Apr 07 2017

$100 Million? It’s Going to Take More Than That

Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of the board of eBay, speaks at the eBay Developer's Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, June 13, 2007. (Photo by JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is one of the world’s richest men. He recently announced that his philanthropic investment firm will dedicate $100 million to combat the “global trust deficit.” By this he means the current lack of trust in information and institutions born by the age of misinformation, fake news, and alternative facts.

I agree that this is a phenomenon that needs to be studied and tackled, but I hope that he is just getting started with the $100 million, because it’s going to take a lot more than that. I also don’t think we can rely on a few philanthropists to fix this problem.

As an aside I find it historically interesting that the internet boom lead to a crop of very young very rich people, not only Omidyar but also Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg and others. Omidyar notes that:

“We sort of skipped the ‘regular rich’ and we went straight to ‘ridiculous rich’,” he said of his overnight fortune.

“I had the notion that, okay, so now we have all of this wealth, we could buy not only one expensive car, we could buy all of them. As soon as you realise that you could buy all of them, none of them are particularly interesting or satisfying.”

So we have a crop of young bored billionaires looking to change the world. I think that’s cool.  I hope they succeed.

Omidyar specifically wants to restore trust in institutions of information:

“The $100 million will be dedicated to supporting independent media, tackling misinformation and hate speech, and looking at ways in which technology can help repair relationships between citizens and government.”

Many people credit the internet and social media with the collapse of traditional investigative journalism, the rising power of rumor, the death of respect for expertise, and overall misinformation. It would be ironic if the kings of this new media were also the source of a solution to these problems.

I agree with this overall assessment. I have maintained that social media is a double-edged sword. It has allowed for greater dissemination and consumption of information. It has allowed scientists to directly communicate with the public. It has also dramatically lowered barriers to communication, allowing many voices to be heard, including talented and valuable voices that otherwise would have been ignored.

Social media, to some extent, is an ideal of the free market of ideas, and to some extent the creme has risen to the top.

But like many free markets, perverse incentives usually emerge. There is selective pressure in favor of quality information and good communication. There is also selective pressure favoring click-bait, sensationalism, and telling people what they want to hear rather than what is true. These market forces have lead to fake news and echochambers catering to every ideology.

In this way social media has been truly disruptive. It has also forced traditional media, which found its revenue in free fall, so seek out other business models. So far those models provide less support for full-time investigative journalists and specialist journalists (like science journalists and editors). The net result of these factors is that the public is swimming in larger amounts of lower quality information.

Some people argue that this is infinitely better than having filtered information, and they have a point. Certainly information filtered by the government is incredibly bad, because it gives the government too much power. Information filtered by corporate media also has a downside. However, filters also allow for quality control, vetting of information, journalistic standards, and accountability.

So – how do we get back some semblance of those standards without government or corporate filtering? If we can find a path to that outcome, we can have the best of both worlds.

Omidyar’s approach is to simply subsidize good journalism. I think this is one valid approach, and we should all do this to an extent appropriate to our means.

I think the adage, “You get what you pay for,” is applicable here. The internet and social media has created the expectation that information is free. To some extent this is reasonable – if we had to pay for everything on the internet we would be nickled and dimed to death. But totally free does not work as a business model either. Right now we largely “pay” for our information by having click-bait ads thrown in our face. They have their downside too, and contribute to the perverse incentives we are trying to counter in the first place.

What this may mean is that we should all voluntarily invest at least a little in what we value. That is what it really means to value something. This model is growing, with sites like Patreon that allow individuals to do just that. But also, if you think a large media outlet has good journalistic standards, get a digital subscription. Budget a small amount that you can afford to support quality information online.

There are also non-profit outlets that have high standards. I happen to think that NPR and public television are worth supporting, for example.

Of course, people will also support the echochamber of their choice in this way. All the more reason why you should support quality journalism as a balance.

In such a free market the rich and super-rich have disproportionate power. They can put their large thumb on the scale and favor what they choose. Omidyar is putting his thumb down for quality journalism, and that’s a good thing.

For full disclosure, I am on the receiving as well as giving end of this model of voluntarily supporting online information. The SGU gives away its podcast for free, and is mostly supported by voluntary memberships. We do have some ads, but we also pledged to get rid of them if our membership hits 4% of our listeners.

I don’t think anyone knows exactly how this internet/social media experiment is going to work out. I do think the election of a president who sends out angry tweets every morning, embraces false information while dismissing inconvenient reality as “fake news,” and seems to have nothing but disdain for expertise was a bit of a cultural wake-up call.

People need to become collectively more savvy and critical thinking in their consumption of information. But it would also be nice if high quality investigative journalism can thrive in the new era.

50 responses so far

50 Responses to “$100 Million? It’s Going to Take More Than That”

  1. Atlantean Idolon 07 Apr 2017 at 9:41 am

    If “tackling hate speech” is part of Omidyar’s agenda his project is going to be dead on arrival. Censorship never sells.

  2. TheGorillaon 07 Apr 2017 at 11:16 am

    It’s nice to say people should invest in good media, but those choices are produced by other social relationships; media (and institutions generally) are reflections of the actual state of a society. Any real solution has to go far beyond individual choices and psychology. It’s similar to pinning pollution on consumer choices — abstracting away from the society consumers actually inhabit just leads to non-solutions of, essentially, magic (suddenly, people will behave independently of their environment!!!).

    We also need to realize that experts have not exactly behaved in a confidence producing matter. They opine on things they have no business talking about, and the experts most people have exposure to (tv talking heads of the political and economic type) are giving apologetics, not analysis. The media has never been about facts but narratives. You’re being fed a narrative whether or not the empirical references are “objectively” correct.

    Then we all know how bad media reporting is on science — there’s the same level of pure nonsense in other areas as well. Read mainstream articles about anything you really know about and start crying!

    Etc.

  3. MosBenon 07 Apr 2017 at 12:26 pm

    This has been a common theme of late, but some amount of education about journalistic standards for a generation raised on YouTube would be a good thing. There was recently a dust up where a popular YouTube personality attacked a report by the Wall Street Journal about You Tube videos and advertising revenue. His video was inflammatory, but, as it turns out, also wrong. He didn’t do the leg work that would have been expected of a traditional journalist, and he got his basic story wrong. He apologized and took the video down, but the damage had been done and the Wall Street Journal reporter was on the receiving end of internet attacks, especially after the YouTuber’s story was picked up by alt-right groups.

    But when stories were written about this, I saw many of the YouTuber’s fans coming out to defend his actions, asking “What else do you want him to do? He took the video down and said he was sorry.” They seemingly had no conception that the criticism was that we should expect people who hold themselves out as doing journalism to do the actual required work before they broadcast their story. In an era where people are used to treating YouTube as a personal diary or social/entertainment platform there’s this group of viewers who have basically no expectation for journalistic standards for people who reach audiences into the millions. This strikes me as a problem, though I’m baffled as to how to address it.

  4. RAnton 07 Apr 2017 at 12:36 pm

    “Born to” or “borne by” not the other way. Fumbled with that phrase a few times myself.

  5. hardnoseon 07 Apr 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Omidyar can keep his money. There are simple rules we can follow to decide if news is true or fake:

    1. Will it help the drug companies make more money? True.

    2. Is it against religion and for atheism? True.

    3. Does the source have a conservative bias? Probably fake.

    3. Does the source have a progressive bias? Certainly true.

  6. Lightnotheaton 07 Apr 2017 at 4:51 pm

    More ridiculous straw men courtesy of hardnose. It is news to me, for example, that skeptics like Dr. Novella think that what the anti-GMO progressives say is “certainly true”. And hn’s #1 and #3 largely contradict each other..

  7. David Twitchon 07 Apr 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I could be wrong but it seems like a poor/inefficient use of philanthropy to me. The single action by Google today of adding a fact check below searches will be more useful than 10 billion spent by outsiders on this type of thing.

