Bias in Journalism … Truth Decay

Ever had one of those ‘eureka moments’ where you come across a previously unknown, or perhaps once known but now forgotten, piece of information that explains one of those ‘how on earth did we get here’ observations?

The QuipperyExample: how did we (and I can only speak for Canada and the USA) get to a place where balanced, unopinionated news is now (often) very biased journalism? Part of the answer, according to the video below (and numerous stories on the internet) was the introduction, in 2008, of Accountability Journalism.

Accountability Journalism was the brainchild (or perhaps given a voice by) Associated Press Bureau Chief, Ron Fournier. Mr. Fournier believed that the conventional press model – where both sides of an argument are entitled to equal weight – was no longer needed in journalism. In it’s place, he gave free reign to first-person emotive language in news reporting. Previously, this had been reserved for opinion editorials. He gave the journalist the power to decide what was factual and fair and whether or not to include an opposing opinion.

Is this a slippery slope where journalism becomes not an outlet for news, but becomes an interpretation of said news?
– Susan Duclos, Digital Journal, July 2008 –

Ten years later, the answer to the slippery slope question is ‘yes’:

Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage.
– ‘Truth Decay,’ RAND –

Of course, the situation seems worse than it is if you consider there are roughly 12000 journalists in Canada and 33000 in the United States. The wackadoodle reporters are just the most visible.

Who tops your list of Journalists you trust the least? Who do you trust the most?

 

 

 

 

The Lighter Side of Canadian Governments

That Good Looking Bullshitter in a Suit

Justin (Trudeau) looks more and more like a regression to the mean, a nice guy with influential friends but still just another ordinary good-looking bullshitter in a suit.
– Crawford Kilian, The Tyee –


Background to the cartoon: Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has threatened to sue Conservative Party Leader Scheer over Scheer’s statements that Trudeau interfered with the prosecution of Montreal firm SNC-Lavalin and lied to Canadians about it. This  ‘scandal’ has led to two resignations: Trudeau’s Principal Secretary, G. Butts and Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council (who is also head of the federal public service). Trudeau also ousted two members of his party because they criticized his behavior.

It’s Just Other People’s Money

As Margaret Thatcher once pointed out, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

In 2016, under the left wing NDP government, Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, lost roughly 15,000 private-sector jobs, but it gained 14,000 provincial public-sector ones. The debt and deficit increased as did government intervention in the form of income redistribution and regulation. Albertans recently said, enough is enough – and elected a more fiscally Conservative government.

Two Ways to Deal with a Coyote

In British Columbia (perhaps):
The Premier is jogging with his or her dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Premier’s dog, then bites the Premier.
The Premier starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural. He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the province $200 for testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.
The Premier goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and to get his bite wound bandaged.
The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish and Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.
The Premier spends $50,000 in provincial funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area. The provincial legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.
The Premier’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The Province spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re: the nature of coyotes.
PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the province.

In Alberta:
The Premier is jogging with his or her dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the dog.
The Premier’s security agent shoots the coyote, drags it into the bushes and keeps jogging.
The Premier has spent $0.50 on a cartridge.
The crows eat the dead coyote.

Trudeau Goes to India

Justin Trudeau’s India visit has proved one thing. He has more Indian outfits than all the men in my family combined!
– Anu Menon @ExLolaKutty –

Budgets Balance Themselves

Trudeau says that we need to “rethink concepts as basic as space and time.” Intelligent people say “we need to rethink Trudeau.”
– David Jacobs @DrJacobsRad –

The Liberal Party campaigned on a pledge to run short-term deficits in order to stimulate the economy and return to balance before the 2019 federal election. That didn’t happen because what Mr. Trudeau really meant was “the commitment is to grow the economy and the budget will balance itself.” Unfortunately, budgets aren’t self balancing. Finance Canada now predicts the deficit could be erased by 2045.

Not Enough Parachutes

A small plane had 4 passengers on board…
the Russian President Vladimir Putin,
the American President Donald Trump,
the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,
and a boy scout.

All of a sudden, the engine caught fire.The pilot explained to the passengers that the plane was gliding but losing altitude… it would crash in 6 minutes. Another problem was that there were 5 people on board, but only 4 parachutes.

The Russian president suddenly exclaimed “We are the best country in the world” – he grabbed a parachute and jumped out of the plane.

The American president exclaimed “We are the most powerful country in the world” – he grabbed a parachute and jumped out of the plane.

The Canadian Prime Minister exclaimed “I’m the brains of Canada” and he grabbed a parachute and jumped out of the plane.

The pilot turned to the boy scout and said “Well son, there’s 2 of us left and only 1 parachute.” The boy scout looked at the pilot and said “No worries… the brains of Canada just took my backpack.”

WordPress Reader is Acting Strangely

Do you follow my blog in the WordPress Reader? If you do, then you might be wondering why I am reposting old stuff. The short answer is, I’m not. The WordPress Reader is doing it for me – a totally unsolicitated behaviour.

The Reader is also not advertising most of my new posts. Catch 22 – right! If I try to tell WordPress Readers about this issue in a new post, will the Reader publish the new post?

Or will the Reader pick another old post like this one – How to Replace iTunes with CopyTrans Manager, which was first published in 2009. It appeared in the WordPress Reader a day ago.

This has been going on for a few months now, but I wasn’t paying attention (Christmas, New Years, travel to AZ, etc). Then I contacted a few of my regular readers. Thanks go to to Al and Faye for confirming my suspicions that the WordPress Reader had developed a mind of its own! I alerted the WordPress Happiness Engineers who say that the ‘Reader team’ has being contacted and the issue is being ‘escalated’ with them.

Even more puzzling, some of my readers are being sent to links that are a revision of one of my old posts. Since only I can see revisions, WordPress simply tells people

I’ve alerted the WordPress Happiness Engineers about that too. Perhaps they have some bugs to work out in their world of big data. Or maybe, somehow, I’ve broken my blog…