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Discussion > President Trump

MH, tomo. So according to you the MSM get it wrong (all the time?) or have created a "festering pit that they... have dug for themselves". So just where do you get your Persil-white news information, and how do you recognize this to be the unvarnished "truth" free from all outside influence and prejudices? I mean the facts not opinions.

Feb 19, 2017 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Putin and the Christian Democrats (CDs)...

I remember the Northern European CDs walked into Yugoslavia at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall (I was working close by at the time) and they thought all these countries need is democracy. They walked around the Balkans and saw nice houses, satellite dishes, cars and just saw everything in their own image. And then it became apparent that it had only been Tito that had stopped them from killing each other.

I was in Southern China and Hong Kong just after Tienanmen Square and every short term visitor just repeated the BBC/CNN line: what this country needs is democracy. I doubt 95% of the population would have recognised democracy if it had hit them.

I was in Hyderabad last week. I spent my lunchtimes talking about Indian politics. India is a contrast, at the same time it can be too little and too much. Poverty, wealth side by side, yet people just get on with their lives. It is a safe country.How do you govern a country where the majority of the population is ignorant and uneducated and yet they have an equal vote as the billionaire? Modi is using technology, to reach those people. Cutting out the Indian middle men. Dealing direct with the poor. Every 100 USD given by government USD 5 would actually reach those who needed it. Now everyone must have bank accounts, the government will pay direct. He changed the currency. No matter what it looked from outside, change in India needed the tools. He has them, but he is fighting the establishment at every turn, even his own party who were often the channel to public services for these people.

Then Russia. Not a place I have visited, but I have read about their history. Researched their culture I have met Russians and visited many of their old satellite countries.

it is an unforgiving place. It is a rough, tough, country that spans 11 time zones. The people are often rough and tough. They can appear to be rude at first encounter. History has not been kind to them, and this has nothing to do with the USSR. The problems were there before and they are there after. And not even counting the fact that the populace "did the Ali" and took a beating on the ropes that let the other Allies regroup and attack. Its belongs to the Eastern Church, it uses the Cyrillic alphabet. It has the whole range of religions and races. It has deserts and the coldest town on the planet.

So Northern European Christian Democrats and their WASP descendants have a problem with Putin?

Well has been shown so many times, be careful what you wish for. The fall of Saddam, the fall of Gadhafi, the same attempt with Assad.

Sure the BBC/CNN (female) war reporter can make nice emotional pieces to camera pushing for immediate change, but no where to be seen in the aftermath, and admitting no responsibility for the mess created.

So before people start waving their nice Christian Democrat credentials as the superior culture on the planet, what happens after? When you create the power vacuum?

Cup-a-soup instant democracy is not available I'm afraid.

Feb 19, 2017 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

MH. The answer to your question "why get involved" is simple, it's their raison d'etre. They report and comment on the news. When I read my newspaper I look for facts and for interesting commentary. I try as best as I can to separate them. I read the Guardian because I cannot abide much of the right wing slant of other quality newspapers. When I come across climate news I ignore it. I always read Moonbat for a laugh or for a dose of despair, but occasionally he has something interesting or relevant to say - but not often.

Feb 19, 2017 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


Perhaps I'm being ungenerous - but I have been at events which have been "reported on" in the first person by people I know were not there. I have seen original filings by foreign correspondents that were so butchered for PC purposes by HQ staff as to be unrecognisable. I have seen things that were reported the opposite to what actually happened.

I have seen inconvenient reports disappeared from newpaper archives, stories sequentially spun and then un-spun (I now have a large Wayback bookmark collection)

We are all very familiar here with the "reporting" of things climate related and green blobbery.

I think you make the basic mistake of assuming that what is offered is all that there is and you trust the purveyors of infotainment in the Fourth Estate to provide "Persil-white news information" - when in truth very little of it is clean - as perspective on events depends on one's standpoint. Simple omission is perhaps the most powerful thing in the propagandist's toolbox.

