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Author Topic: How the media characterizes our political discourse
rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
most of them make both look better than the average news program or voter.

But you're not implying any causation, natch.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
High school gossipy silly?

Or grade school gossipy silly?

Neither. "You people are being catty and dull" silly.

I mean, it's clear that Katie takes the whole "civilized news source" thing way too seriously, Kate hasn't thought out her point of view very well, and you and Rivka are inexplicably looking for a reason to argue with her about the journalistic bias of a professional comedian. Will just coming out and saying all these things short-circuit the bizarre sniping at each other that you're going to do otherwise?

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kmbboots
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Scott, I did notice the...irony? [Wink] (And are you sure you want to be on the record as pro-union?)
Leaving it to the observer to draw their own conclusions, I could posit that at least the Daily Show bias isn't doing its watchers any harm or, if it is, then they are at an advantage to start with.

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TomDavidson
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While we're at it, let's just settle the whole thread now:

Fox is absurdly biased. The Daily Show is only slightly less so, but doesn't have "news" in its name and thus believes -- rightly or wrongly -- that it gets a pass. The Wall Street Journal and the Times are very biased, not merely on their editorial page but in their selection of news, but are generally pretty good about providing facts; it's their analysis of those facts that is suspect. In fact, most of Katie's recommendations are pretty solid, although I don't think "civilized" is an adjective that's particularly useful when choosing information sources. Personally, I suspect that she would agree that we should seek out sources that try to be rigorously accurate, serious about issues that actually matter, and willing to at least acknowledge when they are engaging in speculation or opinion; I agree with these standards.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
most of them make both look better than the average news program or voter.

But you're not implying any causation, natch.
Nope. Could be, in fact, that Daily Show viewers were more informed to start with - as an example of other possibilities. I am sure there are others.
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Lyrhawn
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I have to wonder how much of the criticism that gets tossed the way of the Daily Show has to do with people seeking equivalence for the sake of equivalence.

Does Stewart pick on the GOP more than the Democrats? Yes. I'd say that's a fair characterization. I've rarely seen him pull punches from Obama though, who Stewart seems to have an issue with on all sorts of things. And God knows he hammered away at Pelosi on a weekly basis, sometimes nightly basis, when the Dems had the House. It's more to me though that his complaints against Dems come down to "man up and grow a spine!" and his complaints against the GOP come down to "you people are morons."

How much of our complaining, though, is in demand of the sort of thing that CNN does? CNN, to me, is famous for attempting to present every story as balanced. They refuse to present one side as wrong. For a long time they even presented the "birther" nonsense neutrally, presenting both sides of the story with a sort of "you decide!" point of view, as if truth were relative as opposed to something that, as a news organization, they were personally allowed to seek out and present with their seal of approval. That's a big part of today's problem, if you ask me.

And it comes right back around to Stewart. Is anyone willing to give credence to the argument that Stewart spends more time making fun of the GOP because the GOP has a lot more material to work with at the moment? I think there's something to it, and I think people tend to say Stewart is a liberal mouthpiece because some greater sense of fairness in them balks at his lack of equivalence in the face time he gives each party.

As far as him being a news show, well, Stewart himself has said that if everyone who watches his show didn't watch OTHER news organizations, they wouldn't understand half his jokes. It's a show that you can often only gain maximum appreciation for if you're already aware of the news stories he's mocking. That's not always the case, since sometimes he sets them up for you, but many times it is. As often as not, he's making fun of news outlets as often as politicians.

One of my biggest problems with Stewart has long been his hiding behind the shield of being a comic. He wants to be taken seriously at times, and makes biting commentary, and then when someone hits back at him, he says, "but wait! I'm just a comedian!" It's the perfect shield to allow him to make political commentary and be taken seriously, but remove him from fear of actually being criticized in return. I don't care for that.

