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 The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sun 06 Sep 2015, 19:13

My neighbour never follows the news or reads a paper, saying that she is happier for it. She shugs indifference if I happen to allude to a current news item. There was a time when every household tuned into every news broadcast  but it seems less intense than before. So what do the posters of Re Hist think of it all at a time when harrrowing news changes policy, for instance.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Wed 16 Sep 2015, 10:27

So, no one has any thoughts on the importance and or effects of news. Will current newspapers be a good history source in the future - have they ever been?  Are Res Historians, sleeping, dying - or dead, even? Non members gawp in yet seemingly unable to join with remark and are becoming the silent majority. Which side of the goldfish bowl are we?
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Wed 16 Sep 2015, 12:52

Trouble is knowing when "news" is actually news or when it is actually propaganda or agenda-driven reporting.

I still trust the BBC, but I remember ID being very scathing about what she clearly thought was my naïve trust in that institution being - or at least attempting to be - unbiased. We were discussing the BBC's coverage of the Ukraine conflict.

Folk have been very critical of the media's reporting of the migrant crisis. I wonder what people on Res Hiss think? Is BBC reporting just middle-class North Londoners "parading their compassion"?
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Fri 18 Sep 2015, 04:42

I was? Sorry but I don't remember. But it is a myth that the Beeb is unbiased, it reports the news from a British perspective therefore it is biased toward that. I can't comment on British domestic reports because I don't follow it, only the international news.

And living in an area that the Beeb has been reporting on for many years now, first the financial crisis and now the refugee crisis it is more often than not woefully inaccurate as well. There are only two reporters from your neck of the woods who cover this area with any accuracy that I've found so far, Damian Mac Con Uladh of the Irish Times (yes I know, not British) and Paul Mason from Channel 4. Although he is really biased toward the left, Mason is one of the very few foreign journalists who understands the politics on the ground in this part of the world at least.

Whilst I am here, re Priscilla's question. Once people tuned into every news broadcast because it was their only source of updates from the world outside their village/town/city/country. Now we are bombarded with news around the clock, telly, social media and all at the touch of a button on our phones, so much so that many now feel overloaded with the excess and much of it pointless rubbish to boot. No wonder people tune out and turn off.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Fri 18 Sep 2015, 20:43

Islanddawn,

"Whilst I am here, re Priscilla's question. Once people tuned into every news broadcast because it was their only source of updates from the world outside their village/town/city/country. Now we are bombarded with news around the clock, telly, social media and all at the touch of a button on our phones, so much so that many now feel overloaded with the excess and much of it pointless rubbish to boot. No wonder people tune out and turn off."

That is a pertinent remark. Allthough it is still possible and even more than before to do a good inquiry, if you after a time knows where to seek for the good stuff.
For instance in my 13 years "career" at the different fora, both French (career started in 2007) and English, I learned to distinguish crap from to the point information, but still on matters that I wasn't too embedded in I had to trust some contributors for their inside information even after via Google and the local library to have checked the credibilty. Yes and via Google I learned by comparison also to make the difference between crap and veracity. But if all sources says on first sight the same truth and that can be if you only looks to English languages sites than you can be misinformed even then.




But I agree many don't do the worry. And as that many are the big majority, the mass is ill informed. But was it in the 20th century that otherwise?

"And living in an area that the Beeb has been reporting on for many years now, first the financial crisis and now the refugee crisis it is more often than not woefully inaccurate as well. There are only two reporters from your neck of the woods who cover this area with any accuracy that I've found so far, Damian Mac Con Uladh of the Irish Times (yes I know, not British) and Paul Mason from Channel 4. Although he is really biased toward the left, Mason is one of the very few foreign journalists who understands the politics on the ground in this part of the world at least."

