Slow journalism.

Today I happened to read a bit in National Geographic about slow journalism and was struck just how data is being used to bludgeon us.
This last Summer I undertook a course on Anti-Terrorism with the University of Leiden given by Prof Edwin Bakker. I read for this course because I was 75% convinced I was wrong in my assessment of the current state of the Middle East, and the other so-called hot spots. You see my assessment hinges on the geography of the region where the natural output in food is tiny relative to the current population. And that permeates the psyche of the people leaving them essentially unstable.
The region is not the same as Europe where the population also far exceeds its ability to feed itself, for Europe has tradable goods & services but the middle east has oil only.
What I had convinced myself was my filters were either dated or outright wrong. But by doing that course I had access and the current thinking and analysis. Both not a million miles from where I was myself.
We get an ongoing huge volume of dross that’s nudging us this way and that. It stops us from clear thought and allows us to be managed. It wouldn’t be going too far to say inundated. So much so that we’re even blocked from accessing our own memories allowing us to be nudged into a logic cul de sac.

UPDATE. The attackers on Charlie HebDo, at least those they were looking for anyway, were found cornered. The took hostages. Subsequently they ran out and attacked the police national and were killed.                                                                                                              I’m worried. I hope they got the correct people. And for what it’s worth I believe they have. However, finding an ID Card of one of the men in the getaway car and then informing the media was fraught with dangers. It could so easily have been the wrong people. The card could’ve been a plant.  Or totally unconnected people included, which happened. Miss-identification by the public could’ve led to one-sided shoot-outs.

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8 Responses to Slow journalism.

  1. Kelly says:

    With the internet, 24/7 news channels, and the like…we certainly get bombarded with what the media wants us to know (along with whatever slant they want to put on it). It can be hard to form an unbiased opinion on some things.

    • Vincent says:

      Yes, the 24/7 doesn’t help. What with a car crash at 10am and by noon it can be inflated to a calamity.
      I don’t think you can form an unbiased opinion. We are all bound by our back story. But you expect those they call as experts to at least try to produce an academic opinion.

      • Kelly says:

        Oh, everyone has their “expert”….both in the media AND in the courtroom. It’s all a question of finding one who says what the “powers that be” want them to say.

  2. Kimberly says:

    The need to be first rather than correct has impacted what news is reported. We hear about it 24/7 like you’ve both mentioned, but we are also hearing incorrect information a lot of the time. Information that hasn’t been confirmed because, in this digital age, it doesn’t behoove the reporter/news media to care if it’s right so long as they got it on the www first. And if they don’t have anything new to report, we just get gobbly-gook speculation that drones on and on and on, and depending on the news outlet the spin leans one side or the other. It’s so rarely “just the facts” anymore.
    I’ve been watching a series on this very topic, and there has also been shift in WHO is reporting the news. Those so-called experts you mentioned are now just anyone with a cell phone. Social media is largely impacting how news is gathered and reported. It’s mind boggling and rather frustrating when searching for information and being linked to someone’s Twitter or FB page.
    It seems as if the “real” journalists, like mentioned in your link, want to do their job the way it should probably be done, but since they aren’t the owners of the media outlets I’d imagine they don’t really have a say – well they can say it, but for those companies it’s all about the dollar signs.

    • Vincent says:

      At the moment we have a situation in France where a satirical magazine was targeted for slaughter. This is blamed on two French born Algerians. If true that it was these men, and it’s far from certain it was, why is it that no one speaks about why they were so ripe for radicalization. There isn’t one word about the treatment of French citizens who happen to be Muslem and where this might just play into the hands of those who want to include them and recruit them to become the vehicle of violence. The existence of North Africans in France is akin to pre Mandela South Africa. And no one within the mainstream is analyzing this. Why for instance are Dutch born Muslims heading to fight for ISIS.
      We get this heap of steaming horse apples sold to us as real and actively examined data and we know it smells but we can do little because all are doing the very same. Or almost all.

      And more. Have you seen the rubbish with the Tax over the last few months. The volume of it (untaxed income from major corporates) sloshing about in havens in totally unbelievable. But true. Why aren’t the mainstream media up in arms about this when they would have a hissyfit if some poor unemployed cove was overpaid.

      • Kimberly says:

        Oh yes, I agree – I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but there’s something like 5 or 6 media corporations who control over 90% of what we get as news here in the US. And their coverage pretty much falls right along party lines dependent on an owner’s ideology.
        Television stations here (back when there were only 3 major networks) used to give one hour a night to the news that couldn’t be bought by advertisers. It was understood that the hour would remain unbiased since the time wasn’t going to the highest bidder, plus they had time to FACT CHECK. That is no longer the case with owners and advertisers dictating what they will and won’t allow to be covered.
        The Hebdo attacks have received some coverage over here, but it’s definitely under the guise of “SEE, we’re in jeopardy of the terrorists”. Not that I’m sympathizing, but your point is valid. There is something to be said for looking inwards to help solve problems. While the means are grossly inappropriate, our hands can certainly be deemed dirty.
        Ya know, Watergate is seen as the epitome of investigative journalism. I think our politicians are just as shady, if not more, and it barely warrants a bleep on the radar anymore. What we are fed is definitely managed and, I’m afraid, geared towards the lowest common denominator.
        Are you referring to the TAX in Ireland? I have read some on the issue of Apple and its unpaid taxes there. Are other companies doing the same? That’s a silly question as I’m sure they are! Ya know, the IRS takes about 30% of my income in taxes each year…Apple paid around 10% in taxes to the US, not including what they should have, but didn’t, pay to your country. And yet, we keep voting in the same ding dongs who represent the corps and not the people. Why people continually vote against their own self-interest would be a great story, too bad none of our journalists would be allowed to write it.

        • Vincent says:

          That news hour was a good way to get information to people if they wanted it. But we have a State broadcaster like the BBC and frankly it’s a creature of the current government. The BBC is different, and the people in the UK see that, for if ‘both’ side of a political divide are bitchin about it then it’s for certain getting it near enough correct.

  3. Vincent says:

    Just to add from the Carnegie Foundation.

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