Monday, July 01, 2013

How's That New Job Working Out?



Now that the media has outsourced the responsibility for fact-checking, source-vetting and overall bullshit detecting to the general public, I wonder which of us will get fired over this?

Probably me.

From the "Daily Beast":
... But even ignoring Madsen’s background, Doward’s story is a marvel of awful journalism. While the Observer headline screamed that it had “revealed” a troubling partnership between the United States and Europe in data sharing, Doward offhandedly mentions that Madsen was basing his claims on “declassified documents”—which, oddly, weren’t posted with the story and are available on the NSA’s website. And overlooked by those piling on The Observer was the rather significant fact that the paper appears not to have spoken to Madsen, instead mining quotes from an interview he gave to a blog called PrivacySurgeon.org. (Indeed, some of Doward’s language is very similar to the source material, but why kick a man when he’s down?)

Providing a patina of respectability to a disreputable source, Doward informs Observer readers that Madsen previously held “several sensitive positions within” the NSA over a 12-year period. The only supporting evidence for the claim is Madsen himself, though his claims of previous NSA employment have shifted over the years. In a 2011 Guardian article endorsing 9/11 conspiracy theories, Madsen was cited as a former “NSA operative.”

Desperate to get in on the NSA scoop game, Salon cannibalized the Madsen story, receiving a coveted Drudge Report link for its troubles. One can only assume that influenced Salon’s decision not to pull the story, instead issuing a vague “update” saying that The Observer had pulled the story “pending an investigation.” The author of Salon’s piece, Prachi Gupta, didn’t respond to an email inquiry. From there, the Madsen story spidered out to Die Welt, the Sacramento Bee, Corriere Della Sera, and countless others.

Like the unstoppable proliferation of junk science, the laundered conspiracy theory is a stubborn thing. In 2002, after Madsen had declared 9/11 an “inside job,” The Guardian cited him and his “sources” when it reported that the United States Navy assisted a short-lived coup that toppled Venezuelan autocrat Hugo Chavez. No supporting evidence exists for the claim—like the NSA story, it sounds plausible—but it has wormed its way into various academic books and is prominently cited in a Wikipedia entry detailing “covert United States foreign regime change actions.” A quote from Madsen would be quickly flagged; a report from The Guardian lies dormant.

The Internet, of course, makes it both far easier to expose frauds like Madsen and to deceive unsophisticated readers and reporters. But with very real revelations of NSA surveillance coming trickling out from The Guardian, is it too much to ask for its sister publication, in its hunger for clicks, to stop undermining its credibility by polluting the news with nonsense stories sourced to nonsense people?
On the other hand, Doward had a source and a keyboard and a point-of-view, which makes him just as much a "journalist" as me or Jeff Gannon or Walter Cronkite.

Also I distinctly remember being lecture very earnestly about four of our New Journalism's most sacred rules:
  1. The background or personal agenda of a source is irrelevant.
  2. The background or personal agenda of the journalist is irrelevant.
  3. Whether or not the journalist got some fiddling little details wrong is irrelevant.
  4. People who ask questions about rules 1,2 or 3 are co-opted hypocrites and stooges who argue in bad faith and ought not be trusted.
So now I'm all confused.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Drift glass,
1. There is a club and you don't want to be in it.
2. You are so full of straw I don't want you in it either.

Lumpy Lang said...

The ONLY times Droneglass describes state criminality, NSA surveillance, Wikileaks disclosures, etc. as an 'important story'...

is when he sees an opportunity to change the subject back to Greenwald.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Monomania is a sad disease, Lumpifer.

Anonymous said...

Watch with your own eyes as Jeremy Scahill (a fully paid up member of the Club) loses the plot and compares Our President to 1 Hitler + 2 Nixons + 3 Stalins:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2013/jun/25/dirty-wars-jeremy-scahill-video-interview

Anonymous said...

"The internet, of course..." Oops. Stop right there. What goes "of course" via the internet? Nuffin, fuckers.

Sad, sad, fucking sad. We're not all journalists, nobody said as much, and this is desperate groping for a reason to adore--no, to admire or respect or prefer--this Obama motherfucker. But he's a motherfucker. A real honest to God motherfucker. As motherfucker as they come. Fuck him. Fuck his apologists.

Compound F said...

Your cock is deep in the dog, and you're looking for a deft way out. Sorry for you, chum, but you plunged your pecker into that canine.

You've broken every rule, and every reasonable exception to the rules, and now you are deeply confused.

