Posts Tagged ‘Biases’

BIOS & BIASES

by Burt Prelutsky on Friday, January 31st, 2014

by Burt Prelutsky

Every so often, so many items capture my attention that I either have to get them down on paper or accept the fact that I can never hope to catch up. But never let it be said that Prelutsky took the easy, logical, sane, commonsensical, approach.

To get the ball rolling, let me confess that I not only tend to shy away from non-fiction books in general, but even more so when it comes to biographies. I have multiple problems with them. To begin with, they are written by researchers and academicians, and so I usually find the writing dry and humorless. For another, they tend to begin with a rundown on the subject’s ancestors. Although parents and grandparents may have played a huge role in the way the person turned out, if I wanted to read about them, I’d be reading their biographies. My third reason, shameful as it must sound to many of you, is that I’m not that interested in reading five or six hundred pages about any one person.

Before opening the floodgates to well-intentioned suggestions for my reading list, understand I have come to these conclusion through experience, not rumor. To me, sitting down with a biography is the equivalent of asking someone for the time and being told how to make a watch.

I confess that as cynical as I am, even I’m shocked that so many people seem to be up in arms over the NSA keeping track of millions of phone numbers, but are seemingly unconcerned that the ObamaCare website has rolled out the equivalent of a red carpet for every computer hacker between here and Timbuktu. They don’t even have to say “Open Sesame” in order to know everything about you, including your medical history, your birthday, your social security number, your bank account and, yes, even your telephone number.

By this time, I assume everyone has seen the stomach-turning video of the little black child in a diaper being coached by his gangbanging uncle to repeat the most vulgar words imaginable. What I found interesting is that when some cop in Omaha used the word “thug” in referring to the uncle, the ACLU immediately jumped in to denounce him for employing a racist term. It’s one thing to be a knucklehead and quite another to hire a skywriter to let the world know about it.

Everyone knows that “thug” is a generic word that has no racial connotations. Thugs come in all sizes, shapes and colors. But the mopes at the ACLU who’d go out of business if they couldn’t trump up cases based on matters as trivial as hurt feelings or intentional misinterpretations of the Constitution, let us all know that whenever they hear “thug” or, I assume, “bully,” “dope dealer,” “rapist” or “scumbag,” they immediately assume the reference is to a black person. I’m just asking, you understand, but doesn’t that qualify as racist?

Although the next presidential election is still nearly three years off, I am already hearing from those who are certain that Obama is planning to pull off a coup so he can become a dictator for life.

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Building Our Own Media

by Daniel Greenfield on Monday, January 28th, 2013

This is article 404 of 569 in the topic Media

There have been suggestions floating around that some of the bigger donors should buy a newspaper, a television network or a women’s magazine to counter the media’s grip. There was a time when a powerful media outlet could be bought or created by conservative owners and function and wield influence over national policy. Time Magazine in the Luce era is one example. But that was when the media was a patchwork of publications and radio stations where powerful owners often set the tone.

Today the media is more of an integrated beast that is mostly localized on the internet. It’s a giant echo chamber for talking points developed by left-wing think tanks and memes popularized by social media mobs.

NBC News these days is less relevant than Buzzfeed. You could buy NBC News, but then what would you have? A white elephant operation whose dwindling viewers are older and either share its biases or don’t care. If it shifted to the right, it would have exactly the same image as FOX does, no matter what its standard of programming was. If it tried to be genuinely non-partisan, there would be the difficult task of finding staff who are honestly non-partisan. And its image would constantly be under attack by the left every time it dissented on a major story.

Imagine if Donald Trump bought the New York Times. The New York Times doesn’t derive its influence from the quality of its content, but from the quantity and scope of it. That quantity and scope seem dizzying to those who don’t know any better, much like Thomas Friedman’s familiar mentions of three countries and their airports in one paragraph makes him seem like a man of the world who must know what he’s talking about because he has been to so many countries.

