Archive for Media

Maybe the steaming pile is getting a bit more notice?

Naomi Schaefer Riley notes that Facts matter: Left sticks to ‘narratives,’ evidence be damned. There are some indications that this particular observation is becoming a bit more widespread than it used to be. We can hope.

The stimulus on this one is the campus rape epidemic hoax. The reporting still asserts that the claimant was a traumatic rape victim despite a lack of any support for the claim. That doesn’t matter (the reality, that is). What matters is the message. And that isn’t the only item on the list.

But who cares about the facts as long as awareness has been raised? Take the case of Ellen Pao, who filed suit against her former employer, venture capital group Kleiner Perkins, for gender ­discrimination. … Two weeks ago, a jury decided her claims were completely without merit. And yet from the media coverage, you’d think Ellen Pao successfully exposed a Silicon Valley rife with discrimination. … There was no merit to her claims. If Silicon Valley is so filled with sexist pigs acting illegally, perhaps we could find a case where they actually did that.

and another case related only in correlation to the leanings of the ideologues making allegations:

This is not unlike what happened after the Justice Department released its report on the shooting of Michael Brown last summer.

The only “lesson” that could really be drawn from the DOJ report and the grand jury’s non-indictment was that you shouldn’t knock over convenience stores, but if you do and a police officer catches you, it’s probably not a good idea to ­resist arrest.

But that was not the lesson that others wanted to emphasize. Which is why the Ferguson police now have to try to change the composition of their staff and ticketing policies — though they have no bearing on the case at hand.

as to the message?

Actually, yes, it does diminish the importance because it calls into question whether those were real issues at all. … Not everything has to be a teachable moment. And if we do need a moral to every story, it would be useful to find one based on the facts.

That teachable moment is for the other guy since those trying to do the teaching know it all already. The uncomfortable part is that they are trying to teach the masses that that stinking pile is really good eats when anyone with a sense of smell and some level of intellectual integrity can see it for what it really is. Some things are best for fertilizing the fields and buried in the topsoil.

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Fact Checking

Some media outlets started ‘fact checking’ columns to determine whether statements of politicians were true or false. In part, this effort was an outcome of the Left being caught in so many lies and distortions of fact that ‘balance’ was needed by ‘proving’ both sides do it. David Rutz illustrates just how this fact checking effort is severely biased by describing 5 Times the Washington Post Failed At Fact-Checking. What makes the field ripe for ‘interpretation’ is that the expression of opinion can use allegory, example, satire, and other rhetorical methods to make a point. Trying to determine the veracity of this expression can be a matter of opinion and interpretation about what is critical to the argument and what is not and even what the argument really is.

“Goldfarb got super-serious and dissected such details as executive orders versus executive actions and the constitutionality of Obama’s endeavor. He didn’t get into how Obama had said for years that his executive amnesty actions were outside his authority.

Also, it doesn’t appear the Washington Post ever checked for sure that Will Ferrell’s Bush wanted to put Germany, the economy and math into his “Axis of Evil.” That, of course, would have been absurd since this was a silly comedy show. They did get around, four years later, to debunking the idea that Sarah Palin had actually said “I can see Russia from my house,” as made famous by Tina Fey’s impersonation.

We give these blunders double double Pinocchios.”

There are many ways to avoid intellectual integrity. Sometimes, observing behavior yields better results – if intellectual integrity has any value – in determining veracity and truthfulness.

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Cronkite to Williams: a sad tale of deception

Alicia Colon describes When Network Lies Kill.

“Whether Williams is a fabulist, an incestuous voyeur who bragged about his daughter’s soft porn role on HBO’s ‘Girls’ or simply your average liberal is less compelling to me than wondering if a more dangerous anchor will ever be exposed for his lies.

Unfortunately, Walter Cronkite is still revered as the most trusted man in America even though his lies about the Vietnam War caused countless military deaths by prolonging the conflict.”

Cronkite is becoming known for his false assessment regarding the outcome of the Tet offensive and military success in Vietnam. But he was only a starting point for the sad saga of the modern era’s news anchor. Williams is just the latest. The propaganda machine exists. It is not a machine of the state but rather of an ideology backed by a lack of intellectual integrity in a band of brothers leading the major media. Death and destruction as its effect is becoming more obvious.

