Re: Times Knifes Rudy Again, Or Why Unbiased Reporting Is A Bad Idea

1

But in the end, he didn't need the kicking that much: the more Republican voters got a look at the man, even without having to be reminded of his past record, the less they liked him. But I'm all for karmic payback now, given what a repellant guy he is. The important task of blocking him from the Presidency is accomplished, but still it's important to mark his brimstone-smelling descent back into the pit with reminders of his loathesomeness. You know, so that the children don't forget what he did and who he was.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
2

LB, wasn't Giuliani pretty much loathed by New Yorkers by 9/11?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
3

He was never crazy popular -- he won in a squeaker the first time, and I think it's fair to say that he made Dinkins' race an issue against him. The second time, the Democratic candidate barely showed up for the election.

I'm not the best judge of how New Yorkers felt about about him, because people I talked to about politics despised him from day one. But I think the city was pretty sick of him by September 2001.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
4

I don't know why papers like the NY Times pretend not to be biased, they are. I wish more news outlets wore their bias on their sleeve, like Fox. They don't even pretend not to be biased. The slogan is pure irony, I'm sure.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
5

The thing is, being unbiased is another word for being stupid. There's a limited amount of news space, and you have to use your judgment about what goes in there. Thinking that a collection of stories about Rudy's grotesque past behavior is news reflects an anti-Rudy bias formed by knowing what's in all those stories. On the other hand, not bringing all that shit up, if you know about it, is effectively a pro-Rudy bias. There isn't an 'unbiased' position to take, there's just telling what portions of the truth that seem to you to be important, or (broadly construed) lying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
6

There's a real distinction to be made here, because the post comes close to the old "NYT is liberal, Fox News is conservative, let's all admit it and move on" hogwash. The objection to bias stems not from media having political opinions (a la the Times) but from media twisting and distorting the facts in service of those opinions (a la Fox News). The NYT articles are digging for truth; partisan truth, to be sure, but truth nonetheless. I don't at all mind reading solidly conservative publications whose devotion to accuracy and responsible journalism trump their partisanship. The objection to a lot of popular conservative media isn't that it's conservative, but that it's demonstrably untrue.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
7

6: untruefalse and misleading


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
8

The slogan is pure irony, I'm sure.

I suppose we don't need to have this discussion, but the Fox slogan is actually a pretty good example (I think) of Straussian thinking - Ailes and Murdoch I'm sure chuckle at it, but the watchers - the rubes, if you will - actually parrot it. You see it in letters to the editor and amateur hour trolls - they'll actually say, "why isn't Respectable Tribune fair and balanced, like Fox?"

The fact that humans tend to credit information that conforms to prejudices makes the Fox gambit all the more successful: Fox viewers only see news they intuitively agree with, and so of course it's fair and balanced.

The Times does this too, of course, but they're working to much higher journalistic standards than Fox, plus they have these bogus notions of "objectivity" that lead them to publish at least some things that don't conform to their readers' prejudices.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
9

The US is the only country in the world where privately owned media pretend to be unbiased. I suppose it comes from the days when communities could only support one paper, but it would be a very good idea to get over it.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
10

Given that both of these stories were too late to make any difference, I can't see that the notion that they were published to torpedo his campaign finding much support.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
11

The problem with Fox News is that it really isn't primarily a news organization, but has successfully convinced many people that it is. As Brock notes --- bias isn't so much a problem, particularly if no attempt is made to hide it (Fox doesn't meet this standard, either). Outright falsehood, as well as organized propaganda set pieces, etc. ... these things have no valid place in any `news' room.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
12

5: Yeah, thanks, Brock. I nodded at that with my "higher journalistic standards," but it really needs to be explicit: Fox will misreport facts to advance their agenda; The Times, and other mainstream outlets, will at worst report facts to advance whatever agenda they may have. More often, they report "both sides," and get so caught up in "objectivity" that they aren't very effective at advancing facts or agenda.

As D^2 points out, you can't discount the statements of a liar to get to the truth; you have to ignore them entirely. Therefore, Fox effectively provides zero facts. The Times (as a general rule) is presenting facts that a smart reader can interpret for himself.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
13

But there's no way to look at this as anything other than politically biased reporting

Looks like due diligence to me. The paper of record happens to be Giuliani's hometown paper, and I would expect them to scrutinize his record—which happens to be full of evidence that he's a monumental asshole. Truth hurts, Rudy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
14

"Straussian thinking" in the "Nazi Big Lie Technique" sense of the word. "Fair and balanced" and "We report, you decide" are both catchy ways of expressing the exact opposite of Fox News.

The Times and the Post have a centrist, Establishment bias, and that bias has become very militaristic and anti-liberal. Center-right rather than center-left.

As Alterman said in his book awhile back, the media are liberal on social issues and a few other lesser issues. On war and peace, foreign and military policy, Israel, taxes, trade, unions, civil liberties, and social spending they range from centrist to conservative.

Their position is pretty rational, actually. The social issues are highly visible wedge issues used by both parties to drag in supporters who may not agree with the party on more substantial issues (e.g. John Aravosis or NARAL).



