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Author Topic: The Political Thread  (Read 1515628 times)

Jim_Campbell

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18375 on: 02 April, 2021, 07:16:10 AM »
Disagree all you want, correct me, debate me me but do not ever tell me what to talk about.

I wasn't doing that. I was trying, and obviously failing, to point out that any discussion would be somewhat one-sided because it would be talking about addressing a problem that isn't a problem. I'd point out that you said that you didn't want to discuss it, hence my rather drive-by approach to a response. I didn't mean to imply anything more than that.

The issue is being framed as a problem by some people on the political right because it's a handy cover for voter-suppression tactics, but even a cursory examination of the issue shows that in-person voter fraud statistically insignificant. You can go back decades in US elections and incidents number in the hundreds out of literally billions of votes. In the UK it's a similarly infinitesimal fraction.

However, I don't particularly want to get into the nitty-gritty of it, either. I apologise if you thought I was telling you not to talk about the subject. As I've said recently: tone is hard to judge in a text-based medium and it certainly wasn't my intention to suggest that you may not discuss this, or anything else, nor do I have the authority (or means) to prevent you from doing so.

I don't want anyone to 'stew' about something I say on here — not for minutes, certainly not for days, and I'm honestly sorry for that, DDD.
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Tjm86

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18376 on: 02 April, 2021, 07:25:34 AM »

C4 News did a series of pieces on this that were fascinating. First off - there was a huge dedication to voter suppression in the election that Trump won. It was targeted, it used big data, it used Facebook tools.

You know, I keep looking through some of the literature on the internet 'revolution' from the 90's.  There is a sort of utopian zeal at times, especially when it comes to democracy.

Mind you, this was in the days before things like social media, algorithms and 'big data'.  The focus was on the ways in which it was possible to link up, share ideas and engage people that had not been previously engaged.

So when you look at the trend over the last decade, where the internet has become an increasingly 'anti-democratic' force, when it has become almost weaponised by state and non-state actors, it really is quite sad on one level. 

On other levels it is actually terrifying for what it says about us.  It feels like this needs to be relabelled the "Insanely Pessimistic Dystopian Reality" Thread ....  :-X

Professor Bear

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18377 on: 04 April, 2021, 12:27:02 PM »
Living dangerously and risking the ire of thread-locking mods with what is either conspiracy theory nonsense or citizen journalism - who can say which?
If you can't be bothered deciphering the latest in a long line of protest drama, the guy who was plastered all over the news yesterday being condemned by all and sundry for waving a "KILL COPS" banner at the site where a young PC was murdered has apparently turned out to be an undercover cop, the whole thing presumably being a setup for the press in order to discredit protestors.
This is huge if true, because... ah, who am I kidding?  If it's true, it'll be swept under the rug by this afternoon.

Tjm86

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18378 on: 04 April, 2021, 02:56:35 PM »
In all honesty it's a bit like the allegations of 'armchair criticism' over the Everard Vigil.  Footage of women being pushed to the ground or knelt on supposedly justified on the grounds that the crowd 'turned ugly' as it started to get dark.

The problem seems to be that journalists and the media have dug themselves into a hole.  Editorial bias has been a thing for as long as any of us can remember but it just feels like it's gone to extremes now.  So you're left with snapshots and misinterpretation from the likes of Twitter rather than detailed and accurate reporting from diligent journalists.

We don't need 'conspiracy' any more.  By this afternoon the press will be frothing over the latest Megxit revelation or which love island contestant has posted the most recent swimsuit snaps.

Professor Bear

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18379 on: 04 April, 2021, 07:23:26 PM »
The one thing we've learned in the last few years is the the media resists change and accountability with a baffling ferocity for a profession whose cornerstone is supposedly the pursuit of objective truth, so it's more likely that rather than bias being worse than ever, it's simply become more apparent to the observer.  One can only assume that Russell Brand spending the last 8 years explaining to tweens how everything within capitalism serves the interests of the ruling class is finally paying dividends.

sintec

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18380 on: 04 April, 2021, 08:17:32 PM »
a profession whose cornerstone is supposedly the pursuit of objective truth

Most of them gave up on that years ago... it's all about the advertising £s and has been for ages.

IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18381 on: 04 April, 2021, 09:10:24 PM »
It’s more complicated than that. News has seen a massive squeeze due to fewer people being willing to pay for it. This has resulted in far fewer people being employed in production (proofing; fact checking) and a tendency to commission cheaper content (opinion vs investigative journalism). Magazines have had much the same problem, but the widespread impact these is obviously far less overt.

Tjm86

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18382 on: 05 April, 2021, 08:02:20 AM »
No, it's a fair point.  My brother-in-law works for the Press Association and the pay is crap.  Not to mention the hours he's expected to put in at times.

It's a bit of a vicious circle really, isn't it.  Demands for profitability over stability pushes down on overheads, quality and coverage suffers (let's face it, the 'national' news is so London-centric is it is insane) and folks become less inclined to support it financially.

Then you add in allegations of off-shore ownership and editorial bias.  Not to mention when you look at some of the crap that is produced ...

On the flip side, how many folks have seen their income decimated in the last decade?  How many are expected to put in more hours for less pay?  How many 'inflation-busting' pay rises have turned out to be nothing but the sort once you take into account cost of living increases that CPI doesn't take into account (those that have been lucky enough to have pay rises, that is ...)

Like you say, complicated ... but also dangerous ...


IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18383 on: 05 April, 2021, 10:47:08 AM »
Local news has been devastated. Much of it no longer exists in any viable form. In many cases, multiple publications have merged into pseudo-regional blocks, thereby obliterating much of the point of such outlets. Their digital variants are templated nonsense that’s barely a step up from low-league football sites.

And, yes, editorial bias does creep into the mix. Plenty of publications are deeply partisan. However, even there you can spot regression. The Telegraph is an excellent case in point. It’s a full-on right-wing newspaper, but it also used to be a quality publication. You might not have agreed with what was in it, but you couldn’t fault its journalism. Now, its online component is a screeching parody of its former self, like the Express for people who think they know better.

Elsewhere, even stalwarts are suffering. The Times recently had a staff cull of the people behind the news writing—the production staff. Something like half of them were left; those that remained were expected to do more work in the same time. Quality therefore slips—there’s no alternative. And when that’s news you’re talking about, errors creep in.

I should note that no-one owes any sector anything. It’s not like we owe newspapers their very survival. But we are also seeing what happens when people stop investing in news en masse (with a daily newspaper, say), how the nature of storytelling within news has to change within 24/7 news cycles on TV, and when people tend to get most of their ‘news’ from social networks and yet rarely read beyond the headlines.

Tjm86

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18384 on: 05 April, 2021, 03:31:59 PM »
It's always been taken as axiomatic, to my mind, that a free and impartial press is the 'fourth estate' and essential to democracy.  Which is why much of what you describe is so troubling. 

I've always struggled to find 'news' on social media ... either Twitter or Facebook .... and much of the conspiracy theory stuff seems to have passed me by.  Yet looking at many of the news websites these days, what is there is depressing.  The likes of the Mail and Express seem to be on a par with the Sun and the Star these days, full of risqué titillation about various influencers and other z-list personalities.

When you think of all the effort they went to in Soviet Russia to manipulate the press and keep the population compliant, you have to wonder if they weren't just poor amateurs compared to what we've achieved without any effort in this country. 

I know that is tin-foil-hattery but half the problem these days is that some of the most disturbing trends of history and fiction seem to be unravelling right in front of us.  When does it stop becoming paranoia and start to become justifiable concern?

sintec

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18385 on: 05 April, 2021, 08:18:13 PM »
It’s more complicated than that. News has seen a massive squeeze due to fewer people being willing to pay for it. This has resulted in far fewer people being employed in production (proofing; fact checking) and a tendency to commission cheaper content (opinion vs investigative journalism). Magazines have had much the same problem, but the widespread impact these is obviously far less overt.

Oh yeah absolutely - I was massively oversimplifying with my one line reply. It is a genuinely distrubing trend though. As Tjm86 said a free and impartial press is essential to democracy; if we (the electorate) don't have accurate information about what's going on then our ability to vote on those issues is diminished and so is our democracy.

Modern Russia seems to be looking to control social media - I think they've already seen that the press is no longer as relevant as it once was.

It's hard to see how we get back from here. The old adage Information Wants To Be Free is looking somewhat tattered. It seems that when information is free the quality of that information is questionable at best.

Mister Pops

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18386 on: 13 April, 2021, 03:07:58 AM »
To quote NWA

Quote
When something happens in South Central Los Angeles, Nothing happens it's just another...

...and so forth
You may quote me on that.

Professor Bear

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18387 on: 19 April, 2021, 05:00:12 PM »
Sir Keith's whole winning over the pub landlord vote thing is shaking out just great, I see.  Thank God he didn't do something that would really lose votes, like working in a food bank, attending a Seder on Passover, or sitting down on a train.

paddykafka

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18388 on: 19 April, 2021, 05:06:20 PM »
It sounded like he was channelling Barbara Windsor in Eastenders: "Ger ourra my pub!"

IndigoPrime

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Re: The Political Thread
« Reply #18389 on: 19 April, 2021, 05:07:41 PM »
Reading a bit about that earlier, wasn’t the landlord pissed off because Labour didn’t go against lockdown? It all whiffed a bit of COVID denial, frankly.