Hacker News

rayiner said 7 days ago:

> Several observers noted the story was timed in such a way as to provide maximum publicity for a bill that the New Media Alliance has been promoting to Congress, called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. The proposed legislation would exempt newspaper companies from competition laws, which prevent industry-leading entities from collaborating to set prices. The NMA argues this would allow publishers to lobby Google and other platforms for better financial compensation together instead of individually.

On one hand, you can’t make this stuff up. A “competition” bill that exempts companies from competition laws. On the other hand, this is the problem with the “content middleman” business. By leveraging its near monopoly over eyeballs, Google can negotiate to receive an outsized share of the revenues from people viewing say NYT content, relative to the value Google adds to the transition.

That is also why I welcome the rise of competition in movie/TV streaming, even if it means subscribing to multiple services. The value added by any particular streaming service is pretty minimal. (Except for Netflix original content, Netflix is streaming say NBC’s content from Amazon’s servers over Verizon’s wires to an app using video codecs developed by Sony/etc.) Netflix, etc., isn’t adding nothing, there is a value to the curation and licensing deals, but it’s status as a middleman would allow it to wrestle a much larger share of the profit from the transaction than the share of value it adds.

sametmax said 7 days ago:

Except netflix will probably die and you'll get the choice between 2 bullies : amazon and disney.

Also I have a hard time feeling sorry for the traditional press. They spend decades killing their own reputation and now paying the price. They could have had web sites so reputable, so popular, that they would have been the news hub. Instead they turned internet into the bad guy, kept publishing political agendas and sensasionalist headlines and hoped we would suck it up as we did when they were king of the hill.

mr_t said 6 days ago:

Naive question: What makes you think that Netflix will probably die?

haditab said 6 days ago:

Not OP, but many think that Disney's launching it's streaming service will kill Netflix since it will pull all of it's content from Netflix and other streaming sites.

v7p1Qbt1im said 6 days ago:

Hyperbole much? Granted I‘m not most people but what keeps me subscribed and using a streaming service is steady new content. Nobody does that better than Netflix. At least for now. Have you seen Prime Video? It‘s basically barren. I can count on one hand the originals they put out this year. Hanna, Good Omens and Homecoming (I think).

realityrunner said 6 days ago:

It’s not really hyperbole when they’re actually going to be facing a massive content drought in the near future and won’t be able to justify price increases while offering less. There was a quote from the Wall Street Journal even saying “the three companies launching new streaming services have created TV shows and movies that make up nearly 40 percent of the viewing minutes on Netflix.“ Netflix may seem to put out content frequently, but it’s 100 miles long and two inches deep.

chihuahua said 6 days ago:

Prime Video is also going to have a new season of "The Expanse" later this year

sametmax said 6 days ago:

Amazon and disney just have more firepower. Amazon has the expertise in hosting, disney in content making. Amazon can drain customers with prime, and disney with the existing portfolio. Both have infinite cash to aquire and create new licences.

No matter how good I think netflix is, and despite their now long and good track record, they are entering a new fight bare handed against machine guns.

leereeves said 6 days ago:

Amazon doesn't seem to be seriously trying. Prime Video is a wasteland.

And Disney doesn't own all the content. Netflix need only be the streaming provider other content makers choose.

MagnumOpus said 6 days ago:

> Disney doesn't own all the content

But they own about half (Disney Studios, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, 20th Century Fox, Searchlight, NatGeo, and I am sure I forgot a dozen others), and they might never licence it to a "competitor" again unless they are forced to do under some sort of FRAND unbundling of content and distribution.

sametmax said 6 days ago:

Netflix has been at it for a decade. Give it 5 years.

I don't expect the GAFAM to play fair. They are going to arm wrest the industry to go through them.

asdffdsa said 6 days ago:

Netflix only needs to make a few good movies/comedy specials/tv shows a year and I'll keep my subscription. Amazon/Disney does not put out good content

anchpop said 6 days ago:

I don't know about good, but Disney does put out content people want to watch. Star Wars and Marvel are both very very popular franchises, for example

barrkel said 6 days ago:

Netflix as a middleman actually doesn't have that much power. The studios are now mostly using Netflix to market sequels. They can drive up the licensing cost of popular content until they extract all the profit.

As a middleman, Netflix is great for the customer though - no need to have a half-dozen sign-ins and always need to remember which service has which series.

