Memo to New York Times: Who shilled for war more than you? Weapons of Mass Destruction? That was YOU. Enough about Facebook, you jealous tyrants.

The Gray Lady's anti-Facebook temper tantrum continues, with this propaganda fear-mongering:

Where Countries Are
Tinderboxes and
Facebook Is a Match

False rumors set Buddhist against Muslim in Sri Lanka, the
most recent in a global spate of violence fanned by social media.

The New York Times should have just gotten Judith Miller to write that diatribe with the headline, "Facebook: The Real Weapon of Mass Destruction."

Who sparked more wars than the press by just cribbing from press releases, and with rumours, bad and skewed information, and flat-out lies? The first Gulf War sparked when the babies and incubators hoax was reported as true. How about the fun and games Ruder Finn had spreading brazen illogical lunacy during the Civil War in the former Yugoslavia that the New York Times swallowed and regurgitated?

There should have been many New York Times' reporters sitting in The Hague for the bloodshed they enabled and outright caused. Do not think that everyone has forgotten.

Let us not pretend we never had such a thing as tensions, clashes, and war -- and that happened before the invention of the wheel and discovery of fire.

Gray Lady, stop blaming Facebook, and trying to use this as a way manipulative way to try to get back the power you squandered peddling lies.

Because you do not have the actual intelligence to fool all of the people all of the time...

 

The sheltered relics of 60 Minutes: Fear-mongering, free PR for the Ivy League, and general non-newsiness.

60 Minutes really is a shadow of its once towering self. Watching tonight's offerings reminded me just how away from news that newsmagazine has gotten. The first segment "The Data Miner" was just cheap no-brainer pot shots at Facebook, with the standard journalistic fear-mongering. Lesley Stahl came off as some helmet-haired church lady in it, practically putting words in interviewee's mouths with all sorts of admonishments usually reserved for your grandparents finding out your new squeeze came to the family picnic with alcohol on his breath.

The worst of the segment was pretending that the lack of privacy was unknown: if you use any app on Facebook, it usually asks permission to access your friends' list, for instance. If developers and advertisers know it going in, and the app's connecting splash page asks, I am not sure where the secret part comes in.

And as one of those people who does scan the terms of service, this isn't shocking.

Someone should have given Stahl the memo that the term "Big Data" comes from the mining of mass information and then selling it to various third parties. No babes in the woods, folks.

But apparently journalists were too busy drooling over Kardashians and coming up with cutesy portmanteau's for celebrity couples to know what was happening in reality.

In any case, the propaganda here was kind of rickety.

The second piece from Scott Pelley is pure advertorial for MIT's "media lab", that is really out of touch. First, the awing over the touchscreen computer screens in the 1980s isn't really all that impressive -- Disney World had them back in the day and I should know considering I used to use them to make dinner reservations at the Magic Kingdom.

But the true hilarity is the drooling over computer uses in academia, while completely forgetting that Facebook began at an Ivy League university. If you are going to make a case for people to be impressed with the goings on in Ivory Towers, then don't bring up Facebook, and if you are going to make the case that Facebook is sinister, then don't go cheerleading at the same kind of environment that fostered it in the first place. Make up your mind.

In any case, 60 Minutes proves that journalists truly do not understand this whole Internet thing.

The Pelley segment was truly obnoxious -- absolutely no critical questions or wondering about the ethics of any of it: it was just a bunch of goll-ee! remarks while giving a free platform to MIT. Science and technology reporting is notoriously just a giant ad for the industry, and 60 Minutes may very well be the worst offenders.

The third segment was the only one with any value, and that it was done by a doctor who has an understanding of empirical methods explains it. Watching the decade-long decline of a woman with Alzheimer's Disease was truly a heart-wrenching, but informative human interest piece of the consequences of a husband who eventually could no longer look after his wife. The traumas are real and permanent.

The only segment that had worth was the one that neither tried to put a sunny spin on things, nor tried to fear-monger, but one out of three is a very poor average...

 

Wow, I must be really interesting...

Again? Gee, my LinkedIn page must be so exciting, Homeland Security hungered for more, and moseyed on over to my Facebook page.

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 5.42.38 PM

Unlike the others in my privacy settings, I didn't visit or like their web site or any pages, nor shared my email address with them.

And no, I never received any "advertising" from them on my feed. I don't look at their stuff at all, anywhere. It doesn't even look real, more like something from a t-shirt.

What did they learn from my Facebook page? I adore my cat Magnus, I drink a lot of coffee, love eating at small restaurants with quirky names, write books, teach art, listen to the Hives, love Niagara Falls, and Ted Kord the Blue Beetle is my all-time absolute favourite superhero.

The Hives and the Blue Beetle aren't on my LinkedIn page, and neither are my dining practices. So there is another piece of the puzzle I am certain the entire universe -- including deities, should they exist -- already knew about that for, like, years. Somehow, for whatever reason, someone on the Internet who isn't Alexandra Kitty has decreed Blue Beetle's "birthday" as "May 10" -- which happens to be my birthday.

I mean, come on: Alexandra Kitty is an open comic book...

 

The Nation's delusions continue, sadly. Children, you are the Establishment who was broken, not the Resisters. Now, Kindly get over yourselves.

The Nation is at it again. 220px-The_Nation_magazine_cover_May_3_2010

The limousine liberals who pretend to be some resistance fighters.

No, you're not. Your are Establishment journalists shilling for the well-heeled Left.

And now that social media has co-opt them and broke their monopoly, they cannot decree to the little people what to think.

So after a little scheming and pouting, they are trying to convince said little people to abandon their freedoms and go back to the model of journalism that gives control to the privileged few with this ridiculous headline:

Break Facebook’s Power and Renew Journalism

We must take the Internet back from monopolies.

Who is this "we"?

You, you mean.

Break Facebook's power and come crawling back to you?

Nice try.

If people don't like Facebook, they have Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Ello, and a host of other places where they can speak and broadcast themselves.

People have many places. They are not stuck with just Facebook.

