Monday, March 2, 2015

Breitbart & Not-So-Breitbart

obama, obama jokes, political, humor, cartoon, conservative, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, breitbart, mosul, big bird, iran

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of Andrew Breitbart's passing. The loss was immense, but  his joyously confrontational journalistic legacy is still in action - much to the dismay of the Left.

Hope n' Change isn't sure how many people will still be saying "Je Suis Charlie" in three years, but those who said "Breitbart Is Here" on countless websites meant it.

In many ways, Breitbart really changed the dissemination of news online - giving credibility to a media source which was once seen as the exclusive province of pajama-wearing nutjobs. But that being said, Hope n' Change would like you to consider the following stories which have been making noise on the Internet...

1) Susan Rice, US National Security Advisor, criticized Bibi Netanyahu's upcoming visit and said, "the US will still need to support its best friend in the Middle East, which at this point in time happens to be Iran."

2) US military officials bizarrely revealed details of a plan to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State forces in the April-May time frame, and added that the mission would be accomplished "before Ramadan" - presumably so no big ISIS parties would have to be rescheduled.

3) Millions of parents were outraged when, on a recent episode of Sesame Street, Big Bird ate an American flag.

So, do those stories make your blood boil? More to the point - do you believe them?

Stories 1 and 3 have gone viral, but are complete hoaxes created by satire websites. Story 2 is the only one that is real and actually came from highly-paid government spokespersons. But again - do you believe it?

You shouldn't. Because it now seems (surprise!) that they had no idea what they were talking about, couldn't even begin to pull off the plan they announced, and now are rescheduling the taking of Mosul for sometime in the fall. Maybe.

The point to all of the above (in case you were wondering if we had one) is that Breitbart encouraged people to question everything and look for the truth. That means searching for multiple-source verification of any news story that stirs your passions, especially if you're thinking of passing it along to others.

And when you do get a tasty chunk of truth, by all means spread it as far, wide, and accurately as you can. Because as long as that's happening, Breitbart is here.


Geoff King said...

Breitbart's death was a great loss indeed. In researching his life, I found it interesting that he originally was a liberal but then his intelligence evidently kicked in and he went conservative.
Also interesting is that he helped found the Huffington Post - which is definitely not conservative, and he edited the Drudge Report - which definitely is conservative.
Breitbart was a very interesting individual, to say the least.

Bobo the Hobo said...

Great commentary, Stilt!

I receive email from some of my conservative friends who do not bother to actually research what they send; they just react to the "If you agree, mail this to everyone on your contacts list!" Even though I know it's bogus, I still research ("Trust but verify") and send the correct in a "reply all" format.

Breitbart is definitely here.

TrickyRicky said...

His was a great talent, and his was a great loss. Just when we need him most. RIP Andrew.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Geoff King- I don't think anyone can remain liberal when they start to exercise intelligence instead of just emotion when looking at the world.

I still feel guilt about my liberal years, but it helps a lot to know that people like Andrew Breitbart and Charles Krauthammer made the same turnaround.

@Bobo- It's a dead giveaway that, when a forward-forward-forward message ends with the words "send this to everyone you know," it's baloney. Sending someone an "outrageous" story that you haven't personally verified is the same as throwing trash on their lawn. Even worse - by sending crap, you lose your credibility.

@TrickyRicky- How I wish he was still with us, muckraking and raising hell.

By the way, though I didn't specifically address it, one of the things which inspired me to write today's commentary is the story on Drudge (in bold red headlines) that Obama ordered Israeli jets shot down if they tried to strike Iran. I don't know if the story is true or not, but my "BS" detector is buzzing.

Drudge's headline is "true" - a newspaper did report the story. The story might be "true" if the unnamed source really did say that Obama made the threat - but that source might be wrong or lying. And of course, the whole story might be just as much of a fiction as Big Bird chowing down on Old Glory.

Japheaux said...

Dwelling on this giant's avid dedication to exposing the truth, is it any wonder the knuckleheads in DC have to write new laws to control the interent? [insert sarcasm here:] I mean, how can they expect to carry on the charade if people like Breitbart keep popping into the conversation and inform the public of the truth? [\end sarcasm].