In other words, I think you're the opposite of right on competition on the Netflix front. A monopoly interface adds significant value and Netflix isn't currently able to gouge the customer - the studios do that instead.

jrochkind1 said 7 days ago:

> After quoting the head of the News Media Alliance, David Chavern, as saying newspapers deserve a cut of that $4.7 billion,

> One of the most glaring omissions from the report, mentioned by a number of media-industry observers, is the ad revenue newspapers generate from the pageviews they get via Google News and Google search. The search company says publishers get more than 10 billion clicks every month (the value of which differs depending on the publisher). When asked for comment, the NMA tells CJR the purpose of the report was to look at how much Google benefits from news, not the opposite.

Uh, so it sounds like Google deserves a cut of the ad revenue directed via Google News then.

Man, there's no trustworthy journalism left, is there?

6gvONxR4sf7o said 7 days ago:

Was there ever?

wyxuan said 6 days ago:

One blemish is not enough to cast away the entire credibility of the source. NYT has published a lot of original reporting that has proven to be true, but of course that doesn't matter on this conversation at all, doesn't it.

d33 said 6 days ago:

It's not just about that, it's more about signal to noise ratio and the impact of their stories. When one deliberately adds a spin to specific categories of news, it's easy to prove them manipulative and thus, not trustworthy. The fact that they currently report correctly on the things outside of their agenda is not that relevant since it's just a matter of time before it becomes their agenda as well. Media should strive for objectivity.

umvi said 7 days ago:

"Straightforward" extrapolation is the worst! Reminds me of the RIAA damages numbers often quoted in courts

"Well, it was a $2 mp3, and ~100M copies were downloaded, that's $2 * 100M = $200M in lost revenue/damages!!"

As if 1 download = 1 guaranteed lost sale. On the contrary sometimes 1 download = 1 future sale where there was none before!

By that logic the easiest way to make a million is just to download (or copy) a $1 mp3 1M times - congrats, you now own $1M in assets!

p1necone said 7 days ago:

Or police talking about seizing X million dollars worth of drugs where they're getting their valuation from street value but seizing the drugs in wholesale quantities from the manufacturer - and ignoring the fact that a large portion of the labor/risk that contributes to that price hasn't actually happened yet.

maceurt said 6 days ago:

Well, they usually say that it is its "street value", and is pretty accurate of how much money is being taken away from the drug economy.

luckylion said 6 days ago:

Will it be taken away though? Wouldn't the prices just adjust to the supply that is now significantly smaller?

moorhosj said 6 days ago:

I’m not sure drugs are that perfect of a market. The buyer doesn’t really have visibility into price/quality across sellers and drug buyers are not always rational, two conditions for perfect competition.[1]

Actual economics is far more complex than the simple supply/demand curve taught in 101 classes.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_competition

luckylion said 6 days ago:

Sure, it certainly won't immediately adjust perfectly, but when authorities close some route or bust a large shipment, there will likely be some price change because of limited supply, increased risk (and cost) for transportation, right. It's not like drug buyers will just say "oh, you don't have any this month? okay, see you in six weeks".

anchpop said 6 days ago:

Reducing supply will remove money from the economy, although less than the amount of money that was taken (the same happens whenever the government levies a tax).

rhino369 said 6 days ago:

This is amateur hour RIAA damages calculations. To get a truly spicy number you gotta multiply the number of downloads by the statutory limit for willful infringement--$150,000 per infringed song.

So your ipod 4th gen with 5000 songs is worth $750 million.

AnimalMuppet said 7 days ago:

> By that logic the easiest way to make a million is just to download (or copy) a $1 mp3 1M times - congrats, you now own $1M in assets!

No. That's the easiest way to owe $1M.

legitster said 7 days ago:

So many studies make such bald and ridiculous assumptions but never get called out for them. Or the results of "studies" where the methods aren't even public!

Linking to a "study" to validate a point is so easy and trivial. I can find studies that validate any position I need. But having "a study show" makes my argument seem truthful and academic. In that regard, "studies" seem to have a cargo cult where people happy collect and link to them but never bother to validate them.

Did they not bother to actually run the numbers by anyone at all? Did it being a "study" magically make it pure and true?

espeed said 7 days ago:

In a nutshell, Elizabeth Hansen's Harvard research group got it right...

