Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Militias, Media and Madness Open Thread

With myself and my family in Washington the President knew it was safe to leave the capital in our hands and run off to Afghanistan.  Roxanne has thoughts on how to structure financial reform that you will be learning about shortly.

In the meantime, the media’s handling of data and how they turn it into “information” is much on the mind these days.  Saying that it is hard to justify much of the sausage-making that the commercial media engages in is stretching the effort at civility.

Perhaps – at least for the low-bar purposes of an Open Thread – it is worth making clear the difference between data and information, and what burden this places on those who choose a role in the media spotlight.

Consider this an Open Thread.

Even in computing circles the difference between data and information is often blurred.  Of the definitions available at, I think this one speaks to our point at hand best:

in form a tion: [in-fer-mey-shuhn] important or useful facts obtained as output from a computer by means of processing input data with a program: Using the input data, we have come up with some significant new information.

The processing of data and turning it into information is the duty of those who choose a role in communication.  Those who specifically choose a job in journalism are expected to do as little processing as possible, journalists are supposed to be purveyors of data that viewers can turn into information of their own.

jourĀ·nalĀ·ism  [jur-nl-iz-uhm]

the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.

Though perhaps someone at had been watching television news when they wrote the following alternate definition:

writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing as distinguished from scholarly writing.

What can be found in the Main Stream Media these days is by far best described by the last definition.  Is there anything to be done about it?  Should “news” channels be required to bill themselves as purely opinionated and biased sources?


  1. Shaun Appleby

    When we suggested Steele would be the first head to roll.  From Tucker Carlson’s inflammatory post this morning, which was basically a rehash of old news, an opportunity has been created to ditch Steele:

    On Monday morning, the Daily Caller reported that the RNC spent thousands of dollars on high-end travel arrangements, swanky hotels and, most remarkably, “meals” at a lesbian-and-bondage-themed nightclub in West Hollywood. The latter expense, naturally, grabbed most of the attention and the cleverest of headlines — prompting the RNC to simultaneously state that it would investigate the expenditures and that it wasn’t Steele who went to the club.

    But the damage had already been done. While several GOP strategists are willing to grant Steele a pass — under the rubric that one has to spend lavishly to raise lavish amounts of money — several big donors and party officials are completely baffled.

    Sam Stein – Michael Steele Called Tone Deaf By GOP Brass, Urged To Resign Huffington Post 29 Mar 10

    Frankly I thought he was doomed as long ago as the ‘cow on the tracks’ incident.

  2. Shaun Appleby

    The Israeli/Palestine issue is notorious for intractable confrontations but, as it turns out, Chicago can be a tough town too:

    The US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, sources suggest to the BBC.

    The possibility surfaced at talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar’s foreign minister.

    The official said the US would “seriously consider abstaining” if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote, a diplomat told the BBC.

    US officials in Washington have not confirmed the report.

    There are no concrete plans at present to table such a resolution at the UN.

    US ‘may not veto UN resolution on Jerusalem’ BBC 29 Mar 10

    Told ya’.  Don’t you love seeing one of those pretty little trial balloons disappearing up into the sky?  Reading the news for ‘not’ content is so much fun.  Your move Bibi.

  3. DTOzone

    made idle threats toward people’s lives a few weeks ago…they’re pretty radical Christians. The son was once arrested for vandalizing Christmas decorations because they “offended Christ”

    My mom waved it off, but now she’s seriously concerned.  

  4. Next to last in our division last year, and now we’re not only in second place in our division, point wise, we’re in the top three in the league.

    This has caused much gnashing of teeth amongst some Canuckistanis that I know.  

  5. HappyinVT

    FNC is touting Palin’s show that starts this Thursday, coincidently April Fool’s Day, by advertising that she’ll have as one of her guests LL Cool J.  Someone, John Cole I believe, asked WTF? will they have to chat about.

    Well, maybe nothing.  Mr. J’s tweet says it’s an old interview from 2008 they are using “misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palin’s Show.  WOW”

    Someone else will have to watch.  I don’t have the stomach.

  6. DTOzone

       Regardless of whether you favored or opposed the health care legislation passed this week, do you think the methods the Democratic leaders in Congress used to get enough votes to pass this legislation – were [they] an abuse of power, or were [they] an appropriate use of power by the party that controls the majority in Congress?

       Abuse of power 53%

       Appropriate use of power 40%

       No opinion 7%

    Let this be a lesson to us, process DOES matter when the media says it matters.  

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