Friday, May 27, 2005

Fair and Balanced

The media industry (a.k.a. MSM) has been accused of bias. But now that Roger Simon is leading the formation of Pajamas Media the possibility of falling into the same hole arises. So he asks Bloggers how they would do it again if they could.

Toward that end I would like to start a conversation on the subject on here spread over several days. And I thank those in advance who would be kind enough to participate. Let's start with the "Big Kahuna"... What does "fair and balanced" mean anyway?

There are probably two answers to this question, one for those interested in the "truth" no matter how inconvenient, and those who prefer to pursue a vision which must remain untarnished by empirical warts. The problem with providing answers for the first sort is that the truth is sometimes nearly incomprehensible because it does not lend itself to a neat narrative. One of the motivations for creating a network of citizen pundits and reporters is diversify the narrative by taking the news object (here used in the sense of an entity with properties and methods) out of the consensus atmosphere of editorial boards and decentralizing it. This makes the news 'truer' insofar as it removes the neat underlying story from the headlines. But it also makes the world more incomprehensible. A world in which the good guys are not always good and things not always what they seem would come too near the observation that life is sometimes absurd.

I suspect that while life may be absurd many people do not want news to be likewise. There's a real case for providing a redacted vision of the world, as embodied in a consistent viewpoint because most people want news to have explanatory power. Consider a football game. Without the artificiality of teams, uniforms and goal-lines, spectators could not cheer for one team over the other, which is what they came for: not to see chaos on the field. Extry, extry, programs: you can't tell one team from another without a program. Hence, most writers (and media companies too) find audiences -- liberal audiences, conservative audiences, airhead audiences, etc -- who pay to see the world represented as they would like to understand it, perhaps because they can understand it in no other way. Media providers need audiences so badly they sometimes resort to inventing them. The Canadian blog Angry in the Great White North believes that one of the great, but dubious achievements of Canadian liberals has been to invent a wholly synthetic identity which the intellectually lazy voter could readily adopt. By repetition and subliminal suggestion Canadian liberals have sold many the idea that to be Canadian is to be liberal, with the lower case and upper case "L". 'You want the truth', Jack Nicholson rhetorically asks in a Few Good Men. Well, he cynically answers, "you can't handle the truth! ...", the world wants "the luxury of not knowing what I know ."

Of course that's only partway true because the world can't handle a lie either. The wreckage of despotic empires and discarded ideologies is testament to the fact that falsehoods no matter how well constructed never ultimately survive collision with reality. Therefore while it is not necessary for a "fair and balanced" media regime to require the absence of a viewpoint it is vital for it to possess an element of chaos, a place beyond the reach of consensus and established narratives, where raw facts can be allowed to constitute themselves into new and perhaps better memes. Fortunately, the structure of the Internet provides much of this uncontrollability by default. The challenge is to allow the readers to directly access it. I believe the key challenge will be to provide drilldown and aggregative tools which readers can use to get as arbitrarily close as they want to the underlying facts and to rejig them in new ways. They should have the choice of either accepting an interpretation from a source they trust or rolling their own. It is largely, but not entirely, a software development challenge. The real power of the Internet revolution is that it has given readers unprecedented and unmediated access to information (the media mediates) and new ways to aggregate and synthesize facts. Pajamas Media was an natural product of that upheaval, the storm petrel of a storm whose dimensions we have yet to grasp.


Blogger Huan said...

Fair: Only truths should be published. But not all truths are of value. And value is what can make the original better than before. This is what should be kept in mind, the goal to be better than before. It is not about criticism but constructive criticism.
Balanced: A diversity of constructive criticism. And true constructive criticism must contain the deconstruction of true contributing antecedent factors and likely possible consequences

5/27/2005 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Fair and balanced will come if context and perspective are provided with the truths that are published.

5/27/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

...a storm whose dimensions we have yet to grasp.

Wretch, it could well be that it is inherently impossible for us to grasp the dimensions of what is emerging. If it is indeed the World Mind which is developing in the electronic networks of the Multiverse, then by definition we cannot understand what is happening in it.

