WHY is there this great lack of knowledge on profit-based news media?

in news •  10 months ago 

If you are into technology or science or medical or any sort of subject that requires a bit of knowledge and research, you might have noticed that there's a tendency for the news media to get things wrong. Okay, well these subjects are rather complex, so it's understandable for some people to get some things wrong.

Like when I'm talking to @suesa about something having to do with biology or genetics over at Steem.chat, sometimes she might maybe wanna strangle me when I get something wrong, or use some language wrong, because a large portion of my knowledge about certain things is taken from the news media and documentaries and such. She has a much larger knowledge base than me. So when I say something about "splicing" DNA, she might wanna wallop me with something, because I'm using the wrong terminology and I might get some things wrong.

But, despite my memory sucking, I am willing to learn, so I hope she has patience with me.

(Feel free to stop reading here Suesa, I just wanted to use an example of how there is a barrier to entry and it can be hard to understand things, even when someone has interest in something, because they haven't studied it.)

But, when you work for a large media conglomerate, you can totally get people to help you with shit. You can have experts that you work with to check facts and proof read stories. You can bring on experts in different subjects to talk on the news about things like crypto currency for example.

But they don't.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that I am far more well informed about quite a variety of subjects that the news covers that they are.

And I'm sure they get a shit ton of comments from viewers in relation to their stories correcting them.

And yet they continue to make the same fucking mistakes every time they talk about them.

Eventually, you start to wonder why.

If you're a small media company, or you don't have a large budge for a particular story, maybe you can't pay someone to proof your story and make sure it's factually accurate. Maybe you made a small mistake that's perfectly understandable.

But after you run your story, you will have people commenting on it. You will have people telling you what mistakes you made. You likely have employees going through the comments on social media. I would think that if there's someone that says that there's a factual error, it would possibly get checked on. Wouldn't it? Except these media companies cover these stories about certain topics, and they make the same mistakes over and over again.

After covering the Cambridge Analytica scandal for months, for example, I would think that they would have the facts of the story down pretty pat.

You do your research, you do your story, you make any correction you need to, you publish, you make any corrections you need to for any errors that you may have made, then as more info comes out, you probably nail down the story a bit more, right?

Except why is it that they still don't seem to understand the story?

There is a new Netflix documentary about it, called "The Great Hack". Except there was no hacking in Cambridge Analytica. I mean, I guess they could have possibly hacked something that I don't know about. It's not like I did a bunch of research on the story. But why it was such a big deal, and why Facebook was in so much trouble was because their security was non-existent. They gave every app that you ever signed up for FAR more personal data about you than they needed. And it wasn't like they even gave you the option to deny any of this data. You either give them access to your data, or you don't use the app.

Every stupid Facebook game, every little quiz to find out what character you were, every app, had access to a treasure trove of personal data about you that they could then use, if they so chose, for whatever they wanted. Now, there were things in the TOS that limited what you used that data for, but that doesn't really stop anyone if they want to make a fuckton of money.

I personally think there are likely a ton more companies out there that likely abused the data that they got from Facebook users. We just haven't heard about it yet, if we ever will.

So it's not like the Cambridge Analytica scandal is that difficult to understand. Facebook gave a whole bunch of your data to a whole bunch of people, because they were too lazy to implement proper security, and then a company abused that data, and then used it for nefarious purposes, including to influence an election.

There are a ton of companies that actually have access to far more data than Cambridge Analytica btw.

So, you would think, since this is a tech story, maybe they might have on some guests to talk about this that could talk about the app permissions on Facebook, and explain how they give your data to everyone, and maybe talk about how difficult it might be to implement more security. Maybe they might have a guest on that might talk about the implications of this data, how it was used, how it might be used, what it actually means.

Nope.

I watch a lot of news in the background while working and have read a lot of stories on this. Not like I actually researched the amount I would if I were doing more than just a freewrite blog post, but lets just say that I've seen a fair share of stories about it. And you know who they have on to talk about it most of the time? Some journalist that has written about it. That's some kinda self flagellation masturbatory bullshit. They also often have guests that might be like someone they work with and have on the show regularly. Or maybe some lawmaker. They can't even do a Skype call most of the time to talk to an expert.