If you don't think that CNN etc. have dug a hole for themselves and filled it with poo I can only assume you've been somewhere very remote for the last 6 months

While it is reassuring (Comforting even for many say BBC viewers...) to take things on trust - as far as I'm concerned the MSM have serially proven themselves to be unworthy of any trust at all.

You also make the mistake of saying that the MSM "get it wrong" as if it's a "whoops" thing when the intention from the outset is to mislead.

There has always been this sort of thing in the media - it is now easier than it was to X-check due to The Internet - which is something the dimmer bulbs in the MSM still haven't actually cottoned to yet. That said sometimes the stories conflict so much that one simply has to accept that the "don't know" option is the only sane one.

There has always been a mix of simple reportage and opinion - a balance would be nice - but afaics at the moment reportage is losing.

Feb 19, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Registered Commentertomo

At last MH something I can agree with you about. I have never agreed with Churchill' comment about democracy. It is certainly not the system that works for everybody nor is it the system that solves all nations' problems best. This has been repeatedly shown in the last century and this one. I have come to believe that only countries that have a well set up set or institutions and a tradition of law and order will democracy work. It can be imposed but unless the basic underpinning is there, it will commonly fail. The only exception to this I believe is post 1945 Japan, but even there there are special circumstances.
You mentioned Russia. Many of the physical features of the land and its people are shared with Canada, yet Canada is a democratic success (I venture to suggest because of the traditions of its immigrant populations), whereas Russia, excepting a very brief episode, seems to be sliding into strongman rule, shedding democratic layers year by year. Only today one Sunday Newspaper showed Putin as a Tsar.

Feb 19, 2017 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


The Guardian

for all its faults does occasionally have its moments

It just hit me ...

you've been somewhere very remote for the last 6 months

You're in Norfolk? - that counts...

Feb 19, 2017 at 5:10 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Minty: I have been involved in an incident that was reported by one of the more respected papers. I thought that their reportage of the event described something completely different from reality... yet I continued to read the papers. Then I read Michael Crichton’s piece on Gell-Mann Amnesia:

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”
All too often, we read “wet streets cause rain” stories. You, it would appear, believe them.

Feb 19, 2017 at 5:17 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

There is something very interesting going on if what one recent poll shows is true. That poll showed that the American people trusted Trump's tweets more than they do the MSM. How can a one person news bureau outweigh the bulk of American journalism? Either it's not true(possible), or the American people are deluded(possible), or Trump fakes news less(more possible) or the narrative pushed by the MSM has so obviously been biased that it has a huge credibility problem(Bing, bing, bing, we have a winner).

Another irony, though the cognoscenti have known about narrative and fake news for quite awhile, it was Hillary's camp who first pushed and popularized the meme when the Democratic emails started to come out. She and hers started this, but they've completely lost control of the meme.

Feb 19, 2017 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Tomo: pity Mr Levison does not know the difference between insure and ensure. Let’s have a guess – he is American?

Feb 19, 2017 at 5:33 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Ravishing Rattie. I believe I have repeatedly shown here over the past year that I critically examine what I learn from all sources. Thus your comment about wet streets cause rain is rather unkind. My question to tomo has still not been answered - if you don't trust the MSM (who one assumes compete against each other and rejoice when they prove that some other stable has screwed up) then where do you get your facts from? Again I make a distinction between facts and opinion. Personally I am more suspicious of facts obtained from the internet than from MSM (unless I am accessing the MSM). I always check what I read on BH, and have learned, for example to question anything Stewgreen posts (so much is made up or are his opinions - I have also learned that, once checked out, these can be a very valuable source). I tend to believe what I observe with my own eyes from videos of news events - like the strutting, child-like behaviour of Trump at news events which reminds me so much of recordings of Mussolini, or his deplorable mimicry of a disabled reporter. These are observable facts on which I base my views. I wouldn't let him into my house.

I am fully aware that distortions can arise if the media do not describe or show parts of a story, but what can you do?