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kmbboots
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Lyrhawn, I think that post was exactly right.
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TomDavidson
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Me, I'm somewhat sympathetic to Stewart's awkward position. The man, if he is biased against anything (and he is), is biased strongly against the corporatization of politics and media, the remarkably cynical process by which everything -- from a political position to a presidential candidate to a point of view -- is turned into a product to be marketed, often with no more honesty or depth than you might see in a floor wax commercial; he very clearly loathes the way the press is used as just another way to "advertise" a talking point. And yet he's inherited a show that does celebrity interviews, press junkets, and movie tie-ins. He (and his predecessor, to be fair) occasionally subvert the extraordinary access afforded by those junkets in order to ask questions that I don't think a "traditional" journalist could (or would, often), but he's also bound by the need to produce a show that's as entertaining as he doesn't want the news to be.

But I can accept that from him, because it's clear that what he really wants -- and what he's been calling for for years -- is for an actual news organization to step up and perform that function. He recognizes that it's not in his remit, and I easily forgive him for occasionally demonstrating that it should be something that someone does, ideally someone who isn't a comedian.

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Scott R
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quote:
One of my biggest problems with Stewart has long been his hiding behind the shield of being a comic. He wants to be taken seriously at times, and makes biting commentary, and then when someone hits back at him, he says, "but wait! I'm just a comedian!" It's the perfect shield to allow him to make political commentary and be taken seriously, but remove him from fear of actually being criticized in return. I don't care for that.
+1

quote:
are you sure you want to be on the record as pro-union?
What makes you think I'd have a problem with unions?
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kmbboots
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Being pro-union is a chancy position these days. They are coming under attack. The comment was less about you and more about current events.
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Swampjedi
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TomD, I think that post was exactly right.
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sarcasticmuppet
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
One of my biggest problems with Stewart has long been his hiding behind the shield of being a comic. He wants to be taken seriously at times, and makes biting commentary, and then when someone hits back at him, he says, "but wait! I'm just a comedian!" It's the perfect shield to allow him to make political commentary and be taken seriously, but remove him from fear of actually being criticized in return. I don't care for that.

I think this is valid as of a few years ago, especially considering what he said on his stint on Crossfire. But I wonder how much he actually does this anymore. He actually takes off the funny gloves occasionally and rallies against good causes, such as the September 11 first responder's bill in Congress. I think he might have recognized over the last few years that his voice is pretty powerful and tries to act accordingly. I thought his last interview with O'Reilly was pretty hard-hitting and serious.
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Darth_Mauve
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Not to derail this thread, but...

A few years ago I would have cringed at the thought of being labeled "pro-Union." My father was a Union man who worked his way out of the union and into management. He then saw, and told us stories of, the over-reaching and self-destructive practices of the union he now faced.

But today, I am definitely pro-Union. As the corporations gain more and more power, more and more % of all wealth, there does need to be the voice for the workers.

Thirty years ago Labor was a commodity that companies bid for. Now Jobs are a commodity that companies use to bribe their way out of taxes and into power.

Twenty years ago when a large business moved into a town great public works were created by the new tax revenues that the business brought in. Now when a large company moves into town, public works take a cut as the tax breaks those companies demanded have to be paid for. Any new taxes come from the workers income tax and increases in sales taxes--so good paying manufacturing jobs aren't as hot a priority as low paying retail jobs--because the retail sales tax pays the city.

The power has shifted away from those working for a living and sits with those who invest in commodities and hedge-funds. Yeah, I'm pro-Union now, and proud of it.

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katharina
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quote:
Personally, I suspect that she would agree that we should seek out sources that try to be rigorously accurate, serious about issues that actually matter, and willing to at least acknowledge when they are engaging in speculation or opinion; I agree with these standards.
Yes, this is a good summary, except for the last point. I don't care if a source aknowledges they are biased are not; since they are, inevitably, I'd rather they not engage in mastubatory navel-gazing. Instead, they should devote themselves to better resarch, more background, better facts-reporting, and less axe grinding in general.

In other words, I'm not a fan of media that obsesses about the media. For that, there is "On the Media". Just get on with the story, please - all of the story.


The "civilized" refers to kindergarten behavior. If there is any "they started it" or "the other guy is worse" or "I know you are but what am I" detectable - and it happens all the time - then that source is too stupid to be worth the bother. I want news from grown ups. Considering the low pay of many journalism jobs, which means the grown ups tend to leave it once living off the parents isn't possible or cool anymore, this eliminates quite a number of enthusiastic but unseasoned sources. Good. All the better.
------

The "I was just saying - you took it wrong" defense is as lame here as it is on television. But that's obvious.

-------

For the record, I like the Daily Show. I like a lot of things. If it helps, my scorn is for all televised news. There are many, many things television is wonderful for, but explaining the complexities of modern issues isn't one of them. What Stewart is calling for exists, but not on television. I don't think it ever will, and I don't think it ever could. It's the wrong medium.

If you're serious about wanting to know the background, complexities, consequences of proposed issues, history of similar solutions to similar problems, and the various proposed solutions to current issues - in other words, if you want to know what you're talking about - you have to turn off the TV.

[ April 21, 2011, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
For that, there is "On the Media".
But who will report on "On the Media," to serve as a watchdog against its bias? [Wink]

quote:
What Stewart is calling for exists, but not on television.
I'm not sure that's true. I know of many consumer watchdog groups that fill that sort of function for commercial products and advertisers, but I can't think of many news outlets that are dedicated to reporting on important sociopolitical issues without capitulating to a given viewpoint's sponsored take on them. I don't know of many -- if any -- news organizations that avoid the temptation to create "narrative", except possibly the AP (in rare cases).
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Raymond Arnold
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>If you're serious about wanting to know the background, complexities, consequences of proposed issues

This issue is that most people are NOT serious about, but they want to have opinions anyway. And they vote, so their opinions matter whether we like it or not. So whether television is the right medium, I think there should be SOME format that manages to appeal to the masses, delivering as much accurate content as possible in the face of economic forces that drive us towards the lowest common denominator.

(I think the internet is capable of delivering on all those ends. And I think it's set to replace TV completely within another few decades, so that's fine.)

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katharina
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quote:
But who will report on "On the Media," to serve as a watchdog against its bias?

Gloriously, it doesn't matter much. The media isn't nearly as fascinating a subject as the media thinks it is. I am SO TIRED of listening to navel-gazing. The front page headlines of the Pulitzer prize winners this week made me extra cranky. I think "We Are Not The Story" should be emblazoned on the wall of every media office.

------

RA: I agree that the Internet is more than capable of it.

Maybe I'm a cynic, but I doubt people are going to vote "better" based on nuanced, thorough portrayals of information. I think people vote based on demographics, their peers, their pocketbook, and politicians' personal lives, and all the great news in the world won't change that.

Of course people want to have opinions even when they don't know what they are talking about, and they always will. I don't worry much about what random others are consuming and thinking - that way madness lies.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
I think people vote based on demographics, their peers, their pocketbook, and politicians' personal lives, and all the great news in the world won't change that.
For the most part I think this is true. 90% of political views I inherited from my parents, and while I think they stand up to rational scrutiny it's rather convenient that I haven't actually had to change my mind yet.

But the areas where I have actually changed my mind (or come close) were in areas where I was exposed to continuous streams of media. Jon Stewart's lambasting of "Democratic Wusses" has made me more critical of the democratic party than I otherwise would be.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And it comes right back around to Stewart. Is anyone willing to give credence to the argument that Stewart spends more time making fun of the GOP because the GOP has a lot more material to work with at the moment?

to quote Stewart himself: "I have no obligation to the Democrats or progressives or liberals or unions. Our feeling is: corruption is corruption. If a union is corrupt, you can't leave it alone because it's a union, and they help so that 8-year-olds don't work in factories anymore. You know, you have to go where you feel like the absurdity is. So we're not anybody's - we're not warriors in their cause. And if they're upset, they should have thought of that, you know, the past couple of years, before they lost, you know, the momentum that they had gained."

quote:
One of my biggest problems with Stewart has long been his hiding behind the shield of being a comic. He wants to be taken seriously at times, and makes biting commentary, and then when someone hits back at him, he says, "but wait! I'm just a comedian!" It's the perfect shield to allow him to make political commentary and be taken seriously, but remove him from fear of actually being criticized in return. I don't care for that.
He talked about this to some extent in (I think) his last interview with Fresh Air. I think he actually is welcome to the criticism, but what he hates is when it comes from the people who should actually be reporting the real news, who are pointing fingers at him and making arguments predicated on his responsibility to journalistic integrity and he has to turn around and point out that this is a wonderful construct used to shift attention and heat off of the core responsibility of the accuser's essential abdication of their own (and real) responsibilities to journalism.
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katharina
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quote:
But the areas where I have actually changed my mind (or come close) were in areas where I was exposed to continuous streams of media. Jon Stewart's lambasting of "Democratic Wusses" has made me more critical of the democratic party than I otherwise would be.
But you haven't switched parties. You're less enchanted, but as far as I can tell from your account, your voting patterns haven't changed.

I'm not criticizing you - I don't believe that people do change their voting patterns based on news or even criticism. I'd honestly be surprised if they did. I'm not even sure if I wish for it - might as well wish for a fundamental change in human nature. I'm all for that kind of transformation, but it doesn't happen through politics.

quote:
I think he actually is welcome to the criticism, but what he hates is when it comes from the people who should actually be reporting the real news, who are pointing fingers at him and making arguments predicated on his responsibility to journalistic integrity and he has to turn around and point out that this is a wonderful construct used to shift attention and heat off of the core responsibility of the accuser's essential abdication of their own (and real) responsibilities to journalism.
See, I read that, and it sounds a lot like "Hey, they're worse." Which is one of the kindergarten behaviors that make me discount someone as a news source.

[ April 22, 2011, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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Swampjedi
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I believe Stewart would be fine with you discounting him as a news source, since he repeatedly says he shouldn't be considered one in the first place.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
quote:
I think he actually is welcome to the criticism, but what he hates is when it comes from the people who should actually be reporting the real news, who are pointing fingers at him and making arguments predicated on his responsibility to journalistic integrity and he has to turn around and point out that this is a wonderful construct used to shift attention and heat off of the core responsibility of the accuser's essential abdication of their own (and real) responsibilities to journalism.
See, I read that, and it sounds a lot like "Hey, they're worse." Which is one of the kindergarten behaviors that make me discount someone as a news source.
I'm not sure I understand how that is supposed to make sense. It looks like you're just slapping a convenient label on it to dismiss it.
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katharina
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Read it again, and then if it still doesn't make sense, don't worry about it. I don't care what you think.
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MrSquicky
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Ah, my cup of unacknowledged irony runneths (how do you spell that, anyway?) over, yet again.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
Read it again, and then if it still doesn't make sense, don't worry about it. I don't care what you think.

Harsh.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
...runneths (how do you spell that, anyway?)
Runneth...no "s".
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MrSquicky
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The "s" is there to denote present immediate. That is, my cup is currently runnething over. Doesn't runneth (no "s") denote...what the heck is the word for this...a continuing state?

My desire for unacknowledged irony is not continually fulfilled. At that point, it was, but the supply will wane. Thus, I think runneths is more correct than runneth. But I could be gravely mistaken.

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Stone_Wolf_
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*shrug* Hard to find grammatical rules for old English.

And while you may be mistaken, I surely hope it would not be a grave mistake.

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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
The "s" is there to denote present immediate. That is, my cup is currently runnething over. Doesn't runneth (no "s") denote...what the heck is the word for this...a continuing state?

-eth is an archaic version of the third-person simple present ending. In modern English it has been replaced with -s. You don't need both.
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Geraine
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http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/sean-hannitys-hour-on-liberal-media-bias-is-topped-by-a-liberal-media-host_b63283

This article has to be the most ironic I've seen in a long time.

quote:

Sean Hannity’s Hour on Liberal Media Bias is topped… by a Liberal Media Host


Friday night at 9pmET, Fox News aired a Sean Hannity special called “Behind the Bias: the History of Liberal Media.” It was billed as a “close-up look at the Obama-mania media’s liberal bias.”

Hannity’s hour, as it always does, came in first in Total Viewers averaging 1.4 million. But it trailed MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” in younger viewers: TRMS averaged 348K to Hannity’s special with 344K. This is a rare demo win for Maddow’s show. The last time was Keith Olbermann‘s final night on MSNBC in January, which gave the 9pm hour a healthy lead-in.

