The news is dead.
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06-08-2017, 07:31 AM
RE: The news is dead.
You know that there is a business opportunity in this.

A news scraper service - create a bot that scrapes the web for news on the identical topic, but from all types of different outlets and you can subscribe to a daily summary.

For example, let's say the news is that Trump's hair fell out overnight and he is now bald.

The news summary will have the gamut of opinions - from god done it through his shampoo done it to the Russians did it. Each opinion will have a link to the article.

Now you can see all the different bubbles at a glance.... and choose to follow up whatever tickles your fancy.

Theoretically you can do this on google - but it's not presented well, it sorts either by time published or by number of reads. The news scraper would present a list of one line topic and approach summaries from all angles.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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06-08-2017, 10:03 AM
RE: The news is dead.
"The news is dead."

That sounds like a fake news headline to me.

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06-08-2017, 10:46 AM
RE: The news is dead.
Are any of you guys familiar with Real Clear Politics website? It skews to American issues but has a Real Clear World section. Basically it's a clearinghouse site of op-ed columns from other sources. They don't discriminate, they list op eds across the spectrum. It's a good way to get both left and right feedback on the issues of the day. You might see something like "Trump's Brilliant Immigration Plan" from Natl Review right below something like "Immigration Plan: Another Trump Fail" from NY Times.
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08-08-2017, 08:24 PM
RE: The news is dead.
(05-08-2017 03:54 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  I don't see how that's bad though. Even at the cost of having to determine what is valid and what is not, the bigger number of sources makes for a more objective truth.
Nah. The "objective truth" is there, regardless of reporting. The degree of reporting doesn't make something "more objective".

And having 50 sources misreport a story doesn't get you any closer to the truth than having 5 sources misreport it -- it just means you have ten times as many sources to fact check, which make it less likely that you're going to do so.

Quote:I can't help but think that the only news source my grandma had when she was young was the local newspaper, or maybe even the local radio station (if she was allowed to read or listen to any of the two). And we're talking about a time when the emergence of rock music was considered Satan's work by journalists and old wives' tales were considered science.
For that matter, there are still people who consider rock music Satan's work, and and who take old wives' tales as science.

Quote:Or when we all thought that those people who burned buildings in riots were the "evil anarchists" until we saw videos of them talking with and being supplied with weapons by the police. Videos that never appeared in mainstream media; not until a few years ago.
Most people still think anarchists are evil. Smile

Quote:I honestly can't, for the life of me, see how more sources make for less reliability, no matter the amount of bias, lies and bullshit out there.
More sources don't make for less reliability, but neither do they make for more reliability.

Having a huge amount of bad evidence for something doesn't make the bad evidence "better". That's how paranormal studies work: "we don't have any hard evidence for the existence of ghosts, but hundreds of people have reported seeing them, therefore they must exist".

Nope, doesn't work that way.

Quote:Critical thinking is necessary whether the number of sources is big or small.
That is true.

It is also true that the average person only has so much time to devote to fact-checking. Having more sources to check not only means that he/she is probably only going to check a much smaller percentage of them, but it may also make the task so daunting that they don't bother to check any of them, assuming that "if everybody is saying it, it must be true."

Repeat a lie often enough and people start to believe it's the truth.

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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08-08-2017, 08:36 PM
RE: The news is dead.
(05-08-2017 08:33 AM)Dom Wrote:  When I was growing up, it was the daily paper you found at your door step every morning. We got a local paper and a national/international one. Everyone read them while having breakfast. Mom had the radio on while doing housework and that had hourly news. A few years later came the evening news on TV to round it out.
We had a local morning paper and a local evening paper, published by two different publishers. We could also pick up a number of national papers at any news/magazine shop. We had a dozen local radio stations unaffiliated with each other, likewise for our local TV stations, which included CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and a couple of independents.

