December 22, 2017

So... am I not reality-based?

"Why I started saying ‘reality-based press’ in 2017, instead of ‘mainstream media,'" by Margaret Sullivan, Media Columnist, at The Washington Post.

It seems to me that reality-basedness is something you have to prove, over and over again, whether you're the established press or alternative media. And I think the previous sentence makes me, a blogger, look more reality-based than you, a Washington Post media columnist.

72 comments:

mockturtle said...

The MSM forfeited their right to be called 'reality-based' quite some time ago.

They spoilt their pudding. ;-)

Ken B said...

Makes you look more reality based, less ego based, more skepticism based, less confirmation bias based, more of a sense of humor based, less self-righteous scold based too.

rhhardin said...

It's called giving the situation a good reading.

It's a lit crit exercise at bottom. What does stuff mean.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Because she’s an arrogant, pompous, self-entitled know it all?

Paul Snively said...

Like being a lady or gentleman: if you have to say you are one, you aren’t.

Quaestor said...

Media columnist? WTF? The only opinions about the Media that aren't prima facia insane are those opinions held by the consumers.

Quaestor has an opinion about himself. Yeah, right... Who the fuck cares?

rhhardin said...

"We know, captives of an absolute formula that, of course, there is nothing but what is. However, incontinently to out aside, under a pretext, the lure, would point up our inconsequence, denying the pleasure that we wish to take: for that beyond is its agent, and its motor might I say were I not loath to operate, in public, the impious dismantling of the fiction and consequently of the literary mechanism, so as to display the principle part or nothing. But I venerate how, by some flimflam, we project, toward a height both forbidden and thunderous! the conscious lacks in us of what, above, bursts out."

Mallarme

Paco Wové said...

Kind of like "Democratic People's Republic".

Drago said...

Self-labeling as "reality-based" is a believable as self-labeling as "reasonable" or "lifelong this or that".

tcrosse said...

Or being, in reality, base.

Sebastian said...

Reality-creating.

mockturtle said...

Or being, in reality, base.

Yes.

Quaestor said...

A valuable lecture on the contagion of barking madness.

John Tuffnell said...

Idi Amin bestowed himself with:

His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, Victorious Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross recipient, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular, Uncrowned King of Scotland.

If you asked him he was reality-based too.

Rick Turley said...

This sort of "stuff" is my guilty pleasure of the Trump years.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Reality to progressives is a lie or a half-truth.

See: hands up don't shoot, It was the video, shadowy character's life ruined for the big Benghazi lie, Benghazi, Private Server while head of Secretary of State, Trump and the Russians stole the election from the rightful winner, ignoring the corruption inside the FBI, and on and on....

rhhardin said...

What is reality like.

The question includes simulation, "like."

Fernandistein said...

Reality dies in darkness.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

It's like Hillarywood handing out golden statues. The progressive press crown themselves the Ministry of Truth.

Lewis Wetzel said...

"Mainstream Media" is a more accurate term than "reality based press."
In several of his essays on literary criticism, Umberto Eco argued that the line between fiction and non-fiction exists where want it to exist. It is an individual judgment or a practical consensus.
"Mainstream Media" describes the function of WaPo, the NY Times, and other media producers. It amplfies & projects the views of the bien pensant.

FIDO said...

The issue isn't whether the reporters are telling the truth (considering the LONG and SPECIFICALLY PARTISAN mistakes they have made, it IS a question, but not the main question)

It is that the 'reality based media' has parts of reality that they do NOT cover...like anything which does not further the media philosophical agenda. Like Clinton crimes they cannot cover up.

It is very rich that she mentions Weinstein, since he is an egregious example of that bit of reality being blatantly ignored by her media.

She is like a whore protesting her virtue: unpersuasive and rather laughable.

Michael K said...

"Reality Based" at the WaPoo ?

Talk about cognitive dissonance!

wildswan said...

Notice that the "reality-based" press by its own account hasn't shown that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick and assaulted others. Hasn't shown that Hillary Clinton enabled Bill Clinton's vile behavior. Hasn't shown that Hillary Clinton jeopardized US national security by the way she handled top security e-mails e-mails. Hasn't shown that Comey's FBI accepted planted Russian disinformation in the "dossier." Hasn't shown that Mueller dropped the investigation into the sale of US uranium. Hasn't shown that Obama dropped the investigation into Hezbollah pumping heroin into US inner cities. Has mainly smeared Republicans, mainly with leaks, anonymous sources, unverifiable stories from 35 years back; hasn't acknowledged the disproportion. Didn't report the violations of civil rights in Wisconsin against conservatives.