Hannity’s hour did not perform well against other Fox News shows. The normally #2 show on the channel, came in 5th after O’Reilly, Beck, Baier and Shep Smith.

The title made me think "Oh wow Maddow beat Hannity? That's news!"

Then you learn that Maddow beat Hannity in only one demographic, and only by 4 thousand viewers.

Oh the irony [Smile]

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Tresopax
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quote:
I was taught those skills in school. I do wonder how many schools teach them, however.
I actually wonder if the way we teach those skills is a major contributor to the problem... In high school, we were taught an "There's no wrong answer, as long as you can come up with a well-written argument to justify it" approach. I'd think that lends itself to the mentality of approaching news as something with multiple equally valid truths that contradict and do battle with one another.
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Raymond Arnold
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I think what would be extremely excellent is a "science" course. (Not a "biology" or a "chemistry" course. A course where students come up with their own hypothesis about something they personally care about, then devise an experiment and test it. Then randomly assign everyone a classmate's experiment and have them peer-review each other.

On top of getting people to understand why science works and is useful, I think that would also help with political discourse (as long as you're talking about actual factual things instead of moral disagreements.)

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I think what would be extremely excellent is a "science" course. (Not a "biology" or a "chemistry" course. A course where students come up with their own hypothesis about something they personally care about, then devise an experiment and test it. Then randomly assign everyone a classmate's experiment and have them peer-review each other.
This isn't a new idea. It is actually done a lot and it generally works pathetically. It's what science fair projects are supposed to be about. I've seen a number of liberal education scieces classes try it. Any class lower than the graduate level that does this ends up being mickey mouse.

The first part of any real science experiment is to find out what other people have already learned about the problem of interest and how they learned it. You can't even begin to form a reasonable hypothesis until you've done that. For most non-scientists that first step is going to literally require years of study. This means that most classes that try to teach the scientific method (at lower than graduate level) have to omit that first and critically important step of doing science.

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Raymond Arnold
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> It's what science fair projects are supposed to be about.

My impression was that science fair projects were often more about "following the instructions" than actually generating ideas and testing them.

I'd be hypocritical not to be open to it being a bad idea, but I'm curious exactly how these programs went about it and why they failed.

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MattP
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quote:
My impression was that science fair projects were often more about "following the instructions" than actually generating ideas and testing them.
I think this is part of the problem that Rabbit is talking about. The intent is to develop and test ideas - the curriculum discusses the scientific method and each project is supposed to follow a process from hypothesis through testing through conclusions. The result, unfortunately, is usually a grade based on following instructions.
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Raymond Arnold
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Also:

There's two different things I'd hope it could accomplish. One is to understand how "real" science is done and learn how to distinguish between good science and bad. The other is to drive home the notion that ideas are *testable*, period. Not necessarily foundation-of-reality level ideas, but simple things like "does pressing the button on sidewalk-corner actually make the light change faster?" or a more complicated "What clothes do cool people wear? Do all cool people wear those clothes? Are all people who wear those clothes cool? What do I mean by "cool?" (The latter might be hard to implement publicly and still be useful, but I'd have certainly appreciated knowing the answers)

At the elementary/middle school levels, I'd focus mostly on the latter type issues, to sell the idea that science is something that can be useful, rather than some weird thing you do to get good grades via mysterious processes. In high school you could incorporate research into part of the curriculum. (For middle and high school I'm imagining full year programs, not a project you do for a week then forget about it)

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Raymond Arnold
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>I think this is part of the problem that Rabbit is talking about.

Well absolutely. That's what *I* thought the problem was in the first place, and the "scientific method class" was intended to be the solution, not more of the same.

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katharina
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/sean-hannitys-hour-on-liberal-media-bias-is-topped-by-a-liberal-media-host_b63283

This article has to be the most ironic I've seen in a long time.

quote:

Sean Hannity’s Hour on Liberal Media Bias is topped… by a Liberal Media Host


Friday night at 9pmET, Fox News aired a Sean Hannity special called “Behind the Bias: the History of Liberal Media.” It was billed as a “close-up look at the Obama-mania media’s liberal bias.”

