When should the press pay attention to trolls, lies and disinformation?

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/04/countermeasures-r-us.html


These are good and well thought out recommendations, but when all else fails journalists need to call out a lie as a lie and call out BS as BS. The MSM, out of a misguided sense of trying to appear politically objective, is still struggling to do this more than a year into this regime.

Also, the dictum “don’t report on lies” would mean not covering most White House press conferences.


I’d love to see the Trumphouse panic if Sarah Huckabee Sanders came out and found no one there, just one webcam pointed at the podium.


…watch out for “overly amateur” videos and such that may have been deliberately roughed up to make them look authentic…

Not just political hit jobs; over the last ten years the same techniques have shown up in anime of all places. Camera shake and lens flare and depth-of-field errors in a medium that uses no lenses. All in the name of verisimilitude.


No, this is purely about money. They write stories so that they don’t offend any side so that they won’t drop their subscription, or change channel. And since liberals like to think of themselves as open and fair-minded, they skew heavily conservative.

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The best way of covering the White House, as Kieth Olbermann pointed out from the beginning, is to not report on anything they say, only things they do.


That’s part of it since a mass-media business tries to appeal to a lowest-common-denominator audience. However there’s also an odd American aspect to it not present in the overtly partisan European press, to the point where Fox News takes as its slogan the absurd “Fair and Balanced.”


Well, Fox is different. They’re overtly fascist and lie about everything constantly. They’re not really a news organization by any meaningful definition.

If Obama had had a single vertebra he would have booted them from the press pool in his first year.

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I’d be grateful if they would drop all reports about tweets, and use that time to focus on in-depth coverage of legislation and executive orders.


The WWFuckation of news has certainly succeeded in making me not give a shit about "news"papers folding left and right.

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Most importantly, they spin things to please their anonymous sources, who provide their “scoops”…

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This whole “QAnon” bullshit is a case study. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re lucky; it’s even stupider than the Ping Pong Pizza idiocy.

I had no idea this idiot conspiracy existed until NBC started “warning” us about it, due to a proliferation of “Q”-based posters in D_T’s last rally. I cannot but imagine this served as a vindication to the QAnon idiots and an advertisement to pre-idiots.


These days, in marketing, “genuine” beats “polished.” A cell phone video of someone freaking out (in a good way) about a product is better than a high-production advertisement.


What’s annoying is that, occasionally, Bret Baer and Shep Smith will impersonate a journalist. It does make it very hard to write off all 24 hours/day of Fox.

Hasn’t made it hard for me at all…


This is a good effort, but I think anyone who would report conscientiously on MAGA news still needs a much sharper knife. I understand the desire not to sink to the same level in general, but you do need to recognise when you’re bringing a nuanced bullet-pointed debating strategy to a scat-flinging fight.

This John Scalzi Twitter thread pretty much sums it up for me:


I’m not convinced this isn’t their end goal. You know they hate getting up there and answering questions about their conduct.

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