Yes I completely agree, I am sometines astonished by what the Beeb tells us about Belgium and England is ony a mere 140 Km (88 miles) from Belgium via Calais and perhaps in straight line only a 100 Km.
Indeed we, from Belgium, know perhaps best what happens overhere, but many times it is also well to have another comment on facts overhere, even biased, to have a better insight in our situation.

Kind regards and happy to see you back once and to have a "chat" with you, Paul.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Fri 18 Sep 2015, 23:13

Bad reporting is dangerous. I know of one instance myself because I heard a 'first hand' dramatic report on the radio about an event 2000 miles away and then had tea with the reporter. He claimed stringers  there gave him accurate news. It was totally wrong as it turned out and caused problems  so I returned and had a fearsome go at him about it. Later that night as war broke out he took an evacuation flight out  - with the women and children... I stayed on with a few others because I had responsibility for my local staff - tho I admit I got my young daughter on a flight out with friends. And that was painful. The said reporter, a well known name at the time was,  I was told later by proper war correspondent  when we swapped stories,  last seen in a cupboard office back home filing as far as anyone could make out and was never let out to report again.
But the man's story also went into widespread agency print and historians of the future may well use it as fact. There are good and bad reporters - and of the best, I have met some when invited to a War Correspondents' club. They are not shy either of mentioning the worst of  fellow reporters  and of their erroneous stories - and  ill founded  opinions. It must be a challenging job and the responsibility, considerable.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sat 19 Sep 2015, 11:17

Nothing as serious as Priscilla's brush with the media, but in the 1980s when much of the news concerned NHS cuts I fell and cracked my humerus bone on the way to work in Wolverhampton.  The A&E Dept in Wolverhampton patched me up and phoned through to my hospital in my hometown to try and arrange some physiotherapy for me but there attitude was that I had had the accident in Wolverhampton and I would have to have physio in Wolverhampton.  I wrote a letter to my local hospital and copied the local newspaper in.  One point I made was if I had had an accident at the North Pole would they have expected me to go there for physio....

Anyway a reporter from the local rag rang up and we had a bit of a conversation.  I said that I had really just written a funny letter to make my point but when the next edition of the paper came out it was about "XXXXXXtown Woman's Hospital Fury".  A few weeks had gone by since the original injury - I heard from the local hospital offering me physio there but guess what - I had made good progress and had been signed off by Wolverhampton....  Mind you a few people in my hometown did say "Good for you" for taking a stand albeit small.
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Mon 21 Sep 2015, 10:28

By inside out, I suggest the newspapers' role in emptying out the private slop pails of people's lives. These are often own stories, usually written, I assume with assistance - and if from a book, the spicier bits being edited into a newspaper. Now, I read a few of these and then deplore them - and myself. Human nosiness is somewhat unwholesome - yet - oh dear - it is also the spice that makes dull history interesting. On the other hand I also like to read ungarnished news. Whereas age against a name is acceptable, the house value price of their residence, less so. And people cannot help the current value  of their home which makes them sound more affluent than they are.  What are Res Historians thoughts on this?
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 09:47

Yes, I'm always deploring myself, too. I can't help reading about the weight struggles of various celebrities (more interesting than the value of their houses?). The Daily Mail is very good on this: their euphemisms for "is looking very fat these days" are many and varied. I am ashamed to admit this weakness.


@Priscilla wrote:
 

By inside out, I suggest the newspapers' role in emptying out the private slop pails of people's lives.



Possibly sexist question from me - is it just women who read slop pail journalism? Do men bother? I can't imagine any men being remotely interested in such things.  I suppose the sports pages are their equivalent. Gossip magazines have always been popular - "this paper can report" and all that. Wonder when they started?

Don't know much about the history of this - I suppose the early street ballads and pamphlets sort of began it all. Most people - men and women -  just love political and sex scandals. Apparently there was some filthy stuff circulating in London in May 1536 about Henry and Jane Seymour. Henry wrote to Jane telling her: "...there is a ballad made lately of great derision against us, which if it go abroad and is seen by you, I pray you to pay no manner of regard to it." The King promised to search for the author of the "malignant writing" who, when caught, would be punished severely. Lord knows what they would have done to him. The offender never was caught and, sadly, the ballad has disappeared from history. I'd love to read it.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 10:25

@Priscilla wrote:
By inside out, I suggest the newspapers' role in emptying out the private slop pails of people's lives.

