My friend: You should see the thunder and lightning, it's pretty impressive.
Me: It'd be pretty impressive if I saw thunder.
My friend: If you were an X-Man, your power would be being literal. Which is still better than mine, because mine would just be grammar.
The news media has perhaps the biggest influence in the court of public opinion, especially when it comes to politicized issues. The information it publishes, which is often distorted, shapes how we view people and events. It seems the principles on which the justice system runs don’t apply to the media. News outlets sometimes do the opposite.Read More
It’s unlikely that in the ongoing dispute between President Donald Trump and the news media one side is completely right and the other is fully wrong. In fact, much may be learned from both perspectives. Yet the way they present their views may do them and the public a disservice. As many arguments go, each side tries to invalidate the other’s perspective (rather than both critically evaluating what each brings and finding solutions). Sunday’s coverage of the exchanges between Trump and the New York Times’ publisher A.G. Sulzberger is the latest example.Read More
Speeches, especially political speeches, are useful roadmaps to examine media distortion. There can be stark contrasts in how news outlets report on a given speech, especially by what’s emphasized, dramatized or omitted.Read More
There’s an easy way to misrepresent and discredit a nuanced argument: simply strip what someone says of its context, oversimplify it and add your own interpretation of what was meant. Or easier still, lose sight of the bigger picture of what’s being discussed, get stuck on specifics and then argue away.Read More
President Donald Trump’s comments on Russia dominated traditional and social media this week. It’s understandable why — Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is a sensitive matter and a national security priority, and Trump’s comments about it were seemingly inconsistent or contradictory. The media could report what was said in an objective way, without added drama, opinion or judgments about it. However, that’s not how a number of news outlets handled it.Read More
The Knife’s Raw Data articles provide objective news summaries. Some of them, if stripped of contextual information that’s useful but perhaps not essential, can be sized down to a single sentence. Today’s example: On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs announced that David Solomon would replace Lloyd Blankfein as its next CEO. But that’s quite a departure from the way some news outlets reported on the story.Read More
According to media reports, Israel’s raid on an Iranian military base in January had all the trappings of a spy movie: undercover agents (some presumably Iranian), a tight and precise timeline, blowtorches cutting through safes, the theft of hundreds of classified documents on a nuclear weapons program and a successful exit no one has yet explained. Except it wasn’t a spy movie — these are the facts of the operation. News outlets could have stuck to that, but instead they added drama and left out key information.Read More