The New York Times influences other papers and outlets to adopt its tone on a variety of topics from musicals to foreign affairs. That makes them, in current ad jargon, Thought Leaders, which is just as Orwellian as it sounds. That cements the Times’ place in the culture. But it’s a position that would vanish in a second if Donald Trump took over and began influencing content. All that would be left is an expensive and unprofitable white elephant without any of the influence.

What we think of as the mainstream media is an integrated whole. It’s not really a series of outlets, but a culture of left-wing activists and more mainstream liberal reporters and pundits who provide content to those outlets. Buying one of the outlets would punch a hole in their content network, but only a partial hole because the outlet would still likely be reliant on wire services and would mostly cover the same stories that are driven by that same network, but occasionally from a conservative angle. It would essentially be another FOX News.

The content distribution network would reform around it, shut it out, as it has shut out FOX News, though many of its members would still work for it, and continue driving the tone and content of the media’s coverage of any issue. And it’s the content network and its culture that is the real enemy.

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Putting A Cap On 2012

by Bob Livingston on Monday, December 24th, 2012

Putting A Cap On 2012

PHOTOS.COM

I think we can all agree that 2012 was an interesting year.

As it was a Presidential election year, headlines were dominated by election news. But election politics was only part of what made 2012 interesting: There were wars and rumors of more wars, large storms and the ongoing worldwide financial crisis. All of these played a part, in one way or another, in the recent election.

But there were a lot of other newsworthy events as well: Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s investigation into President Barack Obama’s birth certificate (and the media’s disinterest), the imprisonment of Brandon Raub (and the media’s disinterest) and a related issue, the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the self-immolation of the Republican Party and ongoing efforts by the elites to establish one world government. To look at some of the big issues of the year, I’ve chosen the 10 most commented upon of all my articles from the past 12 months.

In addition to providing a refresher on some of the year’s biggest stories, this exercise may also serve to help educate our new readers who may have missed some of these discussions and to rebut some preconceived biases some have — as evidenced by their comments — when they first arrive at Personal Liberty Digest™.

So here they are, counting backward beginning with No. 10. I hope you enjoy the year in review.

Suspending All Logic

Believing without doubt the official birth narrative of President Barack Obama — that he was born to Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. in a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 4, 1961 — requires a complete suspension of logic.

Last month, I pointed out in How Can Anyone Be A Birther? a partial list of reasons to doubt the official story. Note that I say it’s only a partial list. There is enough evidence to produce reasonable doubt in the minds of reasonable people that Obama is not a natural-born United States citizen as required in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

Obama has for several years claimed he was born in Hawaii. He has also claimed, through his official biography with a literary agent and as a young man in Hawaii, that he was born in Kenya.

Both of those are not possible. Therefore, one is a lie. Obama is, among other things, a liar.

To read the rest of this article, click here.

So You Think You Are Free?

So you think you are free? After all, we have a Constitution with a Bill of Rights that “preserves” our freedoms.

So you think you’re free? Ask Brandon Raub what life in a free country is like. He was kidnapped from his home by the FBI, Secret Service and local police over Facebook posts in which he questioned 9/11 and accused the Bush family of committing crimes. He was held for a week with no charges and had a psychiatrist threaten to medicate and brainwash him.

He’s not alone. John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, who gained Raub’s release, says calls coming into his organization reveal a pattern of abuse.

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Forgerygate: Ret.Col. Lawrence Sellin: Why Barack Obama Is Not In Jail

by American Grams on Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

This is article 78 of 81 in the topic Presidential Eligiblity

For those willing to following the birth certificate issue, here is an interview that explains, and probably confirms, what you have already been thinking. For anyone still not willing to listen to the facts, our US constitution and future of our country is at stake. Set your biases aside, set your needs aside – it is your children, grandchildren and future generations that will suffer the consequences of the world we are creating today.

