Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: media

Imbalance in coverage sentiment does not necessarily imply bias

This Harvard Study of negative coverage gets cited a lot as “proof” of the MSM’s bias against Trump. But this argument is a bad interpretation of the study, based on two, major logical-flaws. I wrote this a comment response to someone, but I think it deserves its own post. I think my reasoning is correct. Please let me know where I am wrong. The study being referenced is talked about in this article.

You keep referencing the Harvard Study. I didn’t want to go into this into too much detail because I’m tired of explaining this over and over again. Your reliance on this study is based on two, major logical flaws. I will explain how.
Your reference Harvard study shows that you do not understand what bias, or what it does or does not imply. Bias by itself has no bearing on credibility, and cannot be used as a singular feature to assess it. Case in point:

  • Outlet A that largely reports accurate, positive news about X, has high standards of journalism, and retracts articles when shown to be false
  • Outlet B that largely reports accurate, negative news about X, has high standards of journalism, and retracts articles when shown to be false
  • Outlet C that largely reports positive fake news about X, has little to no standards of journalism, wilfully engages in misinformation and does not retract anything.
  • Outlet D that largely reports negative fake news about X, has little to no standards of journalism, wilfully engages in misinformation and does not retract anything.
  • Outlet E that largely reports both negative and positive fake news about X, has little to no standards of journalism, wilfully engages in misinformation and does not retract anything.

Outlets A and B are biased but credible. Outlets C and D are biased and not credible. Outlet E is non-biased and not credible.
Therefore bias alone does not imply credibility; it may be bias but it can also be something else, which leads us to your second, major logical-flaw: you assume that reality must always reflect 50% positive and 50% negative coverage. This is a ridiculous assumption. A true distribution exists and it may not be a fair (in the mathematical sense) one. Case in point:

  • Person A engages in horrible conduct (any sort of horrible conduct you can think of).
  • Person B is just a regular human being who has made some mistakes, but is largely a good person.
  • Person C largely engages in negative conduct, but has also done some good things (e.g., a mafia don who gives free food to his neighborhood).

Now take each of those persons above, and substitute them for X in the example outlets are shown above. What do you see? The definitions of A, B, and C shows the true distribution of their behavior. The kinds of reporting from A, B, C, D, E can influence a person’s perception of their behavior. What does this mean? That you cannot solely consider those outlets in isolation, using bias, as a metric for credibility. You must consider outside, credible, corroborating sources.

Now in the case of Donald Trump, there is an extremely large amount of corroborating evidence, both from his actual, public, verifiable behavior, and from the comments of his close associates, which point to a general consensus that he is an odious man. He does multiple things on a daily basis that objectively display his lack of fitness for the Office of President; especially his inexperience, incompetence, ignorance, intemperance, lack of intelligence, lack of poise, and complete lack of principles and responsibility.

Comparing the reporting of MSM outlets with corroborating evidence of Trump’s words, behavior, and conduct leads us to the inevitable, logical conclusion that MSM coverage is a close reflection of the true distribution of Trump’s behavior, and one cannot use the mere fact that there is an imbalance in the sentiment of coverage to allege that there is a bias.


Why the hell don’t content providers get it?

I just tried to watch South Park legally at South Park Studios. I wanted to watch Episode 8 (Dead Celebrities) of Season 13. I was then informed that “Due to contractual obligations, we won’t be able to air this episode until November 7th, 2009”. This episode originally aired a month ago. Seriously… what the hell don’t you get you dumbass idiots? I don’t want to watch your show when you want me to. I want to watch your show when I want to. Furthermore, I don’t want to watch it on cable or satellite where I have to put up with 3-5 minutes of cheesy and obnoxious commercials during every commercial break. However, I will gladly watch it legally with 10-15 second commercials online, so I’m glad that you do provide me that option. But what the hell is the deal with making the episode available to watch online one month after it has aired? Are you guys that greedy and retarded? Why can’t you put it up immediately? Go to hell. You just lost a customer, and the customers that you lose will find other ways to watch your episodes, without having to put up with your petty bullshit. Get a clue, people. You don’t control the channels anymore. We do. We decide when we want to watch your content. Either adapt or fail. Idiots.

Communism vs. Fascism vs. Socialism

Extreme right-wingers seem to be bandying about these terms interchangeably these days. I really don’t get it. Why does the media focus on the idiots at the fringe? Why do they get so much airtime? They annoy me just as much as the extreme left-wingers who claim that 9/11 was the work of the Bush government. Then there’s the comparison with Hitler (for both presidents). But that’s another matter. Seriously. Why don’t we hear more about people like this guy?

Anyway, so I keep hearing about how the Obama government is turning America into a Socialist nation… or maybe it’s a Communist nation… no wait… it’s Fascist. Either way it’s apparently undermining the foundations of our republic and turning us into Russia… or maybe it’s China… no wait… maybe it’s Nazi Germany. Oh yes, before I get accused of being a crazy liberal let me say (as a disclaimer) that yes, I do lean a little bit left-of-center, but I don’t agree with everything the left says. I’m also not a fan of big government. That being said, let’s analyze three different political ideologies and see what they actually mean.
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My Clip on NBC Nightly News

A while back, I uploaded clip I made on to my website. It was just a clip of us soldiers being silly. Anyway, after I came back from war, I uploaded that clip to YouTube. My initial comments were something like “lyk yeah whatevr that is so stupied”. I didn’t take those seriously, especially since it came from someone that couldn’t spell “stupid” correctly. I forgot about the clip until I received an email some months later from both NBC, and LMNOTV. NBC asked me if they could use my clip on their NBC Nightly News. I was surprised that my little clip would generate so much interest, and I went ahead and agreed. LMNOTV said that they might air my clip on their “My War Diary” show later this year. I’m going to send them a few more clips and pictures as well.

But anyway, check out NBC Nightly News tonight, and you may see my clip. Oh, and if you’re coming here because you saw my clip on NBC Nightly News, here are links to all my posts dealing with my experiences:

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