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Media Bias Chart version 10 — Left / Center / Right; Fact vs Fabrication; (Ad Fontes Media)

The very useful “media bias chart” is one of several useful ways to classify sources of journalism. While individual items published by any of these sources can vary considerably from the general location depicted in this chart, the takeaway message is that journalism can still be valid and useful even if it has a slant. I make sure to check in regularly with sources above the green line. If I find myself spending a lot of time with the sources in the yellow box, I will hop across the aisle regularly to make sure I understand what credible voices on…

Engrossing but difficult to watch: “Man in Cave” documentary on caver Floyd Collins

I’m conflicted. This is a very well done animated documentary, creating visuals that were not part of the original press coverage of Floyd Collins, the caver trapped in Sand Cave in 1925, and the subject of the first media circus, fed by the emerging new medium of radio journalism. The animation adds sight gags and sometimes crude humor, which is juvenile and not particularly funny. This story happened to real people, and I’m uncomfortable their suffering has been turned into entertainment. Yet here I am, watching. (That’s part of the discomfort I feel.) Even though I know how this story…

No, this pie chart does not mean that anyone at CNBC believes the typical 25 year old earns a salary of $100k/y and spends $825/mo on rent

Tell me you didn’t click the link without telling me you didn’t click the link. I don’t watch any TV news and CNBC plays no role in my life, but come on. This post has gotten thousands of likes and generated hundreds of comments, many of them suggesting that CNBC is out of touch for reporting these figures as “typical.” It’s easy to attack the messenger, but it’s really not hard to Google “cnbc budget breakdown of a 25 year old” and click the first link.  This chart, from a profile of a specific person who “brings in $100,000 a…

Another social media post attacks journalists for doing their jobs — Updated Elijah McClain autopsy

If you’ve been following the sad story of Elijah McClain, a Black man who went into cardiac arrest and died in police custody in a Denver suburb in 2019 (after telling the officers who were arresting them that he was unarmed, that he doesn’t even kill flies, and that he loved them) you might know that Colorado Public Radio and several other news organizations took the local coroner’s office to court in order to gain access to an updated autopsy report that specifies the role played by forceful restraint and the ketamine that was injected into McClain during the incident.…

Top Russian News Site Calls Out Putin’s ‘Paranoiac’ War

Journalists at a Kremlin-controlled news website published at least a dozen anti-war articles today — a brave attempt to undermine the propaganda campaign attempting to justify Putin’s unprovoked and immoral acts of violence against the Ukrainian people. The articles were quickly taken down, but you can still read them on the Internet Archive. Internet Archive backup of Lenta.ru for May 9, 2022. One of Russia’s leading news websites, Lenta.ru, briefly posted materials critical of President Vladimir Putin and his government amid a crackdown by the state on independent journalism and media reports slamming Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. About a…

Darwin Was Wrong: Your Facial Expressions Do Not Reveal Your Emotions

In real life, people express a given emotion with tremendous variability. In anger, for example, people in urban cultures scowl (or make some of the facial movements for a scowl) only about 35 percent of the time, according to meta-analyses of studies measuring facial movement during emotion. Scowls are also not specific to anger because people scowl for other reasons, such as when they are concentrating or when they have gas. The same tremendous variation occurs for every emotion studied—and for every other measure that purportedly tells us about someone’s emotional state, whether it’s their physiology, voice or brain activity.…

Los Angeles sheriff appears to back down after signaling he was investigating reporter

Villanueva has repeatedly singled out LA Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian, who is just doing her job by covering his department. Tchekmedyian has published a series of stories about an incident in which a deputy kneeled on an inmate — including an article on Monday regarding an allegation that Villanueva was implicated in a cover-up. At Tuesday’s press conference, Villanueva displayed and pointed to a photo of Tchekmedyian, plus one of his political rivals and the sheriff’s inspector general. Arrows implied a connection between all three. Villanueva referred to video of the incident that Tchekmedyian had obtained as “stolen property.” And he…

NASA astronaut: Russians were ‘blindsided’ by reaction to yellow suits

I posted a while back about the yellow and blue color scheme of the suits worn by Russian cosmonauts who had then just arrived at the International Space Station. This story says all three Russian had gone to a school whose colors are yellow and blue, and that they did not intend the colors to have any political significance. Those suits were likely designed months or even years in advance. So, because I posted something that suggested the opposite, it’s only fair I post this interpretation. In his first public comments since returning to Earth aboard a Russia space craft,…

The karyotype of Pimelodella cristata (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae) from Central Amazon basin: with a discussion of the chromosome variability in Pimelodella I, as the Editor (i.e. no as the Author of the Article) can confirm that it is OK to proceed; you have, however, to get also the reply from the Author; thank you. Nevertheless, Figures 1-3 should be somehow inserted within the main text of the paper. And I do not know why my reply is automatically directed to Frank Franco…?

