Is the Internet a "Monster"? No, it is just a reflection of the monster we call the Human Race.

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II

Fear is a drug.

It is a habit and an excuse not to do the things we need to do to progress.

This AFP article asks if the Internet is a “out-of-control” monster.

No. It is a tool, the way a hammer is a tool.

You can take a hammer and kill someone with it.

But for billions of people who used hammers their entire lives with incident, we don’t have discussions about whether a hammer is a monster.

Because that’s just stupid.

But so is AFP.

They have a vested interest in slagging the Internet; so this isn’t exactly an objective think piece. Just griping because AFP, like other news outlets, can’t get what they want with it. Boo hoo.

The Internet is a warehouse of babblings.

It merely expresses what is crossing the minds of billions of people.

So if the warehouse is an “out-of-control monster”, then so is the entire human race as a collective.

That’s not the way to see the world. That’s a coward’s defeatist attitude.

Bravery and sensitivity shows us a better way — and it is far better to understand those around you than run away from them.

No wonder the profession collapsed as badly as it did.

Because once we get to the core of those “monsters”, we find another person with their own melodies that may differ from our own, but are lovely nonetheless…not monsters…

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AFP is at it again...they don't actually understand what this whole "fake news" thing is all about.

It is interesting when one form of propaganda calls out a rival form of propaganda.

AFP is one of those informationally-devoid services disguised as news, but it all comes off like an ABC Afterschool Special.

Their latest attempt at framing “fake news” is fake news itself.

The first hint is their use of the word “weaponize”: this is a trigger-word and a propaganda word:

Since US President Donald Trump weaponised the term "fake news" during the 2016 presidential election campaign, the phrase has gone viral.

Increasingly it is used by politicians around the world to denounce or dismiss news reports that do not fit their version of the truth.

But as news outlets defend their work, false information is saturating the political debate worldwide and undermining an already weak level of trust in the media and institutions.

Outlets cannot defend their bad journalism. They misuse their pages to beg for money, tell people how brave guardians they are writing about the skits they watched on Saturday Night Live, and bash Donald Trump, as they use manipulative narratives to rig collective thought.

That isn’t news. That is propaganda.

In fact, this is exactly what AFP is trying to do: frame an issue in order to deflect attention away from journalism’s countless shortcomings, which I have been chronicling since 2005 in my first book, and continue to do so.

In my first book, I picked cases where the outlets admitted to reporting fake news. I could have posted ones where they insisted it was true and I had them dead to rights on their willful deceptions, but I went for the confirmed and admitted fake news so there would be no wiggle room.

And the fact that the press continues to pretend that this doesn’t happen or that they are sloppy and not empirical in their approach tells you that the US President knows who they really are.

It is the reason we need an alternative: we cannot rely on people who manipulate and lie to make decrees about other people’s truthfulness and trustworthiness. You can have two bands of thugs making ultimatums: you do not have to pick either side. You can tell them both to fuck off, and not follow any thugs.

Which is the wisest course of action. Politics is broken, but so is journalism. They both should be held accountable for their sins.

But more importantly, it is time to replace the old systems for something much smarter — and kinder…

AFP's Reality Problem: It still sees Fake News as something unrelated to its profession. It's wrong.

Agence France-Presse has been busy will spewing out a series of silly articles all about the Big Bad known as Fake News. These have been told in the old fashion ABC After School Special-style that is supposed to sound patriarchal and authoritative, but like the uncle who has easy and fast advice that has no real world application, these articles come off as childish.

I have mentioned one of the previous articles, but there are more, such as this one, looking at how various regimes are trying to combat fake news, without ever mentioning how these governments came up with the solutions -- was it through empirical methods, or just by pandering or targeting their enemies and then using the noble cause of "fighting fake news" to do it.

It doesn't, of course, nor does it factor in whether media outlets who report propaganda would be subject to those laws as well.

The more comical is this one with the very PSA-sounding headline:

Fake news: the media industry strikes back

I love the propagandistic beginning of the piece:

The viral spread of hoaxes and misinformation ahead of the US election and Brexit referendum two years ago was a wake-up call for many established news media, who have gone on the offensive to shore up their credibility and help filter out fake news.

"Wake-up call"? To a profession that keeps reporting lies as news? To the point of destroying itself? Nice try.

Then there is this little throwaway bit worth noting:

Major media organizations, often in partnership with big technology and social media firms, have stepped up fact-checking and other steps to support fact-based journalism.

By doing the same things that made them lose their credibility? And teaming up with those same news-clueless "social media firms" that spread misinformation, invades privacy, and sells big data to the highest bidder? Those groups?