In short, "reality-based" reporting is Orwellian double speak for total subservience to Democratic party talking points. And at this point the Democrats are in flight from reality - the reality of Democrat-led cities heading for pension collapse, the reality of Democratic mismanagement of Puerto Rico causing hundreds of deaths, the reality of terrible inner cities schools due to Democratic subservience to teachers' unions, the reality of Black Lives Matters causing a spike in black on black murder, the reality of the collapse of the black birth rate, the reality of school lunch regulations leading to less protein in school lunches ... on it goes, big issues, little issues ... whatever. The Democrats won't fix it; the papers won't report it. That's reality.

Richard Fagin said...

The Post column was dismaying, but not unexpected. Reporting facts does not per se prove that the reporter is "reality-based." Facts can be reported without context, or facts actually reported can be chosen with the intent to create in the mind of the reader a false impression. The Post has been active in that regard all year as it concerns President Trump. "Reality-based" seems to be a self serving term intended to discredit critics by casting criticism as based on something other than facts per se rather than making any attempt to prove that the mental impressions created by the facts as reported are accurate. Prof. Althouse you are generally careful about context and citation of facts in a way that avoids creating false mental impressions; or you analyze published reports and opinions in a way that exposes false impressions, as was the case with the Post column. Seems to me to be a good argument for you being more reality-based than the Post columnist at least.

David Begley said...

2016 and 2017 were the years that the MSM became full blown advocates.

This Trump-Russia thing is the biggest thing in fake news ever. But ZERO reporting on the corruption of the FBI. Think point shaving and bitcoin. And now we find out that Barack, Val and Bennie called off the FBI and DOJ so the Iranian terrorist organization Hezbollah could sell drugs and continue its money laundering crime spree. All in service of the Iranian deal where we gave Iran millions so they could build nukes and terrorize the world. We had Iran on the mat and Barry let them up.

And what about DWS employing a possible Iranian spy? A bigger story than global warming or a fire. Or car crash.

Althouse and other bloggers have proven over and over again their work is way superior to that of the NYT, WaPo, MSNBC and CNN.

The phrase "cruel neutrality" never even crosses the mind of the news readers at CNN. They are all shills for the Left.

I saw a guy ranting against Trump and the tax bill on the Chris Hayes show the other day. I thought the guy was drunk. He was that bad. Or maybe sick with TDS.

And Althouse has better hair than the talking heads on CNN too.

Sam L. said...

The WaPoo is not reality-based; it is DC-based.

Sydney said...

I guess "reality" and "truth" are not related in her world.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Well, I guess nowadays, whatever you self-identify with is true and others should respect it, whether you are a man who identifies as a woman, or a white who identifies as black or Cherokee or someone who marries a building or a park bench. You can shape your own reality, so the "reality based press" is as real as anything else. I identify as a little handicapped boy, like Tiny Tim, and Donald Trump is taking away my crutch, so please send me money.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Reality-based" is like "humble," it's not a descriptor one can credibly take for oneself.

Susan said...

The MSM and its various and sundry columnists are reality-based? I suppose it is for certain values of reality.
In that reality Hillary Clinton is the rightfully elected President of the United States.
Then there is reality based on the actual planet we live where Donald Trump has been President for about a year and Hillary will not ever take "her" chair in the Oval Office.

Michael said...

As Glenn Reynolds would say, she misspelled "Progressive-narrative based."

Ken B said...

Behold the Lord High Executioner
A personage of noble rank and title —
A dignified and potent officer
Whose functions are particularly vital!
Defer, defer
To the Lord High Executioner!
Defer, defer
To the noble Lord, to the noble Lord
To the Lord High Executioner!

Ann Althouse said...

""Reality-based" is like "humble," it's not a descriptor one can credibly take for oneself."

"Reality-based" is only used to say indirectly that other people are crazy. It's like the stupid old-fashioned humor where you'd respond to somebody with lines like "Back on planet Earth...."

It's pretty hostile.

To be fair, they're irked by the taunt "fake news." But what's best answer to that. It's not stamping your foot and yelling "am not" playground style.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

"reality-based" = "The view from cloud cuckoo land"

Ken B said...

"To be fair, they're irked by the taunt "fake news." "

Indeed. But doesn't that show they aren't really professionals at all? Some of us work in fields where getting things right matters. I work in software. When we had a major problem with a launch in one country we responded by a thorough review and testing of code in the old system, to make sure it could properly handle the new situation. There is nothing about that kind of reaction that is particular to my profession (software). You see it in every profession. You do NOT see it in news. In fact when the CNN fake date thing exploded they decided that there was no problem because it passed editorial review.

Fake news? Fake professionalism.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

To be fair, they're irked by the taunt "fake news." But what's best answer to that. It's not stamping your foot and yelling "am not" playground style.

Don't hold your breath. If they were smart enough to figure that out, they wouldn't be in the mess they're in.