"Internet platform economics were going to swamp the majority of publishers no matter what—there is (almost) no market for their products any more; not because they couldn’t make one, but because that’s not how internet economics work."


ralph84 said 7 days ago:

Any time I see an article in a "mainstream" news outlet on a topic I'm familiar with, the inaccuracies make me cringe. The more familiar I am with the topic, the more inaccuracies I spot. The charitable interpretation is that news outlets have been so decimated by changes in their business model that they can't afford good editors. There are plenty of less charitable interpretations.

gundmc said 7 days ago:

Sounds like the Gell-Mann amnesia effect[1]. We notice the innacuracies in the fields we are familiar with and then readily believe stories outside of our expertise.

Disclaimer - reporting is critically important and by and large journalists are doing their best to understand and describe incredibly complex and esoteric subjects. It's always good to remember there is a lot more nuance behind just about every story than surface level would indicate.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gell-Mann_amnesia_effect

kortilla said 6 days ago:

>reporting is critically important and by and large journalists are doing their best to understand and describe incredibly complex and esoteric subjects.

No, by and large they absolutely aren’t doing their best. If they were the Gell-Mann amnesia effect wouldn’t be so prominent because it’s trivial to run stories by experts on topics. Most reporters are crunched for time and just churn out crap as fast as possible.

SiempreViernes said 6 days ago:

Which expert on journalism production processes did you query to verify that statement?

whenchamenia said 6 days ago:

You can simply observe the output and see the bias. Its not a theoretical matter.

Mirioron said 6 days ago:

I agree they reporting is important but how can we tell that journalists are doing their best? I've seen plenty of instances of straight up lies from journalists in just the past few years that I'm unsure whether I will believe such an assertion anymore. Look at the Trump-Russia collusion story or the Covington kids. If "some guy" on Twitter gives me better information by showing me actual unedited video footage of what happened as opposed to journalists that edit the videos to portray the events in a different light then how am I supposed to believe that they are doing their best?

I think journalists are doing their best, but I think it's in specific niches. For example, when I read articles or see videos from "the tech press" I believe them. When I read an article on anandtech I don't have to think "this is what they're saying, but is it actually true?"

Shivetya said 6 days ago:

tl;dr we are entering an election cycle and many articles appearing in the main stream press are nothing more than trial balloons for campaigns fishing to see what sells. If you find issues with subjects you are familiar with then you should assume subjects you are not well versed in have the same issues.

You should apply that same process to any article they publish even on statements you agree with but don't actually have full knowledge of. It is not they cannot afford editors it is that they are politically aligned and floating trial balloons for ideas spouted by favored candidates. We will have a flood of stories submitted that if you look under the covers are no more than talking points you can walk right back to a candidate.

Expect the upcoming year to be full of stories directed to make you think the whole process is unfair, how you have no voice, how your rights are being eroded, how someone or some company has wealth they don't deserve, but if you just hand it all over to the politicians they will fix it.

All they will do is secure their people into money making positions and sell you a bill of goods under a law with a nice sounding name that does very little of what it implies and a whole lot more under the covers you never would have wanted.

fyoving said 7 days ago:

The NYT is yet to publish a correction to an article publicizing a comically erroneous study suggesting a relationship between Facebook use and attacks on refugees in Germany: https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/08/fa...

They have been running smear campaigns against tech companies for years and then act dumb and ask about the change in sentiment towards them.

fwip said 7 days ago:

The NYT summary sounds accurate to me.

> > Wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent.

> That sounds horrible, but it is actually a claim about variation across municipalities, not a claim about the absolute importance of the internet.

That's why they used the word "wherever," to emphasis that it was based on locality.

That seems to form the bulk of Mr Cowen's objection. The remainder appears to be recitation of the stock phrase "correlation is not causation," mock horror and snark about the methods the study used (Nutella! heaven forbid!), and expressing his general confusion about parts of the study he doesn't understand.

To my eyes, this doesn't appear to be a "comically erroneous study," unless, as Mr. Cowen does, you find great intrinsic humor in the concept of Nutella. Nor does the NYT reporting on it seem to misrepresent the study any more than articles for the layperson usually do.

briandear said 7 days ago:

But yet, we give them credibility on political stories? That’s what makes no sense to me, we call them out on stories in which we have close experience, but we accept their stories on politics as if they were “objective,” because they happen to support our own bias. A story biased against the president: totally true, it’s “respectable” journalism. A story pushing an anti-Google agenda, “what were they thinking, this isn’t true!” People want to believe they are right and they find outlets that agree with them and claim them “objective.” A conservative thinks Limbaugh is correct, a liberal thinks Maddow is correct. It’s a circle jerk of self congratulation that leads to sharply partisan hatred. Unfortunately there isn’t a Walter Cronkite to find the objective middle.

