THE DANIEL DALE EXPERIENCE: Some of their favorite reporters and claims!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2018

Anthropology lessons:
Yesterday afternoon, exhausted from the year's longest weekend, we watched two pundit panel discussions.

We watched one discussion live. It was the opening segment of Deadline: White House, MSNBC's 4 PM Eastern show.

As she routinely does, Nicolle Wallace opened the show in a post-journalistic manner. After an opening monologue, she began introducing her panel of pundits—and as she now routinely does, she started her intro like this:
WALLACE (11/5/18): Here to break down the final frantic news on the last full day of campaigning, some of our favorite reporters and friends...
"Some of our favorite reporters and friends!" That's how Wallace introduces her guests at the start of most programs.

Years back, we noted the ways in which the Rachel Maddow Show was structured to make us think that we're spending an hour with a bunch of our friends. We compared the procedures to those of the original Mickey Mouse Club, in which Darlene and Jimmy and the rest of the gang would come out and tell us their names and make us think we were friends.

Wallace is now explicitly packaging her hour as a version of Friends or Cheers. Does this make journalistic sense to Wallace, or is it merely a marketing procedure?

We can't answer your question. At any rate, as the program proceeded, Wallace's "favorite reporters and friends" performed in the way they always do at this point:

All her favorite reporters and friends agreed with each other on every point. In the case of yesterday's opening segment, they churned a highly subjective set of assessments about various acts which they described as "racism."

This is one of our tribe's favorite claims.

Wallace's reporters and friends took turns advancing a thoroughly familiar group assessment. They betrayed no sense that they were, in fact, expressing a subjective set of assessments—assessments which many others may not necessarily share.

They seemed to think, and even occasionally said, that they were simply stating facts. We were very much struck, and deeply discouraged, by their lack of sophistication.

Especially since this is the guild which worked to get us into our current mess, their remarkable lack of sophistication made us fear for our country.

Politely, Wallace's friends each took a turn agreeing with her assessments. In these ways, we learn how nations get split into warring tribe. On the brighter side, we were exposed to an instructive anthropology lesson.

We were very much struck by the lack of sophistication among Wallace's reporters and friends. Also, by the extent to which they all agreed to voice fealty to an Unchallenged Group Assessment.

No disagreement, no matter how minor, was ever voiced. No discouraging words were heard. The favorites gave voice to the Favored Assessments and no one said anything else.

(MSNBC doesn't produce transcripts for Deadline: White House. Depending on various technical matters, you can watch yesterday's full episode at the Deadline web site. We transcribed our Wallace quote there.)

We were struck by the lack of sophistication of Wallace's reporters and friends. We were struck by the ease with which each played his or her role in the chorus.

We thought their discussion was remarkably weak. That said, we thought it provided an anthropology lesson about the species which—or so says Professor Harari—drove all other humans into extinction when it acquired, through chance mutation, the ability to "gossip" and to engage in group "fictions."

Judged in terms of Enlightenment values, we thought the Deadline: White House discussion was remarkably bad. That said, we'd already watched another discussion where the skill level may have been worse.

We'd just finished watching the videotape of Sunday morning's Reliable Sources, CNN's weekly program about the media. "This hour, we are going to go behind the scenes with top editors and critics," CNN's Brian Stelter said at the start of the program.

In the first segment of the show, Stelter asked a perfectly sensible question—a question others have been asking. "I'm wondering if we [in the media] have learned anything since 2016," the cable host sensibly asked.

A desultory conversation followed. Eventually, though, the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik gave voice to a sensible ambition, with Stelter voicing agreement:
STELTER (11/4/18): I think we can signal there are going to be surprises [on election night]. We just don't know where they're going to happen. We don't know what they're going to be, but there are going to be surprises a la AOC, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her surprise victory in New York.

ZURAWIK: And I think, you know, Brian, one thing we've learned from 2016 I think is it's crazy to make these predictions if we don't know, because it is hurts our credibility, and we have all of these people pounding our credibility.

