly about all immigrants. Pelosi was outraged that brutal murderers and torturers would be called "animals".

If what is being cited as "polarization" are fabrications of the media, why shouldn't the media be condemned (instead of Trump).


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: 2nd civil war: "Did you actually read the LA Times "article"? It's an op-ed piece."

I didn't say it was a news article, and the question mark in the title is common in opinion pieces but infrequent in news articles.

That the LA Times chose to publish this article -- thereby recommending it to its subscribers as worth reading -- was my point. My newsfeeds are mixes of news, opinion and fluff.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Historical note:
Many of the editorials claim that Trump's attacks on the free press are "unprecedented". I'll ignore whether it is "the free press" (a concept) being attacked or the actual conduct of the media.

But the primary claim is -- surprise, surprise -- fake news.

The Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) of the Adams presidency were used to prosecute many owners of newspapers -- they were harshly critical of Adams, being supporters of Adams' political opponent Thomas Jefferson.

During the Woodrow Wilson administration, a sedition law was vigorously used to suppress criticism of US participation in WWI.

So, how many newspaper owners has Trump jailed or even prosecuted? Reporters? Recognize that previous administration would jail reporters to get them to reveal their sources -- although technology and the Bush-Obama surveillance laws have rendered this largely superfluous.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Former Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Thank you Doug, I knew in my heart you would speak up against this and am glad to see it manifested.

You are open-minded enough to actually allow people to comment in this column...

UNLIKE

The Palo Alto Weekly's editorial a click above your column, which tellingly has only 7 comments, because of course, Embarcadero Media believes in censorship, limited discourse, and silencing opinions of anyone who they don't like or who GASP dare to support the second coming of Hitler, I mean Donald Trump.
The Weekly's disgustingly 1-sided editorial of course is cowardly enough to only allow "subscribing members" to post comments, so no one even gets to discuss the topic except for 7 posters.

[[Blogger: The restriction is not to "subscribing members". You can comment on that editorial if you have created an account for the website, which doesn't involve subscribing to the newspaper, or if you have registered your alias (as I have). The latter simply means that no one else can use the same alias, thereby preventing confusion and imposters.

This sort of restriction is a widely accepted mechanism to limit abusive postings.
]]


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Former Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 5:52 pm

Also, saying that the press "enemy of the people" is really not such a terrible statement. Where is the actual physical threat in that statement? There isn't one. They are blowing it out of proportion which is what the sensationalist media does by its very nature.
Fox News is equally guilty as CNN. Townhall.com is just as bad as Salon.com

I believe that the press IS in fact the enemy of the people because they seek to divide us into R and D, red and blue, with no shades of subtlety or independent, honest analysis. They only pour gasoline on the flames. It is in fact very harmful to American society.

They often do so in an disingenuous manner because they know division brings ratings and profit. Fox and CNN are especially guilty of this. Its their tried-and-true business model.

But god forbid I would actually be allowed to post this response to the Weekly's editorial above... I mean, you're not allowed to say that!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Former Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Well Doug, I believe in internet anonymity. They aren't preventing abuse, they are discouraging discussion, hence, only 7 comments and a discussion that is dead on arrival. Of course its a widely-accepted mechanism and its the biggest problem with the internet today, especially on sites like Reddit.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 6:04 pm

[[Readers, I initially interpreted this as an argument against a Strawman. See a subsequent comment by this commenter.]]

Mr. Moran you are absolutely right. All those medias saying all of those fake news against President Trump should lose their freedoms and they ought to be closed by the government before they ruin our democracy. And Trump ought to revoke all their security clearances too. Right now. Hillary Clinton would let them get away with it like Obama. Thank God for Donald Trump.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Bills way or the highway, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm

Former resident" the same editorial is available on the Mountain View voice site. It is open to comments by all and has 38 comments as of now.
Bill Johnson has [[deleted: ad hominem]]. So I would not be surprised by his limiting comments on the editorial.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City, a resident of Barron Park,
on Aug 17, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

If the mainstream media cared about the free press and 1st amendment principles then it would also be doing synchronized op-eds against the following other more serious affronts:

1. Widespread censorship of conservatives on-line
2. The embargo of attendance for press at political events by Democrat politicians like the Socialist Ocasio-Cortez
3. The spying and seizing of journalist records by the Obama administration [[Blogger: There was the usual pushback from the press. However, over the various administrations this had become a "dog bites man" story, producing a sense of futility/resignation on such instances.]]

As a result, the public trust in the media has recently sunk to all time lows and they are considered mouth organs for the Left.