They do not need legacy journalism because people had no control.

And your solution? For people to give up their voices and then go back to the horse and buggy?

Journalism was always a flawed discipline that got corrupted beyond saving.

So let's try this again -- only without your self-serving manipulation:

Keep Facebook, make more demands of it, and let's start a truly viable and wonderful new alternative to journalism, and leave the relics at the Nation to stew in their selfish rot.

Now, there's a solution,

And a far better one than what those dead dinosaurs in that extinct profession can ever offer the world...

 

Journalism's looking for free labour continues -- Big Brother style.

I love this headline for this article from the CBC:

Help CBC News investigate political ads on Facebook

How much are you paying for people doing your work for you? Oh, that's right, nothing.

ProPublica is behind this one, and has a similar headline to a similar article:

Help Us Monitor Political Ads Online

ProPublica launches a “PAC” to scrutinize campaign ads on Facebook.

What this extension is a way for media companies to monitor your online habits, without having to pay people a dime. How noble of you to exploit people's fears and labour as you get to look at what people are looking at so you can tailor-make propaganda in the name of being "journalists."

Nice try.

Remember -- ProPublica was founded by Democrat billionaires.

They aren't that rich for nothing, kids.

The New York Times pulled the same stunt during the 2016 president election -- and Trump still won despite the Big Brother monitoring of the partisan flock.

This is the sort of thing journalists howl at when other people do it -- but then they just do the same thing.

If they want to do some market research -- then they can pay for it like everyone else...

Memo to the Toronto Star: What is this "we" in "If we can't fix Facebook"? You couldn't even fix your own woes.

Mark Zuckerberg's waste-of-life testimony in front of the Establishment was just one of those silly acts of sanctioned insanity we do to make us feel as if something is being done. He did not have to take an oath. Most of those politicians mugging for the camera have no idea how this whole Internet thing works, and if they had real questions that required hard data, they could have merely subpoenaed them. Like so much journalists cover, it is mere theatre to placate the middle class, nothing more.

This little production number wasn't actual news, and hence, should have been skipped entirely.

But reporters made it sound oh so important.

How silly.

The Toronto Star decided to sound all huffy and serious about a canned event, making it sound very scary:

They could’ve ended it there and gone off to draft legislation. That’s all anyone really needs to know. The guy who invented Facebook was not safe from Facebook.

If he is cavalier with his personal information, that should be a big clue how worthless personal data actually is. But the headline was a tizzy, wondering about this "We" will be "fixing Facebook."

Who is this "we"? Facebook is a publicly traded company, there is no "we".

Users cannot fix it, and neither can journalists, who managed to mess up their own profession beyond repair, and now you are referring to some nebulous we? Are you serious?

But the journalistic jealousy translate into a lot of melodramatic propaganda:

In the end, to watch Zuckerberg testify for two days was to worry about how America will cope with the future. This was a 21st-century tech giant facing 20th-century oversight. If lawmakers don’t know what to make of Facebook 14 years after it was invented, how will they deal with the social-tech issues of tomorrow?

How will they legislate space travel or artificial intelligence? What will the government do when private companies have the ability to read minds and robots are demanding voting rights? How will the government become proactive when it’s now struggling to be reactive, when it can barely get anything done with an atmosphere of partisan rancour?

You can’t serve citizens if you’re too busy bickering with one another.

And you can’t fix something if you don’t know how it’s broken.

If lawmakers are clueless, then that is a big clue that they are antiquated to reality, and perhaps it is about time we question whether or not their meddling would do any good.

Why is every solution somehow involve an authority figure making decrees and nannying the populace?

Can we perhaps expand our repertoire to involve doing something real, and not some meaningless and ineffective slacktivist symbolism that is meant to morally masturbate in public just to get a little fleeting attention?

But what fear-mongering from people who also don't know how it is broken and have yet to fix their own messes.

It seems the robber barons of Big Tech are going down the exact same route, arrogantly assuming their medium will give them power just because they are superior and special.

No AI or mind-reading technology will prevent them from destruction.

They are playing by the journalist's own handbook -- and those once all-mighty twits were powerful.

And now they are inert, despite all of the tools and rigs they had.

So there is no worrying about Facebook.

They have merely managed to devalue personal information to the point of becoming dirt cheap.

There are real things to worry about and need our fixing -- but this little game isn't one of them...

Sheltered little boy in the principal's office: Why Facebook is truly under threat.

Mark Zuckerberg isn't handling the hot seat very well. He looks like a sheltered little boy who got away with all sorts of naughtiness, but he thought he was cunning and special, and didn't realize he could get in trouble when his antics were inconvenient -- and now he is being blamed by the government and media for allowing anarchy to flourish, threatening the old world order. The story hinges on a confirmation bias: it's perfectly all right for the old guard to spy on people to maintain control, but heaven help them if anyone else does the same thing. The threat of Mueller is a real knee-slapper, too.

Facebook has something in common with journalism: both their power hinged on public goodwill. Journalists have pounced on Facebook in a jealous rage, not realizing they are going to be discarded once Facebook has been chastened. Had Zuckerberg had the courage, he could have owned today: sharing all sorts of juicy information Facebook knew about various members of the government, but didn't use.

If Facebook collects information on everyone, then it all cancels itself out, but WikiLeaks they are not. He should have challenged the narrative, and shrugged it off. If he was someone who was not going to be bullied so easily, this non-scandal would have been cut off at the knees, but as he is sheltered, this sucker punch made him boyish and silly, and now the vultures will not stop until they destroy him.

He may be the founder of Facebook, but he seems clueless to the mindset social media created.

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As I said, he could have owned today if he didn't make apologies for that new mindset. He doesn't have an actual feel for that new world -- and he is hopelessly stuck in that same intellectual void that legacy media has made its permanent resting place.

The attitude isn't Oh no! I got in trouble! It's yeah, the gate-keepers have to give that same power to the rest of the planet, and what's it to you? that pulls you out of hell.