The best we can do is to use analogy to relate these phenomena to things within our understanding, to try to put our insignificant little human minds at rest.

"Fair and balanced" doesn't even have significance as a concept if information flows freely and completely.

5/27/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger FreeRiderNoMore said...

Wretchard wrote:
I believe the key challenge will be to provide drilldown and aggregative tools which readers can use to get as arbitrarily close as they want to the underlying facts and to rejig them in new ways.

I hope such tools become available. For them to be useful, however, two things need to happen. (1) At least one credible and current store of information needs to exist, and (2) that store of information needs to exist in a format that permits easy and unfettered access by those tools.

I am a bit unclear on exactly what PM hopes to be when it grows up, but if it can be that credible store of information for blogs (and other media for that matter) it will have a huge impact.

5/27/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Has provision been made to save and archive whatever Pajama Media comes up with? I'm reading the frustration and anguish involved in Blogger failing Belmont Club again, for the second or third time. I think it would be a crying shame to lose all those useful posts, reflections, predictions and analyses. And that's just one blog.

Once Pajama Media gets up and percolating, it seems to me that it would be even more valuable than a singular blog, and should be saved both for reference and for history.

Because it will be valuable, you just know that the kiddies out there in the world will take potshots at it, trying to nuke it, or erase it, or scramble it. By "kiddies" I'm also including frustrated Dan Rather-types who would *really* like to nuke LittleGreenFootballs, for example, as well as those pesky little Islamist jihadist who may realize sooner or later that their real enemy is not the NY Times or CBS.

I have no idea how this could be accomplished, but think it needs to be planned for.

5/27/2005 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...

I'm afraid sophisticated tools for self-education, even if they become available will not make a huge difference. Even when facts are staring people in the face, they continue to draw erroneous conclusions and dismiss legitimate concerns if motives could be suspect.

Don't forget either that the average person in this country is woefully uninformed and poorly read in history and literature.

I'm afraid if the alternative Pajama Game is to work, it will have to serve as a Pied Piper of sorts rather than a giant killer.

5/27/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Excuse the OT but Fahd is reported dead and all leave are reported canceled for KSA armed forces.

5/27/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Shep Barbash said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/27/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Shep Barbash said...

To be 'fair and balanced' is to treat people and stories the way Tolstoi and Shakespeare treat their characters: judging constantly without finally Judging, qualifying constantly without pulling punches, rejecting the idea of 'balance' as a binary proposition (yes-no, good-bad) and embracing instead the metaphor of the portrait--rich, complex, painted not monochromatically or in black-and-white but with countless colors and infinite shades of gray. Alas, the notion that thousands of bloggers can achieve this is absurd, but it's a standard worth aspiring to. When we fail, we can take solace in knowing that we are not alone. As Gibbon observed: "The voice of history is often little more than organ of hatred or flattery."

5/27/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

I think there is a bigger question to ask than "what is fair and balanced". This presumes we are talking about news as it is served in the current MSM paradigm. News as constructed today is an interpretation or an analysis of facts. Wretchard speaks to these facts when describing 'objects' and being able to 'drill down' on them. I want to roll my own, as suggested, using a set of facts and then reviewing others' interpreation of those facts for comparison. Perhaps our current MSM paradigm conflates 'intelligence' and 'analysis'. Fair and balanced are very important objectives but they are even more subjective than 'facts'. Different demographics will never agree to an interpretation/analysis of facts. What you see in the Wikipedia is that people can't even agree on the facts. So while creating objects that are facts is a programming problem, it is intensive to create the capability to manage those facts and the multitude of interpretation of those facts. This is before we have begun to construct the narrative, the analysis, of those facts. I think it is important to recognize that fair and balanced is an objective that can be achieved with respect to facts. Again, the Wikipedia experience in providing point of view neutral (POVN) entries on facts indicates that fair and balanced can be reasonably achieved - for many if not all. Fair and balanced with respect to news/interpretation/analysis is an exercise in satisfying a chosen demographic.

5/27/2005 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I posted this at angry's site recently, don't remember if I did here also.
Was Canada Just Too Good to Be True?
. "Corruption is not a Canadian value."