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
15

9: Actually, I think the idea of "objectivity" came from goo-goo Progressive reformers. It probably became ubiquitous when smaller towns began to lose their second papers, but it long predated the fall of multi-newspaper cities. Even when there was a "liberal" paper and a "conservative" one (say in Chicago up until the 80s, when the Sun went conservative, too), they both hewed to ideals of objectivity. Bah.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
16

10: Yeah, I'm really hoping they were scheduled a while back, before it was clear that Rudy would be out by now. If the decision to publish them was made in a timely way, that's really weak -- once he's effectively out of the race, as he was when the first big story was published, they're not news at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
17

Needless to say, I am absolutely opposed to objectivity.

(Just in case there are some noobs on the thread.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
18

Also, I don't think the timing is questionable. The first piece is long and comprehensive, with a lot of reporting involved; Giuliani's campaign was still viable while it was in the works.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
19

You know, so that the children don't forget what he did and who he was.

"If I die, you must tell our son about Adlai Stevenson!"

Aside: I know that this alienates me from the common blog commenter (heaven forfend), but I sort of like the pantomime of the unbiased, unprejudiced observer who doesn't waste his or her days in a cheap imitation of a half-remembered H.L.S. Thompsomencken.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
20

Flippanter, it would be one thing if the pantomime worked. People aren't really even trying though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
21

Goo-goo Progressive reformers Liberal Nazis


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
22

20: Sturgeon's Law?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
23

"But there's no way to look at this as anything other than politically biased reporting: someone at the Times agrees with me about Rudy, and is going through his record in an attempt to torpedo his political campaign. No one who was indifferent to what happened in the election would be hauling out this sort of stuff."

What on earth makes you say that? It seems to me that any unbiased newspaper would "haul out" the same things. They're relevant and helpful when evaluating him as a candidate.

"there's no way to avoid bias"

That's an utterly crazy and dangerous sentiment. Of course there is.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
24

21: Thanks, John. Still haven't updated my style guide.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
25

Who broke the Shagfund story? Wasn't that the NYT? Rudy's collapse in the national polls pretty much began with that story. Although he's a bad campaigner and a loathsome person who cost himself votes every time he walked into a diner, it was Shag killed the Beast.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
26

The US is the only country in the world where privately owned media pretend to be unbiased.... it would be a very good idea to get over it.

Hear hear.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
27

"The US is the only country in the world where privately owned media pretend to be unbiased"

That's not at all true.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
28

Biased news magazibnes + weeklies: good

Biased daily newpapers: bad, but tolerable depending on circumstances.

Biased evening news broadcasts: very, very bad.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
29

I'm pretty much with John on this one. I do believe that the NYT for the most part* is engaged in a different project than Fox News. However, if I had to give the Times news section an honest subhead it would be "A Newspaper for the American Empire". Now their vision would be a relatively sophisticated empire with good support for the arts, books and entertainment, plus you can fuck whoever you want, but an empire nonetheless. (And understandble, if not desirable, for city that is 1/2 the imperial megalopolis**.)

*With lapses. Jeff Gerth/Whitewater,Gore coverage, Judith Miller/Iraq were all more in the Fox News vein.
**Has to share with Washington, to be a true imperial city you need to be both economically and politically dominant— Rome or London in their day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
30

That's an utterly crazy and dangerous sentiment. Of course there is.

What's your magic trick for this?

More seriously though, nobody can actually eliminate bias; at some level it doesn't even make sense to talk about. However, in journalism it's certainly an admirable goal to try and reduce bias, to become more aware of your own, to minimize it's effect.

I can't think of any major media in the US that is making much effort in that direction, so it does seem to make sense to drop the rhetorical pretension to it that often occurs.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
31

27: Examples?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
32

ITV and Sky?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
33

"...fuck whomever...."

We're not savages.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
34

1. The absolute validity of 14.1 demonstrates the limitations of Godwin.

2. I can't remember who first said this, but: The conservative media critique is that the media isn't sufficiently conservative, while the liberal media critique is that the media doesn't do its job.

3. I vote with Weman in favor of "objectivity" as a general goal for daily newspapers.

4. The idea that the NYT is reliably liberal is, itself, a conservative-biased falsehood propogated by the Media Establishment.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
35

I vote with Weman in favor of "objectivity" as a general goal for daily newspapers.

Oh, absolutely. With the additional note that it's not an entirely achievable goal, and pretending that it is (and has been reached) isn't doing anyone any good.

I think it's along that line the best hope for improvement in US mass media lies.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
36

33: An eye for grammar and the right attitude, a position at the Times may well be in your future.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
37

"so it does seem to make sense to drop the rhetorical pretension to it that often occurs."

If the NYT or Wapo owners announced it'd shift to reflect a centre-right point of view, it seems likely it would become more uniformly rightwing. People inside the organization who wants to be more balanced would have no arguments, and editors would be more consistent in imposing a certan point of view.