He should have been offensive and unrepentant, and a guardian of the new world. He should have questioned the narrative and the motives for pushing it. He should have made all that gathered data free for everyone to have it.

That's all it would have taken. He should have WikiLeaked his own company. Every politician's online habits should have been put out there for the world to see. Which politician is playing Candy Crush at taxpayers' expense? Who is sexting behind their spouse's back? Who is taking payola and graft from lobbyists?

But that takes courage and conviction. Julian Assange he is not. He is retreating, and there will be real repercussions, and for those warlords doing the attacking, will be very surprised when their scheming doesn't go as planned.

As I keep saying about the traditionalists, you cannot go back and you cannot go home again. That house has been destroyed, and the global mindset is now too emboldened to be talked into going back into those dark little cages.

But Zuckerberg has hastened that anarchy with his sheepishness far more than anyone actually realizes...

Why Facebook stinks at this whole journalism thing -- and why journalism stinks at this whole Internet thing.

Someone was kind enough to bring this article to my attention:

FACEBOOK AND THE DMZ ANNOUNCE WINNERS OF DIGITAL NEWS INNOVATION CHALLENGE

This sounds so important and innovative, but the list of winners blares that Facebook has no idea what journalism should be...but also that journalism still does not get what this whole Internet thing is all about.

In other words, journalism is still dead.

And money is being thrown into refurbished coffins.

Digital is not the future. It is the present, and the present is transitory.

So what does the shamed Facebook think is the future of journalism?

Trebble thinks trinkets like Amazone Echo will be broadcast centres. With privacy issues becoming a concern, it would be far better to create a new technology rather than rely on something that will be passé in a couple of years -- nor does this address the flawed structure of journalism.

Ground is the real knee-slapper -- promising  "to deliver verified, unbiased, full-coverage news combining social media, reporting from news publishers, and verification from citizen journalists."

If you honestly think that, you have no idea what "verified" or "unbiased" means. Citizen journalism makes the same mistakes as legacy journalism, except more of it more often. There is no system addressing the empirical deficits that brought down a profession.

The Gist is soft news revolving on women's sports. Not news. Not journalism. It is like entertainment journalism -- hero worship with a change in casting. Who wins gold at the Olympics is not going to give you a clue about anything that actually matters.

Readefined is the Big Brother journalists tell you Facebook is. You can stalk your audiences with it. Ironically, when communications had none of these stats, they had audiences and large ones. Now that you can spy on your audiences without their consent and you are free to do with that information whatever you wish -- including selling it to the Russians, Trump, Facebook, and Farrell's ice cream, those audiences are eroding at an increasingly rapid rate. The irony is really too much.

The Sprawl is the most clueless knuckleheads on the Facebook welfare line: Pop up journalism -- as if journalism wasn't always a pop-up thing. Children, you do realize journalists had to schlep to the places where trouble was going down, such as war zones and riots, right? "Pop Up" is the equivalent of "Secondary Economy": people in the latter group were always going to the pawn shop and selling their crap on garage sales and classified pages, but they weren't trying to use soon-to-be-dated terms to define it because the bottom line was they were in trouble, and they'd be better off trying to fix the problem then spin the problem into a solution.

Journalism and social media proved to be incompatible concepts. Dictatorship and anarchy. It is not as if we cannot have fact-gatherers; the problem is you have two clashing mindsets trying to wrest control -- and neither one is fertile ground for what society actually needs. Journalism lost its way, but social media liberated opinion without bothering itself to understand facts.

And you need respect for facts in order to report them. You are not going to find the solution to the journalism problem here. Not that it cannot be done, but it must be done outside a medium first...

Toronto Star's sore loser propaganda scare-fest continues.

Toronto Star is at it again. It is no longer a media outlet, but a shrill propaganda tool used to frighten the masses into reading them again. It has become very pathetic.

They remind me of Claude Robichaux from the novel A Confederacy of Dunces -- the little old man who thought all the troubles in the world came from "the communists." He had a one-track brain cell and anyone he didn't like had to be from that scary group.

The Star's latest hatchet piece comes with the usual arrogant self-entitlement that seems to be a staple at this newspaper. How dare the Canadian government support Facebook and other Big Tech giants when they are all evil?

Remember, this is the same newspaper that used its pages to actively and openly lobby that same government to give them free money to keep their dysfunctional industry going.

The column is obnoxious on multiple levels, but the highlights of obliviousness are here:

Facebook, Google and others are conducting citizen surveillance far more than the Soviet KGB or East German Stasi ever did during the Communist era.

No, they're not. The Stasi had relatives spy on their families. They infiltrated homes, with agents marrying their targets and reproducing with them. If you don't share personal data with Facebook or choose to be a luddite, there is no problem. You cannot compare the two. The Stasi scarred people for life. It is insulting and ludicrous.

They have amassed fortunes selling the treasure trove of your and my data, without our permission and without ever compensating us a penny.

As has everyone else over the decades. Those ballots you fill out to win junk did that long before social media ever did. Murdered Canadian billionaire Barry Sherman hired detectives to go through the garbage of rivals. Besides, Facebook data fetches very little on the Dark Web because your information has been culled from everywhere else -- and the fact that personal information is dirt cheap should tell you that your vitals aren't all that valuable.

They are bleeding mainstream media by stealing news content paid for by someone else and vacuuming up an estimated 75 per cent of digital revenues in Canada that total about $5 billion a year.

Now, this is an epic knee-slapper. Facebook is not bleeding mainstream media. They are not "stealing content." Journalists cribbed from press releases for decades; so let's not pretend this is an actual thing. They are not reprinting books online for free. They are providing links to articles that were free to begin with; so the logic of this eludes common sense. Scraping information is also a common practice in journalism -- taking information from other outlets and then reporting on it.

Besides, information is gathered. It is not created in a laboratory in some newsroom. Get a grip.

Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and others have allowed their platforms to be hijacked by the likes of Daesh and also western hate-mongers — right-wingers, racists, white supremacists, xenophobes, homophobes, misogynists, anti-Semites and Islamophobes.