  8. rezistnzisfutlon 07 Apr 2017 at 8:01 pm

    A quick note about what’s going on with Youtube right now. It’s a separate issue than what is considered the “fake news” phenomenon. Youtube isn’t what most would consider a mainstream hard news outlet nor do most contentmakers claim to be, but rather when it’s regarding politics, social issues, and news, it’s about commentary and opinion. One could liken most content provided as an Op-Ed page, and that’s how most consumers regard it as well. Some of it does approach actual journalism in providing fact-checked evidence, due diligence, and even some objectivity, but it’s still rhetoric rather than fact.

    PewDiePie, the object of the WSJ “investigation” was wronged in this regard. It wasn’t that he got some piece of information wrong, it’s that the WSJ claimed he supported Nazism and what he was making was “hate speech”, a term that is often thrown around meaning “something I don’t agree with”. The specific videos were him dressing up in Nazi costumes making fun of Nazism, not supporting them. So, what the WSJ was doing was a little witch hunt rather than apt journalism, which actually shows that the WSJ were the ones falling down on journalistic professionalism. PewDiePie never claimed to be a news outlet, just a contentmaker providing entertainment for fans, that’s all. None of it is actually “hate speech”.

    Which leads me to what is the concerning thing about Omidyar’s mission statement, because too often what is considered “hate speech” isn’t anything of the sort and seems to be largely subjective.

  9. MosBenon 07 Apr 2017 at 8:31 pm

    To clarify, I was specifically referring to Ethan Klein/h3h3 Productions, not PewDiePie. As for PewDiePie, I don’t agree with your read of that story at all. He made some jokes in extremely bad taste and was called out on it. He gave an extremely lame defense.

  10. rezistnzisfutlon 07 Apr 2017 at 9:34 pm

    No, he made jokes, that’s all, and it makes my point regarding subjectivity as to whether they were in poor taste or not. WSJ expended an enormous amount of time and resources calling him out for simply making jokes that were nothing like “hate speech”, much less him being a Nazi or in any way supportive of Nazism, yet they stuck by those claims as if he were. That was the impetus for the current demonetization of Youtube considering that he has the biggest channel. It was a witch hunt, nothing more, and decidedly very poor journalism on the part of the WSJ. Youtube isn’t a news outlet though some news outlets use it. Mostly, it’s about commentary and opinion as I stated before, and they don’t claim to be unbiased news sources unlike many biased outlets within the mainstream that claim to be unbiased.

  11. BillyJoe7on 08 Apr 2017 at 2:38 am

    RIF: “too often what is considered “hate speech” isn’t anything of the sort”

    For example:

    It is not hate speech if it is directed towards ideas, ideologies, or religions, even if it causes people who adhere to those ideas, ideologies, or religions to feel upset, insulted, or humiliated (ie blasphemy is not hate speech).

    But it is hate speech if it is directed towards people who adhere to a certain ideas, ideologies, or religions and who argue, discus, or debate in good faith with those who don’t adhere to those ideas, ideologies,or religions (ie attacking muslims because you don’t like the tenets of Islam).

    But it is not hate speech if it is directed towards people who continually use faulty logic and disseminate misinformation, fake news, alternative facts, and outright lies in the service of an idea, ideology, or religion, or against an idea, ideology, or religion (ie HN, ME, and IW are fair game 😀 )

  12. BillyJoe7on 08 Apr 2017 at 2:50 am

    LNH: “More ridiculous straw men courtesy of hardnose”

    You did better than I did.
    I didn’t get past noting his inability to count: 1,2,3,3 😀

  13. cozyingon 08 Apr 2017 at 5:47 am

    On YouTube,
    Equating YouTube with op-eds and other types of political/social commentary is embarrassing, and indicative of some major generational difference or another massive departure from classical ideas about journalism. The biggest stars on YouTube are people like pewdiepie, and very much, not like, the New York Times, or the Atlantic or the Wall Street journal.

    You have to ignore the vast majority of all the content on YouTube to come to a conclusion where YouTubers are the new political/social commenters/analyzers. You have to ignore the business model, the average users and basically everything factual about it. And even then, for every semi-reasonable example of legitimate journalism you give me I’m gonna drop names like Alex Jones and it’s game over.

    Claiming YouTube has something meaningful to contribute to social/political commentary or some interesting analysis, is like claiming that the local brothel is a great place to learn math because the bartender has a PhD.

    The alt right took off because of the free market of ideas. People liked it and subscribed. There still to this day hasn’t been a viral star that’s an anti-Alex Jones, that’s anywhere close to being equal but opposite. There isn’t even any skeptics/critical thinkers on YouTube that have a fraction of his audience. Why do you think that is? It must have something to do with the lowest common denominator, appealing to people’s fears/prejudices and no quality control. Right?

    For some related context: Rebecca Watson was on the SGU because of being a semi famous YouTuber in the skeptic community. She has like 25k subscribers.

    On the confusion over what pewdiepie actually said,
    Here’s a summary and the controversy explained, also has many relevant links to the original videos and the WSJ article if you are interested:

    http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/2/17/14613234/pewdiepie-nazi-satire-alt-right

    (tl;dr: he is an ignorant man-child who just repeats gamer speak memes in his videos. People have been saying anti-Semitic things as part of trash talking for a long time. Listen to your kid’s in game voice chat sometime.)

    I don’t really see the difference between joking/pretending to be anti-Semitic online, and actually being anti-Semitic. If you do this in random lobbies with people you don’t know, you are essentially talking to strangers you might never interact with again. Will they get your joke?What if they happen to be Jewish? What kind of an impression have you left them with?

    From that stranger’s perspective, is there any real difference between your anti-Semitic joke and real anti-Semitism? Can you spot real vs fake anti-semitism in a stranger’s voice over the internet? Or are you so jaded that you think it’s all just innocent fun? There are real antisemites online, I know that might shock you.

    Pewdiepie messed up. People took his work seriously, analyzed it and found a lot of casual references to anti-Semitic things. That happened, it’s a fact. Talk about low hanging fruit though. He’s famous for screaming at jump scares in video games, not for having something meaningful to say.

    The only counter is that “he was joking.” A huge portion of Pewdiepie’s demographic is really young kids, millions of them. Should that be the first mention of the holocaust they hear? A joke, that belittles the suffering of millions? Would a ten year old know it was just a joke?

    On Trolls,
    Hate speech isn’t easy to define. Especially not a definition that will make everyone happy. As far as I can tell it isn’t even classically defined in law. At least not what is being referred to as hate speech in this context. Hate crime appears to be a easily definable thing. The speech is much more complicated, casually we can define it: if your speech incites violence or prejudicial action against a group.

    For example the following by Billy, is an example of this type of hate speech vs the minority group on this website known as “trolls”:

    But it is not hate speech if it is directed towards people who continually use faulty logic and disseminate misinformation, fake news, alternative facts, and outright lies in the service of an idea, ideology, or religion, or against an idea, ideology, or religion (ie HN, ME, and IW are fair game )

    He actively encourages people to belittle the people who disagree with him. That’s inciting prejudicial action, basically the definition of it. Billy and others have gone to great lengths to justify this type of hate speech. This type thing is pretty shameful and honestly pushes me away from commenting. Sad to see my back and forth with you about how it’s not okay to verbally abuse the trolls and use faulty reasoning didn’t have an impact. Here you are openly contradicting yourself and ironically displaying what can be easily and justifiably described as hate speech.

    It’s mighty inefficient to have one set of communication standards for the people who you like, another for the people you think are just ignorant, and yet another the trolls like me. Don’t you think?

    Isn’t the skeptic movement all about having one set of communication standards, encouraging discussions and treating people you hate with some basic respect? Openly coming out and saying how it’s not hate speech when it’s directed at trolls is a betrayal of everything that this movement stands for, thanks for showing us your true colors.

  14. mumadaddon 08 Apr 2017 at 8:00 am

    cozying,

    Would you agree that while there is a default level of respect one should treat people with when one knows nothing about them, that level of respect can increase or decrease for legitimate reasons?

    “Isn’t the skeptic movement all about having one set of communication standards, encouraging discussions and treating people you hate with some basic respect?”