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ALEC-bashing NPR reporter fails to disclose ties to lead anti-ALEC group

by Michelle Malkin on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This is article 281 of 569 in the topic Media

Let me quote from the National Public Radio ethics handbook:

First, on “impartiality:”

Impartiality

Our experiences and perspectives are valuable assets to our journalism. We enjoy the right to robust personal lives, yet we accept some unique professional obligations and limitations. Because our words and actions can damage the public’s opinion of NPR, we comport ourselves in ways that honor our professional impartiality. We have opinions, like all people. But the public deserves factual reporting and informed analysis without our opinions influencing what they hear or see. So we strive to report and produce stories that transcend our biases and treat all views fairly. We aggressively challenge our own perspectives and pursue a diverse range of others, aiming always to present the truth as completely as we can tell it.

Impartiality in our personal lives
Impartiality as citizens and public figures
Impartiality in our journalism

Next, on “transparency:”

Transparency

To inspire confidence in our journalism, it is critical that we give the public the tools to evaluate our work. We reveal as much as we practically can about how we discover and verify the facts we present. We strive to make our decision-making process clear to the public, especially when we find ourselves wrestling with tough choices. We disclose any relationships, whether with partners or funders, that might appear to influence our coverage.

Revealing our process
Anonymous sources

And finally, on “accountability:”

Accountability

We take full responsibility for our work, so we must always be ready and willing to answer for it. Just as careful attention to our sources makes a story stronger, careful listening to our public makes our journalism better. So we welcome questions or criticisms from our stakeholders and to the best of our ability, we respond. Mistakes are inevitable. When we make them, we correct them forthrightly, reflect on what happened, and learn from them.

Corrections
Interacting with the public
Accountability online
Legal accountability

Now, let me quote from BigGovernment.com editor Mike Flynn’s piece on NPR’s failure to demonstrate impartiality and transparency in its piece bashing ALEC (the conservative legislative association I told you about earlier this month that is being targeted by progressive shakedown artists because it espouses “the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.”)

This weekend, NPR aimed its taxpayer-subsidized guns at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a relatively unknown membership association of state legislators. ALEC, a non-profit 501 (c)3 founded in the 1970s, gives the left heart palpitations by promoting general conservative policies like lower taxes and deregulation. For its efforts, ALEC has recently come under a coordinated assault by many leftist organizations, especially Common Cause and 9-11 truther Van Jones’ Color of Change. NPR’s report purportedly raised “questions” over ALEC’s tax status and quoted extensively from Common Cause. What listeners didn’t learn, however, was that NPR’s reporter, Peter Overby formerly worked for Common Cause.

That knowledge certainly would have given listeners some valuable context for statements like this:

That’s the argument that the good-government group Common Cause made when it asked the IRS to investigate ALEC last summer.

I’m certain Overby has fond memories of his work at Common Cause, but to simply label them as a “good government group” doesn’t paint an exactly full picture. As its campaigns against the Koch brothers and ALEC show, Common Cause is an increasingly hyper-partisan activist organization working to silence conservative voices.

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So what do we make of the Government Clearing GM over Volt’s battery fires?

by John Lott on Saturday, January 21st, 2012

There are numerous news stories over the US ending its probe over Chevy Volt battery fires. But where are there mentions over the biases that the administration has already shown over this issue (remember the whole concern over the “fragility of Volt sales”). Here is something from Bloomberg:

U.S. regulators, who ended their investigation yesterday into the Chevrolet Volt, said electric- powered vehicles do not pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline cars.
“Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in an e-mailed statement. . . .

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When Bias Has Its Own Media

by Daniel Greenfield on Monday, November 1st, 2010

This is article 67 of 569 in the topic Media

Bias is a normal part of human thought. It is not a good thing, but it exists because we are only human. Our viewpoints influence how we see things. And that in turn influences how we describe them. But just because bias is normal, does not mean that it is acceptable.