Yeah, as if the Toronto Star wasn't hijacked by extremists who paid PR firms to shill their wars and terrorism over the years. Nice try. This is also the same newspaper that told young women not to use a life-saving vaccine because they said it was potentially fatal -- and when medical experts became alarmed and pointed out the errors, the Star insulted them and spun a narrative to discredit them.

Had journalism kept up with the times, none of this would be an actual issue. They lost advertising revenue because they stuck with their outmoded vehicle while social media presented advertisers with something superior. Journalists were gate-keepers, and their power came from playing favourites. Once people had a superior mode of broadcasting without having to deal with the old guard, they ditched them.

Journalism kept up with radio. It kept up with television, but then it got lazy, and when the Internet came along, they thought it was all a passing fad and people would eventually come back to the old way of having no control over their news and voice.

The signs that Google and Facebook were going to change everything were there. I had written about those changes way back in the late 1990s, long before Facebook or Twitter were even a thing, but Google came in 1998, and I could see the possibilities very clearly. I tried pitching stories about how the landscape was going to undergo a revolution, but people in the profession flat-out ignored me.

Now, it's a little too late to be using propaganda to try to get your old power back. That ship has sailed, and you have a vested interest in smearing Big Tech. You are not a disinterested or objective party.

You are loser of a contest that you thought you'd win by default. You lost. You deserved to lose. You earned your defeat and richly so.

But as I have said before, the Fourth Medium is a transitory one, and there will be a fifth one to supplant it, but we aren't going backwards in time because the old way of journalism proved deficient.

But that doesn't mean we cannot replace journalism with a superior model...

 

Whatever happened to Investigative Journalism? Facts were seen as boring and hard to find, that's what.

Spiked has a piece wondering whatever happened to Investigative Journalism. It cut corners, that's what.

Narrative, opinion, sensationalism, and sophistry seemed like short-term quick fixes and boosts that were cheap. Digging for hidden facts is hard, and viewed as unglamorous.

And facts are seen as dry and boring.

Which baffles me. Facts are exciting. They can tell a story far better than narrative.

Journalism got lazy and passive, assuming their opinions were tantamount to facts.

You have junk organizations such as Nieman Lab trying to ensure that journalism is never held accountable for their own sins:

People’s trust in media is terrible: bad. Attempts to fix that: good. Now, what the heck are they?

Facing the fallout from the presidential election, the rise of fake news, and the stark challenges of covering a presidency that aims to undermine press credibility, the U.S. journalism industry has been positively ballooning with trust-geared initiatives.

Thinking up make-work programs with deceptive names is not going to solve the problem. Journalism is broken, and no self-righteous-sounding organization that just begs for money is going to solve it. It is like trying to fight an inferno with a glass of water.

Not a single one of these organizations have genuine qualifications or merit to know what is good journalism or bad as we never had empirical and tested means to do so. These groups are trying to insert their own biased ideology and keep a broken status quo afloat.

You cannot have a ballooning of fake organizations telling you what is real news. It seems to be a mere get-rich-quick scheme.

And that's what happened to investigative journalism: it got buried underneath all that rot and hubris. Facts need no organization or title: they just need someone to find them, and analyze them, test them, and disseminate them.

But it is all about window-dressing an hiding rot with over-thinking and sophistry. If journalism just confronted their weaknesses and did what had to be done, there would be no need for yet another "Trust Me" organization shilling its quack services to keep the scam going...

Journalism was never supposed to be about social engineering, but it fights to meddle all the same, mislabelling it ethical.

Journalism's need to meddle and make decrees hints that its primary motivation is not to inform, but to engage in social engineering. People have to think in a certain way, and that's that. It was tolerated when they held all of the cards, but when social media took off -- and took off with a roar -- the landscape changed, and now the profession is trying to engage in social engineering yet again by getting a democratically elected president impeached, shutting down social media entirely, forcing the population to read and watch their propaganda, and then do whatever the profession dictates them to do. Sadly, that is what we are seeing right now, and a couple of articles bring insight into this peculiarity in two very different ways.

The first must-read article is entitled "Let's have a serious discussion about trust, focus, and objectivity," from the Danish Baekdal Media which describes its "overall purpose is to help media companies change their future through analysis and guidance."

But even with focus groups, consultants, and an army of other paid minders and nannies, the profession still collapsed.

This is truly a remarkable phenomenon.

Think about the number of universities that have communications, media, and journalism departments. Think about the number of consultants, and media-based organizations. Think of the number of books, journal articles, symposiums, and experts out there whose only purpose is to prop up journalism. Think of the billions of dollars spent on keeping journalism on life support.

And nothing. Nothing stopped the collapse of journalism. Not a single group or individual stopped the destruction of the profession.

Why not?

There are a multitude of reasons: the rigs that supported journalism allowed defective mindsets to be reinforced and taken for granted. Once social media arrived, it removed the rigs, and journalism didn't see it happen. They went on as before, assuming what they were doing was perfectly great, but as the sky didn't fall on them, they failed to see that the ground beneath them was eroding.

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They were sinking, and didn't realize why.

It was a profession that always looked down on critics. People who voted for Trump weren't just people who had different ideas, wants, needs, and beliefs -- they were evil and stupid yokels who were duped by Facebook and Russia.

The paranoia became pathological and extremist.

The entire mainstream media has been relentlessly going after President Trump, and his approval ratings keep climbing. They are turning this man into a legend. He can go up against the entire media Establishment, and come out the victor using Twitter.

This is the reason journalists turned on social media. How dare they give people a chance to speak without the media's meddling and imposting of narrative filters?

The Baekdal article doesn't get the problem in places, and completely does in others.

Let me first go with the part the article misses:

We provide the public with something that the public cannot provide for itself. We protect the public from those in power who aren't living up to their responsibilities, and we keep everything in check.