bluecalm said 7 days ago:

Well, I don't think there are many people left who give them any credibility on political stories outside of those looking for an echo chamber. They are Fox News for people who identify as "progressive intellectuals".

stochastic_monk said 7 days ago:

That’s MSNBC, not NYT. In fact, their coverage goes out of their way to support centrist positions. (Unless you’re discussing their opinion columns, which include everyone from Gorbachev to Sean Spicer to Chelsea Manning.)

kortilla said 6 days ago:

>their coverage goes out of their way to support

“Out of their way” as in it’s difficult for them to support anything other than leftist views? Do you not see the problem there?

stochastic_monk said 4 days ago:

To be more verbose, giving plausible deniability to actors who are clearly malicious.

dqpb said 7 days ago:

NYT has been systematically attacking US tech for years. I'm curious why.

I ignored it for the most part, until I paid more attention to their hypocritical advertising, user tracking, and the unforgivable dark patterns they use to throttle unsubscribes - the state of residency feature flag for online unsubscribe / forcing the subscriber to hold on the phone for an hour before triaging them to a sales rep. Fuck you NYT.

woodgrainz said 7 days ago:

This article is solid sanity check on the NYT story discussed here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20146090

in3d said 6 days ago:

Why don’t these news publishers come together and make a competitor to Google News? Google News is a poor product. It cannot do basic NLP things right, like properly grouping related news. The titles that are chosen as the first ones to display often don’t convey the story. Irrelevant or extremely partisan stories are prominently listed. “More stories like this” or “fewer stories like this” does nothing. The publishers could ban Google News from displaying their headlines and include snippets on their service, so they wouldn’t even need to compete fairly. To me it seems that they are scared to losing short term traffic and lack a long-term vision.

gipp said 6 days ago:

Absolutely none of the things you listed are anything close to "basic". Those are things that newsrooms full of talented and well-coordinated professionals regularly get wrong, let alone software algorithms. You're listing massive, completely unsolved problems and acting like they're table stakes.

blablabla123 said 6 days ago:

> and the figure quoted by the Times—without any critical assessment whatsoever—appears to be based almost entirely on questionable mathematical extrapolation from a comment made by a former Google executive more than a decade ago

They definitely have a point, without putting a tremendous effort into this, one must have to use very speculative mathematical extrapolation. Although I'm not sure whether it would ever be worth to put additional mathematical rigour into this because that would be a lot of work.

Speaking of myself, for many years Google News has been my starting point for using the internet and self-speaking for getting myself a news update. News sources have become replaceable and I was always thinking: oh nice, so I'm always reading articles from various sources/perspectives, so this must eliminate virtually all bias.

But what has happened in reality is this:

- many news companies closed down/were merged into other companies

- often agency news (Reuters, AP, ...) are copy&pasted into articles

- some online newspapers mostly put bot generated news that seems to be automatically assembled from agency news and correspondent's; the quality and readability of this is almost 0

So for me a tipping point has been reached and I switched back to going directly to news magazine/paper websites. Also I've subscribed to 2 paid subscriptions. I feel much better informed with more relevant information.

thrower123 said 7 days ago:

If you expect better of the New York Times, you haven't been paying attention for the past few years.

eric_b said 7 days ago:

Huh, it's as if the NYT has a narrative they wish to push, and will use lazy/questionable journalism to do it...

Makes ya wonder what other topics they're doing this with...

fuzz4lyfe said 7 days ago:

WMD comes to mind.

kevin_thibedeau said 7 days ago:

That has more with W's threats to cut off press room access to anyone who wouldn't stick to the patriotic script they wanted everyone to follow.

Macross8299 said 7 days ago:

Is "losing press room access" supposed to be some understandable defense of knowingly deceiving the public into a war?

Doesn't seem all that different from the days of William Randolph Hearst.

fuzz4lyfe said 7 days ago:

Tell that to the wives, sons and daughters. How many dead soldiers and Iraqis is attending a press briefing worth?

WillPostForFood said 7 days ago:


davidw said 7 days ago:

"But her emails!"

They're kind of maddening in some ways. They certainly do crap like that, but also still do some occasional really good investigative reporting.

I subscribed to the Washington Post, as it's cheap through Amazon and they seem to be doing a bit better job in some ways.

donohoe said 7 days ago:

This Twitter thread on this subject from Dir of Ad Tech at The Washington Post is worth reading:


graeme said 7 days ago:

Seems weak. Media are free to make alternative adtech. Google’s ad system has made them more money though.

