Fake News

I think I may have watched a grand total of one NBA game this past season. The games are not geared for middle-aged white guys. The game has been changed over the years to value running and jumping over teamwork and developed skills. The result is that basketball looks a lot like track and field, rather than a skills game. That’s not a moral argument, just a factual observation. I do follow the game through the stat sheet, as it is a good study of human bio-diversity and not just what is on the court.

The other aspect of the NBA that makes it interesting to me is the conduct of the sports media covering the NBA. It is a good model for understanding what has happened to the mainstream media, particularly with regards to politics. The NBA press does very little reporting. There are still game summaries posted on-line and box scores, but those are churned out by interns and robots. The professional NBA journalist does no actual reporting, Instead, he talks about story lines, personalities and other sport reporters.

The recent NBA draft is a good example. Every year the “reporters” claim it is going to be a wild week of trades and deals. Then they spend the week talking about rumors that are made up by other reporters. Those rumors are often just about rumors. It is not unusual to see a story about how it is rumored that a trade was rumored to have been mentioned by someone. Meta-news is news about news. The NBA is now doing news and rumors about rumors. That’s meta-meta-rumor-news, I guess.

The reason for all this is the news media no longer bothers to uphold any of its alleged standards. It was not that long ago that editors required two sources that were actual human beings with a credible claim to know the material. Newspapers might bend this rule, but they never went with copy that contained sources unknown to the editor. That’s no longer the case as editors no long exist in sufficient numbers to police it and the remaining ones simply don’t care. Anything goes so its all fake sources now.

Sports reporters have never been terribly bright or hard working so they have responded to this breakdown in order by doing what comes natural. Instead of working hard to get good stories, they make up semi-plausible stories with fake sources. An NBA trade, for example, will involve two or three people talking by phone. Yet, we’re supposed to believe that some guy at ESPN was then briefed on it by one of the parties. Even more absurd, we’re supposed to believe some blogger “broke” the story. Yeah, right.

The bigger issue though is something that happened in the Jordan years. It has been thrown down the memory hole, but Jordan decided the way to help black sports reporters was to give them exclusive access and deny access to honkies. Guys like Ahmad Rashad and Michael Wilbon were given special access. This made their careers, but it also ushered in the era of access journalism. Players granted access to reporters who were willing to sing their praises in their columns and on TV shows.

Something similar happened around the same time in Washington politics. The Clinton machine was ruthless in controlling the media. They would shutout reporters that did not play ball. There’s always been some of this, as people are naturally going to be nice to those who are nice to them and not so nice to people they see as adversaries. The difference was, the Clinton team turned this into a formal policy and the Washington press corp went along with it. They liked being treated like players so they acted accordingly.

The Bush people could not play the same game, as the Washington media is universally liberal, but they did a little bit of it with operations like Fox and the talk radio guys. Rich Lowry of National Review remodeled the magazine to be a GOP mouth piece for exactly this reason. It gave them access to Republicans. The Weekly Standard largely existed as a public relations vehicle for the Bush family. Much of what has gone wrong with Buckley Conservatism is due to the perils of access journalism.

This is why we see the explosion of fake news. The NBA guys want access or at least the illusion of access. To that end, they tweet out rumors and fake news in the hope of getting a reply from an agent or front office guy. That way they can then shoot down their own rumor or fake news with an actual quote from a real person. “After talking with person X, I can now report that the rumor I reported is false.” Fake news about rumors produces gossip that is eventually addressed by a real person in the news.

That seems to be what’s going on Washington with all the fake news. No one in the Washington media bothered to develop contacts in the Trump team. Instead, they mocked and harassed them through the campaign, figuring they were currying favor with the Clinton people. Now, they have no access so they create fake stories hoping to get a response from the Trump people. In lieu of real reporting, it is provocative fake reporting in the hope of gaining access to real people in the Trump White House.