    Well, no. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do that, just that if you asked me to summarise what the skeptic movement was ‘all about’, that wouldn’t be in there. Be aware that I’m not claiming to have the authoritative definition of what the skeptic movement is or should be ‘all about’.

  15. BillyJoe7on 08 Apr 2017 at 9:57 am

    Cozy,

    You don’t understand context either.

    In the other thread, one of those “trolls” referred to Daniel Dennett as a “loon of the highest order” because, he says, Daniel Dennett believes consciousness does not exist. I carefully and patiently (well, for me anyway) explained to him that saying consciousness is an illusion is not the same as saying consciousness does not exist. But he bulldozed on, now claiming Daniel Dennett thinks he and everyone else is a p- zombie. So, I calmly and patiently (again, for me) explained to him that he actually believes the opposite. And I quoted from a variety of sources – the Stanford University philosophy website, David Chalmers, and Wikipedia. I then found the quote that misled him into thinking Dan Dennett thinks everyone is a p-Zombie. Again carefully and patiently explaining how IW was probably misled by someone who quoted him out of context. So then he insisted that the statement could not be quoted out of context, that the quoted-out-of-context statement stands on its own regardless of the surrounding words establishing the context.

    Then I did a Maxwell on him.

    In other words, there is a limit to patience and tolerance, and the trolls are so named because they have excessively exceeded our patience and tolerance.

  16. clauclauclaudiaon 09 Apr 2017 at 9:14 am

    So you attack the arguments, not the people. The same as attacking Islamic beliefs instead of attacking Muslims.

  17. Nitpickingon 09 Apr 2017 at 12:18 pm

    For some related context: Rebecca Watson was on the SGU because of being a semi famous YouTuber in the skeptic community. She has like 25k subscribers.

    Seriously? I’m pretty sure Rebecca was on the SGU because of Skepchick, and before she was on YouTube. I’m sure of that because I listened to the first interview with her, before she became a Rogue, and before she was on YouTube. Rebecca for whatever reason doesn’t really work at YouTube consistently and puts pretty minimal effort into her videos.

    There are skeptics on YouTube with much higher subscribership. I recommend:

    Captain Disillusion: https://www.youtube.com/user/CaptainDisillusion (interviewed on SGU a few times)

    and

    CoolHardLogic: https://www.youtube.com/user/CoolHardLogic/

    and

    Potholer54: https://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54

    All have way more subscribers than Rebecca and all are worth watching. CD is, I believe, making his a good fraction of his living on skeptical video right now.

  18. rezistnzisfutlon 09 Apr 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t think anyone said that YT is a place dedicated to solid news or even news commentary or political analysis. You get everything from how to replace your car’s oil to 1980s prog-rock videos. Youtube DOES include, for whatever percentage that is, contentmakers who create videos with commentary and political/social analysis, and some of it is very thoughtful and well-researched.

    And sorry, but getting your information about what happened with PewDiePie the WSJ from Vox is like getting your information about GMOs from Natural News. I only brought him up because this whole YT demonetization was started with very faulty journalism on the part of the WSJ, and that anyone who takes the time to actually look a his videos will by and large come to a different conclusion than what WSJ did. I liken it to what happened with Rolling Stone and the UVa story, it was a “journalist” with a story they wanted to write and set about looking for controversy where none actually existed.

    In this case, considering that Youtube contentmakers themselves never CLAIMED to be cutting edge journalism, even the ones heavily dedicated to news, political, and social commentary, much less Youtube itself being any sort of news media outlet, makes the notion that Youtube therefore is or should be part of any efforts to “clean up” journalism is a red herring. Given that, the opinion that demonetization of Youtube is a good thing can be countered just as equally that the intent is to silence those with political and social opinions they don’t like, the vast majority of which are NOT racist, sexist, phobic, or any sort of other “hate speech”.

    Regarding hate speech, it is highly subjective what is considered hate speech. A person can be critical of Islam AND critical of Muslims who carry out those ideas deemed bad. The irony is, there seems to be no problem criticizing, say, pro-life Christians (incidentally, as far as I know most Muslims fall into this category). Is it “hate speech” to critical of Christians? Again, just an example that I commonly see as a bit on the hypocritical side. (I’m an atheist so I’m not arguing for or against any ideas here, just calling it like I see it).

  19. cozyingon 09 Apr 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Billy,

    In other words, there is a limit to patience and tolerance, and the trolls are so named because they have excessively exceeded our patience and tolerance.

    Yeah so why does Steven have exchanges with the so called trolls? Why does he not snap and have freak out breakdowns like you where he openly advocates hate speech?

    On context: yeah no thanks, not getting drawn into another pointless exchange about the meaning of “close a door” versus “siting close to someone.” That only ends when Novella comes in and tells you pretty much exactly what I was saying. In my reply here, I was clearly referring to what I quoted of yours in this thread. You openly said it’s not hate speech to attack and insult trolls. This is a theme in your writing. I didn’t even provoke it this time though I wasn’t even here. You just have this obsession along with some others here to attack trolls and use illogical personal attacks against them. And then you have to justify it, must weigh on your conscious or something.

    mumadadd,
    You can’t have this skeptical movement, or be a critical thinker without having standards of communication and things like logic and evidence. We don’t use different standards when we argue with trolls. It is hate speech and illogical abusive behavior to attack the trolls like billy and other do. Trolls have a right to be here. Over the months I’ve seen all manner of disrespectful/offensive comments and personal attacks directed at those who disagree.

    The almighty Novella chooses, every time he writes a patient reply to egnor or hardnose, to let them exist. He could save himself a lot of time and ban all the trolls. Or put in more stringent comment/membership guidelines. Why do you think that is? It’s because that’s what skepticism is, patiently, respectfully and logically engaging with the other side. Yes even the trolls like me and all the people you despise.

    Nitpicking,

    Seriously? I’m pretty sure Rebecca was on the SGU because of Skepchick, and before she was on YouTube. I’m sure of that because I listened to the first interview with her, before she became a Rogue, and before she was on YouTube. Rebecca for whatever reason doesn’t really work at YouTube consistently and puts pretty minimal effort into her videos.

    Hey I like Rebecca. I only said that for some context, I wasn’t insulting her but you are. The point isn’t that she isn’t popular, it’s that critical thinking isn’t popular. Yes technically Skepchick was founded like a year before she was on the SGU. I don’t imagine it was very popular back then. You saying she doesn’t work at her YouTube videos is 100% wrong. In fact she has a Patreon page that is dedicated expressly to this purpose, it’s for “making videos.” Also her YouTube has many videos. And a new one every week or something? Going back over a decade? You set out to correct and challenge me but ended up saying someone who is known for making videos, who describes herself as someone who makes videos, as someone who doesn’t put the effort in or really care about making videos.

    There are skeptics on YouTube with much higher subscribership. I recommend…

    Oh wow so you fell in that trap? Let’s play then. The three YouTubers you recommend have a grand total of: 325k + 50k + 125k = ~500k subscribers. Alex Jones has ~2 million. RT, the Kremlin’s propaganda outlet, has ~2 million. The average YouTuber isn’t concerned at all with political/social commentary and those who create videos in that area are mostly conspiracy theorists and peddling an alternative reality. My whole point about YouTube was just about those numbers and the average user experience. That it’s not where you go to get your political/social commentary and it’s nothing like the op-eds in the mainstream media. Its political commentary is still dominated by alternative facts and nowhere near the quality of legitimate journalism. Legitimate journalism and critical thinking content on YouTube is lost in all the noise. You have to ignore everything about YouTube to come to the conclusion that it’s a good source for political/socially commentary. It’s like saying that twitter or Facebook is becoming the new op-ed, it’s just not realistic. These are facts.

    rezistnzisfutl,

    I don’t think anyone said that YT is a place dedicated to solid news or even news commentary or political analysis. You get everything from how to replace your car’s oil to 1980s prog-rock videos. Youtube DOES include, for whatever percentage that is, contentmakers who create videos with commentary and political/social analysis, and some of it is very thoughtful and well-researched.