In Maryland, we have a race where the incumbent governor in Maryland, it will shock people, is up by 20 points in the polls, almost all the polls. Nobody at the Baltimore Sun is saying this is a done deal, this is what's going to happen. We don't know. Maybe Ben Jealous, the challenger, the Democratic challenger, gets out the vote. He said it's all about getting out the vote on the day.

Four years ago, I wouldn't have been so hesitant. Now, every third paragraph is, "If Jealous is right and they do get out the vote." And that—

STELTER: But to your point on credibility, look at this Gallup polling from 2016 versus 2018. There's actually been an increase, an improvement in people trusting or believing the press is trying to get it right. Of course, that was from a record low in 2016. It has ticked up to about 45 percent this year.

Still a low number but to your point, David, we can improve our own credibility, try to make those numbers go up a bit, or they can drop even further depending on how the press is careful in assessing this election.
You'll note that, to the defiantly impartial Stelter, Ocasio-Cortez, who we admire, is now a three-initial star, like JFK or LBJ before her. She is simply AOC, and she scored a big surprise win.

A conservative skeptic might almost think that a form of bias was seeping through in Stelter's highly familiar treatment of "AOC." A jaundiced conservative might have a similar reaction when Zurawik says that he and his colleagues are refusing to predict a big re-election win for the Republican governor of their state, despite his massive lead in the polls.

A conservative skeptic might think such things! Still and all, Zurawik made an excellent general point about the dumbness involved in the pundit corps' love of utterly useless, time-killing prediction fugues. Eventually, he and Stelter agreed on a larger excellent point:

Media figures "can improve [their] own credibility" with the public by engaging in careful journalistic behavior. We'd call that a sensible point.

Stelter's opening segment ended on that thoroughly sensible point. Media figures should behave in ways which will enhance their credibility.

Then came Stelter's second segment, and with it the deluge. Daniel Dale joined the panel and, in a depressing anthropology lesson, we thought we saw the remarkable limits of pundit skill levels and thought. All week long, we're going to call it The Daniel Dale Experience.

Dale writes for the Toronto Star; he seems like the world's nicest person. But in Stelter's second segment, his panel acted like an even less impressive version of "our favorite reporters and friends" as they applauded Dale for his work as a full-time fact-checker of Trump.

Long ago and far away, Aristotle is said to have made a famous assessment about us humans, "the rational animal." Twenty-five hundred years later, the greatest logician since Aristotle devoted his life to trying to show how we humans can possibly know that 2 + 2 = 4.

We'd have to say that Godel's life provides another anthropology lesson. We're still hoping to return to that comical but instructive story, and on to the logical work performed by the later Wittgenstein as he threw his earlier puzzling work under the logical bus.

Like the wily tactician Odysseus, we've been trying to make our way home, in these and related matters. Tomorrow, though, we'll discuss The Daniel Dale Experience, and we'll ask if our species is skilled enough to retain our threatened Enlightenment culture.

We have a democracy if we can keep it! Borrowing from the Dylan lyric, we believe Benjamin Franklin said that.