Hopefully, as the Breitbart pages live on and prosper, for the libs in Washington--the truth will make them flee.

Bruce Bleu said...

I would much rather see Big Bird eat a famous disgusting worm, but then Malia and Sasha would be fatherless!

John the Econ said...

If "conservative oriented media" needs to be cognizant of anything, it's that it must strive to live up to a higher standard than the mainstream leftist media does. True, that's a low standard that should be easy to exceed. But every day on Facebook I see or am I'm forwarded hyperventilating nonsense that is little more than "click bait" without substance by writers or organizations that aspire to little more than throwing read meat to the ignorant zealots. This is not constructive, does not truly educate anybody, and only serves to give the left cause to discredit all conservative media and thought.

(Fox News? If you have to keep pointing out that you are "fair and balanced", it means that you are not)

If we as conservatives have any advantage in the media wars, it's the single one given us by the liberal media: They'll accept anything bad about conservatives without question, whereas anything bad about leftists will get fact-checked into irrelevance before it sees the light of day. How is this an advantage? Because it creates the leftist echo chamber that makes them arrogant, reckless, and believing in their own BS while everyone else sees them naked. Also because it forced legitimate conservative media to a more credible level. Or at least it should. Unfortunately, the people behind the "forward this to everyone you know" crap really don't care about legitimacy. Their just in it for ego or clicks.

REM1875 said...

Sadly for the last 25 years it has been our experience that the more outlandish the story, especially if our govt is involved, the more likely it is to be true. Its hard to break with 25 years of successful tradition. Tabloids have suffered because the real news has been more bizarre than "elvises 3 headed space alien kids spotted shopping in dunking donuts for dad".
But yes caution is advised.
I think when dealing them media I have learned more from what they don't say often then what they do.

REM1875 said...

I tend to trust conservative news more because the left does such a damned thorough job of vetting our every syllable and deed. But when you don't make a career out of falsehoods you tend not to expect others to either. We say why would they lie and are still shocked with people whose moral (immoral) code is "why should we tell the truth?"
Innocence truly lost.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Japheaux- "Net Neutrality" has me feeling pretty nervous; it can't be good in the long run. And today I read that Google is considering re-ranking websites based not on their popularity, but by how "truthful" they are.

I don't want anyone regulating or manipulating "free speech" type content. I do want people to use their heads to decide what information should be believed.

@Bruce Bleu- I think the girls are largely fatherless already. I'm hoping to live long enough to read their angry tell all books.

@John the Econ- Like you, I'm appalled by all the allegedly "conservative" crap passed my way via Facebook and email which is clearly bogus. I'm also dispirited that so many people seem to swallow the lies whole.

I take "Fox News" in measured doses. I like Bret Baier's nightly show, and especially the roundtable at the end. That being said, I shut it off a few days ago after being annoyed by too much spin in the "news" portion of the broadcast.

(Sidebar: the story was the IRS screw-up in sending Obamacare info to people, which would cause thousands of them to have to re-file their taxes and create a delay in getting their refunds. Fox News blew it for me when they described the delay to the "desperately needed refund checks." Unacceptable editorializing in what should have been a factual story.)

I actually consider Greg Gutfeld to be one of the most "fair and balanced" guys on Fox News, which is why I'm mourning the end of his involvement with "Red Eye."

I agree with your assessment of the Left Wing echo chamber - but although we see them as "arrogant, reckless, and believing their own BS," that BS sadly translates into a pretty powerful bloc of idiocy at election time.

Rod said...

How interesting that TODAY Google announces giving consideration to ranking their search results by some fact checking procedure,not just by number of links. And the blogs are going wild being all snooty about it. Great post & comments today; many thanks.

Shelly said...

Stilt, I feel the same way about Greg Gutfeld. Thanks to you, I watched his last Red Eye, which was a retrospective and hilarious, of course. We still have Greg's voice on The Five and he is developing a weekend show as well. Speaking of Red Eye, Andrew Breitbart was a regular guest and it was how I came to know him.

Burner said...

I'm inclined to believe #1 & #3 could have happened, while #2 will never happen. Even if #2 is tried.

PRY said...

Makes me need to do a #2!

Popular Front said...