Feb 19, 2017 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll



Good to be reminded that “wet streets cause rain” - I'd wager that is a common belief in BBC newsrooms across the UK. The risible grasp of geography and distance beyond their daily commute by many in the media leads to some pretty odd stuff too.

Feb 19, 2017 at 6:32 PM | Registered Commentertomo


I thought I answered ....

What is provided is selected, the criteria for selection are dependent on editorial guidelines and those editorial guidelines are prescribed largely by people who seek to have influence (see 28gate). It's all filtered by the MSM process and I'd argue that that filtering has increased over the last couple of decades with the audience looking like the proverbial boiling frogs....

For myself if I am curious about a story I attempt to "average it out" by looking at a range of pieces with purportedly diverse provenance - many times this leads to the conclusion that there's only one source For foreign news I will look in the local language media using Google translate where I struggle... I've discovered quite a bit about other countries this way - the English language media isn't alone in dicking with perception.

Many times I simply have to tick the "I dunno" box - rather than accept what's offered. I'm comfortable with not knowing some things.....

What gets me going is mixed reportage / opinion pieces that presume to tell me what to think based on an over-hyped partisan interpretation of something by somebody who wasn't even present at the original event - as opposed to providing actual evidence and reasoned analysis.

The "wet streets cause rain" observation by Michael Crichton applies across the MSM. Add that to political correctness and flat out mendacious misrepresentation and you get the burnt out husk that is The Independent :-)

Many mock the Daily Star - in truth they aren't that different from the rest of 'em.

Feb 19, 2017 at 7:09 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, with respect you still haven't exactly explained how you decide what you chose to believe. My belief is that we tend to accept what fits our world view and, even more strongly, reject what doesn't. We live in echo chambers.

Feb 19, 2017 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Thanks to all for an interesting discussion. I have sympathy with some of the views expressed by all.

I think Supertroll comes close to winning the prize with this:

"My belief is that we tend to accept what fits our world view and, even more strongly, reject what doesn't. We live in echo chambers."

We're all only human. If we're intelligent (as I like to think most contributors here are) when we first think about a subject, we try to learn what we can from as many different sources as possible, then having considered what we have "learned", and thought about it deeply (I hope), we come to a conclusion. I suspect it's only at the stage of thinking it through, prior to coming to a conclusion, that we are truly and deeply susceptible to alternative viewpoints. Thereafter changing one's mind is very difficult. It's easier to seize on "facts" or opinions that support our now-formed view than it is to change one's mind when confronted with something which seems to contradict that comfortable opinion.

We are all capable of changing our opinions, though. Tony Blair persuaded me to stop voting Labour. Margaret Thatcher persuaded my parents to stop voting Conservative. I used to believe strongly in man-made global warming alarmism, but gradually decided that it was unnecessarily alarmist and fundamentally wrong. I know that others who contribute on here (golf charlie springs to mind) also used to believe in the alarmism, and have since changed their minds. But how many of us would change our minds a second time? If I'm honest it would probably take something dramatic (and VERIFIABLE - that's the hard part) to make me a CAGW supporter again. Nothing we say on here seems ever to offer a moment's doubt to (undoubtedly intelligent and in my opinion decent) true believers like Phil Clarke and Entropic Man, for example.

So problem no. 1 is being sufficiently open-minded to be able to change one's mind. Problem no. 2 is knowing what sources of information to trust. I personally have long-since lost all faith in the MSM's honesty. They can be ignorant and agenda-driven, and can certainly make mistakes, but I suspect they rarely tell deliberate outright lies. For me their greatest sin is obsessing about one or more issues and doing them to death, while simply ignoring other stories which either don't interest them or which don't fit their world-view and which they would prefer us not to know about. But I don't trust Trump's tweets either. Nor do I trust Russia Today or Al-Jazeera, though I watch them to discover the stories the BBC doesn't report.

When all is said and done, I think one can only rely on one's own intelligence and integrity, obtain one's information from as many sources as possible, and try to test all information for plausibility while trying to cross-check it against other sources of information with a different viewpoint. Be honest to and with oneself, and do your best.