Where I live now there is one newspaper, owned by the same publisher as most of the other papers within 50 miles of here. We have a number of on-line "newspapers" -- owned by the same corporations. We have 30 radio stations, but since they're basically owned by two giant corporations, I can only really count that as two sources. As to TV, the handful of the 500 channels cable brings us which aren't reality TV, sports, or 24/7 infomercials, are all primarily owned by the same corporations that own the radio stations.

What we have are more news outlets, but fewer news sources operating most of them.


Quote:The news were mostly dry facts, read in a monotone. Discussions of news were separate programs.

Yes, info in general was a TON harder to come by on all topics, but facts about world events were more accessible.

I am yet to find that news organ that states facts in a monotone voice so the facts are not tinted with emotion. Hundreds of news outlets to choose from, and I haven't found one yet.

Mostly we have entertainment and opinion pieces, in all flavors. But not news.

Yep. The news has become entertainment at the expense of information.

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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09-08-2017, 02:14 PM
RE: The news is dead.
(05-08-2017 03:54 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  
(04-08-2017 03:05 PM)Dr H Wrote:  I don't think the news is dead -- yet. But it has become a whole lot harder to separate the wheat from the chaff, and that's partly because of the huge multiplication of "sources". I put that in quotes because we now have the added fun of trying to determine whether something is an actual news source; relaying information from a real source; blindly parroting unverified blog/twitter/facebook ramblings; or making something up out of whole cloth.

That would be where critical thinking comes in. Except critical thinking has never been taught, per se, in most US educational settings. If you get it at all, you either get it at home, or by osmosis from a teacher of some other subject, who just happens to be a critical thinker him/her self.

I don't see how that's bad though. Even at the cost of having to determine what is valid and what is not, the bigger number of sources makes for a more objective truth.

I can't help but think that the only news source my grandma had when she was young was the local newspaper, or maybe even the local radio station (if she was allowed to read or listen to any of the two). And we're talking about a time when the emergence of rock music was considered Satan's work by journalists and old wives' tales were considered science.

Or when we all thought that those people who burned buildings in riots were the "evil anarchists" until we saw videos of them talking with and being supplied with weapons by the police. Videos that never appeared in mainstream media; not until a few years ago.

I honestly can't, for the life of me, see how more sources make for less reliability, no matter the amount of bias, lies and bullshit out there. Critical thinking is necessary whether the number of sources is big or small.

Because you value truth and accuracy, more sources = better. For those that like to reside permanently in an echo chamber, where they don't have to hear anything that doesn't agree with what they already think/believe, more sources is a disaster. They can selectively filter out anything that doesn't agree with them (regardless of factuality) and blindly absorb those that do (again, regardless of factuality). This is how we ended up with Trump as president, which is about the strongest damnation of the current system I can think of.
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10-08-2017, 05:23 PM
RE: The news is dead.
(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Nah. The "objective truth" is there, regardless of reporting. The degree of reporting doesn't make something "more objective".

Well, technically, something can't be "more" or "less" objective. I phrased that wrong. It is not the number of sources that matters, but the quality. We see more unreliable news sources emerging, but we also see more reliable ones. Voices that couldn't be heard before now can. Thus the objective truth is more easily accessible (or, well, inferred) now.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  And having 50 sources misreport a story doesn't get you any closer to the truth than having 5 sources misreport it -- it just means you have ten times as many sources to fact check, which make it less likely that you're going to do so.

Well, thanks to the Internet, fact checking 10 sources takes as much time (and much less trouble) as it would take you to go buy a different newspaper back in the day.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  For that matter, there are still people who consider rock music Satan's work, and and who take old wives' tales as science.

Of course, but such "news" are not reported on major newspapers now. They were back then. At least here in Greece.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Most people still think anarchists are evil. Smile

Not as many as back when we only had newspapers Smile

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  More sources don't make for less reliability, but neither do they make for more reliability.