5/28/2005 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The one way downstream, the big media as it's been set up, by definition can never be fair and balanced. It lacks the necessary structure for a democracy and exchange of communication. The big media as it's been set up, is little more than a propaganda organ, creating and catering to its own virtual reality.

5/28/2005 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

"The challenge is to allow the readers to directly access it." The challenge will be to keep the internet free flowing and unregulated, so it can evolve naturally without government interference. It won't be easy because the blogosphere even at this early formative stage has been so successful in ferreting out the truth and exposing the partnership between leftwing politics and the media. We must stay ever alert because as Thomas Jefferson said, "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty."

5/28/2005 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Brendan wrote: "Perhaps our current MSM paradigm conflates 'intelligence' and 'analysis'." Certainly.

There's a nice parallelism between "fair and balanced" and "intelligence and analysis." A good measure of "fair" is presenting all the "intelligence" available, something that technology can address. Obviously it's the "balanced" ideal that gets lost because we need humans to do the "analysis."

The emergence of this new democracy of collaborative thoughts promises to perhaps bring balance back to the analysis, if only by putting more heads on the problem. Baron mentions the World Mind, an organic solution where the system itself becomes conscious. I'm not sure if I wish for that or not, HAL spoiled that idea for me.

We'll get to analysis when we get to it, but we can address the 'facts' side of the problem through commercially available technology. While looking up from the lowlands of text blogs, the top of the mountain of facts appears forlornly out of reach. There's just so much there, so many conversations, POV's, links, scrambled threads.

At the risk of sounding naive, I'd just say that problems just like this have been solved to a certain extent. Consider a global company with tens of thousands of users on a common email/collaboration platform, like Lotus Notes. The Intellectual Capital, seemingly irretrievable, was just too juicy a lode to ignore. Comparable to blogs, right?

Information Retrieval provides off-the-shelf categorization engines that organize the mess, in effect they precipitate the key facts and drop them into a taxonomy. In the example of Lotus Notes - at this stage, all the emails and attachments can be navigated - you can find every instance you dealt with company X, and slice and dice by date, author, subject, projects, etc. This makes analysis much more efficient.

Google News is another example, dynamically monitoring ~5,000 news sources, where the facts are being made available, but the analysis is crooked, because individuals are ranking the sources of facts, making it difficult to make sure you are seeing all the intelligence. There's probably an easy way to programatically overcome the bias, and make Google News a great source.

For readers of this blog, News is not nearly enough, we need history, biography, geography, science - so we'll need access to organized libraries, like, EBSCO, NEXIS, etc.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to make the point that commercial solutions for the "facts" problem are available and have been reliably in production for years and years, though they are not free.

Putting these tools in the hands of tens of thousands of amatuer analysts is certainly something "we have yet to grasp" as Wretchard says.

5/28/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

"This makes the news 'truer' insofar as it removes the neat underlying story from the headlines. But it also makes the world more incomprehensible. A world in which the good guys are not always good and things not always what they seem would come too near the observation that life is sometimes absurd."

-Wretchard, I know you only say this is partly true, and that it is also true that we cannot stand a lie. Bur if I may dwell on the above quotation, the idea that we have to fight off an absurd world by adhering to an ideological tribe is relativist nonsense. The possibility of grasping fundamental truths is real and it precedes political choices. People are often absurd - because they don't attend to fundamentals - but the human world as a whole has an indubitable purpose: to keep itself going, i.e. not to self-destruct.

And once we realize how this historical purpose - in other words the first glimmer of consciousness of what culture and consciousness is for - came into being in the first place, in an eventful moment(s) when humans first transformed themselves out of the animal world, we have a way of making sense of any and every situation without needing this understanding to be, in the first place, political or tribal; though we will inevitably get political as we turn to options for the future.

There is such a thing as universal truths because all of humanity descends from a common origin. Once we get in touch with how to best think about this origin, we will have the basis for true conservation about all of our many differences. True diversity depends on the recognition of our original unity. We will also have a way to integrate news, facts, opinion, etc. This is why I have been promoting the ideas of Generative Anthropology at this blog and elsewhere.