    But before you said something quite different….

    A quick note about what’s going on with Youtube right now. It’s a separate issue than what is considered the “fake news” phenomenon. Youtube isn’t what most would consider a mainstream hard news outlet nor do most contentmakers claim to be, but rather when it’s regarding politics, social issues, and news, it’s about commentary and opinion. One could liken most content provided as an Op-Ed page, and that’s how most consumers regard it as well. Some of it does approach actual journalism in providing fact-checked evidence, due diligence, and even some objectivity, but it’s still rhetoric rather than fact.

    Youtube isn’t a news outlet though some news outlets use it. Mostly, it’s about commentary and opinion as I stated before, and they don’t claim to be unbiased news sources unlike many biased outlets within the mainstream that claim to be unbiased.

    You clearly just lied about what you said, you made no mention of how it was a small percentage of all the content. You also made no mention, even in your revisionist reply of how YouTube has no quality control. If you note, Quality Control and standards are a big part of what Steven Novella wrote about in the blog post.
    YouTube is not “mostly” about social/political commentary, its “mostly” about music, cat, dance and epic fail videos. The vast majority of the social/political commentary on YouTube is conspiracy videos, thing with extreme views like the alt-right movement’s vloggers, anti-everything rants, (antiestablishment, antifeminism, antiprogress, antirefugee, antiislamic hatespeech), uneducated political analysis and then just a lot of naive well-meaning people who get things horribly wrong. When you sift through that maybe you can find a few pearls of wisdom. Is it worth it? Not really. Do those pearls of YouTube wisdom have any meaningful impact on the greater political/social narrative? Nope.
    There’s a reason things are called “mainstream,” most people get their political/social commentary from mainstream sources. As a critical thinker and skeptic you should be aware of the mainstream version of events and their analysis. Or you risk becoming someone who thinks CNN, and the New York Times are fake news and that the real political/social commentary that drives the current narratives isn’t found in mainstream news outlets and is instead to be found on YouTube.

    And sorry, but getting your information about what happened with PewDiePie the WSJ from Vox is like getting your information about GMOs from Natural News. I only brought him up because this whole YT demonetization was started with very faulty journalism on the part of the WSJ, and that anyone who takes the time to actually look a his videos will by and large come to a different conclusion than what WSJ did.

    You clearly did not read the Vox article I linked, or you would not say such foolish things. Actually “anyone” can’t “actually look at his videos” because he took all the relevant videos down. That’s why you need the Vox article to see the links to what he said.
    If you google him or go through his official channel to get to the heart of this matter you will see a revisionist historical perspective. I stand by the Vox article, it’s just a summary of the events with links. I’ll also note that you could have given examples of the problems with the Vox article but you didn’t. It’s all in what you choose to say and choose to leave out.
    Please outline the problems with that article. Go for it. It’s a chronological summary of the events with detailed links to the content pewdiepie took down. There is very little opinion in that article. It’s true that pewdiepie intentionally included nazi symbolism into his videos. It’s true. He also then took down all the videos with that content. That’s also true. Disney-owned Maker studios dropped him over this controversy. That’s also true. It’s kinda like all the advertisers pulling out from Bill O’Reilly’s show. It’s much more like that then the rolling stone example you gave. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rape_on_Campus )

    That story was retracted within a few months and you are right, it’s an example of a overzealous/self-interested/bad journalist. However that is nothing like this story with pewdiepie. Disney is never going to take him back. The WSJ will never retract their story on him. Stories get retracted all the time when they are found to be inaccurate. There is nothing inaccurate about the WSJ’s story on pewdiepie. They just reported on what he actually said in those videos.

    It’s just Vox and the WSJ right? Because, like you say, that’s like getting GMO info from natural news? Oh wait there are similar summary articles coming to the same conclusion, everywhere?

    My personal favorites: http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2017/02/17/pewdiepies-misguided-war-on-the-media-sounds-familiar/

    http://www.theverge.com/2017/2/16/14637934/pewdiepie-apology-nazi-jokes-blames-media

    So I have to ask why are you still defending him? The media is just wrong? Give me your legit sources then, that say that pewdiepie didn’t do anything wrong, and that everyone is wrong. That show Disney, WSJ, everyone is lying about pewdiepie. Also please explain why he took down all the problematic videos?

    Regarding hate speech, it is highly subjective what is considered hate speech. A person can be critical of Islam AND critical of Muslims who carry out those ideas deemed bad. The irony is, there seems to be no problem criticizing, say, pro-life Christians (incidentally, as far as I know most Muslims fall into this category). Is it “hate speech” to critical of Christians?

    Some big logic errors here. Not all Christians are the type that hold up pictures of dead fetuses at protests. There are even Christians who are pro-choice. Not all Christians blow up abortion clinics or shoot doctors who provide the service. Criticism directed towards the pro-life protesters or the violent acts is not the same as criticizing someone for being a Christian. One is a logical and effective use of free speech and the other is closer to hate speech. Not all Muslims are the sort that believe in extreme views. So if you say things that contain similar assumptions about Islam and it’s believers you are also acting with prejudice.

  20. Nitpickingon 09 Apr 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Wow, cozying, you’re surprisingly passionate about this.

    Rebecca does not put much effort into the video aspects of her videos. They’re just her reading something to a camera. They’re also usually very poorly-lit, although (not surprisingly) the sound quality is high.

    This has to do with the fact that before becoming a “professional skeptic” she was a writer by trade. Her effort goes into the words, not the video aspect, at least so far. The other video channels I mentioned spend much more of their efforts on the visuals. It’s video–that matters.

    I wasn’t mocking Rebecca, just mentioning the truth as I see it. Rebecca is a pretty honest person, I think she’d agree with everything I just posted.

    Trap? What trap? Everything I wrote about those other channels is true. My point wasn’t that they’re as popular as Alex Jones’ channel, nor did I say that. My point was that Rebecca was not selected for the SGU on the basis of a nonexistent-at-the-time YouTube channel’s popularity. Steve can read subscriber numbers as easily as you or I can. And Skepchick-the-blog was indeed just starting out. Rebecca was initially interviewed because of the Skepchick calendar, and she and the Connecticut contingent clicked, so they made her a regular because she worked well on the show. They’ve discussed this on the show.

    Saying that “YouTube” is dominated by alternative facts is like saying that TV is dominated by bad reality shows. YT is a medium, not a single “channel” in the media-studies sense.

  21. cozyingon 10 Apr 2017 at 2:04 am

    Nitpicking,

    Saying that “YouTube” is dominated by alternative facts is like saying that TV is dominated by bad reality shows. YT is a medium, not a single “channel” in the media-studies sense.

    Do you honestly think I don’t know the difference between a YouTube channel and YouTube as a medium? What are you talking about? Honestly? I even gave the examples of Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t matter that there are some videos on YouTube concerned with critical thinking/skepticism and political/social commentary. That’s not what the site is for. The website is primarily for entertainment content and wasting time. It has no quality control and social media in general led to the rise of alternative media and directly to the prominence of people like Trump and Alex Jones.

    The famous people like pewdiepie don’t become famous because they have something meaningful to contribute but because of a multitude of factors that are so difficult to understand and predict that big corporations can’t make their ads go viral. For example, pewdiepie is barely coherent in most of his videos, that widens his base by making him accessible to people who can’t speak English. The humor isn’t sophisticated, you don’t need to even understand what he is saying to laugh, people probably just laugh because they think he has a funny accent and way of talking, his high pitched squeals also entertain children the same way their parents do with their baby talk voices. No one would predict that this combination of features would be insanely popular one day, but it happened. It probably has something to do with the surge over the last few years of parents getting their kids iPads super early and that YouTube comes standard on them.

