In the modern era of punditry and media, we have now become accustomed to news being a never ending chain predictions. As the crude saying goes, predictions are like assholes, every news show has them.

And what’s great for pundits is that being wrong is not a problem, there is no penalty, you don’t lose money, you don’t lose your job or future bookings on news shows for hawking such absolute certainties to millions of people such as the war in Iraq will pay for itself, the Bush tax cuts in 2001 will bring millions of jobs by 2008, Tim Pawlenty will be the 2012 GOP nominee or even, on numerous issues, that Americans are “smarter than that”.

Here’s how the 24 hour news cycle works: The most immediate or recent development on any story redefines reality completely…until the next development happens which then that redefines the current redefinition and all that came before it.

To demonstrate:

On Monday, Pres. Obama received a small bump upwards in polling due to his jobs speech. The meme for that day was, “Americans support Obama on this.”

On Tuesday, a conservative Jewish Republican wins in a conservative, Jewish district in New York. We erase yesterday’s meme with today’s, “Americans don’t support Obama.”

To buy the overall proposition of most pundits, we’d have to believe that the American Public flips back and forth on their beliefs faster than a meth-addicted Cirque Du Soleil troupe.

For many pundits and news networks, reality is something they write each day with the “overwrite” key on their keyboard selected. There is very little resembling respect for even their own previous declarations. Instead of acknowledging the past and using it in total to extrapolate the future, they predict and describe reality by wrapping themselves in the immediate and reaching for the closest conclusion.

There are of course the pundits and alleged news networks that have a petrified view of reality, all that can be fit or twisted to fit into it is broadcast while all that can’t and would dispute it is ignored. They however seem less annoying than the ones that blow in the wind with the latest reported event. At least you know that a clock whose hands never move is broken. A clock whose hands may suddenly spin in any direction at any time, would seem worse.

And there is no leap too big, no conclusion too far away from an event to predict. We’re told fourteen months before an election, that the current dynamics mean this or that for the election. Oh really? So what about 14 months ago when the hype over how bad Dems are and how great the Tea Party will be when they come to government was the rage? Why isn’t that what people think today?

So many allegories come to mind, like declaring in 1970 that bell bottoms will be the dominant style of pants in America forever or when Obama was elected president, proclaiming that we’ve finally arrived in a post-racial society.

Consider the predictions pundits and newspeople would have if they rode on a rollercoaster:

First Report:  “This ride only goes up a steep track, a slow, monotonous, terrible and boring ride, one that will disappoint everyone who tries it. It’s a failure.”

Second Report: “Once at the top, the coaster goes straight down, it’s frightening and is on course to crash straight into the ground, killing all aboard and clearly about to destroy itself.”

Third Report: “The coaster has swerved sharply to the right, this rightward course means it will circle for eternity with no escape for those on board other than a painful death from starvation and dehydration.”

Reality is not a disconnected series of bite-sized, individual events with no relation to the events that have preceded them or are occurring at the same time, each incident and moment is a snapshot of a small part of reality. To define the Grand Canyon by a single photo of a tiny section of it would hardly portray it accurately.

With little apparent desire to put a new event in context with past events, each and every development these media people ramble on about becomes a necessarily corrupt view of reality. What passes for news today is often tunnelvision focused solely on the latest event to the exclusion of what surrounds it or preceded it so it is necessarily limited and frequently misleading.

If a pattern of events is simplistically broken up into separate and independent incidents, like regarding each piece of a jigsaw puzzle as a complete and independent image, one can never put the pieces together and see the big picture. Maybe that’s the point, as long as people are set against each other in arguing the meaning or impact of one isolated incident after another, the big picture of what’s going on can’t be focused on or sought.

On the other hand, as a main goal of the corporations that own the media is greater and greater wealth, isn’t it easier to sell simple provocative statements about easy-to-describe, new events than to spend time explaining critical thinking and perspective about how the context of a new situation could make its meaning different and/or more complex than “good for Obama/bad for Obama”?

