Posts tagged with ‘truthiness’

Americans no longer expect or care about candidates making honest assertions in the public sphere. They no longer expect consistency and honesty from politicians, and the savvy political campaigner recognizes that there is no cost to making statements that contradict even their most well-known beliefs…

…Claims in the public domain are now routinely treated as intentional distortions of facts to promote ideologies; distortions or misrepresentations justified by the need to “counterbalance” false claims from the other side.

Jason Stanley, New York Times. Speech, Lies and Apathy

Put another way, and as part of a Times news analysis/convention factcheck effort:

The growing number of misrepresentations appear to reflect a calculation in both parties that shame is overrated, and that no independent arbiters command the stature or the platform to hold the campaigns to account in the increasingly polarized and balkanized media firmament. Any unmasking of the lies or distortions, the thinking goes, rarely seeps into the public consciousness.

Good times.

The article makes a point of quoting Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, for a contrary view on warming.

Why? If there was an earthquake, the Times would not seek out a denier of earthquakes. If this was an article on medicine, the Times would not automatically seek out the views of a homeopath or acupuncturist. If this was an article on astronomy, you (the Times) would not make an obligatory pilgrimage to the UFO community. Yet on climate change… you bow again and again to the immense vested interests that fund the climate denial industry. This does not give your readers balance – in fact, it distorts their views of the actual facts.

Mr Ebell’s organisation receives substantial funding from Exxon Mobil, a point not mentioned in this article.

Letter to the editor of the New York Times, eviscerating their “balanced” reporting on climate change. It’s a must read letter, here. (via climateadaptation)

FJP: May we draw your attention to Jay Rosen’s View from Nowhere.

Can I Make Stuff Up?
Fabrication, fiction, falsehood: see what you can do and when you can do it at Slate.

Can I Make Stuff Up?

Fabrication, fiction, falsehood: see what you can do and when you can do it at Slate.

Something happened in our press over the last 40 years or so that never got acknowledged and to this day would be denied by a majority of newsroom professionals. Somewhere along the way, truthtelling was surpassed by other priorities the mainstream press felt a stronger duty to. These include such things as “maintaining objectivity,” “not imposing a judgment,” “refusing to take sides” and sticking to what I have called the View from Nowhere.

No one knows exactly how it happened, for it’s not like a policy decision came down at some point. Rather, the drift of professional practice over time was to bracket, or suspend sharp questions of truth and falsehood in order to avoid charges of bias, or excessive editorializing. Journalists felt better, safer, on firmer professional ground–more like pros–when they stopped short of reporting substantially untrue statements as false. One way to describe it (and I believe this is the correct way) is that truthtelling moved down the list of newsroom priorities. Other things now ranked ahead of it.

Should The Times Be A Truth Vigilante? →

markcoatney:

soupsoup:

I hope this is a joke. The New York Times Public Editor wonders aloud if their journalists should be reporting the truth.

Seriously?

Maybe he thinks the NYT should be more like a truth noodge? 

FJP: Ooph.

Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another? Are there other problems that The Times would face that I haven’t mentioned here?

Photoshop Forensics
The New York Times has an interesting write-up on photo forensics software created by Dartmouth professor Hany Farid.
The software reverse engineers photographs to show what they originally looked like in order to demonstrate what manipulation was applied to them.
Via the New York Times:

Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.

The United States and various Europe countries have organizations proposing legislation that manipulated photographs come with a label that informs viewers just how much a photograph has been doctored.
For example, a proposed “Self-Esteem Act" in the United States states, "We’re asking for support to pass federal legislation requiring advertising and editorial that’s meaningfully changed the human form through photoshopping or airbrushing to carry "Truth in Advertising" labels. The labels will simply state that the models shown have been altered. No judgments, no morality, just transparency and clarity."
In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy to discourage advertisers from altering “photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”
Image: Before and After Photographs from Hany Farid’s work. Via the Dartmouth Computer Science Department.

Photoshop Forensics

The New York Times has an interesting write-up on photo forensics software created by Dartmouth professor Hany Farid.

The software reverse engineers photographs to show what they originally looked like in order to demonstrate what manipulation was applied to them.

Via the New York Times:

Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.

The United States and various Europe countries have organizations proposing legislation that manipulated photographs come with a label that informs viewers just how much a photograph has been doctored.

For example, a proposed “Self-Esteem Act" in the United States states, "We’re asking for support to pass federal legislation requiring advertising and editorial that’s meaningfully changed the human form through photoshopping or airbrushing to carry "Truth in Advertising" labels. The labels will simply state that the models shown have been altered. No judgments, no morality, just transparency and clarity."

In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy to discourage advertisers from altering “photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”

Image: Before and After Photographs from Hany Farid’s work. Via the Dartmouth Computer Science Department.

On Pundits and Politicians: Explorations in Truthiness
The St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact project explores the truthiness of the things our politicians say. Once fact checked, the statement gets a rating from “True” to “Pants on Fire”. 
They call this the Truth-O-Meter (and it’s now out in mobile app form).
While PolitiFact used to focus specifically on the statements politicians make, they’ve now turned their attention to the pundit class. What they’re discovering is that pundits are less truthful than the politicians they talk and write about.
Via PolitiFact:

In our pundits category, which includes columnists, commentators and talk show hosts, False ratings accounted for 25 percent of the ratings (compared with 21 percent overall) and Pants on Fires accounted for 10 percent (compared with 8 percent overall). Trues were just 15 percent (vs. 20 percent overall).

So think about that next time you turn on the Cable.

On Pundits and Politicians: Explorations in Truthiness

The St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact project explores the truthiness of the things our politicians say. Once fact checked, the statement gets a rating from “True” to “Pants on Fire”. 

They call this the Truth-O-Meter (and it’s now out in mobile app form).

While PolitiFact used to focus specifically on the statements politicians make, they’ve now turned their attention to the pundit class. What they’re discovering is that pundits are less truthful than the politicians they talk and write about.

Via PolitiFact:

In our pundits category, which includes columnists, commentators and talk show hosts, False ratings accounted for 25 percent of the ratings (compared with 21 percent overall) and Pants on Fires accounted for 10 percent (compared with 8 percent overall). Trues were just 15 percent (vs. 20 percent overall).

So think about that next time you turn on the Cable.

One of the basic functions of journalism is to say: This is true, and that is false. There are other functions, but establishing bedrock “world is round / sun rises in the east / 1+ 1 = 2” verities is a big one.

In today’s political environment, when so many simple facts are disputed, journalists can feel abashed about stating plainly what is true. With an anticipatory cringe about the angry letters they will receive or the hostile blog posts that will appear, they instead cover themselves by writing, “according to most scientists, the sun rises in the east, although critics say….”

— James Fallows, The Atlantic, with some thoughts on truthiness.

On Nov. 4, Anderson Cooper did the country a favor. He expertly deconstructed on his CNN show the bogus rumor that President Obama’s trip to Asia would cost $200 million a day. This was an important “story.” It underscored just how far ahead of his time Mark Twain was when he said a century before the Internet, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” But it also showed that there is an antidote to malicious journalism — and that’s good journalism.

— Thomas Friedman, New York Times.

(Source: The New York Times)