Tomorrow: Dale spots an obvious lie

19 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if it is racist to say but black women simply can not drive. Not around these parts anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MY NAME IS VICKY AND I AM FROM SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA,I WANT TO SHARE A
      TESTIMONY OF A SPELL CASTER WHO REUNITE MY MARRIAGE WENT HIS POWERFUL SPELL
      CASTER.AND I ALSO WANT TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITIES TO WARN THOSE OUT THERE
      READING FAKE TESTIMONY ON SOCIAL NETWORK.BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN SCAMMED BY SO
      MANY FAKE SPELL CASTER. BE CAREFUL HERE BECAUSE NOBODY CAN HELP YOU HERE OR
      EVEN SUGGEST HOW YOU CAN GET YOUR EX OR LOVER BACK, TESTIMONIES OF MOST
      SPELL CASTER HERE MUST BE IGNORE.BECAUSE MOST OF THEM ARE SCAM I MEAN REAL
      SCAM WHICH I WAS A VICTIM OF BEFORE, I GOT RIPPED OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
      BECAUSE I WAS SO ANXIOUS TO GET MY HUSBAND BACK AFTER HE LEFT ME FOR OVER 2
      YEARS WITH MY 7 YEARS OLD SON HARRY,I HAVE APPLIED TO 5 DIFFERENT SPELL
      CASTER HERE AND ALL TO NO AVAIL THEY ALL ASK FOR SAME THING SEND YOUR NAME
      YOUR EX NAME ADDRESS AND PICTURE PHONE NUMBER ETC WHICH I DID OVER AND OVER
      AGAIN AND MOST OF THEM WERE FROM WEST AFRICA UNTIL I SAW A POST ABOUT DR
      ALEXZANDER SPELL AND I DECIDED TO GAVE HIM MY LAST TRAIL.HE ASK ME FOUR
      THINGS MY REAL NAME,MY EX AND MY EX MOTHER NAME AND SAID MY EX WILL COME
      BACK IN 48HOURS, I HAVE SPEND ON SPELL CASTING AND NOTHING HAVE WORK FOR ME
      AFTER 2 DAYS I WAS THINKING ABOUT HOW MUCH I HAVE LOST SO FAR SO I SAID LET
      ME GIVE HIM A TRY SO I CALLED HIM AGAIN AND SEND MY REAL NAME,MY EX AND MY
      EX MOTHER NAME. BECAUSE I SWEAR IT WAS MY LAST TRY SO I WAS WAITING AS HE
      TOLD ME TO WAIT TILL NEXT DAY AND I COULD NOT SLEEP THAT NIGHT BECAUSE I
      REALLY LOVE MY HUSBAND AND WANT HIM BACK SO MUCH, THAT DAY I SAW MY HUSBAND
      WAS ONLINE ON FACEBOOK AND HE SAID HI AT FIRST I WAS SHOCK BECAUSE HE
      NEVER TALK WITH ME FOR THE PAST A YEAR AND 11 MONTH NOW I DID NOT REPLY
      AGAIN HE SAID ARE YOU THERE? I QUICKLY REPLY YES AND HE SAID CAN WE SEE
      TOMORROW I SAID YES AND HE WENT OFF-LINE I WAS CONFUSED I TRY TO CHAT WITH
      HIM AGAIN BUT HE WAS NO MORE ON LINE I COULD NOT SLEEP THAT NIGHT AS I WAS
      WONDERING WHAT HE IS GOING TO SAY, BY 9.AM THE NEXT MORNING HE GAVE ME A
      MISS CALL I DECIDED NOT TO CALL BACK AS I WAS STILL ON SHOCK AGAIN HE
      CALLED AND I PICK HE SAID CAN WE SEE AFTER WORK TODAY I SAID YES SO HE END
      THE CALL. IMMEDIATELY I GOT OFF WORK HE CALL ME AND WE MEET AND NOW WE ARE
      BACK AGAIN I CALL DR ALEXZANDER THE NEXT DAY THANKING HIM FOR WHAT HE HAS
      DONE IN FACT I STILL CALL HIM AND THANK HIM AS MY LIFE WAS NOT COMPLETE
      WITHOUT MY HUSBAND PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE I HAVE BEEN SCAM THOUSANDS OF
      DOLLARS IF YOU WANT A TRUE LOVE SPELL THEN CONTACT..alexzanderhightemple@gmail.com.

      Delete
  2. Why are you watching these repulsive liberal hacks, Bob? It's bad for you. It's killing your precious brain cells, millions of them die every second you're listening to these goebbelsian characters.

