Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Journalism: Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO)

Journalism: Questioning both INPUT & MODEL may help describe RESULTS

The above Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO) is quite well known and I refer to the above model from this discussion from it's reference to application in computer programs. It's clear, simple, applicable for a general concept consideration of looking at a process and breaking down the stages to access quality and loss of quality and hence identifying WHERE. It's useful because we need to do a "sanity check" of results churned out and not blindly accept them, but also know how they are produced. Let's compare definitions from wikipedia for Journalism and GIGO:-
Journalism "is gathering, processing, and dissemination of news, and information related to news, to an audience. The word applies to the method of inquiring for news, the literary style which is used to disseminate it, and the activity (professional or not) of journalism."
"In a democratic society, however, access to free information plays a central role in creating a system of checks and balance, and in distributing power equally amongst governments, businesses, individuals, and other social entities. Access to verifiable information gathered by independent media sources, which adhere to journalistic standards, can also be of service to ordinary citizens, by empowering them with the tools they need in order to participate in the political process."

Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) "in the field of computer science or information and communications technology refers to the fact that computers, since they operate by logical processes, will unquestioningly process unintended, even nonsensical, input data ("garbage in") and produce undesired, often nonsensical, output ("garbage out"). The principle applies to other fields as well."

Simply taking a snapshot of the front of Google News searching for "Brexit":-

  • The British public couldn't care less about Brexit and the EU referendum
  • Toxic infighting leaves rival Brexit groups in disarray
  • Yes, Brexit could very easily lead to the break-up of Britain
  • A background guide to “Brexit” from the European Union
  • Brexit will trigger collapse of EU, warns Poland - Telegraph
  • MPs to explore impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland
  • Labour donor says MPs should be allowed to campaign for Bre
  • Cameron to stay at No 10 if voters back Brexit, Grayling says
  • NO ESCAPE: Norway warns UK that Brexit WON'T free us fro

 The subjects of the above are:-
  • Atttitudes/polling
  • Political biff-bam tropes
  • FUD of breaking-up "could" being the usual operative word.
  • FUD of collapsing
  • NI very low order consideration pumped up almost to FUD level.
  • Westminster process of campaigning likely due to lack of Cameron Pro-EU information.
  • Westminster process of Cameron staying, pure media management
  • More FUD and in fact bias from our old "friend" the not Norway but: Erik O. Erikson as per The Columbo Method: Norway
 Legacy News-Media: Consume then Dispose = Garbage

These bar the Economist are mostly: "Subject-Verb-Object" Headline variations. Additionally, the descriptive components adverbs, adjectives are:-
  • Toxic
  • Disarray
  • break-up
  • collapse
  • warns
  • impact
  • no escape
  • warns
This is all very pumped-up emotive language, increasing the emotional pitch to draw attention.

This is the "data in". We can assess it's quality across a small snapshot of the Legacy News-Media. I leave that up to readers to consider. Now, assuming I am able as a journalist to use automated methods of collating all pertinent information on EU/Brexit each day, we can consider an article by Christopher Booker back in 2013:-

 Gordon Brown signing the Lisbon Treaty
"None of this bears any more relation to where we actually are, as one of the 27 fully signed-up members of the EU"

"The only way we can compel our EU partners to negotiate a new relationship which would still give us access to the single market is by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Only thus can we negotiate precisely the kind of relationship already enjoyed, in their different ways, by the two most prosperous countries in Europe, Norway and Switzerland, which trade as freely with the EU as we do, but without the rest of that political baggage that inspires such growing resentment not just in Britain, but in many other EU member states."
It's worth reading all of the article, to remember the preceding circus and garbage delivered to the public back in 2013. And how potent it seems to have all rotted away so quickly, now and reading now in 2016 produce a power stench of BS, as Booker has been proven correct. Interestingly we do have an article on Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty:-

Explains Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which sets out the procedure for leaving the EU

Dr. RAE North at mentions this in:EU Referendum: more unpredictable than ever-
"Meanwhile, back in the UK, the Constitution Unit in the department of political science at University College London, which claims to be the UK's "leading research body on constitutional change", has shredded Dominic Cummings's manic idea for a second referendum, entirely vindicating the stance taken by Arron Banks - something which hasn't begun to register with the legacy media."

