Old Think

The other day, Andrew Torba was scheduled to appear on the Tucker Carlson show so I figured out how to find it off the underground TV system. I no longer have a TV subscription, so I have to rely on the dark web for this stuff. Cord cutters can say what they like about services like Kodi, but it is a hassle compared to regular cable. So much so, in fact, that I rarely watch television. Instead I download movies and TV shows and binge watch when the spirit moves me. I watched Deadwood last month, for example.

Anyway, I found a stream and tuned in to the show. I did not know when Torba’s segment was scheduled so I had to sit through the whole thing. Watching Tucker interview some old guy, who looked vaguely familiar, I felt like I had gone back in time. I have not watched these shows in a long time. I get my news on-line. I skip the Blue Team – Red Team hooting that makes up political banter in the mainstream press. In fact, I barely notice most of what passes for current events discussion. I just don’t care that much.

The Torba piece was short and I got the sense that Tucker Carlson spends little time on-line. The things Torba said about Twitter and FaceBorg zapping bad-think on a daily basis were obviously news to Tucker. He was genuinely surprised when Torba explained the realities of who controls the internet and the power they have over speech. The reason for this is no one in the mass media understands any of this stuff. They live in the media bubble and the sorts of things we experience on-line are alien to them.

This is not a new phenomenon. Back in the olden thymes when people were coming home every night to a dozen CD’s in the mail from ISP’s offering a free month of internet, the mass media was unaware the internet existed. I recall laughing myself silly one night, watching a couple of airheads on the local news in Boston, talk about “the mysterious underworld of the internet” as if it was the back room at Rick’s Cafe. They carried on like the internet was an opium den. The astonished look on their faces was priceless.

It is another example of the gulf between the people in the mass media and the public. We are at the point now where most everyone under the age of 50 is getting their news and information from on-line sources. The median age for the TV chat shows is mid-60’s and the age for traditional print publications like magazines and journals is 70. The people working the chat show circuit are people who came into the business from newspapers and political magazines. Even the young people on TV are living in the old mindset.

That’s the thing. When you consume news on-line, you scan the high points until you land on something of interest. On a daily basis, I visit maybe fifty sites. I don’t read every word of those sites. Often, I just skim and move on. Social media provides a feed to skim what others are skimming. Information about the world is now a stream and you can dip your cup into as you see fit. Since you can absorb vastly more information by reading, the on-line experience is more informative and more customized to your interests.

News consumption in the information age, for most people now, is on-demand. You take what you want, when you want it, at the speed you want. The old model was an on-supply model. You got what they gave you, on their schedule and their pace. Sitting there watching Tucker and his guests plod through each segment was painful. I no longer have patience for the banter and mugging that is traditional television. I just want the facts and don’t have any interest in their attempts to color it with their personal touch.

It’s not just an age issue, but that is certainly a big part of it. The young people you see in the mass media are just are fogy-ish as an old fogy. They are positive that the old model is still relevant. They create the news and supply it to you in doses they believe you can handle. Meanwhile, most people have consumed the stories via their social media accounts long before they turn up on the chat shows or big shot news sites. People tuned into see Torba inform Carlson about what was happening with speech on-line.

The people in charge get this to some degree. That’s part of why they are berserk for cracking down on dissident speech on-line. Trump was elected because an ad-hoc army on disaffected people went on-line and drove the news cycle, while the people in charge were selling that old hag Clinton on TV chat shows that no one under the age of 60 bothers watching anymore. Their efforts to match this have resulted in memes like “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?” where the old thinkers are made to look ridiculous.

It’s tempting to cast this as a bad development. The Fake News phenomenon has simply been met with a guerrilla version of it. Mike Cernovich peddling PizzaGate on twitter is just as corrosive as the New York Times making up stories about Trump. It’s important to remember that the news has always been fake. In the 18th century factions had their newspapers promote false narratives in favor of their faction. It is the source of the Sally Hemmings stuff. Yellow Journalism was a thing before radio existed.

The only question today is the impact of the speed and volume. Fake News delivered by town crier can be mulled over and debated. Propaganda posing as news in the daily paper only comes in once a day. For people glued to their computers and mobile devices, being immersed in a solution of fake news, agit-prop and craven nonsense is a fact of life that is new to our age. Maybe it cancels itself out and all of it becomes background noise or maybe is erodes public trust and begins to set off panics. Or something else.

57 thoughts on “Old Think

  1. I’ve been using the internet for news since ’99 when I paid about $10/month for internet dial-up. I could not stand the lefty BS of the local rag. These guy were behind 20 years ago and still are by the looks of it.

  2. “It’s important to remember that the news has always been fake.”

    If children only learned that and nothing more in our schools, the world would be transformed.

  3. There is an insidious aspect to the mass media fake news business that bears comment. Immersion in false or contradictory information causes brain damage in the sense that it defeats the benefits of rationality. In others words, you can actually become stupider via the process of habitual exposure, and this addiction sets up a vicious cycle of mental degradation. The end-state is sheeple who reflexively react to buzz words and phrases with programmed behaviors. It is the death of independent thought.

  4. Traditional TV is going to die of. A TV channel is nothing but a non-interactive website that streams content you probably don’t want to watch most of with annoying ads that can’t be skipped. A normal internet site is superior in practically every way.

    Cognition in an era where almost all information is untrue is a hell of an interesting problem. As others have pointed out in the Soviet Union some lies were so reliably lies that one might infer the truth from the pattern. But the falseness of information in our era doesn’t pattern off the truth in any way.

    The mentally healthy thing to do I think is to simply assume that information is false unless you have a very good reason to do otherwise. At least then you hopefully won’t end up believing any of the totally wacky stuff floating around.

    • Problem is, it costs money to gather the facts that constitute news. With dwindling revenues, there are fewer people being paid to dig up information, so what we’re fed as news, is talking heads bloviating about whatever is the hot issue of the day.

      Print media spend too much on editorial writers and teevee spends too much blonde newsreaders and both not enough on people out in the world finding stuff out.

      So we get dumber every year.

  5. I’ve quizzed a couple dozen young people about where they get their “news”. They actually don’t know, which is the first important understanding, but the answers they give to my questions are straight out of Google or Yahoo home page. After informing one girl of an irrefutable fact which contradicted the narrative, and after some astonishment and perhaps trepidation, she asked me where I got my facts. Before telling her how I gathered facts I told her it would be more productive for her to question how she got hers for the first time. My process of gathering information–your process–did not appear to hold much appeal. “Nothing is more depressing than the sight of people who believe that they are following collective manias of their own free will.” The Borg are winning but the losers are much more fun.

    • “The Borg are winning but the losers are much more fun.”
      The Borg won in the 1950’s with CIA direction of the TV stations and the “NYT & WAPO Papers of Record” with Operation Mockingbird.
      They are slowly starting to lose.
      It will be interesting to see if the rearguard action by google, facefuck and twatter.

  6. Part of Tucker’s schtick is to look incredulous or puzzled. I would bet my bottom dollar he regularly dips into Breitbart, Drudge, and other websites.

    The move away from TV news by the younger audience can only be an improvement over the Orwellian Info Monster coming out of Manhattan.

  7. The new Apple phone is going to be able to identify your face and know, even if it is off, if you are in the room through facial identification. So it will take a “face-print” of every site we call up and every page we read. Can’t see what could ever go wrong with that!

    You will not escape the attention of the Borg.

  8. “Mike Cernovich peddling PizzaGate on twitter is just as corrosive as the New York Times making up stories about Trump.”

    I actually don’t know the truth about PizzaGate. The way in which the MSM has avoided this makes you wonder. And the only people I have seen online that oppose the narrative of high-ranking politicos engaging in molesting children (oh, no….that never happens) dismiss PizzaGate with “Everyone knows this is a lie!” Repeat hundreds of times over hundreds of sites. I have been of the opinion that if the MSM says the sky is blue, I know it is really orange. And it has never failed me in interpreting political events. OK, the sky’s not orange, but still…..Anyway, I think it would be entirely “possible” that a certain kind of elite, be it political, media, or just wealth, would utilize some kind of “service” so they could regularly get their deviant freak on. The way in which this allegation never really made the MSM and what did faded away rather quickly. Unlike another bit of fake news, muh Russians. Whether this particular iteration of the sickness endemic to our ruling class is true or not, I don’t know. I would like to see this debated by rational individuals. Are there any left?

    • cernovich and others (like kim “fatass” dotcom) explicitly said they had video and documentary proof of pizzagate, and that they would release it to the public within 24 hours. never happened. maybe it is true, but until the videos come out, i just ignore pizzagate articles (and note who is promoting them).

      • Pizzagate was probably just BS, but it was weird, and it did seem to make some pretty high-level people uncomfortable. There have been pedo sex scandals in Britain and Europe, and I doubt that our elites are any more moral than theirs are. You can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t a publicity stunt by Cernovitch et. al. that nonetheless hit just a little too close to home for some people…

        • We have Epstein’s “pervert island” which apparently has been visited by a who’s who of D.C.

          No one wants to touch that story or investigate it.

          Remember the D.C. Madam who was found hanging in her garage? Stone silence from the press and police.

        • When you read the actual emails from Podesta’s account from the Wikileaks dump, there is a certain creepiness to the language used. I feel Pizzagate was used as a distraction from the fact that the Podesta brothers were involved in some really weird occult shit. Abramovich and the imagery that she publishes is disturbing to say the least. Really bad optics for the campaign manager of a presidential candidate who already has major image issues.

          Im in my 40s and get none of my info from the boob tube. Even reading online articles, I pay close attention to the words used. So many articles are nothing but fallacious rhetoric. The key is applying logic and forming one’s own opinion. Read some of the twaddle attempting to tie the recent hurricanes to CAGW.

    • I watched in real time on Twitter as pranksters created the PizzaGate meme. Then guys like Cerno and the InfoWars guy picked up on it and promoted it.

      • Did you record the process while it was being created? I would love to see it. And if true, then Cernovich cannot be trusted. He would just be another participant in the fake news world. We will never hear anything from the media about how they beat the false dead horse of Trump/Russian collusion. If we can’t trust our side as well, then we are just left with busting caps in people’s asses. It would be a great move by Cernovich to admit he was played. But, if he did, he would be discredited by the opposite side and would lose his position at the trough. This concerns me. Several people in the Alt-Right have an internet presence but all they really want is recognition, money and power. They are either false flag operatives or grifters.

        • A grifter is aware that they’re lying to you. Mike Cernovich is full of shit, but I strongly doubt he realizes it.

          • Mike is trying to grind out a few pesos pedaling his monkey book. Everything is about selling the monkey book, everything.

      • PizzaGate may have been a 4Chan prank, but InfoWars has been on team a satanic cult of pedophiles secretly rules the world since I was in college in the early 2000’s. I got to watch Alex Jones when he was only on public access in Austin. Seeing what he’s done in the last decade and a half leaves me a) very impressed by his entrepreneurial skills,b) terribly disconcerted by man’s ability to believe horseshit, and c) in total agreement that an internet full of false information is dangerous.

      • That may be the case in pizzagate, but there are a lot of pedo’s and occultists in positions of power .

        here is one example: http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2017/09/12/gatekeeper-of-dc-society-sally-quinn-comes-out-as-occultist-used-hex-to-kill-people/

        and there is a LOT of these stories , which give me hope that not all
        of law enforcement as been turned.

        http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/13/at-least-11-mayors-accused-of-child-sex-related-crimes-since-2016/ .

        as I recall this summer there was a pedo ring busted up this summer that led to arrests all over Europe of mid level government and bureaucratic functionaries. .

        Our rulers are as depraved as the emperors of the late roman empire .

    • Regardless of the truth, Clinton seems to think Pizzagate and other “fake news” was instrumental her defeat. “‘You had counties that had voted for Obama and were not particularly keen about voting for Trump, but worried that I was going to jail, worried that I was, you know, running a child trafficking operation in the basement of a pizzeria.’ This in reference to the Pizzagate scandal, which Hillary insisted was a complete falsehood cooked up by a Russian conspiracy (her words) to discredit her.
      ‘And you put yourself in the position of a low-information voter, and all of a sudden your Facebook feed, your Twitter account is saying, ‘Oh my gosh, Hillary Clinton is running a child trafficking operation in Washington with John Podesta!'”.
      If you can believe Sputnik News.
      https://sputniknews.com/politics/201706011054180151-hillary-blames-everyone-election-loss/
      It would be so easy for someone to just ask Podesta to explain his hankie. Why didn’t that ever happen? Because it would give the story legs?

  9. re:cord cutting, Hulu has a live service that is pretty compelling. for about $40 a month, you get a ton of channels — including local networks — and a cloud DVR. there are a bunch of sports channels too, for those so inclined. beats the hell out of cable and other online services.

  10. for me it comes down to not trusting even a single corporation, company, or institution. i basically read current events at aggregator sites, skimming as you mentioned. the only thing i trust are blogs that i have become familiar with over time.

    IMO, it is much more important to understand trends and direction of movement, than individual pieces of data.

    the absolute betrayal of its base — and America — by the gop, shocked me to my core. shocked because i thought a certain way about the system and considered myself well informed and realistic about human nature. but i am definitely woke now 🙂

    • That’s one thing you and I agree on Karl. I was a registered republican and always voted for them, grumbling, but doing it. Caught up in the red blue team hooting (wonderful perspective that and I’m going to steal it). Discovering it was a show, and you were played for a fool, is a deeply angering experience for people. No one really likes being the butt of a joke, and that betrayal is driving more of our politics than people realize. Tim

      • When I was a kid working for a Congressman, I would be tasked with running errands in Washington. At the time, guys like Bob Novak and Tom Braden were cast as bitter enemies on CNN. In real life, they could be seen drinking together at popular watering holes. Ted Kennedy and Orin Hatch were best friends.

        It’s all a show.

        • I remember doing a bit for my acquaintances in the 90’s about the Clinton/Dole divide. Picture them on the debate platform. “You are a pervert, sir, and not worthy to be president!” “You are a troglodyte that opposes positive, organic change in our nation!” Debate over. “Hey, Bob. Your wife sure is hot. Can I screw her?” “Only if Bob Dole can screw Chelsea.” “Great! Bring the wife over to the White House tonight and we’ll play it by ear. Be sure and bring some Cuban cigars.”

          Yep. Its just a show. And now, with Trump backtracking on everything he campaigned about, we’re in the middle of another show.

        • It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure that out but what you write promoted me to remember (I am the same age as Israel) when I learned about Pravda and Izvestia and I thought the poor Russians were being lied to by their own gov’t every day.

          Ane then, finally, I realised that I was, in effect, living in Russia and my gov’t lies to me each day.

          I live in Florida and there was a story in the Palm Beach Post about congressional creeps Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson handing out water at a parking lot in Belle Glade, Fl.

          The media dutifully reported the staged event and posted the mendacious mugs of each Senator but the intellectually indolent reporters on the scene did not have the basic inquisitive curiosity to ask what parking lot the congressional creeps had commandered via use of the local cops.

          ABS knows, however, (via a friend who works at Goodwill) the cops kicked out of the parking spaces in that lot the customers of a Goodwill Store and so the poor had no place to park nor did the Goodwill Employees.

          I know it is not the case that the best that Senators can do is to mess-up our lives on the local level but it has to be the case, doesn’t it, that more and more men understand there is not one- NOT ONE- national politician worthy of our trust or admiration; and certainly not Trump.

          • The fact is what is news is decided by a paper or TV networks editorial board via fiat. Most papers just buy their news from AP and other newswires.and add their own filler stories.

            News that offends the advertisers automatically gets nixed. The same for news that makes certain local pols look bad. News that hurts the real-estate market the same. News that makes minorities look bad gets the same treatment.

            By the time they are all we have left is some feel good stories, a few local crime stories, weather and sports porn.

            .

          • Yep.

            As for real estate, when you earn a local politician is buying up suspect property, get some of the same questionable dirt also as it is likely there will be upcoming changes in land use etc.

            Years ago, the local pols began buying up land on a then obscure road that was later rezoned. What a shock…

            A former mayor purchased properties in a homeless populated, drug-rampant inner city zone and then the city swooped in and “cleaned-up” the place but not as much as the mayor cleaned-up on her purchase of distressed properties when she sold them for a wildly increased value.

            O, and wasn’t it Lincoln who both-up property in the very same place where the railroads later just happened to be joined together?

          • Quite so. Local radio and TV affiliates no longer have any editorial discretion at all. You left out one thing: They never miss the “news releases” from the Governor’s office, or the State AG’s office, or any downstate college poll showing that our beloved leader, A Cuomo, remains widely popular, or that some bold new initiative has emerged from the mind of one of our progressive senators… none of these initiatives are heard about again, but that’s the point. It’s like Winston Smith eating his lunch in the Minitrue cafeteria, hearing about the advances in the production of pig iron, or the “increase” in the chocolate ration.

            “Our happiness has grown 26% under the new 5-year plan”. I just made that up, but you can be sure that you’ll hear stuff like that on contemporary radio and TV.

        • When I lived in the heart of Empire in the 80s, I listened to Braden and Buchanan daily on WRC… their gig ended because, as I recall, Tom couldn’t stand Pat. My guess is that Pat was too earnest, that he didn’t see things from the “DC” point of view, that he wasn’t a cynic like Braden and the rest of the gang. To a lifelong Washingtonian nothing says “rube” like believing in what you say. Pat in this sense was a rube.

          The whole idea of the olde-tyme ‘debate’ format was to keep discourse within the bounds drawn by the rulers. It wasn’t all bad, because it kept the left within those same bounds. Even liberals in those days had to mind their manners and try to sound rational.

          Sure, it was all a show. But the impresarios knew that bounds existed and that those bounds were set by the public taste.

  11. Fox’s entire daily show is on YouTube. Some feeds are live ( with no pause or reverse ) and some feeds are live BUT have a 4 hour cache, so you can go back and watch , much like a DVR. I watch Tucker this way ( I am also a cord cutter ).

  12. It’s pretty simple to find the show you want and not wade thru the parts you don’t want. Go to YouTube and type Andrew Sorba tucker in the search bar.

  13. In this case, you’re completely wrong about Tucker. I don’t watch TV, but I watch segments from Tucker’s show on YouTube. He is very aware of what’s going on. Generally, he invites witless Progs on his show and then eviscerates them with basic facts and logic. Right after Trump won he had on some folks from the New York Times, and he made them look like fools. Nicholas Kristof was one of them. As you know, these people have a platform that creates the impression that they are omniscient sophisticates. Tucker popped the bubble and made them look like the clueless nitwits they really are.
    A short while back Sailer linked to one of Tucker’s finest moments, when he had Max Boot on his show and reduced Max to a gibbering idiot.
    It was beautiful, and you should watch the segment on YouTube.
    I think his Torba segment was just filling airtime, but generally Tucker likes dressing down goofy liberals, and he does it well.

    • I agree, Tucker is very sharp. There’s no way any of this is news to him. He was probably acting all shocked for the benefit of all the old geezers in his audience who don’t do much online. It is a TV show, after all.

    • Remember the Boot piece and it was a classic. Back when Tucker started I characterized his interview style (on the long pieces) as methodically picking the appendages off a Daddy Longlegs. Really quite effective and the hubris of Progressives keeps them coming on thinking “but I’ll be the guy that bests Tucker”

  14. Village culture, in which news traveled by word of mouth from one trusted source to another, produced some remarkable mass delusions and enthusiasms, perhaps more than the age of top-down news did. We might be looking at another golden age of popular crazes, if we’re not in one already.

  15. I imagine former Soviet Bloc citizens can answer that. The only difference between now and then is speed. imagine Yakov Smirnoff’s voice for this if you want: In Soviet Russia, you can assume all the official news is fake, but you can’t assume the samizdat is true; the security services may have planted it. Current best estimates for the Stasi and Securitate (Romanian secret police) have anywhere from 30-50% of the *entire population* on the payroll in some capacity. Theodore Dalrymple wrote that a Romanian dissent estimated it would take 5 generations to overcome the corrosive social-psychological effects of communism there. If I were a betting man, I imagine lots of Millennials (and others) will vote for a Putin figure just so that the news will be consistently, predictably fake.

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