Perhaps, this latest stunt could simply be considered another "Fake Ruse"?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by @Sanctimonious Poster, a resident of Mountain View,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 1:22 am

[[not discussion - only a put-down]]


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Abitarian, a resident of Downtown North,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 8:06 am

This chart provides an interesting assessment of bias displayed by popular news sources: Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm

We need a media which President Trump approves so we can be certain we are getting the truth instead of the faked news the main medias put out. Even Fox News does it sometimes. I am sure American taxpayers will be glad to pay for it so they can learn what they really need to know with no fake news worries.

Good for you for writing about this in the Weekly Mr. Moran and would you please take down your fake straw man comment. [[Blogger: Updated.]]


 +   4 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 6:44 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

[[Deleted. Pure sarcasm, no content.]]


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Michael O., a resident of Stanford,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 6:52 pm

"Yet the MSM media incessantly lies about Trump, so when the MSM claims that Trump lied, how are we to know whether it is Trump or the media lying?"

Um, what? What media "lying" about Trump? You talk about a straw man? Explain to us how that statement isn't a straw man.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

FYI: Earlier today Trump made a 3-part tweet about Social Media and the Press. It is receiving much discussion. Below are the full tweets. looking to Twitter for any meaningful discussion is likely futile, but the phrases in the bodies of these tweets might lead you to a worthwhile discussion (or may not).


"Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others......."



".....Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police. If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all.."



"....Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made. Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!"


Regarding tweet #1: There has been some censorship of those on the Left, but it has been hugely disproportionately against the Right. While some measure this by a comparison of what major sites that they hear complain, this is subject to all kinds of selection biases. A much better measure is to see how often sites that lean Right get censored or banned for behavior that has long been viewed as acceptable on Left-leaning sites.
A high-profile recent test of this involved the racist tweets by Sarah Jeong, now of the New York Times. Prominent right-wing activist Candice Owens retweeted those tweets using the standard test of changing the ethnicity -- in this case replacing "White" with "Jew" ... plus including in the tweet itself an explanation that this was what she was doing. Her tweets were deleted. After this became a large news story, they were restored.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 7:52 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Michael O: "...What media "lying" about Trump?..."

Example: Trump's Travel Ban. The media incessantly refer to it as a "Muslim ban", and when they do refer to it as a Travel Ban, it is often within quotes that can be interpreted as finger/scare quotes.

Let's do the numbers using the "Islam by country" table (circa 2011) at Wikipedia.
The countries covered by the ban contain < 8.3% of the global population of Muslims:
Iran (4.6%), Yemen (1.5%), Syria (1.0%), Somalia (0.6%), Libya (0.4%), North Korea (<0.1%), Venezuela (<0.1%).
If you then click to sort the table on population size, you will find that there are 4 countries that individually contain more Muslims that the total of the banned countries:
Indonesia (12.7%), Pakistan (11.0%), India (10.9%), Bangladesh (9.2%).
There are 2 more countries with Muslim populations larger than Iran's (the largest banned country):
Nigeria (5.3%) and Egypt (4.9%). (And Turkey is only slightly smaller).
The total for these 6 countries larger than the largest banned country is 54%.

How can it be a "Muslim ban" if over 90% of the world's Muslims live in countries that aren't banned? And that the countries with the 6 largest Muslim populations haven't been banned?
How can this be a "Muslim ban" if countries have been removed from earlier versions because of improvements in the security situations in those countries?

These numbers and the logic underlying the ban -- which originated in the Obama Administration -- have been raised repeatedly. Can reporters possibly be so (willfully?) ignorant that they think this is a Muslim ban?

It is implausible that the highest levels of the media organizations are unaware of this. Yet their organizations continue to parrot the partisan propaganda that this is a "Muslim ban" that is evidence of Trump's racism (ignore that religion isn't a "race").

Explain to me how this isn't those media organizations lying (knowing falsehood, intent to deceive) about Trump?


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Name calling, a resident of Mountain View,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Perhaps Doug should read this article, given his name calling with regard to Ms Jeong:

Web Link

How ever given the tone of this blog entry, I am sure it will be dismissed by doug


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 18, 2018 at 9:14 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Naming calling: "Perhaps Doug should read this article ..."

The article is from Vox, which is strongly Progressive/Left-wing advocacy, and should not be regarded as credible. One should look to other sources (No, I won't Google that for you).

Jeong's basic defense is that her racist tweets were her responding to harassment.

1. Various sources that looked at the tweets report that they were not responses, but her original postings.

2. If you entertain that her responses were not direct response to harassment, ask yourself if racist statements are acceptable responses to individuals?