Having a huge amount of bad evidence for something doesn't make the bad evidence "better". That's how paranormal studies work: "we don't have any hard evidence for the existence of ghosts, but hundreds of people have reported seeing them, therefore they must exist".

Nope, doesn't work that way.

As I also mentioned above, it's not just the bad news sources that have increased, but also the reliable ones.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  It is also true that the average person only has so much time to devote to fact-checking. Having more sources to check not only means that he/she is probably only going to check a much smaller percentage of them, but it may also make the task so daunting that they don't bother to check any of them, assuming that "if everybody is saying it, it must be true."

Repeat a lie often enough and people start to believe it's the truth.

Let's face it, the people who won't fact check a headline today saying "Aliens built the Great Pyramid" are the same ones who wouldn't fact check the newspaper's headline "Rock music causes seizures and paranoia" back then.

Heck, if it wasn't for the Internet and the ease of fact checking I would probably not be an atheist now and I would be still believing bullshit that can be disproven with a 10-second Google search.
This is called the Information Age for a reason.

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11-08-2017, 07:36 PM
RE: The news is dead.
(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Well, technically, something can't be "more" or "less" objective. I phrased that wrong. It is not the number of sources that matters, but the quality.
Agreed.

(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  We see more unreliable news sources emerging, but we also see more reliable ones. Voices that couldn't be heard before now can. Thus the objective truth is more easily accessible (or, well, inferred) now.
Granted that it is out there if you know where to look for it. But you still need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, a task which becomes more difficult (or at least more tedious) as sources (or outlets) multiply.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  And having 50 sources misreport a story doesn't get you any closer to the truth than having 5 sources misreport it -- it just means you have ten times as many sources to fact check, which make it less likely that you're going to do so.
(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Well, thanks to the Internet, fact checking 10 sources takes as much time (and much less trouble) as it would take you to go buy a different newspaper back in the day.
Again, granted, but you still need to be motivated to check them. The more sources you are confronted with, the less likely you are to bother checking them all, if only for reasons of time constraint.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  For that matter, there are still people who consider rock music Satan's work, and and who take old wives' tales as science.
(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Of course, but such "news" are not reported on major newspapers now. They were back then. At least here in Greece.
Ah, it still happens. These days mostly with medical "breakthroughs" that get reported before they have even been replicated, much less thoroughly analyzed.
But there is less of it in the papers now than there was 20 years ago, I agree.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Most people still think anarchists are evil. Smile
(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Not as many as back when we only had newspapers Smile
Of that I am not so certain. I still encounter a lot of people who, when they hear the word "anarchist" picture a wild-eyed Boris Badenov type, heaving bombs just for the sake of blowing things up. The have little conception of anarchism besides the "received wisdom" that it means "chaos".

For that matter, I'm not sure that the general opinion of atheists is much improved since the advent of the internet, at least in the US. It is still true that even people who hate gays, blacks, and women would sooner vote for a black lesbian Baptist to be president than they would for an atheist.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  More sources don't make for less reliability, but neither do they make for more reliability.

Having a huge amount of bad evidence for something doesn't make the bad evidence "better". That's how paranormal studies work: "we don't have any hard evidence for the existence of ghosts, but hundreds of people have reported seeing them, therefore they must exist".

Nope, doesn't work that way.
(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  As I also mentioned above, it's not just the bad news sources that have increased, but also the reliable ones.
Yes. But if before you had two good news sources and three bad ones, and now you have 20 good news sources and 30 bad ones, proportionally you've not really improved the situation. Indeed, what you've most likely done is assure that a while a significant number of people now may only be getting good news; a significant -- but larger -- number may only be getting bad news. And those who get both still need to figure out how to decide between them.

(08-08-2017 08:24 PM)Dr H Wrote:  It is also true that the average person only has so much time to devote to fact-checking. Having more sources to check not only means that he/she is probably only going to check a much smaller percentage of them, but it may also make the task so daunting that they don't bother to check any of them, assuming that "if everybody is saying it, it must be true."
Repeat a lie often enough and people start to believe it's the truth.
(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Let's face it, the people who won't fact check a headline today saying "Aliens built the Great Pyramid" are the same ones who wouldn't fact check the newspaper's headline "Rock music causes seizures and paranoia" back then.