Also, if unless it said in bold letters, NYT, the leding rightwing periodical, unless Katie Couric started every broadcast with saying "Remember, we've a rightwing bias" few people who didn't read Romanesko or blogs would hear about it.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
38

"With the additional note that it's not an entirely achievable goal, and pretending that it is (and has been reached) isn't doing anyone any good."

Oh, I agree, but things could be so much better than they are.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
39

Here's something I didn't know. According to wikipedia, Hitler invoked the Big Lie to describe the Jews' tactics, while Goebels attributed the Big Lie strategy to Churchill.

So 14.1 is even more apt than I thought. How meta.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
40

Now their vision would be a relatively sophisticated empire with good support for the arts, books and entertainment

I find the Times cultural reporting to be impossibly stuffy, the more so when they try to cover something like rap or Lou Reed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
41

36: I know my construction in 34 - "Media is" - is incorrect, but I can't bring myself to type the correct subject-verb agreement.

I just needed to get that off my chest.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
42

It's not like the media's 50% leftwing, 50% rightwing, which seems to be the spirit of "there's nothing wrong with bias" sentiment. Pushing for objectivity is rather more achievable than pushing for (some of them) to become liberal.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:28 AM
horizontal rule
43

39: PF, accusing the Times and the Democrats and the liberals of the Big Lie is a constant refrain in the right wing media. It started long before Jonah announced his book, and Bush's extensive use of the tactic is (of course) ignored.

"Turning the liberals' weapons against them" is a standard trick (a.k.a "innoculation".) "Who's the real racist?" "Who's really intolerant?" It's like a word game at a party for them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
44

Maybe 23 is obnoxious. If so, sorry, LB. You're surely saner than me in every issue except this one.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
45

there's nothing wrong with bias

My (poorly articulated) position is really that there is nothing wrong with acknowledging the bias that is already there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
46

Aha.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
47

Um wrong thread. I'm a dope. Ignore.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
48

Pretending to be objective is just plain dishonest.

The media needs to acknowledge that they are not and just get on with it.

Perhaps they could start off by focusing more on facts and less on opinions. Just an idea. Bastards.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
49

Behind those ivy walls, etc. etc. Topkapi Palace etc.

How many deans would like to have that management tool? All of them, I'd guess.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
50

Perhaps they could start off by focusing more on facts and less on opinions.

I'm not getting this. Do you want them to redouble the effort to be objective, or abandon it?

Also: 46 is pretty cool. I need to go find the thread where that's relevant.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
51

In honor of the author of 48, I have been trying to figure out how many times I can use "will" consecutively in a sentence.

Here's my entry: a question inspired by the link in 46, contemplating Will's presumed antipathy toward a prominent conservative columnist:

"Will Will will Will to expire?"


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
52

When will Will will Will ill will?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
53

W/out reading the thread, I'd like to make a philosophical points.

The problem here isn't newspapers trying to be objective, it is newspapers operating with a crap notion of objectivity.

The thing that strikes me about these stories is that they can all be verified objectively. I know what elbee means when she says that this kind of reporting could be dismissed as "politically biased" but it can't be dismissed as false, nor can it be dismissed as gathered by unreliable methods. If by "objective investigation" you mean an investigation that uses reliable methods to yield true reports, then the reporting here is perfectly objective.

The reporting here is only biased in the sense that does not yield conclusions that are exactly midway between what the two dominant parties in our system want. But that has fuck all to do with truth. As Colbert says, "reality has a well known liberal bias."

So the problem is reducing "objective" to "unbaised" and then reducing "unbiased" to politically unbiased.

Ok now I will go see who pwned me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
54

"The problem here isn't newspapers trying to be objective, it is newspapers operating with a crap notion of objectivity."

I don't think that's tru (mostly).

What we have is newspapers refraining from being objective, and reporters and editors occasionally justifying or rationalizing that with bullshit notions of objectivity. Now, they may not understand their notion of objectivity is bullshit, but that doesn't mean it's a major cause of their bias. Educating them about objectivity, a la Hilzoy, isn't the way to go.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
55

Hilzoy is a model of what it means to be a politically engaged philosopher. If what she's doing isn't the way to go, then my whole professional life is a lie.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
56

Hilzoy's doing good work w torture, rule of law, and other things. Definitely worse models to have.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
57

I mean that for example NYT's biases reflects its owners biases and agendas. But whatsisname isn't Murdock, so pressure can certainly help, and having the philosophical tools to call bullshit on their rationalizations is of course helpful in that effort, but let's not kid ourselves.

John, tell him I'm right.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:01 PM
horizontal rule
58

Is there a belief among the anti-objectivity folks that the objectivity-tauting papers like the NY Times are an evil in themselves? What if the Times and WaPost continued as they are and other, more partisan papers, sprang up among them? (Like Newsweek and Time coexist with TNR, the Nation, National Review, etc.?) Or is it the case that since the Times is thought of as the Guardian, Haaretz or Le Monde of America it's in effect crowding out a big center-left paper?


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
59

Not that any expansion in the physical newspaper market is likely, any time soon.