Vox is an example of media that regards criticism or other disagreement with their political "tribe" as "racism".

This is related to the main topic of this blog: The media editorials seek to portray criticism of individual journalists and media organizations as being attacks on the very concept of a free press. Its a "all for one; one for all" form of tribalism.

> "I am sure it will be dismissed by doug"

This is a rhetorical technique known as "poisoning the well", in this case, implying that no reasonable response is possible.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Former CA Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 2:42 am

I can point to two examples where the press severely distorted what DJT said, by taking his words out of context, ignoring the rest of his speech and then fabricating hysteria in a way that is so extreme it does a major disservice to the American people.

The first is his comments after the Charlottesville event, a year ago. I listened to the full speech and there was no praising of Nazis at all. But the media were so eager to paint him as a Nazi-sympathizer that they went all-out with skewed and inaccurate coverage, blatantly lying that he supports the "alt-right" and said so in his speech. When he specifically condemned Nazis 2 days later, they still wouldn't let up because their narrative is more important than the truth.
This event was blown out of proportion in a jaw-dropping way.

Second, the recent Putin summit. Watched the speech, and it was clear Trump was simply practicing diplomacy like any other world leader would. Also, why would he openly say that Russia "helped him win" and paint himself as illegitimately elected?
This one was blown extremely out of proportion and yet by now everyone seems to have forgotten about it, because we're busy talking about Omarosa. I'm honestly embarrassed that I pay any attention to this anymore.

But if you want to look at one endless, ongoing media lie, it is the Russia saga. Russia doesn't threaten the United States, but when it took Crimea it surely threatened the tentative rule of the EU which wants to keep US compliant in its mission to preserve the globalist status quo.

Politico actually call it the Russia "saga" which is rather appropriate because it is a made up story, a saga indeed.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by MIchael O., a resident of Stanford,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 5:26 am

Doug, you didn't name a single news organization that calls the travel ban a “Muslim ban". Name one and give a reference to a news article. That news organization say that Trump during his campaign called for a “complete and total ban on Muslims entering this country" and that he instituted a travel ban is not misreporting.
[[Blogger: Notice no links to such stories.]]

Instead of obfuscating with data about Muslim populations, show a quote about which news organizations said what and when they said it.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 6:47 am

mauricio is a registered user.

[[Blogger: Example of Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1." or the fallacy of the form "People in Nazi Germany drank water. Therefore everyone who drinks water is a Nazi."]]

The exact same arguments that the media is lying about the country's leader were made by some in Germany after Hitler rose to power after democratic elections and parliamentary maneuvers. Look how well that turned out to be. those who put blame on the US media, are helping fascism to become mainstream in this country. They are no less than enablers of the process in which the USA is rapidly becoming a banana republic, which I actually think it already is watching Trump's shenanigans.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Former PA resident, a resident of Mountain View,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Let's see if I can sum up this page so far.

You present a carefully reasoned case, supported by numerous examples in the first section and allusions to further examples in your previous posts.

The comments that are critical (those not just idle snipes that don't bother even to rationalize) variously: ignore everything you wrote, but respond anyway; complain about your argument without citing anything in it they logically dispute; ignore examples you gave, then demand you give examples (or do the commenters' own googling for them, e.g. "2nd civil war;" "Supreme Court rules in Trump Muslim travel ban case - CNBC.com"). And to nitpick one random instance of the press phrase "2nd civil war" implies unawareness of its growing use for a year or two at least).

Or they characterize your mention of an abject racism case as "name-calling!" (whoever thinks that needs to look up the definition of racism). In Orwell's "Animal Farm," when one of the animals complained that the official slogan "all animals are equal" wasn't playing out in reality, the slogan shifted to "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.".

Those comments aren't a big sample statistically, yet they come from a reader pool that likes to self-identify as unusually educated and articulate. So I wonder, is the issue here truly the behavior of mainstream media? Or is it the actual critical-thinking skills, when put to a test, of a supposedly educated US public? Or a public-education establishment that degenerated from teaching how to think, in favor of teaching *what* to think? To all of which, those mainstream media just skillfully play, like any other astute retail enterprise looking to satisfy its market's whims?


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

On authoritarian regimes suppressing the press: Yes, this does happen, but another common pattern is that the elite/establishment that predominantly owns the press puts authoritarian regimes into power. One step down is a press where the dominant outlets are owned by the elite/establishment use that power to block reforms through a combination of non-coverage, negative coverage and smears of opposition leaders. In some situations, the press may be a victim; in others it has power and is part of the oppressor.