It might be suggested that the article on Article 50 above is too technical for a common audience? But this is where things get interesting I would suggest: A Journalist in taking:-
  • Complex Information
  • Processing for Presentation
  • Publishing to a Wider Audience
This more or less unifies the definition of journalism and GIGO or it's thankful absence. You might call a journalist a "communication facilitator". Except if we look at the above and we consider it using the GIGO Model we're seeing far from being facilitators, they're detractors. Namely our Legacy News-Media appears to either be incapable of assorting priority and quality rating to information to process or the commercial pressures drive the processing itself to to be a Garbage Model. In both cases as the above diagram illustrates: Garbage Output.

Journalists: Wading around in the shallow "soda-waters" of commercial and SW1 circles have become stuck with "soda-anklet crystals" precipitating around their legs: Their environment has compromised their output.

Interestingly, there's an initiative in Norway to tackle this very problem:-

"As part of Norway's foreign and development policy, the Government will step up its efforts to support independent media, provide protection for people who express their opinions publicly, and improve public access to information. These are three cornerstones of the effort to ensure real participation and influence on decision-making processes."
Mr. Brexit picks up this angle also,  Why is the media ignoring the Vote Leave story? for another perspective on it. But it is right question: Who am I to suppose that I can ordain the correct prioritity of reporting, in this case on Article 50? I'm building a case that the Legacy News-Media is completely compromised, that crticicism of their model must be deep and possibly justifiable in expressing anger at the disservice and disrepaired state of Political Reporting. An example from The Huffington Post: What Norway, Iceland and Denmark Could Learn From The Azores; fortunately a commentator there corrects the author's mistakes.
>Iceland, Denmark, and Norway are all EU members

No. Denmark is. Iceland and Norway are not. As they don't want to be.

>who rely heavily on tourism

Bullshit. For Norway tourism is less than 3% of GDP, domestic tourism included. Cutting all tourists, would bring GDP back to 2014-levels.

Norway also have whale watching companies.
So what is the point in this article, except proving that the journalist never did her homework?

This is merely one journalist who has made a mistake. If you remember where were the journalists to correct our Prime Minister David Cameron when he was lying about Norway: EU Referendum: in the deadly grip of "Europe" as per Dr. RAE North correcting:-

"Yet, according to the Norwegian government's own figures, its total EU mandated payments (gross) are approximately £435m (€600m) per annum. With a population of five million, that is approximately £86 (€120) per head (gross). Net payments, however, are about £340m (€470m) per annum, or about £68 (€94) per head.

On the other hand, in 2014, the UK gross contributions to the EU were £19.2bn, less £4.9bn rebate. That gives an equivalent gross payment of £14.3bn. After rebates and other receipts, our net contribution was £9.8 bn. 

With a population of 64 million, that puts our gross contribution (without rebate) at £300 per head, our equivalent gross payment at £223 per head, and our net per capita payment £153 per annum – more than twice the Norwegian payments.

As such, what David Cameron is telling us is a lie. Our prime minister is telling a clear, direct and unequivocal lie. And this, it seems, is perfectly acceptable for a prime minister - as long as he is talking about the EU."

When there is a new article in The Financial Times Norway’s offshore drilling fight with EU a cautionary tale for UK from our old "friend" Erik O. Erikson and their own journalists:-

"But to many Norwegians, the arrangement is no model at all for a nation seeking freedom from Brussels’ oversight. Even though they have no involvement in creating EU regulation they are still bound to abide by much of it — as the offshore dispute makes clear.

