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…

Mildly Amusing Missives #4 – Twitter

I created a Twitter account a few weeks ago.  I’ve been following and unfollowing people since then. There is a fine line between ‘this is interesting’ and ‘this is depressing’. Here are some of the more amusing and thought provoking things I’ve found.

What your Dog is Thinking

something. you may not realize you’re allowed to do. is take a snoozle. and then when you wake up. immediately start another one
– Thoughts of Dog @dog_feelings Jul 4 –

sometimes. i will yawn really big. and soon after. the human will also yawn. i have yet to decide. what to do with my powers
– Thoughts of Dog @dog_feelings –

I don’t own or use a virtual assistant – do you?

You would think that by now Alexa might be experienced enough in the ways of carbon-based lifeforms to be able to distinguish between a sneeze and the calling out of her name. “Bless you, Stephen” would be a better response than “Hm. I don’t know that one.”
– Stephen Fry, @stephenfry Jul 11 –

Would Car Guys agree?

As a teen, I dreamed of getting a Porsche 928. The 1982 model could go 0-60 in 8.0 seconds — so fast! But now my 2005 Hyundai Tucson can go 0-60 in 8.9 seconds. And it can carry kids, Christmas trees, and/or miter saws. #progress
– Geoffrey Miller @primalpoly Jul 10 –

DoodleChaos – An Animated Doodle to Music – Brilliant – I’ve watched it more than once!

Actor James Woods responds to Bette Midler’s Climate Change angst

Calling all #climatedeniers. IT WAS 117 YESTERDAY IN LOS ANGELES!!! IT’S GOING TO BE 103 TODAY. ITS 8AM. GIVE US A BREAK!!!
– Bette Midler @BetteMidler Jul 7 –
You live in the desert. It is July.
– James Woods @RealJamesWoods Jul 9 –

Ben Shapiro interviews Mike Rowe – I highly recommend watching this. Highly, highly recommend it.

Fear pays – that is why it is so rampant

I hope people don’t figure out that you can monetize fear. If spreading fear becomes profitable then greedy people might start distorting reality in a way that causes people to panic.
Rev. Duncan Trussell M.D. @duncantrussell Jul 7 –

Satire about HuaWei – the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after Samsung

CEO of HuaWei refuses to stop using expression ‘It’s my way or the HuaWei’
– The Beaverton @TheBeaverton Jul 7 –

Office Lingo

Have been compiling a major report all day and I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m a bit tired but I can’t help but think that “PDF’ing a file” sounds like something you just shouldn’t say in an office environment. #officelingo #notreallyswearing
– Blair King @BlairKing_ca Jul 6 –

Aquaculture makes a significant contribution to Canada’s economy, but is another industry under attack from environmentalists.

Trying to farm fish in Canada is like trying to operate a chicken farm under the rules of the Migratory Birds Act. – @brianleecrowley
– Stewart Muir @sjmuir Jun 22 –

Now and then you have to prune back Twitter, Facebook and Feed readers

Unfollow three toxic people in your Twitter feed (or unlike on FB and unsubscribe on YT) and see how quickly your day gets brighter. You don’t have to invite the madness to live rent free in your head.
– Dave Rubin @RubinReport Jul 3 –

Mildly Amusing Missives #3 – And More Owls

The Owlets Take Flight

Part Two of the Great Horned Owl Story is over here: The Owlets Take Flight

A Little Bit About Ants

I bought an ant farm. I don’t know where I am going to get a tractor that small!
– Steven Wright –

Ever so Virtuous

Virtue signalling: when you express an opinion in public to show your moral superiority and gain approval – without actually taking a significant action.

(Isaac) Newton wouldn’t last long as a ‘public intellectual’ in modern American culture. Sooner or later, he would say ‘offensive’ things that get reported to Harvard and that get picked up by mainstream media as moral-outrage clickbait. His eccentric, ornery awkwardness would lead to swift expulsion from academia, social media, and publishing. Result? On the upside, he’d drive some traffic through Huffpost, Buzzfeed, and Jezebel, and people would have a fresh controversy to virtue-signal about on Facebook. On the downside, we wouldn’t have Newton’s Laws of Motion.
― Geoffrey Miller –

Gender Neutrality in Canada

Gender neutrality is a hot issue is Canada right now. One line of our National Anthem has been changed from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” (To be honest, I haven’t been able to sing our entire National Anthem since the unofficial English/French version became the ‘right’ way to sing it.)

