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Why we can’t trust the media

Aug 14, 2023

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What does it say about American media that the Weather Channel is the most trusted news source out there? According to an April YouGov survey, The Weather Channel and Fox News are the only two outlets trusted by a majority of Republicans.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan has a few theories about why this is and offers some suggestions for how reliable news outlets can earn back our trust. (Editor’s note: If you are accessing this video through Straight Arrow News, you are already taking steps, as per Peter’s perspective, to stay informed.)

Excerpted from Peter’s Aug. 14 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Before I answer the question about what news sources I use, we must understand how the hell our society became so damn uninformed…

Propaganda only works when you have an uninformed society, and if you haven’t looked up in a while, we can’t even agree on what color the sky is anymore. So yeah, propaganda is doing just fine here in the States. But how did we get here?

It all started with the fax machine, which began eliminating the staff that once served as ‘fact-checkers’ for stories before publication. Then email came along and only exacerbated this issue, doing away with any auxiliary staff. It isn’t so much that biases went unchecked (although that happened in spades), but instead that there were fewer eyes and brains to ensure the story was actually correct. The opportunity for the less scrupulous among us to make their version of the world known crept in. (The technical term is “lying”.) And…a lot of people like that. Cue the entrance of charismatic individuals who woo people with deliberate deception.

So if you believe the sky is neon green (or if you’re tired of hearing that it is), maybe check out one of the following news sources: Al Jazeera, France 24, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Straight Arrow News, or local stations. I’m not saying these are perfect, but they’ll get you going on a better path.

Hey, everybody, Peter Zion here coming to you from about 13,800 feet on Route, where am i square top mountain? Behind me you got the continental to divide with, let’s see if we get this right celebrate peak, Santa Fe peak silver peak revenue peak indicator peak project for another day Anywho. Today we’re talking about media and why we’re all so uninformed. And what’s why propaganda is doing so well. Propaganda only works when you do not have a well informed population. And for a population to be well informed, you need multiple sources of information that are critical, you know, sure they everyone has their own political view, of course, but we all have to agree on what the basic facts are. And media has to work from that. And that no longer exists in the United States. The problem started back in the 1980s. With the fax machine, it used to be that every newspaper of size, so basically, like the Moines Register on up, had a number of roving reporters, several of which were stationed abroad and the the larger papers. And of course, most the TV stations had fewer foreign bureaus. And when you’ve got a system like that you have people who are capable of seeing what’s going on writing stories, interpreting things, you have copy editors who are doing checks, or you have editors who are stationed abroad who are doing things, and you get multiple eyes on every story before it comes back to the home printing or the home viewing. And it goes through another round of fact checks and basically bullshit detection. Well, with the fax machine, we no longer needed that degree of staffing abroad, things like copy editors went away. And by the time we got to the 1990s, we had email and attachments. And with that, we send down the numbers even more by the time we get to the 2000s. Most of those fewer foreign bureaus were going to you just had a few roving reporters. And as we got into cost cutting, because the internet was rising, we got rid of most of those roving reporters as well. We just started using local stringers. So people were getting local insights still, but it was no longer getting fact checked. It was being blinded by whatever the proclivities of the people who were collecting the information was, and there was never a backstop. Well, you fast forward today. And we now have algorithms that are writing our, our newspaper stories for us, whenever we’re investigating and scraping the web for things, and the fact checking has largely gone and in this sort of environment, it is very, very, very, very easy for a charismatic politician to say, you know, that’s not true at all. That’s just fake news. What I say is real, and you get entire political movements built around a person in that sort of environment news has a hard time playing bullshit detector. Because the fact fulness that is necessary for an educated populace to call bullshit itself is largely gone. And people start putting their trust in a person rather than an institution or a set of information venues. Now, where does that take us? Next? Still in squared top, but this is now Mount Evans, Mount bear stuck behind me a couple of fourteeners.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Now, this sort of information desert, if you will, is not exactly a new experience just new to the United States. In places like the Middle East where you’ve got call it charitably single party rule, you basically have everyone living in an information vacuum. And so the rumor mill becomes the news. And that’s one of the reasons why the American experience in the Middle East over the last 20 years was so frustrating, because it was so hard to convince people what basic truth were, people would hear something that from a rumor, we get spread via email and Twitter, and that was the truth of the day. In Russia, you got something even worse, because the rumor mill is augmented by state monopoly on information. And so basically, if you get your information from radio to TV, you’re drinking 100% Russian propaganda. It’s not nearly that bad here, but it’s not great. If with the higher capital structure of the United States, media is a business and it’s all about how many people you can get to watch your show. So it’s all about making sure people hear what they want to hear as opposed to what is true or what they might need it to hear. So Fox and
MSNBC of course, are basically opinion programs now with very little news. Companies like Newsmax are 100% opinion and basically they’d be very, very much at home in the Middle East.
And then of course, Twitter has gone its own way that has gotten let’s just call it colorful
If you’re over 50, you might still be watching the nightly news. But as you notice, it’s like two thirds drug commercials. Now, if you are between 25 and 45, you’re probably getting your news from Facebook, which is probably the worst of them all. And if you’re under 25, you’re probably getting from tick tock and all I can say about tick tock is at least it’s better than Facebook. So the question now is, Where’d he get it from? Still in square top? That’s Argentine peek behind me another 14 year? Who so where can you get news from? I think that the most reliable international news source out there overall, is now AlJazeera. Out of the United Arab Emirates, they’re heavily biased when it comes to all things Middle East would skip that section completely. But they’ve got this idea that we’re new to news. And because of that, we should like interview multiple people with multiple viewpoints and just present it to you. You know, we used to call that journalism. France. 24 is definitely in second place. They are one of the few entities remaining that still have global bureaus. BBC is probably the one that has descended the most over the course of the last 20 years. and Canadian Broadcasting is definitely the bottom of the barrel, 100% opinion, 100% party line and nothing to be seen there. Beyond that, you can always look to local news sources throughout the world. They will be biased, but it will give you a view that you don’t get other than this. one more bit as I descend square top mountain towards El Paso. That is that big open area that’s South Park like that South Park like Kenny, and Cartman and Stan and Kyle, South Park anyway, if you’re looking for something a little closer to home,
there really only three national news entities that I think that are kind of worthy of consideration. The first one was the Wall Street Journal, but obviously they focus almost exclusively on financial news. But what they do the good at number two is Bloomberg. Not as good as it used to be, but they do throw a pretty wide net and their coverage is even handed. And then third, there’s something called straight arrow news, which is a new project that is trying to bring contributors from across the political spectrum to provide nonpartisan views on everything from finance to international stuff. And if you go there you will find a number of contributors and one of which looks a little bit like yours truly. So it’s free just like all these others. Well, I guess the journal is not free anyways.
If you’re looking for something the United States, those three are probably your best bet. All right now I’m going for you bye

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