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The year when the facts died?

First up is Lamont Colucci who describes what he calls the Red Puritans and concludes:

“The crackup is coming, and it won’t be the rapture the Red Puritans have prepared for. The new Garden of Eden, which would have a smaller human population living in harmony with an untamed wilderness, is not on the horizon. The paradox they preach by using absolute terms to worship at the altar of relativism cannot endure. The Orwellian nature of their totalitarian dream is beginning to crumble, but they won’t go without a fight. They will continue their crusade until it becomes abundantly clear how morally bankrupt they are, but the beginning of the end is looming.”

Then Maureen Dowd is used as the poster child by Tammy Bruce.

“Facts do tend to be pesky things, as Ms. Dowd and the rest of The New York Times crew found in 2014. After years of morally superior, self-righteous preening, they had a problem: Judith Miller was proven right about WMD in Iraq. Revealed in a 2010 Wikileaks document dump, The New York Times finally wrote a 10,000 word story on “abandoned chemical weapons” in Iraq as it became evident our troops continued to be injured by them and their existence could no longer be denied.”

The premise is the same, “the crackup is coming” in those “Red Puritans” as the defense crumbles and extreme tactics must be used to maintain the facade.

“The now-consumed 2014 has been perfectly described by some commentators as the year when facts died. Politicians, mobs in the streets and their willing accomplices in the media swamped us with lies, obfuscations or riots manifest because, as author Thomas Sowell has noted, “What matters today is how well you can concoct a story that fits people’s preconceptions and arouses their emotions. Politicians like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, professional demagogues like Al Sharpton and innumerable irresponsible people in the media have shown that they have great talent in promoting a lynch mob.”

For some, the facts have never lived so how can they die? How do the rest of us protect ourselves from these ‘Red Puritans’ when they do not share even a value such as a need for intellectual integrity with us?

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Myth propagating

Slate, of course: Amanda Marcotte says Let’s Stop Idealizing the Home-Cooked Family Dinner.

Money is also a problem. Low-income women often don’t have the money for fresh produce and, in many cases, can’t afford to pay for even a basic kitchen setup.

Well, yes, being poor does usually mean money is a problem but what is at note here is the denial of reality. The ‘poor’ in the U.S. would be considered ‘middle class’ in most of the rest of the world. You can see this in the fact that the targets for dinner aren’t exactly suffering. See Census: Americans in ‘Poverty’ Typically Have Cell Phones, Computers, TVs, VCRS, AC, Washers, Dryers and Microwaves (and 96% have stoves).

Beyond just the time and money constraints, women find that their very own families present a major obstacle to their desire to provide diverse, home-cooked meals. The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts.

and then the bias

the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway. If we want women—or gosh, men, too—to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared.

ya’ see? It’s the war on women! When it comes to such ideologies picked for mainstream promotion by those on the left, facts and reality just don’t matter. They are made up to support the fantasy. What used to be a service for loved ones now becomes a burden for ingrates. The fix isn’t to control the ingrates but rather to re-assess values and attitudes of the burdened.

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Net Neutrality

J.C. Dvorak takes on the The Net Neutrality Hysteria, one of those appealing labels applied to a questionable effort for government control at the expense of those ‘greedy, evil’ corporations.

“It stems from a belief that without some sort of law or government edict, the evil ISPs—mainly Comcast—will go out of their way to screw customers by practicing all sorts of devilment.”

“So … why hasn’t it done this already? Nobody can really answer that, except to say some unenforceable FCC principles, suggested years ago, are being used to stem any corrupt practices.”

“After years of fear that the government will take control of the Internet, now everyone is begging them to do it. The two liberal commissioners on the FCC pretty much said that problems are coming and rules need to be put in place. This pre-crime thinking will result in regulation that will encroach on everything.”

“The public can find a lot of ways to punish a corporation that abuses its privileges. This situation should not be escalated to the point that the FCC has anything to do with it.”

