Media madness #1 – their lies and ignorance make us stupid

Critics (like me) have railed about the flaws of the old media.  Media experts, such as Clay Shirky, have warned that the new news media might be worse.  Today we look at evidence supporting their fears.

Here we see the essence of making us stupid Internet websites, 21st century propaganda machines.  It’s not that their analysis was wrong; everybody is often wrong.  It’s what happens when called on their errors:  seldom do they issue corrections.  For the partisans — left or right — lies are good, if they lead their flock in the desired direction.   That’s why they they’re unreliable sources of information.

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  1. News:  Palin polls as well as Obama!
  2. Slate shows us the truth
  3. Fox News and Hot Air accurately report the story
  4. For more information and an afterword

(1)  News:  Palin polls as well as Obama!

Listing the many articles on the Internet featuring this story would be tedious.  Here are a few of the most cited on Google:

Of course, the Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds) never misses an opportunity to spread a right-wing myth:  as seen here, here, and here

(2)  Slate shows us the truth

But for those who like hard news, there are websites like Slate that cut through the lies and ignorance to show the underlying truth:  “Poll Dance – Stop comparing Sarah Palin’s approval ratings with Barack Obama’s“, Christopher Beam, 24 November 2009 — Excerpt:

The problem is, they’re comparing apples to oranges. Both columns refer to polls that show Palin’s favorability rating at around 43% — mere points away from Obama’s job-approval rating of 49% . But as Media Matters has pointed out, favorability and job approval aren’t the same thing. A politician’s favorability rating is a general sense of the public’s feeling about him. His job-approval rating is an evaluation of the work he’s doing.

When you compare favorability ratings—apples to apples—Obama still leads Palin by a distance. The latest Gallup poll puts Obama’s favorability 16 points ahead of Palin’s, ABC puts his lead at 18 points, and CNN says it’s 18 points higher. (Only Fox has the gap in single digits, with a seven-point spread.) It’s impossible to compare their job-approval numbers because, well, Palin doesn’t have a job.

You’d think the two measurements would be roughly the same — but they’re not. In general, politicians tend to have better favorability ratings than job-approval ratings. That has been the case with Obama since January, as it was with George W. Bush, who maintained high favorability (some might call it likeability) even when the public disapproved of what he was doing in office.

(3)  Fox News and Hot Air accurately report the story

As usual, Fox News accurately reports the news — comparing poll results from Palin and Obama.

Some partisan websites provide reliable information.  As seen here at Hot Air, giving excerpts from the accurate Fox News stories.

(4a)  For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the following:

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.  Here are some posts about the new news media:

  1. The future, always in motion and therefore difficult to see, 18 March 2009 — About Clay Shirkey’s analysis.
  2. A new news media emerges for our new world, unseen and unexpected, 9 July 2009

(4b)  Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

4 thoughts on “Media madness #1 – their lies and ignorance make us stupid”

  1. I have only one question about Palin. Does she really want the job or is she just being pushed into it? Looking back as far as HST, I think presidents who wanted the job do better than those who didn’t. My feeling about O is that he really wanted the job and likes it. My feeling about W is that he didn’t really want to be pres. but got pushed into it. Note how quickly he has dropped out of sight after he left office. Silly Billy and BushI gave me the impression that they wanted the job and enjoyed it. Palin is getting a hard coordinated push. The real issue to me is not what polls say, but who is behind her and are bankrolling her? Finding out who is bankrolling her will tell more about her agenda as pres. than any poll. Still, if she doesn’t really want the job but is being pushed into it, she is not likely to be a good president.

  2. Glenn Reynolds stopped offering reasonable insight a long time ago; now he’s just another partisan hack.
    FM reply: He still offers a good selection of news and insights, but (as you note) with an astonishingly heavy political spin. Sprio Agnew level. In some ways he’s the right-wing equivalent of Paul Krugman — bright guy, political attack dog. Sad, really.

  3. In France, during The Enlightenment, coffee houses became an important component of “The Public Sphere”. That’s how I think about the internet, but global in reach, faster, and better in a hundred ways.
    FM reply: A good analogy, but it could be so much more. And probably will be.

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