1. René says

    “And Trump went 3 for 4 with a triple.”

    Anybody care to explain this idiom to a nonamerican yours truly?

  2. Larry says

    Baseball term. 3 for 4 means the batter had 4 official at-bats, safely hitting the ball 3 times. One of those hits was a triple, meaning the batter made it safely to third base (after going through first and second base).

  3. wzrd1 says

    Not quite true, PZ. Before we had false balance, we had yellow journalism. At one point, literally severe enough that two publications fought in their pages to take credit for wars.
    A decidedly odd state of affairs, as they served one city and a city hasn’t made a nation since the ancient city-state era.

    Hey, at least they didn’t act as apologists for Rhodes after his sentencing. Had they been fully bothsiderism ridden, they’d have agreed with his statements of being a political prisoner, rather than the prisoner convicted of sedition.
    Now, Rhodes will be able to regale his prison for an 18 year sentence about his legendary skill as a firearms instructor that blew his own eye out.

    I’m waiting for the military that were arrested for the same insurrection’s trial, as service members convicted of insurrection, mutiny or sedition are subject to the death penalty. Reporting both sides of that argument would be a literal argument for sedition.
    To CNN’s credit, they’d not stooped that low yet. But, I have faith in their ability to do so eventually, if they think it’ll sell their news product.

  4. stuffin says

    That is spot on. I’ve watched CNN over the past 6years. They have gradually allowed the far-right mouth breathers to spew their fake opinions with minimal fact checks. And when they try to fact check, the far-right mouth breathers talk louder and faster running over the interviewer. What sucks is the CNN reporters seem PK with this- see the Trump Townhall.

  5. billseymour says

    René & Larry:  it also explains the quote, “born on third base and thought he hit a triple”.

    (I always thought that that was first said by Ann Richards about George Bush Sr., but it seems that Barry Switzer used it first in the Chicago Tribune.)

  6. says

    René, one other bit of context: A day of going “3 for 4 with a triple” is the equivalent of a footballing “pure” hat trick (left foot, right foot, head) achieved without taking a penalty or any intervening goals by either side. That is, a veryvery good day indeed.

    In general, the problem is one of rules versus standards. We want media to have the standard that “not every story truly has two sides; sometimes one story is so far from reality that it deserves only enough mention to understand the ‘correct’ side.” But all too often, due to (well-justified!) distrust of the judgment of those who actually implement standards — consider the two major papers that refused to print any story relating to the Pentagon Papers; consider, right now, the WSJ‘s failure to cover stories pointing out actual conflicts of interest by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Murdoch; consider, most relevant on this blog, Eppur si muove [figlia di puttana] — we end up with rules designed to avoid potential later liability when people second-guess matters using their usual 20/200 hindsight. One of those rules is “be even-handed and let the audience decide” when the journalists know in advance that the audience does not have the critical or contextual capability of making that decision.

    But the problem is also one of inability to trust that the audience knows diddly-squat about context… and, therefore, that opinion on what facts 1-17 mean in context necessarily must be part of any news coverage. It’s one thing entirely to say that “there have been serious adverse reactions to vaccine X“; it is quite another to leap to “and therefore widespread/default/universal use is Eeeeeeeeeeeevil, and never justified, even though the incidence of fatality is three orders of magnitude greater for the condition that is 98% avoided through proper administration of vaccine X.” Now throw in that so much of that commentary is about determining whom to blame (and it’s never the commentator/reporter/media outlet, or its allies, or its owners; it’s always an identifiable someone else or an Act of God†), and we’ve got a real mess.

    Historically, almost every alternative has been worse, though. What we’ve got now is pretty much a least-bad unplanned system — and it’s a pretty appalling least-bad.

    †If somehow that bastard exists, which I deny, I’m gonna sue unto bankruptcy. If for nothing else, for the tolerance and implicit indorsement through silence of the deceptive statements of sect-oriented hate speech. The irony of that concerning a purported “free speech” issue bears a lot more thought. And acceptance of responsibility which will not be forthcoming — not from the acolytes engaging in hate speech, and sure as hell not from their stated (but not real; they’re fairly universally narcissists) object of worship.

  7. wzrd1 says

    @Jaws, it would be a historic litigation if it went class action. 8.8 billion participants would certainly be of historic note.
    I’d suggest leading with breach of covenant on multiple occasions. Should establish a fundamental breach easily enough.
    I’ll need to grab my hat…

  8. silvrhalide says

    No, that’s not the news, that’s the fairness bias in action.

    We used to have actual news–witness the NY Times fighting all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to publish the Pentagon Papers, back before the Supreme Court was populated by 9 grifter hacks and back before years of the Jayson Blairs, Stephen Glass’, Brian Williams, Tucker Carlsons, etc damaged the institution of the US free press. Back when the Washington Post published the Watergate scandal and brought down an American president, not with insurrection and firearms but with words and evidence.

    Now we have the “news” which is remarkably devoid of actual news and facts, which exists largely to sell fast food and pharmaceuticals to the senior citizens who still watch the six o’clock news and the Millenials who apparently can’t distinguish real news from fake on the Internet but who have a marked preference for clickbait.
    Now we have various flavors of “news” so bigots and halfwits can choose the flavor of news that caters to their prejudices and to their version of reality (“reality”).
    Sure, you can get occasional actual news, from the Glenn Greenwalds and Laura Poitras’ and the Spotlight journalists at the Boston Globe but it’s thin pickings on the ground.
    What we mostly have is “news” by what Jimmy Breslin called the “Pekinese of the press”.

  9. says

    @7 Jaws and @10 silvrhalide I read your comments carefully and they appear to coincide with my opinion of MainStreamSnews, they have evolved from journalists interested in informing and exposing to Crapitallist Corporations that are only interested in ratings and ad revenue which means increased emphasis on ‘bothsidesism’ to avoid driving away people from any political camp. It is consistent with the trend in entertainment media (broadcast TV, social media, etc.) dishing out panem et circenses to dull and lull the masses. And, ‘if it bleeds it leads’ takes on a new all to literal meaning due to all the rightwingnut and xitan terrorist threats and violence.

  10. Jim Balter says

    the Supreme Court was populated by 9 grifter hacks

    Talk about bOtHsIdEsInG …

  11. wzrd1 says

    Look at the press throughout our nation’s history. We’ve not gone into a novel condition here, where corporate interests drive the story and any bias, we’ve simply come full circle, with a modern twist.
    Tell me how things are ever so different than in Hearst and Pulitzer’s day! You really can’t and be honest. We just got spoiled and worse, complacent about a brief period when we did have a powerful and relatively unbiased press that had thrown off prior restraint, actual censorship by government and corporate sensationalist bullshit in favor of actual news reporting and actual investigative reporting. Had a solid majority tuned out the bullshit as it began, the management and their leadership would’ve changed back to what was getting eyeballs on their product again.
    Hell, the worst symptom of that malady was Trump’s entire run for office, from start to finish, when unworthy, utterly reality free tripe was credulously reported by the entirety of our press, giving him free campaign advertisement on a daily basis. Such an early symptom as a life threatening hemorrhage is of cancer. So, we’re now stuck with stage 4 and still losing ground, with a new generation ill educated to recognize yellow journalism and an elder generation that’s fearful of change and whatever the fear peddlers trot out to grab their attention.
    With what we have now, were the French Revolution to be current news, we’d hear how both sides are executing people en masse in the guillotine – long after the royalty was long executed.
    Unfortunately, I can’t think of a solution to that entire mess, as without a substantial majority of the populace rejecting it, corporate interests will go where their money comes in from. Without that vote with their feet, progress in the press is ended, period, end of story, no matter how much a few piss and moan about it. For, in the end, the only view that count is that of Count de Money…
    de Monet…
    Don’t correct me

  12. petesh says

    @14 Suggested edit: “Someone thinks that Greenwald is still a good journalist?”

  13. silvrhalide says

    @14, 15 Glenn Greenwald’s reporting on the NSA/Edward Snowden whistleblowing got a Pulitzer. They don’t hand those out for perfect attendance or as a participation trophy.

    The US government went after him full force for reporting on Snowden & the NSA, including going after his husband, and Greenwald never flinched and never stopped. I don’t respect everything the guy said but I certainly respect that. DOMA wasn’t struck down by the Supreme Court until 2013, the same year as PRIZM/Snowden story. The guy had a lot to lose at the time.

    I agree that he went off the rails after breaking with his partners at The Intercept and his insistence that Russia didn’t interfere with the 2016 election defies rational thought. But that still doesn’t mean that he did not (at least at one point) do superlative reporting.

  14. silvrhalide says

    @12 So far we have Clarence Thomas’s extra special (extra rich) friends who like to give him gifts–LOTS of gifts, Neil Gorsuch’s ahem, uncanny eye for real estate deals and John Roberts’ wife’s oh-so-golden touch with the Washington DC headhunting gig.

    All nine Supremes signed a document affirming that the Supreme Court justices don’t have to answer to a code of conduct like literally every other judge does in the US and hey, that they don’t have to answer to Congress either.

    So yeah, 9 grifter hacks. Some of whom have already been caught, others who just haven’t been caught yet.