(John Deering via GoComics.com)
Point and mock. Luke O’Neil, journamalist, whines in Esquire about “The Year We Broke the Internet“:
… The Internet, like the Sphinx, is a ravenous beast that eats alive anyone who can’t answer its hoary riddle. We in the media have been struggling for twenty years to solve that riddle, and this year, the answer arrived: Big Viral, a Lovecraftian nightmare that has tightened its thousand-tentacled grip on our browsing habits with its traffic-at-all-costs mentality—veracity, newsworthiness, and relevance be damned. We solved the riddle, and then we got eaten anyway…
This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed. BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti admitted as much when explaining, that, when he’s hiring, he looks for “people who really understand how information is shared on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and other emerging platforms, because that is in some cases as important as, you know, having traditional reporting talent.” Upworthy editorial director Sara Critchfield seconded the notion. “We reject the idea that the media elite or people who have been trained in a certain way somehow have the monopoly on editorial judgment.”…
This conflation of newsiness with news, share-worthiness with importance, has wreaked havoc on the media’s skepticism immune systems. It didn’t happen out of nowhere, it’s a process that’s been midwifed by the willful blurring of the lines between fact and fiction on the part of a key group of influential sites, that have, unfortunately, established a viable financial model amid the wreckage of traditional media. It’s why companies are so eager to shuffle native ads—content produced to appear as if it were a site’s regular content—into the regular mix. They’re hoping we won’t know the difference. They’re right, we often don’t. That’s part of the reason native advertising revenues are up 77 percent this year, according to a new study by BIA/Kelsey. There are practically no consequences anymore….
Apart from that, what’s on the agenda today?
I will just note I am happy sites like Longform and Longreads are popular. I mean heaven forbid something like tax reform and global warming takes more then a few words to explain.
I do web sites for a living and I hate to admit I spend way more time looking at stats then I care to admit. And short works. My major professor in grad school used to joke it takes me ten pages to clear my throat, but alas that doesn’t work so well on the Internet. I don’t like this, but alas it is true.
Commentary or tweeting on something reported is not the same as reporting.
@NotMax: I love sites like this but I do often wonder why more folks can’t pick up a phone and call somebody. Ask for a quote. Ask a question. I mean it isn’t rocket science.
This feeds into the “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” thread below.
It may just turn out that humans need gatekeepers. Collectively, are home sapien sapiens all that sapient after all? Or are we (again as a whole) so self interested that given an array of information we will chose to invest in that which is the easiest to digest and is the most self congratulatory?
Well, off to my last day at work before an all too brief New Year’s mini vacation.
This headline blows my mind: Afghanistan gains will be lost quickly after drawdown, U.S. intelligence estimate warns.
A few years ago I went on a camping trip and we listened to Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of US Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan on CD.
Basically 18 Army Rangers and two CIA agents went into Afghanistan with nothing but sat phones and bags of cash. Paid off tribes in the north to turn on the Taliban. They said they’d call in air strikes, and this was before anybody even knew we were there.
But the airstrikes didn’t work. The Rangers were stunned when dudes on horse back didn’t seem to care and charged Soviet tanks and 50 cal guns. They talk about body parts flying everywhere, but they just kept fighting.
This was when I realized those are some bad ass folks. We can throw as much money and troops at the problem, but in the end they will do whatever the fuck they want. Why our politicans don’t get this is beyond me.
I’m older than 15 years old, so unlike Mr. O’Neil I know that newspapers regularly printed press releases as news stories, and radio and TV aired press releases as news stories. And that there seem to gave very few, if any consequences for bullshit artists in newspapers, radio, and TV for ages now. How many people from those media have favef any negative consequences for their crap reporting on the various anti-Clinton bullshit that went on for a decade in the 90s? How about for their Iraq War bullshit?
Mr. O’Neil, get off your own goddamn lawn.
@Tommy: They were Special Forces (Green Berets) not Rangers.
@raven: Whoops. My bad.
@Tommy: Ha, the Rangers even have trouble figuring out who they are.
Special Forces are trained to work with groups of indigenous personal as advisors and, except for them not being all that familiar with horses, that’s what these guys were doing.
I plan to stay home. Been sick since Tuesday night. It’s finally clearing up but I still feel like I’ve been kicked through the wall. Fortunately I have a number of Stephen King books on hand. I always read him when I’m sick–then I can say “I may feel like hell but at least I’m not being chased by vampires (or a haunted car, or tommyknockers, or whatever).”
I don’t think King’s later, post-sobering-up material is nearly as entertaining as his earlier drug- and alcohol-fueled fever dreams. What do you think?
I don’t get why more folks don’t understand this. They are TRAINED to work with local folks. I have not served myself, but everybody in my family has and they will tell you 24/7 the best thing you can do is to “win the hearts and minds” of the local population.
@Pogonip: Huge King fan, but mostly the older stuff. Just finished Dan Brown’s Inferno and just started Clancy’s new book. About 100 pages in.
BTW: I never thought I’d get into reading on my tablet, but got hooked with Brown’s new book. I don’t know that much about art and/or architecture, so I used the Dictinoary function a lot. When I saw I could head to Google Maps and see this church or that painting referenced within the book itself, well I though that was about the coolest thing ever.
@Tommy: One of the most successful programs in Vietnam was the Marine CAP:
The Combined Action Program was a United States Marine Corps operational initiative implemented in the Vietnam War and proved to be one of the most effective counterinsurgency tools developed during that conflict
Fucking idiot Westmorland didn’t like it and moved to an emphasis on attrition. We know how that worked out.