It's not that they don't have experts on to talk about subjects though. Sometimes they do. But often they have some short story, and they don't have experts on regularly to talk about subjects and get people more well informed about it.

Well, for-profit media doesn't.

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Image by mohamed hassan 07/07/2018 (source)
Used under a CC0 Public Domain License

Oddly enough, state sponsored media and non-profit media isn't like this. Even fucking RT does a better job getting experts on, and they're regularly shit on for being funded by Russia. Al Jazeera actually regularly has very nice guests to talk about topics. I was utterly astounded when they did a show not that long ago on Facebook and the new digital currency effort with Libra. They had someone on via Skype that was really quite well informed. Al Jazeera is actually owned by the Qatar government. Sometimes they receive flak about that, but they do seem to have quite a bit of independence. PBS and NPR likewise have quite good guests on their news shows. They are funded in part by the US government.

But when you watch ABC News or MSNBC/NBC news or CNN or other for-profit news networks, they have a tendency to bring on law makers and ex-military and ex-FBI, etc, former and current government, as well as other journalists and people on their payroll that are often referred to as "contributors". I guess they wanna get their money's worth. They don't often get on guests to further inform the public.

It really makes me wonder.

Like, okay, maybe you have some contributors you wanna regularly talk to...but why wouldn't you wanna bring in more experts? I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would be willing to talk for a few minutes on TV...or do a pre-recorded interview.

And why would you continually get a story wrong? Why can't they seem to ever do their job and research a story...or even get the story right after they've likely gotten tons of people telling them that they're getting it wrong?

It really makes me start to wonder if there is a conspiracy.

Like a conspiracy of stupidity.

What do you think? Why can't the news ever seem to get tech and science and other stories like that right, ever? Or do you possibly think they don't do that bad of a job?

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I would go so far as to say that I am far more well informed about quite a variety of subjects that the news covers that they are.

I'm more informed about cryptos and how the internet works than most news medias in my country...

Facebook gave a whole bunch of your data to a whole bunch of people, because they were too lazy to implement proper security, and then a company abused that data, and then used it for nefarious purposes, including to influence an election.

"The Great Hack" was probably more to attract the attention of the viewer, the name of the documentary was pure click bait xD Even my parents were clicked baited to the documentary, so I guess it kinda worked.

The thing about the CA stuff is that after the deal was over Facebook just "asked" for CA to delete the data... ofc CA didn't delete the data and used it for a lot longer than they were permitted.

Something funny though is that the AI that influenced the people for the pro-Brexit vote seems to only have had a major impact on the old generation, Brexit mostly passed because of the older generation... maybe the new generation that was born during the internet era is more protected from the effect of this types of AIs...

A lot of these companies are really just relying on you to comply with the TOS. Like something that's common with a lot of API's, which is what this whole Facebook thing used, is that the TOS will say that they can't even save the data. Funny thing is that to keep your requests low, you kinda have to. So you have to violate the TOS really for your application not to generate a ton of traffic. Most of them know you do. Some of them actually do extra stuff to make it more annoying to cache. Because they're told to, so people don't save the data. Of course they save the data. They might delete it later, but only really to save space. If they wanna keep it, they will. And there's not really anything anyone can do about it, unless there's a leaker or something.

maybe the new generation that was born during the internet era is more protected from the effect of this types of AIs...

I would say they probably are to a certain degree. When I see one of those shitty adverts with some inflammatory title I just roll my eyes. But I can't say I'm not affected. There was another story I watched on that dumb lady that said the kid touched her butt. Apparently that was spread by Russian trolls. It was still a real thing...they're just inciting the generational and political and racial divides of the country. Probably the economic ones too.

Everyone's likely been affected to some degree...they're just not telling people the whole story at one time so they realize how much they were affected.

Never underestimate the stupidity.
Apparently quality of the material they are broadcasting is good enough for their viewers, and their viewers are good enough for their shareholders.
When it comes to viewers and elections, one person = one vote.
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