Well quite.



There seem to be a lot of hammy, porky, pinky and perky jokes going around the internet today, but I liked what some wag on the Guardian's message board has dubbed it:

"The Proscuitto Affair"
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 10:38

Very Happy

Priscilla's slop bucket remark is the best yet!
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 10:53

Pigs' swill slop of course.

.... but I doubt that Hameron's faux pas will feature in the French press ... not even in the satirical rags like 'Charlie Hebdo' and 'Le Canard Enchaîné'. In France no one particularly bats an eyelid when a minister of the state is caught in flagranté with a rent boy, his mistress, the mistress of another minister, or even that minister's pet pig. Even the Treasury official who used his inside knowledge to avoid paying thousands in tax for many years was generally seen, not as a corrupt cheat, but just as one of us, an average Jean, doing like everyone else does if they can ... avoiding paying tax.

It was only when a senior public servant at the Ministry of Agricuture said that he thought many non-French "champagnes" were quite as good if not better than some of the "muck" that was made in France, whether these other "champagnes" were Italian, Russian, Australian, Indian or even ... quel horreur Anglais! ... only then did the French press and the population really rail against him, and forced him to resign!


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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 11:36

Seriously though, I wonder long the print media can survive as their audience moves to digital media and the advertisers follow. It's a vicious circle - income declines, staff are laid off and the papers often resort to picking up stories that are trending on line in the absence of proper journalists and thus become less and less relevant. Some times it does seem, when I read my paper in the morning, that it's a case of yesterday's news tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 12:24

A very good point ferval ...

I get my news almost entirely online, and free, and so that's mostly from the either the The BBC or The Guardian news sites. And ignoring that The Gruadiad, even as a printed newspaper was always famous for its typos, it is increasingly obvious that the majority of 'the news' now is just syndicated stories ... one can very often trace basic typos, spelling, punctuation errors ... as well as factual miss-reporting ... through many separate news' outlets, and back to a badly-written report originally posted on-line by, say, Fox News, Russia Today or Al Jazeera ... all of whom are of course completely unbiased. Yet this "news" is reported verbatim again, and again, and again, and with nobody ever questioning the original premise, facts or agenda.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Tue 22 Sep 2015, 13:17

At least the fraud has become more transparent. The amount of rehashed wire garbage that was simply inserted under bylines in even the most reputable of newspapers in the past was prolific, and while some of it included unintentional factual errors stupidly repeated, recent decades saw a huge increase in intentional "fake news" designed to be rabbited globally, sometimes released from commercial or public sector PR sources but sometimes also designed and released covertly from within government agencies operating at the highest security levels. In the days of print and TV/Radio as the only news media these instances were notoriously hard to detect and track. With a tool as basic as Google almost anyone can now check the provenance of what they read online.

It is ironic that just as the ability to detect and source bullshit has become available to every ordinary sod with access to the internet so too has that bullshit grown exponentially so that the challenge now is really to find the actual factual news item that may or may not be buried within it.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Wed 23 Sep 2015, 11:16

So all this new tech stuff will make research no easier for history readers of the future? It's interesting that truth is an ongoing problem; few are happy with it. And let's not go down the religious path on this for a tad, mm? - not before I've cleaned m'wellies and found me glasses, anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Thu 24 Sep 2015, 14:51

@Priscilla wrote:
So all this new tech stuff will make research no easier for history readers of the future? It's interesting that truth is an ongoing problem; few are happy with it. And let's not go down the religious path on this for a tad, mm? - not before I've cleaned m'wellies and found me glasses, anyway.