Prime Minister Trudeau, at a recent Town Hall meeting, corrected a young woman who spoke about the “the future of mankind.” Trudeau interrupted her and said, “ we like to say people-kind, not necessarily mankind.” (Days later, he claimed he was just joking.)

Gender Neutral wording gets kind of tricky. Is the word ‘person’ gender neutral? (It contains the word ‘son’.) Are the words ‘woman’ and ‘human’ gender neutral? (They both contain the word ‘man’.) Last, but not least – the Province of ‘Manitoba’. Will we have to change that name to Peopletoba’?

Canada’s Government and Male Bashing

CBC Comedy (part of a federally funded Canadian Crown Corporation) isn’t all that funny sometimes. A recent post started off: “Air Canada announced this morning that as of 2017, passengers will be required to pay an extra fee to transport any emotional baggage they happen to be carrying with them onto their flight.”

While that is a funny line, the post goes on to condemn men in general: “When it comes to homophobia, misogyny, and deep-seated racism, we’ll be charging $500 per issue … the airline made the decision to introduce the fee last week after nine different businessmen on nine different flights loudly refused to turn off their electronic devices during takeoff and then proceeded to get blind drunk on tiny bottles of vodka and yell racial slurs at the person in the seat beside them.”

Internet Speed 

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.
– Author Unknown –

Do you remember when you connected to the Internet by dial-up? It could take minutes, if not hours, to load web pages onto a computer! The majority of internet users today would be frustrated by the lack of speed, yet for many people in the world, a phone line, and the relatively low cost of dial-up, is either their preferred, or necessitated method of connecting.

Factors that affect the speed: 
Your computer (and any other equipment that connects it to the internet); interference or conflicts from other equipment (depending on your set-up.)
Your Service Provider – In addition to Dial-up, you can connect to the internet by Broadband (cable, DSL), Satellite or Wireless Tower. Each provider will have varying levels of service with faster Internet service billed at a premium. Independent of what you level of service you are paying for, the number of people trying to access the service provider can slow things down. (Our service is also dependent on weather, tower outages and a misaligned receiver dish!)
Internet Traffic – Access to any site will depend on the amount of traffic that is trying to access it.

Would you rather the world be warmer or cooler?

We have one of the big glacier rocks (an erratic) near us, so this Climate Change joke seems pretty funny…

A New Yorker visits Vermont and asks, “Where did all these rocks come from?” And the farmer says, “They were brought here by a glacier.”
“Well, what happened to the glacier?”
And the farmer replies, “It went back for more rocks.”
– Blacklock’s Reporter –

Personally, I prefer a warmer Canada – we are one of the coldest countries in the world. We are the 2nd largest country by land mass with .49% of the world population spread out across our entire width. We consume about .6% of the world food production, but we produce and export 1.5%. We emit only 1.69% of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

A Joke about Government Being Out of Touch

A cowboy named Billy was overseeing his herd in a remote pasture in southern Alberta, when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

Billy looked at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answered, “Sure, why not?”

The yuppie parked his car, whiped out his Dell® notebook computer, connected it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfed to a NASA page on the Internet, where he called up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then fed to another NASA satellite that scaned the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opened the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exported it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany .

Within seconds, he receiveed an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image had been processed and the data stored. He then accesseed an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receiveed a response. Finally, he printed out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turned to the cowboy and said, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Billy. He watcheed the young man select one of the animals and looked on with amusement as he stuffed it into the trunk of his car. Then Billy called to him, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thought  about it for a second and then said, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re a MLA for Alberta’s NDP government!”, said Billy.

“Wow! That’s correct,” said the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter. This is a flock of sheep. Now give me back my dog.
– OLL –

A Few Poems

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
After four I’m under my host.
– Dorothy Parker, The Collected Dorothy Parker –

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust’s stolen his umbrella
– Charles Bowen