Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621

Social Media Rules

More of us get our news from social media these days. Problem is most of the ‘news’ on social media doesn’t adhere to standards. Might feel better informed, but it’s hard to tell the difference between writing to a standard and propaganda. In Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621.

Internet Never Lies

People are in the habit of posting, sharing, liking and commenting on stories that support their point of view. People apparently believe anything published on the Internet that looks credible and comes from a site they visit often. We are floating on a sea of bad information.

Garbage In Garbage Out

News stories not written to standard assert things that turn out to be false. What’s worse, this kind of information poisons the discourse. Thoughts, insights and ideas based on bad information form into concrete assumptions and conclusions. Those conclusions drive people’s ideas about the world.

Propaganda and Manipulation

In Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621 I’ll provide some examples of story-lines that have not been proven. Most of the time these stories reinforce the right versus left thinking that ruins friendships and family ties. It’s what makes social media so angry and vitriolic.

There are standards. When you know the standards you can determine whether a writer lives up to those standards. Without standards we’re susceptible to a steady stream of propaganda and manipulation. It’s up to us to learn the standards and choose what we post, share, like and comment on accordingly.

Context and Perspective

A steady diet of Social Media, 24 Hour Cable News and Talk Radio is like junk food for the mind. This ruins a person’s ability to discern whether assertions are true or just opinion. When all we do is read stuff online, watch You Tube videos and listen to cable news and talk radio we lose the context of major stories. We don’t get the details to be able to master the issues. Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621  explains how to do that.

Getting Your News Groove Back-Podcast 621

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Podcast 596-Our Values

Journalism’s new norm is reaction. It is called News. In Podcast 596-Values, news coverage today is a reaction to something someone said or wrote. News is reaction to a new initiative by some government entity. Donald Trump hasn’t been president for a month yet. Already it seems like a year. Trump’s pace of executive orders, executive actions, tweets and initiatives allows him to dominate the media battle space while he cooks up another controversy stew to cauterize yesterday’s controversy.

In Podcast 596-Values, where is the media battle ground? It’s not the Internet. It’s some some battlefield in Europe or Virginia where armies clashed. It’s not a battlefield with stories of élan, bravery or great deeds. The media battle space is our brain. This battlefield is as small or as expansive as it needs to be. As the media storm rages and the wind blows, how do we know our tent is securely fastened and isn’t going to blow away? It call comes down to something called values.

In Podcast 596-Our Values, time to take a pause in this daily insanity of back and forth partisan media coverage. A break from ‘journalists’ who call two or three people, get some quotes, write it up and call it a day. Time to take a look at what we believe as individuals and as a people. Democrat, Republican, Populist, Populist Nationalist, Libertarian, Communist, Socialist, Moderate, Partisan, and Extreme alike. We’re all on a journey together in our lifetime on this planet.

What do we believe? What are the Values we hold dear? Where do those values come from? How do those values anchor us when the gales of change blow up even when those gales are generated from the hot air of politicians in Washington? Politicians who cry and grandstand secure in the knowledge the things they say and do won’t be investigated for any length of time or to any real conclusion?

Reporters determine our values by looking at the latest poll or driving to a shopping center and asking people in the parking lot a few questions. The result is a few hundred words taking the ‘temperature’ of regular everyday ‘folk’. Don’t have any supporters of the president in your state to talk to? Just drive across the state line to the first town and sit in the parking lot of a Safeway or Piggly Wiggly until mom and the kids show up, or chat up and write up what old uncle Frank thinks, while he sits in his 1997 Lincoln waiting for Aunt June. The headline? “Middle America Supports Trump”. Boom.

Work on a national TV show? Find that article about middle america. Get that pollster on the show. Find that Congressmen who says that crazy stuff. Get that woman on from that foundation. Say some stuff. Get some calls. Move on to the next ‘story’. Clicks. Listens. Comments. Calls. Ratings!