Yes, that instills confidence to the gullible. Then the usual sad attempt at deflection:

But these efforts have been complicated by unrelenting attacks on the media by US President Donald Trump and others who tend to label any unfavorable coverage "fake news."

And we go right back to Donald Trump. The news media got emasculated by him in public, and this article is just another hit piece on the man who bested them.

The propaganda and the Journalism Is Perfect delusion comes shortly after:

Social media "has made things much worse," because it "offers an easy route for non-journalists to bypass journalism's gatekeepers, so that anyone can 'publish' anything, however biased, inaccurate or fabricated," says John Huxford, an Illinois State University journalism professor.

"Journalism's role as the 'gatekeeper' of what is and isn't news has always been controversial, of course. But we're now seeing just how bad things can get when that function breaks down."

See, those social media firms were the saviours, but now the reporter labels them as villains. Make up your brain cell. And the world would have been perfect if journalists had all the controls and were still the gate-keepers cribbing press releases and telling how important it is to follow celebrity gossip.

There is lots of fear-mongering in the story -- how Trump will destroy a press that already destroyed itself, and how all this fake news will Take Over the World:

Journalists may face new dangers in the current environment, in some cases subject to attacks by political leaders even when trying to debunk false information.

And the poor, valiant without flaw journalists are being placed in danger!

Enough.

You were sloppy. You were lazy. You were arrogant. You were careless. You did not keep up with the times. You weren't disciplined.

You lost your clout because technology made your profession obsolete.

Get over it.

Arrogance clouds perceptions of reality

This knee-slapper of an article from AFP is yet another example of how journalism builds fortresses to run away from truths that do not suit their own lofty self-opinions.

They are obsessed with the label "fake news" as they repeatedly try to pretend "fake news" is somehow different than the lies and hoaxes they reported as news.

The reason we have the fake website is that journalism failed to distinguish itself from falsehoods. That's on them, no one else.

But then the article blames politicians for their woes:

This is exacerbated by the spread of false information by authority figures. In some countries this can go far. For example in Ukraine, where authorities staged the death of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko at the end of May. Kiev said the move was justified to foil a real plot to assassinate Babchenko.

The staging, broadcast in good faith by media worldwide, "is a godsend for paranoid people and conspiracy theorists. At a time when confidence in news is so low, a state playing with the truth in this way makes things even more complicated," said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of journalism watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Notice it also blames an audience whose distrust makes them unstable and abnormal as they must be "paranoid people and conspiracy theorists." It is everybody else's fault:

Political agendas also affect the credibility of the media. 

Does AFP not understand their job is to report truth and reality in a sea of all sorts of people -- some of whom have an agenda and tell lies?

It is no excuse, especially as political manipulations have been around a lot longer than journalism itself.

The arrogant state of denial goes on to also blame social media -- but never journalism. It is a profession that sees itself as a flawless martyr beyond reproach:

Despite the creation of dozens of fact-checking initiatives in recent years and first steps to tackle the problem from the internet giants, efforts to stem the proliferation of false information remain weak.

Meanwhile techniques to create false information are growing more sophisticated with the development of deep fakes -- manipulated videos that appear genuine but depict events or speech that never happened.

And what good are the "fact-checking" initiatives that have the same lack of discipline and empirical methods that felled journalism?

A profession whose own arrogance and lack of self-awareness clouded its perceptions of reality.

This article misuses itself: instead of using its resources to inform, it makes excuses as it tries  to absolve itself of any responsibility. That is not news, but propaganda.

It is why journalism cannot report on itself: it takes off the table the very things that destroyed it, and they think if they deny it or hide it, that no one will see it.

And reality just doesn't work that way...

Journalism continues to confuse journalism and advertorial writing.

The sunny headline says it all:

Oscars forge new credibility in the furnace of scandal

The article from AFP is equally problematic. You have decades of abuse, but in a couple of months, those who partook in harassment or condone it, can all by themselves, clean up their act?

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This comes right out of a sitcom: horrible thing happens, someone call someone else out, problem is completely solved by the end of the show. It is a way of signalling to readers that the press is hoping the problem is resolved so they do not ever have to call out another Hollywood player so they could hope to be invited to the next red carpet photo op.

It is advertorial writing, not journalism. It is not the first "okay, it's all good!" that has been put out by the press. The "witch hunt" narrative didn't take, and now let's pat the women on the head, assure them everything is all right, and then let us go back to covering Kardashians again.

The Oscars are facing heat over their choices of best pictures; so this is a way to deflect attention and try to take hold of the narrative. Like journalism, Hollywood has been facing a backlash.

All it takes is one new set of allegations, and it will be back to square one.