Is there any point complaining about a sensationalist media?


12:30 pm - November 30th 2010

by Flying Rodent    


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Let me get this out of the way before I start – I’m not an activist or a campaigner. For various reasons, I’m not a great joiner of campaigns or parties or a signer of petitions.

I’m more than happy to bump my gums about issue x, y or z online, but my net contribution to the UK’s political scene is zero. Thus, I try not to instruct people who actually get off their backsides and do things.

That said, I think we need to have a chat about strategy here. It seems to me that a lot of time is being wasted complaining about things that simply can’t be altered.

Take the recent student protests, for a start – I’ve now lost count of the number of people I’ve seen grousing that TV news broadcasters focus too heavily on a minority of troublemakers and ignore the issue that’s so animated 50,000 peaceful protesters.

Every time I see this, I can’t help but think of In The Loop…

Toby Wright: We called some builders. They didn’t turn up when they said they would.

Jamie MacDonald: What did you expect? They’re builders! Have you ever seen a film where the hero is a builder? No, no, because they never fuckin’ turn up in the nick of time. Bat-builder? Spider-builder? Huh? That’s why you never see a superhero with a hod!

Complaining that TV news is sensationalist and reductive is like bitching that the X Factor is rigged. Is it really? Get out of here! It never is!

If it bleeds, it leads and there’s nothing like a spot of amateur constabulary boxing to give an ITN producer a glorious woody. Thus, 50,000 protesters get ten seconds, and the rest of the broadcast is devoted to slow-mo replays of airborne fire extinguishers and looted police vans.

Seriously, if Trevor MacDonald walks into his office tomorrow to be told to put together a ten minute panel discussion on the pros and cons of education cuts, he’d conclude that his bosses had been tearing shit up all night on an epic cocaine and methylated spirits bender.

Education policy is brutally tedious, he’d say. Can’t we just show more clips of twatty students breaking things? And lo, they would!

Broadcasters may have a duty to present current affairs as faithfully as they can, but that’s always superceded by their number one priority, which is ratings. A five-minute grilling of Michael Gove is advertising death – the public would damn near break their wrists changing the channel.

Hell, I’m a well-informed observer of events, and even I would rather watch the International Wide-Eyed Seal Pup Clubbing Championships than Michael bloody Gove.

—-
A longer version is at The Hammer and the Anvil

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About the author
Flying Rodent is a regular contributor and blogs more often at: Between the Hammer and the Anvil. He is also on Twitter.
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Reader comments


Surely “A longer version is at Between the Hammer and the Anvil“?

2. Chaise Guevara

You raise an irritatingly good point, Flying Rodent. Perhaps attempts to rein in the media should concentrate on pressuring them to stop printing lies.

It’s all about horses for courses.

If you want a long discussion of the issue, watch Newsnight. Or listen to Analysis on Radio 4. Or check out the comment sections rather than the front pages.

Excellent article, even by my standards of being an awkward old fashioned Liberal. Any chance of another similar before Christmas ?

Hell, I’m a well-informed observer of events, and even I would rather watch the International Wide-Eyed Seal Pup Clubbing Championships than Michael bloody Gove.

I vote for the International Michael Gove Clubbing Championships. But yes, good post. The news media is daft, and that isn’t primarily to do with right-wing bias – much as we’d like to believe otherwise.

The problem for us is, right-wing politics isn’t fundamentally based on thinking so much as its opposite (which, ironically, and much as both sides would hate to admit it, lines up libertarians with the left – we are ideologies based on political philosophy and logic; conservatives are fundamentally people who don’t believe in political philosophy or logic), and that fits better with human nature than the use of reasonable debate.

So how do we resolve “we want to give the people things that we know are sensible, right and will work properly” versus “the people want shit because they don’t understand reason”? Buggered if I know, but it’s one hell of a question.

But Mr Rodent, surely an action acquires news-worthiness on account of its inherent VIRTUE and it has nothing to do with whether other people want to hear about it or not. That’s what most campaigns are predicated on.