Some scholarly journals have a more rigorous peer review process than others. Source: The karyotype of Pimelodella cristata (Siluriformes: Heptapteridae) from Central Amazon basin: with a discussion of the chromosome variability in Pimelodella I, as the Editor (i.e. no as the Author of the Article) can confirm that it is OK to proceed; you have, however, to get also the reply from the Author; thank you. Nevertheless, Figures 1-3 should be somehow inserted within the main text of the paper. And I do not know why my reply is automatically directed to Frank Franco…? Update: The page has been edited.…

How to Use the Feynman Technique to Identify Pseudoscience

Simon Oxenham quotes physicist Richard Feynman: “I finally figured out a way to test whether you have taught an idea or you have only taught a definition. Test it this way: You say, ‘Without using the new word which you have just learned, try to rephrase what you have just learned in your own language. Without using the word “energy,” tell me what you know now about the dog’s motion.’ You cannot. So you learned nothing about science. That may be all right. You may not want to learn something about science right away. You have to learn definitions. But for the…

How Russia’s Disinformation Apparatus Ran Aground in Ukraine

Skillful propagandists always leverage people’s pre-conceived notions to steer the conversation away from what is prejudicial to their side’s interests. The tactic works because it often deflects attention towards other injustices that are also real, making it easy to elicit a strong emotional response that blinds the audience to the underlying cynicism. Redfish, for example, was able to exploit genuine resentments over the real mistreatment of black people during the evacuation from Ukraine; or over the EU’s double standards in its treatment of Ukrainian refugees compared to refugees from elsewhere. Few took the time to consider, however, that black people…

Copspeak, “the past exonerative” tense, and punching Nazis

In the Constitution, any suspect is innocent until found guilty by a court, even suspects who kneel for eight minutes on the throat of an unarmed, handcuffed person who is caught on video pleading to breathe, passing out, and dying. If the court hasn’t (yet) ruled that a death is homicide, then it’s not accurate to describe the death as a “murder” or to describe a person who has just been arrested, but not formally charged yet, as a “killer.” Having said that, the “past exonerative voice” is a powerfully descriptive name for how the journalists who are trained to…

How to spot video and photo fakes as Russia invades Ukraine – Poynter

In the first hours of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, internet watchdogs pored over images shared on Russian media that claimed Ukraine struck first and Russia merely responded. The Biden administration has been warning for weeks that, in the days and hours leading up to the invasion of Ukraine that arrived before dawn on Thursday, Russian sources would release “false flag” photos and videos to make it appear that the Ukrainian military attacked Russian forces unprovoked. To understand how these investigators do their work, you should first understand a few basics. Everything created on a digital device — whether it…

War via TikTok: Russia’s new tool for propaganda machine

“This is the way they go to war; it’s a central part of Russian doctrine,” said Jim Ludes, a former U.S. defense analyst who now directs the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University. Ludes said Russian disinformation campaigns are intended to galvanize Russian support while confusing and dividing the country’s opponents. Russia tailors its propaganda message for specific audiences. For Russians and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the message is that Russia is trying to defend its own people against Western-fueled aggression and persecution in Ukraine. Similar tactics have been used, including by Nazi Germany…

In one small prairie town, two warring visions of America

Great writing and great photography in this story about a small Minnesota town where conservative Lutheran pastor Jason Wolter denies that COVID-19 vaccines work. “You’re lying to people,” he says, “You flat-out lie about things.” Wolter is speaking of Reed Anfinson, his next-door neighbor, who is the editor of the Swift County Monitor-News, “[a] contemplative man who casually quotes Voltaire, he loves newspapers deeply, and mourns the hundreds of small-town papers that have gone under in recent years.” “The easy part is speaking truth to power. The hard part is speaking truth to your community,” said Anfinson, whose wife is a…