In the end, if one is seeking the truth about how things will unfold in the near and distant future, there is something that has an accuracy rate as good or better than most news shows and pundits:

76
Leave a Comment

Please Login to comment
15 Comment threads
61 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
AlphaBitchAdLibagrippaKQuarkEmerald1943 Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
SueInCa
Member

Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”
— Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
— Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction”.
— Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon”.
— Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
— Bill Gates, 1981

“$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft.”
— IBM, 1982

“Who the h_ll wants to hear actors talk?”
— H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

Report this comment

bito
Member

WYSIWYG is just a toy, it has no practical use for computers- Xerox (a paraphrase when they developed the first “Windows” type OS.)

Report this comment

ADONAI
Member

[img]http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/rma/lowres/rman1352l.jpg[/img]

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

God help us all Adonai

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

Here is a prediction that unfortunately did not come true

“Before the twentieth century closes, the earth will be purged of its foulest shame, the killing of men in battle under the name of war.” – Andrew Carnegie.

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

Ha! Now we do it under the name “Military Intervention!” It’s not a WAR, it’s just military intervention!

Report this comment

KQµårk 死神
Member

Another great article AdLib.

The real problem with the pundit class is there is no real accountability, save for ratings which means the more outrageous things they say to their hyperpartisan choirs the more stable their jobs are. This leads to the crazy and cynical predictions because negativity sells. Then you add group think when the lazy minded outsource their brains to these pundits and soon these predictions are taken to be fact.

One of these days I’m going to list all these crazy wrong predictions.

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

KQ
Perhaps that is why I have stopped listening to them. I would rather watch Brian Williams at 5:30 locally and even that I don’t watch regularly. I wish cable would carry Al Jazeera or Democracy Now. Perhaps when I move I will get satellite again.

Report this comment

Emerald1943
Member

Adlib, good article! It makes me think about a recent criticism of the media by Howard Kurtz. He cited about a dozen different news reporters who prefaced everything concerning the President’s agenda as “the defining moment of this Presidency”! It was comical to see every one of them describe every issue using the very same words.

It also reminds me of the constant criticism of the President for the extension of the Bush tax cuts. The media pudnuts never seem to remember that he was between a rock and a hard place…that was the only way he could get an extension of unemployment benefits for long-term out of work people. It always sets my hair on fire that they conveniently “forget” or just fail to mention the extenuating circumstances.

The stories about the President’s poll numbers have been all over the map this week. I’m just not going to pay any of them any attention at all. It really has no bearing on the outcome of the 2012 election. We would all do well to ignore it and just keep working to get the President re-elected.

Thanks for your article! Interesting, for sure! 🙂

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

Is journalism even taught any longer? If so, what in the hell are they teaching?

Report this comment

agrippa
Member
agrippa

How many ‘defining moments’ have there been?

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

Well, the “brown mustard on the hamburger,” was surely one of them! And then there was the “Bare arms,” incident!

Report this comment

funksands
Member

“We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.”
Decca executive, 1962, after turning down the Beatles.

“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”
Gary Cooper, after turning down the lead role in Gone With The Wind.

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.”
Albert Einstein, 1932

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977

“We don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.”
Hewlett Packard excuse to Steve Jobs, who founded Apple Computers instead.

“Stocks have reached a permanently high plateau.”
Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929

“No matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping.”
U.S. Secretary of Navy, December 4, 1941

“Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax.”
William Thomson, Lord Kelvin English scientist, 1899

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

Funk, Willie Nelson was turned down in Nashville because they said he “didn’t have a country voice.”

Report this comment

Emerald1943
Member

Funk, that’s a great list! I remember almost all of them, except of course, the one in 1899! I’m not quite THAT old! 🙂

Report this comment

foodchain
Member
foodchain

AdLib; another great piece. I wish contributors here had one simple point. It would be easier to make a point that did not leave out other good points. But, I still think our greatest problem is the non message from our House and Senate leadership: Obama would do well with even some support. The news can say what they want but if our people spoke up, they would have to say that as well. HighSchool English: say it, say it again, summarize. We aren’t anywhere close to basic messaging.

