The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards

Posted by $ nickursis 6 years, 3 months ago to Culture
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This guy, Michael Goodwin, actually does a good job of assembling a lot of various facts and connections so you can see why there was little room for the machine politic to go with Trump and arrive where we are today, and the reason the media has to destroy them to recover from their various errors before the election. He presents a good view on media today, how it impacts politic and where it may go in the future.

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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 6 years, 3 months ago
    The "study" that showed that Donald Trump garnered $2 billion worth of free advertising is hard to find. As I said in my post earlier, I found the Smart Media Group (SMG DELTA) which issued the claim. However, their own public facing website has not been updated in two years. Their blog is four years old.

    The Columbia Journalism Review had this from the 2012 election: "Last week, we reported that two of the key sources of hard numbers on ad spending, the Federal Election Commission and the private research group Kantar Media, provided vastly divergent numbers and had broad differences in their methodologies. Today, we look at another leading source of campaign spending data—Smart Media Group, an ad-buying firm whose statistics on presidential ad expenditures are cited by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal—and find that their statistics deviate drastically from both Kantar and the FEC." [Kantar Media is another market research firm. MM] --

    The founder and president of Smart Media Group is Kyle M. Roberts, whose biographies are also aging. He serves (or served) on the board of the American Association of Political Consultants. See here:

    The point is that these claims and counter-claims are all, sadly, "versions of the truth."
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 3 months ago
      Indeed, I bet that truth was needed to help "explain" the loss. After all, it cannot be Hillary's fault when Trump had such a huge 2 Billion dollar advantage over her....never mind the ever so numerous celebs and politicos who came out and tried to out Trump trump for her....
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 6 years, 3 months ago
    It sounds good if you do not think about it and if you do not know the history of journalism. Newspapers were never objective until the Pulitzer Prize was created in 1917. Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) was a yellow journalist, the direct competitor of William Randolph Hearst. But his estate granted a large bequest to Columbia University. They set the standards that we all came to accept as normal. Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson knew nothing of "objective journalism." It was not in their experiential world. Newspapers supported the opinions of their readers. People read the papers they agreed with. That is very much like the people today to get their news from Fox or their "friends" on Facebook.

    At the detail level, Michael Goodwin's heartfelt appeal has problems.
    "One study estimated that Trump had received so much free airtime that if he had had to buy it, the price would have been $2 billion. "
    What study?
    I googled the phrase "study shows trump publicity worth $2 billion" and found stories from the New York Times, CNN Money, and National Review right at the top of the hit list. The study came from SMG DELTA, the Smart Media Group. They are consultants. They sell their services. The story was a headline grabber for them. It was free publicity. What was it worth? Goto their website and decide for yourself what was in it for them.

    "Fueled by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, the media jumped on the anti-authority bandwagon writ large. The deal was sealed with Watergate, when journalism was viewed as more trusted than government..."

    As Thomas Jefferson said... And we really do not want everyone trusting the government. In fact, historically, no authority institution has ever had unchallenged trust, not government, not banks, not schools, not even churches. Americans are independent. We are autodidacts. We do not trust authority.

    "The New York Times has not endorsed a Republican for president since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, meaning it would back a dead raccoon if it had a “D” after its name. ... And The Washington Post, which only started making editorial endorsements in the 1970s, has never once endorsed a Republican for president."

    The dead raccoon was a nice image, but was a rhetorical device substituting for an argument. Again, the Washington Post or the Washington Times, the New York Post or the New York Times, CNN or Fox, Huffington Post or Breitbart... You pays your money and you makes your choices.

    "If you feel that way about Trump, normal journalistic ethics would dictate that you shouldn’t cover him. You cannot be fair. ... Go cover sports or entertainment."

    I agree personally that for myself, as a technical writer, I am always an impartial investigative reporter. Computer programmers make all kinds of self-serving claims. My job is to be like Tron: I fight for the users. But I learned that in journalism classes. That a reporter will be swayed by their own work is inevitable -- the poor widow, the innocent victim, the known gangster, the crooked politician. The editor's job is to catch those adjectives. That's why we have editors.