Now, that’s not to say it is all innocent. Clearly, the major fake news organizations are fully converged, as Vox Day would put it. They are so in the tank for the one true faith, they now resemble a UFO cult. The point of their fake news campaign is to discredit the Trump people. Still, this is the logical result of access journalism. When the path to fame and glory is getting exclusive access to a powerful person, it is no surprise that the media has now turned itself into a PR firm for the rich and powerful.

52 thoughts on “Fake News

  1. Hopefully, fake news is a passing phase and one that will kill traditional media. I now gauge what’s happening via the twitter feeds of people I respect. In time, this too will surely evolve.

    • this is an area where i think blogs have an advantage over large media sites. there are a couple of blogs i visit daily (or every post) and whose commenters i am familiar with. these are the places i go to for analysis and interpretation of politics, etc. i only go to the big news sites for videos of animals and weather reports.

      these two sites are funny as hell, and will appeal to most here I think (but not the white glove set):
      http://www.diogenesmiddlefinger.com/

      https://earloftaint.com/

    • Most of the news is either fake, to add to the “narrative” or highly processed to serve the same ends.
      Sports media, for the past 50 years, has had the unenviable job of selling the “Negro” to America.

    • Are you really that fucking stupid? You do realize that “Twitter feeds” are the new controlled media, don’t you?

    • The meme “Fake News” is just that, “Fake News”. It is employed by intellectually sterile men and women in an effort to craft their own narrative.

      • No, it’s actually a pretty accurate term. Just because you’re all butthurt by it doesn’t make it untrue.

        • It has nothing to do with “being butthurt”, it has everything to do with meaning and worth. “Fake News” is a meme that is devoid of meaning and worth.

  2. Now this is a truly insightful column. Showing the same societal pathology, in two disparate areas, is very illuminating. While at the same time bringing a fresh perspective on why the msm are so self destructive now.

    It is also cause for optimism as the theatrics consume the left, while Trump builds up a series of real accomplishments. Normal people will react strongly to having their economic situation improved dramatically. This country is ready for some fun, and Trump is a very fun guy IMO.

    it had come to my attention that the big sports sites had a paucity of any kind of reporting, they weren’t even making much of an effort with the phony stories either; the content on these sites is very stale.

  3. Speaking of REAL news: it has been confirmed that Russia meddled in the election to help Donald Trump. Just saw it on CNN and read it in the Washington post. This is huge. The election is illegitimate and war with Russia is a real possibility

    • I shouldn’t feed the troll but still… Trent, Obama openly meddled in the French, Israeli, and British elections. Did that make him illegitimate as well? Or only the people who he meddled with?

    • The Russians elected Trump, so Trump is going to war with Russia. Very confusing.

  4. Thanks for posting this. Reminded me I hadn’t checked the baseball standings yet for this week. Only sport I still follow – if looking up the standings every Saturday can be called following.

  5. This is why I love the Alt-Right tactic of calling the NY Times “The Carlos Slim Blog,” the WaPo the “Jeff Bezos Blog,” etc. Gets right to the heart of it. As Ivan Sixpack used to say back in the USSR, there’s no news in the truth and no truth in the news. I wouldn’t believe either rag if they told me the sun rises in the East. It’s obvious that Trump won largely by telling the Media to go eff themselves… a lesson they’ll never, ever learn, to our schadenfreudey delight.

    • It was not too long ago when the National Enquirer did the fake news and the NYT did the real news. For some reason, they traded occupations.

    • ” I wouldn’t believe either rag if they told me the sun rises in the East”
      As it turns out, recent scientific survey shows that the sun doesn’t rise AT ALL.
      Heliocentric, and all that, so, you’d be RIGHT in assuming they’re lying.

  6. “Still, this is the logical result of access journalism. When the path to fame and glory is getting exclusive access to a powerful person, it is no surprise that the media has now turned itself into a PR firm for the rich and powerful.”

    When was the media anything but a PR firm for the rich and powerful? I know back when every small to medium sized town had their own newspaper there was actually some local “news”. But, the rich and powerful have understood the gullibility of the masses since the invention of the printing press and have pretty much controlled access to what they want you do know. They also have an entire industry devoted to discrediting what they don’t want you to know.