The GOP are on message all the time. We not only have no message, we don’t attack their message. My concern (here we go) is that the people the Democrats need to defend (and should) are the very ones under attack by the very popular GOP conservatives. Racism is an issue not only for the GOP–using it, but the Dems–avoiding it. I see examples of the Democrats moving away/afraid to support the very people who need help: “let them die!” as stated in the GOP debate.

I wish all of us would unite. I am a liberal, a feminist, who wants government programs but wants them to run a whole hell of a lot better than they do. What we need is to stop the family feud and fight the enemy.

From your article: “So many allegories come to mind, like declaring in 1970 that bell bottoms will be the dominant style of pants in America forever or when Obama was elected president, proclaiming that we’ve finally arrived in a post-racial society.”

I am angry at the Democrats who abuse the liberal name to vote GOP: I am not against any liberal platform. I am against the GOP use of racism. But I am also against our using single platform issues against the GOP and against our party. It is a losing strategy.

The Democratic Party is beginning to feel like “Breaking Bad”.

Report this comment

Emerald1943
Member

Foodchain, good comment! I agree with you about the repubs always being on message. This is one of my biggest gripes! They come out of meetings and literally run to the closest live mic to spout their lies and complete distortions! And it’s taken as fact by the MSM! Both Boehner and Cantor are experts at doing that. But how often do we see Democrats grabbing the mic away from them? I can’t remember the last time I saw either Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi on TV. In fact, Nancy hasn’t been visible at all in a long time.

I think I’m going to get a stop watch and do a little survey, recording the amount of time the Repubs are on the airwaves and the same for Dems. I’ll bet I can predict that it won’t be “fair and balanced”! The rethugs will win, hands down.

This afternoon, for example, Wolf Blitzer has spent almost his entire program interviewing all the rethug candidates and reviewing their last debate that he moderated days ago. There has been NO sign of any Democrat on the program…almost 3/4 of an hour! It’s all rethug talking points…except for the Cialis commercials of course!

Report this comment

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Good grief, Em! Cialis commercials make me break out laughing. Rriiiggghhhttt – you’ve finally gotten the guy do to some work around the house, he sees you (or now sometimes you see him), and BINGO! it’s a romantic moment.

Fer cryin’ out loud. I’d say: Finish up here, Honey, and I’ll go sit in that lovely bathtub out back, filled with rose petals, and THEN we can talk about getting intimate.

I especially HATED the one where she was on the ladder, painting, and he hands her a brush or something and she finds herself overwhelmed with passion.

Truth in advertising used to matter. Why can’t there also be truth in politics? In fact, truth all around. I’d slap the jack hat who thought I wanted to be romantic when I’m doing laundry. Just doesn’t happen that way, mates. Or maybe it’s just me?? Whatever. Doesn’t happen that way for ME.

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

I don’t know AB. Have you ever made love lying back on a washing machine that is out of balance? 😉 Better than those old motel room beds that vibrated when you put a quater in!

Report this comment

AlphaBitch
Member
AlphaBitch

Hey now KT! The Blov (whom my closest friends call Mr. Motel 6, due to his penchant for wanting cheap hotel rooms) was a HUGE fan of Magic Fingers. Now I’m giving away those family secrets….

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

I’ll never tell! 😉

Report this comment

choicelady
Member

First – great post. Second – great graphic! You do find the oddest and most interesting visuals!

The thing that bothers me the most is the point you raise about the media not remotely reflecting on its OWN STORIES. Back in ’83 when the US invaded Granada, the Providence Journal solemnly reflected that this was essential since Cubans (GASP! RECOIL!) were constructing a runway n the tiny country that could accept – JUMBO JETS THEREFORE MAKING GRANADA A STAGING POINT FOR INVADING THE U.S.!!!!!!!!

Except – a couple of months earlier, the Providence Journal had duly reported that no, a BRITISH company had built the runway to accommodate, yes, jumbo jets – to increase tourism to Granada. A handful of Cuban day laborers were doing the finishing work since the Brits, unlike the US, don’t give a rip that the workers were from Cuba.

DON’T THESE IDIOTS AT THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL READ THEIR OWN PAPER??????