A common trope in US fiction and movies, especially in the 1930 and 1940, is the crusading reporter whose big story is being suppressed by the newspaper publisher/owner with the editor caught in between -- wanting to be the crusader of his youth but also needing to act as a manager and follow policy (and keep his job).


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Supporting Truthful Journalism, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 3:36 pm

I too, appreciate Mr. Moran's having written this fine piece, and is engaging in dialog about this sensitive and important issue with readers. The Weekly seems to not want discussion. I was discouraged by the requirement to identify myself before sharing a comment. I am grateful to be able to share my thoughts on this blog, instead.

I was happy to read from another commenter that the same editorial is on the Mountain View Voice, with more comments, and will look it up. Thank you to the commenter, and to Doug Moran, for making this information known.

Note: My last comment responds to the 7th (last) question on the Weekly editorial requesting specifics of the conservative views that are banned from Social Media, and it is appropriate to share it here too.

About this blog, it is true that Mr. Moran did not express support for President Trump; rather, he correctly points out where "the media" has been a disappointment to our country. But I noticed that an outright blanket denouncement of everything about our current Administration is what is necessary for many fellow residents, in order to not be interpreted as support. That is just wrong. Mr. Moran's comments were spot on, and welcomed, as written. The topic is The Press: the "media".

The following comments are about the PA Weekly editorial. The headline reading: “Unprecedented attacks on the media hit the very protectors of our democracy":

1) “The media" being called out for reporting falsehoods is a new thing, but long past due. The adage, “Don't believe everything you read in newspapers" has been around for ages, and it's because so much that's reported is inaccurate. Walter Cronkite reporting is a thing of the past.
I am glad the media is being put on the hot seat, and labeled as not automatically worthy of public trust.

2) When falsehoods are reported, or facts misrepresented, on purpose, it is not from a friend, but from an ‘enemy'. Thus, that term is accurate.

3) “The media" includes Social Media. Facebook profited from foreign advertising during our last election. There must be a distinction made between Mainstream Media and other kinds of news, and Social Media.

4) Our nation is a Constitutional Republic, and not a Democracy. Even that Weekly headline is misleading.

The last Weekly editorial comment contained a question. If I were to comment on that page -- it would likely be deleted, because the editor/s would not like it -- but as specific examples, I'd point out that Dennis Prager's Prager University videos were banned from YouTube, for being conservative in nature, though simply educational, and Diamond and Silk videos were banned from YouTube too, because their opinions reflect something other than what the far-Left Media wants to see. Links for further reading about both follow. Thank you, for the opportunity to weigh in on this important topic.

Web Link

Web Link


See also: "When Fascism Comes to America" by Judson Phillips, The Washington Times, 2016-10-12 (Web Link)


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Crusty, a resident of Community Center,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 4:26 pm

"How can it be a "Muslim ban" if over 90% of the world's Muslims live in countries that aren't banned?"

Yet another campaign promise Trump has failed to fulfill Web Link. And there never has been a ban on Saudi Arabia, which is not only the most aggressively Wahabi Muslim Sharia nation on earth but, having supplied 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers plus Osama bin Laden himself, it is a proven ace supplier of terrorists. Why has Trump left the USA exposed to more Saudi terrorists? Has Fox News informed the country about this gross Trump failure? The MSN has.

"Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won't let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others......."

[[Blogger: Deleted: A slur is not an argument.]]

As for the treatment of the RIGHT by social media, this is what happens when one's opinions are in the minority in an open-market-based universe. The RIGHT just ain't where the bigger money is. Get used it.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Crusty: "... in the minority in an open-market-based universe. The RIGHT just ain't where the bigger money is...."

This is false. There have been a series of articles from the left complaining that YouTube is dominated by the Right. Yet YouTube has banned -- temporarily or permanently -- some of its biggest conservative/right-wing channels -- ones with hundred of thousands of subscribers and ones with over a million subscribers.
The YouTube bans are about money in an indirect way: They are actions in response to being threatened by online mobs seeking to censor opposing opinions and by their own internal politics.

The Google/YouTube oligopoly is rolling in such a large pot of money, it can ignore "the market" in cases such as this.

Notice the anti-democrat attitude of "Crusty". The basics of a democracy is "the majority rules, but the rights of the minority are respected." Crusty rejects the latter part of this.

Never-mind whether conservatives or the right-wing almost 50% of the country (election results). There are plenty of center-left that are part of the audience for right-leaning opinion (see early blogs on free speech).


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Crusty, a resident of Community Center,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 6:45 pm

[[Deleted: Dogmatic statement that created "fact" in support of those beliefs. This is contrary to the guidelines - and title - of this blog.]]