“I vote for the International Michael Gove Clubbing Championships.”

That a menacing electronic communication I see?

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 5 john b

“So how do we resolve “we want to give the people things that we know are sensible, right and will work properly” versus “the people want shit because they don’t understand reason”? Buggered if I know, but it’s one hell of a question.”

There’s a Pratchett book in which he says that the problem with revolutions (or democratic progress in this case) isn’t that you’ve got the wrong sort of government, which is obvious, but that you’ve got the wrong sort of people.

He was being sarky, but I think there’s some truth there. The fact remains that there are people who don’t follow the news at all, or are dumb enough to believe the obvious lies that are fed to them, or so lacking in empathy that they honestly don’t care if other people starve as long as their taxes stay low, or who make life decisions because Capricorn is on the ascendent, and some of them vote, and their vote is worth as much as yours. There’s not much we can do about this, and I’m not sure we should want to, but it sucks.

After Ireland voted down the Lisbon Treaty, the media interviewed people who’d voted “no” because they’d been told the Lisbon Treaty would bring in the death penalty or a single-child policy. These will have been the exceptions, but it’s not encouraging.

@ 6 Adam Bell (“That’s what most campaigns are predicated on)

Are you kidding ? Take a look at this and its links ! Fair to note, other parties have similar skeletons in their cupboards regarding campaigns.

http://www.nastylibdems.org/

If you make the news a ‘product’ that needs to make a profit, then don’t be surprised when it becomes a pile of shit. Shit sells.

Nobody ever got poor underestimating the stupidity of the general public.

‘There’s a Pratchett book in which he says that the problem with revolutions (or democratic progress in this case) isn’t that you’ve got the wrong sort of government, which is obvious, but that you’ve got the wrong sort of people.’

Pratchett was paraphrasing Brecht.

Oh, and builders as movie heroes? Try Roddy Piper in ‘They Live’:

‘I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum – and I’m all out of bubblegum!’

12. Chaise Guevara

9 “Are you kidding ? Take a look at this and its links ! Fair to note, other parties have similar skeletons in their cupboards regarding campaigns.”

I don’t know whether Labour or the Tories run that site (probably the latter from its use of “the real nasty party”), but it’s shit. Look at this rubbish: http://www.nastylibdems.org/2010/02/duplicity-in-camden.html

Apparently, the fact that they can find a photo of one side of one leaflet posted to a Jewish neighbourhood that doesn’t mention the Lib Dem’s stance on Israel proves they’re sending out “contradictory messages”. Yeah, right.

The Becht poem is The Solution:

‘After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writer’s Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.   Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?’

No doubt there are many here who regard the public with the same contempt as the Secretary.

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 11 Shatterface

“Pratchett was paraphrasing Brecht.”

My education doesn’t go much above the Pratchett level.

@ 13 shatterface

“No doubt there are many here who regard the public with the same contempt as the Secretary.”

Wrong, some of this lot maybe a bit way out, they even annoy me sometimes but they’re realists within the world they live in today. Most are also activists in whatever they do. That in itself is commendable when I look round me and see little more than feckless disinterest from the majority of the public and duplicity from our political elite – all most liberally endowed with mediocre talent at all educational and social levels of society.

16. Dick the Prick

@15 – geez, that’s a bit depressing but perhaps you’re right. News sensationalism is an ironic soporific to keep people on their beeehinds.

Actually – yes there is a lot of point in complaining about a biased media.

And I’ve been pointing this out for years – that the right has been very effective at complaining and then forcing the media to believe that they were indeed biased and now need ‘balance’.

You can see this on issues like climate change… but even on issues like immigration where right-wingers swear blind that the BBC “does not talk about it”.

This derangement syndrome has an impact – and you’d be naive to think it doesn’t. Journalists think that they are being fair and balanced, but in actual fact they’re either applying pre-conceived biases, or they’re simply reporting “both sides of the story” – which in itself can be problematic on issues like climate change where both sides aren’t equally balanced.

