Media Criticism

Has the Ignorant Media Gotten Worse?

From storm coverage to the deep state, many in the media display a pro-government bias.

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Has the media gotten worse? Or am I just grouchier?

Every day I see things that are wrong or that so miss the point I want to scream.

Four examples:

Storm Coverage

As this week's storm approached the East Coast, the media reverted to breathless hype: "monster storm … very dangerous." Here I blame my beloved free market: Predicting scary weather works. Viewers tune in.

What galls me more is the reporters' government-centric thinking. "Everything is closed," they say. "Employees can't get to work."

But the corner grocery stayed open. So did many gas stations and restaurants.

Why is it that when government buildings close, so many private businesses stay open? Because their own money is at stake.

The store's employees probably make less money than government workers. They are less likely to own all-wheel-drive cars. But they get to work. Some sleep there. Their own money is on the line.

Reporters don't think about the distinction.

The Deep State

Monday, The New York Times ran the headline "What Happens When You Fight a 'Deep State' that Doesn't Exist?"

The article explained that unlike Egypt or Pakistan, America doesn't really have a powerful deep state, and to claim that it does "presents apolitical civil servants as partisan agents."

Give me a break. "Apolitical civil servants"?

A deep state absolutely exists. Some call it "administrative state" or "regulatory state." These are the people who crush innovation and freedom by issuing hundreds of new rules. Regulators, if they don't pass new rules, think they're not doing their jobs.

Even "anti-regulator" President George W. Bush hired 90,000 new regulators. Calling them "nonpartisan" doesn't make them harmless—it just means we put up with them through multiple administrations.

Even if you exclude the military and post office, more than 20 million Americans work for the government. Because of civil service rules, it's almost impossible to fire them.

The Times calls these 20 million people "apolitical". Please. Most are just as partisan as you or I. Maybe more so, as leaks and signs of bureaucratic resistance to presidential edicts demonstrate.

People who choose to work for, say, the EPA, tend to be environment zealots. This should surprise no one. Somehow, New York Times reporters don't see it.

"Chief of EPA Bucks Studies"

Speaking of the EPA and The Times, their front page claimed President Donald Trump appointee Scott Pruitt is "at odds with the established scientific consensus." That makes Pruitt sound like an anti-science idiot. But the headline is bunk.

Pruitt only said that he does not agree that man is "the primary contributor to global warming."

That's "at odds" with Times reporters and government flunkies on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but many scientists say there is so much uncertainty to climate measurements that no one can know if man's greenhouse gases are the "primary" cause of warming.

The earth warmed similarly last century, well before we emitted so much carbon dioxide.

John Oliver

British comedian John Oliver hosts one of the better political talk shows. He's like Bill Maher but funnier and not as mean. Yesterday, on an airplane, I watched an episode that led with a report on the chaos in Venezuela.

I perked up, expecting Oliver to at least mention Venezuela's caps on corporate profits, abolition of property rights, media censorship, regulation of car production "from the factory door to the place of sale," etc. In other words: socialism.

But no, Oliver didn't mention any of that.

He mocked President Maduro's speeches but said Venezuela was in trouble because its economy depends on oil and oil prices dropped. What?

Kuwait, Nigeria, Angola and other countries exported more oil than Venezuela. But they survived the price drop without experiencing the misery that Venezuela suffers. The suffering was created by socialism.

America's leftists cannot see the horrors of socialism even when they are right in front of them.

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  1. I long ago gave up wondering why statists ignore statism’s problems. Some day, I realized that I had long since recognized government was simply incompetent. Everything they did, without exception, they did clumsily at best, and usually were actually harmful. I understand now that being competent, even where the end goal is actually useful, is harmful to government worker’s reputation and careers. The only metric to judge their jobs is how big a budget they oversea and how many employees they supervise.

    Government sucks.

    1. Governments are human beings, and human beings are not infallible. Are you complaining that governments made up of humans beings are not perfect — private businesses are not perfect; in fact most of them fail — or are you saying that there are no legitimate functions of government?

      1. Governments are human beings, and human beings are not infallible.

        And yet we are forced to fund them and obey them. Some of them can kill people with impunity.