The Snowden episode is used as an example to illustrate why the government cannot be trusted. That illustrates a bias on its own that tends to detract from the case made. Fundamentally, it conflates the matter of knowing with that of doing. The net neutrality effort isn’t just a listening issue, it is a control and doing issue. It is about having the government regulate the internet service business to control content and how it is handled. It is being done with an unwarranted suspicion of the targets involved and an anticipation of something that might happen but hasn’t yet – notice how that same set of tactics is used by the climate alarmists?

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Piety in Tinseltown

It’s the context, he says. Michael White is a student of early nineteenth century Americ and wonders Was 12 Years a Slave the best film of the year?

“It is not just the lovely clothes the Northups wear, but a lack of contextual information that might guide the unwary about how slavery operated in the America of 1841: the battle between slave and free states; freedom roads heading north; kidnappers like Northup’s assailants heading south with “runaways”, real or not. Steven Spielberg’s earnest Lincoln, with which it has been compared, makes the same mistake: lack of context meant you needed a degree in the period (I have one) to understand all that was going on.”… “we learn, McQueen and his writer, John Ridley, felt the need to embellish the text to reinforce their point.” … “You do not throw $1,000-worth of property at 1841 prices over the side of the boat simply because he has annoyed you.” … “The film’s depiction of relationships between classes, genders and spouses, as well as between races, also seemed a little out of kilter, too informal, too candid, too egalitarian; in other words, too modern.” … “what convinced me that the film diminished itself needlessly was in its depiction of Christianity simply as a hypocritical instrument of suppression, the Bible routinely cited as justification for enslavement in sermons to the enslaved. It was all that, but it was also much more.”

The modern propaganda recipe is all there. That is why “best film of the year? That smacks of piety in Tinseltown.”

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Fighting tooth and nail

Thomas Lifson says the Dems declare war on Inspector General uncovering IRS scandal. What he describes is a dedicated, unforgiving, no holds barred, effort of defense.

“The IRS scandal is so bad that Democrats are unleashing total war in an attempt to beat back a full airing of the abuse. The old adage, “The best defense is a good offense,” is all the more valid when the major media outlets are on their side. It is not necessary to have any actual facts to use as rebuttal for the indefensible; it is enough to simply throw a cloud of dust, so as to discredit any charges – in the eyes of supporters and media sycophants.”

“Inspectors General are the taxpayers’ best friends in Washington, DC, charged with investigating waste and corruption, and for that reason have been the targets of the Obama administration’s  Ongoing War on Inspectors General, documented by Ed Lasky over the past several years. It is Chicago-style politics to threaten anyone who can uncover inconvenient dirt. Obama is notorious for his “they bring a knife, you bring a gun” style of political hardball, and an inspector general who threatens to uncover scandal is an obvious target.”

That tends to stimulate positive feedback, the artificially created fallacy that there’s no smoke so there’s no fire and what has got these Republicans upset, anyhow? The scary thing is that the Democrats are working as a solid block despite clear indications of impropriety that need to be repaired. Mass hysteria?

Also see John Hinderaker Barack Obama: The George Wallace of Free Speech

“Bitterly hostile to free speech when exercised by their political opponents, Democrats have done whatever they can to undermine Citizens United, just as they did decades ago with Brown vs. Board of Education.

“The I.R.S. scandal can best be seen in this light. The Democrats are using the levers of the executive branch, particularly the I.R.S., to deter Americans from exercising the First Amendment rights that were guaranteed them by the Supreme Court.”

A fear of inspection of ideas is a danger of magnitude.

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Media delight

Finally, a scandal that gets the media excited. John explains: Christie Bridge Scandal Puts Reporters Back In Business.

“The most striking fact about the story so far is the obvious contrast between reporters’ attitudes toward the many Obama administration scandals–ho hum–and the repellent glee with which they are pursuing the Christie story. … It seems obvious that Obama’s IRS and Benghazi scandals are far more serious than the bridge lane closing, and Obama’s lockdown of national parks and monuments was a close parallel to the lane closure, only on a national scale. And, of course, one normally would expect the national media to pay far more attention to presidential than gubernatorial scandals. But the frenzy of the last 24 hours reminds us how excited reporters can get when they are going after a Republican.”

