Posts Tagged news

Some observations about the news

I think it’s important to keep in mind that $$$-based journalism tends to have built-in mechanisms for all kinds of censorship. This is useful when considering not just what we are reading, but how and why it managed to get in front of our eyes. The following list, while not complete, serves to highlight some of the filtering going on:

  • The advertisers extend yea/nay force directly to the owner / publisher / board with $$$
  • The owner / publisher / board extends yea/nay force downwards to the editors and reporters
  • The editors extend yea/nay force downward to the reporters and the stories
  • The reporters extend yea/nay force to the choice of stories
  • The editors apply tone force to the stories
  • The reporters apply tone force to the stories
  • The reader’s reactions apply force upwards and this will slowly but strongly moderate the tone of the stories as the nature of the audience makes itself clear to the journalistic enterprise.
  • In some enterprises, the political correctness of a story will affect selection and tone
  • In other enterprises, backing agendas will affect selection and tone
  • The nature of the story – for example, “if it bleeds, it leads” can force other stories out, because drama=$$$ and there’s only X amount of time/energy to cover this or that, and advertisers primarily pay for eyes, and journalism, unfortunately, almost always devolves to a $$$-counting undertaking.

Long story short, the news that reaches us may not be the news that is most important to us, the coverage that highlights the details we should really know, or even remotely even-handed. All those pressures and factors are there almost all of the time, in almost all of the news.

On top of this, we may harbor various biases that are based on misinformation, social indoctrination (the long resistance to LGBT is one example of a source of this, as is the so-called “drug war”), and dogma from from various sources.

IMHO, much thinking is called for. My observation is that there isn’t nearly enough thinking being done by many. :/

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SWLs: WLO RTTY news feed on 8473 KHz

So there I am, minding my own business at 2am or so my time, tuning across 8 MHz with SdrDx using my 20 meter inverted vee, and I see a RTTY signal. Ever the optimist, I fire up the Jack server (this connects the audio output of one application on the Mac to the input of another application), then an old version of fldigi I have lying around, “jack” them together, and lo and behold, the signal is unencrypted, 45 baud 170 Hz shift RTTY. That was startling enough, but the signal turns out to be a news feed, something I haven’t seen on the shortwave bands in at least ten, perhaps as much as twenty, years.
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President Obama, you’ve put your foot in it.

Much as I like you, Mr. President – and I definitely do – you have really put yours foot in it this time. I’m not a sycophant. I don’t agree with all of your positions. For instance, I think your stance on gun control is outright unconstitutional, while at the same time, I understand why you’d prefer that it were otherwise, and, since the system itself is corrupt and largely unconstitutional these days, why you’d be willing to violate your oath in order to see things done the way you’d like them to be done.

This isn’t stupid; it’s calculating and it is very much political, “just the way things work today.” For instance, if you actually think the government presently is authorized to restrict citizens from owning arms, I’d love to sit down with you and show you why you’re 100% wrong. I think you’re far too smart to buy the standard arguments for your own position, though, and I suspect that in private, you’d simply admit that is the case. I understand political expediency. I also understand an urge to do good, and that the legalities of the system can frustrate that urge if not pushed to the side.

But this time… I’m disappointed in you.
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Why Video Fails It

When it comes to opinion, commentary, and interviews, I am not enthusiastic about video. Not at all. Never really have been. But I hadn’t given it much thought; just sort of lumped the whole thing in with commercials, which I despise, “DJ” babbling, which I also despise, and the general failure of the mass media to properly do what I consider to be its job, which is report things as they are and as they happen, rather than give me their opinions, which I am not interested in.

So today I ran into a link on a website that announced that it led to an interview with someone of general interest to me (it doesn’t really matter who.) I clicked on the link, it is fair to say, with considerable interest. But as it turned out, the link led to a video of an interview. I felt let down. Not a little bit; a lot. I lost interest in pursuing the presentation; and this change of heart happened fast enough that it caught my attention as a mini-event all by itself. I didn’t watch. Instead, I did a little thinking, and here’s what I came up with.

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