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 19, 2018 at 7:40 pm

[[Readers: Please try to be more focused. For example, the first paragraph here is an exhortation that I strongly considered editing out.]]

Education is evidently lacking as many in the news media and some in the general public fawn over the Democrat Socialists, or Democratic Socialists, whatever is the specific term. Surveys indicate many residing in the U.S. fail to understand or appreciate the fundamentals of our system of government. No system is perfect, of course! But we have some freedoms that should not be taken for granted. I would rather live here than in China, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba....places with "leaders" who are dictators and where people are repressed. The Democrat Socialists promise unrealistic things to get votes, a cynical, self-serving approach that may bankrupt this country. We need open, educated discussions about realistic priorities and budgets.

The news media takes Trump, an unlikable man - someone I find rather baffling - and ramps things up with increasing use of headlines such as: “(so and so) slams (so and so). The headlines using "slams" must bring clicks, but I avoid clicking on this EVER, because it is cr*p, not meeting real journalistic standards.

Legitimate discussions on issues and creating consensus so the country may move forward is what I want, not personality-based drivel (like about the Kardashians). Self-appointed “opinion leaders" hawking stuff via narcissistic Instagramming, etc. are also distractions and inane. Meanwhile, Rome burns.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Ms. Anon of Crescent Park, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Ms. Anon of Crescent Park is a registered user.

I worked for many years as a journalist and PR and ad executive. These days when I'm asked my backgeound, I always say I was a journalist back when that was an honorable and unbiased profession. The first and most important rule was opinions on the editorial page only. Now I often read the Merc or Chron and find every article about national issues is slanted, biased, edited to favor leftist views and to defame our president. Don't get me wrong. I didn't vote for him, but I do give thanks for the exceptional individuals who have stepped forward to work with him and to support him when our country needs them. Without their sacrifice we would be lost. They all deserve a fair chance and our support.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City, a resident of Barron Park,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Sanctimonious City is a registered user.

I don't believe the issue of the concentration of the media content, advertising and distribution has been discussed yet.

Mainstream media has consolidated from over 50 back in 1983 down to 5 1/2 after the sale of Fox assets to Disney. We also know on-line advertising and search is dominated by Google, Facebook and an aspirational Amazon. The high concentration is creating an information oligopoly with limited competition, temptation for collusion and high barriers (artificial or organic) to entry.

AM radio, cable television and the internet initially helped bring more voices to the marketplace. Unfortunately, more recently fewer and fewer people are controlling what you see, how you see it and when you see it.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Former CA Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 5:23 pm

So true, why am I always seeing Judge Napolitano and frikin Newt Gingrich? So he can promote his latest book as he rides Trump's coattails? I know where these people stand, so sick of hearing them.
There are way more insightful people and ideas if you scour the internet for them.



 +   2 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 7:52 pm

[[Readers: This comment has significant off-topic advocacy accompanying the on-topic portions.]]

Doug,

I do agree with you about the MSM not meeting its responsibility as the 4th Estate over recent decades, but I don't agree that this means the 4th Estate isn't essential for democracy, warts and all. I would rather have an imperfect media than one that is a propaganda mouthpiece for a political party on any end of the spectrum.

As an aside, can you please describe what you mean by "elites"? I have heard that term bandied about a lot as a derogatory term, but I'm not sure what people mean by it. Are we talking socioeconomic elitism? People in groups like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) who write laws that favor an entrenching plutocracy for rightwing legislators? Are we referring to people with a lot of experience or education in a particular sphere who seem like "elites" because no one likes a know-it-all? Are we referring to people in the top 1% who may have life easier (which used to be the way the term was used)? Snobs?

I realize you could bring up many examples on all ends of the political spectrum, but I don't think the failures of the media are quite as left-leaning as your article concentrates on.
[[Blogger: Remainder of paragraph would normally have been edited out as being way, way off-topic and but has been retained for context.]]
Over the last 40 years, Republicans have talked a lot about fiscal and personal responsibility, and I haven't seen the media hold anyone accountable when the Republicans act relentlessly like whining spoiled spendthrift children blaming the Democrats for anything and everything even when Republicans are in power. I notice even you sidestepped blaming anyone on the Right for the Iraq War (and failing to pay for it), even though there was a Republican majority in Congress for 6 years and rightwing dominated courts and Presidency. (Do you remember what they called Congresswoman Lee for voting against the war? I do, because the MSM reported it, and I remember the immense pressure on Democratic lawmakers who were damned if they did and damned if they didn't. Don't remember that getting reported.) Every time California got a Republican governor, we also got a monstrous debt. The last governor got us out of debt and balanced the budget even in the midst of recession, under a Democratic supermajority, with California going from 6th largest economy in the world to 5th, and a net contributor to the federal coffers. I'm not saying it's perfect and I have my own criticisms of legislators on all sides of the aisle. But you don't see the fiscal successes under Democrats reported across the country in Red States. I think I saw a 60 Minutes story that mentioned it, but it was so cursory, and the narrative about California in the Red States where I have relatives is so detached from reality, one or two stories will not penetrate their carefully constructed politically self-serving worldview.