    If you look in this comment thread, I was here before you. I said lots of things in response to people that were not you, basically all of which you ignored. You are ignoring the basic points I’m trying to make and making absurd statements instead. True to your username, you cherry-picked some stuff to squabble about. Clearly I just added that thing about Rebecca for some added context for my overall points. It even has its own little paragraph and the words: “For some related context:” preceded it. It has nothing to do with the overall points I’m making. The point is not the specific chronology of when she joined the SGU, but that she is known for, and describes herself as, someone who makes videos. She has a YouTube channel with many videos that’s been active for over a decade. You came in late and cherrypicked some stuff and said things like she doesn’t work at YouTube or put effort in. Meanwhile it’s like a huge part of her life for a decade and now you tell me it wasn’t an insult. She has a Patreon where she asks for money so she can make more videos. I guess yeah she should just accept that you are right and you know more about her preferred video style than she does.

    I’m not getting drawn into this further. My point was YouTube is not the new op-Ed. It’s mostly garbage. I said this because a pewdiepie fan said it was the new op-Ed and mostly about political commentary.

    Additionally, given time to google things, I would hardly call Captain Disillusion a skeptic, he’s an entertainer that happens to debunk internet hoaxes. Going to TAM doesn’t make you a skeptic. This isn’t a no true Scotsman, look at his video content and the context of what I was talking about. For example, Rebecca, like a real skeptic, is clearly concerned with things that actually have an impact on the world. Like political and social issues. Critical thinking, promoting skepticism and science education. Where is this silver-faced-pen-and-teller-wannabe’s video about Trump, black lives matter, any social issue, any current event, any controversial political stance? You mean to tell me that in all of 2016 he didn’t have anything to say about the biggest story of the year? Oh that’s not his job you say? He was instead talking about an internet hoax so obscure I literally never heard of it? Oh I see. Okay to be fair he is allowed to do what he thinks is most important and not what I think is most important. Sure. But that’s it what this conversation was about. This the Youtuber you put up as an example of someone who is popular that represents critical thinking and the skeptical movement? Especially in response to my true claim that there is no popular anti-Alex Jones?I’m embarrassed for you.

    Rebecca does not put much effort into the video aspects of her videos. They’re just her reading something to a camera. They’re also usually very poorly-lit, although (not surprisingly) the sound quality is high.

    It’s also interesting that you put forth this jokester and bashed the technically quality of Rebecca’s videos. Rebecca’s content has substance. This guy has none, but he has flashy visuals. I’m sure there is something deep and wonderful to explore here with your preference of the true-to-the-medium visuals and attack on the one with the actual meaningful content.

    Is skepticism about flashy visuals, or patient calm discussion? Is it taught in articles, lectures, exercises and books, or in 3 min flashy videos with creepy music? Is it the job of a skeptic to stay in the safe realm of debunking obscure internet hoaxes or taking on unpopular opinions? Isn’t it our job to contribute something meaningful to current events. Or at least analyze them and provide a skeptical/critical thinking commentary? Don’t skeptics challenge long standing institutions like homeopathy, chiropractors, and new age woo that’s beloved by millions?

    Captain Disillusion is not someone you should be touting as an example of the skeptical movement in action. He should also never be brought up in the context of someone who can challenge Alex Jones, and the many problems with YouTube’s social/political commentary.

  22. SteveAon 10 Apr 2017 at 6:51 am

    Rezistnzisfutl: “I only brought him up because this whole YT demonetization was started with very faulty journalism on the part of the WSJ, and that anyone who takes the time to actually look a his videos will by and large come to a different conclusion than what WSJ did.”

    I’d never paid much attention to Pewdiepie before the WSJ story broke, but I was curious, so I did take the time to look at his output and came to the conclusion that the WSJ piece was an unprincipled hatchet job, a deliberate attempt to distort and defame (in contrast to the H3H3 story which was the result of a genuine error – explained and apologised for).

    We can expect more of this type of trash journalism to come as the old media desperately tries to claw back advertising revenue from the new. Short-sighted tactics that will inevitably backfire.

    I’m a Pewdiepie subscriber now (or ‘Family-Friendly Felix’ as he’s come to call himself). He’s funny and clever.

  23. Atlantean Idolon 10 Apr 2017 at 8:39 am

    Skepticism as movement lost all credibility when the NECSS committee capitulated to the Muslim-loving feminazis by disinviting Dawkins. Dr. Novella should have recused himself for his connection to that infantile crybully Rebecca Watson.

    #FeminismIsCancer

  24. cozyingon 10 Apr 2017 at 10:02 am

    You guys are aware that WSJ didn’t publish the story and then cause pewdiepie to be demonetized. What happened was they asked Disney for a comment to the story they were writing. Disney replied saying that they were cutting off pewdiepie and that became the story. The WSJ story was unpublished at the time where everything significant happened.

  25. cozyingon 10 Apr 2017 at 10:34 am

    This reminds me of the people who defended Milo Yiannopoulos as some supreme intellectual and didn’t realize that he was banned from twitter for a pattern of abusive behavior going back years. He went on Alex Jones and bragged about the Streisand effect, said he would make his own social media website to challenge twitter. Then just a few months later he gets fired from Breitbart, loses his book deal and is headed in an overall downward trending trajectory.

    Milo, O’Reilly, pewdiepie, these people are all on the wrong side of history. If you defend them and keep acting like there isn’t this overall trend in our world you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.

    It’s a fact that pewdiepie intentionally included nazi symbolism into his videos. He edited them to include the nazi party anthem for example. That’s a pretty specific thing, and I doubt his average viewers would recognize it’s significance. You can argue that it was a joke, or that it was done for artistic reasons and that he is allowed to do it because of free speech. But it’s really easy to see why Disney chose to drop him. They saw something wrong with a guy, who’s primary demographic is children, casually joking about the holocaust and trivializing sensitive historical details.

    It doesn’t fit Disney’s family brand, and they have the right to cut someone who violates their internal code of ethics/conduct. This isn’t censorship, it’s capitalism at its best. Disney could have worked with the WSJ to delay publishing or threaten lawsuits, they didn’t, they saw the danger this hooligan posed to their brand and fought for their own survival.

    Look at all the mental hoops you have to jump through to pretend that Fox News didn’t have some systemic sexual harassment problem. Gretchen Carlson was paid 20 million to go away. Do you think that if Roger Ailes really didn’t do anything that he would lose his job in such an insane way? Why doesn’t he counter sue her from defamation and all the trouble she caused him? Is the justice system now rigged against rich white men?

  26. Atlantean Idolon 10 Apr 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Milo wasn’t fired from Breitbart; he resigned of his own volition so as not to be a distraction during the controversy stirred by a smear campaign orchestrated by Evan McMullen in which an interview in which Milo recounts his early adolescent sexual experience was doctored to create the impression that Milo was defending pedophilia, which he never actually did:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azC1nm85btY (begins at 57:00)

    Milo’s Twitter “harassment” consisted of him deservedly trashing a terrible remake of a beloved movie and accurately describing one of the lead actress’ physical appearance.

    There’s no such thing as cyber-harassment. If you can’t take the heat get out of the Tokamak.

  27. cozyingon 10 Apr 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Milo wasn’t fired in the same way Michel Flynn wasn’t fired. They both technically resigned. What would have happened if Milo or Flynn didn’t resign? They technically handed in letters of resignation or whatever but it’s commonly accepted that they were forced to and therefore we can use the expression “fired.” Therefore they were both fired. This is a cute splitting of hairs though. Totally distracts everyone from the massive amount of hate speech you spew.

    Actually here’s something from that that time that was reported in multiple places: https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/02/20/breitbart-employees-threaten-walk-out-over-milo/

    Multiple publications reported that the internal climate at Breitbart was openly hostile towards Milo staying there and were lobbying to get him fired.

    He used racist attacks against Leslie Jones. It was not an accurate description of an adult female. It’s widely known and accepted that judging black people based on their appearance and comparing them to animals is pretty inappropriate and racist. Open a history book seriously.

    He went well beyond casual racism. If you go and look at his subsequent interviews about the movie review he openly says he hated it for many reasons, he hated how it was an all female cast and how the women think they have something useful to contribute. Actually. Pretty much in line with your anti feminism stuff so you should know this material well.