@raven: My father was a military tactican. Multiple times a year when he taught at the Army War College he’d fly out someplace to teach foreign military folks that came here to jointly train with us. He often felt it was the most important thing he did, interacting with other people, bridging culture gaps.
He loves to tell a story about working with some Turks. Some bad ass folks. A guy who served in WWII told him they used to make as much noise as possible approaching enemy lines, cause they wanted the enemy to know they were coming. To fear them.
In one of the truly bizarre things that sometimes happen in life, I babysat for his grandkids and my parents were hippies who had been big anti war activists.
@MomSense: That is pretty funny. When I went to my father’s retirement, in a building I would not be able to get within a few hundred yards of normally, I was worried they might run a security check on me and find out his son was kind of anti-war and often liked to protest.
But then again my father is kind of anti-war, even though he spent his life teaching people how to wage it. He tends to agree with Sun Tzu, that if you have to fight you have already lost. Just cause you plan for war doesn’t mean you have to fight one.
@raven: What definition of success are you using?
The part of the Internet I use must not be broken. Because I have no idea at all what that article is talking about and I have heard of Buzzfeed, but I don’t really know what it is and have never looked at it.
I don’t have the heart do to it. Fools are not worth mocking.
Ah, so that’s why his writing went to shit. I thought the publishing industrial complex got ahold of him and forced him to crank out a book every six months.
I think he’s got a point in that long well-researched pieces take a lot of work and you have to pay a lot for that, in both time (you have to wait for them) and manpower.
The NYT had a good example yesterday. They had a great piece on how university professors are testifying as experts on regulatory issues and not revealing CLEAR conflicts of interest as far as funding and actual free lance employment (they’re paid as individuals in addition to as professors).
It must have taken at least 2 years to research that story. The FOIA battles with the U of Houston for release of info would take at least that long. They had to get thousands of emails and docs, and interview tens of people.
Buzzfeed just isn’t going to cut it as far as investigatory stories like that, nor is “crowdsourcing”.
@MomSense: Huh. Speaking of small world stuff, I spent half a season in Canada working on a rich man’s private island (first half was my Aunt and Uncle’s resort island that they sold halfway thru the season). The cook was Westmoreland’s personal chef in ‘Nam. Whatever else Westmoreland did over there, he ate well.
@magurakurin: LOL. I find the Internet is what I want it to be. If I want longform articles I can find them. Short. I can find that as well. As my brother mentioned to my mom about a dozen times at X-mas when she said I wonder how you do this or that, “there is this thing called Google. You type in your question and get results.”
Just based on the excerpt, this guy’s criticisms of modern media seem legit. I don’t know if I’d blame the “Internet” so much as the bad judgment of media owners and managers as the chief reason for the decline.
Well, right, but are you willing to pay for them?
Because that’s what they’re struggling with. We have to pay people for actual reporting; going to places, talking to witnesses, locating verifying and reading docs. They need salaries and support people and health insurance and someone willing to pay them for following something that may never pan out.
The NYT has a Benghazi story up right now. It’s locally sourced. They found people who were there and interviewed them. That costs money.
Oh, and as to this,
Sounds like a job for Politifact. Oooopps, never mind, they were there.
I have a feeling his world was a bit “smaller” than most people. I bet his cook had some stories!
He spoke at a conference I attended while I was in college. I went up to say hello at the end of his panel and boy were my friends shocked to see the two of us having an old home week kind of reunion.
And even though the NYT did a locally sourced column, the mis and false information has so saturated the public awareness of Benghazi that it will be difficult for the facts to get through. Same with so many other issues.
@Baud: I blame capitalism. Those guys are just giving people what they want.
@Kay: Mike Rogers has touted misinformation about the a Benghazi attacks. Today he will be on Fox News and I’m sure he’ll be asked why he blamed Al Qaeda and why he called Rice a liar.
Raining again, so my regular Sunday morning trip to the farmer’s market will be a chore rather than a pleasure. But I’ve got to confer with the mushroom lady, got to get my small-batch coffee beans, got go get that hothouse arugula. And also those pastries. Yes, I know. Shut up.
I wonder sometimes if it will shake out to be LESS democratic, MORE unequal, because the “free!” stuff will be absolute garbage and the “paid” section will have a smaller and more “elite” audience who will have to pay more and more for real reporting (fewer paying more).
I really struggle with the idea that we don’t have to pay people for “reporting”
I think we probably find out we have to.
@MattF: We should all have such chores.
I blame crony capitalism. I stopped paying for media a long time ago because they weren’t giving me what I wanted. I hate to not support some of the valuable reporting they sometimes still do, but I’m not going to pay for someone to advertise false right-wing memes to me.
@MomSense: The Sunday talk shows won’t bother to mention the article. I don’t know if Susan Rice would have made a good Secretary of State, but the news media bought into the lies of the Republicans and vilified her.
@Cervantes: That is the rub isn’t it. If you look at what CAP did and how they did it they were truly living with the Vietnamese and trying to help them. One of the problems with Vietnam is that there was plenty of stuff that went on that were legitimate attempts by Americans to do constructive things with and for the Vietnamese. Now don’t start jumping my ass, I know it was fucked up and we also did horrible shit. It’s just not all black and white. . . You know, like life.
@MomSense: Oh yeah, he had some stories to tell. Combined with the fact that he was the first openly gay man I had ever met (this was in ’76, I was 18) so I heard those stories from that point of view, which made them even funnier.
@Kay: Remember the old line? If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
The fools who create and publish junk want to blame the people who lazily consume it, and, often, vice versa. This has always been so.
@MomSense: wow! My Md is really cool and very interested in the war. Last week she took me in her office and showed me her picture of Elmo Zumwalt at her wedding. Friend of the family.
Hard to say. I don’t think reported information can be contained so easily. I also wonder if we are slowly moving back to a paradigm of explicitly partisan media, which I believe was the norm for most of our history.
I said during the B political fight that something happened there, I might be interested in what happened, but NO ONE was focused on what happened because they seized on Rice’s statement and all reporting stopped.
I blame Jake Tapper, actually. He’s the one who promoted his own interview as a “smoking gun” which was bullshit.
He led the whole pack down a dead end.
It’s funny, because if the White House had wanted to hide something, Tapper made that possible by pursuing Rice.
If they were lying, they must have been thrilled by all the smoke he created.
@Kay: it ain’t over
Kind of like the music industry.
@Raven: Also complicating things was that CAP marines were often despised by other US force elements.
Anyway, nothing is black and white? Maybe, but I would argue that in 1965 there was no good or legitimate reason for the presence of any foreign troops in Indo-China.
Nahhh… We only have to pay for honest reporting. Which is getting harder and harder to find.
@Kay: No question, Tapper is a waste of protoplasm.
I read that Esquire article when it was posted. I thought it was surprisingly honest for a journalist to take partial personal responsibility for the sensational clickbait that’s flooding online media. Journalism still happens, but it has to be carefully sorted out from the eyeball grabbing spectacle that’s supposed to hold our attention while we the advertising sinks in subliminally.
I have a magazine article in the works that the editor would be thrilled to have done by 1/1. I could probably finish that if I skip walking the dog and having a long brunch with Mrs. Thunder. But how many sunny 40 degree days off am I going to have this winter?
Have to jet off to Mexico tomorrow anyway, so vacation’s about to be over.
I’ll know he’s taking responsibility when I see what he writes in the next year or two.
@Cervantes: So would I. And I would add, so what? It happened and it turns out we didn’t learned diddly shit. As far as “other US elements” despising CAP, the US military makes a project out of horseshit interservice and inter unit rivalry.
It also helps to remember that Buzzfeed’s Peretti was also in on the founding of the ur-click-bait Ariana Huffington Vanity Post, along with Andrew Breitbart. And both Buzzfeed and HuffPo started out as click-farms and then tried to gain legitimacy by hiring away established journalists to cover certain areas.
@Baud: Yep. I hate having to wade through BS just to get to the meat only to find the meat is tainted. It all too often doesn’t matter which side it is coming from either. As one who leans somewhere to the left of Castro, ;-) , I expect to be lied to by the Right, but it really pi$$es me off when the Left does it.
The Internet breaks forever and ever every single year.
Exactly right, and in order to do so, they have to figure out how to monetize content again — how to replace the printed local car dealership and grocery store ads that used to subsidize all the papers’ activities.
I hope it shakes out eventually in a way that is conducive to the production of good journalism — god knows we need it. Could a local media organization that produces regional content that people want to read offer advertisers access to a hyper-local audience and generate a sufficient income? It doesn’t appear to be happening anywhere.
No viable business model has emerged yet, aside from rich people voluntarily subsidizing news (ProPublica, whatever they’re calling the eBay guy’s thingy with Greenwald) as a philanthropic venture.
I don’t consider it necessarily a bad thing that advertising pays for a little journalism and clickbait feeds the ads. I can cruise past “25 Amazing Things These Celebrities Did That You Won’t Believe” and get to what interests me instead.
It’s all memes now, and I want information.
Like I said above, no mainstream media is seeking people like me as a paying customer. Maybe people like me isn’t a big enough market to go after, but I’m leaving money on the table right now.
It was wild to watch because they skipped the whole middle piece. They went from “what happened?” to “Rice lied” and then just never went back!
If the White House didn’t want people to know what happened, well, they succeeded in that goal. Jake Tapper helped them by pretending that Rice’s carefully vetted talking points were “news”. Who gives a shit what she said? Are they the honesty police or are they interested in what happened?
Why they made it all about Rice’s 500 words is beyond me. It’s like they got that “story” and stopped working completely.
They botched it, and Tapper was in the lead. He blew it.
@Raven: Your “So would I” confuses me about the definition of “success” in your earlier comment but it’s pretty clear we agree overall.
I’d say the attitude towards CAP was more than run-of-the-mill inter-unit rivalry.
Nail? Meet hammer.
Agreed. I’m reading The Texas Tribune now. It’s new and wonderful, like Propublica but ….Texas!
Texas is big enough that a lot of their stuff applies nationally. It’s better focused on the things that interest me than Propublica.
I find Propublica mystifying sometimes. The obsession with chinese drywall, for example. MONTHS on Chinese drywall.
The lack of accountability is another thing that completely infuriates me. They keep bringing out the same “experts” who got everything completely wrong on Iraq to tell us how the President is failing us on Syria and Iran and, well everything else.
These “experts” never even have to say that they were wrong or why they were wrong. This isn’t just a problem on FUX either.
I remember when Iraq happened and I was a stay-at-home mom with a sloooooooow internet connection and even I knew the intelligence was BS from published reports in hippie publications like the Financial Times. And if I hadn’t had a printer that took a couple of days to print out one page, assuming there was enough ink in HPs thimble cartridge, I would have printed that CIA report before it was reclassified.
The cable networks spent more time composing war theme music than they did trying to prove or disprove the Bush administration claims. So WTF was it? It seems to me like it keeps happening on all subjects. The economic scholarship supporting austerity is bogus–keep presenting it anyway. Supply side is Laffable. It is demonstrably bogus but let’s keep promoting those policies anyway. Let’s give equal reporting to the fringe who don’t accept climate change science thus making the fringe seem much more mainstream than they are.