So I say keep complaining. I say keep illustrating examples of BBC bias, or Sky news bias and all the rest – and keep them on their toes. To not do so just means they think they’re doing a good job.

Most blogging is indeed quite futile but if it’s good fun, cathartic or just an alternative to endless masturbation, what the hey! Still…

…or Sky news bias and all the rest – and keep them on their toes…

I rather doubt that Murdoch will start saying, “Oh, Christ, bloggers!”

19. Luis Enrique

there’s a difference between politically biased, and biased towards the sensational. there really isn’t much point in complaining about the latter, other than by not buying it. Is it possible to change other people’s preferences? maybe. .. let’s not pretend sensationalism is the preserve of the tabloids either, I’m looking at you Indy, Guardian. Sally is right – shit sells, you just need the right shit for the right punter. Sunny I am tempted to write something about bias and glass houses, but for sake of good relations, shall not.

I rather doubt that Murdoch will start saying, “Oh, Christ, bloggers!”

This isn’t what you mean, but I’m certain he will. And may already be.

A major aspect in the miserable failure of his paywall plan is that it completely neglects the importance of linkery. I can’t link to a Times piece – so if I want to source an assertion, I’ll link to the Grauniad instead. As mainstream media becomes bloggier (Grauniad again and Reuters are top, but almost everyone’s giving it a go), this cuts him out of the discourse. Which is joyous.

(part of this is because his paywalls have been implemented in the most stupid way they could possibly have been implemented – for a non-subscriber, a Times link goes to the Times homepage, rather than to a Times page with a headline, half the lede and a “pay to see more” link. This can only be Rupert’s idea, because anyone who’s ever spent more than ten seconds trying to work out ways to monetise online content would have noticed that it was moronic…)

21. the a&e charge nurse

“Is there any point complaining about a sensationalist media” – well certain parts of the MSM can be brought to heel, but only once in a while, and only if enough people feel strongly enough about it?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4258455.stm

It’s wonderful to see sally quoting H. L. Mencken!

I have to disagree with Flying Rodent. The lies and distortions of the media, especially the press, are a real problem today. They have become so because people have taken the same attitude, seeing them as just a fact of life, immutable. In fact Murdoch has been changing everything he can and he has worshippers like Dicky Desmond trying to copy him. That’s how it’s come to pass that any prospective PM has to go to Murdoch to receive his blessing if they want to have a hope of gaining office. How can that be tolerable?

I firmly believe it’s time to take on the press barons.

23. Luis Enrique

That’s how it’s come to pass that any prospective PM has to go to Murdoch to receive his blessing if they want to have a hope of gaining office.

how has it come to pass that people believe this? I am sure many politicians wish to obtain Murdoch’s support. It is not true that parties can only gain power with Murdoch’s support. Correlation is not causation. You can equally say The Sun always backs the favorite.

There has been a regular correlation, hasn’t there?

@7

“I vote for the International Michael Gove Clubbing Championships.”

That a menacing electronic communication I see?

Nah, he just want to see Michael Gove dancing the night away a la Widdecombe!

let’s not pretend sensationalism is the preserve of the tabloids either, I’m looking at you Indy, Guardian. … Sunny I am tempted to write something about bias and glass houses, but for sake of good relations, shall not.

Sunny “interprets”, others sensationalise; in the same way, ‘you’ have an agenda, I have a plan; you have an ideology, I have a vision; you have [a word with negative connotations], I have [a word with similar meaning but positive connotations].

I agree with @22

“If you want a long discussion of the issue, watch Newsnight. Or listen to Analysis on Radio 4. Or check out the comment sections rather than the front pages.”