Social engineering is not the news media's job, and contrary to the assertion that journalists give people information they cannot find elsewhere, the notion is ludicrous: journalists crib from press releases. They get their information from televised press conferences, which are nothing more than canned events. They scour databases which can also be accessed by the public, and often do so more often and more vigorously than reporters do.

However, the article is not a write-off by any stretch; in fact, it picks up brilliantly in the second half with a very good warning to journalists that I have edited:

[T]his is where the importance of objective journalism comes into play...you cannot use your writing to lobby against a competitor...to drive a business agenda of your own.

So what is the media doing? Well, over the past week, we have seen some of the worst media lobbyism ever.

Some of the misuses listed (that I have also recounted elsewhere):

  • Google earns billions and attracts nazis and pedophiles.
  • Facebook knew their data could be sold and made no secret of it.
  • Here is all the data Facebook and Google have about you ...where we 'forget' to distinguish between actual privacy-related data and data that people have willingly uploaded (like when someone posts a picture).
  • Here is a step-by-step guide to deleting your Facebook account
  • These are the big advertisers who still advertise on Facebook...

It issues a warning that will fall on deaf ears:

What we are seeing here is not journalism.

Just the point that so many newspapers have been calling for people to 'delete their Facebook accounts' illustrate a total breakdown of any sense of journalistic objectivity. This is not about journalism anymore. This is 100% pure 'media war' between news media losing their market share on one side, and the tech companies on the other.

There is no journalistic objectivity anymore. This is a war where journalists are misusing a platform to fight their battles. The article labels it an "abuse of power."

There is another wise warning journalists will miss as well:

Why am I saying that this is causing more damage to the media industry than it is to Facebook or Google?

The answer is simple. It's because people aren't stupid.

People can very clearly see that the way this story is being reported is so filled with animosity that it isn't real journalism.

The problem is that journalists see themselves as worldlier than their audiences; and so they have the right to make decrees to the little people who they see as helpless rubes who need some serious social engineering to survive.

If journalists were about finding facts and sharing those facts so people can do what they need to do with them, we would not be seeing what we are seeing now, and I wouldn't be writing about it.

The second is a report from UK's Ethical Journalism Network (EJN). While there are several authors covering different topics, I will focus on the US media's continued whining about their inability to tell people not to vote for Donald Trump.

The incessant teeth-gnashing in this diatribe is devoid of any facts. It is all melodramatic and skewed narrative:

[W]hat is the future of ethical journalism in an age when it appears that the public around the world are falling out with facts, humanity and accountable truth-telling?

The assumption that journalism is about social engineering is more than apparent. The narrative is presented in such a way that a reader is all but forced to believe journalists had to choose sides and save America from itself:

Ethical and factual considerations aside, few in the US media saw these slurs as a winning script for a presidential race. On the contrary, they were widely considered so crudely and self-evidently objectionable as to be almost automatically disqualifying.

Trump’s victory marked the first time a US presidential candidate was elected despite the editorial-page opposition of almost every major state and national newspaper, including several which had always endorsed Republican nominees.

This is the usual justification for any sort of social engineering: we must save the little people from themselves. This is the Sci-Fi Evil Alien Argument: anyone who doesn't agree with you all have to be evil enemies who all think, act, and dress alike. It is a form of demonization, and the gambit is highly deceptive and propagandistic, which is ironic for a publication that proclaims it is about journalism ethics.

How so?

The baseline assumption is that all Americans would all vote for Hillary Clinton because that was the only choice. Its a fascist assumption, and it is a troubling one for any journalist to make.

It is an argument rife with the confirmation bias: we only look at evidence that confirms our theory, not the evidence that refutes it. In journalism, they do not proffer theories as much as narratives.

So this narrative assumes every single person who voted for the Republican candidate is a Nazi sympathizer or a gullible moron, which is laughable and incorrect. There were people who voted Republican before, and will continue to vote Republican. There are people whose needs were not met by Clinton's vision, and they rejected her by voting for Trump. Were there extremists voting for Trump? Yes, but there were extremist with terrorist sympathies who voted for Democrats. If I chose to present a skewed picture of Clinton, I could very easily do it because everyone has a right to vote, and it takes no effort to find extremists on the other side of the spectrum who supported her and then just focus on them as if no normal person voted for her, which would also be a bald-face lie. You will have people who have delusions support your candidate as well as people who are highly intelligent and sane. Considering Trump garnered millions of votes, accusing a sizeable percentage of people of being white supremacists is ridiculous.

But Trump decided to do something he didn't do before: tell off the press instead of court them, and use social media to win a campaign.

The fact that he won proved that journalism was a dead profession.

That is the real reason the press is going after social media: they cannot control the message or flow of information. They cannot partake in their social engineering. They cannot meddle in everyone's lives, telling people what to think and what to do.

They have proven themselves to be unreliable and untrustworthy.

That is the reason we need an alternative to journalism -- and one that does not rely on narrative and social engineering. Find facts. Test facts. Disseminate facts. Experiment and research about the structure and content of facts. Create a science of facts.

Have a profession focussed on that -- not being tyrants and control freaks.

We need a better method of finding information. An alternative to journalism must have respect for those who they are informing, and not see them as drooling toddlers in soggy underpants who have no idea how to think.

It is a disgrace that journalism destroyed itself with hubris, but it doesn't mean the next alternative has to follow in those same arrogant and presumptuous footsteps.

Journalism's Sour Grapes: Facebook outplayed them, and now they are making decrees about deleting Facebook. Nice try.

The CBC as well as Salon (via AlterNet) are marching lockstep like good little zombies, musing whether news organizations and the little people should just give up their autonomy and freedom like the #NeverAgain gang, and delete Facebook. To the dead profession of journalism: yes, you should delete Facebook because you always sucked at it. Old relics who are unteachable should just, like, stay away from the big scary monsters and just go continue to rot under the bed.

Even the CBC piece tries to dismiss the real reason for trying to weaken the medium that humbled them:

It's easy to dismiss the comments as sour grapes, but news organizations — including the CBC, which boasts more than 2 million subscribers on its Facebook page — have long wrestled with how to manage what the site has become: an available audience of more than 2 billion people, but without much differentiation between real and fake news.