A doctor may like one patient better than another. That does not mean that he has the right to provide an inferior level of medical care to one patient. He may not be able to help being nicer to one patient than the other, but he may not actively mistreat a less favored patient. That is medical malpractice. Similarly a reporter who does not simply favor liberal politicians, but actively biases stories against their opponents is guilty of journalistic malpractice. He can no longer claim to be providing a public service, only serving as the mouthpiece for his ideology of choice.

Bias always exists, but journalistic bias has a tipping point at which instead of a free press, we have a propaganda press. When does that tipping point occur? Henry David Thoreau wrote that there is a certain amount of injustice in government, just as there is a certain amount of friction in operating a machine. But when “friction has its own machine”, then the injustice is no longer an unfortunate byproduct, it is now the purpose of the machine. That is the case with tyrannical regimes who exist to oppress people, rather than the oppression being an unfortunate by product of the exercise of authority, as was formerly the case in the United States.

When it comes to the media, there is also a point at which “friction has its own machine”. That happens when bias is no longer just injected into the reporting of a story, but when bias is the reason for the existence of a story.

It’s easy to spot the difference between the two. For example, a reporter who covers a possible teacher’s strike might favor the teacher’s union and give more time to their grievances than to the plight of the municipal budget and the overburdened taxpayer. This is bias. On the other hand, when that same reporter begins running a series of stories about juvenile delinquency and rising crime connected to school dropout rates in order to warn taxpayers against voting down a proposed school budget– then “bias has its own media.”

The difference is that our hypothetical reporter is no longer only biasing legitimate stories, his stories are part of a narrative that exists for no other purpose than to convince readers to follow his agenda. That is acceptable on the Op Ed page, but not when it is disguised as news. And when entire newspapers, TV stations, magazines and news sites are run in this way, then there is a word for it– propaganda.

When “Bias has its Own Media”, then bias is no longer just the byproduct of journalism, or a symptom of bad reporting. It is the actual product.

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A Dying Media Writes its Own Obituary

by Daniel Greenfield on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Most people think of the news media differently than the participants in it think of themselves. While most people think that the job of newspapers, news radio stations and television newscasts is to report on events, those on the other end of the wire, the printing press and the cable, think that their job is not to report, but to advocate.

The high cost of producing a widely read newspaper, a television station or a radio station, has traditionally limited ownership and injected the owner’s biases into the outlet. But the rise of a professional media class in America has made the owner’s views almost redundant, in the same way that unions have ensured that every business they work for will be used to serve the interests of the Democratic party. While some reporters may still report, overwhelmingly the members of the professional media class do not report, they advocate.

That is why the rise of the internet has only accelerated media bias, as advocacy journalists are less worried about owners and working for a single outlet, and instead focus on maintaining political solidarity with their professional colleagues. A journalist no longer thinks in terms of working for the same newspaper for 20 or 30 years. He knows that by then there probably won’t even be any newspapers. A month from now he’ll be in a different outlet. Two months from that, he might be printed in three others, one of them a media blog. Three months from now he may be doing video blogs for Time Magazine. The unstable nature of the market means that the journalist is less concerned with the owners, and much more with his professional standing with the colleagues who will hire him or recommend him for jobs. And today professional standing means political reliability, just as it did in the Soviet Union.

Jornolist is only one of the more public revelations about that private political solidarity, which these days determines the content of the news we are allowed to read. That boys and girls media club serves as an unofficial union in an unstable marketplace that is bounded not by accomplishment or educational credentials, but by pulling together for a common political cause. Whether it was plotting to bring down Bush or raise up Obama, to push nationalization of health care or internationalization of national security– that unofficial fraternity and sorority of advocacy journalists has turned media bias into their reason for being. They have turned into the definition of what a journalist should be.

The difference between a reporter and an advocate, is that the former reports on events, while the latter uses events as props in his message. Where a reporter tries to learn what happened, the advocate tries to understand how he can use that event in his narrative. The advocate has less in common with the reporter, than he does with an ad executive.

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