        1. But government is the only thing that we all belong to.

          Hat tip: President Obama

        2. Most of the government’s powers are sold to us on the premise that the people are too fallible, therefore we need the government to take care of them. Who runs that government, if not the same sort of fallible people?

      2. Re: DanO.,

        Governments are human beings, and human beings are not infallible.

        The difference between government and private businesses, Dan, is that government is never subjected to a profit-loss test. While pointing out that private businesses are fallible is technically correct, it is also misleading, because the Market corrects its mistakes whereas government merely covers up its mistskes by growing its budget.

        […] are you [Stossel] saying that there are no legitimate functions of government?

        He doesn’t have to say it. Thefe are NO legitimate functions of government. There are functions some people want a government for but that does not make the government legitimate. Truths are not true because they have a majority vote.

        1. Fun fact: There are those of us who think the very idea of “legitimate” government is a fucking scam.

          I tolerate the (not “my”) government to the extent that it is tolerable, and that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it.

      3. DanO.|3.15.17 @ 8:12AM|#
        ” — private businesses are not perfect; in fact most of them fail — ”

        And they go out of business!
        When governments fail, they kill people, idjit.

      4. Others answered what I will repeat: businesses and individuals face competition and suffer market consequences for incompetence. Governments do not.

        As to the legit affairs of government … ha! They derive their moral authority from the people, so it is claimed. How did it get the moral authority to steal and kidnap, to conscript, to wage war in anything other than self-defense? If I tried that, or you, or anyone other than an agent of the government, you and everyone else would call me a thief or kidnapper.

        1. Maybe the morality of the people is not what it once was?

      5. When govts fuck up, the rest of us suffer for it. When businesses fuck up, those involved face the consequences. And no one has said there are ‘no legitimate functions’ for govt. Are you as stupid as this post makes you out to be?

      6. “human beings are not infallible”

        Are you serious? Who said they we’re?

        “Are you complaining that governments made up of humans beings are not perfect — private businesses are not perfect;

        Except the difference being, that normal businesses can fail when they’re incompetent, and thet don’t have the authority to legally fine, imprison, and kill you if you don’t buy their service. Government, within certain limits, does have that authority, plus they get to be as incompetent as they want because there is no competition for government.

        “are you saying that there are no legitimate functions of government?”

        This article is about the media being suckups to the state. So no I would say that the “free press” shouldn’t be a “legimate” government function.

        And considering some of government current functions, why the he’ll shouldn’t we be critical?

        Government brought us a failed hundred year drug war only distinguished each decade by the new rhetoric “reefer madness!”

        GoverWage a War on terror with no end in sight. With each new enemy having a weaker link to the original AUMF than the last.

    2. Government is like fire. If you are young, healthy, possessed of a difficult skill set, and lucky, you can live without it. But it ain’t gonna be comfortable. OTOH, you need to watch it like a hawk, because it’s fundamental drives amount to a desire to destroy everything.

      1. *operatic applause*

    3. Lots of people claim that the military is the only part of government that works when in reality its the only part that we find if we give it unlimited funds and overwhelming use of manpower that it actually gets its job done but only by shear volume not because it does anything correctly. its like a broken clock is correct twice a day the only problem is you never know when its right

      1. The military is very effective, but not efficient. Which makes sense. When your job is to kill your enemy before they kill you, being effective is much stronger motivation than being cheap.

  2. “horrors of socialism” public “education”

  3. Libertarianism for Dummies.?

    1. And yet you still don’t get it because you’re not just a dummy, you’re a retard.

      1. They never do.

        Maybe we need a “Libertarianism for Batshit Trolls” edition?

  4. The earth warmed similarly last century, well before we emitted so much carbon dioxide.

    Um, John? Last century was the 20th century.

    1. Fair point.

      The issue remains; the track of global warming does not match closely with rise in CO2, the ‘studies’ that claim it does have heavily ‘corrected’ data, global warming believers strongly resist revealing their raw data, and believers have been caught lying a great deal.

      Global Warming is almost certainly happening, and may be man-caused, but belief in man-cause global warming has essentially devolved into a religious cult.