“It is extremely strange that some in Britain think about copying Norway: it is the worst thing that could happen. We have to obey nearly all regulations,” said Erik Oddvar Eriksen, director of the Centre for European Studies at University of Oslo.

"Norwegians rejected joining the EU in 1972 and again in 1994 and Eurosceptic sentiment has soared in recent years, so much so that in the past decade every single opinion poll has found a majority opposed to joining. The most recent polling found 72 per cent of Norwegians opposed joining the EU." 
"Despite our Prime Minister and her party still dreaming of Norway to join, Norwegians are happier outside the EU. The mood is such that even 61 per cent of our Prime Minister’s own voters disagree with her position on Brussels."
Worse, The Express takes the liberty as above to equate one proponent of this Pro-EU side of the argument as equating to the entire Nation or "those that matter anyway": NO ESCAPE: Norway warns UK that Brexit WON’T free us from EU meddling.

Despite all the efforts to paint Norway as "bad" via GIGO from Politicians driving the agenda aided by Journalists, they are effectively damaging Democracy itself.

It would not surprise me that recent positive news on: Britain's 'Blue Belt' haven for our marine life doubles
"Spiny lobsters, "upside-down" stalked jellyfish and native oysters are among species ministers have promised to protect through a new series of marine conservation zones (MCZs)."

Is padding to the disastrous story of our Fisheries as chronicled in full here:-

 And worse we see more and more Legacy News-Media's attacking Norway, attempting to paint a picture of a:-

  • Whale-Murdering!
  • Rejected EU but Ruled by EU: eg drilling of oil
  • Fax Democracy cowled people
  • Norway is nothing like Great Britain (misrepresentation of EU/EEA vs EFTA/EEA)
  • Norway says Don't do what we did!
 etc. And again the same applies to UK: Taking Migration Debate off the table for a decade and a half. And indeed as we'll see in the next post Democracy off the table for decades, painting the UK with an "Inferiority Complex" and "None Know What Brexit will do." Garbage Model of Journalism.

The point is: We KNOW the state of the Legacy News-Media is not only a problem with their information selection (ie selective omission) but also the model they use too (bias in reporting) so where is the coverage of the issues of our waters to contextualize this "wonderful bit of uplifting news" on What we need is much more scrutiny and a lot less trust in the Financial Times and their deceptive ilk:-

In the next blog I will return to that question of democracy and the significance of Article 50. But coming back to how damaging their behaviour is to our democracy, it is worth asking to what extent do we express our anger or other displeasure with these people?

Over at Dr. RAE North considers this question in a comment that perhaps deserves it's own blog. It's food for thought on the damage being done by Journalists.

I think there's problems that can be explained using the above GIGO Model. I also think the PERSONA of the Journalist is part of the problem where "communication facilitator" becomes an excuse for "Garbage In"; the poor article by Frazer Nelson is I think an example of this journalists PERSONA being taken to the extreme and hence losing all touch with the actual information quality. I think in this respect to Politics/SW1 then the concept of those "Soda-Anklets" developing around the legs of the Journalists rubbing shoulders with so much prestige also can help describe the lowering in quality and sources of bias (omission and selection bias) in the actual Model of Journalism itself: We see dozens of examples of this from the BBC in particular; the hypocritical deference to our lying Prime Minister at the same time as the "interrogative interview technique" of lower ranked politicians and the like that is frankly pathetic and rude and cowardly in comparison to the former.

 "Garbage" acts as a barrier for democratic decision-making at the Nation level.

Witnessing such behaviour from our journalists are we not human in our reactions if we do express anger modified however by adequate explanation? To conclude: Namely, expertise is lacking and impartiality is lacking. For the public, publishing circulation without the above leads to detrimental effects on Democracy (see Norway initiative). Finally with reference to blogs where high quality information is available, the problem of information organization and discover in the Information Age becomes a big problem to solve - and that includes politics, I think. Do you?