Found 2 comments on HN
PaulHoule · 2018-11-02 · Original thread
There are many interesting questions around this.

Is the purpose of news to manipulate your mood?

If that is the case it competes with video games, sports, fiction, etc.

Is the purpose of news to inform?

In that case "current events" competes with an understanding of past events.

I was listening to an evangelical preacher the other day about the book "Romans" written by my namesake and how the apostles are getting their asses kicked in roman jails and preaching with anger against immorality (beyond the pale today in the west) such as polygamy and slavery.

Then I was reading about how the Polish and Japanese both learned how to write at the same time in the same way. I felt the dread hanging over Arlington National Memorial and was shocked to discover who had owned the land it was on.

This 1971 book

https://www.amazon.com/Information-Machines-Ben-H-Bagdikian/...

predicted that we would have "news on the web" in the 1980s and has a much deeper analysis of that entails than most books written since.

He sees a fundamental problem in "news" that the gatekeeper function has to be done efficiently and quickly. Of all the things that happened today, the "news" is one in a billion or so.

That selection is necessary to create a feeling of shared reality. (I saw CNN at 5:14 and my Uncle Nic saw it at 7:31 and we saw "the same thing")

That selection is also violence against reality itself.

PaulHoule · 2016-11-16 · Original thread
Another issue is that many biases are structural, technological or driven by commercial pressures.

For instance, I would say CNN is biased toward coverage of school shootings and airplane crashes. CNN has the problem that there is not enough news to fill 24 hours so they run a heavy rotation of the same crap that is cheap to produce. Probably the best footage they show is stuff they downloaded off Youtube.

When you catch the CNN crew on a slow news Sunday they will admit that their problem is engaging an audience, both in the sense that they need to make money and also in the sense that they have some duty to inform the populace, the populace has duty to inform itself, etc. The truth is their content is boring, depressing, and awful but they have varied their formula a lot and they really believe they've found a local maximum of what people will watch.

In some sense CNN was biased towards Trump because he's interesting. I would look for news about Trump every day because it was likely he would say something crazy again and I think this was the case for a lot of other people. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all had great ratings this season.

This 1971 book

https://www.amazon.com/Information-Machines-Ben-H-Bagdikian/...

is about as ahead of it's time as Ted Nelson's work and is very much about what news would be like in the age of the World Wide Web and it contains a damning indictment of the very concept of "news". (i.e. not only is there not enough news to fill a 24 hour tv show, but it's arguable that there is enough news to fill a newspaper every day)

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