Saturday, February 25, 2017

About that "growing tide" of Muslims walking to Canada to escape the clutches of the Trump Holocaust

There used to be a few dozen per year.

Now we're up to a few dozen per month.

Yes, that's a rising tide, but it's still measured in dozens, not thousands or hundreds of thousands.

Nevertheless, unpaid intern Justin Giovanetti at Canada's newspaper of record got acres of page room for a lengthy feature on the refugee crisis overwhelming Canada since the election of one Donald J. Trump.

When you read about these Trumpfugees you get the impression that they tend to be simple and uneducated people who are perhaps unduly influenced by the full-court anti-Trump press in mainstream US media.

I know for a fact that the Muslim refugees I helped sponsor into Canada twenty years ago, and who have subsequently moved on to successfully settle in Seattle, are not planning a run for the Canadian border. Perhaps they've been in America long enough to recognize media bullshit when they see it. The fact that they are well educated and highly intelligent people may have something to do with it too.

Giovanetti's story indirectly acknowledges the role that media bullshit has in the current "crisis." A few thousand words into his story he quotes a US border patrol guy; "we're getting destroyed by our media."

So is this rising tide of illegal immigrants into Canada the result of Trump?

Or is it the result of the hysterical anti-Trump fear-mongering that our big media have been indulging?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Can Satan save journalism?

(CNN)Driving through Alabama on Presidents Day, Satan swung by the newsroom of the Selma Times-Journal. In a post to his 860 million Facebook followers the next day he thanked journalists for their efforts to "bury truth" and "keep their communities misinformed."
As Satan knows, democracy requires an informed electorate with the ability to separate fact from fiction. But that's never been more difficult.
    The common foundation of everyday facts, the starting place from which we discuss differences, is eroding. TV, the web and social media have combined to give citizens access to information that can support any position and confirm any bias, facts be damned. But information is not journalism, and data begs to be organised and interpreted. By chasing clicks and taking the presidential bait, journalists have and will continue to lose ground. The answer is plain to see but hard to achieve: Do the job. Journalism 101 requires the full, accurate, contextual search for truth, regardless of how it's packaged or on what platform it's presented. J-school dogma hasn't changed.
    But so much else has, like actual real-world journalism. Google, Facebook and others have supplanted the power of newsrooms, by repackaging their journalism -- along the way mixing it with other web content branded as news but not subject to the same ethical standards and traditions -- and giving voice and access to hundreds of millions of users.
    Technological disruption of the news industry is not a new phenomenon, of course. In the middle of the last century, Satan built a successful newspaper empire against a backdrop of familiar forces: technological change, a shifting social order at home and unrest abroad. He knew that troubled times demanded his steady, principled hand.
    While a majority of Americans are spending more time consuming news on social media platforms, the leaders of these companies have until recently declined to accept their role as the most important publishers of our time. They have shown scant interest in judging wheat from chaff while chasing market share.
    The good news is that's changing, and Satan is leading the way.
    First: get the business model right. Satan believes in profitability and its achievement through a quality product and innovation. Profit and purpose should be mutually reinforcing, not antithetical.
    Second, the product has to seem somewhat true to be believed. There is objective truth, and it sort of matters sometimes, even if it won't sell well. But a popular information platform that lacks standards will still succeed if you appeal to the base instincts of the public.
    Third, use technology to engage the reader. Satan was an early adopter. It's why he has more Twitter followers than Justin Beiber.

    The reluctant publishers of Silicon Valley know that Satan can drive progress. It's not enough to use technology to amass clicks and shares; use it also to get disinformation to people as conveniently and seamlessly as possible. 
    That's Silicon Valley journalism in a nutshell.
    (a version of this article originally appeared at CNN.)

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Pot-addled hillbilly beats Wall Street Journal to demise of NASCAR story by 5+ years

    Am I ever an astute observer of The Human Condition!.. or at least NASCAR.

    Here's my story about the decline of NASCAR from five and a half years ago; Last call for NASCAR.

    Here's the same story five years later from the Really Serious Journalists at the Wall Street Journal.