Are you suggesting that programmes like Newsnight or the coverage on Radio 4 aren’t biased towards sensationalism? They clearly are, moreover the press is biased towards a centre ground political positioning because so many of them have such similar backgrounds as a result of the internship systems they have to work their way through. We know how many journalists went to Oxford and Cambridge and had parents who supported them while they didn’t make a wage because it’s discussed again and again. That feeds into the media, the same questions and the same attitudes are taken again and again regardless of the media source and the same stories are reported and often sold between news outlets (yes that’s right, it’s commercial). It isn’t mere sensationalism, it’s personal perspective about what is sensational (lots of us don’t find single mothers and families living on welfare sensational at all), it’s about what people buy from magazines that uncover stories. Murdoch is only one part of a far more varied problem.

Flying Rodent, I’m sorry but you’re wrong, not in the sense that complaining about it is dull but in the sense that we really, really need to be doing something about this and the first thing that should be done is that internships need to be brought up to minimum, if not living wage standards so that the press has a more varied set of writers.

I also think that we’ve got a problem with the commentariat. There was a time a century ago when you opened a paper and you didn’t know who had written the article. The way that people read the news wasn’t influenced by their appearance or their usual political position. I think we need that now because celebrity writers are contributing to the sensationalism of the press.

28. Torquil MacNeil

“The news media is daft, and that isn’t primarily to do with right-wing bias”

Of course not. Liberal Conspiracy and the Flying Rodent themselves share the same news values. When did you last read an article here about a government spending programme that is not being cut, even though that is most of them? It would be a bit dull wouldn’t it? When the subject is Iraq, does FR concentrate on the majority of people whose lives are not disrupted by the war or the ones that are being blown up? Sensationalism too?

Sunny I am tempted to write something about bias and glass houses, but for sake of good relations, shall not.

Oh jeez – when have I ever pretended to be impartial FFS?

Everytime someone asks me why I set up LC, I say this a site about the left and for the left, and our agenda is to promote the left. I’ve been on countless discussions where I’ve said my agenda is to destroy the right. That’s right – destroy. I said this in the Westminster Skeptics event on a panel with Guido Fawkes, Nick Cohen etc. I’ve never hidden my bias nor pretended otherwise. Why do some people think that just because I sit on the liberal-left I’m somehow dedicated to impartiality? I don’t give a fig about it. That’s not my damn job, that’s the BBC’s job.

30. Luis Enrique

yes Sunny, I think that’s well understood.

had I written a little jibe, it wouldn’t have consisted of pointing out that you are a left winger engaged in a fight against the right wing. I was thinking more along the lines of how having such an agenda can cause you to see the world through a rather distorted lens. Case in point, your hilarious belief that the BBC is systematically biased towards the right wing.

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 29

OK, Sunny, but aside from the BBC there’s no requirement for news outlets to be unbiased either, and most don’t even pretend.

So this doesn’t reflect badly on your integrity, but there’s a fair point on the table: that Flying Rodent’s article about sensationalist media is here published on a sensationalist medium.

‘You can see this on issues like climate change… but even on issues like immigration where right-wingers swear blind that the BBC “does not talk about it”.’

I think any objective content analysis of the media would show that there is an overwhelming acceptance of anthropogenic climate change; likewise there’s no ‘hatred’ of the NHS despite an article claiming otherwise yesterday.

The more spluttering outrage you publish in response to any expression of opinions you don’t like the more you make the ‘Left’ look like paranoid control freeks.

The public are not morons: they are perfectly capable of filtering out the bullshit themselves. The idea that they’re gibbering idiots who need your protection is – at best – paternalistic nonsense.

Sally might put her contempt for other people in undiplomatic terms but its an ideology I see here time and time again.

Case in point, your hilarious belief that the BBC is systematically biased towards the right wing.

Erm – I can point you to examples?

I was thinking more along the lines of how having such an agenda can cause you to see the world through a rather distorted lens.

As I keep pointing out, everyone is biased in some way. I’m just open about it. Also – it doesn’t mean I don’t read the right or understand where they’re coming from.