“This is what I don’t get: don’t reporters understand how obvious it is that they delight in Republican scandals, and do their best to cover up Democratic ones? Have they so internalized their prejudices that they really can’t see them, and assume no one else does, either? Or do they just not care?”

Perhaps a more significant question is why the voters and media audience do not see this or do not care.

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Scary times (but its us, not them)

Hansen wonders about 2017 and the End of Ethics

“We have become inured to the press as an adjunct Ministry of Truth and to the notion that the president feels that he can do whatever he wishes without much worry over public audit. Such obsequiousness and exemption are now institutionalized, just as, after the divine Emperor Augustus, there was little accountability for the emperors or free speech allowed in criticizing them. So we are entering a new period in presidential history, and it may be difficult to go back to the status quo ante 2009, when reporters were not state megaphones and the president paid a price for not telling the truth.

More likely, the members of the national press corps do not even now quite get it that they have been completely discredited.”

“So we are living in scary times. The nation has grown used to the idea that what the president says is probably either untrue or irrelevant — and yet it does not really any more care which.”

The focus is on the first level media and their role as auditors of political behavior. In many respects, this is like those who point to a political party or even all politicians as the source for what is wrong in the country. This is simply a means to avoid something much more pernicious. The accountability for public and political behavior depends upon the citizens – each one of us – in our votes and in our acceptance of lies, deceit, and corruption. When we honor muggers and despise those who defend themselves lawfully, it’s us and not them that need examination.

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Spiritual warfare

“So I notice now they are … leaving it in there, but you got to remember, spiritual warfare,” Robertson said. “I mean you have people with no moral compass, it ain’t there.”…

“Duck Dynasty” star: Editors cut mention of Jesus from show to avoid offending Muslims.

It seems that the editors are adding bleeps to imply cursing that isn’t in the actual dialog and removing references to Jesus in order to placate terrorists on one the hit TV shows Duck Dynasty.

So this is yet another reinforcement of the idea that terrorism works, and jihadist intimidation and thuggery work: cowards start falling into line even without any explicit threat. “‘Duck Dynasty’ Star: Show Adding ‘Fake Bleeps’ Despite No Cursing,” from CBS Houston, October 4 (thanks to Kenneth):

The propaganda is subtle and may not be backed by a grand strategy from a central authority but it does exist and is having its impact.

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Going to bat for your team: Media vs Republicans and getting your money

John Hinderaker describes one reason why one political party is handicapped: The Associated Press Goes to Bat For the Democratic Party. The subject for examination is an AP story for tommorrow’s press by Andrew Taylor.

“There you have it! Our government is “teetering,” but those dastardly Republicans have “vowed” to use an “otherwise routine” spending bill to “try to attack” Obamacare. It’s all their fault! Nowhere do the Democrats “vow,” nowhere do they violate “routine,” nowhere do they “attack” anything. So whatever is going on here, it evidently is the doing of Republicans.”

And there is more: revisionist histories and the bogey man (i.e. the TEA Party) and the incredible nonsense paraded as Truth.

“Sure, that’s the idea. Republicans just want to stop people from getting health care. This is unbelievably stupid, but the AP presents it without comment.”

At least the bias is a matter of discussion, analysis, and exposure. Maybe, just maybe, a few more folks will stop and think about what they are told and compare it to what is readily visible that contradicts it. Maybe.

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Historians vs Hollywood

A number of historians describe What ‘The Butler’ gets wrong about Ronald Reagan and race.

These are just a few examples of Reagan’s sensitivity to racial discrimination. This attitude was instilled by his mother, who was deeply involved in the Disciples of Christ, and his father, who refused to allow him to see the movie “Birth of a Nation” because it glorified the Ku Klux Klan.

But you don’t get any sense of that in the film “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

As historians of the 40th president, having written more than a dozen biographies between us, we are troubled by the movie’s portrayal of Reagan’s attitudes toward race. We are especially concerned because many Americans readily accept Hollywood depictions of history as factual.