I once wrote a major expose of a cover up by major media about accidents at nuclear power plants and related facilities. The reason I could do that was that it was NOT a cover up but sheer negligence. The information was totally public – just no one “remembered” to cite it when extolling the virtues of the nukes. So from day one, the REAL stories about nuclear problems could be found almost exclusively at very small and energetic papers such as the Beaver County Times in Beaver Falls, PA but not the majors.

Whether these omissions and distortions come from isolated reporters (who apparently don’t read back stories before writing new ones) or editors mindful of their paper’s or TV station’s sacred cows, is just not clear. But when the cycle of news now IS the length of a roller coaster ride, you’d think SOMEONE would recall what they’d said less than 24 hours earlier!

BTW – you noted the roller coaster went slowly UP. Then it came crashing DOWN. Then it went to the RIGHT. But you NEVER mentioned it went to the LEFT. UNBALANCE AND BIASED REPORTING!!!!

See? Anyone can play this game. It’s soooooo easy!

Report this comment

escribacat
Member

Great post, Adlib. It’s a perfect description of the “infotainment” the news cycle has become. I’ve noticed over yonder that every week they have either “Bad News for Obama” or “Good News for Obama.” Since her highness doesn’t like Obama, it’s almost always “Bad News for Obama.” The stories these headlines click to are invariably meaningless.

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

Adlib
If you have not seen it yet, watch Jon Stewarts take on the Tea Party Debate with CNN. It was hilarious. I did not get to see the whole thing so not sure CNN really did this but that Star Spangled song lineup is on the mark.

http://www.neontommy.com/news/2011/09/jon-stewart-reviews-mocks-tea-party-republican-debate

Report this comment

SueInCa
Member

Adlib
One thing I would add here is the pundits they bring on to speak about any given item are usually pundits who have a stake in the happening and/or issue.

Talking about outlawing abortion. They would bring on someone with a right to life organization or pro-choice with innocent sounding organizations and there are way too many people who just listen and dont’ bother to think, why would that person be for it, or against it? Or the pundit could bring on only the advocate for that particular story because they believe in it and again you have someone with a perfectly innocent sounding name but you are only getting one side of the story.

I never used to look past what was shown on the tube until I watched Orwell Rolls in His Grave. That movie had such a powerful impact on me that I barely watch the networks for my news now. I know now how they manipulate opinion on subjects and I just get pissed and yell at the screen.

Report this comment

KillgoreTrout
Member

Well done AdLib. You have certainly put today’s news media in it’s proper place. I feel the same about many polls taken this early in the election cycle. A lot can change in 14 months. Like the polls about Perry and Obama, I don’t put much faith in them, because Perry is still a relatively unknown character among many people in the US. The average voter that doesn’t follow politics like we do here and others at different sites, most likely don’t know a thing about Perry. So it’s hard to say that X% of Americans prefer Perry to x% of Americans that prefer Obama. Most everybody knows of Obama.

Report this comment

ADONAI
Member

Still can’t believe Democrats lost Wiener’s seat in New York. It’d been Democrat for like 100 years or something.

But looking at who they ran and how he ran his campaign, I kinda get it. But you think they would have been more prepared. That pretty much neutralize the pickup they made there of a Republican stronghold.

But, to the point of the piece, the pudnuts. A Democrat lost his seat because he ran a terrible campaign. But, according to FOX News it’s the end of Obama’s Presidency. WTF?

Same when that Republican seat wen to Dems. Again, the Republicans ran a mediocre campaign. According to MSNBC it was sign that the GOP was on life support.

It’s boring to say, “Well, that’s politics. Let’s move on to the next story.”

No we gotta stay on this molehill and build it into a mountain. Find the best way to twist this to fit our editorial bias. Make this somehow important to every man, woman, and child in the country.

And then there’s CNN. God bless’em. The try.

Report this comment

Dorothy Rissman
Member
Dorothy Rissman

AdLib, All I can say is Hammer meets Nail. Good job. It is so frustrating that the media has lost their collective minds.

Report this comment