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:10 PM
horizontal rule
60

I do think that NPR has crowed out the expansion of openly left wing radio.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
61

58: I don't think you need "Or" there, since I agree with both your first and last sentences.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
62

I guess my thinking is that stories like the ones linked are inherently biased. No one would think that a minor incident in which a politician argued with an EMT over fifteen years ago and no one was hurt and there were no consequences was news, true or not, unless they had an opinion about the politician and thought the incident illustrated it well. I think it was a good story, and I'm glad the Times published it, but if they're committed to unbiased objectivity, I think the story violates it.

I like this sort of coverage, which means that I think the Times shouldn't be purporting to be unbiased.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
63

62: You like this coverage because it is in fact news. It's relevant to current situations. Rob helpy-chalk gets it right earlier. All you can ask for in terms of either "bias" or "objectivity" is telling the truth and not lies, and not consciously avoiding the truth. Beyond that, striving for objectivity means trying to strike the balance between the two (or theoretically more) prevailing political points, which means trying to reflect the way the winds are currently blowing for historically-irrelevant reasons.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
64

62: If you live in a world where every action is tallied as helping or hurting individual public figures, then it will of course be perceived as biased, since it hurts one side more than another.

But if you were simply interested in gathering information relevant to a decision, then it is perfectly legitimate, and including it would be a part of an objective decision making process.

If I were a Guilini supporter and a thoughtful voter, I would welcome the information in this story. These stories would trouble me, and make me reconsider my support, which would be better than supporting Guilini out of ignorance. When you think of yourself as a decision maker in this sense the reporting is not a bad thing at all.

If I were a Guilini supporter in the same way that some people are Yankees fans, then I would not welcome this story. It would hurt my candidate. The medial treat political reporting like sports reporting, and as a result, assume that the public are like sports fans. But this is a crappy way to run a democracy. Voters aren't like sports fans and shouldn't be treated that way.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
65

Giuliani.

Racist.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
66

There are people named "Guilini" in the world, although it would probably be pronounced "Ghee-lee-nee".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
67

I knew I should have looked that one up. I can claim dyslexia for the ui iu thing, but consistently missing the a pretty much makes me an idiot.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
68

62

"I guess my thinking is that stories like the ones linked are inherently biased. No one would think that a minor incident in which a politician argued with an EMT over fifteen years ago and no one was hurt and there were no consequences was news, true or not, unless they had an opinion about the politician and thought the incident illustrated it well. I think it was a good story, and I'm glad the Times published it, but if they're committed to unbiased objectivity, I think the story violates it."

Actually I think it was a bad and probably biased story because it omitted important information like who had the legal right to decide where the boy was taken. This story does not clearly show Giuliani was in the wrong just that the paramedic was offended that he intervened which is not surprising.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
69

If you thought for a second, obviously the mother had the legal right to make the decision, while the EMT had the expert knowledge qualifying him to best advise her in that regard. Rudy, having neither legal interests nor expert knowledge, butted in for no good reason and convinced the legal decisionmaker to override her best advisor.

He didn't do anything legally wrong, but he's an incredible ass for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
70

69

If the mother has the legal right to make the decision then the paramedic is obligated to obey it and not take her right away by refusing to go anywhere until she changes her mind.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
71

70: He has a professional obligation to make sure her decision is well informed; providing her with information is not taking away her rights. I can't imagine what your basis for saying that it is would be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
72

71

Don't be obtuse, he is saying if you do what I want we will leave immediately otherwise we will sit here indefinitely while I try to change your mind.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
73

And 'indefinitely' is supported by the fact that the kid died on the corner while the EMT refused to follow the mother's instructions. Oh, right, he just made her fill out a form saying it was against medical advice, and then he did what she said.

And that doesn't change the fact that Rudy interfered abusively without either medical knowledge or legal justification.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
74

If we paid paramedics less maybe we could get some who aren't so uppity, with all their "training".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
75

Whee, I think "heck with round 7 of the name-change thread, maybe I'll come check out Rudy!, and look! Shearer taking those god damn EMTs down a peg!

Unfogged: it's for fighting!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
76

Can unfogged be for complaining instead.

I just got a memo about an upcoming outside review, which included the suggestion that we think of ourselves as "learners" rather than "judgers" and listed some bullet points from a self help book about "learners." Among the traits of learners are

* Accepting (of self and others)
* Values not knowing.
* Both-and thinking
* Questions assumptions
* Questions and curiosity.
* Primary mood: curiosity

I'll leave judging these bullet points as an exercise to the reader.


Posted by: george washington | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
77

64: Voters aren't like sports fans

If you were right, we'd all be much better off.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
78

73

"And that doesn't change the fact that Rudy interfered abusively without either medical knowledge or legal justification."

So when Giuliani, as mayor elect, comes upon a city employee trying to bully a citizen into giving up her legal right to decide where her injured child is taken for treatment, he is obligated to remain silent. Not clear to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
79

Oh, right, he just made her fill out a form saying it was against medical advice, and then he did what she said.