The battlefield is the mind. How do you avoid becoming a casualty in the partisan political war? It’s increasingly a battlefield filled with threats. More and more it’s a battlefield better characterized as a moonscape no man’s land, where the shell shocked wander, dazed and confused. Survival in this environment depends on what we believe. Why we believe it. Where we learned it. Who taught us. Where we get our information. How we check our information. What anchors us in the storm, or what kind of ground we have pounded our tent pegs into.

Sponsored by X Government Cars and Hydrus Performance.

 

Podcast 579-Internet Censorship

Podcast 579-Internet Censorship. The news media has a new story-line. Fake News Elected Donald Trump. We have to do something about fake news. It amounts to is censorship of the Internet. A violation of the right to free speech guaranteed by the US Constitution’s first amendment at least in spirt. What IS Fake News? I think of Fake News as False Narratives. Story lines seeded by politicians and corporate PR people. Narratives that are picked up and reported on by journalists who take down quotes for their stories rather than investigate and report. These story lines are picked up by more journalists who quote talking heads. Commentators commentate, more quotes and more stories until the narrative outlives its usefulness and then the whole thing starts over. Examples include explanations of why Trump won the election including, ‘Women voted for Trump instead of Hillary’. Another was the reporting on ‘What the Polls showed’ which usually meant Clinton was supposed to win. Facts in both cases debunked these claims. The definition of ‘Fake News’ we’re actually dealing with now are false stories presented as fact. You see them on You Tube, FaceBook and Twitter. But they are picked up by websites like Breitbart or Huffington Post if they fit a narrative. Since ‘fake news’ elected ‘a person like Trump’, Clinton backers are demanding social media and search engine companies like FaceBook and Google ‘do something about fake news’. In Podcast 579-Internet Censorship, we spend a little time explaining the American Political system, specifically the Electoral College. This explains how Donald Trump was able to eke out an electoral victory in key states, as well as a solid victory among the voters of Ohio, which gave him a victory in the presidential contest, regardless of popular vote totals, fair and square. There is virtually no evidence fake news had anything to do with these tight victories. If Clinton’s voters had actually voted in those states we’d be talking about a Clinton transition and Trump would be on a beach in the Caribbean somewhere. Despite the fact that Clinton has been a proponent of doing away with the electoral college for years, suddenly the hoary old institution is her best friend. We don’t know if anyone voted for Trump based on the Pizza Gate story, we can’t and we won’t. That doesn’t stop the left from putting immense pressure on FaceBook, the supposed culprit here in publishing so called fake news. What does Mark Zuckerberg the head of FaceBook do? He caves. A second story making the rounds in the alt-right community with headlines like, “We told you so” says they’re already censoring the Internet. Finally there have long been discussions in the national security and foreign policy community regarding censoring Islamic Jihad sites that radicalize followers. All three of these stories are being conflated right now online as though some imminent threat to free speech exists. Is there? Or are these companies simply formalizing procedures to suppress violent or illegal content that has been part of their service agreements? As a content creator the idea of ‘warning labels’ is chilling. The idea of some kind of algorithm to be defeated is chilling. That said, wouldn’t such procedures invite work arounds? Wouldn’t censorship invite efforts to defeat algorithms? Personally I don’t concern myself with speech control in countries that don’t have guarantees of free speech. I do care about attempts to limit speech in the United States where free speech is THE cornerstone of a successful representative republic and is constitutionally guaranteed in the first amendment. You can’t stop things you don’t agree with. As a content provider, this concerns me. Sponsored by X Government Cars and by Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 546

Podcast 546-What Is Next? Almost all media these days is advocacy journalism. It used to be called ‘yellow journalism’. Back in the day yellow journalism was characterized by newspaper publishers like William Randolph Hearst who, when an artist he’d sent to Cuba cabled Hearst the fact that the USS Maine had blown up because of an accident, famously replied, “You supply the pictures, I’ll supply the war!” Everywhere we turn these days we are bombarded with the surface arguments. The personalities, the propaganda, the arguing back and forth. It goes far beyond media bias. It has become media advocacy. Telling you and I who to vote for and why. Telling us what we are to believe in and what our country stands for, and why. It’s a fact of life on both sides of the fence. We end up going back and forth about nonsense, most of the time. For me to add to this noise, seems to be a waste of time. Of course I have my own point of view about politics these days, and I’ll try and save most of those observations for podcasts detailing state by state polls, or addressing specific issues when they need to be addressed. How you vote, who you vote for and why you vote the way you do is your business. The easy thing to do these days is turn on the microphone and bloviate about what happened on the campaign trail today. It is much harder to find something to discuss that goes beyond. Hence Podcast 546-What Is Next? How can we move to the next step in the country and the world. Not what happens after election day 2016, or Inauguration Day 2017. This question deals with what happens down the line. If we spent a fraction of our time actually trying to inform ourselves about issues we can know about, rather than consuming propaganda, we would be better citizens and better stewards of the future for the country. The answers to the things we can know about, aren’t in social media or even necessarily searchable. The answers are in libraries. We can’t be fully informed about an issue if we don’t even know what questions to search. So let’s get started answering the question, What’s Next? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 488

Sick Of Politics. Yeah. Sorry. Sick Of Politics. I’m not the only one. When it’s above 70 degrees and sunny for an entire weekend in the upper midwest, no one wants to talk about whether or not the delegate selection process in Georgia and Colorado is messed up. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, people headed up to the lake to put the dock in, raked their lawns, washed their cars, sat on the deck blinking in the sun, and were amazed, tantalized and thrilled with late May weather in Mid April. I certainly remember mid April tax return mailings when it was snowing, or 30 degrees and raining. Aside from the ‘bring on more of this global warming’ jokes, it is pretty amazing to be able to get a sunburn around here at this time of year. Meanwhile, the cable news jockeys continue to drone away about what this one said about that one, whether the primary process should be scrapped for something else – don’t ask – and how the byzantine ‘state delegate selection process’ is flawed, as though anyone ever gave a damn before this ridiculous election cycle. God! Bring back the smoke filled rooms, cigar chomping, pinkie ring wearing, bourbon drinking ‘operators’. What would happen if we woke up tomorrow and suddenly there wasn’t anymore 24 hour cable news, talk radio, Facebook or Twitter? What would we think about? Is it possible we might discover what we have been thinking about below the crust of all this 24 hour news cycle generated angst and frustration? How would that sit with you? What do you think about when you’re not receiving or transmitting? A late night live podcast from the deck of the broadcast bunker, complete with planes, sirens and a very large mosquito. Mosquito’s already? And so it begins. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 408

Falling Off The Wagon. Today, for some reason, I felt the impending approach of fall and thought, “I should end the unofficial, half assed ‘News Cleanse’ and start printing up stories and reading them”. Boy, was that a mistake. It does feel like climbing back into the bottle, or falling off the wagon, going back to the crack, or going back to the woman you love, who happens to be a disaster … for you. Oh I had the best of intentions. I was, in fact, very excited about the prospect of reading a hundred or so pages of news stories and bringing to you the most significant of all the stories, just like old times. When I got through the screening process, there was nothing left to talk about because I had thrown out all the stories I’d read, even the ones I saved because I thought, “This might make a good bit of content for the podcast.” Nope. Why? After a summer of peripheral examination of the news, with an emphasis on actually covering real events rather than reading rehashed versions of someone else’s story and then talking about that … after a summer of glorious discussions about the unconscious mind, or trips to Sturgis and across the country for this or that reason … I discovered today that nothing really has changed since the first day of summer dawned. Oh yes there have been developments, but what serves as ‘journalism’ in this country is basically crap. We’re not getting the information we need to make informed decisions about the 18 or 19 clowns running for higher office. Want more bad news? We aren’t even talking about candidates for Congress, Senate, and state races. So in this podcast, I took a little time to vent my frustrations with what is turning into darkest days of ‘journalism’ in our country. Maybe you share them, maybe you don’t. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and welcome to the newest sponsor of the Bob Davis Podcasts, the Husband and Wife team of Eric and Erum Lucero at PrideOfHomes.com and Luke Team Real Estate in the North Metro Corridor. 

Podcast 311

Brian Williams and Truth. An Update Podcast that takes a foreign policy turn. As NBC News Anchor Brian Williams tries to maintain some credibility in the wake of his admission that he ‘conflated’ a helicopter he was in with another that received RPG and small arms ground fire in Iraq in 2003, veterans and viewers are furious with Williams. In a week in which a man was burned alive in a cage, and buried, Americans are concerned with the antics of a perfumed television presenter. Why do we expect integrity from television news? Much less journalism. For years, the line between entertainment and journalism has been blurring. Perhaps now people see it for what it really is. Meanwhile back on the ranch in the middle east, suicide bombings, and decapitations of hostages and prisoners aren’t apparently enough, so IS decided to put a captured Jordanian pilot in a cage, soak him in gasoline, burn him, then bury the cage with a bulldozer. Incredibly enough this provoked a theological discussion of whether such burnings are justified under Islamic Law. It was decided such barbarity is not acceptable, but the fact that it was even submitted as a theological question is instructive. What is to be done about the Islamic State? The Kurds will only go so far in defending Kurdish Iraq. The Jordanians are understandably angry, but are already asking for bullets, fuel, guns and American Forward Air Controllers in order to attack IS. Is America ready to send troops? The President has correctly described the IS as a death cult, with an Army. It seems, though, as if the United States is underestimating the Islamic State, which some say has a much deeper and stronger appeal to a base of young people world wide, and in the region. Eliminating it may take more than airstrikes and advisors. Now the question is what is he going to do about it? And in the Ukraine – a far more serious matter to the security of Western Europe – Russia is being presented with a peace offer this weekend, which may actually give Putin everything he wants. The end of sanctions in return for allowing Eastern Ukraine provinces self determination, and self government within Ukraine. This allows Russia to reactivate the separatists at any time as well as denying Kiev vital natural resources from these regions. It’s a win for Putin because it allows him to destabilize Kiev at will. Finally, what are the foreign policy ideas of the potential candidates for president in 2016? What are your concerns? Sponsored by X Government Cars and by Depotstar

Podcast 303

Podcast Consciousness. Live from the Kitchen! After a string of podcasts discussing intense topics, from economics through to participation in politics translating to political power, it’s time for a podcast consciousness podcast. How I do what I do, and how it drives me crazy sometimes. Well, maybe all the time. In searching for podcast topics, I spent some time tonight cleaning out my ‘stacks’ of news stories on foreign affairs, business, politics, local and all kinds of other topics, and found a lot of stories that never made it to ‘air’. Part of the reason for that is the effort to winnow all this day to day news writing down to some key points people can use to understand what I think is going on in the world, but the podcaster can miss the opportunity to just talk about stories that are interesting (to him). Maybe it’s winter. Maybe its cabin fever. Something’s going on below the surface though … perhaps a quest for adventure … maybe a road trip coming up … There is a restlessness rising up from the depths right now. Good time to talk about it. Plus the latest economic fairytales from the financial media, and what to look for down the road on that front. Sponsored by Baklund R &D

Podcast 286

Speaker Boehner. US Speaker of The House Boehner has survived a challenge from so called ‘insurgent conservatives’ to replace him. According to some reports this was the strongest effort to replace a sitting speaker since the 1860’s. As many as 24 Republican members voted against the Speaker. ‘Insurgents’ are unhappy with the Speaker because they do not feel he fights for principles. Freedom Works had urged its followers to write, call and email their Congressmen to vote against Boehner. Once again so called Conservative Insurgents across the country are learning an important lesson about politics. That would be money talks, you know what walks. Whatever you want to call them; Tea Party, Liberty, Insurgent … until this group commands a political machine that actually holds real political power, these kinds of demonstrations (or stunts as some call them) will continue to be just that. When you have the power, you win the vote. Nice try though. There is a lot of snark on this story, which ignores the fact that the insurgent movement — people who actually think our legislators should govern from principle rather than expedience — is growing in strength, contrary to reports of its demise. Meanwhile, what is the agenda for so called ‘moderate’ Republicans in Congress? Make changes on the margins? ‘Restore’ faith in the IRS? Vote tax breaks to teenagers? Really? There are rumors the Keystone Pipeline will come up for a vote soon. As usual all the ‘journalism’ concentrates on the GOP majority in the Senate as being ‘filibuster proof’. This isn’t the question. The question is whether the House and Senate can muster the two-thirds majority needed to override an almost certain Presidential Veto, unless moderates cram all sorts of goodies into the bill. If you want to use email, your phone or write a letter to someone in the government, you might try send a letter to the FCC to demand it does NOT reclassify the Internet as a Utility. The last thing the world needs is regulation and taxation on the Internet. How expensive will Obama Care be in 2015? Aside from some who are now earning more than they did when they qualified for ACA subsidies in 2014, having to pay those subsidies back (yes, it’s true), copays and insurance fees are increasing so much and so quickly the Harvard Professors who supported and demanded the ACA pass, are now protesting those same copay and insurance increases! For Thee, not me, these perfumed princes and princesses are saying. That’s why we trust their positions on other political issues so much. Meanwhile, as the US makes nice with Communists in Cuba, they’re cracking down on dissidents sending thousands to jail. Same thing is happening in China and North Korea. One thing about Maoists, they don’t like dissent. And what happens when a Chicagoan rides his bike to the Police Station to report a theft? Sponsored by Baklund R & D

Podcast 267

Cooking and Talking. Updating you on some key stories for midweek, while cooking dinner. Pan fried steak, broccoli and salad. One of the things cable news and talk radio does is talk about things over and over again, in an effort to gin up emotional response and viewership. They seem to get ‘stuck’ on stories and can’t move on until the next ‘big’ story. In our ongoing discussion about media and its pitfalls, one of the things podcasting allows is for more varied content. We don’t have to keep talking about the same subjects, because podcasts about those subjects are up to be listened to whenever subscribers desire. So podcasters can add to stories when its appropriate and begin talking about new stories that will be top topics in a few days or weeks. In this podcast, updates to the bias story on Rolling Stone magazine’s coverage of the ‘rape’ story at UVA, and how narrative journalism ill serves the people. The next big narrative story? The Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of the report on the CIA’s interrogation methods. At first blush it looks pretty bad, and it is reported may even spur terror attacks across the world, and on US citizens. On second thought, it looks like the last shot by democrats at the Bush Administration’s policies. And whether deserved or not, former CIA directors and employees are pretty upset at what they see as a biased report. Dad always said, “There are two sides to every story”. As people react to the emotional and lurid nature of yet another ‘narrative’ story, will the ‘rest of the story’ get covered with equal intensity? On the terror front; word is ISIL has yellow cake which it procured from a University in Mosul Iraq, and used to make at least one radioactive explosive device which has been spirited into Europe. Let’s wait and see how this one develops. On the political front: With all the talk about the Republican Brand being ‘dead’ it turns out the GOP is in the best position it has been in since the 1920’s, especially in individual states. 2014 turned out to be a great year for Republicans, but Minnesota republicans missed out. Why? Is it time for a change of state party leadership as in a house cleaning? Finally, the pundits saying lower gas prices act as a ‘tax cut’, a position which should be questioned. It has been reported this week that lower fuel prices also mean lower commodity prices, since farm cost inputs will be cheaper. But, lower oil prices also means big oil companies may reduce their capital investments, which hurts manufacturing and employment. Are oil price reductions due to the price war, or to more supply and less demand because of economic slow downs in China, Europe and Latin America. Will the effect be positive? Not so fast, say some. Sponsored by X Government Cars, and by Depotstar.