Truth Vigilantes

Calling the mainstream media out on "he said, she said" reporting.

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Abuse of and Faith in the News

I believe it is absolutely possible to find individuals and different media that point out the blatant lies that are often told in politics these days.

But more importantly, what this discussion – which I believe long overdue and very needed – should show everybody, particularly those in the news business, is how people feel about the news these days. They feel that despite the overflow of information and “facts” in the news, there is no watchdog over politicians’ spins any more. Facing this perception, it is no good pointing out single authors (some even in specialised blogs) or media that in a particular instance did question a specific government policy etc. To deal with this perception, even your average farmer in Iowa needs to be able to open his / her morning newspaper and find the truth.

For the sake of the political system, which has abused this situation continuously, as well as the people who really want to make good choices in elections, journalists should be aware of this problem as well as of the obvious craving of people for the real, absolute, and untarnished truth.

(Submitted by reader@claudiahofmann.de)

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Increasing need for “evidence-based journalism”

“Evidence-based journalism” deserves more emphasis, more analysis and discussion, and more development in detail. The intention is straightforward (even if apparently alien to the occasional public editor) and still the practice requires real work, and… practice.

Beyond that, I tend to think this issue taps into something very deep and fundamental that is going on in society, as we move from the world of hundreds of years ago, in which the “truth” of many matters was essentially socially determined (there being no alternative available), into a new age in which science provides a complicated but profound guide to robust truths.

In the physical realm, implemented through industrial technologies, the emergence of science has made possible an accelerating material accumulation (as well as increasingly sophisticated means of mass distraction and deception).

With climate change as a poster child outcome and issue – one which the MSM are still far, far from coming to real grips with – it is urgent to work out major upgrades of our journalism and our governance systems both, into forms that can sift out real evidence-based facts from the noise of social impressions. Ultimately, we need to be able to decide together (democracy), and act, based on actual facts.

There seem to be both timeless and significantly new dimensions to the question of truth in journalism. Ignoring it is not an option.

—Submitted by Kevin Matthews, ArchWeek (matthews@artifice.com)

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"Comments Closed" within 1 hour!

At 5:25 PM, New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane posted an update to his earlier article, “Should the New York Times Be a Truth Vigilante?”  In this update, he accuses his readers of not understanding the question, skims over the overwhelming feedback from readers that yes, the NYT should move away from the stenography model of journalism where any idiot with influence can get outright falsehoods printed in the paper in the name of “balance”, then invites further comments.

The last posted comment I can see is timestamped 3:25 PM, or 6:25 PM New York time.  (Assuming comments weren’t written before the article was published, I conclude that the timestamp on the article is Eastern time and the timestamps on the comments are given in my local Pacific time.) 

Only 46 comments were published before commenting was closed.  Almost all said the same thing: “We understood you just fine the first time.  And the answer is still ‘Yes.’”

I invite you to post your own comments, and examples of stenography journalism, here.  Should the NYT call public figures out on their BS?