David Begley said...

Bezos can take all the losses he wants on WaPo. NYT is a different story.

I want to see CNN spun out as part of ATT-TimeWarner deal. Then we see the real numbers at CNN. Hello Chapter 11.

Ken B said...

To continue my last. CNN spent a whole day -- a whole day! -- obsessing about one of Trump's tweet's about them. When they were indeed at fault too. So, they ignored the news, they abandoned any pretense of objectivity, they got themselves wee-wee-ed up (to use a fine phrase) over ... a tweet.

Fake profession.

anti-de Sitter space said...

If you prick her, does she not blog?

Paddy O said...

Reality based reminds me of the "based on a true story" disclaimer in some movies. It is a statement that the baic narrative has roots in an actual event, based on it, but creative license has been taken in the shape and telling of the story.

FIDO said...

To be fair, they're irked by the taunt "fake news.

To be fair, they made themselves vulnerable to the charge.

Fake but Accurate, indeed!

Meade said...

We're All Bezos On This Bus

Rocketeer said...

See, Washington Post media columnist, it's like this: I never eat at a restaurant with a "good food" sign hanging out front. If they have to advertise it, it's probably not true.

tcrosse said...

I got your reality right here.

pacwest said...

I'm sure Inga considers herself reality-based also. This isn't a cut, just a reality. I consider myself reality-based. There are millions of Trump haters out there who are living in their reality-based world. There are millions of Trump supporters who live in their own reality-based worlds. We ALL live in our own little reality-based world. What I want from my news sources is "just the facts Ma'am", so I can live in my own improved variety reality base. Lay bare your assumptions and let me reach my own conclusions. I'll form my own reality-base thank you very much.

Democracy Dies in a Reality-Based World. It's already dead at the WaPo and this article proves it.

JAORE said...

How about the term of art, alt-reality?

Quayle said...

Let's deal in reality.

News media are not purveyors of truth. They are purveyors of what sells. They are, as they are apparently unable to admit, first and foremost, a business. What they say - what they show - is a carefully crafted product, specifically tailored to get the target audience to come back the next day and watch more [advertisements].

This product crafting and tailoring includes (a) telling stories selected to appeal to your target viewership, (b) telling the story in a way that either makes the viewer (i) feel superior than their neighbors - superior to "those guys", or (ii) scares their audience into coming back tomorrow to see how the problem is all turning out. (And if you're really good at the game, you accomplish both the flattering and the scaring simultaneously.)

BTW, did anyone mention to those crack reporters and opinion spewers at MSNBC and CNN, that their companies - the entity that wires funds into their bank account every couple of weeks - just were granted a boatload of more cash in 2018? Didn't anyone pull the curtain away from them regarding their corporate owners?

pacwest said...

"We're All Bezos On This Bus"

Winner! Best comment of 2017!! (I need a new keyboard now)

FIDO said...

In reality, she isn't talking to me in the first place.

Freeman Hunt said...

"It's pretty hostile."

Yes, "I apprehend reality accurately unlike all those *other* people." It's a strange choice to respond to an attack because it only invites more critical scrutiny.

It's a like a person who says something to the effect of, "I'm so beautiful," or "I'm so smart." The most natural response is, "Oh? Prove it."

Reality-based--can the WaPo prove it?

pacwest said...

""We're All Bezos On This Bus""

"Winner! Best comment of 2017!! (I need a new keyboard now)"

I want to take back my previous recommendation. Dammit Meade, that was the best comment, EVER! (At least from my firehead based reality :)

n.n said...

Mainstream media operate at a higher level of abstraction... from reality.

Big Mike said...

I am SO loving it. Back when Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were demonstrating that when it came to rape and abortion the two of them fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down* the media tried their damndest to imply that ALL Republicans were stupid about rape and abortion. Now a bunch of major media players have been caught burying real news (e.g., the Obama administration’s shutting down the investigation into arms smuggling and cocaine smuggling by Hezbollah) while pushing genuine lies (e.g., Trump directed Flynn to contact Russia while still a candidate rather than as President-elect). And consequently ordinary people now believe that everybody in the media does fake news. Shoe pinches? The weeping and wailing of overpaid but under-brained people like Sullivan is music to my ears.

But one caveat, Althouse. Life in Madison cannot be regarded as totally “real.”
__________
* Paraphrased from “Saving Private Ryan.”

Henry said...

A pay-wall is about as reality-based as it gets.

narciso said...

Seeing as Carlos slims is bailing further from the times, this is parkway news

Henry said...

Speaking to the meta-concept, it's painful when a writer adopts a hackneyed cliche as their own.