Hannity’s hour, as it always does, came in first in Total Viewers averaging 1.4 million. But it trailed MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” in younger viewers: TRMS averaged 348K to Hannity’s special with 344K. This is a rare demo win for Maddow’s show. The last time was Keith Olbermann‘s final night on MSNBC in January, which gave the 9pm hour a healthy lead-in.

Hannity’s hour did not perform well against other Fox News shows. The normally #2 show on the channel, came in 5th after O’Reilly, Beck, Baier and Shep Smith.

The title made me think "Oh wow Maddow beat Hannity? That's news!"

Then you learn that Maddow beat Hannity in only one demographic, and only by 4 thousand viewers.

Oh the irony [Smile]

My biggest problem with this article is that it isn't about politics at all. It isn't even about the political parties. It is an article on the media, by the media, about the media, ultimately about eyeballs, and the only connection to politics in the entire article is a reference to the "teams" each player is supposed to be playing on.

It is as much about actual politics as the lead story on the Sports page. This belongs on the sports page.

In sum:
1. On the media. There should be a sign in their office saying "We Are Not the Story". It isn't just that stupid articles like this distort the important things, but it takes the place of an actual, maybe researched article about ANYTHING important in politics. I guess it is on a mediawatch web site, which slightly redeems it from this point. Not from the others.

2. One upsmanship and team playing. That's not about the issues - that's sports. I fully support this behavior when we are talking about high school football. Anything else and adults should be ashamed to take part in it.

3. Distorted headline, like you said. The article itself doesn't support the headline, and even the little bit that is true in it has a skewed perspective.

It is an excellent example of amazingly crappy reporting. Bad editor, for publishing this.

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Raymond Arnold
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*agrees with Katherina*
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kmbboots
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Kat, I think that you may be missing the real consequences of the "game" you are talking about. It matters which "team" "wins" because, rather than getting a trophy, the team that wins gets the power to drastically impact the lives of real people. The teams represent political ideologies that determine the direction of that impact.
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katharina
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Nope. Elections matter. This kind of crappy reporting doesn't change voting patterns, so the prize is nothing but... no, the prize is nothing. The only reward is the game itself, which is absolute crap.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
This kind of crappy reporting doesn't change voting patterns...
To be fair, I think crappy reporting changes voting patterns more than solid reporting does.
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The Rabbit
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Comparing The Daily Show to Fox News is ridiculous from the get go. Fox News is supposed to be "News". The "Daily Show" is supposed to be "entertainment". The fact that people do compare the two highlights a central part of the problem. The distinction between what is "news" and what is "entertainment" has become so blurred that many people can't tell the difference.

If one is going to make a comparison, it should be between Jon Stewart and Rush Limbaugh both of whom claim to be entertainers not reporters. Reporters have an ethical obligation to present the facts in an accurate and objective manner. Entertainers do not. This is not to say that entertainers have no ethical obligation to their audience, they are just different than those of reporters. Entertainers and political pundits have every right to be biased, but bias is different from deception. Even entertainers and political pundits have an ethical obligation to make a clear distinction between what is fact and what is fiction. I think Rush Limbaugh and and other conservative talk show hosts cross that line. I don't think Stewart does.

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Raymond Arnold
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>The "Daily Show" is supposed to be "entertainment". The fact that people do compare the two highlights a central part of the problem.

I think both Rush and Jon Stewart need to be own up to the fact that regardless of their intentions, people DO treat them as sources of information. "Entertainer" and "Reporters" are arbitrary words we made up, not unchanging vows woven into the fabric of the universe.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I could see it with Rush, but Jon Stewart is on Comedy Central and is a stand up comic. If people are silly enough not to try and balance out his show with some research, then they deserve to have the wrong idea about some things, and it is hardly his fault.
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The Rabbit
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I just compiled some numbers from PolitiFact.com on pundits associated with purported liberal and conservative news agencies. I limited my tally to mainstream media personalities (no bloggers). Here are the totals

Liberal Media (MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, Comedy Central) (includes Maher, Olbermann, Maddow, Schultz and others). Out of a total of 68 statements evaluated by PolitiFact,

True: 14
Mostly True: 18
Half True: 14
Barely True: 7
False: 13
Pants on Fire: 2

Conservative Media (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Clear Channel) (includes Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter and others)

True: 4
Mostly True: 5
Half True: 14
Barely True: 10
False: 18
Pants on Fire: 10

Summary: Statements evaluated from pundits in the liberal media were half true or better 67% of the time.