You have compromised yourself badly.

First, I'd suggest shutting up.

Second, reflection.

Third, contrition (very dangerous to admit wrongdoing, because you've turned your own readers into harpies, but what a soul-salve).

Fourth, best wishes on your journey. Talent sans judgment is of no use to us, that is, what you purport to believe in (modern liberalism). Stick with the method of fairness and reason. I honestly don't know if it's a long-term winner, but that's the chance one has to take to get there. You're crappy screeds against Greenwald have tempted me to abandon reason entirely, but somehow I persist.

Anonymous said...

I was actually going to chime in with some snarky, "But Droneglass! Something something Obamabot something vituperative tone something Hitler!".

But I was beat to it.

In other news, the comic strip (even dead tree version) "The New Adventuress of Queen Victoria" is guest starring Ayn Rand this week.

Mike.K.

kfreed said...

Wasn't there a discussion happening over at Rolling Stone surrounding the claim that "all journalism is advocacy journalism"?

You agreed to that. These are the consequences. And so we'll be living with them from here on out. If their peers won't hold them accountable, and their audiences won't either, let chaos reign.

P.S. I notice that the purveyors of this notion have succeeded in shaping the language of certain bloggers already. Many of you preface every deserved critique of Glennzilla with an ode to his superior “intellect” and a pre-emptive apology. You reap what you sow.

How many times exactly does Joe Camel have to fudge his facts before you folks get that he's not a journalist, he's a propagandist.

kfreed said...

We used to have Gonzo journalism. Now we have Glenzilla journalism.

Lumpy Lang said...

Why can't you brave patriots ever just come out and justify the U.S. rulers' crimes (wars, drone murders, surveillance state etc.) explicitly?

Woe to anyone pointing out the emperor is naked!

Free Bradley Manning!
Hands of Assange, Snowden!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

You're crappy screeds against Greenwald have tempted me to abandon reason entirely, but somehow I persist.

No, you don't and you have abandoned reason entirely, if you ever had more than nodding acquaintance with it. Your ability to completely misread posts and comments, your insistence on jumping to conclusions, and your arrogance completely conceal any misbegotten points you are trying to make, in favor of name-calling and being a shit.

You've also abandoned spelling.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Blogger Lumpy Lang said...

Why can't you brave patriots ever just come out and justify the U.S. rulers' crimes (wars, drone murders, surveillance state etc.) explicitly?

Woe to anyone pointing out the emperor is naked!


You forgot to say Droneglass. -1 point, Lumpifer.

Lumpy Lang said...

Just as I thought. The brave patriots can't utter a single political word in defense of their poop-spattered banner.

Is their obvious shame a sign that shreds of human decency remain?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

TWO comments without a Droneglass, Lumpy?

I call shenanigans.


The gotcha question is also a pretty weak troll play. Step it up, brother.

Lumpy Lang said...

Asking you patriots to state your political positions... is a "gotcha question"?

- thanks for confirming my point.

Anonymous said...

kfreed,

Chaos isn't necessarily the natural outcome of acknowledging journalists have biases. We just have to be more aware of those biases as consumers of media.

- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Compound F:

I was going to write yet another post pointing out how DG is still only commenting on a fairly narrow point about the interpretation inherit in journalism, and the validity of personal appraisal of sources/authors, but have instead decided to defer to your superior knowledge of dog fucking.

-- Nonny Mouse

Compound F said...

Nons Mum,

Drifty McSmearglass penetrated the K-9 of his own experience and accord.

I told him he would, given his trajectory, and he gave into his worst impulses.

Soooo be it. Que sera, sera. Whatevah! will be will be.

Deegers is pro-endemic surveillance by fascists. The end.

Anonymous said...

Driftglass can't stop talking about Glenn's tactics, so he must be a fascist. Got it.

Gotta defend your heroes I guess.

I do wonder if guys like you and Lumpy were Obots at one point, Compound, because your ranting really does have a "woman scorned" quality.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Sorry Lumpy. You're just not worth talking to. Somehow I know how a conversation about state violence is going to go with a clown like you and, well, there are only so many hours in the day.

I don't solicit the opinions of die-hard Randists about the necessity of labor representation for similar reasons.

- Nonny Mouse

Compound F said...

Anon, a "woman scorned" by men doing it on the low down with dogs is an apt enough metaphor for me.

Wassup in your post-Constitutional neighborhood, girlfriend?