    • Ben Franklin: “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see”. This is not a new problem; just the same old treachery delivered with different tactics from baser places.

  7. I haven’t believed anything the major outlets have said since Clinton took office. At first the motivation was to protect Bill, then to smear Bush, then to protect Obama. I don’t believe the reason for all the lies has much if anything to do with access journalism, but rather it’s pure malevolence. Once Trump won, that malevolence was put on full, open and unremitting display. In am praying it is their undoing. How great would it be to live in a world without the Times, Post, CNN and all the other liars?

    • These days, the MSM is like “word of mouth.” Even without a formal news media, the rumors will spread like wildfire and without anyone to put some kind of brakes on the situation, it will devolve quickly and spread uncontrolled. With half, or more, of the population too stupid to think for themselves, the damage is already done. Even if a “truthful” report was to come out to quell trouble, whose to say anyone would believe it, much less listen?

  8. Hadn’t watched a basketball game in years. It appears that, these days, if you dribble the ball once when you assume possession, you are free to run with it like a running back down the court from there.

    • it’s a travesty, and that’s before you get to the flopping and referee incompetence. more like WWF than a real athletic competition.

  9. When i was a kid i observed that Entertainment Tonight was 75 percent takking about what was coming up after the next commercial. it seemed like there was about 5 min of actual content in the show… this is what the fake news reminds me of.

    now with the internet.. i could never go back to watching tv news.

  10. My interest in the NBA went way down when that one ref blew the whistle and then with the black gangsterism. Haven’t watched a game in several years. Stopped watching college ball about five years ago. Funny thing is I live in a college town and l notice people in general don’t talk about it much anymore. I think it is dying a slow death.

  11. One of the great hazards of access journalism (the central one, I think) is that, when access is contingent upon not mentioning things the powerful person doesn’t want brought up, the media not only turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, but function as PR damage control for the powerful criminal. You can find instances of this in sports or in politics (I heard Obama spent more time thinking about golf and basketball brackets than governing, so there’s quite a bit of overlap). Take Floyd Mayweather Jr. though, highest paid athlete and also a guy who liked to beat his baby mama in front of his children. The only reporters who could talk to him were those who steered clear of the sordid reality of his personal life. ESPN may be part of the cult in terms of promoting transgender athletes, but the second a guy who puts up big figures is beating his wife, wife-beating is suddenly okay.

    • The NFL has had many similar instances of the “Cons” of the game. Hired guns with obvious skills on the field but with the mental attitude of killers, head hunters who were out to end the careers of others, mostly the white guys who were QB’s.

      The NFL let those convicts continue playing, a la, Michael Vick, and many others, despite their atrocious off field acts of anti-social behavior.

      I gave up watching the NFL years ago but would peek in every now and then to see a bit of a game. But the blinders went full on when players started wearing pink crap for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink … in the NFL? Go figure.

  12. Excellent and perceptive analysis. Now that it’s pointed out, I get it that today No Fawning = No Access. I also remember the Clinton years really kicked this up to the next level, but I think we’re all missing the emotional aspects that are so prominently on display now vs. Trump.

    Access in exchange for favorable coverage has been around forever. But it used to be much more transactional, IIRC. With the Clintons it became an emotional thing as well. Part of this was Bubba’s very real ability to make most people whom he wanted to seduce emotionally as well a sexually to suspend disbelief. No less a hard egg than Newt Gingrich commented for the record about ‘The Clinton Unreality Zone’. IIRC, he said like that it took him at least 15 minutes after leaving a meeting with Bubba to slap his forehead and say, “Wait a minute, that was all Bullsh*t. Why in hell was I nodding along_?”

    Another part was was the Boomer elite feminists, many of them newly in the media, who were encouraged to _feel_ that this time their ship had really come in: I.e. it was a willing group seduction. So you can imagine how emotionally empty they felt upon W’s election and his determination Not to be Like Bill. Hell hath no fury ….

