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An odd commentary on current events...
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E-boy



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Virginia (Much barfiness)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:57 pm    Post subject: An odd commentary on current events... Reply with quote

I had an odd realization not too long ago. I hope it's not taken the wrong way. I try to keep up on current events and I'm finding a lot of the mainstream media to be next to useless on a lot of issues. I'm a firm believer in digging down into things to get some idea of what the vested interests are and where the information I'm finding is coming from. The odd realization is that I find a lot of really good information right here in an online comic forum. Y'all are very good about linking your sources which makes it very easy to follow up on your opinions and get to those sources I mentioned above.

It's kinda sad really. I mean, seriously, an online comic forum? *Shakes his head* Still, it's nice to know folks are paying attention.
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Willem



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Daily Show.
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I LOVE The Daily Show. Smile I don't consider it my best information resource, but it's often a surprisingly good starting point.

I still play back that guest appearance on Crossfire from time to time just to cheer me up.
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Kilgore



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It frightens me that so many of my peers consider the Daily Show a legitimate news source.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kilgore wrote:
It frightens me that so many of my peers consider the Daily Show a legitimate news source.

What frightens me is that it seems to work, and in some cases leaves people more informed about current events and politics than those who don't watch it. There may be some self-selection going on with the audience, or other factors at work, but I remember some studies showing that people who watched the Daily Show tended to be very well informed compared to other networks' news programs.
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Major Tom



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'd love to see that data based on party leaning and cross-referenced with colbert viewership (w/ a special run to call out the colbert-conservatives that take him seriously)
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watch the Daily Show - even DVR it. I love Jon Stewart. And Stephen Colbert, for that matter. I would hump them both on stage if they would just come to Bellingham and except our goddamn key already, Jon! Don't make me track you down, you know I will, restraining order or no...

Anyway, it's rarely my first source for news, but I like their choices for what to report. And yes, the news media in general is in steep decline and has been for a long time. People disagree on the cause and the solution, but one thing is for certain - news on TV today is about ratings and money, not news and information. We have an increasing number of talking heads and pundits whose sole job is to make the news interesting, so you will tune in - these are the Becks, the Hannitys, the Graces, the Olbermanns, the Maddows. They "recap" things we already know, or ought to know, and then tell us what to think about it.

I'm not sure the switch from Fourth Estate to infotainment is itself the cause of the disgusting level of partisanship in the US, but I have no doubt that the two coexist and feed upon one another - infotainment gets more "tainment" and less "info," so we see more partisan pundits bitching to make the news "interesting," which feeds into partisan attitudes, which causes more people to tune in to be entertained, which makes entertainment more appealing to networks. It's why I have more foreign news on my RSS feed than national.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Major Tom wrote:
i'd love to see that data based on party leaning and cross-referenced with colbert viewership (w/ a special run to call out the colbert-conservatives that take him seriously)

I used to work with a guy who thought Rush "tells it like it is," and even he loved the Colbert Report, even going so far as to sign the petition to put him on the Democratic presidential ticket. It was weird. He even said I should write for Fox's ripoff version because they just weren't funny.
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Idlethought



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Daily Show is a damn good source for both news and entertainment. Additionally, I think its reliability as a primary news source is limited mostly by the fact that its only 4 nights a week for a 24 minutes each, 18 (that's a stretch) of which actually reports on news, for a total of at most 72 minutes (1.2 hours) of news per week. The major news networks are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (168 hours), sometimes on multiple channels.

So while it is a fake news show, they often do good reporting, I often find myself rolling my eyes at those who criticize it as not being a great news source simply because of what they choose to report on, given their time constraints.
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of those other news services are increasingly pushing agenda's tailored to a target audience (FOX *COUGH COUGH*). On the whole I don't think there's this huge media bias that a lot of folks gripe about (for every reporter who's admittedly liberally biased there seems to be an editor who leans toward the conservative side of the spectrum). I do think, however, that the focus on ratings and making money is taking away from what could be much more useful news. Unfortunately, you can't tell the folks who finance these media outlets and expect to make a profit from them that they can't do that. The only way to get through to them is to stop pandering to sensationalism and to let them know we're sick of it. Alas, I don't think "We the People" really are sick of it.