    2. Stossel is correct, but his writing is ambiguous. He’s referring to the early 20th Century warming.

      1. Lacklustre piece from John. It’s boilerplate and by the numbers. It’s via creators.com so I guess it’s part of his writing quota.

  5. “many in the media display a pro-government bias” – Unsurprising. The power-worshiping lewinsky press is not that much different than the general population, a superstitious and servile mass of statolaters.

  6. The media have always been purveyors of thumping great lies. At this time in history theater is a large mass of them that want to sell the SAME thumping great lies, which is losing them market and will end in their fu=inancial death.

    It can’t come soon enough.

  7. As this week’s storm approached the East Coast, the media reverted to breathless hype: “monster storm … very dangerous.”

    Yeah, even though the early suggested reports for my area weren’t nearly as hyperbolic, it still said we’d get 7cm. When we actually got it, the snow was only enough to cover the car windows.

    Most are just as partisan as you or I. Maybe more so, as leaks and signs of bureaucratic resistance to presidential edicts demonstrate.

    I would venture that having a regulatory job would further one’s partisanship. After all, the people who go into it are like-minded, constantly confirming their virtue through adding more to “solve a problem”, and because of said virtue, any issues that arise can be dismissed as meager consequences for the greater good.

    1. In my experience, people who do well by selling cars have an affinity for cars and people who do well in the oil industry have an appreciation for how essential energy is to human well-being.

      My in-laws were both federal employees, and they had an affinity for the federal government in particular, and felt it was indispensable to human well-being. Consequently, they were lifelong Democrats and never saw a regulation they did not support. Well, that’s not quite true: they did criticize regulations that limited their authority to spend taxpayers’ money as they saw fit.

      1. My Parents were life long democrats who loved all regulations and hated all republicans except for me until they retired. it was like a switch went off or something.

  8. Predicting scary weather works. Viewers tune in.

    I didn’t notice when I stopped paying any attention to weather reports.

  9. John, why do you even mention the NYT?

    1. The last legitimate national newspaper in this country is the Wall Street Journal. NYT and WaPo just operate as the propoganda arms of the Democratic Party now

      1. More specifically, NYT and WaPo are propaganda arms of the progressive wing of the Democrat Party.

        Of course, that has become a distinction without a difference.

      2. I know it’s a magazine and not a newspaper, but if we’re listing decent media sources then The Economist is not bad.

        They argue for statist solutions at least as often as they argue for free market solutions, but their analysis is consistently intelligent and data-driven. I find they’re a worthwhile read even if I disagree with their conclusions, because I often wind up learning something regardless.

      3. Not sure how legitimate the WSJ can be considered after the completely ridiculous hit piece they ran against YouTuber PewDiePie.

  10. John Oliver is arguably the most ignorant ‘comedy/pundit’ on TV. I watched his skit about Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy and his explanation was riddled with falsehoods or just plain stupidity. It’s not even that his left-wing ‘comedy’ bias muddles the situation- he just tells complete lies. I don’t think he realizes what nonsense he’s spewing, because, let’s face it, he’s no brighter than John Stewart or Bill Maher.

    1. For the most part, “news” is pretty much just entertainment, which is why so many get their “news” from the likes of Stewart and Colbert nowadays. Makes the narratives so much easier to swallow; and swallow they do.

    2. What has become of all the great comics? Where are the Lenny Bruces and Andy Kaufmanns and George Carlins? It seems to me, like vast majority of media, that all comedians today are just left-wing political hacks who try (and in my opinion fail miserably) to mock anything right-wing. Fuck Stewart. Fuck Oliver. Fuck Colbert. And especially fuck Schumer (and I do not mean that literally).

      1. There are plenty of potential George Carlins out there but they are scared shitless to do the material that they *really* want to do and for good reason. As a rule, comedy scenes grow out of major metro areas which are dominated by a progressive hipster mono-culture.

        For any aspiring comedian, crossing that culture means torpedoing your own career so they generally stick to the safe topics: left-wing political jokes, drugs and sex, and why straight/white/cis/males suck. And even the “sex” topic is iffy if you’re a guy.

