Actual media bias: Conflict, close races

I won’t believe the election is over until it’s over, to paraphrase the great political philosopher Yogi Berra.

But if you think the media are veering wildly between the “President Clinton” narrative and the “still a close race” narrative, you’re not alone. And the numbers don’t back it up.

In a similar vein — remember when the race really was close? And remember the media coverage at the time — “Clinton is sick” was a bigger story than whatever Trump said on a given day?

It’s worth remembering — “the media” are neither inherently liberal nor conservative. (Nor libertarian, nor Green, nor socialist, nor whatever Trump is.) The media’s primary bias is to stay in business and make money.

And as much as Trump claims to hate CNN, he is also the network’s cash cow — this election is giving the network a $100 million boost over the typical election year, NPR reports.

“It’s certainly been a fun one to watch,” Anheuser-Busch exec Tracy Stallard told NPR.

Or maybe we just need more Anheuser-Busch products to get us through it.

Posted in journalism, politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Want to save the Republican Party? Drain the right-wing media swamp. – The Washington Post

The bottom line: Facts matter. And propaganda is dangerous.

I’m less worried about saving the Republican Party — unfortunately, I think it can keep getting people elected by casting doubt on experts for another couple of decades at least. I’m worried about climate change, racism, etc. I welcome a diversity of opinions about how to address the issues. I don’t welcome anyone who goes beyond helpful skepticism to sow distrust of anyone doing honest research to investigate the issues in the first place.

Source: Want to save the Republican Party? Drain the right-wing media swamp. – The Washington Post

Posted in cynicism, journalism | Leave a comment

The best Canadian songs ever

I heard the Sloan song Underwhelmed today, which naturally made me think of the best Canadian songs ever.

Apparently, the CBC made a list of 100 in 2004. (The CBC site has redesigned, so I couldn’t find the original.) Some of it makes sense. Some of it just looks like random selections from notable bands. (Seriously, Monster Hospital is the pick from Metric?) And the Guess Who’s American Woman features prominently in the great but now outdated book The Worst Rock n Roll Records of All Time. With good reason.  

I can’t do 100. But I figure I can do 10 and limit it to one per band (otherwise, I’ll have scores of Rush, Metric, Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan songs). The song’s rank in the CBC list is in parentheses:

  1. Rush, Tom Sawyer (7)
  2. Metric, Gimme Sympathy (NA)
  3. Barenaked Ladies, The Old Apartment (NA)
  4. Red Rider, Lunatic Fringe (NA)
  5. Sarah McLachlan, Building a Mystery (40)
  6. Gordon Lightfoot, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (29, below Sundown)
  7. Alanis Morissette, You Oughta Know (31)
  8. Sloan, Underwhelmed (58)
  9. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Takin’ Care of Business (34)
  10. Bryan Adams, Cuts Like a Knife (NA)


Posted in music | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Skepticism vs. cynicism

One common thread in a lot of current discussions in politics and sports — we are cynical. We either immediately agree or disagree with whatever we hear.

Cynicism is dangerous. Skepticism is much better.

This piece puts it well: “The difference between skeptics and cynics is a focus on moving forward.”

Source: Skeptics vs Cynics: Problem-Solving with a Bias Towards Resolution – 99U

Posted in journalism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Print rules, digital drools? Well …

Great quote in this POLITICO piece on the joy of newsprint:

“The print edition consistently leads me to unexpected stories I might have otherwise missed,” agrees Inc. Executive Editor Jon Fine. “I find digital editions and websites don’t have the same kind of serendipity—they’re set up to point you to more of the same thing.”

We get the Post only on weekends, and I like taking at least a couple of sections and browsing. (Yes, especially the comics, which simply have not made a solid transition online.)

But I don’t miss wrestling with a broadsheet newspaper seven days a week. And I’m puzzled that the typical newspaper has done so little to adapt its format.

First of all — broadsheet printing should only be used on Sundays, when people stretch out with the news on their coffee tables. It’s a no-go for commuters.

Before I left the newsroom, I often heard some people ask why we haven’t switched to a tabloid format or perhaps the Berliner, which is somewhere in between. It makes perfect sense. The weekday paper, if it exists at all, doesn’t need to be that size. It’s shrinking rapidly — pretty soon, each section will be one four-page sheet.

And newspapers haven’t really adapted to the shrinking paper. A daily paper should have some good medium-length features, appealing to the “serindipity” fans mentioned here, and a whole lot of briefs. And QR codes to see more online.

More than 20 years ago, our editor said he could picture different parts of the newsroom working on different products — a newspaper, a magazine, newsletters, and the website. We’ve improved the latter of those. Why not the first? And why aren’t we doing the other two?


Posted in journalism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Journalists, merchants of fear

I thought this story about anxiety would recycle some complaints about Big Pharma and psychiatry. Nope. As it turns out, we journalists are the ones who are profiting on the misery of our customers.

In other words, I feel a little less guilty about clicking on clickbait now. Cat videos are a little less likely to make people suicidal.

Source: Why Anxiety Is The Plague Of The Modern World |

Posted in journalism | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Good riddance, Nancy Grace

There are now studies, pop science books, and school-mandated PSAs disseminated to prevent the sort of relentless, torch-’em-first, get-facts-later culture of overnight internet hate mobs gaslighting citizens for alleged misdeeds. But do not get it mixed up: Nancy Grace wrote the playbook on it. She made ruining people’s lives based on hearsay look like model behavior. Facebook and Twitter just helped scale it up.

Source: All the Times Nancy Grace Was Terrible – The Daily Beast

Posted in journalism | Leave a comment