Monday, June 28, 2021

A General Principle

      My general objection to the antics of the media is not that they are hard on politicians, but that they don't give all of them -- and their subject-matter-experts! -- the same level of scrutiny.

      The notion came to the forefront of my thoughts over the weekend, watching some pundit or wonk being interviewed on CNN about former U. S. Attorney General William Barr's recently-reported statement on the 2020 elections.  (The original piece now seems to have been buried.)  Her comments came down to "Weaksauce" and "Why wait until now?"

      Her "weaksauce" opinion is subjective; persons holding (or who have held) high office generally avoid terms like "bullshit" when speaking for the record.  When they do not, my experience is that watering down the strength of their opinion is the precise opposite of their intent.

      Her other notion, though, is simply wrong.  It took me about ten seconds to type in search terms and come up with an AP story from December of this year: Disputing Trump, Barr says no widespread election fraud.  Barr didn't hold back (nor was he the only one); he didn't wait.  Accusing him of having done so is ignorant if not disingenuous.

      I'm all for people having their own opinions -- but those opinions are not of any value if the person expressing them hasn't done their homework first.  The public record is not a secret and requires no reading between the lines; we know what Mr. Barr first said about claims of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election and when he said it.*
* Some commenters will use this as a chance to say, "See why we don't trust the media?"  But in fact, I used the media to check the media.  Commentators and SME's speak off-the-cuff and often with partisan intent (conscious or not).  In general, I trust the media to not screw up general accounts of widely-reported events and interviews with public figures: I keep the broad outlines in mind and double-check anything that seems askew or too-neatly confirms my own opinions, and I try to work back to things that were observed by multiple reporters and other people.


RandyGC said...

Basic Intel 101: Trust no individual source, always get information from as many sources as possible.

Giving media types the benefit of the doubt, they are human and any one of them can make a mistake or be ignorant on a specific subject. Looking at multiple sources gives you the info to identify mistakes and insufficiently educated reporters and put together a more accurate picture.

Going to the worst case conspiracy scenario, it's really, really hard to generate a coherent, consistent cover story that holds up from all angles. When a deception plan works it's usually because the target doesn't look at multiple sources for inconsistencies, or the deception plan plays into their pre-conceptions so they "know" they don't have to look and/or ignore inconsistencies from various sources (c.f. First US Army Group).

Goober said...

Good on you for your "trust but verify" stance on things.

I wish more people could and would do that. The number of people who repeat things they saw that their Aunt posted on Facebook as fact is simply disturbing.