    There are some real good journalists in this country. Talented, smart, knowledgeable. Independent. Read this one, for example:
    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/howie_carr

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Howie Carr is the Groucho Marx of Boston. Except Howie is not funny, nor as politically informed as Groucho (who died in 1977).

      Delete
    2. Mao and John Martorano both are Howie Carr fans.

      Delete
  3. Because i hate neo-liberals, I'm voting straight Democratic Party today.
    I hope you will too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. “A jaundiced conservative might have a similar reaction when Zurawik says that he and his colleagues are refusing to predict a big re-election win for the Republican governor of their state, despite his massive lead in the polls.”

    Zurawik, a media critic, is pointing out that journalists shouldn’t make the same mistakes they made in 2016 by making confident assertions of election outcomes based on polls. At one point, Clinton had a fairly large lead and many pundits were ‘sure’ of a Clinton victory. This seems like an obvious point to make.

    And it was precisely the media’s certainty of Clinton’s election that led to charges of media bias from “skeptical conservatives”, even though most polls showed a consistent Clinton lead.

    It seems clear that a media figure, pundit or what have you, can quote the polls in the Maryland governor’s race, and say 1) “the polls indicate that the Republican incumbent will win” without saying 2) “there is no chance Ben Jealous will win; the incumbent has a lock.”

    The second statement is the type of statement that got the media in trouble in 2016. Only a “conservative skeptic” who is operating from bad faith can view a reluctance to make positive predictions of the outcomes of elections based on polling as biased.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, on this day of all days, Bob breaks the bombshell story that
    much cable news time is consumed by chatty nonsense. On MSNBC
    and CNN, of course, things are typically O.K., one assumes, over at Fox and Friends, The Five, etc., where Bob doesn't feel the need to
    check it. After all, it's not like there is a suggestion they might
    have some objectionable influence on the course of lives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. “Years back, we noted the ways in which the Rachel Maddow Show was structured to make us think that we're spending an hour with a bunch of our friends.”

    Her show isn’t a panel discussion. She has far fewer guests than any other MSNBC show. When she interviews someone, it is almost always one on one. And the interviews tend to be genuine attempts at fact-finding, rather than fishing for agreement.

    The feeling that she is attempting to be your “friend” is highly subjective. She does what she does, and it’s up to the viewer to react to it.

    For example, she has done a series of reports recently about vote suppression efforts in Kansas and North Dakota that were quite good. I didn’t give a damn whether she was trying to be my friend or not.

    ReplyDelete
  7. “We were very much struck, and deeply discouraged, by their lack of sophistication”

    Has Somerby ever watched Wallace’s show before? Is he truly “struck” by this after 20 years of media criticism?

    ReplyDelete
  8. This incident suggests that them media has learned nothing
    A reporter in Michigan called and left a voicemail for GOP Senate candidate John James and thought she had hung up the phone when the voicemail recorded her saying “fucking John James … that would suck.” She's been fired. “I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James’ campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior,” Huron Daily Tribune editor Kate Hessling said in a statement. “Brenda Battel’s employment has been immediately terminated.” Now, James is black...

    You can listen to the call at https://dailycaller.com/2018/11/05/reporter-fired-john-james-midterms/

    Just scroll down a little.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is Fox News part of the media? What exactly have they “learned”, do you think?

      Delete
    2. Is Fox News part of the media?"

      Nope. Just a propaganda arm of the Republican Party.

      Delete
  9. Have mercy, my God.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBeXF_lnj_M

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I enjoy lathering my body with creams and soaps.