    Moving on, Milo did actually say things in support of pedophilia. Anyone can see that. It’s super obvious and factual. He really did say those things. Along with thanking some supposed priest for teaching him how to pleasure men sexually, he also said this:

    “We get hung up on this sort of child abuse stuff to the point where we are heavily policing consensual adults … In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men — the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship — those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents.”

    Please show me how this was all a smear campaign and how those things didn’t actually happen.

  28. Nitpickingon 10 Apr 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I was here before you. I said lots of things in response to people that were not you, basically all of which you ignored. You are ignoring the basic points I’m trying to make and making absurd statements instead. True to your username, you cherry-picked some stuff to squabble about.

    Depends on where “here” is. I’ve been reading Neurologica since it started. (That, by the way, was a true nitpick.) If you mean that you commented on this post before me … I knew that, really I did.

    I didn’t comment on the other things you wrote, by the way, mostly because some I don’t have a strong opinion on, and others I agree with. Your comments are, let us say, of Gorski-esque length. I am in no way obligated to respond to every point you make. Instead I chose to discuss those matters I actually did feel I could contribute about, even if they aren’t your central thesis. This is a conversation, not a forensic exercise, no one gets to decide what the topic is, except maybe Steve.

    Why are you, pardon the expression, dissing Captain Dis? And so ineffectively!

    Again, I like Rebecca. I subscribe to her YouTube channel! I just think the lack of more compelling visuals is the reason it isn’t more widely-viewed than it is. I’m not sure why you are so over-the-top upset about that. (If she did a podcast, it might be very successful, but I can think of a couple of reasons she would choose not to do that, starting with btdt, since she’s been a regular on three I can think of already. I have no inside information, just speculating.)

  29. BillyJoe7on 11 Apr 2017 at 7:17 am

    cozy,

    I think you are being hypocritical.
    Is that “hate speech”?

    What if I said: You are a hypocrite.
    Is that “hate speech”?

    Are you quilty of “hate speech” in your denunciation of me for using what you interpret as “hate speech”?

    And, for your information, Steven Novella has been scathing in his demolition job on some of the blog’s trolls, especially Michael Egnor, and hardnose. And they deserved every put down. You simply haven’t been around long enough to understand that.

    Apart from that, there are more ways than one to skin a troll. We’ll leave you to your strategy of engaging them in good faith, if you’ll leave us to use them as foils to educate others. There is no evidence that your way is better than ours.

  30. BillyJoe7on 11 Apr 2017 at 7:25 am

    “Your comments are, let us say, of Gorski-esque length”

    Yeah, you have to scan almost half way down the page to get past his intro to the topic at hand. 😀
    But, at least, his comments are packed with useful information.
    …oops, sorry cozy, if I inadvertantly lapsed into “hate speech” against your inestimable person.

  31. Atlantean Idolon 11 Apr 2017 at 9:23 am

    @cozyinyourwhiteguilt:

    It’s widely known and accepted that judging black people based on their appearance and comparing them to animals is pretty inappropriate and racist.

    Leslie Jones IS mannishly ugly and happens to be black. Your implication that a certain race should be judged by different aesthetic standards betrays your own bigotry.

  32. cozyingon 11 Apr 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Nitpicking,
    I never said you had to reply to everything I said, you must know that I don’t actually believe that, I’m not sitting here expecting someone is going to respond to everything I say on an obscure comment section of an obscure blog. And since I didn’t write it, it’s a straw man. In the quote you used I’m clearly pointing out that I wasn’t writing to you, and that you came in late, took a small part and ignored the overarching themes and objectives I was clearly pursuing.

    ‘What’ you ‘chose’ to attack, is interesting all on its own. The fact that you chose to attack a cute aside (which even had its own paragraph and and intro labeling it an aside), instead of the attacking the actual overall points I was making says a lot. Most notably it’s not helpful, and distracts from the counter I was making. Clearly you just want to fight. Which is cool. But I don’t think that’s what I want. I have stated objectives and points, I also reply to things within context.

    In the context of this thread I was pointing out how YouTube isn’t the new op-Ed, pewdiepie wasn’t unfairly attacked, how Disney will never take him back and how the WSJ will never retract that story. It’s all true. You came in late to attack my reply. So do you or do you not agree with those overall points?

    I concede that I really did think that Rebecca started on YouTube, and I wasn’t one of the five people reading her blog those first few months. I would also assume that, like me, most people who have heard of her first came across her on YouTube or the podcast. She describes herself as someone who makes videos, has a Patreon for that purpose, so I don’t really agree with your comments, clearly it’s her chosen style. I think it’s effective and unpopular, but more popular than our channels. Captain Diss isn’t really someone I would tout as a great skeptic, especially given the context of this thread, I was explicitly talking about the alt-right, conspiracy theories and people like Alex Jones. I even explicitly said there hasn’t been a single famous anti-Alex Jones. My point was that the political/social commentary on YouTube is mostly that type of content and real journalism/op-eds are still to be found in the mainstream. And real examples of skepticism are even less well known. The examples of YouTuber skeptics you provided actually support my argument, not yours. If those are the most famous names you can muster, then yeah thanks you made my argument stronger.

    BillyJoe7,

    And, for your information, Steven Novella has been scathing in his demolition job on some of the blog’s trolls, especially Michael Egnor, and hardnose. And they deserved every put down. You simply haven’t been around long enough to understand that.

    Actually, I’ve read every comment Steve has written on this blog in the last few years. Someone has not being paying attention to the content though. You should probably read a few and look at the style, then look at yours. No where does he use abusive and offensive speech, advocate hate speech and personally attack people. You openly tell other people that it’s not inappropriate to use those abusive methods against “trolls,” he would not agree.

    Your comments to hardnose and others are filled with personal attacks, his are not. Just because he says hardnose is wrong in a respectful way doesn’t mean it’s equivalent to you saying the same thing but with disrespectful language. It’s not that there is more than one approach, it’s that his approach is in line with the skeptical movement, and yours is just another online abusive argument.

    People reading your comments don’t learn anything, you aren’t swaying anyone’s opinion, mostly you just preach to the choir. Guess what? Most people here, on this speciality blog, are probably here for the skeptical, science based commentary that Steven provides in his blog posts. You openly freaking out at the trolls like me isn’t something most of the readers need you to say. They don’t need you to say: “Hey hardnose your extreme skepticism about literally everything, and your blind contrarianism in the face of overwhelming evidence is logically unsound.”

    What the average reader of this blog needs is some good examples of arguments to counter trolls like me. Especially because the trolls use really common everyday arguments that you encounter literally everywhere. If you respond to mainstream weak arguments with shoddy logic and non-rigorous arguments, then you aren’t helping anyone. You are just strengthening hardnose and egnor’s beliefs by the backfire effect. The average commenters, especially, have a lot to learn about skepticism. Surprisingly it doesn’t help anyone, to just add fuel to the fire by using personal attacks and weak arguments. I’ve seen hardnose entangle many people in a web of nonsense because they contradicted themselves and resorted to abusive nonsense instead of calming down and proceeding with more care.

    It’s not about you or me. It’s not the trolls vs the true skeptics. It’s about the process. You are what you do, never forget that. Skepticism isn’t just a belief system, it takes active training and practice. Steven replies to hardnose and egnor because he needs to exercise his skeptical muscles in that way. He needs to remind himself to be patient, and try to write a convincing argument to the publicly believed statements they sometimes make. Steven has been replying to people like egnor and hardnose for years, he probably knows he’s not going to convince them. But he tells himself it’s still worth fighting. The replies he writes to are not really for them, it’s for you, so you can see an example of how to respond to someone like that. Instead of just assuming they are idiots, take them to task, ask them for sources, show them internal contradictions in their arguments, keep calm, don’t take the bait.

    Atlantean Idol,

    Your implication that a certain race should be judged by different aesthetic standards betrays your own bigotry.

    Except that’s not what I said. You even quoted part of what I said, that doesn’t support your argument, which is too cute sweetheart. I never claimed that there should be different standards, (but there actually are). I was making reference to a commonly held opinion, a social construct, etiquette etc.