This is absolutely the proper protocol. I have signed such a waiver a couple of times myself when I instructed a health care provider to override their best medical judgment: once when I wanted my then two-year old child to sleep in an adult bed rather than a crib (so that her mother could lie with her), and once to have my daughter transfered to a larger hospital with a pediatric ICU (which, as it turns out, she ended up needing). Medical personnel have a duty of care, and they need to cover their asses both for liability and for insurance reasons.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
80

I can assure you, sir, that that paramedic was not the biggest bully involved in that incident. Why, I pride myself on always being the biggest bully in any situation, spanning my entire career, except of course for 9/11.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
81

Damn you, info-remembering computer. I type something as "Rudy Giuliani", I go into another thread, I come back, post, and my joke is ruined. I blame Osama bin Laden.


Posted by: Rudy Giuliani | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
82

Is it true that this is indeed a legal right? To decide where the ambulance takes your child? I know that you can have the child transferred once she is in hospital, but a parent can actually dictate where the ambulance goes?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
83

OMFG!

If the mother has the legal right to make the decision then the paramedic is obligated to obey it.

Not really, he had professional responsibilities. He was absolutely not obliged to obey immediately, as though she were his employer.

Not take her right away by refusing to go anywhere until she changes her mind.

Not what happened.

Also, the word "bully" should be used carefully any time Giuliani is around, because he's usually the main bully anywhere.

I'm sliding over to the "troll" theory of Shearer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
84

82

"Is it true that this is indeed a legal right? To decide where the ambulance takes your child? ..."

Not clear to me but when I said the story should have covered this point the lawyer among us asserted (69)

"If you thought for a second, obviously the mother had the legal right to make the decision, ..."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
85

For contemporary accounts with more details see here and here .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
86

The new stories don't help Giuliani much,


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
87

so the choice is between : Giuliani is an asshole, and Giuliani is an asshole and so's this other guy a little bit?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
88

76: I'm disappointed to see you so judgmental and close-minded about this external review.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
89

The review words are a skim from Myers-Briggs, I think.
It's actually a nice description of common cognitive styles. I'm not convinced of the worth of the classification (continuous unimodal variable, binary categories?), but reading the description of the personality types was informative for me. Being told to shut up and listen by someone from personnel, though--


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
90

But...but...

How can a learner *value* not knowing, since the goal of learning is to acquire knowledge. I can see how a learner needs to recognize that they currently do not know, but that is sorta different than valuing no knowing.

I also am not sure how I am supposed to both be "accepting" and "question assumptions." Questioning assumptions pretty much requires you to imagine things could be different and even better than they are.

Both-and thinking is contrasted with the judgers "either-or" thinking. Note that the wonders of both-and thinking is what gives us political candidates every year who promise to BOTH cut takes AND increase spending AND balance the budget.



Posted by: george washington | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
91

I don't think this is myers-briggs. I think it is a mash up of the values of critical thinking (question assumptions) and self-help optimism (Yes, you *can* have it all!). The problem is that these values are often contradictory.


Posted by: george washington | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
92

OK, I'm really curious about the backstory on why 90 and 91 need to be presidential.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:24 PM
horizontal rule
93

I probably don't need to be presidential, but I'm criticizing the institution that is accrediting my employer, so why take chances.


Posted by: george washington | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
94

Oy. Reading too fast. I was taking 90 and 91 as commenting on your original comment rather than supplementing it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
95

All you can ask for in terms of either "bias" or "objectivity" is telling the truth and not lies, and not consciously avoiding the truth.

I don't totally agree here. Bias can be decisions to follow or not follow a story. Bias can be the words that are used to frame a story. For example:

1) A few years back, the NYT wrote approximately 852 more stories on the terrible problem of racial discrimination at Augusta National Golf Club than most human beings would think were required by the situation. (NB this is not a comment on the issue of racial discrimination as a problem.)

2) The NYT has consistently and in dozens of features, profiles, word choices in other stories given strong support to the legitimacy of gay partnerships and marriage. Whether you agree with this or not, it is a socially liberal position and it is absolutely inarguable to me that the newspaper has decided to campaign on its behalf.

3) Reporting on Nicholas Leeson scandal 10+ years ago the word "audacious" was used in every @#&!$ article, and in recent weeks reporting on the Societe Generale scandal the word "rogue" has been used routinely. Using words with clear positive, even respectful or kind of sexy connotations is very telling. It's the opposite of describing the teenager who may have been caught with a joint as "suspected drug dealer".

Words have power. Journalists have tremendous leeway in using them. Not admitting this to me is the essence of the game that journalists play in saying that their ob is just to be objective and report the facts. Baloney. You're making decisions all the time about how those facts are presented.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
96

And 76: Complain away. I think that's a pretty cut-and-dried use of words to manipulate how behavior is defined.

