Equating the Unequal, Pizzaz and Polarization

For those of us who are trying to understand why news coverage today seems incapable of conveying the factual truth, Margaret Sullivan‘s analysis of The two big flaws of the media’s impeachment coverage – and what went right (paywall) shines some light on habits in current media coverage that obfuscate or demote the facts.

Some essential thoughts:

Equating the Unequal

In an unceasing effort to be seen as neutral, journalists time after time fell into the trap of presenting facts and lies as roughly equivalent…”

If it ain’t pizzazzy, it ain’t newsworthy

“the expectation that every major news event should offer drama in the style of a reality TV show. … When that excitement level isn’t met, the media often steps in to provide it. That takes the form of dramatizing the nation’s polarization, compete with laments about ‘divided America.’

It’s the type of writing that justifies a subscription to the Washington Post.

Source: The two big flaws of the media’s impeachment coverage — and what went right – The Washington Post

The “Illusory Truth Effect”

Talking about The Hill’s retweeting of Donald Trump’s tweets, regardless of their truthfulness, Media Matters reminds us of a concept we should all bear in mind before hitting the publish button.

the “illusory truth effect,” a concept by which a lie begins to seem more true the more it’s repeated. A 2017 Wired article explains this as “a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth” and quotes University of Toronto psychologist Lynn Hasher as saying it’s “likely more powerful when people are tired or distracted by other information.”


Source: The Hill can’t stop spreading misinformation about Trump’s impeachment

Perceived bias or real bias? Inside PR 451

Twitter opens verification to everyone. Yahoo closes an era. Anthony Ponce is a backseat rider. And the New York Times Public Editor shines a spotlight on the importance of perceived bias.

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley cover these topics on Inside PR 451.


RIP Yahoo

Yahoo once was the directory of the internet. So, we couldn’t let it fade into oblivion without marking the event.

Verify me, Twitter

It has been a widely-coveted symbol – the Twitter blue verification check mark. Now, we all can apply for it. Many will be called, but few will be granted? Have you applied for Twitter verification under the new process? Has your application been approved?

Backseat Rider

Anthony Ponce left his job as an on-air news anchor to spend full-time driving tax and posting the stories he picks up to his Facebook page. An interesting experiment. Politicians long have known that the best briefing they could get when visiting a city is the discussion with the taxi driver. They go everywhere and see everything.

Bias in News Media Redux

This is the issue we live with on a day by day basis. It’s also something which viewers of Fox News seem to accept, even welcome. Liz Spayd, the recently-appointed Public Editor at the New York Times reminds us that perception and reality do not necessarily converge when it comes to the issue of bias in news coverage. We’ve talked a lot about bias and personal perspective. And Spayd’s column brings us back to this topic.

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Mathew Ingram on journalism: The only constant is change

We live in the age of wisdom, the age of foolishness. The spring of hope, the winter of despair.

“The only constant is change and the rate of change is increasing all the time.” 

Mathew Ingram shared his insightful perspective on the current state of journalism when he spoke at Third Tuesday Toronto #3TYYZ.

I captured Mathew’s complete presentation on video. Here are some of the highlights (and the time in the video at which you can find them):

Advertising revenues have decreased by over 40 billion dollars in a few years. The loss of revenue forces news media to change or die. (1:03)

Paywalls may slow the decline for traditional media, but they also stunt growth. Even at the New York Times, with its unique positioning, online subscription revenues are not keeping pace with the decline in advertising revenue. (1:55)

Paywalls are a “sandbag strategy”. They stem the flow in the short term, but they don’t solve the real problem. (2:55)

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