There is an agenda to be supported. The propaganda is necessary, even if intellectually dishonest, to support that agenda. The past will be painted in a manner that suits the agenda. The question is whether it is Hollywood’s propaganda or the Historian’s story of reality that will surface over time and what will happen (and at what cost) in the meantime.

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Race wars, a tangled web with the victim count growing

The Zimmerman case was a matter of running a flag up the pole to gather the troops, it seems. John Lott takes off from there on Obama’s Racial Imbalance:

“Would these attacks have occurred without the perception that Zimmerman was motived by race? Maybe. The Zimmerman case could have been only an excuse for attacks that would have taken place anyway. Nevertheless, the list of attackers who explicitly mention Trayvon’s name is long enough to be disturbing.”

Then there is a detailed look at the campaign to elevate the Zimmerman case from what it was to what is wasn’t.  Is This What Ryan Julison Intended All Along?.

“Many people are noticing the uptick in young black males attacking, and in some recent cases, killing, white people. One of the connections that joins them all appears just below the surface. Each of these events are connected, and each of these connections are being totally ignored by the media.”

Investigations reveal that there are connections to other race war battles. The leadership in this war has been noted, especially in the relationships between the current administration and some of the well known race baiters. Much like the terrorism war, it is a one sided campaign permeated by political correctness and driven by malicious propaganda.

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Tergiversations: the media on climate change

Steven Hayward came up with that one in Media Notes: Climate Campaign in a Snit

“The climate campaign has gone to DefCon1 over the tergiversations of Reuters, where alarmist news stories about climate change have fallen by nearly 50 percent following the hiring of an editor (Paul Ingrassia, formerly of the Wall Street Journal) who harbors some skeptical views.”

“There’s a full-scale media outrage under way to purge the heretic. “

It is getting harder to promote anthropogenic caused climate catastrophy so the coverage in that area is dissipating. Taxing Air by Spooner and Carter reviews the science and politics on the issue that also provides a good over-view of climatology. No tergiversations there!

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Finding the right villian in the scandal

The NSA telecommunications spy scandal has created a lot of breathlessness in certain circles  lately. Stewart Baker says “but enough about you …” to question whether the scanal is really about the privacy of individuals or something else, something much more insidious.

“Today, more than two weeks after publishing a FISA court order calling for the collection of noncontent calling data for all US phone calls, the Guardian and Glenn Greenwald got around to proving me right. They finally published NSA’s minimization procedures for handling records relating to US persons.”

… “To be clear, they’re generally reassuring about NSA’s respect for the rights of Americans. They’re not at all reassuring about the motivations of Glenn Greenwald or the Guardian.

Because it seems almost certain that Greenwald and the Guardian had these documents two weeks ago, and that they could have released the guidelines at the same time they released the order that started this flap.  The original order, out of context, was disturbing.  The minimization documents provide context and make the naked order less troubling.

So why did the Greenwald/Guardian team withhold documents that would provide important context for two full weeks as the controversy built?

This makes no sense if you’re practicing journalism.”

In other words, the real scandal is likely to be the violation of a security clearance to leak classified information to a media outlet that then used that information as a part of an ideological propaganda campaign.

“If I’m right about their motives, Greenwald and the Guardian are treating NSA — or the United States government — as the enemy they hope to harm, and they’ve abandoned ordinary journalistic standards in an effort to do their adversary as much harm as possible.”

It used to be simple government vs government. Now, it appears, it is something a bit different. No long is Radio Moscow the means to disseminate propaganda. The cranks and crackpots and others can get into the act as well. They want to ‘bring the big guy down’ but don’t seem to have the foggiest idea about the implications of their fantasies.

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Undermining the foundations

Hanson: When dishonesty undermines democracy summarizes the current plague of deceit and evasion in government. The behavior described is indeed one underpinning of the foundations for self governance. He also hits on another:

“Deception is now institutionalized in the Obama administration. It infects almost every corner of the U.S. government, eroding the trust necessary for the IRS, the Department of Justice, our security agencies, and the president’s official press communiques — sabotaging the public trust required for democracy itself.

What went wrong with the Obama administration?