    We all actually look like monkeys and apes, because we share a recent common ancestor. For example, if you say pewdiepie looks like an ape, it’s not a racially-tinged statement.

    But if you say that about a black person, it fits into a long historical record of white people saying that black people are no better than animals. There are numerous examples, centuries even, of this type of commentary and people laughing at comparisons between apes/monkeys and black people. Open a history book, learn about slavery.

    There is a very real double standard. Everyone knows this, except racists.

  33. BillyJoe7on 11 Apr 2017 at 3:26 pm

    cozy,

    Please don’t state your unsubstantiated opinions as facts. They are just your unsubstantiated opinions. Moreover, they are mostly either objectively wrong or misguided. Most of what you say about me and others actually applies to you. And I’m pretty sure that, like myself, no commenters have learnt anything from you or care any more to waste the time required to read your over-verbose deposits.

    Our problem is that we feed the trolls, your problem is that you nourish them.
    Good luck with that strategy.

  34. cozyingon 11 Apr 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Can’t help but point out that feed and nourish are synonymous.

    The first synonym of ‘nourish’ on some entries is ‘feed;’ first thesaurus entry for ‘nourish’ defines it as ‘feed.” In fact, because everyone needs food to survive, in this context there is no real difference between feeding a troll and nourishing a troll. Both are providing nourishment/food to the troll. Clearly you must mean that I’m going beyond simple “feeding,” or do you, is it clear and obvious or just some weak wordplay? What could be more important than providing for a human baby (or future troll)?

    Since when I provide my kids with food, I’m “feeding” them. When you care for the most precious and delicate humans, the term is “baby feeding,” or “breast feeding.” Feeding is all over the place in parenting books, I guess those authors don’t hold this enlightened distinction you do, that “nourish” is a better word.

    Either way you just fell into a tu quoque, not only did you admit to feeding the trolls and not attempt to defend yourself from that allegation. But now you think it’s a logical defense to just say that I do it too. Even if the tu quoque logical fallacy wasn’t a thing, you would still get annihilated on the details. Clearly you mean something like that I take the trolls, train, educate and provide them shelter; but you just give them scraps of food. Let’s examine that, I don’t have as many comments as you do directed towards hardnose or egnor. I doubt they even recognize me as a poster. If it’s a degree of troll feeding that you are trying to establish that separates us, I’m sorry but you are mistaken. You have hundreds of comments where you say very abusive things to the trolls. You spend days interacting with them using these abusive methods, please find some examples, or just one, of me doing that, go find an example of me verbally abusing them, calling them illiterate, making fun of their beliefs etc. Still waiting btw, it’s been months.

    Also can’t help but point out that you could have found some examples of things that I said that were wrong. Instead of just saying that I’m “objectively wrong.” Please give me examples of things I said that were objectively wrong and misguided. Let’s do this. You’ve been challenged many times already and just ignored me.

    Just having these blanket generalizations about how someone is “objectively wrong and misguided,” without evidence, is objectively wrong and misguided.

    For example everything I said about pewdiepie, and YouTube vs real journalism is true. How is that misguided? We have a pewdiepie fan come in and tell us that YouTube is the new social/political commentary like the new op-ed. Even saying it’s “mostly” that. Going so far as to defend pewdiepie vs something that the WSJ reported on that was legit, and Disney acted within its rights to do what they did.

    As a skeptic it’s my job to point out that no actually you are mistaken friend, YouTube is mostly cat videos+ entertaining nonsense and not real op-Ed journalism, sorry it’s a fact. I know that alternative media is on the rise and many people believe that it’s the real media now. That is still not the case. Mainstream news is still the primary driving force. That’s why all your alt news people quote mainstream sources and not their own independent work. It’s my job as a skeptic to look at something I know nothing about like the pewdiepie controversy objectively, and give an analysis. The pewdiepie fan was 100% wrong, like you, they attacked the Vox article but didn’t mention a single thing in the article that was wrong. Things can’t be wrong if you can’t explain why. There’s literally dozens of articles by now, all over the internet about how pewdiepie really did have Nazi symbolism, music, and actual text in his videos. Sorry it happened? Sorry the rest of the world isn’t cool with their kids learning about the holocaust for the first time in a casual joke that trivializes historical facts.

  35. cozyingon 11 Apr 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Billy,

    You should also probably use quotations and reference specific things that you believe are wrong for another reason. If you look at this thread there is a lot of things I said here.

    The post where you claim, without specifics, that I’m just stating unsubstantiated opinions as facts, directly follows my reply to Atlantean Idol where I said some pretty obvious factual things. It’s not my personal opinion that you shouldn’t compare black people to apes, it’s a pretty widespread belief with a strong historical past guiding it. It’s justified and makes perfect sense. We don’t live in a post-racism era, we still need to be mindful of these things.

    When you just use blanket generalizations to say that my “opinions” are “objectively false and misguided” it can be read that you disagree with what I said to Atlantean, and are therefore also have misogynistic/racist beliefs. Do you also think that Leslie Jones looks like the way Milo described?

    Because I said it was inappropriate, Atlantean said it was okay and accurate, I explained it’s racist because of historical details. You then said, without specifying, that I provide unsubstantiated opinions as facts. And that I’m objectively wrong and misguided. Okay so you agree with Atlantean?

    It’s not some trick meant to get you to side with me. You go to these great lengths to distance yourself from me, but I think me and you have more in common than either of us with Atlantean. The point is that you care so little about an actual commenter here alongside us that spews misogynistic racist stuff. You care so much about how I’m wrong because I replied to you that you don’t even read the actual content of my replies. Or is it the group cohesion? Who’s more of a troll on this blog, me ore Atlantean? Which one fits more into the modern skeptical movement?

    Show me where in my replies to Atlantean, I am stating unsubstantiated opinions as fact and “objectively wrong and misguided.”

    Pretty please. Open invitation.

  36. BillyJoe7on 11 Apr 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I am sorry, cozy, there are just too many words for me to be bothered reading them.
    But I’ll just give you a hint about where your view on racism is false – it ignores objective facts.
    And it’s not acceptance of objective facts that make you a racist but how you use them.
    Also, as my immigrant friend once said in an off-hand way: Everyone is a racist, especially those who try very hard not to be. She was talking about people who treated her special because of her race.

  37. cozyingon 11 Apr 2017 at 6:42 pm

    BillyJoe7,

    But I’ll just give you a hint about where your view on racism is false – it ignores objective facts.
    And it’s not acceptance of objective facts that make you a racist but how you use them.

    Please go and learn some basic historical details. Here’s somewhere you can start:
    http://theconversation.com/comparing-black-people-to-monkeys-has-a-long-dark-simian-history-55102

    How is this even a conversation we have to have on this blog?

    Yes it’s racist to compare black peoples to monkeys. Period.

    You have no argument. It has nothing to do with objective details. We all share a common ancestor, to an objective outsider alien I’m sure even the whitest male would bare a striking resemblance to our primate ancestors. The problem isn’t with the technical accuracy/objective nature of the statement it’s the context. It’s socially unacceptable to make comments like that and it has a rich history deeply rooted in racism. Go look it up.

    You can’t ignore the historical context of statements like that. It absolutely matters and is relevant. This isn’t a post racism era. Actual racists have made those same exact comparisons for centuries. If you are actually ignorant of the widespread historical use of these comparisons and what they were used to justify, then that’s a forgivable thing. But if you are aware of the history and you still think it’s okay then you are a racist. I’m sorry. But if you use the exact same arguments as racists, arguments that could have been said centuries ago, words that were used to humiliate, degrade and justify unequal treatment, then you are a racist.

  38. cozyingon 11 Apr 2017 at 6:52 pm

    “I’m not a neonazi, I just think that if you really put the time in and go and checkout what Hitler said he had some really valid points. He was an excellent statesman and almost took over the world with a country that just a few decades earlier was bankrupt. Maybe he was onto something. I’m not saying we need to exterminate anyone, but we can’t deny we are losing the white majority. I don’t really want my children to grow up in a world with sharia law. Maybe we need to start thinking about racial purity. I’m not a neonazi though. And my statements cannot be analyzed in historical context. ”

  39. Nitpickingon 11 Apr 2017 at 8:02 pm

    cozying, I object to your characterization that I attacked you. Disagreeing is not attacking.