Oh, why not? Smile

May I quote this from Chapter 3 of Diarmaid MacCulloch's A History of Christianity? It is a story I like very much indeed. I have quoted it before, but I don't suppose anyone remembers:

"It is important to realise that a book of good news is not the same as straightforward reported news, or its more aged and academically respectable relative, history. The writer Jan Morris once recalled being advised by the Sudanese Minister of National Guidance, soon after the Second World War, that as foreign correspondent she should try to report 'thrilling, attractive and good news, corresponding, where possible, with the truth.' That might sound cynical, but Ms Morris felt that the minister, an austere man, spoke more wisely than might at first appear, and she fruitfully bore it in mind in her career in journalism. The minister's words provide a model of how we might approach the Gospels in a spirit that goes beyond cynicism. We may pare away the non-historical from the probably historical elements in Christian sacred literature, but that is in order better to understand the motives and preoccupations which led to the shape of the good news constructed by the first generations of Christians..."  (page 78).

What is truth indeed? Whose truth? That pesky Derrida chap with his deconstruction stuff taught us that every structure - be it literary, psychological, social, economic, political, religious or historical - that organizes our experience is constituted and maintained through acts of exclusion. In the process of creating something, something else inevitably gets left out. But what is left out - or repressed - does not disappear, but always returns to unsettle every construction, no matter how secure it seems. Deconstructing news reports (and that doesn't just mean "taking them apart") can be very interesting - and quite startling. People - even BBC or Guardian reporters - don't always say what they think they're saying.

Or, as we used to say before Derrida started wittering on, there are always two sides (or more) to every story and, what's more, to every writer.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sat 26 Sep 2015, 05:12

@Meles meles wrote:
A very good point ferval ...

I get my news almost entirely online, and free, and so that's mostly from the either the The BBC or The Guardian news sites. And ignoring that The Gruadiad, even as a printed newspaper was always famous for its typos, it is increasingly obvious that the majority of 'the news' now is just syndicated stories ... one can very often trace basic typos, spelling, punctuation errors ... as well as factual miss-reporting ... through many separate news' outlets, and back to a badly-written report originally posted on-line by, say, Fox News, Russia Today or Al Jazeera ... all of whom are of course completely unbiased. Yet this "news" is reported verbatim again, and again, and again, and with nobody ever questioning the original premise, facts or agenda.

And you'll find that Fox, RT or AJ's source was more than likely Twitter. Yep, it is THE go to source for all journalists these days, no more investigation, verification or accountability needed as anything can be repeated and printed with the inclusion of 'according to one anonymous source'. The anonymous source line has become my red flag that what is about to be read will more than likely be bullshit and to be disregarded as such.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sat 26 Sep 2015, 23:40

Good to see you back here, ID. One wonders just how historians of the future will be able to sift grains truth from dustpans of dross. It's hard enough for us even when close to it.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sun 27 Sep 2015, 08:27

@Priscilla wrote:
One wonders just how historians of the future will be able to sift grains truth from dustpans of dross. It's hard enough for us even when close to it.



Of course they won't be able to, any more than we can - or have ever been able to. What, after all, is history? What is the truth? The "grains of truth" you refer to are simply the bare bones of any account - those facts* (dangerous word?) that (usually?) no one can dispute - details such as names and dates and places and times. The rest is what we create - our own little versions of truth. We are all guilty of this (if guilty is the right word), not just the rogue journalists. Perhaps in a perverse sort of way the hacks are more honest than we are. Like prostitutes, they are simply, if cynically, earning a living, saying to us: "Believe/buy/be manipulated by this crap if you will, but if you do/are, more fool you."

Perhaps it's the ordinary people who believe - however sincerely - that they are simply "telling it like it is" that historians of the future must be wary of, not the obvious professional liars whose job is to create "the news". What, after all, is anything "like"?

I'm always on my guard against myself when I hear myself declaring:"The way I see it is..."

That said, it is surely time - yet again - to shut up. Or to think about moleskin and Francis Bacon.


PS *The story of Winston Smith, that famous employee in the Ministry of Truth, begins on 4 April 1984: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen".

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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sun 27 Sep 2015, 11:31

However if faced with a stark choice between keeping faith with fact and keeping faith with theological assertion I would still prefer to trust the former. Whatever the flaws inherent in the principle it is still preferential to subscription to an ideology in which ignorance is not only justified but glorified.

As regards which facts should be presented as such in the news media, and indeed what is itself newsworthy, then this is an aspect to reportage illuminated brilliantly by historical research. Take, for example, the "important news" page (not always the front page) in a publication such as the Old Thunderer itself from different stages of its long existence and you can see that this notion over centuries has constantly changed. People who today might decry a descent into "tabloidism" and a prevalence of tittle-tattle about so-called "celebrities" in today's news media might do well to review the information promoted as most important to be relayed by papers such as The Times and its contemporaries back in the 18th century. In truth the one thing that can be gleaned from looking at the evolution (and possibly devolution) of "news" is that the only constant in the equation has been recognition that it is idle curiosity over anything else that must be satiated to guarantee sales. Even the most illustrious publications which have traditionally prided themselves in delivering current affairs of import in a balanced and detailed way rarely fail to succumb to the temptation, for example, to resort to pandering to the cult of personality when presenting people of note in their reports.

It is almost unthinkable to attempt to appreciate and understand any of the great events in history without feeling an almost equal compunction to identify and understand the thinking and character of the people who are said to have driven them. This is true of historical study just as it is equally true of current affairs reportage, and is one major proof of the origins of the news media itself in village pump gossip of a pre-literate age.

We despairingly regard our legacy today to future historians in terms of what news media have recorded as interesting as an over abundance of dross through which the poor buggers must sift Sisyphus-like in order to deduce what might "really" have been going on. However this is in fact how it has always been, and in fact any historian worth their salt would probably prefer that challenge to having historical "facts" served up to them in pretty packages, apparently complete and with little sifting at all required, by the news reporters who went before. As natural gossips with eclectic and largely indiscriminate preferences regarding source, we in fact are hard-wired to be if not suspicious of such packages (be they current news items or historical treatise) then at least unwilling to automatically prioritise them privately over other "news" that interests us.
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PostSubject: Re: The News, Upside, Downside and Inside out - and the Benefits of all Three.   Sun 27 Sep 2015, 21:52

Nordmann,

read your message with great interest.

But again to you and the other contributors:

In my humble opinion the task of the personal news gathering or the task of the historian of the history gathering is not that much changed, nor is it more complex than before?
As the methods and the time consuming of the sorting on value and prevalence are considerable better than in the 20th century?


As my interest is geopolitics I give an example:
http://geopolitique.passion-histoire.net/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1199&sid=77d80eb00bf25af27c915060a8c93bfe

And I see now that I didn't enter this too in my article:
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/if-assad-asks-china-can-deploy-troops-to-syria/

What I mean that I in one hour gathered a lot of news about the item with the sources of editing...that the sources are a bit dubious...but that it is a real possibility and a matter to be followed in the future...

 About the digital age and the abandonment of paper editions...what a relief for the environment...
More and more one had to pay for articles of interest in serious on line papers and scientific articles...
I heard coincidentally this afternoon from the grandson preparing a "doctorat" (don't know the term in English) that before publicing an article in the open on an authoritative journal the university has to pay a lot of money otherwise it only appears in the closed circle of the specialist literature involved...
I heard also from my general practician that he subscribed to a wellknown American medical site where he had to pay a fee, but for that he had then inside information with which he could then boast in a general practician's meeting Wink , but serious he could with that site also be informed about the latest evolutions in medicine...
Yes instead of paying for your paper in the future you will have to pay for a more sophisticated "online" paper...?

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.
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