June 29th, 2017

I’m with Sharyl Attkisson on this

I thought I’d make today mostly a Trump-free day on the blog. But not a media-free day. And where there’s media, there’s Trump, at least by implication. You can’t get away!

So I’m quoting Sharyl Attkisson from a recent interview:

…[W]hen you [criticize politicians and other people in power] in such a way that the public no longer believes what they’re getting is the whole truth or sometimes the truth at all, you’ve undercut yourself because we’re getting to an era where people hardly believe anything they hear at first blush, at least that’s how I am. No matter who reports it, I feel like I have to do my own independent work to know whether it’s true or not, because there have been so many, so many, serious mistakes, even by formerly very well-respected news outlets.

Remember, this is a fellow journalist speaking. If it has come to that for her, what about the rest of us? For me, this feeling started way back during my political change over 15 years ago, and was one of the things that drove it. And one of the things that drove me to blogging was the need to “do my own independent work” to know whether things I read are true or not.

Nor are these actually “mistakes” by the press—not in the usual sense, anyway. And Attkisson is well aware of that, as you’ll see if you listen to the whole clip. Her new book The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote about what she calls “transactional journalism” sounds pretty darn interesting, too.

26 Responses to “I’m with Sharyl Attkisson on this”

  1. T Says:

    “. . . we’re getting to an era where people hardly believe anything they hear at first blush . . . .” [Attkisson]

    So what’s wrong with that. IMO it’s as it should be. How many times have we seen criticism of the media after a shooter, a hurricane, or a natural disaster report because they rushed to report without credible facts and got it incredibly wrong.

    The more skeptical the public is, the less power the media has to lead them like a Pied Piper. Now we need to motivate people to dig a little, if only just a little, to begin to ferret out some facts for themselves.

  2. n.n Says:

    The subtle manipulation of perception in order to realize a preferred reality is one of, if not the greatest, power and responsibility that a person can wield.

  3. Cornhead Says:

    I don’t believe a thing from CNN, WaPo and the NYT. MSNBC is completely whacked out.

  4. n.n Says:

    Attkisson is one of the few, the proud, the honest journalists who was either always a person of integrity or had an epiphany that lead her to strive for a conservation of principles.

  5. Big Maq Says:

    Years ago, I was rather shocked at having witnessed an event, then hearing a completely different and false story about it on TV that night. Nobody needs to tell me that the msm is biased.

    In 2016, was shocked again to see two people who revel in smears, attacks, dissembling, lies, and disinformation selected as leaders of each of our two largest political parties.

    Nowadays, even “conservative” media is suspect, particularly as they have reversed course on much of what they preached as being important, too many becoming simply acolytes for trump.

    So, I’m also in that boat where “No matter who reports it, I feel like I have to do my own independent work to know whether it’s true or not”.

    Except I don’t have a blog, nor the time to dig as much.

  6. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Always consider the source.
    Attkisson is one of the good ones it seems.
    She swam against the current at CBS.

  7. Oldflyer Says:

    The obvious problem is that the majority of people do not have the time–nor in many cases the inclination–to cross check everything.

    It is one thing to evaluate opinion, that is presented as opinion; but, if the populace is unable to trust the “news” that is presented as fact, there is a real problem. It is also a problem if fact and opinion are intertwined in a devious way.

    So, clearly there is a real problem. The blame is not on the consumer of news.

  8. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Oldflyer: Sometimes the story appeals to the listener so much it should set off alarm bells.
    Sometimes it just rings true.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Lying is to be expected from used car salesmen and politicians. However problematic, there are corrective feedback mechanisms in place for them.

    But for the propagandist masquerading as a ‘journalist’ there is no corrective mechanism. In the past, a minimal degree of loyalty to our constitutional republic was assumed as self-regulation. Today, perhaps 95% of the MSM has long been actively engaged in a campaign of disinformation that easily amounts to sedition.

    Low ratings have not changed MSNBC in the least, much less put them out of business. The NYT and WAPO rival Pravda in its heyday and are kept afloat by deep pocket owners. Their losses are a tax write off for such as Bezos.

    Any ‘news’ organization that consistently lies is a direct, existential threat to the Republic.

  10. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    MSNBC, CNN, Al Jazeerah, Goebbels.

  11. Sean Says:

    You know what they say, the quickest way to become a cynic about the media is to be an eyewitness to the story they’re recounting.

    My mom was part of a NYT piece several years ago. She said the guy took what she said, put it in his blender, and it came out recognizable but totally different, in order to fit it to his narrative about rural America.

  12. Gringo Says:

    Back in the day when I was a hippie dropout activist in Berserkeley, the NYT wrote an article on the place where I worked. The article was fair and accurate, in my opinion. But that was nearly 50 years ago.

  13. AesopFan Says:

    Oldflyer Says:
    June 29th, 2017 at 8:29 pm
    The obvious problem is that the majority of people do not have the time–nor in many cases the inclination–to cross check everything.