Statements evaluated from pundits in the conservative media were barely true or worse 62% of the time. Statements from the conservative media pundits were found to be outright false or "pants on fire" twice as often as those from the liberal media.

In the liberal media, the biggest liars were Ed Schultz and Bill Maher, and Rachel Maddow (all MSNBC).

In the conservative media, the biggest liars are Beck, O'Reily and Limbaugh.

There was only one statement evaluated from Jon Stewart. It was determined to be mostly true.

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katharina
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Goooooo team! Rah rah rah!
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:

I think both Rush and Jon Stewart need to be own up to the fact that regardless of their intentions, people DO treat them as sources of information. "Entertainer" and "Reporters" are arbitrary words we made up, not unchanging vows woven into the fabric of the universe.

Why? Do you think there is no room in civil society for biased entertainment? Is it uncivilized or irrational to laugh at jokes that reinforce your world view? I agree that it is a problem that people can't distinguish entertainment from objective news reporting, but I don't think the solution is to ask that all jokes to be fair and balanced.

I think the preferable option is to ask that entertainment be honest. That entertainers make the distinction between fact and fantasy clear. In that regards, I think there is a world of difference between Jon Stewart and Rush Limbaugh. I don't follow either of them very closely so I could be wrong, but I haven't found any examples where Jon Stewart made claims of fact that have been proven to be outright false. There are hundreds of such examples for Rush Limbaugh.

[ April 26, 2011, 06:33 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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The Rabbit
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Oh, I should add to my statistics above that MSNBC has a pretty deplorable truth rating. It's not as bad as Fox (60% lies), but its close (50% lies). On both sides of the fence it appears that news paper pundits are more honest than broadcast news.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
[QB] Also:

There's two different things I'd hope it could accomplish. One is to understand how "real" science is done

This is the part that is really difficult to accomplish because the first step in any "real" science is to find out what others already know about the subject. I don't mean to pick on you, but your proposal is a classic example of the mistake. If you want to act like a real scientist, your first step should have been to research what's already been done in this area and how its worked before forming a hypothesis about how to improve the situation. It frustrates me as an educator because people keep trying the same failed things over and over again.

quote:
and learn how to distinguish between good science and bad.
I'm not sure what you mean here. I've been doing "real" scientific research for over two decades. I frequently review papers and proposals from other scientists, but outside my narrow field of specialization I really can't distinguish good science and bad science. It isn't realistic to think that the average citizen with no science training to speak of would ever be able to critically evaluate something that had passed peer review.


quote:
The other is to drive home the notion that ideas are *testable*, period. Not necessarily foundation-of-reality level ideas, but simple things like "does pressing the button on sidewalk-corner actually make the light change faster?"
If you want to mimic real science here, the first step would not be to go and time the lights. It would be to go to the traffic department and ask what the buttons at different cross-walks are designed to do or perhaps to the library to look for books on cross-walk lights. With that information, you would be prepared to form a hypothesis and design some decent experiments to determine whether the buttons do what they are designed to do.

quote:
or a more complicated "What clothes do cool people wear? Do all cool people wear those clothes? Are all people who wear those clothes cool? What do I mean by "cool?" (The latter might be hard to implement publicly and still be useful, but I'd have certainly appreciated knowing the answers)
When you ask the question "What do I mean by "cool"?", you are now veering into a territory where testability (in the sense I think of as a scientist) becomes questionable.

I think what you are really aiming for is "scientific" thinking, but better education in critical thinking, which can be taught in any discipline from the study of poetry to the study of muons. In education circles its commonly referred to as the ability to deal with ill-structured problems. Most people are pretty pathetically bad at it. Since it's a subject that obviously interests you, I recommend you look into the reflective judgement model.

[ April 26, 2011, 07:14 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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