Media Issues

Not for news articles but for discussions about the news business, journalism, atheism and religion in the media, or new media issues.

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Comment by Bertold Brautigan on November 4, 2016 at 8:56am

Interesting article in the Guardian

Meme warfare: how the power of mass replication has poisoned the US election

Spread from the bottom up, political memes are now a form of propaganda – and it’s killing our ability to intelligently orchestrate a political conversation

The upshot:

The tools we use to communicate are becoming counterproductive to actual communication.

Comment by Grinning Cat on September 19, 2016 at 2:51pm many sub-sub-cultures that are emerging on the internet can't deal with reality, but only with their favorite "facts"/beliefs/wishful-thinking.

Related: news, search, and information "bubbling", "helpfully" showing us only what we "want" to see based on past searches and clicks, reinforcing confirmation bias in a vicious cycle.

(And producing valuable data to sell to advertisers!)

Sometimes media and internet companies slip:

Horrible Facebook Algorithm Accident Results In Exposure To New Ideas (The Onion)

“To those who were forced to read a headline they did not agree with when they visited Facebook yesterday, we are deeply sorry. [...] I want all Facebook users to know that you’ll never again encounter any ideas on our site that are in any way novel or ideologically challenging to you.”

Also, some good explanations and great illustrations about "The Filter Bubble" at

"Soon search engines became data monsters, spying on our searches in order to learn our secrets."

"Soon, instead of cruising the Super Highway...
You're trapped in a special interest ghetto."

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on September 19, 2016 at 1:20pm

image source

The rise of tribalism interests me too, Bertold. See this discussion. I speculate that tribalism is in part a response to our inundation in an information network far larger than our primitive brains can process. I think people can only relate to about 500 individuals. We need to invent a social structure to mediate communication between communities we can comprehend and the rest of the information bombarding us. A role that doesn't just pander to our little community. What's particularly disturbing is that so many sub-sub-cultures that are emerging on the internet can't deal with reality, but only with their favorite "facts"/beliefs/wishful-thinking.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 14, 2016 at 8:24am

An interesting article on tribalism

Daniel Leslie
Principal at @reflexions, a digital development lab.

Tribalism in a hyper-connected world

Brexit is the latest darkness descended upon the Global Village.
A resurgent and toxic nationalism has begun to eat Europe alive, and the internet has become an accelerant poured on the flame.

. . . The growth and intensity of sectarian ideology appears to be fostered by, rather than diminished by, the effects of digital communications, and in particular of social media platforms which largely ignore national borders but reinforce cultural ones.

. . . For Godin, tribes are an ancient model for understanding audience behavior that is fundamentally modern. Tribes can be in indispensable for connecting with customers in the crowded digital marketplace of the twenty-first century. Cultivating leadership within one’s tribe, he argues, is critical for marshalling support for brands, politicians, or anyone else trying to sell anything to someone in the chaos of the new media landscape.

Will tribalism ultimately strengthen or undermine prosperity in the twenty-first century?

The Global Village anxiously waits to find out.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on September 10, 2016 at 5:04pm
Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on March 8, 2016 at 2:23pm

March 18th "The Brainwashing of my Dad" will be in select theaters. I hope it's available near me.

As filmmaker Jen Senko tried to understand the transformation of her father from a non-political, life-long Democrat to an angry, right-wing fanatic, she uncovered the forces behind the media that changed him completely: a plan by Roger Ailes under Nixon for a media takeover by the GOP; the Powell Memo urging business leaders to influence institutions of public opinion, especially the universities, the media and the courts; and under Reagan, the dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on February 9, 2016 at 1:00pm

The media should be hounding climate denier politicians, the way they hounded Clinton about Monic Lewinsky.

... Republican denials of global warming don't put the issue in dispute any more than their refusal to accept arithmetic would make addition a debatable topic. A responsible press would treat these denials as the scandal they are.

Most people don't spend their days enmeshed in policy issues; they have jobs and lives. They rely on the media to let them know what is important.

The media have largely treated global warming as sort of a sidebar of interest to a narrow clientele, kind of like sailboat races.

How about a headline, ... "Speaker Ryan refuses to talk to scientists about crisis facing planet." [first paragraph out of order]

Treating Global Warming Denialism as a Scandal

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on January 3, 2016 at 10:15am
Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on November 30, 2015 at 1:32pm

I didn't know that Roger Ailes was the GOP propagandist before taking over as head of FOX news, but that explains why FOX performs as a right-wing extremist propaganda machine.

Comment by Grinning Cat on November 30, 2015 at 11:49am

Click to enlarge:

FACT: The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is falling. FOX [Roger Ailes wearing FOX logo]: 'Illegals are overrunning America!!!' / FACT: Federal taxes are lower than they've been in 60 years. FOX: 'Obama is taxing us to death!' / FACT: America has never been richer. FOX: 'America is broke!' / FACT: The U.S. spends twice as much on health care but gets worse results than other developed nations. FOX: 'We have the best health care in the world!' / FACT: Wall Street crashed the economy in 2008. FOX: 'Shiftless lazy poor people did it!' / FACT: Roger Ailes [with arrow] was the GOP's top media strategist (i.e. party propagandist) before becoming head of Fox News. FOX: 'Bagley [cartoonist's signature] is a socialist!'


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