The Dog that Did Not Bark

Debt bombIn one of Heinlein’s stories (I forget which one, and the search engines haven’t helped on this odd query) a character awakes after having been in suspended animation for many years and catches up on what he’s missed by spending a few hours reading a history book, then remarks on how much time he would have wasted had he read a newspaper every day for all that time, reading about matters too ephemeral to make the history books.

If you do follow the news (I try to spend as little time as possible doing so), keep in mind that the most important thing may be what’s not in the daily news.  Many of the things that end up in the history books were complete surprises to those embedded in the “news cycle” and to the “experts” who feed it.  For example, check the newspapers for early October 1929, November 1941, October 1989, the latter half of 1990, or August 2001: you’ll find little or nothing about the imminent stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, fall of the Berlin Wall, collapse of the Soviet Union, or terrorist attacks in the U.S.  And yet, in retrospect, the circumstances which led to these “surprises” were in plain sight.  Thus, I’m always interested in the big story that none of the chattering classes are chattering about.  Which brings me to…... [Read More]

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evil Google — curator of your information flow

I put up a couple of recent posts to observe on a surge of obituaries on the news business.   But all y’all internet denizens are still reading news.   You just don’t take daily newspapers anymore, and only a very tiny share of y’all subscribe to any kind of news provider.   That is the way most of us operate any more.   But information flow, especially the flow of recent events information, aka ‘news,’ is now screened for most receivers of news by evil Google.

Yeah, I know; some Ratburghers are boycotting Google by using DuckDuckGo and a couple of other search engine alternatives.   But the problem remains.   Over half of all news articles that are accessed on the internet were landed on through an evil-Google search, which means that evil Google gets a shot at screening the news for over half of all internet news consumption.   This finding comes from a Northwestern University study that was recently presented at the “2019 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems” that was held in Glasgow.

Continue reading “evil Google — curator of your information flow”

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Saving Journalism

Fake News, you say?  Indeed, this is to discuss the turmoil in the field of journalism, which is both a cause and a consequence of the Leftist tilt of the entire field.   Journalism is in crisis, you see, and Leftist media watchers are looking for scapegoats.   President Trump figures high on their enemies list, with his “fake news!,” “Enemy of the People,” and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.   See my previous post on this topic.   In that post I reacted to a journalist who blamed the end of professionalism in journalism on President Trump.   In this post I will discuss the reasons for the collapse of journalism as we knew it.

I am happy to see the recent obituaries for Big Journalism.  But before we discuss the real problems with journalism, please consider what the crisis looks like to the journalists.   There have been a rash of articles and editorials from journalists that have expressed fear and frustration.   This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the New Yorker back in January:... [Read More]

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Killing Journalism

“It’s almost as if the effort to undo Trump has had an unexpected effect — that Trump has somehow broken the news media.”

That is a quote from a long essay at Esquire last month by Peter Boyer.   Boyer wrote about changes to news coverage of the President of the United States because of Donald J. Trump.   He, of course, blames Trump.   But he is clearly distressed at the current state of affairs.   His essay concentrates on the New York Times, with a long section about the Washington Post and a couple of asides about CNN.  I bookmarked the link to Boyer’s essay.   It is an interesting read.   I think it will make a helpful addition to the obituary for the national press.... [Read More]

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Fake News status report

There was a disgruntled man.  He was mad at his local paper.  He thought they had dished out shabby treatment to him personally in story about his conviction for a domestic disturbance.  He sued and lost.  He threatened.  Then he went and shot up the news room, killing five people.

... [Read More]

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