5/28/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/28/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Gallup did a poll which showed that 69% of the population is opposed to senate filabusters. This info was spliced and diced several different ways by major news outlets but only put together completely by newsmax. The newsmax article is posted at freerepublic here

After reading the newsmax article scroll down the page and you can see where people provide links to other news outlets that have buried and spliced the story--as well as the originial gallup poll posted at gallup.

5/28/2005 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Michael McCanles said...

As an erstwhile academic professional literary critic (you may ask: So what?) I can add a perhaps a few angles to this discussion. Shep Barbash mentions Shakespeare and Tolstoy as people who present characters "in the round" as they used to say, without judgment. Untrue about Shakespeare, depends on the play. Nobody believes the playwright
"likes" Iago, but the Antony of "Julius Caesar" is another matter.

Anyway, there are "facts" and there are narrative "templates" (we used to call these genres, which are such templates with their own "rules": comedies of manners work one way, detective novels work another way). The point is that it is dubious that there are such things as "facts" existing outside of the perspectival devices provided by the narrative in which they are inserted.

Post-Renaissance empiricism could believe in "facts" as something sunderable from "interpretations," but even the physics of the late 17th and 18th centuries worked within aprori philosophical models that made the "facts" visible.

From a journalist perpective, the demand for "fair and balanced" is predicated, it seems to me, on a non-dialogical model of communication: one news person telling one story at one venue at one time.

But what if you have a situation current on the blogosphere? That is, where we have available at the touch of a browser multiple people being everything between very intelligent to very stupid and all stops in between?

I frankly distrust Simon's initiative--I wonder if it's necessary. When blogs go "professional" they will instantly cease to be blogs, and start producing in reaction their own "counter-blogs." Let's face it: blogs are a deliberately marginal matter that can only exist as such on the margins of an establishment.

My conclusion: "fair and balanced" is a norm that doesn't have to apply to the blogosphere, because it has already demonstrated that collectively it tells as many tales, and uses as many narrative templates as there are.

In short, "fair and balanced" sounds like an M. D. degree: I can operate on you because I'm a doctor. Really?

5/28/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

the theory behind wikipedia is pretty similiar to what wretched is talking about. sometimes you can drill down as deep as you want. sometimes there are just place holders.

there are ways the system can be spammed. o'reilly complained a couple years ago about a newstory about him that was completely distorted--and he gave proof of how the story was completely distorted--however, he said that the point of the story was to get something into lexis nexis with the keyword "o'reilly" and "racist" on it so that the thing could be resurrected on call in 3,5 or 7 years and trotted out again in a list of particulars against him.

there's been much less of that lately.

5/28/2005 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cato said...

I wonder whether journalistic truth isn't something akin to price equilibrium. A fair price is reached not by fiat from on high (as in a command economy), but by the individual choices of millions of consumers. Out of this myriad of decisions, some rational and some not, a fair price is reached that is exquisitely attuned to the competing dictates of supply and demand.

Heretofore journalism has been operating similiarly to a command economy -- an oligarchy of journalistic grand poobahs have been dictating the truth to the masses. Blogs have broken the back of this oligarchy and moved the economy of facts (to belabor the metaphor) into a more free-market oriented format. Out of so many freely expressed opinions, new, broader-based consensuses can be reached on what is true and what isn't, e.g., the Dan Rather memo. In the absence of the blogging community's scrutiny, the memo would have been accepted as true. By opening the journalistic process to more competition, the real truth emerged.

5/28/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger bpilch said...

Fair and balanced is reporting the facts without nuance in the center column, then adding left and right nuance in the left and right columns of the newspaper. That is opinion and analysis. Another idea I have had recently is someone should form an anonymous source vetting company that would vouch for who/what the sources really are and that they said what is being reported. The company would have to be beyond reproach (combo of Brinks/the guys who count the oscars). At the moment there is absolutely no chance of fair and balanced when you can report whatever you want with anonymous backing you up...

5/28/2005 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

True diversity depends on the recognition of our original unity.

This kind of "recognition of our original unity" won't happen until there are a lot more people in space and further, the future of the human race is not completely dependent on the events on earth.

This will happen, of course, and because of the accelerated time we live in--this will happen sooner rather than later.

Four propositions for space explorations there for would be

1.) boldly go where no man has gone before.
2.) make it possible to live off the land or space or whatever it is that is at hand out there -- out past the great blue yonder.
3.)protect the earth. do not create the contexts for predatory relationships with earth.
4.) protect the colonies on the understanding that they will one day be independent. therefor create prerecognized paths to independence. don't create either predatory or dependent relationships with the colonies. as for example no taxation without representation.

the historic era of exploration colonization and integregration of the world that began with christopher columbus in 1492 has come to an end. a new one is beginning on a much grander scale in outer space. the speed at which all this happened is just plain breathtaking.

how to understand the word "breathtaking"?

By way of comparison there's general agreement these days between the geneticists and the paleontologists as to the speed at which the world has been populated by modern humans. The first populating of the world took about 100,000 years. And much of that was accomplished in the last 60,000 years by coastal sailing.

Interestingly, cross ocean sailing is a relatively new innovation. It was accomplished in the main by learning to look up. and then at the stars at night. there is some suggestion that this habit began around the world at much the same time. Why? Captain cook arrived in Hawaii in the +1778--he found polonesians who'd also used the stars for cross ocean sailing to arrive in hawaii. They'd accomplished that within a mere +-1000 years of the Europeans learning to do the same thing. seems like a long time differential but not when you look at the deep time of men's wanderings.

To get an idea of the unity of men its helpful to see something the same in both men's sin nature and in men's intellectual nature. A book mentioned by Victor Davis Hanson called the "conquest of new spain" by Bernal Diaz mentions that aztecs practiced human sacrifice and homosexuality in the priesthood. Their pyramid temples were much like those found in egypt or mesopotamia--yet they had no contact with these earlier peoples. Further Cortez response to the aztecs was much similiar to that of Moses and Joshua in the face of the same practices.

5/28/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Interesting Charles, why do you see Cortez as another Moses?

So our most distant cousin is at most what, 4-5000 generations apart? And even then, so much of the expansion of human culture is much more recent as you note. Men used the same stone tools for generations. Great innovation seems to have awaited the co-evolution of language and the human mind. And then, watch out...

5/28/2005 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Great innovation seems to have awaited the co-evolution of language and the human mind. And then, watch out..."
What else was there, evolutionarily speaking?
There was other stuff (tools, art, etc come to mind) but so very minor compared the the language-brain chain reaction/explosion.
And tools and art plus language and brains are a whole different thing than just monkeying around.

5/28/2005 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Baron mentions the World Mind, an organic solution where the system itself becomes conscious. I'm not sure if I wish for that or not, HAL spoiled that idea for me."
In my opinion, (and I think Baron's too) that is where we are today.
Not to say that the mechanics and software cannot be improved, as well as data quality and access, etc, but it seems to me that "proof" that the lights were on in the communal mind was demonstrated in the Rather memo affair.
Near instant integration of the knowledge and insight of minds ranging from the authors of adobe typefaces to political analysts, and everyone in between qualifies in my book.
And as Baron points out, predicting what the mind will come up with next in detail is not possible, but good observers like Hugh Hewitt do a good job of anticipating some of the major feats.
"Straight from the Heart of the Periphery."

5/29/2005 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Cato said...

Charles, that was a brilliant parody of a Wretchard post.

5/29/2005 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

why do you see Cortez as another Moses?
those are your words and not mine.

the romans abhorred the cartheginian practice of child sacrifice. (the cartheginians were a phonecian people and their gods were the same as the philistines and similiar to the caananites whose practices were opposed by moses and joshua.)

The Romans utterly destroyed the cartheginians and even salted their city--or so the story goes.

Are the romans like moses? No. Neither is cortez like Moses. But Cortez visited a lot of destruction on Mexcio because of their ahorrent practices. Joshua did the same thing to Caanan--and for the same reasons.

After all God promised Moses and Joshua victory not because the Hebrews were so good but rather because the caananites were so bad.