There is no longer an adversarial media establishment in Washington. Spouses and siblings of executives at the major television networks are embedded within the administration. Unlike with Watergate, the media now hold back, thinking that any hard-hitting reporting of scandals would only weaken Mr. Obama, whose vision of America the vast majority of reporters share. But that understood exemption only encourages more lack of candor.”

The other foundational principle is that of honesty and integrity in holding government to account. As Dr. Hanson notes, the media’s role in this has become a farce. The media is not the only player. The other is the public. As long as ‘the people’ are generally willing to accept dishonesty in their government – or to presume dishonesty that wasn’t – government will continue to function on the basis of fantasy and not reality.

As for “presume dishonesty that wasn’t,” consider one Democrat party leader whose response to a list like Hanson’s with a famous “Bush did it” by pushing the Iraq WMD as a similar state of affairs. Equating a consensus of foreign and domestic intelligence to such things as the current scandals is an indication of just how deep and widespread the lack of intellectual integrity, the rot in self governance, really is.

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Getting the story straight: how did the MSM get it so wrong?

There is an innordinate and irrational fear about privacy that drives FUD mongering stories. One way to tell is that the stories are often hyperbolic, exagerated, and even blatantly wrong. Ed Bott illustrates the phenomena in regards to the recent NSA PRISM stories.

“That absence of an independent tech check means both publications got the story wrong, as subsequent reporting by other journalists with experience in these topics has confirmed. These are not trivial details, nor is this a matter of semantics. We’re not quibbling over words. If you don’t understand the technical workings of these surveillance programs, you can’t understand whether they’re working as intended, you can’t identify where the government has overstepped its bounds, and you can’t intelligently debate the proper response. The fact that the government has maintained rigid secrecy compounds the problem.”

Who cares is a source is giving away classified and secret information? Who cares if large tech companies get slandered?

“The system described in the PRISM presentation appears to be an automated way to process those FBI and NSA requests. It’s clearly not an open doorway into any of those companies’ servers, as The Guardian and the Post originally alleged. 

The nine companies listed in the PRISM slide deck are there because they offer widely used communication services, most of them free.

The botched reporting by the Guardian and the Post means that millions of readers directed their anger at a handful of big companies that were unfairly accused of selling out their customers to the national security apparatus. The reality is that if NSA surveillance is indeed overstepping its bounds, those companies are victims, not willing participants.”

Anything for a good story, it seems, especially if it trashes the U.S. and large corporate entities. After all, 9/11 and the Boston Bombing were just minor criminal activities and there is no ‘war on terror’ or global ideological conflict laced with significant violence against the innocent.

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double down on dishonesty

It appears that the Sacramento Bee editor defends Rick Perry “BOOM!” cartoon and, in doing so, illustrates the tactic of doubling down on a dishonest assertion and rationalizing that dishonesty by diversion. The rationalization is to assert that the objection to the cartoon is ” being disrespectful for the victims of this tragedy” and a personal assault on the governor’s “disregard for worker safety.” Those assertions personalize the issue, create a straw man, and completely ignores the actual message of the actual cartoon.

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WaPo starts a rumor and no amount of debunking squashes the lie

“Among the most troubling questions from this episode is why the Internet’s ability to spread information at gigabit speed didn’t result in the story being killed.”

It’s FREE! It has the taint of mysterious (i.e. magic) technology! The media says it’s true! The government is going to do it – for everybody, for FREE! Feels good. Must be.

but it isn’t.

Wi-Fi “as free as air”—the totally false story that refuses to die – Journalism goes wrong and just keeps getting worse. Jon Brodkin tells the tale.

“The story is still out there. Three days after anyone who knew what they were talking about debunked the free Wi-Fi myth, three days after the Post was notified of their mistake, the false story is still published on the Post website and many other sites as if it were true all along.”

This is one of those things that doesn’t pass the smell test but there aren’t many in the surface media who have any sense of smell any more, it seems and their audience is also quite gullible for pipe dreams. That is called a positive feedback loop and the result is not pretty. What Jon notes is the problem of stimulating just a little bit of critical reading. It seems to be an impossible task.

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