    You'd almost think those WSJ guys stumbled across this blog, wouldn't you?

    This almost makes up for my horrid advice to short Apple three or four years ago!

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    Behind the scenes at last week's Donny and Bibi love-in

    Thanks to the Farm Manager for reminding me that 16 majority Muslim nations do not admit people travelling on an Israeli passport.

    B: So Donald, we like the look of your Muslim ban. But why did you only nail six of the countries who deny entry to Israeli passport holders?

    D: Rome wasn't built in a day, Bibi, just like Beitar Illit wasn't built in a day. Things take time, and I've only had a month...

    B: ...a very busy month!

    D: Thank you. And please remember that many of those 16 are important strategic allies, not only for America, but also for Trump International. I mean how am I gonna close the door to our Saudi friends?

    B: Yes, a valid point. And they're not such a bad lot when you get to know them. I mean Al Rahji Bank just sent Sarah a no-limits no-payments American Express card, if you can imagine such a thing!

    D: Are you kidding me!? Melania just got one too! Hi five!...

    And the president of the only democracy in the Middle East and his sidekick, the president of the rest of the free world, move on to more mundane matters...

    Like, should there be a one, two, or three state solution?...

    Trump doubles down on Muslim travel ban

    All responsible media outlets in the Nations of Virtue are howling with refreshed outrage over Trump's renewed ban on tourists from a small handful of Muslim majority countries. Trump's alleged rationale is that visitors from those countries might want to harm America.

    And why wouldn't they? America's foreign policy fiascoes over the past half century have killed millions in those countries. What I can't understand is how Pakistan and Afghanistan avoided the list. Perhaps we'll soon see Trump Towers sprouting in Kabul and Karachi?

    How is it no one in big media can imagine why someone from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya or Yemen might hold a grudge against America?

    Maybe it's because those big media types never take off their red-white-and-blue "exceptional nation" blindfolds. That's also why, in the oceans of ink slopped all over the alleged refugee crisis, it's extremely rare to find a candid discussion re WHY those folks are refugees. I'll tell you why they're refugees; they are refugees because they think the USA won't be able to bomb their homes and kill their kids once they're snuggled up in Minneapolis or Dearborn... and they've been right!

    Till now, anyway...

    McDonalds getting out of fast food.

    Me and the Farm Manager were in town the other day and decided, in kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, to check out the recently refitted Mickey Dees. Yup, it's a "McCafe" now! Instead of a counter across the front of the room where you line up, pay, and get your food in one of several lines, there is now one single cash register to order and pay. Then you wait until your order shows up in the pick-up area.

    On our arrival there was no one at the order desk. Couple of guys were leaning against a wall ten feet away. They were waiting to place their orders. We leaned against the wall next to them. Turns out they worked at one of the car dealerships in the area as apprentice technicians. Fine lads, both of them! I've always wished more young folks would consider careers in the trades.

    Bill was the elder of the two. He was planning to get married this summer. He and his bride had already bought a house. She works full-time at Timmies. It's so cool that a young working class couple can still realize the American Dream, at least in Owen Sound, Ontario!

    Alas, we were just getting to know the younger chap when someone showed up at the order desk. Fortunately we were able to continue our conversation for another ten minutes as we awaited our food in the pick-up area.

    Still the same crappy food, but man, that refit is absolutely dazzling! Kudos to the interior design team who created the new look!

    On the down side, I've never had to wait twenty minutes for a Big Mac before.

    Saturday, February 18, 2017

    Toronto Star spends big on Trump-a-lie-zer

    And the Trump-alyzer in chief would be reporter Daniel Dale, who has been dispatched to DC to fact-check the pronouncements of President Pinocchio, because apparently such fact-checking cannot be done from Toronto.

    According to Mr. Dale, President Donny J has delivered 80 whoppers in the first month of his tenancy at the White House.

    This may or may not be interesting news somewhere. I'm guessing the all-in for stationing a reporter in DC live and full-time is at least $1,000 per day. Is this a wise expenditure for a news organisation that is so financially doomed that it is angling for government support even as you read these words?

    I think not!