Of course, it is more than sour grapes: it is a transparent attempt to try to reclaim the power Facebook undermined. Once upon a time, CBC could dictate the narrative and control the information Canadians heard. Now they cannot, and have discovered that the populace may not be the brainless sheep they had mistook them for over the years. People can finally make fun of CBC coverage out in the open, as they present their own realities with each other.

The AlterNet piece is particularly fascinating meta-propaganda trying to confine the narrative to install fear in people:

Whether the Facebook fiasco conclusively proves either Russian involvement in the 2016 election (or the UK’s Brexit referendum), or simply highlights the violation of campaign finance laws, is yet to be determined.

It is a loaded statement along the same ilk as Have you stopped beating your wife? 

It assumes that Facebook is a dupe or an agent of those evil Russians who manipulate those stupid Right-wing people living in trailer parks, and had there not been any meddling, everyone would march lockstep to the Left's decrees, Comrade, and let them do all of thinking for all of us.

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The article is pure childish fantasy that rips off more of Soviet-era propaganda than modern-day Russia ever could.

Both of these articles are manipulative fear-mongering meant to terrify the masses who should realize one thing: a healthy mind is an unpredictable mind. So let the algorithms tell you what colour underpants you should buy -- you do not have to follow marching orders.

I know Facebook has never managed to sell me a single thing -- not a pair of socks or a political ideology.

East Germany had something even more powerful -- the Stasi and those people married the targets they spied on and had children with them. The Stasi failed and fell, and those who fought against it won out at the end of the day.

There is another amusing sentence here as well in that long, rambling piece:

But in a world in which we have all become reliant on the internet for our information, our searches and declared preferences are constantly recorded.

So what? I work as an author, and whenever I publish a book, the whole planet can pretty much guess what my searches and declared preferences are by reading my work. If I was going to be a paranoid coward, I wouldn't have had a public profession.

Besides, look who popped in my LinkedIn page:

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No, I will never tire of showing that.

So, it is not just Facebook. Homeland Security had no trouble looking at my LinkedIn profile, and leaving a trace for giggles. So what?

The CIA and MI6 can stop by, and leave me a message, too, as well as CSIS, and any other kind of spook or government agency. Go for it. Figure me out, send me my personality profile via Messenger to amuse me...and my mom who will tell you that you are all hopelessly wrong, or any surveillance pictures you have ever taken of me, especially the ones that are flattering. It beats plastering my Facebook page with selfies.

We share a planet, kids. You had nosy neighbours listening on the party line way back when. People had their phones monitored by all sorts of people as they heard that odd "clicking" sound when they talked on the phone. It is nothing new.

Just as all those ballots you filled out to win stuff were used to gather information on you to sell you junk.

Nothing new.

But the self-righteous babbling goes on:

But a centralized, monopolistic exploitation of these interpersonal links is inviting public intervention, especially as the technology can also survive on a distributed, competitive basis. In the eyes of many, these companies are unlikely to escape the opprobrium of helping to allow the Trump disaster to descend upon us.

They will be regulated because governments will want to hijack that massive power for themselves. Trump didn't win because of Facebook, contrary to the sore-loser narrative of journalists, whose own mendacity lead to their own ruin. He won because this was the first election where the media's power was so weakened, that any media-savvy entity could bypass them.

When that happened, the profession squealed. No longer could they make decrees to the little people who was acceptable to vote for -- and they turned into paranoid conspiracy theorists. Some of the paranoia came from all that weed they love to smoke, but mostly, for the first time, reality kicked them where it counted, and they realized they weren't the cunning evil geniuses they always fancied themselves to be.

They do not realize that people moved on from journalism. They moved on. Journalism became irrelevant because of their own arrogant incompetency and inability to see reality, and that is a reason to celebrate. Those shackles were finally broken.

But now, it is time for journalism's replacement, and one that can thrive in any media as it embraces reality and truth to show a better path where free will is nurtured, and critical thinking brings out the best of humanity.

Facebook is watching you, but so are those Loyalty programs. But there is no scandal with those...

The pummelling of Facebook continues with the latest being the "Memo"; this time Vanity Fair. BBC also takes them apart here. The Atlantic seems obsessed with the shallow PR-angle with its usual sophistry it is usually churns. Contrast them to the Financial Times musing that wonders how well Big Data is when ads never seem to quite align with what you actually want or need.

But there is an aspect of modern life that has that kind of Big Data -- loyalty card programs that keep a perfect track of how much you spend, where you spend, what you buy -- and then sends offers all based on your shopping profile.

And yet these loyalty programs somehow are excused from the Big Data Scare.

But then again, Loyalty Programs are not in direct competition with traditional media.

There are no shortage of places that keep track of you -- from the banks that know where you spend your money and where to government agencies who make you fill out forms with information that they already have on file. 

But none of them are competition to the industry. If the Facebook drubbing was sincere, we'd be looking at the big picture. 

But it's not looking for noble motives -- and that insincerity is newsworthy and worth examining...

Going after Facebook: Advertisers and Media Outlets knew about Facebook's methods -- why do you think they used that platform to shill their own products?

If No News, Send Rumors (1991) by Stephen Bates is probably one of the greatest books about journalism ever written, and I highly recommend reading it if you want to understand why journalism collapsed. 51QFkIwI83L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

I have both the hardcover and paperback versions of it, and have recommended this book for years.

It doesn't provide the thesis that journalism had troubles. What it does is very simple: it chronicles the world of journalism across the decades, including ethics. These are well-research vignettes, and I consider it essential reading.

It showed the profound lack of morals in the profession: how one journalist planted evidence to make an innocent woman look guilty of murder (spoiler alert: it worked so well that she was sentenced to death; though she wasn't executed). It showed how reporters pushed for wars over the decades, essentially advocating death.