    ReplyDelete
  12. MY NAME IS VICKY AND I AM FROM SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA,I WANT TO SHARE A
    TESTIMONY OF A SPELL CASTER WHO REUNITE MY MARRIAGE WENT HIS POWERFUL SPELL
    CASTER.AND I ALSO WANT TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITIES TO WARN THOSE OUT THERE
    READING FAKE TESTIMONY ON SOCIAL NETWORK.BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN SCAMMED BY SO
    MANY FAKE SPELL CASTER. BE CAREFUL HERE BECAUSE NOBODY CAN HELP YOU HERE OR
    EVEN SUGGEST HOW YOU CAN GET YOUR EX OR LOVER BACK, TESTIMONIES OF MOST
    SPELL CASTER HERE MUST BE IGNORE.BECAUSE MOST OF THEM ARE SCAM I MEAN REAL
    SCAM WHICH I WAS A VICTIM OF BEFORE, I GOT RIPPED OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS
    BECAUSE I WAS SO ANXIOUS TO GET MY HUSBAND BACK AFTER HE LEFT ME FOR OVER 2
    YEARS WITH MY 7 YEARS OLD SON HARRY,I HAVE APPLIED TO 5 DIFFERENT SPELL
    CASTER HERE AND ALL TO NO AVAIL THEY ALL ASK FOR SAME THING SEND YOUR NAME
    YOUR EX NAME ADDRESS AND PICTURE PHONE NUMBER ETC WHICH I DID OVER AND OVER
    AGAIN AND MOST OF THEM WERE FROM WEST AFRICA UNTIL I SAW A POST ABOUT DR
    ALEXZANDER SPELL AND I DECIDED TO GAVE HIM MY LAST TRAIL.HE ASK ME FOUR
    THINGS MY REAL NAME,MY EX AND MY EX MOTHER NAME AND SAID MY EX WILL COME
    BACK IN 48HOURS, I HAVE SPEND ON SPELL CASTING AND NOTHING HAVE WORK FOR ME
    AFTER 2 DAYS I WAS THINKING ABOUT HOW MUCH I HAVE LOST SO FAR SO I SAID LET
    ME GIVE HIM A TRY SO I CALLED HIM AGAIN AND SEND MY REAL NAME,MY EX AND MY
    EX MOTHER NAME. BECAUSE I SWEAR IT WAS MY LAST TRY SO I WAS WAITING AS HE
    TOLD ME TO WAIT TILL NEXT DAY AND I COULD NOT SLEEP THAT NIGHT BECAUSE I
    REALLY LOVE MY HUSBAND AND WANT HIM BACK SO MUCH, THAT DAY I SAW MY HUSBAND
    WAS ONLINE ON FACEBOOK AND HE SAID HI AT FIRST I WAS SHOCK BECAUSE HE
    NEVER TALK WITH ME FOR THE PAST A YEAR AND 11 MONTH NOW I DID NOT REPLY
    AGAIN HE SAID ARE YOU THERE? I QUICKLY REPLY YES AND HE SAID CAN WE SEE
    TOMORROW I SAID YES AND HE WENT OFF-LINE I WAS CONFUSED I TRY TO CHAT WITH
    HIM AGAIN BUT HE WAS NO MORE ON LINE I COULD NOT SLEEP THAT NIGHT AS I WAS
    WONDERING WHAT HE IS GOING TO SAY, BY 9.AM THE NEXT MORNING HE GAVE ME A
    MISS CALL I DECIDED NOT TO CALL BACK AS I WAS STILL ON SHOCK AGAIN HE
    CALLED AND I PICK HE SAID CAN WE SEE AFTER WORK TODAY I SAID YES SO HE END
    THE CALL. IMMEDIATELY I GOT OFF WORK HE CALL ME AND WE MEET AND NOW WE ARE
    BACK AGAIN I CALL DR ALEXZANDER THE NEXT DAY THANKING HIM FOR WHAT HE HAS
    DONE IN FACT I STILL CALL HIM AND THANK HIM AS MY LIFE WAS NOT COMPLETE
    WITHOUT MY HUSBAND PLEASE BE CAREFUL HERE I HAVE BEEN SCAM THOUSANDS OF
    DOLLARS IF YOU WANT A TRUE LOVE SPELL THEN CONTACT..alexzanderhightemple@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete