Saturday, April 27, 2013

Confirmation bias is not journalism

The more you put in a brain, the more it holds. But you can't run a deficit: you actually need stuff to put in.

Most of the time people complaining about “mainstream media” aren't actually helping. They want journalism to stop being journalism, and instead confirm their existing world-view.

They're not actually complaining about “factual reporting”. They want a political position that agrees with theirs, and if they don't get it, they won't buy.

You idiots: all you're doing is forcing a polarisation that makes the actual newspapers worse, not better. You – both sides, left and right – are forcing an exclusion of the middle where most people actually live.

Look, you idiots: sometimes, facts can't be massaged into a political slant. Insisting that they do so is just as stupid as editors that try to do so – editors who are as easily led by the nose as asses are (but the nose-ring of the modern editor is some focus group of poor schmucks answering questionnaires in exchange for a cheese platter).

So. You're going to endorse a story because it was written in a style you enjoyed, took a position you enjoyed, slagged the right political victims, took the right position?

Really, you're an idiot. A solipsistic brain donor. Instead of wanting to know more about your world, you want to know less; you don't want information, but confirmation.

You are undermining not only the media – by encouraging their own solipsistic lock-up into arsehole-gazing, but by encouraging them to confirm your own – you're undermining democracy, by elevating Vaudeville over substance, sizzle over steak.

Sparkle is fun, but it isn't illumination.

And the stupid folly of it all is that you think that Social Media is replacing MSM when most of what it's doing is re-Tweeting MSM with the gimcrack endorsements of the worst crap MSM has to offer.

Frankly, you dills, the reason MSM has become a parody is because you endorse the parody – but only from the intellectually-crippled frame that interprets the journalist's job as endorsing your own shorthand politics.

If “bitchy to the other side” is a reason to endorse untruths, you aren't thinking. You're just knee-jerking to the idea that either Julia Gillard is Juliar or that Tony Abbot is PhoneyTony. That's slogan, you fools, and it doesn't help you.

If you endorse the offhand, one-handed ejaculations of a post-lunch editor as gold, and dismiss factual reporting as politicised, you're worse than a fool: you are engaging in the destruction not just of media, but of debate and democracy. And I have no truck with you, left or right.