The implicit message is: Don't trust your own judgment over your boss's, don't argue, don't criticize, don't act like you know it all. In some jobs that is an acceptable script to tell people they have to follow, but in my experience (and I suspect in yours) it's more often just a power play.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
97

knowledge i think is relative, in general
not presidential matters
you don't know - strive to know - you know - you'll forget, but valuing not knowing sounds strange to me, though to find something new is always joy
i would accept other bullet points


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
98

97 is a pretty good R.D. Laing parody. I like the third line especially.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
99

I'm not sure how much of my objection to this list comes from chafing at bad writing. I mean, they tell me that "learners" are associated (somehow!) with "responsibility" and "judgers" with "blame". What's the difference between the two terms, other than that one has a positive connotation? Are "learners" only interested in accepting responsibility themselves and never ask others to accept responsibility? What is the difference between asking someone to take responsibility and blaming them?

Also, why can't this person give me a complete sentence? How exactly am I supposed to interpret a list that looks like this?

learner
* Responsibility
* Inquisitive
* Primary mood: curiosity

The bullet points don't even match grammatically. "Learners are inquisitive" makes sense. But am I supposed to insert a different word for responsibility? "Learners take responsibility." How do I deal with "Learners __ primary mood: curiosity?" Is curiosity even a mood?


Posted by: george washington | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
100

I feel that I really learned something from the bullet points, but I also accept that you're right not to have learned anything from them. Curious?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
101

Coming soon to a mega-bookstore near you: Dare They Call It Fraud?: Confessions of a Rogue Financier!!!!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
102

Oh, well, it's bad writing for sure. Curiosity isn't a mood in any world I live in.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
103

I am curious: yellow.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:07 PM
horizontal rule
104

OK, 103 made me laugh. Thanks, RFTS.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
105

Say, who's in the mood to set some cats on fire?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
106

The trouble isn't being unbiased, if unbiased means reporting the truth even when it's ugly and investigating news even when it's harrrrd and not glamorous. The trouble is that the media takes "unbiased" in daily politics to mean 'get a quote from each side and then shrug and hug yourself', which means anyone who says anything that's meeeaan and true counts as unbiased.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
107

Yay.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
108

Cala's 106 and Witt's 96 pretty well cover my problems with the way journalism's done in the media establishment these days: statements are presented without verification, and the whole thing is arranged to get readers and viewers to do something rather than to inform them. A lot of people in the media establishment (and government, and business lobbying, and the other circles that overlap) simply don't believe most people will ever have the clues to decide anything important wisely, and see themselves as custodians of the true public good against the masses of fools and clods. I ran into this constantly when doing temp work in media offices for corporations and in dealing with the press on their behalf. It was often very sincere, too: they could point at many, many examples of the public making damn fool choices, and they could discuss how hard it is to change any of the factors that contribute to that ignorance...but they didn't often want to stop to think of themselves as culpable in it.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 7:34 PM
horizontal rule
109

Objectivity is not neutrality.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
110

109: Dude, your link crashed my computer.

Can you summarize?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
111

A google search crashed your computer? The link was to a search whose top result is a pdf of an article - "Objectivity is not neutrality" - which I recommend.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
112

No, the pdf crashed my computer. And my computer hardly ever crashes.

I can just go look on Wikipedia or something. I was being lazy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
113

It didn't crash my computer, but for 35 measly pages that is one obnoxiously big file.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
114

Sorry. I can't even load it at all since my connection is too slow. I tried to test it before linking to it, but it was taking too long. I can barely load this thread, so I didn't realize how big the file was. They probably scanned it in at too high a quality.

There's also a JSTOR version if you can get JSTOR. I don't have access anymore, but this might still be the url.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
115

It's not my night to read it anyway. I can't make sense of the Amazon description. Either it's dense or I am. Probably both.

Bah, time for bed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
116

The book of the same title is a collection of essays, most of which weren't originally connected. So that might make the amazon description confusing. I like all the essays, but only that one is really about objectivity stuff, if I remember right.

And now I'm going to go to sleep because at this connection speed it's just not worth using the internet.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 01-30-08 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
117

What you learn from George Washington's description in #76 is that there is danger there. Such cod-psychology is always used to screw the workers. Your boss should not determine what kind of person you are.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 12:39 AM
horizontal rule
118

105: Oh! Oh! I am!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 4:20 AM
horizontal rule
119

Bias can be decisions to follow or not follow a story. Bias can be the words that are used to frame a story. For example:

1) A few years back, the NYT wrote approximately 852 more stories on the terrible problem of racial discrimination at Augusta National Golf Club than most human beings would think were required by the situation. (NB this is not a comment on the issue of racial discrimination as a problem.)

2) The NYT has consistently and in dozens of features, profiles, word choices in other stories given strong support to the legitimacy of gay partnerships and marriage. Whether you agree with this or not, it is a socially liberal position and it is absolutely inarguable to me that the newspaper has decided to campaign on its behalf.

3) Reporting on Nicholas Leeson scandal 10+ years ago the word "audacious" was used in every @#&!$ article, and in recent weeks reporting on the Societe Generale scandal the word "rogue" has been used routinely. Using words with clear positive, even respectful or kind of sexy connotations is very telling. It's the opposite of describing the teenager who may have been caught with a joint as "suspected drug dealer".