The abomination of the aztecs was so great that at the very zenith of their power they were struck down by their enemies in part because Cortez had cannons rifles and horses but also in part because the Aztecs had no friends. Everyone in the Yucatan sought the aztec destruction and allied themselves with Cortez at the first sign of Aztec weakness.

All that said, where moses/joshua and cortez are similiar is that they both uprooted abominable practices from the land.

Of course, I don't want to put down either the caananites or the aztecs. Heck everyone in the world from europe to china to polynesia practiced human sacrifice at some point. Probably even the Hebrews. Child sacrifice was the norm at the time of Abraham which is why his staying of the knife for Issac is so noteworthy.

The great accomplishment of Jesus was to spread the Jewish abhorrence of human sacrifice and homosexuality -- especially in the priesthood throughout the world. Even to places that don't practice christianity.

Moses and Joshua served their God.

Cortez served his God and King.

There's the difference.

5/29/2005 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Wrt the concept "World Mind" Doug wrote: "Near instant integration of the knowledge and insight of minds ranging from the authors of adobe typefaces to political analysts, and everyone in between qualifies in my book."

Hmmm, that qualifies for me a the Web as it currently exists. A global digital library, where the readers have advanced access to information and collaboration, and an easy means to publish their observations.

Perhaps Baron could provide us with his definition, but I tend to think of the concept as something outside the individual consciousness, above and beyond the individual, and while it may gain its power and insight from the aggregate, it is specifically more and distinct from the human individuals.

Right now, the Rather thing, the Blue Dress, it's just the Web. It's an incremental change in what has been around for hundreds of years. It's not the radical departure to something completely new that the concept "World Mind" represents for this humble correspondent.

5/29/2005 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

By Anonymous is never a realizable news source. Unnamed sources are just as suspect.
Writing and Reporting are not the same. Analysis is not Reporting.
Regurgitating others work is not reporting in the truest sense, but it is the fate has befallen the MSM. Canned press briefings by Government spokesman, reported diligently on a 24/7 schedule.

To record the facts as observed is reporting. The embedded Reporters with either our or the enemies troops report the scene, shoot the pics, tell the story. It is not often an accurate overall view of a situation, akin to seeing through a pin hole not a panorama.
The Panorama requires background and depth of field vision to be seen. This is another type endeavor entirely.
What will be mission parameters of this new wave of data transmission. To report or educate?
Or shape the debate

5/29/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Yes, I see your point Charles. But if Cortez served his God and King, which do you think was more important in driving him in desperate times? Was he more for worldly wealth or against the abominations? And what about examples of people who have adopted the Jewish rejection of (priestly) homosexuality without becoming Christian? The Arabs spring to mind as an interesting case: both homophobic and often homosexual, or many parts of Africa where, it is said, the spread of HIV/AIDS is facilitated by the widespread unwillingness to acknowledge homosexual practices. Can we see the Judeo-Christian legacy, only partially, inadequately adapted, in all of this? I'm not sure, because if there is a primitive connection in all traditions between priesthood and homosexuality (which seems plausible given the connection between the sacred and desire, and the use of the sacred to control or organize competing male desire), won't homosexuality always be tied up with secrecy and the paradoxes of desire for/against the sacred? So if we see people with ambivalent attitudes towards homosexuality and they're not Christian, how do we see the Jewish legacy, specifically, as influencing their attitudes?

As for the "World Mind" I think we will never escape the problem that the arts of integration and synthesis always have to take place in an individual mind, the good ones being models for our emulation. Consciousness and integrity cannot be banked in anything beyond the mortal individual. If there is a higher being he is not going to do our work for us.

Our experience is but a tiny fragment of all human experience, thus we will remain trapped at our screens and in the libraries learning and integrating if we want to approach that sense of being we project as World Mind.

5/29/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

It is far more dangerous to fear man than it is to fear God.

5/29/2005 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Truepeers wrote: "Consciousness and integrity cannot be banked in anything beyond the mortal individual."

Roger that. So far. Or so far as we know. (Though the Dalai Lama would probably differ.)