What a shame it's come to this. Don't discountenance Trump's wiliness, though. His supporters seem to love him for his attacks on the MSM, the MSM don't seem to know how to deal with him, and he's going some way to making them the story and obliging them to defend themselves. I suppose attack is often the best form of defence.

Feb 19, 2017 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Feb 19, 2017 at 8:45 PM on Mark Hodgson

I think one can only rely on one's own intelligence and integrity, obtain one's information from as many sources as possible, and try to test all information for plausibility while trying to cross-check it against other sources of information with a different viewpoint.
What a shame it's come to this.

Why not start off with this strategy? It is only 'Nullius In Verba' in action, or what every business person should follow.

It also encourages early information gathering and efficient planning.

I heard that some Scientists did a lot of work using, I think game theory, to find the best strategy of living and called it the Jesus Strategy, because it did have similarities with His teaching!

The strategy is to be cooperative with whom ever you meet for the first time and continue being cooperative until they become uncooperative, at which point adjust your behaviour to reflect theirs, but don't become less cooperative than they were. If their behaviour improves, improve yours even more than they have.

Then, on occasion, for no reason at all, be really cooperative to the next person you meet. It might change the World.

It encourages cooperation, yet discourages the uncooperative from taking advantage of the helpful.

Feb 19, 2017 at 9:16 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

And history has shown making the media the story is never good for the media establishment. The media should not be the story.

MH - could you provide some examples?
Feb 18, 2017 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Actually Martin I have absolutely no desire to,

OK. Fairy Nuff. But without concrete examples I can't make any real sense of what you said.

Feb 19, 2017 at 9:25 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


The Mk1 eyeball and ears in the first instance are what triggered my contempt for the MSM. Running a couple of media campaigns over the years also alerted me to the diverse routes used to filter and select content.

Pondering your question - I don't think I actually believe anything in toto regarding "news". There is always a loose end or something that doesn't fit by the time a story has been extruded through the corporate orifice and made it to the printing machine / transmission system.

As Mark H says - who you believe is a matter of trust. There are people who I *trust* not to feed me deliberate falsehoods - be they palatable to my personal prejudices or not. That list changes. If asked about something in the media by somebody who trusts my take on things I always try to be honest about the limits of my knowledge.

Confirmation bias is inescapable - recognise it and try to adjust for its effect.

The news is as much a manufactured product as any shaped and breadcrumbed reconstituted gack in a supermarket display freezer.

Feb 19, 2017 at 9:30 PM | Registered Commentertomo

"...his [Trump's] deplorable mimicry of a disabled reporter. These are observable facts on which I base my views. I wouldn't let him into my house."

Feb 19, 2017 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Supertroll, I'll hazard a guess that the same news channel didn't also show you the several occasions when Trump used exactly the same mannerisms and gesticulations to mock other political antagonists who were not disabled.(*)

When I saw the same coverage that you refer to, my first impressions were that he was mocking in a way that indicated some admixture of uncertainty, indecision, or ignorance. If you want to believe the worst of him at every opportunity then it is unlikely that several thousand counter-examples would sway your opinion.

I am fully aware that distortions can arise if the media do not describe or show parts of a story, but what can you do?

The problem with endjinns like Google is that they will supply your search enquiries with answers that Google thinks you want to see. So if Google thinks you hate Trump, then Google is not so likely to supply you with things showing information favourable to Trump. This happens separately from any political bias you may observe or imagine.
What do I do? When I find an excellent, not just good, provider of information on the internet (this is increasingly on places like youtube) then I take a look at who they think is worth looking at. The key metric remains how willing they are willing to 'criticise their own side'. This is what we are supposed to be paying the BBC to do.

(* I saw it on a Youtube channel, not the MSM. The same MSM have also been dragging the name of the most prominent Youtuber through the mud this week. Not because they really hate him, or even have a good case, but because Youtube is attempting to eat their advertising revenue, and will probably succeed. It was really an attack on Youtube. This needs a separate discussion topic in itself.)

