But he says the media’s narrow focus on negative anomalies can result in “systematically distorted” views of the world.
Speaking to the ABC’s The World program, Mr Pinker gave his views on Donald Trump, distorted perceptions and the simple arithmetic that proves the world is better than ever before.
News media can ‘systematically distort’ perceptions
“If your impression of the world is driven by journalism, then as long as various evils haven’t gone to zero there’ll always be enough of them to fill the news. And if journalism isn’t accompanied by a bit of historical context, that is not just what’s bad now but how bad it was in the past, and statistical context, namely how many wars? How many terrorist attacks? What is the rate of homicide? Then our intuitions, since they’re driven by images and narratives and anecdotes, can be systematically distorted by the news unless it’s presented in historical and statistical context.
Since his election, Trump has often privately expressed concern that the charges of Russian meddling undermine the legitimacy of his presidency. He has told associates that if he accepts the premise of Russian meddling, it would call into question the idea that he won the election on his own merits.
In news conferences, on Twitter and at campaign rallies, he has called the Russia investigation “fake news” and has repeatedly predicted that Mueller’s investigation will end without finding much.
The Barnaby Joyce scandal is a horrible saga, with so many grubby angles to it, that even after observing it for a week you feel you need a shower, or at least a break. Wife, mistress, children born and unborn: all are collateral damage.
Turnbull actually seems the only one who who spoke up for the women “As a clearly furious Malcolm Turnbull described it on Thursday, in an extraordinary press conference, Joyce has “set off a world of woe” on his family, and “appalled all of us” with his behaviour, as well as raising “very serious issues about the culture” of Parliament House as a workplace.”
Even News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt, not known for his feminist leanings, thundered this week about “the women left behind after helping their husbands build their lives and careers”.
However Andrew Bolt in typical blind posturing then theatrically attacked Malcolm Turnbull,revealing his primary motive over and above false faux feminist sentiment along with the media crowd declaring the PM weak.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, spokeswoman for the man who spent over a year shouting “Lock Her Up!” at his rallies in order to express displeasure for Hillary Clinton mishandling some classified information in their fever dreams, scolded media today and claimed they were a danger to national security.
It was a classic, “Not the leaker, you’re the leaker!” moment.
‘There’s something of a convention in Aus politics: unless there’s criminality, coercion or abuse involved, private lives are private.’
This is nonsense, of course. There is no such convention — “something” or otherwise.
The media presented stories about Gareth Evans’ affair with Cheryl Kernot and Jim Cairns’ affair with Junie Morosi when there was not a hint of criminality, coercion, or abuse. The mainstream media also enjoyed reporting on the private life of Julia Gillard while she was prime minister, even outrageously asking her whether her hairdresser partner Tim Mathieson was a homosexual. The ABC then destroyed any notion of impartiality or discretion when it aired a tasteless and unfunny sitcom based on her supposed private life, called ‘At Home With Julia’.
Most TV news reports over the weekend cherry-picked Friday’s data on January’s jobs. The statistics were a mix of good news and bad. Total jobs increased. But so did people looking for work. The jobless rate for women decreased. But for men, it increased. The overall jobless rate did not go up. It did not go down either. Wages increased over the year. So did inflation.
Naturally, the pro-Trump media highlighted only the positive — in stark contrast to their approach through the Obama years.
But, no, for the Times it is deemed far more important to put on its front page a story surrounding the findings of a ‘scientific’ study claiming that, wait for it, “attractive people have a tendency to be more right-wing.”
Just think about this for a moment: this is a story that was carried on the front page not of one of Britain’s array of cheap right-wing tabloids, whose bread and butter is the sensational, salacious and sordid; but the front page of a supposedly serious newspaper, popular with the country’s political and business elite.
This photo alone shows the power of the media to misinform.
President Trump during the 2018 State of the Union address. (D. Myles Cullen / White House)
The whole thing is kind of silly.
That’s kind of how the State of the Union speech is. What’s the point anymore? These annual pomp-and-circumstance State of the Union speeches are only about 100 years old. Before that, the updates were simply written.
Our entertainment devices have changed. Now, we have the internet, we have news websites, we have 24-hour news stations galore.
Not to mention Twitter.
Do we really need a president to give, in a formal annual speech, his self-interested perspective of what’s going on?
Of course, presidents—no matter who—are going to say that they are the greatest thing since McRib sandwiches.