Words have power. Journalists have tremendous leeway in using them. Not admitting this to me is the essence of the game that journalists play in saying that their ob is just to be objective and report the facts. Baloney. You're making decisions all the time about how those facts are presented.

I am just quoting Witt because she said this so well.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 5:49 AM
horizontal rule
120

Well, yes to both Will and Witt. We can all understand, though, that one can wear an aspire-to-objectivity hat, while still making judgments. Will and I are advocates. That we are is well understood, and expected. The person to whom we address our advocacy is supposed to listen, and weigh, objectively, what we have to say. That person employs people -- smart young people, typically -- who check our assertions against the factual record, against the law, and against common sense. While I wouldn't compare reporters to judges, they can serve as 'law clerks' -- and maybe the judge is more like the publisher.

I'd be interested in the opinion of Katherine on this comparison, for obvious reasons.


Posted by: NĂ¡pi | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 6:04 AM
horizontal rule
121

What I think is, at good reporter lets his research determine his conclusions. A bad reporter reaches his conclusion before he does his research, & uses the research to fill in a couple blanks.

Of course, your ideology often plays a role in what stories you consider important. you might have a decent guess as to what your research will uncover. Nothing wrong with that if you're open to changing it if the facts contradict it or you can't verify it.

On this view, the "he-said-she-said" style of political reporting is actually itself a form of bias: you're going to conclude that Democrats & Republicans are being equally truthful, decent, etc. no matter what the facts of the matter are.

On the more conventional def'n of bias, as ideological neutrality--I always say: bias is less important than whether you're any GOOD. The New Yorker is less ideologically neutral than Newsweek, but it's also just better. Bill Moyers may be as liberal as Fox News is conservative, but he does actual reporting, not just propaganda. etc.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 6:58 AM
horizontal rule
122

120--it's a decent analogy. The power that a judge has over the parties' lives complicates things a little.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 7:05 AM
horizontal rule
123

I love Bill Moyers. Simply great.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
124

OT:

For those people who have been getting the Right wing smear labeled "Military Deaths Under Clinton", a quick response:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_military_deaths.htm


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 7:13 AM
horizontal rule
125

one can wear an aspire-to-objectivity hat, while still making judgments

Yes. I was focusing on the hypocrisy of reporters and newspapers who want to pretend that they are capable of being neutral. There are all kinds of neutrality, some of which are more realistic to aspire to. I get impatient with newspapers who pretend that their story choices are not, themselves, a decision about where and how much attention to focus.

And, as Katherine says, quality is another variable. It's easier to trust the judgment of a newspaper or reporter that has proved itself discerning in the past.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
126

119 gets it right, except that that was about discrimination against women at Augusta National, not against minoritiies.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
127

119: Well, yes, to tell a story requires choices, and any choice is inherently a bias. But objectivity is still entirely reasonable as a goal.

Augusta was pretty egregious in some ways. But merely giving the situation lots of attention was an entirely legitimate choice, objectivity-wise. A reader had a reasonable opportunity, merely from the facts presented, to ascertain that the Times was blowing the situation way the hell out of proportion - or not.

James B. Shearer demonstrates this in another way with the Giuliani story. James, taking nothing but the information reported in the story, is able to determine that it was reasonable for Giuliani to help the mother go against medical advice.

(Admittedly, I would be open to the argument that James has special skills, otherwise lacking in normal people, that enable him to reach this conclusion.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
128

I don't think that the gatekeeper function (deciding which stories to cover and which not) is objectively decidable. Pretty much every great newspaper in history had stuff it just ignored. Sometimes it's pretty egregious because of political bias or conflicts of interest, but not usually.

To me, you can say that a newspaper is fluffy (shallow, content-free), inaccurate, or dishonest, but without one of those, I don't think that the lack of objectivity is culpable.

It's probably best, I suppose, for a newspaper to avoid total identification with any particular partisan grouping or tendency, but even if you don't do that you're still not objective. You're just independent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
129

126: Ha! Shows how much attention I paid to it. Thanks for the correction.

A reader had a reasonable opportunity, merely from the facts presented, to ascertain that the Times was blowing the situation way the hell out of proportion...

Yeah, and obviously I thought that they were. What was especially infuriating was the waste of that precious real estate. For one of the few truly national newspapers to waste its front-page space, and a reporter's time and energy on that -- such a high opportunity cost.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
130

But merely giving the situation lots of attention was an entirely legitimate choice, objectivity-wise. A reader had a reasonable opportunity, merely from the facts presented, to ascertain that the Times was blowing the situation way the hell out of proportion - or not.

I disagree with this to the extent that by choosing what to present, the newspaper really does choose what can be discussed. I can see that the Augusta flap probably wasn't a big deal; but I can't tell you what went on that day that really was important.


Or if the paper only reports the good news coming out of Iraq, and never shows pictures of kids screaming because their parents were just shot. I can objectively decide the war must be going fine, right?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
131

What was especially infuriating was the waste of that precious real estate.