There is a distinction between different kinds of reportage. There is gumshoe-reporting. That's the idea that reporters are actually collecting first-person information and relaying it accurately. There's analytical reporting. 538 attempts to produce accurate stories based on what seems to be accurate data with a modicum of rigor. There's policy regurgitation reporting. Policy regurgitation is useful in a policy-driven world, but subject to GIGO. Policy analysis can be better (Megan McArdle), but lends itself to cherry-picking and confirmation bias (Vox). There's thematic reporting in which the writer connects facts and stories into an analytical whole. That's much cheaper than gumshoe-reporting and requires much less rigor than analytical reporting. It lends itself to wholesale invention.

All of these types of reporting are reality-based. Feelings impressions and theories are a kind of reality. All of them also elide, fudge, massage, and bludgeon the truth.

The easiest way for any media outlet to be taken seriously is to commit to gumshoe.

Michael K said...

The news "media" are partisan but this was the case in the 19th century or even the 18th century.

What is different is that they claim to be impartial and "reality based" and have a history of a relative consensus after World War II. That ended about the 1968 Tet Offensive and the unraveling of the Vietnam War consensus.

The founding of Fox News and the growth of talk radio began the push back against the leftist bias. As the bias has increased, the push back by the internet has increased.

Trump is sort of a reaction to 50 years of war on the middle class and the growth of the Administrative State.

The Gramscian left has destroyed the colleges except for the real "reality based" fields like Engineering.

Henry said...

The biggest problem with the mainstream media is not how they cover stories, but what they choose not to cover.

There's nothing so real to a herd of pigs as a trough.

narciso said...

Now that line was put in the mouth of an anonymous bush administration by susskind who has has sourcing issues with every book, since the justice thomas bio

MadTownGuy said...

Put "reality-based" in the same dustbin as "truthy," "science-based" ('sciency'), and "evidence-based" ('evidencey'). It's possible to 'base' a lot of falsehoods on something real mixed in with just a bit of untruth.

Ann Althouse said...

"evidence-based" is one of the words on the list that fake news said the Trump administration had banned.

Mike Sylwester said...

I see that Trump-hating reporters are still making a big deal about the size of the crowd at the Inauguration.

If those reporters had not done so, then we all would be living in darkness and Democracy would have died.

jwl said...

Michael Crichton - Why Speculate?:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward––reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

http://larvatus.com/michael-crichton-why-speculate/

buwaya said...

I am a broken record of course, but ...

You are not hearing an honest opinion, ever, out of this industry. These people are not independent minds engaging in personal discourse, with ideas they came up with themselves.

They are hired professionals doing what they are directed to do.

This is a form of state propaganda. They have predetermined propaganda lines to write to. They have a system to coordinate this. They are not properly considered individuals, in their public expressions, but an organization.

Yancey Ward said...

The problem I have with most of the media is their total lack of skepticism.

cronus titan said...

They believe their own bullshit, with a religious fervor. Bless their hearts.

Never, ever believe your own bullshit.

Quayle said...

"They have predetermined propaganda lines to write to. They have a system to coordinate this."

In other words, Product Management.

All products have someone who fits the offered products to the target market. That's all Fox did - realized there was a giant untapped market, and they met it. It isn't about Fox leadership actually believing what the network hired hands say; it is about selling eyeballs to your paying customers (the product advertisers) so they can sell stuff.

The notion that the news organizations are independent seekers of truth is a delusional conceit of the news organizations. They better sell product or they are gone, gone, gone.

In short - a business.

(And where is the FTC when it comes to headlines that are deceptive, and new stories that sell but are false? Aren't those just more kinds of deceptive trade practices for increased profit? Maybe someone should sue CNN for unfair trade practices - deceptive product advertising, or bait and switch.)

mockturtle said...

As others have suggested, those who use the terms 'reality-based' and 'science-based' are usually those who have no more knowledge of either reality or science than does the average gerbil.

Jupiter said...

Do you suppose the poor woman really doesn't know that she operates in the service of a particular set of values? Does she actually think that rag she works for is an unbiased source of simple and obvious truths? What a maroon!

Lewis Wetzel said...

"Evidence-based"
I read somewhere (on Althouse, maybe), that a certain law prof had a semester final which a had a single question: "What is evidence?" The few students who passed the test spent too just a few seconds writing down the answer: "That which is permitted to be admitted in a court of law"

Deep Runner said...

I grew up reading The Post, and it was a good paper. Now, it's hard to find "reality-based media" like The Post anymore real than "reality TV." Sad state of affairs to consider pro wrestling sometimes seems less fake than fake news.

stlcdr said...

Leftists continuous attempt to control the language always backfires.

Those on the right adapt or adopt the very same language, taking negative connotations as badges of honor or reversing the term to be actually an insult. Leftists don’t like it, making a big issue out of nothingness.