“Our tendency is to stop seeing ourselves as people striving together to overcome our common problems, and to view ourselves instead as people striving against each other,” he writes.
The age of ‘me ‘ has taken over the age of ‘we’.
Matter of Fact will be about big minds discussing big ideas: smarter not angrier. George Monbiot is among our first guests.
Matter of Fact is on the ABC News Channel at 9pm, Monday to Thursday.
It’s a familiar sight in the current news landscape – panels of suited men rambling loudly on some polemical hot topic, all throbbing veins and manufactured conflict.
For ABC News boss Tim Ayliffe, it’s the right time to go back to basics.
- Media organisations and unions say they cannot support bill unless exemptions made for journalists
- Claim existing security laws already undermine media’s role in informing Australians
- Brandis described announcement as most significant overhaul of espionage laws in decades
This news model also allowed climate denialists and before them cigarette cancer denialists to manipulate the system. If every story has two points of view and they are equal, then you have to present both. But where one side in this debate is factually incorrect, it means you are doing the opposite of journalism. You are diluting the truth with false, paid-for propaganda.
Cable news is now pumping out Trump talking points hourly to millions of people around the globe, because of their broken business model. It is degrading our society and our human values. The editors and the CEOs need to look at themselves in the mirror and decide if they really want brown shirts beating up their children in the streets, because that is where this thing is going.
When Roger Ailes left Fox News, the network lost its programming mastermind. But Donald Trump has stepped into the void.
In an article posted on Vanity Fair Friday, correspondent Gabriel Sherman explained how Trump has replaced Ailes as the Programmer-In-Chief:
Trump has threatened to ‘open-up’ U.S. libel laws, sue news outlets, and subject their broadcast licenses to review. He regularly attacks outlets and individual journalists on Twitter and in speeches, calling them “sad,” “failing,” or “garbage.” Since declaring his presidential candidacy in 2015, Trump has posted about 1,000 tweets critical of the press. CPJ research shows that when public figures and political leaders lob insults at the media, they encourage self-censorship and expose journalists to unnecessary risk.
As for Rupert Murdoch, he may now turn his attention to buying local television stations to buttress New Fox and compete with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which agreed in May to buy Tribune Media for $US3.9 billion. If the proposed deal with Tribune Media goes through, Sinclair will reach some 70 per cent of households in the United States. It has been suggested that Rupert could look at buying stations in political swing states, where there is a lot of money to be made in political advertising during election years, to say nothing of potential influence.
“We have to be their check on power,” declares Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), as he argues the case for printing the story with publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) while she wrestles with the possibility of losing her business and winding up in prison in the process. “We have to hold them accountable. If we don’t, who will?”
“In the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defence and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry – in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government,” he wrote. “For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the first amendment. For, without an informed and free press, there cannot be an enlightened people.”
However then came Murdoch and Fox News and now Sinclair
NYT claims Mr Downer had a night of heavy drinking with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in May 2016
Mr Papadopoulos reportedly revealed Russia was shopping dirt on Hillary Clinton
It is alleged Australian officials passed that information to US counterparts when those emails began appearing in public
via Donald Trump aide’s booze-fuelled admission to Alexander Downer ‘helped spark FBI probe into Russian election interference’ – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Anti-Muslim hate crimes increased for the second consecutive year in 2016, according to the latest FBI numbers. During this climate of bigotry, the right-wing media figures used their platforms to blatantly spread fear and misinformation, demonizing Muslims all over the world. Some explicitly called for American Muslims to be put in internment camps, while others denied the existence of Islamophobia in our schools (Islamophobia actually increased in 2016), and claimed that Muslim immigration means more terrorism (there’s no connection).
Here is a glimpse of some of the most absurd things the right-wing media figures said about Muslims in 2017
Bolt successfully mobilizes and enables anti-Muslim and racist extremists. His far-right media, and fake news sites are coordinated campaigns to promote misinformation. Their motivation may stem from an ideological agenda, the desire to create chaos, And though his misinformation is usually later debunked, the truth generally fails to travel as far or penetrate as deep as his original story, allowing a steady drumbeat of misinformation to continue.
Andrew Bolt’s approach to penetration of mass media is rape of the psyche, the promotion and enablement of hate
Rupert Murdoch, the 86-year-old conservative mogul who heads Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, is attempting to reshape his sprawling media empire in a way that could vastly expand his role in U.S. political life.