Feb 19, 2017 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

@michael hart


Feb 19, 2017 at 9:41 PM | Registered Commentertomo

mh is right, Alan; reconsider that disabled reporter hogwash.

Feb 19, 2017 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

We're all only human.
I could take umbrage, here…

That aside –

I have stated in the past that I, too, was a believer in CAGW, but my natural scepticism kicked in. Perhaps it was more that I was prepared to accept the theory, rather than be a full-out believer, not having anything else to contest it, and not having any reason to want to investigate further, thus I merely accepted it.

I then saw An Inconvenient Truth, which led me to an even stronger acceptance, and thence on to investigating what could be done to mitigate the problem. The deeper I investigated, the more flaws I found in the theories; when I raised questions on various sites about my doubts (such as how can such a trace gas have such a significant effect), I was astonished by how quickly the exchanges became vitriolic, rapidly leading to advice to harm or kill myself. As a result, I now tend to haunt the more sceptical sites as, if there is anything I wish to question, the responses tend to be more civil. However – and this is a big “However” – I am NOT trying to “win” any argument; my desire is for facts, so I seek evidence. This seems to upset some people, even on this site, who seem to want to “win” for whatever reason they might have (personal vanity immediately springs to mind, but there may be others).

To date, I have found no empirical evidence (nor has anyone provided any when I have requested it; often, it seems that theory is being presented as evidence) that what little warming we have had is anything to do with CO2 or that the rise in CO2 has anything but cursory connection with human consumption of fossil fuels, thus there is no evidence that human activities have anything but the slightest possible influence (e.g. land use change affecting local climates) with global warming/climate change/call it what you will. Unless and until empirical evidence can be produced for AGW (C or otherwise) I will default to the null hypothesis of it being a natural cycle, of which we have yet to find what influences or causes it. I fear we are at or close to the peak of warming, which means that it might start to cool; then we will be in trouble!

Feb 19, 2017 at 10:22 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Michael Hart I do hope you are not trying to convince me that Trump was not deliberately insulting and mocking a disabled reporter, because I watched and listened to recordings of this with my own eyes and ears, several times. The possibility that he may have used the same gestures in other circumstances (your proof of this?) is immaterial. On the occasion which was widely commented upon he behaved like an objectionable bully, period.

Add Sweden now to the list of countries he's insulted? The man's a walking disaster. He's apparently willing to believe Fox News rather than his own intelligence agencies and sound off without checking.

Feb 19, 2017 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll


Sweden insulted? - oh do give over - next we'll have a Ouija session to vilify Jim Henson for mocking Swedish catering operatives.

The kitten vs. laser pointer at work again ... and you fell for it.

Sweden has severe problems with migrants - debate "in country" is largely suppressed by the progressives who've instructed state employees to wave in any and everybody without any checks on their provenance at all.

Anybody - and I mean anybody (including secular immigrants FFS) who's queried the progressive lefty policies has been vilified with the all too familiar battery of standard attacks for ists and phobes. Wholesale denial and cover up substitute for pragmatic engagement with very obvious problems.

I have relatives in Gothenburg who paint a truly dismal picture of life in the pitifully mismanaged urban areas. Colleagues who've worked in many of the countries that provide most of the incomers have been scathing about their experiences in Malmö. The problems mount and the leftys blame "white Swedes" even more often and louder .... that's gonna work eh?

Feb 20, 2017 at 12:49 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Well, the late bird gets the turn; toto beat me to it. A., do you seriously believe the Swedes like what is going on every night, and every day? Sweden is supposed to be a showcase; look, they really pulled it off. But that was yesterday.

I know you don't understand Trump's messaging, but a whole lot of Swedes got a glimmer of it just now.

Feb 20, 2017 at 2:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Waiting for the 'Here's what happened in Sweden last night.' website.

Feb 20, 2017 at 2:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim