Ridiculous news

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by SuAside, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    Watch: http://www.cnn.com/video/?JSONLINK=/video/tech/2009/06/12/dnt.wa.paper.water.bottle.king

    Now Tetra Pak / Tetra Laval might take offense to this, since what the kid actually did was test several existing packaging methods and chose Tetra Pak's solution as being the best. (one might wonder why the fuck any contest would pay 2x 5000$ for that, maybe I can enter and promote Velcro or something and get 5000$ as well?)

    The kid even admits to that on his website: "Today CNN ran a headline, "Student Invents Bottle Made with Paper." This is a mis-representation of my Cykle Water concept and does not accurately reflect the information I have provided to the media about my company. I have in no way claimed to invent or develop the carton used to package Cykle, which is a Tetra Pak technology. Tetra Pak is the carton of choice I decided upon after much research in to various paper carton options."

    Wonderful journalism, I'd say.

    And it's only getting worse and worse. The economic crisis is causing a lot of news outlets to fire people from their workforce. This further impairs them from being able to do good journalism (content, checking their sources, etc) and pushes them further into the use of global news services which provide them with clear cut prepackaged stories. The news outlets don't even bother checking the info and just print it. But half the time the news comes from lobby groups, PR groups, and so forth. They're not news, they're just stuff used to pursue a certain goal.

    We're going from fast-food to fast-journalism. No checking facts, just run it. Who cares if you're wrong, no one will remember in 90 days? Investigative journalism? Pffft, too much effort.

    My question to you: what can we possibly do to stop this kinda of badly covered news or even "flat earth news"?
  2. Public

    Public Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    May 18, 2006
    World War III?
  3. Radwaster

    Radwaster It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Apr 1, 2009
    Ben Goldacre has been slugging it out with bad science news for years, with occasional good results.

  4. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Not much. It's a pretty natural consequence to Web 2.0, and as long as people flood there the quality drop in real journalism is inevitable.
  5. I_eat_supermutants

    I_eat_supermutants Vault Senior Citizen

    Feb 5, 2007
    That's it. I'm switching to super market tabloids. When a killer comet sent by god actually causese the zombie apocalypse, don't say they didn't warn you.
  6. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    while i agree that Web 2.0 certainly played a part, the downfall of good journalism began way before anyone even talked of Web 2.0.

    besides, Web 2.0 is a very sad excuse in this case. people still pay hefty sums of money for their "quality" newspapers and so on. and even there, you get shit quality, even from the "quality" newspapers.

    only in quality newspapers, it usually is far more subtle. they too buy a fuckton of material from agencies like Reuters and neglect to check anything. and even worse, quite often some articles are simply disguised PR packs from some other source. (and i don't even mean PR packs from a source that the newspaper actively supports!)

    for instance, in Belgium you've got a politician that is very much opposed to firearms ownership. he makes subtle press releases, the newspapers copy and put 'their' conclusions. only they've been tricked in responding to the quoted laws in the press releases and not to the actual laws as a whole. journalists have no knowledge whatsoever about this field and simply take the subtly worded 'objective' description of the laws as truth, while it is simply twisted by a politician to prove his point. the newspapers don't care to check their sources and don't even get informed by someone in the sportshooting circles, they just copy. they'll sell newspapers just fine without wasting time.

    but there lies that problem, anyone in that particular field of interest reads it and sees it's halftruths and clever manipulation sold as truth... it's hard not to wonder that if the newspaper does that to stuff that you indeed know, how can you trust them in anything else they say?

    not that i had much trust in the media before, but it's getting way beyond fubar lately... and the crisis only makes it much much worse.
  7. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Oh, that...

    Yes, we've all heard that before. Every specialist or passionate hobbyist in the world has that criticism of mainstream media of any kind. Ignorant. Ill-informed. Fails to do fact-checking.

    Hell, if I look over most of the coverage of Russian events I find the lack of fact-checking and constant confirmation bias disturbing.

    But I also know better than that. There are reasons generalists always look stupid to specialists;

    1. They don't agree with you. Specialists tend to have a narrower view than generalists, especially in a political sense, and they get fed analysis of an issue from one side until they believe that side must be correct. The truth is very rarely that simple, meaning the generalist who tends to bring in the more moderate viewpoint is not wrong, but he is derided as such by both sides of specialists, simply for confusing the matter.

    It helps when the specialists realizes he has a biased way of looking at things, but so few do. As a Russian specialist, I tend to have a pro-Russian bias, as most of us do. It's there, but being aware of it helps me to - occasionally - rethink my position when I find myself lazily dismissing a newspaper article.

    2. Journalists aren't specialists. Easy to forget, yet so so important. If you want specialist knowledge, read a specialist magazine. There is no reasonable standard to require specialist knowledge from journalists, and what specialists sometimes forget is that it does take specialist knowledge to properly fact-check claims made by people with specialists knowledge.

    3. Newspaper readers aren't specialists. Not in most areas the newspaper covers. This is probably the most important point here. You can't write as a specialists to non-specialists. There are only a few fields that allow this, such as history, but for fields like sociology or political science or law, forget it. You're going to have to write down, even if you are a specialist yourself.

    It's the three above points that caused us to build journalistic standards in the first place. Such things as fact-checking and objectivity are built in exactly to remit a lack of factual knowledge.

    Yes, it has been slipping lately. No, we're not in the middle of a major journalistic crisis. I would wager people have been shouting that since the dawn of newspapers, but I just came back from studying a bunch of newspapers from the 50s and believe me, they're not better than they are now. Media has always been and will always be flawed. I think the current pressure of the economy and Web 2.0 is making the problem worse, but it's not novel, recent or peaking right this moment.
  8. lugaru

    lugaru Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Mar 9, 2009
    I also want to add that before the internet if some crappy local paper ran a pretty much completely wrong story, it did not get out. But now with the internet if even a super tiny publication (some trade magazine for example) runs an awful article it is around the globe in seconds.
  9. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    I can live with bias and oversimplifying, BN.
    And what I was talking about was not that they should specialise...

    Just a little fact checking would go a long way. Doesn't even have to be objective, as long as being subjective is bloody obvious to the public reading it.

    You saying it was just as bad before, I can't agree with though. Or at least, in my country it's blatantly obvious it's going down the shitter lately (and worse so than usual). Not only in the quality newspapers, mind you, but just as much on TV, on the radio and so on.

    Even the supposedly serious politics oriented shows have turned into retarded series of one liners. And it's not even the politicians fault! It's the journalist that's constantly coaxing them on and doesn't even let them finish a sentence.

    The fast-news phenomenon is everywhere nowadays and quality is so hard to find that i'm pretty much ready to give up.