On top of that the main stream media tends to apply it's 'equal time' mentality at some highly inappropriate times. A lot of science issues portrayed by the media as 'controversial' (Global warming for one) really aren't. To give equal time to fringe elements in in cases like this produces a mistaken impression among the public that there is large scale debate among scientists on these issues. Is there debate? You betcha ,but it's in the details not in the existence of the phenomenon.
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Idlethought



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E-boy wrote:
Is there debate? You betcha ,but it's in the details not in the existence of the phenomenon.


And no one's frothing at the mouth having screaming arguments about the details either.
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a not entirely unrelated note (but connected in a very vague and general sense) TRUE BELIEVERS SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF ME.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

given the power of fox (or can we just say 'faux') news, rupert murdoch and rush limbaugh (to name but a few), the contention that media has a liberal bias is just nonsense. the conservatives have plenty of opportunity to let their viewpoint be known, and it is to their shame that they use it so often for fear-mongering and misinformation. individual newspapers and programs may have their biases, but there isn't some over-arching inescapable liberal viewpoint.

i will admit to being a devoted daily/colbert watcher. i wouldn't say i get my news there (other than news of the lunatic fringe), but when they do cover something, i think they start from the facts (even if they put a goofy spin on it). i probably get most of my news from npr (including the daily bit of bbc broadcasting they put on) and the new york times.

and, like e-boy says, this place. we have such a diverse population - it's interesting to consider the bits of news about the rest of the world i either get here first - or only. that's the other thing a lot of these "news" networks are really letting us down on - they don't tell us much about the rest of the world.

i think it all started when news was moved to the entertainment division, and expected to show a profit. there are some things that shouldn't be evaluated just on how much money they bring in (and what can be done to make them bring in more).
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E-boy wrote:
On top of that the main stream media tends to apply it's 'equal time' mentality at some highly inappropriate times. A lot of science issues portrayed by the media as 'controversial' (Global warming for one) really aren't. To give equal time to fringe elements in in cases like this produces a mistaken impression among the public that there is large scale debate among scientists on these issues. Is there debate? You betcha ,but it's in the details not in the existence of the phenomenon.

We no longer have a fairness doctrine, which is what mandated equal time. There is NO equal time mentality in the news media - there is only a desire to increase ratings, in order to increase ad revenue. If they can pull in more viewers by questioning global warming, they do it. It has nothing to do with equal anything.
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, for all it's faults, I can't lay blame comfortably at the feet of the fourth estate.

I like to think I know a lot of people from diverse backrounds and while they certainly don't all agree in their politics I have yet to talk to a single person that is happy with the way things are.

Nor do polls seem to reflect this, although it's worth noting that polls aren't very good at presenting much beyond the very narrow scope of their questions. One of the better examples I've seen of this short coming was data from a survey of Californian Catholics about their thoughts on abortion. Over eighty percent responded that they thought it was immoral ( apparently the remaining nearly 20% feel they can pick and choose which edicts of the church they care to adhere to (yet another hazard of the labels people apply to themselves is that they aren't always consistent with other peoples definitions of those same labels). Now that by itself would have made a strong argument to any politicians reading that poll to look at pro-life legislation. The next question though was this "Do you think that abortion should be illegal?" The very same catholics who very nearly unanimously decried it as immoral also nearly unanimously shied away from legislation against it.

Back to my main point though. Polls are of limited use and, as I said, don't seem to reflect the opinions of people I actually know. nearly everyone I know bitches about the media issues among the other problems and yet the message just isn't going anywhere. I suspect the media would jump right on any large scale movement of public opinion if they detected it so I am left with the general impression that while people aren't really happy with the way things are they either don't give enough of a rat's ass to do something about it or they are just plain lazy.

Either way a fair chunk of the blame, if not all of it, rests squarely on the deeply apathetic american people.
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