There’s this fallacy that if you pretend to be balanced, that somehow you’re more open to other views or that you don’t have a distorted lense.

Chaise – don’t understand your point. Flying Rodent has a point of view on the issue I don’t agree with. But he’s a contributor and he reflects a point of view, and it was published here. We’re here to encourage debate etc etc. That’s what the article does

34. Luis Enrique

there’s a difference between having a point of view, an agenda etc. and being subject to biases that lead to error.

ideally the BBC wouldn’t suffer from either.

as FR points out, the media’s bias towards the sensational isn’t so much a bias as innate to it.

I think if anything the BBC is biased towards Guardian leftism (it reflects the biases of the people who work for it – fishes don’t feel the water they swim in).

Of course we all suffer from varieties of the second form of bias to greater or lesser degrees.

I wish a few more people acknowledged the tendency for people with strong agendas (the first form of bias) to morph into the second form of bias … that is, to start getting things wrong because you are ignoring things that don’t fit your view etc. or only noticing when the BBC does something you think is right wing, but now when the BBC does something a right winger would think is left wing.

35. Mike Killingworth

Sunny’s claim to be left-wing is, of course, ironic.

36. Luis Enrique

As I keep pointing out, everyone is biased in some way. I’m just open about it.

we’re talking at cross purposes. You’re not open about the sort of bias I am talking about because that would amount to saying you were open about systematically being led into error because of your political stance.

There’s this fallacy that if you pretend to be balanced, that somehow you’re more open to other views or that you don’t have a distorted lense.

I don’t think it’s a fallacy to say that people with strong one-sided political views are less open to opposing arguments than people with neutral or mixed views [1]. Of course one might be, say, a committed Marxist and still read the works of Milton Friedman in an intellectual open spirit – I’m not talking about what’s necessarily so (i.e. you cannot be open minded once you hold strong views) I’m talking about the tendencies.

most people with strong views in some particular direction are only interested in opposing views in order to defeat them, and are only concerned with defending their own side. Sunny, as somebody who says you want to destroy the right, I’d have thought you’d accept this description. What I would wish to persuade you of is that this is a habit of thought that systematically leads one into error. It is not how a ‘truth seeker’ would operate – this is classic Popper – a truth seeker would look for the strengths in their opponents’ arguments and weaknesses in their own, because the goal is to discover where your existing views are wrong and change them.

[1] the flip side of that is that if you hold on to your neutrality, it’s very hard to avoid a life of fence sitting and dithering. There’s a trade off somewhere, and Sunny you and I are located at different points on it.

37. Luis Enrique

Erm – I can point you to examples?

only if you want me to compose a mini-lecture on the subject of non-random sampling error.

so let’s not.

Guardian leftism. Hmm.

An irritating mixture of posturing and handwringing, a concerned, kinder capitalist class?

It’s an oxymoron if ever there was one.

Torquil

Sensationalism too?

No. Focusing on deaths and cuts over, er, lives and stable budgets may just be in recognition of the pertinent effects the former have had and will have. “Sensationalism” doesn’t involve itself with consequences unless they happened to make up a captivating spectacle.

40. Torquil MacNeil

“No. Focusing on deaths and cuts over, er, lives and stable budgets may just be in recognition of the pertinent effects the former have had and will have. ”

In other words, ‘sensationalism’ just means the news agenda that you don’t like. You think it is sensationalist to focus on student rioters, but not sensationalist to focus on a single death caused by police at a demo. I bet the police would see it the other way. In fact, the news always seeks the sensational and it evens out!

41. Torquil MacNeil

“the flip side of that is that if you hold on to your neutrality, it’s very hard to avoid a life of fence sitting and dithering. There’s a trade off somewhere”

The rational trade off is to hold your views at only a percentage of likelihood, so: i believe in catastrophic climate change but only with (say) 60% certainty.