    But online we do not. We are all reporters, news gatherers, and opinionators. That is what sites like this are all about. We are in a renaissance. You can write, you can sing or play an instrument, produce a movie or stage a play, create animations for complex games, whatever you want... The downside is that we have no editors.

    Baquet also said of the struggle for fairness, “I think that Trump has ended that struggle,” adding: “we now say stuff. We fact-check him. We write it more powerfully that it’s false.” -- New York Post here
    What else would you expect? We would really be shocked at whitewashes, blind eyes, and fawning after the powerful.

    "I urge you to support the media you like. ... Subscribe or contribute to those you enjoy. Give subscriptions to friends. Put your money where your heart and mind are."

    And we do. But, at least here, we do it for ourselves, not altruistically for others who have not asked us to give them the opinions we approve of. And subscriptions are secondary. They just provide auditable tallies to justify advertising rates. Whether the New York Times or National Review can survive as a print medium remains to be seen. Jane Jacobs pointed out in The Economy of Cities that Joseph Schumpeter's model of "creative destruction" was erroneous. In fact, the markets demonstrate that old forms seldom (if ever) go away completely, but only continue in other channels or meet other needs. We may see expensive newspapers enjoyed by antiquarians or newspaper-like media in totally unexpected markets.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 3 months ago
      Overall, I am in agreement with you Mike, the Times did indeed essential declare itself a propaganda piece for the Progressive side:
      The Publisher of the Times:
      While insisting his staff had “reported on both candidates fairly,” he also vowed that the paper would “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor.
      Ah, there’s the rub. Had the paper actually been fair to both candidates, it wouldn’t need to rededicate itself to honest reporting. And it wouldn’t have been totally blindsided by Trump’s victory."

      The next line about Baquet was more telling: Baquet was wrong. "Trump indeed was challenging, but it was Baquet who changed journalism. He’s the one who decided that the standards of fairness and nonpartisanship could be broken without consequence."

      That seems to support what the article was suggesting, that the media has basically gone over the cliff in deciding they could not take Trump seriously, and gave him a free run, which he used to the maximum effect. Even said "study", (that I cannot find either, and that is so annoying, as if it is just some made up story to fill out their complaint) may have the value off, Trump got a huge amount of free press, for no cost. So? He's smart, and you look at the other side and they had 30 or 40 people, from celebs to politicos all get out and gab, but no one wanted to hear what they were saying. That was the difference. So, the press, after November, seems to have made a collective decision to "fix what they broke" and they have been making a collective effort to get rid of Trump no matter what it takes, and in so doing, have destroyed any credibility they may have.
      You are right though, on the future of publications, it is clearly (adapt or die), but that is the same thing as what happened to wagon wheel makers, and barrel engineers..they had to adapt. We just see more today, as there are almost instant transmission facilities, that make it a lot easier to identify and record BS. It is just there is so much BS around......
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    • Posted by krevello 6 years, 3 months ago
      You're completely correct to point out that newspapers have never been objective. In fact, when I was in journalism school, my media ethics class discussed why objectivity shouldn't necessarily be a standard for reporting. Basically, while the search for truth should be objective, facts are not objective. Truth leads one to a biased conclusion. One needs to be open minded in the search, but not necessarily in promoting it.

      As for free media, Trump boasted about using non-traditional forms of media in his campaign, particularly Twitter. I think the traditional role of media as an organ for politicians in elections was undermined by Citizens United, which loosed a lot of restrictions and made it easier for the grassroots to act.

      But Trump in particular managed to capitalize on this by creating a sort of digital machine politics and using his social media followers to create an active, mobilized base.
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      • Posted by $ 6 years, 3 months ago
        That is true, in many respects, however,there is an ethical degree that has become lost in the journalism world, I refer to the supposed "guardian" job to report the truth, and facts. Mike is perfectly correct that we have rarely had an "honest" press, "yellow journalism" was rampant for a long, long, time, and I think we just see a new form of it. But Carl Bernstein made a point in 2011:

        "In London last week, Carl Bernstein, the legendary co-author of Watergate, talked about the parallels between the story on which he and Bob Woodward worked in 1972 and the work of Nick Davies nearly 40 years later. He used the phrase "the best obtainable version of truth" to describe what journalists, at their best, seek to achieve."