Murdoch’s greatest asset in that endeavor is President Donald Trump, whom Murdoch has cultivated by serving as his informal adviser and giving him fawning coverage through his news outlets. That effort now appears to be bearing fruit.
Yesterday, the White House publicly signed off on a deal that would allow Murdoch to refocus his holdings on news programming, while Trump’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a step that would allow Murdoch to dramatically expand those holdings.
Together, those steps could lead to a future where Fox’s pro-Trump commentary is piped into local broadcast news stations across the country.
Turnbull and his MPs have turned all their guns on Sam Dastyari and – aided by the mainstream media and the ABC – are producing a cacophony reminiscent of a 1950s “Reds under the Beds“ campaign, but totally ignoring the obvious influence the Chinese have on the LNP.
If anything, Mr Xu must be a ‘double agent’ working for the Liberals and China. Hmm, perhaps not … as they are both on the same side!
But like I said: Liars always shout and make wild accusations to deflect attention.
CARL BERNSTEIN: They are abetting a cover-up. Not just Fox News of whom it might be expected — particularly Hannity and some of the commentators — there are some real reporters at Fox I think that feel very uncomfortable about this abetting a cover-up which is what this network is doing at Fox at this moment. But the Republican Party is in danger of abetting a criminal cover-up, and this is going to have real consequences.
The man behind Breitbart,
Milo’s sponsor among other things and Trump’s Robert Mercer loves nothing better than to sponsor clowns
Fox & Friends has served as a safe space for Trump, often giving him fodder for his early morning tweets. The program also allows Trump to escape challenging interviews and serves as his first line of defens Fox & Friends gave almost no airtime to Trump’s anti-Muslim retweets
Speaking outside court this week, Latham filmed a video for his sad little show, which has been forcefully migrated from Sky to the internet.
He calls it Mark Latham’s Outsiders, bless him. He told his followership, such that it is, that Faruqi is “trying to break me financially…he’s trying to wipe us out of the political debate in Australia, so he can get away with anti-white racism”.
If anti-white racism exists, and I’m not at all sure that it does, it’s certainly not something that is imperilling the Australian way of life
Spectator Australia, the conservative magazine already struggling to survive with paid sales of about 8,000 copies, will be deeply wounded by a $572,674 payment to a Toowoomba family who say they were defamed by the publication. Editor Rowan Dean, who was Mark Latham’s co-host on the doomed Sky News show Outsiders, has maintained his silence about the eye-watering sum and how it will affect the Australian arm of the UK magazine.
Denis Wagner, one of four brothers to take legal action, told Weekly Beast the family just wanted justice after the magazine published an article, “Dam Busters! How Cater and Jones burst Grantham’s wall of lies”, which implied they were to blame for the Grantham flood. “We are pleased with the successful resolution of the claim, which vindicates the stance we have taken in this matter,” Wagner said. “We are now focusing on vindicating our reputations in our cases against Alan Jones and Channel Nine.”
On Thursday the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal ― a crown jewel in the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, a close Trump ally — went after Mueller as well. It wrote that the dossier news raises the question of whether the document helped fuel the FBI’s probe into Trump’s campaign. Since the dossier attributes allegations to “Kremlin-connected sources,” the board argues that would mean the FBI could have been essentially acting on “disinformation” provided by Russia. And if there were a need to investigate the FBI’s actions, that would make Mueller’s FBI ties a major conflict of interest.
Gloria Steinem and Fonda appeared on MSNBC to discuss the Weinstein allegations.
Calling Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) a liar keeps backfiring.
The behaviour of the “national broadsheet” towards its enemies is no dirty little secret. Almost all the players in politics, government, academia, science, media and policy are aware of how it works.
The Age has dominated nominations for this year’s Walkley Awards for excellence in journalism.
This is a story about how misinformation can take hold. It’s not always down to dishonesty. Sometimes it’s just a lack of time, a headline and the multiplying power of ideological certainty.Last week, China announced it was stopping or postponing work on 151 coal plants that were either under, or earmarked for, construction.Last month, India reported its national coal fleet on average ran at little more than 60% of its capacity – among other things, well below what is generally considered necessary for an individual generator to be financially viable.Tony Abbott needs to explain U-turn on climate change, Julie Bishop saysRead moreNeither of these stories gained much of a foothold in the Australia media. But one story on global coal did: that 621 plants were being built across the planet
Not long after the final blast from the muzzle of Stephen Paddock’s rifle cut through the Las Vegas night, the search for his motive began.