    3. I couldn’t understand that bit either. If they are a comedian, their show is not news. We should have learned this by now. Jon Stewart’s show wasn’t news, even if there were interviews, and neither are any of the others. I can honestly say that I’ve never known Oliver to be particularly intelligent or interesting on any subject I’ve heard him pontificate about.

  11. “Ignorant Media” is a redundancy.

    The NYT staff think they themselves are non-idelogical. Besides, of course non-political civil servants are non- political, it says so right on the label!

  12. Stupid government! Why can’t they predict the future with 100% certainty? If the private Weather Channel can do it, why can’t the NOAA?

    1. DanO.|3.15.17 @ 10:14AM|#
      “Stupid government! Why can’t they predict the future with 100% certainty? If the private Weather Channel can do it, why can’t the NOAA?”

      Did you bring that strawman all the way from home? Or find it on the way.
      What a fucking dimwit.

    2. Re: DanO.,

      You don’t seem to dwell too much in your statements before putting them in word, Dan. If through your sarcasm you CONCEDE that government cannot predict the future, then what makes you think gives the government the right to impose policy that is not based on accurate foreknowledge?

      If there is one thing that is true about human history, is that knowledge has always been a process of discovery and not one of pure foresight. And government is not populated with particularly talented soothsayers last I peeked. So there is really NO intellectually honest reason to defend such policies like ‘Angry Volcano God Appeasement’ policies as prescribed by government flunkies in the EPA or the IPCC.

    3. since govt cannot predict the future any more than anyone else can, why then should we believe the apocalyptic climate change predictions and why should we let govt “do something” in order to combat this scourge?

      This is bad trolling, son. You’re making Tony look sharp.

    4. There’s a whole lot of troll-feeding going on today.

      Let the sick freak starve.

  13. I cut the cable over a year ago; I do not listen to NPR and the way to and from work anymore [as I had done for decades]; I get my news feeds from WSJ, Reuters, The Economist, and BBC. Even through in some other perspective from RT, just for gits and shiggles.

    And, it goes without saying, Reason.org.

    Maybe I’m living in a silo, but it’s a silo with less egregious propaganda.

    As for NPR, when something is government funded, how can it be unbiased? They are just a tab more subtle in their presentation not only in how they report but what they choose to cover.

    1. NPR took a real nosedive as Trump’s star rose. They started wearing their bias on their sleeve and over the past year have melted down right alongside Team Blue. Plus mucho SJW propaganda. They still have some good music shows.

    2. when something is government funded, how can it be unbiased?

      I keep pointing this out: the part of Ike’s military industrial complex speech that is often overlooked raised the issue of govt funding and scientific research, with the question of how long before grants become a proxy for inquiry. His question has answered itself but the point remains.

      1. “I keep pointing this out: the part of Ike’s military industrial complex speech that is often overlooked raised the issue of govt funding and scientific research”

        I have brought that up several times myself.

        It seems that Ike’s comments about the military industrial complex are widely quoted – especially by those on the left but his warning about government funded research which came immediately after that in his farewell speech is rarely ever mentioned.

  14. What most of the press like are reputable press releases.

    Repeating press releases is cheap, a quick rewrite and off it goes. Some don’t even bother to rewrite it.

    Reputable is someone having a title or position that if the press release if wrong the press can blame them.

    So government press releases are popular since they give free copy and are there to be blamed if needed. Corporate, universities, foundations, etc are next on the press releases that the press like to use. The average person doesn’t have a title or position so they can be ignored.

  15. I’ve long argued that the media does NOT have a liberal bias, it has a pro-government bias. As in a bias towards larger government, towards more spending, towards more taxes, towards more war, towards more regulation, towards more nannystatism, towards more meddling, towards more stumping, more, more more. The only reason Republicans thought it was a liberal bias was because Republicans mistook themselves as favoring smaller government. Silly Republicans, this administration may go down as the media’s most beloved administration.

  16. So the government employees who are running rogue Twitter accounts and doing everything they can to obstruct the new president’s orders are “apolitical”? Please. I’m not displeased that government officials are rebelling against the president; I don’t believe in the “I was only following orders” model. But don’t try to pretend the obstructers are apolitical.