42. Luis Enrique

Torquil

that’s not the trade-off I had in mind. The trade off I had in mind is that whilst ‘certainty’ or ‘strong views accompanied by likely attendant bias’ increases the chance of error, it also increases the chance of you taking action. Hence why Sunny is a high profile campaigner and I prefer to sit about picking holes in the arguments of my political allies. Uncertainty and seeing all sides of the argument is not a recipe for activism.

The trick I need to learn is that sometimes even if you hold a view say 55/45, in the right context that ought be enough to get you on the streets, so to speak. Just like Sunny would say it’s still possible to hold strong views and be open minded, it’s also (in theory at least) possible to have mixed views on everything, but still think some things are worth fighting for.

No. Naturally the relevance that one ascribes to things will vary according to prejudice but I think there’s a difference between reportage of events that has an interest in its effects – however much one gives a fuck – and churnalism that intends to get a scary photo. So, for your example, students mobbing a police van might look cool but has no real bearing on anything except, perhaps, the Met’s garage bill, while a dead protestor has human relevance (someone’s died, for Christ’s sake), political import (who did it, how did it come to be) and broader social implications (the trends or attitudes it may shed light on).

Sensationalism isn’t just boring, though, it’s dangerous. There’s a difference between things we can’t affect and we might as well accept (the English-bloody-weather) and things that we can’t affect but should bother us anyway.

“. To not do so just means they think they’re doing a good job.”

Basically it is kind of like the reason political parties push leaflets through doors. They know full well 95% of the time it gets thrown straight in the bin, and those who actually do read them are unlikely to be swayed (and if they do, a better leaflet simply sways them back). But if you don’t do it, the other side will and then mud can stick. Similarly left wing complaints to the media about bias generally don’t change things, but they must be done purely to cancel out the right wing stuff.

Within this thread however there is a serious debate that could emerge – which is what forms of campaigning are effective and which are not – because its a subject that tends to be seldom discussed and with little evidence on what works. Frankly I think much of the campaigning work that gets done by third sector groups and pressure groups is crap and a waste of time, but I’m buggered if I know what the answer is.

‘Hope not Hate’ had this headline about the recent Panorama programme:

Saudi Arabian schoolbooks reveal rampant anti-Semitism gripping the Muslim world

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/article/1766/Saudi-Arabian-schoolbooks-reveal-rampant-anti-Semitism-gripping-the-Muslim-world

‘Five Chinese Crackers’ had this to say about the programme.

Even the BBC needs to tone down the shrill

http://www.fivechinesecrackers.com/2010/11/even-bbc-needs-to-tone-down-shrill.html

Who’s right?

47. FlyingRodent

If the issue here is whether my output is sensationalist then sure, mea culpa. It’s what blogging is famous for, surely – ask Andrew Marr. Given that I’m saying that media sensationalism is just the nature of the beast and recommending that people accept its existence though, I’m not sure what the problem is here.

If people want to criticise and publicise inaccurate reporting and clear cases of misrepresentation, then feel free. I’m just saying that narking at press and broadcast news for sensationalising the news – picking the most shocking aspects and running with them, usually to the huge detriment of the public’s understanding of the issues at stake – is like criticising your dog for licking its balls.

What did you think it would do of an evening, hoover the house and paint watercolours? It’s a dog – licking its own balls is what dogs do. So too, the press and the overwrought Chicken Licken act.

As Luis says, most news isn’t sensationalist to push a particular political angle — it’s not about left or right. It’s less about red or blue than it is about green. It’s about advertising revenue and sales, and the idea that broadcasters or papers can be encouraged towards more reasonable and responsible behaviour is insane. Raise it with an editor and he or she is going to look at you like a big pair of bulging ballsacks just burst out of your ears.

You might as well try to arm-wrestle the profit motive itself, for all the good it’ll do.

(There was an excellent Newswipe piece with an expert on mass murderers explaining how to prevent repetitions – http://tinyurl.com/c9j7qd – on channels that were busy doing exactly the opposite. It says all this a lot more eloquently, I think).

