Is This Opinion or Journalism?

April 19, 2017 by dleecox

I am often amazed at outright bias an author includes in what is supposedly a “news” article. Clues to bias, to me, may be things like subject matter, associated materials, patently obvious hyperbole, subterfuge, and, what I consider the most insidious of them all, adverbs and adjectives.

Take for instance, the following:

How YouTube’s Shifting Algorithms Hurt Independent Media

by Amanda Hess, April 2017

This page is NOT listed in the NYT Opinion section, nor in Editorials – I looked.

Lets just ignore the implications of the word “hurt” in the title…

Paragraph 1, Sentence 3: “and roughly half of its revenue now comes from the ads that play before his videos.”

What in the blue blazes is “roughly half?” I mean, are we talking 45%? 32%? Anything over 25%?

Paragraph 1, Sentence 4: “He earns enough to produce the show full time and pay a lean staff.”

Lean. Oh, so, one guy, one staff member, or…? What does that mean? I’m getting the feeling someone is painting a word picture here.

Paragraph 2: Oh come on. Srsly? “Abrupt”? “Vague”? “…forcing him to set up a crowdfunding page to help cover $20,000 a month in operating costs.” $20k for a monthly YouTube video? Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick – what is he shooting it on? A rented gold plated Red 1 camera? I was in video production for years – what’s he paying that “lean” staff? For $20K/month? What, is he catering their lunches from Ruth’s Chris’?

“This is an existential threat to the show,” Mr. Pakman said. Yeah, slow down there, Mr. High Dollar Video Production. I’m fairly certain there are some significant cuts you could make in your “roughly” QUARTER MILLION DOLLAR A YEAR BUDGET.

Paragraph 4: “Since its 2005 debut with the slogan ‘Broadcast Yourself,’ YouTube has positioned itself as a place where any people with camera phones can make a career of their creativity and thrive free of the grip of corporate media gatekeepers.”

“…any people…”? Holy-moly maybe the NYT needs to start a crowdfunding page to hire editors.

And no, no YouTubes never promised a career and “roughly” $250K/year for soft-core porn, lyric scrolls, alien conspiracies and prank videos.

“…independent producers like Mr. Pakman must satisfy the demands of YouTube’s unfeeling, opaque and shifting algorithms.”

“unfeeling”? “opaque”? Adverbs. These are, to me, glaring neon signs of an opinion – not objective journalism.

Paragraph 5: “It puts the wild, independent internet in danger of becoming more boring than TV.”

How old is the author? The internet hasn’t been “wild and independent” since the turn of the last century.

I cant go on. For rill-rill (see mid-aughts for def.).

Not being listed under Opinion or Editorial, I suppose being listed in the Art section with a section heading of “Critics Notebook” should suffice as notification of an opinion or editorial.

I wonder if that purposefully “vague” and “opaque”?

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