Comment Of The Day: “Question: How Do You Prove That The News Media Lies To You?”

I have been remiss of late posting Comments of the Day, and will be trying to catch up. Today produced one to get me going again: Isaac’s continuation of the theme of the post, the way the media reveals its bias and incompetence to anyone who reads a journalist’s analysis of a topic on which the reader has independent expertise.

In the thread on the same post, I learned something: that there was a name for the facially absurd phenomenon that the same people who recognize how thoroughly the news media botches topics that the readers understand well will still assume that the news articles, features and analysis on topics they don’t know well are accurate. Reader Alex posted this quote from a hero of mine, the late, great, Michael Crichton, MD, novelist, science writer, screenwriter, contrarian:

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

Here is Isaac’s Comment of the Day on the post, Question: How Do You Prove That The News Media Lies To You?

Yup.

I thumbed through an issue of Newsweek years ago, when the cover was for an article called “Our Mutual Joy” and the premise was that the Bible was in favor of gay marriage.

Regardless of what you think about it, that premise ain’t true. The article, by Newsweek’s official religion editor, Lisa Miller, was just pages of total bunk, including this statement: “nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women.”

Thought I, “well…that’s…just completely wrong.” Romans 1 says, “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…”

That’s one of only a tiny handful of scriptures that directly mentions homosexuality…you’re writing an entire article about the Bible and homosexuality…and you get THAT wrong? (I didn’t know at the time that Newsweek had just come under new management and basically tossed out any pretense of journalism.)

This is not going to get better. Intelligence, integrity and honesty cannot be imparted by college. You either want/have them or you don’t. At best, a university can teach principles, plain facts, and disciplines that can develop a person’s internal desire for goodness and truth as much as possible…but universities don’t even do that anymore. The entire culture has bought into the lie that any individual can be pumped through a college and will come out wise, qualified, and trustworthy (the diploma proves it!) This was never true, but it’s even less true now. If universal education happens, it won’t even be a little bit true. Graduation will be about as significant an achievement as having a birthday.

Major media outlets are cranking out subpar, illogical, and dishonest content created by 20-somethings who didn’t learn anything helpful in college and who lack any sort of life experience. The next generation of aspiring journalists will have grown up reading THESE clowns.

11 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Question: How Do You Prove That The News Media Lies To You?”

  1. Former rector at my college came up here a few years ago to meet some of the expats. One thing he said during dinner stuck with me. Paraphrasing: At [college] we won’t teach you values, or habits, or ethics; those come from home. But we have to provide an environment where they can flourish. If not, there’s a good chance students are going to lose them.

  2. I thumbed through an issue of Newsweek years ago, when the cover was for an article called “Our Mutual Joy” and the premise was that the Bible was in favor of gay marriage.

    Regardless of what you think about it, that premise ain’t true. The article, by Newsweek’s official religion editor, Lisa Miller, was just pages of total bunk, including this statement: “nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women.”

    I wonder why they did not make the same argument concerning the Quran or Dianetics.

  3. Another classic example of media ignorance about their subject matter is literally whenever anyone in the media reports shootings, or anything related to firearms.

    You can tell in the first two paragraphs of any such story if the person writing it has any credibility at all. Examples include:

    1. Citation of known erroneous statistics about gun violence, like the well-known fiction that the Parkland shooting was the “18th school shooting so far in 2018” as of sometime in February of that year.

    2. Constantly saying that you can buy guns without a background check on the Internet. It’s true that when you actually transact the payment, a background check isn’t required. But the gun must be shipped not to you, but to a designated gun seller with a Federal Firearms License in good standing.

    Then, you have to drive to the FFL holder’s place of business where they conduct the background check on you and, only after you pass, give you the gun you’ve paid for. So the statement that you can buy guns without a background check is at its best, incompetently or intentionally misleading. At worst, its transparently false.

    It’s very much like buying a car at a car dealership where they don’t have your preferred color but a neighboring dealership does, so they arrange the transfer and sell you the car.

    3. Describing AR-15’s as a “high powered rifle.” That rifle fires a medium-power rifle cartridge, the .223 Remington/5.56×45 NATO (the gun will fire either one). An example of a high-power cartridge used in military arms would be the .308 Winchester/7.62×51 NATO used in the civilian M1A (US forces designation M14) battle rifle, or the AR-10 battle rifle.

    4. The lunacy of describing the intentions of the authors of the Constitution’s second amendment as being intended to apply only to the arms available at the time. This is so dishonest as to be an outright lie rather than pure ignorance. I’d hope I don’t need to explain further.

    5. Describing semiautomatic firearms as “automatic.” This displays complete ignorance of firearms, their function, history, usage and nomenclature. It is, in current vernacular, an epic fail.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. So how do I know the media lies to me? Because they can’t even get simple things right by using the ubiquitous Internet to find out simple facts about unfamiliar (to them) subjects. That suggests deliberate dissimulation rather than incompetence.

    • I would imagine most of the 20somes writing this slop have never served in any of the branches of the military or gone target shooting or hunting with their folks. Their experience with weapontry is limiting to playing “realistic” video games.

    • I could go on, but you get the idea. So how do I know the media lies to me? Because they can’t even get simple things right by using the ubiquitous Internet to find out simple facts about unfamiliar (to them) subjects. That suggests deliberate dissimulation rather than incompetence.

      Hanlon’s razor, “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”, is easily satisfied, and malice is proven. The real trouble is when you look underneath that malice and find an unimpregnable bedrock of even more stupidity. I could fight and even still respect a man who hated me for some rational reason. But what is this thing, and what can be done with it?

      • I don’t give the Left the benefit of Hanlon’s Razor anymore. Malicious incompetence is still “malice” in my book, and when you can look up all the information you need to write a coherent article on the subject of firearms in just a few keystrokes and a few minutes of reading, but don’t do so, that’s malicious incompetence.

    • Please could you post some links for all of these? I am not an American or in America and more often than not, I get my American news from the so called “mainstream media”
      The reason why I subscribed to this site.

      • I’m sorry, but because of the anti-spam settings for the blog, more than one link refers the comment to moderation. I suggest just googling the subject of each bullet point ,and you should get what you need.

        Sorry. Thanks for reading, though.

  4. The answer, of course, to “how do you know the media is lying…”

    is simple: their lips are moving.

    In the case of the New York Times, the fact that they printed a story, ANY story, proves they are lying.

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