        Conversely, there is no defined requirement for the Press to be honest, or truthful, and that to me, is a market force. Since they have no liability, they can slander and libel on a regular basis, make "Fake News" all with no responsibility, or liability, except when a person chooses to sue. If more politicians would do that, then the wolves would be a lot more careful in their hype.


        Trump does know how to manipulate, but he faces a herd of manipulators on the other side as well, who are not above using lies, "leaks" and "leaks that are not leaks". They may make stuff up, and the issue is most Americans refuse to apply both the power of the purse, and the boycott tool to try to force some semblance of honesty.
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        • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 6 years, 3 months ago
          That phrase "the best obtainable version of truth" reminded me of an exchange in the movie, Something's Gotta Give a love story with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. She says, "You lied to me!" He says, "I always told you the truth, at least a version of it." She says, "The truth does not have versions."
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          • Posted by $ 6 years, 3 months ago
            Well, that was what Bernstein said then, and he was considered to be the "bulldog" of journalism back then. I find it a bit disingenuous, in that there is only one, fact based "truth". But there are many, many, "shaded" flavors of it. Depending on the facts used, the checks made, or whether there is a message the writer is making, even subconsciously. I would point out that a document a Dr who examined JFK at the hospital, in the ER including a drawing, showed he had an entry wound in the forehead and out the back, as well as an entry wound in the neck going out the back, at angles that were impossible for a single shooter. Yet the "facts" show Oswald was in the book depository behind the car.

            The summary of it: Signed drawing entitled ''President Kennedy's Wounds'', rendered by Dr. Robert McClelland, one of the physicians who attended to John F. Kennedy at Parkland Hospital after the President was shot. McClelland was the doctor responsible for holding the President's head as other surgeons tried to save his life, and was therefore in the unique position to see the extent of his head wounds. McClelland has stated that he ''absolutely'' believes there were two shooters, which his drawing suggests, and doesn't rule out the possibility of a government conspiracy to assassinate the President.
            My point is that having seen a boatload of videos, movies, drawings, re-enactments, there is more than enough evidence to justify saying there was more than one shooter. But Warren said there was one, and only one, and Oswald died hours later, and Ruby didn't last much longer.
            My point is that we have enough facts to say it, but the "truth" is different. I think that is sort of what he was going for, between coverups, false facts, and other methods of "changing the picture" truth in journalism is usually a "best obtainable thing". In the last few years though, I see it has morphed into "whatever I want it to be, or whatever my organization wants it to be". In this case, it seems we always live with "Truth DOES have versions"

            Your point, in the example is also valid for those who would not buy into the media story, and actually find facts to either support or disprove someones "truth". In that case, as Diane Keaton says, there can only be one version, the true one. I think the vast majority have no stomach for all that digging. In fact, the Bretharian story is a good example of something that lives on no matter how bizarre.

            The auction:
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 6 years, 3 months ago
        Sorry but your brief statement has a couple of errors. We can revisit the detals, but basically, this is wrong: "... facts are not objective. Truth leads one to a biased conclusion. One needs to be open minded in the search, but not necessarily in promoting it."

        You are using technical words - truth, objective, bias - but in an imprecise and vernacular way that leaves your statement meaningless.

        I get the drift, but if you are going to work your way through the problem, you need to be more accurate and precise.
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        • Posted by krevello 6 years, 3 months ago
          I'm not saying that's a good or correct argument, but that is what is being promoted to those working in the media today. And understanding that is, I think, key to understanding the mindset that's driving reporting and the bias which is implicit in political reporting. It's a way of justifying preconceived partisan notions and not really challenging them. For example, a story is considered "balanced" and "fair" if one has two sources that represent different viewpoints. It's a veneer of having undertaken an objective search for the "truth" of the story. And if one can find an opinionated source that appears to back up the facts of the story, this is seen as validating one opinion and debunking the other, thus reinforcing the idea that truth is subjective and lending a supposedly objective weight to it. Obviously, in an absolute sense, this is not really objective, but no one in journalism is challenging this.
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