For that I also blame the media, who have mainly parroted rightwing narratives for the last 40 years and allowed these relatives to believe whatever they were fed that served a certain narrative. Naturally telling the truth and making it stick after 40 years of letting things slide like that and basically being used by plutocrats trying to destroy democracy (which is who I think of as "elites") is going to require more than just a few alarmed editorials.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 20, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Concerned Citizen

Responses not in the order in the comment.

> "I don't think the failures of the media are quite as left-leaning as your article concentrates on."

That focus was derived from the media editorials, which followed the Boston Globe template. That template had a very definite left bias, both in its tone and its false claims.
As many have noted, it is usually the Right-wing that wants censorship and attempts to suppress freedom of speech and of the press. In these unusual times, it is the Right that is a (weak) defender of those freedoms and the Left that is constricting them.

-----------
> "...I also blame the media, who have mainly parroted rightwing narratives..."

It is not a "rightwing narrative" but a so-called neo-Liberal (pro-corporation) narrative that has been supported by the Establishment wings of both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Also by portions of the Left because of features such as "Open Borders".

-----------
> "I notice even you sidestepped blaming anyone on the Right for the Iraq War (and failing to pay for it), even though there was a Republican majority in Congress for 6 years and rightwing dominated courts and Presidency."

Because responsibility for the Iraq War wasn't the topic. What was relevant was (big) media's failures to find and illuminate when government is wrong or lying or ... The media editorials claimed that this was a crucial value of a free press, but sidestepped their institutional failures to perform that function in so many high-profile situations.

--------------
> "... I also blame the media, who have mainly parroted rightwing narratives for the last 40 years and allowed these relatives to believe whatever..."

Recognize that Fox News became successful because there was an audience that felt badly served by the traditional media -- in my opinion a feeling that was partially legit and significantly overblown. Fox News was, and is, bad "journalism". However, in various non-partisan evaluations of major media sources is ranks as less partisan and biased than MSNBC and CNN. I have no personal opinion on this because I can't stomach enough of the three to get enough of a sample to make my own judgment.

--------------
"can you please describe what you mean by "elites"? I have heard that term bandied about a lot as a derogatory term, but I'm not sure what people mean by it."
The commenter then goes with a notion of "elite" that doesn't match this situation, something he would have discovered with a simple Google or Wikipedia lookup.

In political theory/"science", an aristocracy is a classic example. An elite is a small group (or class) that holds highly disproportionate power through control of a combination of wealth (ownership), finance, resources, government institutions, the police, judicial system, military, ...
It is often used in a derogatory sense because cronyism is the norm and merit is rarely more than afterthought.
For example, the DNC and Podesta email hacks showed members of the Democratic Party elite diverting a surprising amount of time during the heat of a campaign into inserting family and proteges into influential positions in the elite.

For example, George W Bush and Jeb Bush would never have been Presidential candidates if not for their father (and grandfather).
If not for his father, Andrew "America was never that great" Cuomo's only way into the NY Governor's mansion would have been on a guided tour.
Despite his education at elite universities (Georgetown, Oxford, Yale) and his intelligence, knowledge and political skills, many Republicans regarded him as unqualified because he didn't come from their notion of "the elite".

In the political sense, "elite" is usually used in a derogatory sense because of the cronyism and the corruption arising from it. For example, in the run-up to the Iraq War, the "elite" media -- NY Times, WashPost, major TV news networks, ... -- based their coverage on reporting from their "elite" reporters who were getting their information from "elite" members of government. They ignored/discounted contradictory reporting from on-the-ground and from reporters talking to domain experts, such as relevant scientists and senior officers in the Pentagon and intelligence agencies. One could have found this info in 2nd/3rd tier newspapers -- such as the now-defunct Knight-Ridder chain -- or in the foreign press. For example, AIEA inspectors arriving at sites identified by US Intelligence as part of Iraq's nuclear program found spider webs and drifting sand, or supposed loading docks inaccessible to trucks. Or the artillery rocket tubes claimed to be for uranium centrifuges despite lacking crucial attributes. And on and on.