  17. Has the media gotten worse?

    Some, yes. reason.com has maintained a nice facade consistently, though

  18. “but many scientists say there is so much uncertainty to climate measurements that no one can know if man’s greenhouse gases are the “primary” cause of warming.”

    This is a lie. Please stop spreading misinformation John.

    1. Prof. Lindzen’s recent letter to Trump making the claim Stossl quoted had over 300 co-signer scientists, which counts as “many.”

      1. Except that letter does not make this claim.

  19. The administrative state and the deep state are not the same. EPA is administrative state. NSA is deep state. It is an important distinction.

  20. In the early republic much of journalism was written at what we would call the “college “level”, that is, for the educated nonspecialist. That was not a fit for the level most of their readers, but it was a fit for what most of their readers aspired to become.

    In the 19th century there arose what we may call anti-intellectualism. I encountered it myself when I ran for Congress in 1976, and a reported called me an “egghead”. The word stuck, and hurt my election prospects. The basic attitude was “We don’t need to be educated, and we don’t want to read (or be represented by) those more educated than we are.” Journalists today are just adapting to this attitude.

    The situation was parodied by Mike Judge’s movie “Idiocracy”. Except that the movie failed to reveal that in a real idiocracy the human race would become extinct within days.

    Those who aspire to responsible journalism need to hire journalists who are among the most educated people of their age, and who write accordingly.

  21. The reality of the deep state was confirmed by Bill Clinton during an interview with journalist Sarah McClendon: “Sarah, there is a government within the government and I don’t control it.”

  22. Agree with the earlier comments on mainstream media. Yes the WSJ has gotten more USA Today-like under Murdoch, but they at least make an attempt to firewall their reporting from the editorial page. They’ve avoided the high-profile scandals that have plagued the NY Times over the years, reflecting the ideological infection has gone terminal over there (“The Original ‘Fake News’ source!”) …
    On op-eds, the WSJ is now shotgun in its’ ideology, reflecting the splintering of the Republican party in general, but these are disagreements generally carried out with logic, history, facts. For an example of truly unhinged op-ed writing at the NYT, you get Charles Blows, Frank Bruni, Paul Krugman…a whole dyspeptic stream of SJW hod-carriers.
    NPR is wandering in the desert in a battered Volvo station wagon, and recently went core meltdown over Trump. But they were losing it a while ago. Am I the only one who thinks NPRs’ host Ari Shapiro is the same guy narrating the Honey Badger vid? Try it. They’re the same dude.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

  23. here’s Ari, speaking today in a Patton Oswalt i-view:

    http://www.npr.org/2017/03/10/…..-all-wrong

  24. It’s an avalanche of stupid….must be global warming.

  25. “Has the Ignorant Media Gotten Worse?”

    unReason seems just as oblivious to reason as as the rest of partners in the lying LSM.

  26. Of course the media have gotten worse. What intelligent young person in their right mind would enter a dying industry?

  27. You give John Oliver far too much benefit of the doubt. He’s just another lying propagandist. Does his take on any issue ever surprise anyone? I have yet to see it.

  28. “Apolitical civil servants”

    There’s a common (if perverse) definition of “political” out there, under which only the right-wing conservative or libertarian views of an issue are political. Taking a progressive, left-wing view of the same issue is “apolitical.”

    Under that definition, the US government is staffed with “apolitical civil servants.” It’s not just partisanship; the New York Times, and the bureaucrats themselves, see their views as merely being 100% ordinary, self-evidently-true common sense, with nothing “political” about those views at all. It’s only opposition to those views that’s political.

  29. I’d have more sympathy if the typical American weren’t so eager to give up everyone else’s liberty and money to give themselves government “benefits”. If Americans ever get serious about privatizing the education system, the most malignant and dangerous form of government control, I might be sympathetic. If Americans don’t do that AND take action to eliminate the other malignancies known as social security and medicare, then fuck ’em. They deserve exactly what they get from the political overlords the WANTED.

  30. “The earth warmed similarly last century, well before we emitted so much carbon dioxide.” Got a reference for that claim?

  31. “The earth warmed similarly last century, well before we emitted so much carbon dioxide.” Are you talking about the 20th century? We emitted plenty of CO2 then. It was only 17 years ago.

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