So when I read the continued propaganda campaign against Facebook from both The Guardian, but especially BuzzFeed, I am reminded just how hilarious the fear-mongering has become.

Facebook was always about algorithms and giving advertisers tailor-made campaigns and readers to them. That was the attraction of Facebook in the first place. These advertisers pulling out now is a real knee-slapper -- as if they didn't know or take advantage of it. They would have to know it, and tweak their campaigns to take advantage of it.

Of course they knew and traditional media did not keep up, and lost out.

I knew it, too. I never assumed the Internet was private, or that advertisers wouldn't salivate at the idea. That's rubbish.

Live Out Loud was the acknowledgement that privacy was less important than self-expression. People knew the risks, they just didn't care.

So why the shift in narrative?

For journalists, they are trying to reclaim ground they lost based on their own methods. They never kept up, and paid the price.

Will it work?

No.

It will not encourage people to go back to legacy media. After all, media outlets also used Facebook to get specialized audiences to migrate to their own platforms. So they took advantage of the same technology and morals to try to benefit from it.

I do foresee another medium coming in, however. It is inevitable. The Internet was transformative, but it is also transitory: it is the in-between transition merging the previous three media into one -- that there will be another that takes the best of all four is a given.

The world spins. It is not static, and why journalists can never see the obvious is the reason they fell behind and disconnected from the very audiences they are now manipulating for their own benefit...

Julian Assange loses his Internet. Facebook under attack. This is a tintinnabulation for Internet power. Is #MeToo going to be next?

You can feel a tide turning. First Facebook gets smeared in a targeted and coordinated media and government assault with other Big Tech distancing themselves from them, and now Julian Assange has been grounded. Freedom and liberty are being made to be bad things, as if the truth, and the obedient middle classes will be given a scary story about bogeymen, as if their own governments aren't spying on their citizens (that's right, China: we have human trafficking and illegal arms dealing, but let's make sure those jaywalkers are put in their place!).

I do not agree with Apple's Tim Cook's assertion that Facebook should have regulated itself. It would not have mattered. They allowed anyone to have a presence to a global platform to say or show whatever they wished, and their success placed that target sign on their backs.

Assange is a spoiler. He is both cunning and naive. I do believe he is a chess master, but never realized it was a game of Go he was playing -- he may have honestly believed that if he showed the world how they are being lied to, abused, and subjugated by their governments, people will revolt.

No, sorry, Julian, they are way too busy gossiping about the creepy Game of Thrones and making kissy faces in their selfies to get up and march in the streets, and when they do march in the streets, it is to demand the government has given them too many rights and should nanny them as they take their rights away.

You will not hear me bad-mouth Assange or WikiLeaks, as that is the closest thing we have to journalism left, and I do believe he has planted seeds that is too late for the governments or media to pull out and kill, despite their best efforts, but he will pay a dear price for it.

The problem is there is a crackdown on liberties in the Western world -- idea-shaming didn't work. Journalism didn't work. Trying to get people to retreat won't work because the Internet wasn't something people did strictly for work -- it was always about fun and adventure without the effort that hinges on vanity and greed. Take that away, and people will become angry at those who spoiled their fun and games, and will retaliate in a devastatingly passive aggressive way. They waited about a decade too long to strike, and it will get away from them.

Why?

Because social media shortened attention spans and loyalties. The world has become more mercurial. Remember how loyal people were to the Clintons after Trump's victory? Then came #MeToo and made them seem bitter and icky -- and Hillary is no longer a rallying cry, just a crybaby.

The wavelengths around the world have shifted and changed -- and you have old schoolers trying to wrest control with outdated sensibilities. The pendulum keeps swinging wildly with a world that is both perpetually self-entitled and offended, and that creates an unstable environment.

I would not be surprised if wars and skirmishes break out. It is already beginning to get ugly in Kosovo, for instance, and with a connected world, people become inspired faster than they ever did before. All it takes is One to bring chaos to the Infinite, and all order is lost.

Assange is being punished for kicking the hornet's nest. Facebook is being punished for unleashing an entire hornet's nest to sting whoever they desire. Both are being demonized with dread tales about their alliances and "sinister deeds". Unfortunately, those doing the smearing and accusing are doing a lot worse than both put together.

WikiLeaks, Facebook, and #MeToo are all threats to the old order, and so far, two thirds are under attack, meaning expect #MeToo to be under fire as well.

It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out, but that Assange is still standing for over five years is shocking...

Facebook: Chew Toy. How the cool kid became the favourite target of journalistic bullying.

Facebook's latest bad press and FTC investigation has turned the once hipper-than-thou clubhouse into an official news media chew toy. Data collection is nothing new. Android and Facebook's role in it is nothing new. But now the spin has turned from one of being forward-thinking and convenient into something dark and sinister.

Once the press smells blood, they attack full force. It is the nature of the beast, but Facebook seems to not be literate in crisis management. They were adept at happy, relaxed hipness and making people feel special. The personalization of their yearend and monthly recaps as well as friendiversarys were always creepy and intrusive, but the me-centredness gave them a free pass time and again.

Now, they have been singled out from the social media posse with the others distancing themselves from it, with Amazon, Apple, Twitter, and Google not showing an ounce of support. I find this turn expected, but interesting on many levels nonetheless.

I have seen their Toronto office once when I was invited to see a j-talk last year -- there was a certain kind of youthful casualness to the place, complete with gong, cheery, inspirational postcards, IKEA-type minimalist furnishings, and bold column murals, but the badges and requisite signing it to enter the lair screamed that underneath that "make yourself at home" warmth, all cold eyes were being kept on you at all times.

For years, it was the top layer everyone saw, and now it is the inner layer that's the focus.  It was always there, but now that there has been a series of missteps, the company is now in the crosshairs of an angry mob with no help from their fellow Internet robber barons.

It reminds me of one meeting Trump held inviting all of the Big Tech companies, with Facebook snubbing the event. They blew it off when they were in a position of strength.

Now, they are getting whumped for doing what they have always done. Climates change rapidly, and Facebook is now learning what journalism still hasn't come to grips with: you can lose power in a heartbeat...

#DeleteFacebook? And pretend the others aren't invading privacy? Why panicking on cue won't change anything.

Facebook is using dead trees to say they are very, very, very sorry. Dead trees media is pouncing all over it, those jealous kiddies with the Globe and Mail going full force with the fear-mongering calling it a "threat to democracy" and it achieving a ominous new narrative.

Seriously stupid.

Let's review the last decade of social media, you know, the one where people were repeatedly warned about privacy issues, and could see that algorithms and cookies meant all your information would be store by third parties who made you agree to Terms of Service that stated that pictures and documents you stored would become their property.

And now, all of a sudden, people finally got around to reading the memo?

The memo written by vested interests who have always thought they had a right to know everything and were constantly in court looking to lift bans and have access to your information for their profit -- not public service.

And it was never just Facebook. No, sorry, offended people. It is all of them, from your hardware to your software to your social media.

It was okay until someone started to engage in warfare, scare-mongering specifically.

Now people want to delete Facebook?

Really? Do you scare that easily?

It is like the spouse whose mate always cheats out in public, and the warnings are ignored until the day the person decides this is a bad thing and then throws a fit.

It was never the cheating the was the deal-breaker. That was the price of having a relationship, but then something else happened to cause the explosion.

In this case, people are not getting rich and famous providing content on social media.

It was never about the privacy. Facebook had done much worse, and it didn't cause the sort of temper tantrum we are seeing now.

The press tried to get people angry back in 2016, but there wasn't the anger. One newspaper headline read:

After reading this, you'll probably NEVER trust Facebook again

Yeah, but then where could you plaster your latest airbrushed selfie?

This would not have even been as bad had Mark Zuckerberg not wait five days to respond. That left a vacuum, and crisis management is all about getting ahead of a scandal.

You don't wait five days, and then use the Same Day Apology to combat it.

That was a tactical error, and as I have said before, I am surprised they never anticipated a scandal and struck back within the hour.

The other tech companies are trying to deflect attention away from their own sketchy deeds by distancing themselves from Facebook.

It won't be hard to shift the narrative for Facebook. It is not that hard to do as the reaction is too artificial to begin with. Whenever I hear the temper tantrum, I point out the person's current toy, and ask a few questions about how well do they know how they are being tracked by their own trinket.

Because I am not playing in this childish game. Facebook's silence is the only reason people are talking about it at all instead of wondering about the bigger privacy invasions that are going on as we speak...

The Warlords

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Once upon a time, the Warlords called newspaper owners ruled the roost with impunity.

And then came a new set of Warlords. First radio.

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Then television that was the giant of the three whose narratives controlled the rules of engagement for decades. journalism-tv-studio

It defined what to think and how to think it.

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Your childhood fantasies were controlled by them. How you saw justice, coolness, wisdom, beauty, and morality.

The career choices and the what you saw in a spouse were defined by the flickering screen that you had in your living room.

For decades, there were always battles, but battles within the medium.

 

 

 

And then the battleground began to stretch.

 

 

 

And then everything began to change when the Internet came roaring to life.

And the new Warlords destroyed the old guard.

 

 

 

Some were seen as friendly, but not all of them were.

 

 

 

The ones who owned the platform did far better than the ones who produced the content.

The new Warlords liberated the world, by smashing the gates the old ones built to control the message.

And the old warlords were seething, licking their wounds, hoping one of the new guard made a misstep to attack.

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And it did, and the old broken warlords tried to grab their old power back.

Even some of the new warlords tried to take advantage of the smell of blood.

But there is a war going on.

One where the currency is propaganda that pedals in paranoia and fear.

And the spoils of war is not data, but control of the flow of information.

Data is cheap.

But controlling the gates is priceless...

Fake narratives in the Facebook Debacle: Vultures are feasting, but psyching out the sheep does not make it so.

I have chronicled Facebook's problems on this site before, and there is no need for a re-hash; however, this latest "scandal" is a black eye, but hardly some sort of final blow. I am actually surprised that Facebook hasn't foreseen this scenario and already had a crisis management plan in place to react quickly and spin this themselves.

When I taught public speaking to college students, one major component was crisis communications. Companies had to be aware of potential scandals and be ready show things hit the fan. They could foresee a lot of potential trouble -- all they had to do was look at their insurance policies and figure out some of the situations they could face.

Facebook, for whatever reason, didn't, even though they faced a similar problem several years ago when it was revealed users were unwitting subjects in a mass experiment.

You have that many third parties leeching on to your site, it stands to reason that many of them could exploit the rigs to sell information or do something that goes against the rules -- or common sense.

That they don't have that strategy in place says a lot about the company -- that they didn't foresee that they'd ever have to deal with bad publicity.

But bad publicity doesn't mean a company is finished. Once upon a time, some consumer terrorist poisoned bottles of Tylenol, resulting in people dying, and yet it is still on the shelves as it weathered the storm. What Facebook is associated with is hardly in the same boat. News Corps was embroiled in a phone hacking scandal -- but in the end, one tabloid shut down, but the company survived.

They can easily get past this story.

But ironically, the New York Post -- one by News Corp. -- it spinning a dark narrative that Facebook has no to "win" of this mess when they have many outs here. The worst scenario has Mark Zuckerberg pushed out with someone else put in his place -- new leader, new start. Shake up the executives to be more in tune with today's realities, and all is forgiven.

They could also take steps -- and public ones -- to address the bigger issue of invasion of privacy -- showing current examples of media and governmental snooping -- expose how serious a problem this is -- and their biggest critics are left defending themselves and having to explain their own hypocrisy in the matter.

There are at least a dozen other ways to handle it boldly where they turn their current disadvantages to advantages.

Journalists are a little too quick in hoping social media will just go away and they can go back throwing their weight around -- but the advantages to Facebook as a communications tool is too great to just ignore.

So I don't expect Facebook to die -- but it all depends on how they handle themselves at the moment...