A little while ago I read a mediocre essay that criticized media outlets for their many "experts lacking expertise". If one is a member of the "elite", they can be consistently, and egregiously, wrong and still be portrayed as an "expert".

These elites typically have great contempt for "lesser people" (necessary for group identity and cohesion), but a well-functioning elite will discipline its members to keep this from becoming too visible to the public.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 21, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I realize that this may be a waste of time, but, grouping people broadly into "authoritarian" and "liberal" categories, since you authoritarians (about 1/3 of people according to research) don't trust anything in the liberal press, how about a source from a powerful corporation: Microsoft. You have probably read about this in the liberal press but, of course, didn't trust it. Sorry that the quote picks up in the middle, [[Blogger: Deleted because it is off-topic and is irrelevant because it is evidence for a serious misrepresentation. ]] Web Link


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Anon

The term "authoritarian" has two very different meanings in psychology and politics and these are often confused and conflated. You easily find this distinction in today's politics: The people concerned about political authoritarianism -- a too powerful government taking away people's rights -- have large overlaps with those classified as having the "authoritarian" psychological trait. How could this be? The questions on the psych test for "authoritarianism" can easily be interpreted as being about deserved respect for legitimate/proper authority. Students in a class who believed that the teacher's instructions should be followed could be classified as "authoritarian". Recognize that what the psychologists intended by these questions is irrelevant -- the test-taker's interpretation is. Thus it is easy to get a large number of people classified as having "authoritarian" attitudes who are in no way supporters of authoritarian government.

> "...you authoritarians ... don't trust anything in the liberal press..." about Russian interference

A serious misrepresentation, but I suspect that the commenter is so deep in tribalism that he can't understand this.

From what I hear from the vast majority of Republicans is not a denial of Russian interference. For example, they have legitimate and partisan criticism of the Obama administration for its tepid response. What they do reject is:

1. Russian interference renders Trump an illegitimate president. Existence of Russian interference is not proof that it was effective in changing the election results.
- Detail: Corporate experiences with the effectiveness of social media advertising is that it is unpredictable and difficult to measure. Companies report having tried large social media advertising campaigns and seen negligible changes in sales (and thus cut back that advertising).
- Also the Russian interference included actions that could have increased turn-out of Clinton supporters, for example, messages supporting the Black Lives Matter narrative.

2. Russian interference is proof of collusion with/by Trump. The "evidence" for this falls into conspiracy logic wherein anything can be "proved". It also involves contradicting claims: That the Trump campaign had detailed secret communications with the Russians and that Trump needed to use a press conference to communicate his request to the Russians.

A reasonable person (non-partisan, non-tribal) could look at the currently available evidence and conclude that the Putin regime's primary goal was to sow discord, but the targeting was biased by their preexisting, well-known hatred for Hillary Clinton. And that there is no reasonable evidence -- for or against -- on whether they affected the election results because of the extreme difficulty of finding such evidence. For example, one can't take a time machine back to the campaign and do A-B testing on the Russian's messages.
When I compare this to what I see in the media -- both right and left -- I see this as yet another example of "the press" failing in its role to promote an informed public.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Aug 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

I am reading Katherine Grahams' book - Personal History. This is how the Washington Post was bought out of bankruptcy by her father - Eugene Meyers. He was a Republican under the Hoover Administration as head of the Federal Reserve and then quit under FDR. Keeping all of the elements of a paper going requires cash. Many ways to create cash in the newspaper business. Her husband succeeded as head of the paper - a Democrat. One of the most noted problems they had was news sources that were straight facts - Associated Press - a service sold to any newspaper that wanted to buy it - versus the opinion page of the paper. If the straight facts diverge from the opinion page then it becomes obvious. That was a criticism of Phil Graham. He was manic depressive and committed suicide. Fast forward to today and I do not read any columnist from the Washington Post that appears on the SJM or SFC. They read like attack dogs with no facts - just bizarre opinions. People are slamming Fox News - they are at every Trump event so you are hearing what he says and can see him interacting with the people and invited foreign guests. Then read about it the next day - totally different picture. Bottom line is be there at the events via fox news and form your own opinion. The people in the media are feeding off DT to keep their own selves employed - either as critics or supporters.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Wylmina Hettinga, a resident of another community,
on Aug 22, 2018 at 9:34 am

[[deleted: off-topic (Trump policies)]]


 +   2 people like this
Posted by resident, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Aug 22, 2018 at 11:40 am

[[response to the above comment that was deleted as off-topic.]]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm

President Trump tweeted that the FBI didn't even read 99% of Clintons emails. Why didn't the medias put that story on long ago? They had three years, and they never did. I think that shows their hypocrite bias again. Do you think so too?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 25, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Eileen Wright

I strongly disagree. It is bad journalism to report a claim in a tweet as news without confirming the claim -- or finding some other basis that would make it news.