    To repeat myself: I didn’t comment on your central theme because I don’t disagree with it. And if you don’t think you can tell others what to talk about, then why do you get so angry when I digress slightly from what you happen to be talking about, which is what happened?

  40. cozyingon 11 Apr 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I didn’t say it was an unfair attack. You were right about the Rebecca chronology, I was wrong. I did assume that you disagreed with the rest and were just picking at that to take it down. Hatchet buried.

  41. BillyJoe7on 12 Apr 2017 at 12:36 am

    cozy,

    You forgot this bit :
    “And it’s not acceptance of objective facts that make you a racist but how you use them”

  42. cozyingon 12 Apr 2017 at 1:02 am

    Comparing black people to monkeys is racist and socially unacceptable. This is due in part to the fact that it has a long history deeply rooted in racism. To ignore all of that to defend what Milo said about Leslie Jones is just wrong. These are the relevant objective facts at hand. Keep sidestepping and claiming you and Atlantean are the real skeptical and objective ones though.

  43. SteveAon 12 Apr 2017 at 6:11 am

    BJ7: “Our problem is that we feed the trolls, your problem is that you nourish them.”

    Nice turn of phrase.

    You would have to be fairly obtuse not to appreciate the nuance here…

  44. BillyJoe7on 12 Apr 2017 at 7:37 am

    Steve,

    Thanks.
    Cozy’s still bathing in the close victory she had once (and the only one she ever had on this blog, and at my expense), to notice any nuance in what I say.

    Cozy,

    Try as you might, you’re not going to provoke out of me any of those objective facts for you to hit racism over my head with, especially since you’ve already christened me thusly without me even having uttered a word.

    But I do have an anecdote to share with you:

    We have a new immigrant Sudanese family living opposite. I would like to say that, like all Sudanese that I have come across, they are an incredibly happy people, but that would probably be racist so I won’t. The boys all have tightly curled hair, and the girls have their hair intricatedly braided like their mother. I could say I’ve never seen anything like it, but that would also probably be racist, so I’ll desist. And did I mention that there are six children. No, I probaly shouldn’t have.

    Anyway, one day the childrens’ mother, with whom I’ve more conversations than anyone else in the street…oops. there I go again…asked me, with a gentle smile, “What do we smell like?”. And, I tell you truly, without a moments hesiatation, I said, “Musky”. And neither of us missed a beat. Then it was her turn. What do we smell like then? “Sour” she replied. To which I responded, “Well, I think I’d rather smell musky than sour”. And we both burst into peals of laughter.

    But that’s just a worthless anecdote so nevermind.

  45. Atlantean Idolon 12 Apr 2017 at 9:25 am

    @cozy: Milo never compared Jones to a monkey. One of his followers compared her to an ape: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/07/20/twitter-permanently-bans-trump-supporting-journalist-milo-yianno/

    Milo isn’t responsible for his followers. If you’re going to make race baiting your raison d’etre at least get your facts right.

  46. cozyingon 12 Apr 2017 at 11:23 am

    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/20/12226070/milo-yiannopoulus-twitter-ban-explained

    Look at that, another great Vox article, summarizing the Milo story with links and a good chronology. Claiming that Milo didn’t say racist things is just flat out wrong. It’s like saying the WSJ story about pewdiepie was wrong, and that he didn’t deliberately include nazi symbolism into his videos for children. (Still waiting for someone to show me some examples of deliberate falsehoods in the WSJ article. Or the Vox article about pewdiepie. )

    Milo openly encouraged his fan base to mock and attack her, he started this by tweeting multiple times that the new ghostbusters had a black dude(Leslie) in it. From there, the fan base got so heated and made comparisons to monkeys/apes, which Milo did not once speak out against, he kept piling on and stoking the flames.

    This is like when Trump would use dog whistling tactics and retweet white supremacists during the election and then his talking heads would say: “no he didn’t say those things, his followers did. Just because the president retweets a photo of an antisemitic depiction of the Star of David, money around Hillary doesn’t mean he’s supporting antiSemitism, don’t be silly. ”

    There’s such a thing as instigating harassment. Milo is known for promoting multiple online harassment campaigns, look it up please. The one against Leslie Jones was just the last one that led to him getting banned, his twitter was suspended before. Do some research, his behavior fits a pattern.

    Milo isn’t the hero, he’s just a provocateur. There’s nothing special about him, we have seen this behavior many times in the past. Yes it’s inappropriate that students started a riot and caused all that property damage. He should be allowed to speak and then be challenged with words not Molotov cocktails.

    However, making a bunch of overzealous people freakout isn’t a special ability or something to be proud of. It’s very easy, just walk up to a black person at a black lives matter protest and tell them they look like an ape. Or publish a cartoon of Mohammed in a semi popular newspaper. Or tell a wannabe skeptic that his attacks against trolls are all examples of fallacious reasoning.

    It’s funny how Atlantean has now moved onto defending the racist nature of Milo’s rhetoric, and dropped the defense of his support of pedophilia. Yep. He really did openly justify pedophilia, the quote is right up there. And yes, he really did run a campaign of online harassment against Leslie Jones, he said many racist things and never distanced himself from the more extreme elements. He’s a member of the alt – right, a primarily racist organization that can’t even pretend to be reasonable.

    SteveA still cheerleading I see, please come back when you have something substantive to add to the discussion. You have nothing to say about Atlantean’s offensive remarks? Interesting, gang up on the person speaking out against racism and earlier nazism in pewdiepie’ videos. Billy, look you lost, you had so many opportunities to come out and explain exactly what about my replies to Atlantean was wrong, you keep sidestepping and telling anecdotes like a true coward. But you reply to say thank you to SteveA for congratulating your weak wordplay and fallacious tu quoque argument. Just keep patting yourself on the back and ignoring the actual racism in the room.

    I explained in detail the historical context of comparisons between black people and monkeys, I gave a link with a historical summary. You keep saying that it’s not racism if it’s an objective fact and just provide cute stories.

    That’s just wrong, racism is a social construct, it has to do with the effect that prejudices have on groups of people in a society. It’s objectively true for example, that if you are a member of a minority group you have less opportunities for advancement, make less money, get more easily caught up in the legal system, have worse health outcomes even.

    Does that mean it’s okay to say a specific minority group is criminal, poor, lazy, and diseased? No of course not. As enlightened critical thinkers we recognize that there are complex and system-wide problems that contribute to poverty and disproportionately effect one group more than another. It’s an objective fact that minorities are disproportionately represented in prison populations. Does that mean minority groups are prone to violence, and that it’s in their nature to resort to crime? Or is there a systematic problem with the justice system in this country? If members of a minority group receive on average longer sentences for the same crime versus a white person, does that mean they deserve it?

    It’s an objective fact that comparing black people to monkeys has a very long racist past. To ignore that and just repeat old racist arguments, while denying the contextual strings attached, is ignorant. If you know about the past, but persist, then you will be perceived by most modern Americans as racist.

  47. edamameon 12 Apr 2017 at 1:06 pm

    wtf did I just step into? Did bj7 compare black folks to monkeys in this thread, and is he still defending it? Or are you just being loose in your language cozying?

  48. cozyingon 12 Apr 2017 at 1:45 pm

    No, Atlantean idol said that the Leslie Jones online harassment wasn’t racist and that it was “accurate.” Billy just keeps sidestepping and saying that objective facts can’t be racist. He refuses to call out Atlantean, because he hates me more than actual racism and misogyny. Apparently.

  49. BillyJoe7on 12 Apr 2017 at 5:07 pm

    cozy, you’re incredible…that’s all I have left to say.

  50. mlstrmrpon 13 Apr 2017 at 9:10 pm

    PR stunt and tax scheme.

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