Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Facebook comment on the New York Times editorial, "Truth and Lies in the Age of Trump"

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[comment edited by the author since its appearance on Facebook; see below for the NYT editorial; see also (1) (2) (3)] 

Why do I, as an ordinary citizen, find parts of this NYT editorial condescending? Perhaps because of its suggestion that mainstream-media -"breaking-story"- obsessed journalists (all honorable people, of course [see below on TV "anchor" Brian Williams]) -- who'll do practically anything to make a headline on p. 1/get a promotion to be an "editor" with their "exclusive" reporting -- actually are the Republic's philosopher-kings ...

Some quotations from the piece: "Without a Walter Cronkite [JB - i.e., the MSM?] to guide them [JB emphasis], how can Americans find the path back to a culture of commonly accepted facts, the building blocks of democracy?" 

JB Comment: I never thought, even as a youngster, that Cronkite should "guide" me; inform me, yes, in part; but "guide" me? And "commonly accepted facts" change all the time -- in Jefferson's time, for example, the necessity of slavery was a "commonly accepted fact" among many Americans (the Bible -- not the New York Times :) -- was cited as a justification of this "fact").


"The rise of social media has been great in many ways. In a media environment with endless inputs and outlets, citizens can inform and entertain one another, organize more easily and hold their leaders accountable. But it also turns out that when everyone can customize his or her own information bubble, it’s easier for demagogues to deploy made-­up facts to suit the story they want to tell." 

JB comment: So the new media is to blame? But the new media is no more than a medium, a tool -- the above remarks remind me of Plato castigating writing because it downgraded memory (another, arguably, communications "tool"), but, one could suggest (and I mean --suggest -- : am no Plato scholar), -- memory being for Plato a form of wise-men-approved permanent authority).

The president-elect is exploiting not just Twitter, but the decline of Americans’ shared view of reality.


Wiliams image from article

Bradford Richardson, "MSNBC’s Brian Williams laments the spread of ‘fake news’,"The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2016

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams, who repeatedly exaggerated or completely fabricated accounts of journalistic valor in the theater of war, is lamenting the role that “fake news” played in President-elect Donald Trump’s stunning electoral college victory.

“As we talked about here last night, fake news played a role in this election and continues to find a wide audience,” Mr. Williams reported Wednesday evening.

Tall tales told by Mr. Williams include the fiction that his helicopter sustained enemy fire and had to be grounded while he was embedded with troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He falsely claimed two of the four aircraft traveling in his platoon were hit by RPG and AK-47 fire in 2003.

The disgraced anchor, who was suspended for six months and subsequently demoted from his perch at NBC’s “Nightly News” following the revelations of serial deceit, also reported on the firing of National Security Adviser-delegate Mike Flynn’s son from the Trump transition team for spreading “fake news” on Twitter.

“But his dad, the retired Army three-star general, has passed on some gems himself,” Mr. Williams reported. “Here are a few: [Hillary] Clinton is involved with child sex-trafficking and has secretly waged war on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that the president is a jihadi who laundered money for Muslim terrorists.”

*** (added 12/17/2016); from

A decent breakdown of all things real and fake news.


As Leslie Moonves, the CBS president, said in February about Trump’s run: “It
may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS."

image from article

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