First: One can't have it both ways: claiming media bias for reporting tweets and the like without fact-checking when it goes against their partisanship/tribe and also claiming media bias for not reporting the same when it favors them.

More importantly: The actual number read is irrelevant. There are sophisticated software packages that scan massive collections of email (and files) and flag ones of likely relevance for closer examination. The commercial versions of these are used extensively by law firms (in discovery). The intelligence agencies presumably have more powerful versions. Recognize that the FBI is, and always has been, primarily a surveillance agency (couner-intelligence, monitoring and infiltrating criminal organizations, ...)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 28, 2018 at 10:31 am

Fresh off the Twitter press, a couple of hours ago, from the realDonaldTrump himself, -another- attack on the press-- and Google:
--

Donald J. Trump
?Verified account @realDonaldTrump

"Google search results for “Trump News" shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of....
8:02 AM - 28 Aug 2018
....results on “Trump News" are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!"

--

IOW, you can verify for yourself on Twitter DJT's constant attacks on the press. According to Pew Research Center, about 28-29% of Americans are on-board with Trump's personality/approach:

Web Link


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Anon

Once again: This thread is not about Trump, but behavior and credibility of the media. Media coverage of Trump is but evidence or a symptom.

Take the killing of White farmers in South Africa. This has been a significant story both in the US and other countries (with recent major articles in Newsweek, BBC...). It has been about the rate of killing (reportingly averaging one every 5 days), the brutality (extended torture before killing) and the murders of whole families. There was an attempt in Australia to offer resettlement to them, but this was reportedly blocked by the Liberal party because it objected to giving priority to Whites. Russia has offered resettlement.

Yet, when Trump puts out a wishy-washy tweet that he is going to have the State Department look into this (no position), the media immediately switches from appropriate reporting to fake news, claiming that Trump has taken up Far Right talking points.

Aside on bias in media: See the comment of "Ms. Anon of Crescent Park" (Aug 20, 1:44 pm)

====
As to Google -- and its subsidiary YouTube -- being politically biased, this shouldn't be controversial. There are too many instances over the years of G/Y displaying different rules for the left and the right. And penalizing and banning right-leaning YouTube sites for nonsensical reasons, reasons contrary to evidence or for behavior that has long been acceptable and continues to be acceptable, if the site aligns with G/Y politics.

I find YouTube to be a valuable news resource because it has sites that provide longer videos that allow me to see the context and the segments that the mainstream media has edited out to make what's left fit their narratives. There are increasing reports of YouTube censoring videos and punishing sites that supply evidence contrary to and contradicting the mainstream media. This includes sites for journalists and commentators that lean left or identify as Progressives, but whose higher loyalty is to good journalism. Their treatment by YouTube has been increasingly hostile that some are starting the painful process of moving to another provider and trying to rebuild their subscriber base and find ways to have their content show up in search listings.

As to Google Search, it uses so many factors - including your own search history and your location - that it is difficult to run an independent experiment. And it is unsurprising that different people get different results. However, there have been independent studies over the years that report finding search results that seem to be so far off the expected variance that it is hard not to attribute bias to the search algorithm (Google that for yourself).

The serious debate surrounding Google/YouTube and the rest of the big social media companies is that they are have contradictory protections. First, they have been designated as similar to a telephone company in that they are not -=B legal== responsible for what their users say over their media. However, this protection is based on the criteria that they have no editorial control, but that they simply transmitting information. However, they have taken on substantial editorial control which should have forfeited that protection.

The social media giants are also being characterized as "privately owned public space" -- an established legal concept in the physical world. This is producing calls for an "Internet Bill of Rights".

Then there are those who argue the social media oligopolies violate US Anti-Trust laws and there are two remedies: break each of them up, or have them regulated in a manner similar to a utility ("natural monopolies").


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Harry Merkin, a resident of Ventura,
on Aug 28, 2018 at 10:49 pm

[[irrelevant partisanship]]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Babka bakery to open Thursday in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,924 views

Gobbledygook goings on in Palo Alto
By Diana Diamond | 5 comments | 2,234 views

Couples: Child Loss, "No U-Turn at Mercy Street"
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,646 views

A bad beginning makes a bad ending: City Council
By Douglas Moran | 4 comments | 1,501 views

Which Cocktail Has the Least Calories?
By Laura Stec | 12 comments | 1,436 views