World Mind will need more than incremental steps to get to, more than tweaking Lift/Thrust/Drag from the Wright Flyer to the Blackbird. World Mind would be more like skipping aerodynamics all together and switching to Anti-Gravity.

Besides, TELEVISION would have sparked the World Mind better than the Web, wouldn't it? TV's a lot easier to use, a lot more pervasive, has been around for a lot longer, and let's us all actually see each other. Wasn't TV a fundamentally bigger step toward a World Mind than the Web?

TV hasn't helped much, in the big picture. Let's hope the Web does better.

5/29/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Cato said...
Charles, that was a brilliant parody of a Wretchard post.

1:03 AM

alas, as my subsequent posts show--I'm not so smart.

so that gets me off the hook as far as this piece is concerned called Why Smart People Defend Bad Ideas

There's a pretty good discussion of it over at

5/29/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/30/2005 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

TV has closed minds around the world with it's top down homogenized "reality."
The current web, w/Daily News Sites, Weblogs, Freepers, DEBKAS, Center for
etc is the Blackbird of Communication in comparison.
The "mere" compression of the news to truth cycle from weeks, months, years, decades, to three or 4 days often means, as it did in Rathergate, that the Truth Will Out while the ball is still in play.
This has immense ramifications even if it is "merely evolutionary."
Sometimes the Evolutionary is Revolutionary.
I Hereby Christen the Dawning of The Communal Mind. tm
When, through further evolution, or revolutionary innovation, it will not take a momentous Blogstorm like Rathergate to bring truth to bear so quickly simultaneously on a multitude of issues around the world, further progress will have been made, but whatever it is then called, it will still be a direct descendant of the present Communal Mind.
I guess I choose not to hope for an autonomous World Mind either, so maybe there was only a semantic misunderstanding in the first place.
My hope causes me to "reason"/believe that the Autonomous Brain will never become a reality.

5/30/2005 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Is there now, or will there ever be, a Data Lama?

5/30/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Short of obtaining a degree in logic, or studying the nuances of debate, remember this one simple rule for defusing those who are skilled at defending bad ideas:

Simply because they cannot be proven wrong, does not make them right.
Most of the tricks of logic and debate refute questions and attacks, but fail to establish any true justification for a given idea
Great Link, Charles

5/30/2005 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Doug wrote: ""a Data Lama?

Heh! Nice.

You're right, the World Mind discussion was just semantics, you and Baron were using it as an allegory, I was pecking away at it as a sci-fi/spiritual ideal. People do seem to have accessed such a thing, such as those who have "known" of a traumatic event happening thousands of miles away at the moment it happened. Or Edgar Cayce's remote cures.... Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.

5/30/2005 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Wretchard, I see "Fair & Balanced" as more than a software development problem. It is a core-perceptual-set problem and 'trusting people' problem.

Core perceptual set: bald and rigorous reporting of facts can help, but there are still LARGE tracts of people (in America even) whose perceptual set is so influenced by entrenched orthodoxies that it simply never occurs to them to ask 'drilldown' questions; and if it does, they don't quite know how to formulate them.

For example, just reporting 'the facts' about the coming of the One, promised by Jesus in 3 different promises (Matt 24:14, Luke 21:24, Matt 24:15) and reporting the historically factual evidence of His coming at the time promised BY Jesus (1844/1260) is met by blank stares and 'scoffing and denial' because 'everyone KNOWS Christ hasn't returned yet'

So reporting factual reality HAS to be done, but making appropriate use of it will be problematic for some time yet. People are ready, but the priests, clergy, mullahs and imams DO NOT WANT God to have spoken recently, especially when He said things like "The Oneness of Mankind", "Equality of Men and Women", "No More Priesthoods", "Independent Investigation of the Truth" and "Justice for all!"

5/30/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Funny post from over at LGF, wrt NYT article exposing CIA air ops:

"As I bent over to pick up some dog shhh on my front lawn with a page from the NY Times, the dog shhh said “Get that piece of shhh away from me!”"

[Vulgarity modified to maintain fairness and balance.]

5/31/2005 03:49:00 PM  

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