People like (and including) the late Mr Breitbart are part of the reason I no longer read daily newspapers or watch nightly news broadcasts because I can hear the bias myself. In so many cases it is glaringly obvious. Nope I take my news from the web from various websites, some serious reportage, some less so. Thing is, you get a lead and you can crossfeed elsewhere to get perhaps a slightly different view on the same subject matter. With newspapers, tv etc you get none. You're spoonfed what the editor wants to believe, according to his bias. Not for me thanks. I'd like to believe that I am intelligent, sceptical and cynical enough to ferret out my own truths from the mass of information whirling around out there, you know, the stuff that Obamayomama and his puppetmasters want to censor. (No chance of that happening btw Jughead)

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Rod- It's difficult for me to imagine how Google will be able to come up with an algorithm for "truth." Case in point - I try to present factual information and links here as much as possible - BUT I also stir in a lot of satire to make the site entertaining. Will Google recognize the difference between satire and falsehoods? It's worrisome.

@Burner- Sadly true.

@PRY- Try exercising "strategic patience."

@Popular Front- The method you describe is the best we can do at this point, and in some ways is really superior to any news delivery system we've had access to in the past. The problem, of course, is that motivated people can find accurate news, but the unmotivated will continue to sop up nonsense.

And of course, we all need to exercise caution in cherry-picking our news sources or we'll fall prey to confirmation bias. It's a jungle out there.

Rod said...

I agree, automating truth patrol will be difficult. But what I find interesting was the timing of the announcement (Google is very aware of anniversaries) and then especially all the snooting about it... like why would one bother?

Some feedback from schools of journalism would be interesting; have we simply no time or means for due process anymore, and truth?

Hats off for Breitbart and other truth-tellers.

John the Econ said...

Oh, I know exactly how Google will do it. A bunch of government-funded leftist geeks will come up with an algorithm to "refine" what propagates as "truth", and what does not.

And of course, and criticism of this approach will be discounted as a "smear".

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Rod- The timing did seem strange. And as you point out, "shouting about it" isn't going to accomplish much between Google being privately owned, and ObamaNet now being the law of the land.

@John the Econ- I'm sure you're right. My question, how will the "truth" algorithm handle things like the statement: "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Period. Case closed." Is it true Barry said it? Absolutely. Was the statement itself true? Not in the least.

For those of us who were saying that you couldn't keep your insurance even before Obamacare was implemented, would such an algorithm have said we were telling the truth or a telling a lie?

I don't think we really want computers to become the realtime, final arbiters of what is "truth."

John the Econ said...

I wonder if "truthy" would permit observations such as this:

(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said he declined to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli leader's visit to the United States in March because it would be "inappropriate" two weeks before an election in that country.

Um, my memory isn't what it used to be, but didn't Obama do the same thing (only grander) before his election?

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- The idea that Dems (including Barry) find it "inappropriate" to let politics intrude on the fight against state-sponsored terror would be easier to believe if they hadn't just threatened to shut down Homeland Security in order to protect the president's purely political immigration scheme.

John the Econ said...

And is this "truthy"?

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules

Or is it just another "misleading article [that] was posted on a conservative blog"?

Another classic example of the Clinton "rules are for the little people" ethic.

Geoff King said...

We now have a wannabe dictator as president. We have a Republican controlled congress that will do nothing to stop the administration's blatant disregard for the Constitution. We have a controlled MSM which refuses to denounce any violations perpetrated by the established hierachy. We have a populace that tends to dwell on the color of a dress, instead of anything that really matters. Plus we have many worried individuals who incessantly post online their disbelief at what is happening to our country, and who ask things like "how much more are we going to take before we do something about it?". Yet, there appears to be no one willing to make a stand for our country and our Constitution.
Well, I am of the belief that the time has more than passed to do something about it. The average American citizen is either brain dead, or ignorant, or just does not care.
Short of a Military Coup, a Constitutional Convention of the states, or an outright civil war, I believe the United States of America will cease to exist within the next 20 years.

Judi King said...

@ Geoff.... 20 years might be too long!

T Mee said...

I had the honor of knowing him. His principals and thinking will live on when people like Huffington and Matthews are long forgotten.

He will live forever in our hearts and minds...