It’s official Joe Biden becomes the 46 President of the United States.

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Alby

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When our position is “OK, we’re a porqueria too, but hey, at least we admit it, and anyway, the other side is a much bigger porqueria than we will ever be” we are relying on just same argument as people on a certain side of the grieta in Argentina. It's not a good place to find ourselves.

And when we say:

“as a general rule the US MSM on its worst day, is more credible than NYP, and the better parts of Fox on most days, and the rest of Fox, OAN, RT and all the rest on their best days”

we are falling into the same trap as the media organizations we despise, showing that we see no difference between our own opinion and the facts: we make a claim true by feeling it, and then stating it, and then hoping that nobody—maybe not even ourselves—notices that it is just an opinion.

We can neither prove nor refute the claim. That would require a much more precise definition of who the players are (who do we define as MSM and who sits outside that definition), an agreed definition of the word “credible” in the context of news media, definition of "best" and "worst" days, and then a lot of (credible) research. In their absence, the claim is just opinion.

Not that my perspective matters or that anyone but me should care, but I will continue to read across the spectrum and be skeptical across the spectrum. At the moment, everything looks like a porqueria, and nobody gets points just for putting up their hand to admitting it.
 

Alby

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Thank you. When I lived in NYC I used to listen to NPR.org. My favorite radio station.
I found them to be overall fair and balanced in their reporting.
I agree, though I think both the News Hour and NPR are a shadow of their former selves. I suppose that may have to do with funding.
 

ben

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When our position is “OK, we’re a porqueria too, but hey, at least we admit it, and anyway, the other side is a much bigger porqueria than we will ever be” we are relying on just same argument as people on a certain side of the grieta in Argentina. It's not a good place to find ourselves.
I agree. To be clear, that’s not what I’m saying.
I am looking at this much more dispassionately than you imagine. There is lots about the MSM that I despise. That’s why I mentioned the example with the WaPo to start with. My subsequent comments were about reading more into this than we should.

The comments of mine that you quote is not my defense of “our side”, much less of “us”. It is simply a statement of fact. As is, that as bad as Macri is, he’s preferable to CFK. If that was my argument as a Cambiemos operative, I agree it’d be a crummy argument; but it is my argument as a voter.

We can neither prove nor refute the claim. That would require a much more precise definition of who the players are (who do we define as MSM and who sits outside that definition), an agreed definition of the word “credible” in the context of news media, definition of "best" and "worst" days, and then a lot of (credible) research. In their absence, the claim is just opinion.
Agreed again. And yes, of course my take is my own opinion.
That said, there is a general consensus - in the “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it” sense - about the meaning of many of these terms. And among people who for the most part agree on these definitions, my opinion would be pretty uncontroversial. See my next remark.
 
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ben

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Not that my perspective matters or that anyone but me should care, but I will continue to read across the spectrum and be skeptical across the spectrum. At the moment, everything looks like a porqueria, and nobody gets points just for putting up their hand to admitting it.
Almost completely agree, with a couple of caveats. Skepticism is great.
The problem is that there is a fine line between skepticism and cynicism where you assume that everything is a porquería. The net result is that the shittiest player “wins”, and there is no incentive to try to adhere to the rules, since the net result is that “it’s all a porquería”.

============

The reality is, as I said, that though skepticism is always healthy and nothing is 100%, all things are not the same.
One is for the most part credible, and one just says whatever they want, including open lies. It behooves one to keep in mind the difference between the one and the other.

It’s the difference between buying a brand-name watch and a $5 knockoff. (Feel free to substitute just about any product the quality of which you depend on).
Neither is 100% assured of working perfectly - that’s why there’s a warranty - and both might work.
But the very existence of a warranty - that the manufacturer certifies they’ll have to take it back if it’s bad - engenders the understanding that it’s much more likely that the reputable one will satisfy you.
Same for food and food safety laws. They’re not perfect, but they’re infinitely better than “everything goes” and/or “everything is porquería”. Same for everything important.

The same concerns this story. Firstly, the very fact that not publishing an untruth, but merely removing an episode - from a pretty old story - is such news, tells you something about the values involved.
And secondly - your remark that “nobody gets points just for putting up their hand to admitting it” is both correct and at the same time misses the point. The fact that they had to do it is what is important.

Put differently - I am not defending the WaPo for putting up their hand to admitting it. I am defending the system that compelled them to do so.

It doesn’t mean the MSM is infallible. That it isn’t was my point. But I’d much rather live in an ecosystem like that, than in the alternate reality where everything goes and there are no standards at all.
 

Alby

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It is simply a statement of fact. As is, that as bad as Macri is, he’s preferable to CFK.
I’m not convinced that we are still not confusing opinions with fact. It is an opinion that Macri is preferable to CFK. It is an opinion I might share. But I would never claim it to be a fact.

That said, there is a general consensus - in the “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it” sense - about the meaning of many of these terms. And among people who for the most part agree on these definitions, my opinion would be pretty uncontroversial.

It’s probably not that hard to define who falls into the MSM and who doesn’t. In the imaginary research project it would be relatively straightforward. It would be harder to agree on the term "credible" and I suspect the consensus you believe exists may not (Are you confident you mix with a broad enough group of people to also be confident that your view is uncontroversial? Might it only be uncontroversial in the group of people who think like you?)

For my purposes I find a product credible if I can answer yes to questions like: does this product seem to be offering me a plurality of opinions? Can I be confident that every fact it is presenting is really is a fact? Can I be confident that it is not presenting me any non-facts? Can I be confident that if there are other facts out there that may do not support the editorial line of the product, that the product itself is not hiding these facts from me? The last one particularly worries me at the moment, reading what were always thought to be the most prestigious/credible titles.

Worse, they leave me feeling a bit grubby, like I’ve been lured into reading something designed to titillate me enough to make me want more and come back later. I've never come across this feeling before from reading news. The other side no doubt uses the same tactics, but I am not tempted in the same way, because I am not prone to the point of view it promotes.
 
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ben

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I’m not convinced that we are still not confusing opinions with fact. It is an opinion that Macri is preferable to CFK. It is an opinion I might share. But I would never claim it to be a fact.
You are correct, it is certainly an opinion (even if a widely shared one). I myself qualified it in the same paragraph as an “argument”.

The confusion (the fault of which is entirely mine) is the conflation of 2 issues: fact vs. opinion, and “my side” vs. “I’m not on any side, this seems obvious”.

My point was the latter, certainly in the analogy. As regards the analogue, it’s more complicated: I think it could be demonstrated that the MSM as a whole is an order of magnitude more credible than some/most of the partisan RW ecosystem. And the fact that in a case like this, that such a revision raises the hue and cry that it does, to the point that the Post is forced to back down, to me, speaks to the integrity of the system as a whole.

That should not encourage complacency. The absence of complacency is exactly what produced this satisfactory result.

For my purposes I find a product credible if I can answer yes to questions like:
  • does this product seem to be offering me a plurality of opinions?
  • Can I be confident that every fact it is presenting is really is a fact?
  • Can I be confident that it is not presenting me any non-facts?
  • Can I be confident that if there are other facts out there that may do not support the editorial line of the product, that the product itself is not hiding these facts from me?
Agree with this list. The final one, omission of counterpoints, is less important to me, both because it is somewhat elusive, and for the reasons in my response to your next quote.

The last one particularly worries me at the moment, reading what were always thought to be the most prestigious/credible titles.

Worse, they leave me feeling a bit grubby, like I’ve been lured into reading something designed to titillate me enough to make me want more and come back later. I've never come across this feeling before from reading news. The other side no doubt uses the same tactics, but I am not tempted in the same way, because I am not prone to the point of view it promotes.
Agreed. One. Hundred. Percent.

This is why a healthy ecosystem of media, some with a rightward slant, some with a leftward slant, with enough cross-pollination (at least in terms of reading) to keep everyone honest, would be a great thing.

The problem is that most of the right’s media is a mess of Trumpified, bad faith shit. And I don’t mean the fringe, the equivalent of AlterNet. I mean the “flagship” right media, that serves the majority of GOP voters: Fox, Newsmax, etc. Very much including the National Review, as I commented earlier.

(The Bulwark, which one could regard as a reconstituted Weekly Standard, stands out as an honorable exception).

Consider: What was it that made the Post back down here? That they knew that a substantial portion of their readership and their target readership was going to see what they did here. The cost of the permanent credibility hit from doubling down was far higher than that of apologizing, fixing and moving on.

Imagine a world in which Hugh Hewitt, for example, knows that most of his readers will be reading a detailed takedown exposing the bad faith inherent in a given argument of his. And that if he becomes a repeat offender, he will in the fairly short term cease to be taken seriously. The incentive will be there not to argue it. Same goes for Dinesh D’Souza FFS.
 

Alby

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Consider: What was it that made the Post back down here? That they knew that a substantial portion of their readership and their target readership was going to see what they did here. The cost of the permanent credibility hit from doubling down was far higher than that of apologizing, fixing and moving on.
I don't know. Is that why they backed down? What else could they do, regardless of market impact? Would it really have affected their market? If people have become addicted to soft porn, do they really care if a blooper inadvertently makes it into the final cut? Would it stop them logging on again the next day? Or three more times the same day?

Maybe they were overrated to begin with, but if not, reading these titles now is like going to see a Martin Scorsese film and discovering that he now does soft porn. To me, that is the bigger scandal. I would be less concerned about Scorsese getting a minor historical fact wrong (or several facts wrong over several movies) than I would be about the fact that his historical dramas had gone down that path to make a buck and that none of his long term fans cared or had even noticed. The sloppy movie editing or fact checking would be just the symptom of the broader decline, and we might be missing the broader decline by focussing on the slip.
 
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Alby

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And just to close the loop and bring this back to where it all began. When I read about the incident you reported, it struck me as unexceptional and unsurprising and not really the main game in assessing whether or not the title has credibility. As a factual error would be unexceptional, even predictable, in the hypothetical future Scorsese soft porn flick disguised as historical drama. That's why I asked whether it came as a surprise to you.
 

Alby

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I can only conclude that what is going on is this: one product, two viewers, two completely differing views of the product (one takes the product very seriously, but the product strikes the other as almost comical), and both viewers oblivious to the possibility that there even could be, let alone are, different opinions about the merits of the product.


 
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