Heck, if it wasn't for the Internet and the ease of fact checking I would probably not be an atheist now and I would be still believing bullshit that can be disproven with a 10-second Google search.
OK; I can't gainsay your personal experience.
But it's a single data point, and an anecdotal point, at that.

(10-08-2017 05:23 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  This is called the Information Age for a reason.
Certainly. But just having more information doesn't necessarily mean that it's better information.

Here's a little off-the-cuff test as regards proving things with Google searches:

* A Google search on "proof vaccines cause autism" yields 20,400,000 results.

* A Google search on "proof vaccines don't cause autism" yields 3,690 results.

People easily impressed by numbers are likely to conclude that there is more evidence for the first premise than the second. Those who look deeper had better have a lot of time on their hands -- if they even want to compare 1% of the best articles on each side, that's still over 200,000 articles, most supporting the debunked claim.

It takes some work to find the truth here. And how you phrase your inquiry has a lot to do with the nature of the results you net.

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12-08-2017, 03:12 AM
RE: The news is dead.
(11-08-2017 07:36 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Granted that it is out there if you know where to look for it. But you still need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, a task which becomes more difficult (or at least more tedious) as sources (or outlets) multiply.

(11-08-2017 07:36 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Again, granted, but you still need to be motivated to check them. The more sources you are confronted with, the less likely you are to bother checking them all, if only for reasons of time constraint.

It becomes tedious, yes, but having only a couple of sources that say the same thing (what used to happen decades ago) didn't even make you question anything. At least now, if someone wants to know the truth, it's easier to get it.

(11-08-2017 07:36 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Ah, it still happens. These days mostly with medical "breakthroughs" that get reported before they have even been replicated, much less thoroughly analyzed.
But there is less of it in the papers now than there was 20 years ago, I agree.

Well, at least those ones are partly based on the truth and even after a deceiving headline the article itself usually tells things as they are. Claims about rock music being satanic had no scientific basis whatsoever. You will also rarely see deceiving headlines in respectable news sources, whereas back then, it was only the respectable ones using them.

(11-08-2017 07:36 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Of that I am not so certain. I still encounter a lot of people who, when they hear the word "anarchist" picture a wild-eyed Boris Badenov type, heaving bombs just for the sake of blowing things up. The have little conception of anarchism besides the "received wisdom" that it means "chaos".

For that matter, I'm not sure that the general opinion of atheists is much improved since the advent of the internet, at least in the US. It is still true that even people who hate gays, blacks, and women would sooner vote for a black lesbian Baptist to be president than they would for an atheist.

Well, there might be a difference here because of our different countries. Anarchism in Greece has quite a history which I imagine cannot be found in the US. Here, calling yourself an "anarchist" or a "communist" casually does not provoke any reactions of shock. Most people would hardly pay any attention to it. And we're talking about a country where 40 years ago communists could be executed.

(11-08-2017 07:36 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Yes. But if before you had two good news sources and three bad ones, and now you have 20 good news sources and 30 bad ones, proportionally you've not really improved the situation. Indeed, what you've most likely done is assure that a while a significant number of people now may only be getting good news; a significant -- but larger -- number may only be getting bad news. And those who get both still need to figure out how to decide between them.

The thing is, back in the day it was about who would get the best headlines and sell more. Now that the Internet allows anyone to say anything and "news websites" are everywhere, it's a race of who will be the most reliable. Respectable news sources will do anything to avoid spreading misinformation or deceiving their readers.

There is a lot of work if you want to be considered a respectable news source and most "bad" ones don't fit the bill. It's not that hard to tell them apart.

(11-08-2017 07:36 PM)Dr H Wrote:  Certainly. But just having more information doesn't necessarily mean that it's better information.

