Junk Science and Spiritualism: Separated By Less Than Six Degrees

by matttbastard

Well, that explains why ‘excited delirium’ has always seemed about as legitimate as table rapping.

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Monitor And Regulate This, Hazinski

by matttbastard

Oh yay–yet another swipe at the great unwashed from a self-appointed arbiter of journalistic excellence:

Supporters of “citizen journalism” argue it provides independent, accurate, reliable information that the traditional media don’t provide. While it has its place, the reality is it really isn’t journalism at all, and it opens up information flow to the strong probability of fraud and abuse. The news industry should find some way to monitor and regulate this new trend.

The premise of citizen journalism is that regular people can now collect information and pictures with video cameras and cellphones, and distribute words and images over the Internet. Advocates argue that the acts of collecting and distributing makes these people “journalists.” This is like saying someone who carries a scalpel is a “citizen surgeon” or someone who can read a law book is a “citizen lawyer.” Tools are merely that. Education, skill and standards are really what make people into trusted professionals. Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.


CNN’s last YouTube Republican debate included a question from a retired general who is on Hillary Clinton’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender steering committee. False Internet rumors about Sen. Barack Obama attending a radical Muslim school became so widespread that CNN and other news agencies did stories debunking the rumors. There are literally hundreds of Internet hoaxes and false reports passed off as true stories, tracked by sites such as snopes.com.

Er, so CNN’s inability to do its homework (ie, use teh Googlez) is somehow a knock against ‘citizen journalism’? “Education, skill, and standards” my ass. The fact that this yutz is a journo-prof explains much about the current shoddy condition of the Fourth Estate.

Three words, Dave: Regret the Error. Ooooh, there have been some killer crunks this year! And for further shits and giggles, check out the plagiarism and fabrication round up.

Rewind my selecta:

Information without journalistic standards is called gossip.

‘Journalistic standards’ certainly didn’t prevent The Washington Post from running what Michael Tomasky recently called the “single worst piece of political journalism” he’s ever read. What was that about “[f]alse Internet rumors about Sen. Barack Obama attending a radical Muslim school“, Dave? Snopes.com doesn’t just vet online bullshit, bub.

• Major news organizations must create standards to substantiate citizen-contributed information and video, and ensure its accuracy and authenticity.

Physician, heal thyself. As the inimitable driftglass puts it,

if Journalomysticism had not failed the citizens of the United States so utterly, callously, completely, conspicuously and spectacularly over the last 30 years – if your profession had not deserted its post and let a great, rotting, pin-head-infested abyss take over the sacred real estate once tenanted by a robust and fearless American Journalism – then maybe there would not be so many Smelly Citizen Journalists, desperately tossing their little torches into the Vast Darkness your colleagues and owners left behind when they turned tail and ran away.

So I assumed you must be fucking kidding.

Shorter digital hoi polloi:


h/t Kyle @ CFLF

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189 Republicans, 10 Democrats And One President Still Heart Torture

by matttbastard

At least the legislation passed…the House. Not that it’ll survive the Decider’s mighty veto pen–if it even makes it through the conflict-averse Democratic Senate.

Bloomberg News:

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to bar CIA agents from using waterboarding during the questioning of suspected terrorists, drawing a veto threat from President George W. Bush.

The House, in a 222-199 vote, passed annual policy legislation for intelligence agencies that included the ban on the use of simulated drowning in interrogations.

This would mean no more torture and no more questions about what the CIA is allowed to do behind closed doors,” said Representative Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat.

Here comes the big fat ‘yeah, but’:

To become law, the legislation approved today would have to be approved by the Senate, which hasn’t scheduled a vote, and be signed by Bush, who has stated his opposition.

The legislation “would prevent the United States from conducting lawful interrogations of senior al-Qaeda terrorists to obtain intelligence,” the Bush administration said in a statement Dec. 11. “Such interrogations have helped the United States disrupt multiple attacks against Americans.”

“Lawful interrogations.” To paraphrase Señor Montoya, “I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.” Talk about a political Rorschach test.

h/t DHinMI, who (somewhat naively) observes:

In 1901 women were prohibited from voting. We were less than 50 years away from legalized slavery, and most African-Americans were denied the full rights of citizenship. Children were working in mines, we were on the cusp of becoming an imperial occupier of the Philippines, and “polite society” accepted most of the tenets of eugenics. But even then, our interrogation techniques had evolved beyond the practices of the Spanish Inquisition, and we punished torturers, even if they were our torturers.

Related: Has US public opinion on “tough interrogation methods” really started to 180? One would hope…

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