I don’t even care why they do it anymore. I’m just frustrated that it seems impossible to make it stop.
Local advertisers are still pretty clueless about Internet advertising, so not likely any time soon.
There is another part of this equation: The corporatization and gutting of local media outlets. So many local newspapers are now chain-owned and design and copy desks are being consolidated into “hubs,” while reporting staffs are being reduced to the bare-bones minimum. It’s a different media world out here in flyover country.
Just like most of corporate America, long-term quality has been sacrificed for short-term shareholder (and CEO) profits.
Same here. I also think that it is important to remember that a bunch of leftie sites rely on clicks for their financial support–so they turn up the volume on everything because outrage is better for business. Sometimes the headlines are sooooooo out of line with the actual story and the language is often really violent. Maddow eviscerates ________ but who is going to read an article with a video link about a rigorous interview with relevant follow up questions?
@fka AWS: True about the corporatization. It would be interesting to see a phenomenon akin to the craft beer movement for journalism: Down with Budweiser / Gannett horse piss!
Is that some union carpenter reference?
There were so many interesting lessons in that experience for all of us. People are complicated and not at all what you expect sometimes. It makes it much more difficult and important to try and figure out why we do what we do.
@Baud:The old saw, “This is where the hammer meets the nail.” is I suspect older than unions. Kind of like “Where the rubber meets the road…” only older. And more violent.
I’ve heard of the second idiom. Thanks.
I’m no fan of Buzzfeed or Upworthy or whatever the next iteration will be, but this is like someone at, well, Esquire, complaining about US! Weekly.
Time to lighten up a little, Bad jokes that scientists think are funny:
■ Psychiatrist to patient: “Don’t worry. You’re not deluded. You only think you are.”
■ A blowfly goes into a bar and asks: “Is that stool taken?”
■ Why did Erwin Schrödinger, Paul Dirac and Wolfgang Pauli work in very small garages? Because they were quantum mechanics.
■ A weed scientist goes into a shop. He asks: “Hey, you got any of that inhibitor of 3-phosphoshikimate-carboxyvinyl transferase? Shopkeeper: “You mean Roundup?” Scientist: “Yeah, that’s it. I can never remember that dang name.”
More at the link if you dare.
My son just came into the room telling me that the average person swallows six spiders every year.
We just looked it up on snopes.
“A statistician will tell you that a man with his head in the freezer and his feet in the oven is comfortable.”
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
I disagree. I think king’s newest works are some of his best. The ones he reports being most soused during the writing are some of the worst (Looking at you, Cujo)
ETA: Not to say that some of his early stuff wasn’t scary as shit.
A couple of things from my families experience.
My oldest joined the Army in the late 90s (over my objections – long story) and decided to go the special forces route because he felt the quality of the average soldier was so low that he didn’t want to end up in the shit with them. He was doing the crap you have to do, learning to jump out of helicopters, HALO and said he felt safer doing that. So for the Ranger thing I think the Army uses them in many ways and that makes them not have a clear single function.
His time in Afghanistan was spent with a small team, traveling in Hi-Lux pickup trucks and while they carried rifles they were not wearing the battle rattle but fatigues and a burnoose. They were actually having some decent success moving from village to village, talking to elders to find out what sort of stuff would improve life for people & getting it done in exchange for intel about the Taliban. He felt things were getting better and they were making progress with the hearts and minds thing (although he never used those words & I don’t think he would recognize the significance of them). Things went South we resources dried u leading up to the invasion of Iraq and leaders decided to take a more heavy-handed approach.
So 35 years – give or take – and the Army has learned nothing apparently.
Mike Rogers was asked about the NYTimes article and he said the article was false. It was al qaeda, al qaeda, al qaeda. Chris Wallace’s follow up was the Times article politically motivated to help Hilary Clinton. What a fine news station Fox is………..
@raven: Heh, went to a house where the host couple (from SC) proudly displayed a set of drink glasses that Gen. Westmoreland sent as a wedding gift…they joked, “the card read, ‘Please enjoy this set of twenty glasses’ but if you count them…”
There were only a dozen.
Which means nothing’s changed. Good news for Democrats.
@Cervantes: So would I :” argue that in 1965 there was no good or legitimate reason for the presence of any foreign troops in Indo-China.”
I have never heard of that program. Unbelievable, considering I’m old enough to have demonstrated against the war.
@Mike E: LOL! I was only in elementary school, but when they would report the daily casualties on the news it sounded like bullshit to me, even though I didn’t know “bullshit” yet.
Here’s an interesting post I just ran across: “How To Drive Right Wing Racists Insane With One Simple Question.”
In other news, I’m coming down sick, it appears. Spending today drinking ginger tea and trying to keep my feet warm.
@debbie: The whole thing was complicated.
@Southern Beale: Me too.
To some extent, I agree.
Writers accumulate ideas the way dress clothes collect cat hair. Some early and indelible ones are laid down in childhood; King deliberately mines that overtly. But while he started with a great cache, he spent a lot of time not adding to it, right up to the accident and recovery, I gather.
Since some of my favorite works were written under an influence, I figure it was truly the lack of cache as much as loss of faculties. Yet, he shows signs of coming back. Full Dark, No Stars is from 2010, and is wonderful. Where the novellas are, I hope the novels will follow.
Just One More Canuck
@OzarkHillbilly: The best one was “Sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium Batman!”
Recovering. Was seriously funked up last night by the Bernie Worrell Orchestra. Best concert I have seen in years.
Today I will use this one little known weird trick to watch the Packers and Eagles clinch division titles.
@Sir Nose’D: If you can still edit you should make “one little known weird trick” a link to something. Anything.
Oh, and apparently what’s on my agenda for this morning involves sitting around waiting for you people to entertain me.
@OzarkHillbilly: Molecules with unusual names:
Sort of like that old saw about how it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s how you look while you’re doing it.
We are doomed.
Here we are now
Howdy doody gots Issa on.
@danielx: yep. We just spent a month where we were asked to form opinions on such vital matters as the race of Santa Claus and the future of Duck Dynasty. It appears that the sentence has been handed out and we are going to be 14 forever.
@danielx: Well, I got my new job (at my old place) partly from my being able to “really understand how information is shared on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram” and so do a lot of other people because that is becoming part of the search paradigms.
And that is simply reflecting the way the world works.
I don’t blame the world for changing; we like that, liberals always think the world should change. But media moguls deciding the world is made of click-bait so people don’t know what is real and true; that’s part of the vast Right Wing Conspiracy Hillary Clinton, like her or not, was right about.
This was the trajectory they were on BEFORE the Internet, people. Without Al Gore, we would have no other place to go: imagine a world with only our present TV news and scrawny newspapers set on misinforming people.
That was the 1960’s and the Vietnam war.
@raven: You have much more self control than I do if you can watch Issa without throwing your remote straight at his head.
@Just One More Canuck:
I think I get that one, but I’m not sure – is it a riff on the theme song to the tv series?
@IowaOldLady: What a skunk.
@elmo: The final lyrics to the theme song go “Nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana, BATMAN!!!!”
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@elmo: Yep. The chemical symbol for sodium is Na.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Southern Beale: Love it. Let’s see how many of my in-laws I can offend with it on the Book of Faces.
Suicide bomber attacks Russian train station in Volgograd, kills 15, injures 40.
Various militant groups have encouraged a ramp up of violent attacks in response to the upcoming winter olympics.
I wonder how many more of these are yet to come.
I find upworthy to be one of the most sanctimonious, hyped up, bullshit sites I have ever seen in my life. Their headlines annoy the crap out of me, the content is usually idiotic, & I refuse to forward anything by them as a matter of principle. Same for distractify, buzzfeed, huffpo, and the rest of the bottom feeders.
@Tommy: My problem is with people who take a long-form rant and post it to a short-form medium, the comments section, for example. Usually it’s some guy with an axe to grind who responds to something that I wrote with screen after screen of rebuttal, hardly any of which makes much sense. What am I supposed to do with that? Should I be expected to read every one of those 8000 words he just copypasted in response to my 13 word post stating that “we did what the job creators wanted, but they apparently aren’t doing their jobs?”
Let the author post long-form. Commenters should be limited to 250 words, tops.
@OzarkHillbilly: Q: How can you tell an engineer is an extrovert?
A: He stares at your shoes.
Afghanistan is not a country. Afghanistan is a land mass with tribes on it. We need to get the hell out of there and let the tribes do what they want.
@different-church-lady: Hee hee…
OT: Interesting map of most popular TV shows set in each state. I think they shouldve just called it ‘top of mind’ rather than most popular.
But maybe that’s just because I think JR Ewing is more badass than Chuck Norris.
@MattF: Still trying to get that page to load down completely. right now stuck at bullvalene. Ahhh the joys of country living.
Read his son’s stuff. Word is that Joe Hill (King’s second son) is channeling early dad in NOS4R2.
@OzarkHillbilly: AHA! Success!! So far my favorite is
Fucitol: (C6H14O5), an alcohol derived from Fucus vesiculosis, a North Atlantic seaweed. Its optical isomers are also called D-fuc-ol and L-fuc-ol.
Now I can cuss in polite company and tell them it’s my drink.
Moronic Acid: [3-oxoolean-18-en-28-oic acid], a natural triterpene
What they produce at Brietbart?
@JordanRules: I suspect it’s mislabelled. Should be famous show set in every state possibly? Don’t watch enough to know. Still, too many old shows and different in every state. Not likely. ETA. It does say set in every state, so whew there.
Villago Delenda Est
The “internet” is a handy diversion from the real reason for the decline, which is the demand of MBA asshats for short term profit at the expense of long term viability and prosperity. Take the money, and run!
@scav: They gave their “formula” for deciding so it was intentional I think. Kinda goes nicely with the journalism clickbait discussion. Famous shows set in every state is right, but ‘most popular’ kicks off the debate I suppose. Other sites have linked to it to gripe about picks.
Ack! I woke up this morning from a nightmare about John McCain getting caught in an S&M sex scandal. Does anyone have a cup of brain bleach I could borrow?
@JordanRules: this is exactly the kind of discussion I’m going to try harder to avoid in 2014. There is no point in discussing this and trying to figure out the methodology. I mean, come on, clearly Picket Fences is the best show set in Wisconsin and the Honeymooners should represent New York. And where is Friday Night Lights in Texas?
@YellowJournalism: When God thinks you’re worth saving at this time of year, He sends you dreams about what life would be like if you never existed or has three ghosts visit you do you’ll change your wicked ways. It is possible that the heavens just don’t like you all that much.
Davis X. Machina
Out in the Permian someplace….
That was one of the things that filled me with rage when talking about Iraq. Most to the same nitwits that babbled about turning Iraq into a parking lot were then bragging about building schools(religious schools for sure) and soccer fields in Iraq. The very same folks that didn’t believe in investing money in American cities.
What would be the cost for a complete bailout of Detroit? I think about 18 billion which was about the bi-monthly burn rate in Iraq give or take a few billion.
@Suffern ACE: In 2014 more pointless lists will be made, silly methodologies concocted and reality shows manufactured.
I had to peak because I couldn’t think of one for my state. I didn’t watch Medium and don’t know any others set in AZ off top.
This is not a new ad technique, only one as old as the hills adapted for teh intertubes.
Newspapers were/are infamous for running full page ads designed to look like content, with only a small ‘advertisement’ disclaimer printed in microfont™ at the top of the page.
The problem for the advertiser here was that the local paper’s layout and font scheme was different than their canned ad, which made the phony ‘story’ stand out like a sore thumb.
@JordanRules: ahhh, got it. At least with coffee, internally applied, I usually avoid such blather. And the cure is such a simple pleasure. And, I have some seriously good new cups for the doses . . . .
@Davis X. Machina: Odessa
Davis X. Machina
Yeah, but how many souls would you win for Jesus by bailing out Detroit?
@OzarkHillbilly: Not a joke per se, but a quote by Rutherford who won the Nobel for describing the structure of the atom, with a heavy nucleus and much lighter orbiting electrons.
@schrodinger’s cat: Specifically, Rutherford won the Nobel prize in Chemistry, for his physics work.
I finally figured out why I keep a nice email account for my office – as a spam repository for Groupon and Hewlett Packard offerings.
I’m flushing those things constantly.
@Suffern ACE: Having to listen to details of a MCCain leather-and-chains sex life would hurt everyone, so I must have some worth if that would happen without me on Earth!
@JordanRules: Alice. Kiss my grits for not knowing that.
Another Holocene Human
So the NYT published a reality based account of the Benghazi attack, which the RW machine will promptly shout “lalala” at and ignore. It’s nothing new. Basically next to nothing we didn’t know right after it happened.
I know Mittens jumped on the whole thing thinking it was his change to win (heh heh) but the way the RW closed ranks I’ve always wondered if one or more groups was tied into that heinous video that set the whole thing off. Remember, it was an Egyptian Christian who hired actors to do an anti-Muhammed video that inflamed passions throughout the Muslim world. I think it’s hard to describe the degree of sectarian emnity between Christians and Muslims in Egypt, and the degree of violence they’re willing to commit against each other in pursuit of “souls”. It’s sick. But I think some US Muslim haters found a fellow traveler in this dude.
The right wing killed Ambassador Stevens, because of their hate, they and their counterparts overseas, their mirror images, one casts the religious insult, the other commits homicide on its instigation.
That, I think, is why they are so frantic to cloud the issue in bullshit until everyone turns the other way.
It’s that, and ODS.
@Kay: Yeah. I just pointed out that Talking Points Memo’s “coverage” of the ACA is basically crappy, snarky, rewrites of whosever press release rolls across their desk in the morning. As opposed to DailyKos, of all places, who has a person who has diligently collected and spreadsheeted the data from various sources trying to determine exactly how many have signed up (that is the metric under discussion.)
Thanks for tip! Looks like a great pick for today, which I’m spending on the couch feeling on the cusp of illness.
If I rest, I got a shot at stopping it here.
If someone started a feature like “Rigorous Interview of the Day” and had monthly “Most Rigorous Interview of the Month” “award” (for lack of a better word), it might become a Thing. People would check in to see who conducted a rigorous interview and check it out. Focus on politics and news, but hell, if some entertainment reporter held Lindsay Lohan’s feet to the fire about her drinking (or whatever), put that up as an example. If no one conducts a rigorous interview, then post a blank spot and point out how the media isn’t doing their job. Etc.
Like the Hack List that Alex Pareene does, people tune in to see who makes the cut. It could become a thing people check on as part of their morning or evening and reporters might want to get highlighted. It could have criteria (“Must have more than one follow up question”) or whatever.
I think it could work, but someone with a high profile would have to be the one to start it.
Another Holocene Human
@brendancalling: I never have to worry about such sites because they break with NoScript running to where you can’t even see the “content”. Except for those Mitt Family Fotos, it wasn’t worth seeing anyway.
Gawker or NYDN is about as bottom-feeding as I get. It’s more fun than Florida papers which are often chock full o’ angry RWNJ trolls in comments and RW austerity slant in the op/ed and even the stories. Though the papers get better as you go further south… kinda… think they need to be curated because the front page is full of “Florida Man” crime news and half of the page is links to entertainment or sports swill I could not give one everliving fuck about.
@elm: That is weird, the discovery that got the field of nuclear physics underway gets the Nobel in Chemistry. On second thought though, division between physics and chemistry is rather arbitrary, physical chemistry is physics with applications in chemistry.
Me too. All those sites are garbage to be avoided.
Another Holocene Human
@Violet: Not gonna work. Look how long Better Know A District lasted on Colbert. If it becomes known that your interview is not all softball polishing, the interviewees flee.
Exception? Countries/situations where you NEED access through a certain provider. Big three news back in the public interest days and before cable in the US, or some of the BBC programs (although I’ve noticed when they badger guests it’s usually with some sort of Tory-tastic motive, so bleh) or sometimes with niche providers.
Call it laissez-faire, libertarianism, or FREEDOM!, it’s all a race to the bottom. Market-based solutions can only produce market-based outcomes.
Another Holocene Human
@aimai: DailyKos has improved a lot recently. I guess Kos woke up one day and realized that the crazies were driving away the people he wanted (people who will volunteer to get Democrats to vote) and he started to take out the trash.
People are getting banned for CT (conspiracy theorizing) now. It’s a beautiful thing.
Way less wreckage on the Recs list.
He made some changes to UI too in an attempt to improve commenting but the comments are still the worst thing about DKos.
I think the number of people posting there daily is down, but who cares because it has more useful comment and less fucking emoprog attacking of the President and less threads 0wned by right-wing trolls, & so on.
As a physics major, I always liked that quote:
Until I found out how blindly arrogant that notion is; you can’t really solve the Schrodinger Equation for anything more complex then a hydrogen atom.
Then you’ve got your chaotic math problems with non-linear differential equations. Truth is, chemistry, biology, etc, can’t be derived in practice from core physics.
Basically he was wrong. It was a blowhard thing to say.
Another Holocene Human
Yet there is OODLES of local advertising that these nuts just leave on the table! It all ends up in pennysavers, Trucks for Sale, Apts for Rent, local full color monthlies, the other full color monthly, the other other full color monthly, coupon books, more desirable coupon books…. etcet.
ETA: oops, I forgot the business-friendly full color monthly
@Another Holocene Human: I haven’t been to GOS in forever, except for one post someone linked here recently. Glad to hear they’re cleaning it up. The whole place was a mess.
The “Have It Your Way” jingle has been adopted as manifest description of God-given dominion over everything by a certain class of insulated padded ‘mercans of all economic classes. Information, like light, politeness, the constitution, reality, history, mathematics and suddenly, the mere pope, is supposed to bend when in the zone of their mighty gravitational yet whimsical influence. It would be more amusing to watch if there were such things as safe seats. Getting crushed in the frantic rush of established media desperate to maintain “relevance” by compliance to “the new landscape” is a real danger. The scylla to that charybdis is imagining anything has been ‘won’ based upon their reportage, aka rights of gays, wimminz and the variably melanined. It’s BS all the way down to the turtles and the turtles are endangered.
@Another Holocene Human: Good to hear, actually. I ran away from Kos years ago, when a discussion of humane animal treatment degenerated into attacks on Anna Sewell.
It was my first real encounter with the flailing troll argument style.
Another Holocene Human
Well, living here in Fluhduh I know some people who quite involuntarily lost months to their lives to Chinese drywall. It’s incredibly disruptive to buy a house & end up having to move out, rehang drywall, fight with the builders who sold you that lemon, replace the f***ing central air because the S trashed the Cu coils, replace anything else it destroyed, not go broke paying two monthly housing payments until you can move back in… did I miss anything?
It’s as much a motherfucking disaster as the banks who are fraudulently foreclosing on people… oh yeah, I know people that happened to as well. (Probably outnumbered by those who could no longer afford payments and jingle-mailed, but still–one can be blamed on our society in general, the other is just evil.)
@Joey Giraud: A physicist being arrogant, imagine my surprise!
That said, the logical clarity that physics provides is the benchmark for which all the sciences strive.
ETA: We may not be able to solve Schrodinger’s equation for any other atoms than the hydrogenic atoms exactly but we have fairly good approximations of atomic wave functions for Z>1 and more than one outermost electron.
Another Holocene Human
@WereBear: The lack of moderation, the posting on otherwise dead threads… these ‘features’ make the site a troll magnet no matter what hurdles are thrown up there. And the problem is it doesn’t just take “enemies” or “paid shills” to troll a thread right up. But I’m glad I started lurking again because ACASignups.net is my new happy place.
But don’t true physicists hang their heads in shame for having to use numerical methods?
Another Holocene Human
@Joey Giraud: To be fair, it was a dig on Biology before the development of Microbiology as a field and the discovery of DNA.
DNA has changed more than criminal justice, you know! I like ancient bio texts but they’re pretty much only good for the pictures because while there were some very clever biologists who figured out cladistic relationships without DNA (embryology was important for this) most of the field was still relying on your 16th century physical similarity as relationship heuristic.
Also, too, you can’t derive shit from first principles. Anyone who says they can is revealing their ignorance and biases. Look at how wrong Aristotle was and he wasn’t half the idiot Lord Kelvin was. (Although it’s possible Platon was indeed half the idiot Lord Kelvin was–his musing about things in their essence based on a linguistic argument that relied on both teacher and student only ever living in one culture and speaking one language comes to mind….)
Another Holocene Human
@Joey Giraud: Don’t be daft; physicists invented most of the math methods they use for that shit while mathematicians ran after them cleaning up the mess and screaming incoherent stuff… I think I heard something about “unique” and “existence”, whatever that means. ///
@Joey Giraud: Au contraire. Exact analytical solutions are the exception. But there are only so many times you can get paid to solve the hydrogen atom or the harmonic oscillator. Out here in the real world, approximate, statistical, many-particle, nonlinear (e.g., Navier-Stokes) numerical solutions are the rule.
Real reporting seems to be a straight-up example of a public good: it’s very beneficial for society in general but it’s very difficult for the people doing the work to get paid through market channels. Much like science, actually. The solution is probably broadly similar to science: getting paid by grants from the government and foundations, dispersed by committees of respected experts. Or maybe we just need National Public Website.
@schrodinger’s cat: “Logical clarity” while admirable, can be a faux ami, especially to those in necessarily messy, complex, fields as ambitious practitioners aim straight for elegance of theory, bypassing mere reality and evidence in their rush for so-called perfection.
@Another Holocene Human:
It was a joke.
But everyone would prefer a closed form solution over a numerical technique, if only to eliminate the need to buy time on the Hadoop cluster :)
See String Theory for an example. A haze of advanced mathematics unsupported by any of that icky “actual evidence” thing.
Yeah I know, most real world dynamic systems have no closed form solution, which is why big computers are built.
@Joey Giraud: There is no shame in using approximations, otherwise you end up like economics. Pretty math with no basis in reality.
Christ. I’ve been saying that for years.
@scav: Experiment has to guide the theory, otherwise it is not really a science.
This is one of my hobbyhorses, because the problem that that revenue doesn’t exist anymore. Grocery chains swallowed up their competitors, as did car dealerships and — worst of all — the Macy’s Borg.
There were three major department store chains when I first moved to Los Angeles 20-(cough) years ago: The May Company, Robinson’s, and Bullocks. All three of them got bought up by Macy’s. Bloomingdale’s? Also Macy’s.
So where the LA Times used to have three major stores competing for full-color ad space and paying a premium for it, now there’s only one, and they can get a discount because the Times needs them more than Macy’s needs the times.
That same story has been repeated all over the country, and it was one of the things that doomed the daily newspaper. Yes, it was bad when classified ads went away, but losing the big ads from big advertisers hurt them even worse.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): We need something like the BBC. Their coverage of international news is so much better than anything the MSM coughs up.
@Anoniminous: At least many of the the stringers still admit the benefit / place of icky mere evidence at some point (if possible as I think they’re pushing that envelope hard — insomuch as my brain can follow them). Entirely too many Economists write off most lived experience in meat-space as deserved collateral damage for not living up to the sheer elegance of their theories. String Theory doesn’t pull the Spaghetti out of hungry mouths.
ETA: hadooping would be the preferred option in my world, which may be an odd one.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): More bad byproducts of monopolization.
The more the wingnuts scream “Free Market” the more their Masters eliminate it. They’re like compasses of projection!
@schrodinger’s cat: Completely wrong. Philosophy is everything. xkcd has proved it.
RJ in West-of-Fuckall Tejas
@Kay: This is exactly right.
The person to point at and mock is Anne Laurie. I’ve lost respect for her.
That might work for a year or two, until people started figuring out ways to game the award — rather than conducting truly rigorous interviews they’d be trying to maximize the apparent rigorousness at the cost of effectiveness. It’s like an award system version of the Observer Effect: you cannot reward behavior without having unpredictable (and sometimes undesirable) effects on that behavior. Any time there is some sort of “prize” involved, human psychology will change the focus of the endeavor into winning the prize rather than behaving in a positive way.
Yet the hacks continue to have jobs.
@Another Holocene Human:
Hmmm… the “AHH rule”: the more scripts a site runs, the less valuable the content.
Compasses of Projection
That is good. Should be a tag line.
But is it wrong?
Does content have to be scripts to be good? No.
Does spending time scripting everything cost money instead of real information? Yes. So what is the point? To inform you or to entertain you. Which do you want?
To use a phrase that I’ve used before, “My time may not be worth much but it’s worth more than this.”
@Another Holocene Human:
My observations counter yours — while Kos may not entertain the same level of crazy on the front page as he does on the rec list and diaries, he’s certainly willing to indulge them feature space.
What I see happening is a repeating pattern: paranoids and polemicists get a toehold on the rec list and become “stars”. The pushback they get turns things into pie wars. Kos is patiently tolerant of the crazy-ass polemics, but eventually the pie fight causes the star to have a meltdown that has more to do with violating social rules than of political viewpoint of theories. He’s got a reward system for screeching set up, but also has a bunch of lines in the sand about screeching. A lot of the kinds of people who become diary stars over there can’t navigate those mixed messages, and they implode.
Basically Kos has all but fully embraced the clickbait theory political websites. He’s just doing it with more subtlety than the typical HuffPos of the world.
@Ruckus: It’s right. I endorse the AHH rule, but only in a tongue and cheek way. Just like all the other “rules” of the internet — entertainment purposes only.
@Joey Giraud: ” you can’t really solve the Schrodinger Equation for anything more complex then a hydrogen atom.”
99% of the entire universe is hydrogen atoms. Solved! (p<0.05)
@Robert Sneddon: Most of the Universe is dark matter which we don’t understand yet. Of course you are right about the known Universe.
it’s a basic problem of high-quality volume. You can have one, or the other.
@WereBear: Yes! The son has picked up the torch that Dad dropped when he sobered up.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
They ever had one? I think the only differance is the with the intertubes it’s easier to for the media to get caught when they are lying.
Periodically I see Rachel Maddow sort of plead with people who won’t go on her show because she actually does rigorous interviews with relevant follow up questions and I think there are a lot of people in politics who do not want to have to be accountable.
@Tommy: Did he work at Carlisle Army War College? Zillions of foreign military officers have studied there, including General Sisi.
Sometimes I see the War College students at Aldi. I smile and act friendly. I figure a lot of them are second-guessing their decisions to be here.
We had an artificial excess of journalism because publishers had local monopolies on the printing press and advertisers had no choice but to pay through the nose. This subsidized a lot of content that people would never pay market value for.
Before Craigslist, I had to pay hundreds of dollars a month to advertise my business in tiny 3-line classifieds hidden in the thick Raleigh N&O. The N&O then had piles of cash to buy stories from wherever about the Pawtucket Veterans Banquet or some other junk nobody cared about. And maybe I’d get one new client for that month. Now I have unlimited full-color searchable ads on C-list for free. And now the papers are hemorrhaging money and cutting coverage of the Vets dinner (and everything else).
Eventually I expect 90% of newspapers will go out of business.
@Tommy: I’m familiar with the Turkish Army from northern Cyprus. They are still a serious badass military well ware of their very long military tradition going back before the Seljuk Turks.
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Not to mention this classic from 1969:
Sodium sodium sodium sodium
Helium yttrium helium yttrium