Thursday Morning, Late: Like a Sucker Punch

It’s true
That it kicks you in the teeth when you are least expecting
Bad news
Oh it beats you black and blue before you see it coming

— excerpt, Bad News by Bastille

This little ditty seemed appropos for today. I’m surprised it was just a B-side.

Spin Factory
BAD DOG, REUTERS — When a big event happens, news media jump all over it and churn out reporting. But in the age of social media and the failure of traditional business models, crap is published and too often blown off. Like this tweet:Reuters_tweet_813am_19MAY2016
Looks innocuous, right? But it’s not — this is the replacement for a tweet that preceded it. Same story, but with a frigging picture of Donald Trump attached. I’d post that original tweet here but they deleted it before I could snag it.

Initial reaction too often is “It’s just a tweet, it’s just Twitter.” No. Hell, no. If Reuters can’t get something as simple as a photo on a tweet correct, what else are they getting wrong with slap dash coverage?

Reuters isn’t just any news outlet; businesses pay its parent corporation, Thompson Reuters for their information products. What are businesses getting in purchased real-time feeds? Some of these businesses are broadcasters. Are erroneous feeds shaping broadcasters’ perceptions before they even reproduce news content? It’s rather important today when some news outlets sought whacko tweets and quotes from Trump before attempting to get a reaction from the White House.

Reuters’ alleged bias has already been controversial; a contributor left in 2013 claiming editorial bias for climate skepticism demanding false balance made reporting on climate change difficult. Reuters denied the claim.

ON THE MEDIA — Rather than allow media churn to burn us with bad (as in poorly executed and unethical) news, best to consult On The Media‘s Breaking News Consumer’s Guide — Airplane Edition.

FIFTY CENT PARTY — You’ve probably seen a news story about this research. Cut out the middlemen and read it at this link:

King, Gary, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts. How the Chinese Government Fabricates Social Media Posts for Strategic Distraction, Not Engaged Argument. 2016.

RIP MORLEY SAFER — And more bad (as in sad) news: former CBS reporter and correspondent Morley Safer has died at age 84. The three-time Peabody Award winner retired from CBS only last week. We need more journalists like Safer, who began his career with reporting from the Vietnam War that galled then-President Lyndon Johnson for its honesty.

Busy day here, can’t spend any more time at the keyboard. See you here tomorrow morning!

7 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    “We need more journalists like Safer, who began his career with reporting from the Vietnam War that galled then-President Lyndon Johnson for its honesty.” Agreed. But we may not get them. Not with the US military refusing to embed any journalist who will report critically on its actions; the horrifically risky front lines (and rear areas, even) with no visible enemy; and the occasional drone strike killing randomly. I man, how much Safer-type reporting do we get today from Iraq, or Syria, or Yemen?

    • martin says:

      quote” I man, how much Safer-type reporting do we get today from Iraq, or Syria, or Yemen?”unquote

      People who lived through the Vietnam war era saw what “real” war correspondents and MSM news reports provided. It provided the TRUTH, which in turn gave validity to the anti-war movement.

      vs..Bush’s doctrine of “embedding” correspondents where they wanted. Of course, by this time, MSM was “owned”..lock stock and barrel. Today’s news consumer gets propaganda and a polished turd of bullshit and lies. Moreover, this has caused exactly what the government wants.. a clueless society of dimwits the don’t know shit, nor cares. Except for those who relentlessly follow various outlets on the Internet. However, for mainstream TV news followers, their world is painted for them. If Walter Cronkite were to suddenly appear with the same world wide correspondent support as I knew growing up.. America would faint in disbelief.

  2. martin says:

    ps..Speaking of bullshit propaganda, get a load of this…

    The DOD using taxpayers funds to the tune of millions of dollars… paid to “sports franchises” to create a nationwide “support the troops” facade of propaganda via “military style tributes” during sporting events, broadcast throughout Murika to spark “nationalistic support” of our never ending wars.

    What a load of crap. At least the NFL didn’t buy it. Or take the money. Kudo’s to them.

    I would hope Congress would drag whoever the DOD scumbags are who came up with and instituted this bullshit, before a hearing and ream their ass publicly for using funding for propaganda. However, I won’t hold my breath. After all..Congress enacted a law removing the ban on domestic propaganda a few years ago. I wonder if the DOD used taxpayers funds to lobby the scum sucking Congress cockroach who introduced the bill? I wouldn’t put it pass them. And these bastards in Congress would sell their own mother on the street for $.25.

  3. blueba says:

    Perhaps a little self reflection by emptywheel on its China coverage is in order lest it fall into the same sorts of traps it chides the Neoliberal press for frequently.

    To report the Chinese social media story in two or three lines and failing to put it into any kind of context is just as misleading as anything you might find in, say the Guardian or NYT.

    Your readers might like to know that the numbers quoted have not been verified and the source of the study – Harvard – is a flagship Neoliberal anit-China organization.

    Additionally, the number while it sounds big is a drop in the bucket of the internet traffic of 900 million users.

    It is extremely difficult to get reliable coverage of China – even at emptywheel every Chinese product reported on almost always contains some phrase such as “it looks a lot like a Western product doesn’t it” as if Chinese cars have 4 wheels so the stole the idea from the West.

    I’m sure the budget at emptywheel restricts its largely exceptional work, but here in the West what is desperately needed is some reliable coverage of China where the US is building up armaments including nuclear weapons on a world war scale on China’s periphery.

    I would urge emptywheel to reflect a little about China and see if some reliable reporting can be produced instead of repeating propogandestic unchecked figures.

  4. Rayne says:

    blueba (8:26) — Oh, you never fail me on coverage related to China. How many times is this now you’ve popped in just because China and then taken issue with the content?

    I posted that bit from Harvard sans comment to let folks draw their own conclusions. As a number of readers are academics and foreign policy wonks, I’m sure they’ll come to their own conclusions.

    I note you neatly avoided reference to the link provided to South China Morning Post, now owned by Alibaba. Or is Alibaba not to be criticized?

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