Here's a little off-the-cuff test as regards proving things with Google searches:

* A Google search on "proof vaccines cause autism" yields 20,400,000 results.

* A Google search on "proof vaccines don't cause autism" yields 3,690 results.

People easily impressed by numbers are likely to conclude that there is more evidence for the first premise than the second. Those who look deeper had better have a lot of time on their hands -- if they even want to compare 1% of the best articles on each side, that's still over 200,000 articles, most supporting the debunked claim.

It takes some work to find the truth here. And how you phrase your inquiry has a lot to do with the nature of the results you net.

People easily impressed by numbers wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the face. Stupid people will always be stupid and will always misinterpret everything they see and read or blindly believe every absurdity. It's not them we're talking about. And I honestly don't believe that a person who would ignore respectable news sources today would have better luck knowing the truth with the news sources available decades ago.

We now have websites dedicated to debunking "fake news". It's all the research you need to do if you care about the truth. If you don't, you will be deceived, no matter the century.

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14-08-2017, 05:24 PM
RE: The news is dead.
(12-08-2017 03:12 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  It becomes tedious, yes, but having only a couple of sources that say the same thing (what used to happen decades ago) didn't even make you question anything. At least now, if someone wants to know the truth, it's easier to get it.
It's exactly on that point which we differ. We had fewer available sources decades ago, but they weren't saying "the same thing". Those sources were owned by different interests, and they were in competition with each other. If, for example, you only had three television stations in an area, they were three different, non-affiliated networks.

Now you may have 300 stations available, all owned by three sources. So if you only watch three, the chances that you are watching three different outlets owned by the same source is much greater.

Frankly, I see a lot less questioning of received wisdom these days than I did 20 years ago. The faux selection available today makes it easy for people to only select sources which tend to confirm their pre-conceived biases, while imagining they are entertaining a diversity of views. Years ago you might turn to another source if for no other reason than you got bored watching the same one of three all the time.

Quote:Well, at least those ones are partly based on the truth and even after a deceiving headline the article itself usually tells things as they are. Claims about rock music being satanic had no scientific basis whatsoever. You will also rarely see deceiving headlines in respectable news sources, whereas back then, it was only the respectable ones using them.
Whoa! Science has disproven Satan? Who knew? Ohmy

Quote:Well, there might be a difference here because of our different countries. Anarchism in Greece has quite a history which I imagine cannot be found in the US. Here, calling yourself an "anarchist" or a "communist" casually does not provoke any reactions of shock. Most people would hardly pay any attention to it. And we're talking about a country where 40 years ago communists could be executed.
I'll grant you the difference in national attitudes. Although the history of European anarchists isn't pretty, either.

Quote:The thing is, back in the day it was about who would get the best headlines and sell more. Now that the Internet allows anyone to say anything and "news websites" are everywhere, it's a race of who will be the most reliable. Respectable news sources will do anything to avoid spreading misinformation or deceiving their readers.
<shrug> You can compete with headlines without necessary compromising the content of the article -- the purpose of the headline was to get you to read the actual article.

As opposed to now, when they headline itself constitutes a "sound bite", and too often gets taken as gospel.


Quote:People easily impressed by numbers wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the face. Stupid people will always be stupid and will always misinterpret everything they see and read or blindly believe every absurdity. It's not them we're talking about. And I honestly don't believe that a person who would ignore respectable news sources today would have better luck knowing the truth with the news sources available decades ago.
At root, I don't think it's changed all that much as regards the amount of valid news available. Some people take what they hear or read at face value, and some do further research before swallowing the hook. They did this decades ago, too.

Quote:We now have websites dedicated to debunking "fake news". It's all the research you need to do if you care about the truth. If you don't, you will be deceived, no matter the century.
We do. And some of the debunking sites themselves stand in need of a little debunking.

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"So, I became an anarchist, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."
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