    It is one thing to evaluate opinion, that is presented as opinion; but, if the populace is unable to trust the “news” that is presented as fact, there is a real problem. It is also a problem if fact and opinion are intertwined in a devious way.

    So, clearly there is a real problem. The blame is not on the consumer of news.
    * * *
    The devious entwining of true, not-quite-true, and blatantly false is one of the hardest things to deal with, and certainly presenting opinion as fact is another.
    Indeed, some things I’ve read look like the writer didn’t actually realize his/her opinion WASN’T a fact — the memes are so entrenched and accepted that they are taken as a sub-stratum of knowledge instead of being recognized as debatable perceptions – as with “climate change” the debate isn’t even allowed.

    However, knowing that pretty much every source blends truth and falsehoods in different way, how can there be any confidence even in your own research?
    For people without time or resources, the problem is compounded exponentially.

    This looks like a good companion piece to the NYT v. Palin lawsuit, and the recent CNN debacle, where the media appear to have knowingly and deliberately published less-than-credible reports.
    And there’s always Rolling Stone…

    … so, why DO journalists lie?

    Because they want some outcome (personal or partisan) that they know they can’t get if they tell the truth.

    “If you like your doctor….”

  14. Sean Says:

    The subtle manipulation of perception in order to realize a preferred reality is one of, if not the greatest, power and responsibility that a person can wield.

    So much for reality’s well known liberal bias.

  15. expat Says:

    At least Americans have some local experience to weigh against what the media says. In the rest of the world, people think they are getting good info when the watch CNN or read reporters who quote NYT and WaPo. This is especially important WRT BLM coverage and similar items. And people wonder why there is so much anti-Americanism.

  16. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I used to call it psych warfare and mind control, but people thought that was too crazy or extreme to consider years ago.

    Now a days, they are jumping on a whole new band wagon, thinking they thought up the concept themselves.

  17. Ymar Sakar Says:

    And where there’s media, there’s Trump, at least by implication. You can’t get away!

    People lacking firewalls and filters to the point where “they can’t get away” are stuck in the Matrix. Take the Red Pill.

    As for some of us, we don’t have issues being bombarded constantly by fake news, the news, or talking heads.

  18. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Oldflyer Says:
    June 29th, 2017 at 8:29 pm
    The obvious problem is that the majority of people do not have the time–nor in many cases the inclination–to cross check everything.

    No problem, they can just sit in front of a pastor in a church institution, and hear the Gospel without thinking or reading the bible/sauce.

    Netflix, Hollywood, DC, all kinds of “educational institutions” will exist for people that lack the time. They are already utilizing it after all.

  19. Ray Says:

    I found out a long time ago the media lies. In 1961 I was working in Brazil on a government contract and we got our mail at the American Consulate in Sao Paulo. One weekend I made the mail run into Sao Paulo to pick up the mail and about two weeks later one of the people I work with asked me if I had seen the riots. He showed me a story in Newsweek about antigovernment riots in Sao Paulo. I hadn’t seen any riot and I was where the riots supposedly occurred. Newsweek had pictures of riots, but the pictures were from the riots in Buenos Aires about two years ago. Fake news is nothing new.

  20. ConceptJunkie Says:

    It’s a common saying, but I think few people take it to heart. Look at how the media covers something that you either witnessed personally, or are an expert on the subject, and keep in mind that’s how well they cover everything. In other words, they are horrible at covering news even before you start considering bias and agendas.

    Orwell’s telescreens exist. They are radically different than he envisioned 70 years ago, but they accomplish the same things using the same tactics.

  21. Roy Says:

    “You have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers, that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek for truth in other quarters, the better.”

    (William T. Sherman, 1864.)

    It has been going on for awhile.

  22. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It’s been going on for so long that Americans think media bias is something new in this war.

  23. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Fourth Estate has more rights than you do. That’s because a free press meant a the ability to actually use the press you bought and built. It only meant a bunch of aristocrats to Free Masons or anti Americans.

  24. SteveH Says:

    How is it that a person has no red flags go off in their head at the realization that their political views require ubiquitous lying to sustain and defend? It has to be that the biggest lies are the ones they tell to themselves.

  25. SLR Says:

    Oldflyer Says:

    “The obvious problem is that the majority of people do not have the time–nor in many cases the inclination–to cross check everything.”

    Another is they’re the paid private researchers… we don’t think of them that way but they break the scandals / stories. As they’ve shown during the Obama admin; they won’t research some stories. That’s what happen to Attkisson. She tried to and got pushed out.

    Most of the conservative press is opinion based. They’re not doing research. They won’t even do research based on publicly available documents / information. They just want to write opinion. 20 years ago it was a little better. Some conservative outlets were publishing stats and fact based policy arguments…

  26. Ymar Sakar Says:

    20 years ago it was a little better. Some conservative outlets were publishing stats and fact based policy arguments…

    Once Hussein got into office, there was no “conservative press”.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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