    I also submit that Obama’s handlers knew all this and crafted him as ‘heat seeking missile’ targeting elite feminism, and to Hillary’s barely concealed fury, it worked.

  13. Hacksaw ridge is a take down of that it PC, point by point in the most powerful way. If all is getting you down I recommend you watch and be energised by it. Hugo Weaving is stellar in his portrait of a descent man tormented by a previous war that no longer has currency. This true story is not only the good in a satanic world but a morsel from our former selves to add iron to the soul.

  14. Fake news makes conservatives look like the only adults in the room. Here we go again with the boomerang of unintended consequences.

  15. Another sorry aspect of fake news is that these businesses still have readership and viewers. I would like to think that its the same crowd that buys gossip tabloids at the supermarket, but it could also be that the intelligence of the average citizen is declining.

    • The frontal lobe of the brain is involved in social emotional responses. Liberals constellate and mobilize the mentally impaired.

  16. I once heard sports journalism described as the journalistic peer of MTV Music News. Nothing has changed my view this this was correct.

  17. The momentum of fake news is fueled by fake ratings, all downhill. Cool runnings, Rachel Maddow.

      • It’s already that. They should animate it and make it a video game so their drones can participate without speaking english or being literate in any language.

  18. Thinking a bit more about this press access stuff. The NBA is a business. Businesses have always wanted to control what the public knows about them. If you think about it, individuals are single businesses in a way. Hospitals have gotten control of much press coverage via the HIPAA law. This law is also the justification for government officials not giving out information about the state of physical or mental health of individuals who are victims or perpetrators of crimes. This law is justified on the basis of the mythical right to privacy which one loses completely in our justice system where your records can be used to force you to testify against yourself because they are not your property, but that of the health care deliverer. This is one reason I have objected to the style of electronic medical records that we were forced to adopt. My preference would have been one where the individual carries a thumb drive and the doc or nurse is allowed temporary access to it and it remains the property of the person. This would take away this ability of the government to ignore this violation of our constitutional rights.
    Taking the idea of restricting press access could be extended with other justifications similar to HIPAA. Companies could claim that they are protecting the privacy of their employees, customers etc. Chances are something like this would get started via actual NGO’s staffed by public union employees, thus opening the door for this in private industry.
    At this point you get the drift. In not protesting HIPAA, but instead promoting it, the press hurt its own access. And by their aggressive partisanship and lack of disinterestedness, they are losing access to the White House. Fuck them.

  19. I hate basketball. I have always hated it. It is boring to watch and no fun to play. I much prefer demanding sports like skiing, swimming, extreme wilderness hiking/climbing, etc. Team sports is okay when you are young and need to learn the basics of coöperation and loyalty. If you haven’t gotten that by the time you leave high school, the rest is superflous. And we must remember that team sports were promoted during the first phase of the Industrial Revolution as a means of creating more effectiive, compliant workers and soldiers. Today, I find spectator sports about as interesting as swatting flies…except that you will get more exercise swatting flies than watching television.

  20. No video at “pressers” any more?
    How the hell are jurno-lists expected to make it into a show all about THEM, speaking truth to power, rather than..say…reporting?
    “Two questions…”
    No, one question, and if you find a need for a disingenuous preamble to it, it will be your LAST!

  21. Ben Rhodes’ quote about reporters tells you everything you need to know about why the MSM lost credibility with most of America:

    “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

    Read the whole article:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/obama-official-says-he-pushed-a-narrative-to-media-to-sell-the-iran-nuclear-deal/2016/05/06/5b90d984-13a1-11e6-8967-7ac733c56f12_story.html

  22. There is supposed to be an order to things. When the NBA tells the refs we’ve promised advertisers there’s going to be a game 5, the refs make sure the Cavs win game 4. They don’t screw it up and allow the sweep.

    To me that was the 2016 election, the media refs failed to control the outcome.

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