True - that's space they probably could have devoted to Judith Miller, and they never really did write enough about Wen Ho Lee. I'm still waiting for them to get to the bottom of Whitewater. And Jayson Blair probably had a lot of stories buried on page a14 that deserved front-page attention.

The NY Times is a dumb, corrupt organization - though it was worse under Raines than it is today. We should be grateful that Raines got a hard-on for the lady golfers (so to speak). He had worse obsessions than that.

128: I'm using the word "objective" to describe what I want, but "independent" works for me, too. I don't think we disagree.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
132

My modest proposal for journalism is that it formulates its mission along the lines of "communicating relevant and complete truths about the world with an acknowledged scope, audience and point-of-view". To a large degree you can then separately judge each component.

How well they actually communicate is all about the specific craftmanship, writing skills, camera work etc.

Unacknowleged selection "bias" (and just plain old bad judgment) correspond to flaws in how an organization decides what is "relevant and complete".

For the "truth" part I suggest they apply learnings from the quaint, boring truth-discovering system known as the Scientific Method. Form a hypothesis—say, this story/statement/quote is true. Form some "experiments" to test that hypothesis and repeat. (And if you merely test the truth of "important Administration spokesperson made political statement X" but not the actual truth of X, or hypotheses about why they said X, in most cases you are not providing the most relevant or complete "truth".)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
133

This essay had interesting stuff about journalist objectivity, as I remember. Looks like Google won't let you read the rest of it, though.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
134

131: I am somewhat conflicted on The Times. overall, I think it has failed massively in what I want its mission to be (and I think what they give lip service to), but it still has provided significant pieces of real reporting and I rely on it for a lot of information. Pretty much everyone does, directly or indirectly

I can dream about an alternative world where a paper with the qualities that the Knight-Ridder national desk showed in say 2001-2004 is the "paper of record", but that is not this world. But I am not sure if the NYT is fixable at this point.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
135

1313, 134: There is a certain amount of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I can be angry at a waste of talent and money, and want it to be much better, without saying that the NYT as a whole is so bad it is not worth reading. On the contrary. Stormcrow has it right: it still has provided significant pieces of real reporting.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
136

It is difficult to do Bill Moyers type reporting in a newspaper. There are inherent deadline difficulties with a daily paper.

But, I agree that we can ask for, hope for, and expect more.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
137

There was an interesting NPR segment that discussed how electronic typestting removed a layer of people devoted to layout. Editors have apparently taken up the vestigial remnants of that work, which contributes to their having less time to think. Probably not especially relevant for the NYT.

European papers are usually affiliated with a political party, so biased. Le Monde is OK, so is is .

Weeklies seem to me like the only way for print journalism to survive.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
138

Weeklies seem to me like the only way for print journalism to survive.

Local papers will consist of wire stories from agencies like McClatchy, plus local news by local people. This has been the case for decades at papers in places like Greensboro, NC and Reading, PA, and now it's going to be the case at every other city in the US except New York and Washington. Doesn't sound like a tragedy. The job of "Middle East correspondent for the Baltimore Sun" has always sounded kind of bizarre and anachronistic to me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
139

138: didn't he get fired last week on The Wire?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
140

Foreign/specialty correspondents for some venue shouldn't be a luxury. For Science, the people at NYT (K0lata) and WaPo (G/llis) are terrible. Why does so much science reporting consist of "Gene for middle-class problem found!" ? There are smart people writing better stuff.

The scatological song under the "." in 137 is pretty funny.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
141

Am I the only person who glanced at that link and thought the song was by Mickey Kaus?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
142

The photo accompanying the article was a nice touch. Stay classy, Der Spiegel.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
143

127

"James B. Shearer demonstrates this in another way with the Giuliani story. James, taking nothing but the information reported in the story, is able to determine that it was reasonable for Giuliani to help the mother go against medical advice."

Actually as I complained in my first comment the story did not cover the important point of whether the mother had the legal right to direct where her child was taken. Assuming she did then Giuliani was helping her exercise her legal rights a more favorable framing of his actions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
144

James, if Giuliani was asking the paramedic to do something illegal, that should have been reported. Otherwise, no relevant information was omitted.

Look at it this way: If Guiliani was obviously drunk, I'd want that information in the story. But to describe him in the story as "apparently sober" wouldn't be useful - or unbiased.

On reflection, though, I have to admit that if your default assumption is that Giuliani typically promotes illegality in his interactions, then maybe the story needs to explicitly say that he wasn't doing that here.

It's interesting to get your perspective on this. Let me know if you need me to explain why the media doesn't give much ink to all those planes that don't crash.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
145

144

The paramedic could have a legal right to overrule the mother's wishes without having a legal obligation to do so. Just as the mother could have a legal right to defer to the paramedic without being under a legal obligation to do so. The issue here is simple, if the mother directs her child be taken to hospital A do the paramedics have a legal right to overrule her and take the child to hospital B. The answer is not completely obvious and should have been covered in the story.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 12:04 PM
horizontal rule
146

118: You might like this game, then.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 01-31-08 2:08 PM
horizontal rule