Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More on Unsubstantiated Speculation Masquerading as News

In reply to 'Reliable Sources' Covers Media Response to Colorado Shooting

As I said in my rebuttal to Donald Douglas' earlier attack post, the man is just lying. Rather than cover the same ground, I'll refer back to that previous rebuttal whenever Donald offers the same specious attack...but there are a few fresh lies in this second attack post that deserve reply.
"As noted, Repsac3 is infected with incredibly deep hatred and bigotry, and this prevents him from even acknowledging progressive error, not to mention left-wing evil."
As noted, Donald Douglas appears to be making things up as he goes along. While he alleges all this hatred and bigotry, he fails to offer any examples of it. Similarly, I have no idea what "progressive error" Dr. Douglas is on about...(Perhaps he believes Brian Ross is a progressive, in keeping with his "everyone who disagrees with me is my enemy" black vs white thinkin'?) While I don't believe Brian Ross should be fired for his shoddy reporting, I have in no way defended him or suggested his conduct was acceptable... ...which is obviously why, though Donald accuses me of doing so, he fails to actually show any evidence of my doing so. Donald is making it up.
"At the clip, Howard Kurtz briefly mentions that Breitbart's website claimed that the suspect was a Democrat, and then corrected the post. That's premature as well, and I think folks should report the facts about what is happening on the ground before trying to tear apart your enemies. Of course, that is not something the progressives like Walter James Casper believe, so there's literally no reason to expect him to call out folks on his side rather than defend them."
Again, Donald Kent Douglas is lying. I discussed (or "called out") several cases where bloggers and other media outlets released speculative, unvetted information, and I judged them all by the exact same standards, saying that all but one of them were not the result of partisan bias, and explaining why I believed the remaining one might have been. I didn't defend anyone who engaged in this kind of behavior. My posts also say for themselves what I believe about how reporters ought to behave--especially during these fast-moving stories--so it's no surprise that Dr. Douglas "neglected" to quote or link to any of what I actually posted on the subject. It's so much easier to lie when you fail to show the facts...

I said...
...one cannot start pushing back against stupid correlation/causation arguments soon enough. (especially ones built on speculative factors to start with–there is ZERO evidence that the shooter was either a Tea Party member or registered to vote as a Democrat–and that's apart from the fact that even if either were true, there is nothing indicating the shootings were political, anyway.)

The established media and bloggers would do well to keep their every speculation and thought that randomly enters their head to themselves, at least until they've confirmed that they are reporting facts that are, y'know, factual. After that, I guess there's no greater or less harm in reporting a shooter's political affiliations than in reporting his/her eye color or shoe size…though for my money, relevant facts are worth far more than irrelevant ones. While all facts are facts, some facts are obviously worth more to a given story than others.
I also said...
Brian Ross's problem wasn't a hatred of the Tea party types, but unsubstantiated speculation masquerading as news. (Same goes for the asshole(s) at the Breitbart sites speculating that the shooter may've been registered to vote as a Democrat...as though one's voter registration is somehow relevant. And no, their childish pleas that "they--that is, Brian Ross--did it first" in no way absolves them. If it's wrong to speculate, it's wrong to speculate, no matter who's "side" your speculation helps or hurts.)
One set of standards, for friend and foe alike...

Let's go to the videotape:

Now first off--and contrary to Dr. Douglas' not so carefully crafted meme--no one in that video attributes ABC's terrible, speculative "reporting" about "Jim, the tea party guy" to political bias on the part of Brian Ross or anyone else at ABC.

Bob Cusack says it was "a pretty bad mistake" and likely the result of "doing a lot of research" while in the situation.

Ana Marie Cox says "people get things wrong. News organizations get things wrong, you know, in the sort of craziness right after an event like this." She goes on to say "ABC probably should put everything in context. Put everything sort of in the area, what they say, any news organization should be careful to say that we don't really know very much. And when you don't know, you say you don't know. You don't go with information that you think might be true.

You know probably better than any of us sitting here, the pressure that people have to break news. That pressure has just become so overwhelming that people will go with false news."

Howard Kurtz brings up the stations who blew the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, going to air before knowing the facts.

Contrary to Dr. Douglas' meme, no one on the show attributes Brian Ross' bad reporting to political partisanship or bias. Rather, they attribute it to unsubstantiated speculation and the media's rushes to judgement and poor vetting in their attempts to "publish" first and to fill airtime when they don't actually have established, vetted facts with which to do so... ...which is pretty much exactly what I said in my posts, as well...

American Power: 'Reliable Sources' Covers Media Response to Colorado Shooting

In Reply: Dishonest Donald Douglas Lies About Media Bias (and me, of course)

American Power: When Even Sick Left-Wing Sites Like 'Wonkette' Want Brian Ross Fired, Despicable Hate-Blogger Repsac3 Attacks Michelle Malkin as 'Whiney Wingnut Victim'

In Reply: Media and bloggers would do well to keep from reporting every thought that enters their heads as "news," and consider focusing more on reporting relevant facts, rather than any/all facts

In Reply: Whiny Wingnut Victimization and Unsubstantiated Speculation Masquerading as "News"

CNN.com - Transcripts

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