48. Luis Enrique

regrettably, doing away with the profit motive would only be a partial fix. Even a not-for-profit media outlet is still interested in the number of people who want to read/watch/listen to it.

I suppose if we banned every newspaper other than Pravda, people would have to read it if they want to read anything, but we have chosen the other path.

the fault lies with us, dear friends. If we developed a sudden taste for it, Murdoch would turn The Sun into The Journal of Economic Perspectives if it made money.

(the JEP is available for free here. Not interested? Q.E.D.)

49. FlyingRodent

@Luis – Exactly.

Luis – But he’d still have his own ideological biases. From the Rothschilds to our present friends the Kochs and Mr Soros, greedy buggers still find time for – shall we say – extraprofitular activities. Am I wrong in saying that if cash was all that drove such people they’d be putting newspapers to sleep already?

51. Luis Enrique

Ben6

no doubt – and I like the phrase extraprofitular activities

52. Chaise Guevara

@ 36 Luis

“It is not how a ‘truth seeker’ would operate – this is classic Popper – a truth seeker would look for the strengths in their opponents’ arguments and weaknesses in their own, because the goal is to discover where your existing views are wrong and change them. ”

I like your truth seeker. However, where the “truth” you seek is based on moral principle, which may be subject to change, couldn’t truth-seeking lead you just as much down the garden as you constantly test the strengths of opposing views (rather than claims) and discover them all to have their merits? It’s an excellent way to assess veracity or the logical strength of an argument certainly, but I think that morality requires partisanship (instead of seeking out “true” morality, which doesn’t exist. All of which longwindedness is meant to point out that if Sunny doesn’t make certain basic assumptions along the lines of “this is good, that is bad” there’s not much point him considering politics at all.

Thanks for the JEP link, Luis. Great!

La société du spectacle, non?

Sensationalist media, whether left, right, or upside down, is bad news. And blogs are the worst possible incarnation of it; everyone’s shouting into the aether, sharing on FriendFace, tweeting and re-tweeting like mad – whilst Rome burns.

Of course, that doesn’t stop me reading ‘Liberal Conspiracy’, like the twat I am…

@48 Luis Enrique: “I suppose if we banned every newspaper other than Pravda, people would have to read it if they want to read anything, but we have chosen the other path.”

I assume that you have not read Pravda recently, Luis. Today’s front page on the web edition (English language) contains a mix of serious news stories and desperate attention seeking sensations. A bit like the Telegraph really.

only if you want me to compose a mini-lecture on the subject of non-random sampling error.

At what point does a sampling error become a trend? Especially on issues like coverage of climate change?

Also – I’m not complaining about sensationalism – though there’s no harm in complaining if the media distort coverage – sometimes it does force them to change. I usually complain of bias.

Luis:
I don’t think it’s a fallacy to say that people with strong one-sided political views are less open to opposing arguments than people with neutral or mixed views

It is a fallacy if people who think they are neutral, but aren’t, also claim to be balanced.

I have strong views on some topics, but not on others. I’ve taken centrist stances on issues which really annoys left-wingers. So I’m not sure how you can extrapolate from that, that just because I take a strong stance on certain issues means I’m averse to other POVs on all issues.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Is there any point complaining about a sensationalist media? http://bit.ly/hfD9Lf

  2. David T Breaker

    “@libcon: Is there any point complaining about a sensationalist? http://bit.ly/hfD9Lf” < Why does The Left always descend into crudeness?

  3. Nina

    @sdv_duras @creativegeek http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/11/30/19943/

  4. Dave Drever

    Is there any point complaining about a sensationalist media …: Is it possible to change other people's prefere… http://bit.ly/hdaBgD

  5. bethan john

    Interesting how many comments except biased broadcast media – good post, even tho I fundamentally disagree @libcon http://bit.ly/eLbLIp

  6. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    Is there any point complaining about a sensationalist media? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/toGIHH1 via @libcon





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