And the above would be true even if Google News didn’t exist.

The media has incredibly sloppy thinking about their business model.

What monopoly prevents the post from managing their own ads? They choose not to.

graeme said 6 days ago:

I should update this to say that AMP seems much more of a thing to critique as regards the news and adtech. Thought of this while reading today's thread on how a bug in AMP prevents links to a publisher's web page.

News sites more or less must use amp to rank, I think, which means they need google adtech.

Could be wrong, not an expert, but it seems an actual legit critique the media could make.

TehCorwiz said 7 days ago:

". . .this would allow publishers to lobby Google and other platforms for better financial compensation together instead of individually."

Something something collective bargaining.

shereadsthenews said 7 days ago:

This is why I unsubd from the NYT and why it makes me sad: 99% solid journalism but 1% hot garbage is not a good enough ratio. Just in my adult lifetime this newspaper has materially contributed to both the Iraq War and the election of Trump, and now they use their paper to try to destroy me industry because their industry, which for decades was an abusive cartel exploiting advertisers, is having an angry death fit. I wish there were more outlets for journalism that don't have old-media baggage.

fareesh said 7 days ago:

The NYT recently hired someone to their editorial board who appears to be a brazen and open racist.

I don't mean some kind of innuendo racist, but someone with multiple tweets like this:

"Are <ethnic group> genetically predisposed to burn faster in the sun, thus logically being only fit to live underground like groveling goblins?"

The NYT excused this this as her way of "imitating the rhetoric" of those who were harassing her online.

I'm inclined to side with them because I think everyone ought to have the opportunity to address any of their past statements publicly before being condemned by "the paper of record".


Anyone that's been paying attention to the news media knows that there is no way they would offer this opportunity or indulge this kind of a charitable interpretation. This article is likely proof of that, given that so many have not been offered the opportunity to comment on the way they/their videos have been represented.

isbadawi said 7 days ago:
avinium said 7 days ago:

I'm glad you posted this.

I was aware of the original tweet a few years ago, but didn't know the context until now.

I haven't read the referenced article so I can't comment on whether it's a valid criticism or not. But it's clearly satirical.

weberc2 said 6 days ago:

To be fair, she has had a steady stream of Tweets going back to 2014 that were pretty unambiguously racist (or if you're of the "you can't be racist against white people" persuasion, some other term that means something like "anti-white"), so you could be forgiven for mistaking the context in this one case.

fareesh said 6 days ago:


The latter half of my comment deals with this - hint: I'm not opposed to people being given a chance to explain, or being charitable and permissive to all speech.

said 7 days ago:
whenchamenia said 6 days ago:

NYT, the most prolific poster on HN, caught out again, like every month it seems. Yet they still rule the front page. When will people stand up to bad journalalism being pushed on them?

_cs2017_ said 7 days ago:

Why is not only the conservative, but even the liberal media so strongly anti-tech? Google, Facebook, and the majority of other tech firms are extraordinarily liberal, far beyond the normal California bias. And not only are their executives and employees overwhelmingly liberal, the companies often act on those beliefs (by supporting various political causes, creating a certain liberal emphasis in their educational tools, etc).

Or, put another way, how did the tech firms manage to become enemies with the liberals despite being on their side in the political battle?

bryan_w said 7 days ago:

Someone made the believe that big tech was responsible for getting trump elected

alt_f4 said 7 days ago:

NYT does itself no favors with regard to its already questionable credibility by spreading anti-tech propaganda.

said 7 days ago:
said 7 days ago:
scotchio said 7 days ago:

To be fair...

The front page of Hacker News is pretty much a Google hate hangoutfest -- so maybe cut some slack on this one...

I'm sure the NYT reporter was not acting malicious.

Maybe they will even issue correction or update in time. No one would argue that speed of social media and corrections is not ideal, but I would bet they are trying to be accurate and transparent with their readers.

I just seriously doubt the reporter and editors who published this info did so solely with the goal to attack Google by "promoting" a questionable study.

Wrong/Lazy/Dumb != Evil

darawk said 7 days ago:

No, but they published something that confirmed their priors, and didn't due their due diligence on it because it confirmed their priors and was the kind of story they wanted to write. They have to be held to account for that.

scotchio said 7 days ago:

Agree. Just don't see it as malicious

wpasc said 7 days ago:

Perhaps not malicious, but publishing a more or less BS story to fit a narrative is not far from malicious on the spectrum of intention (especially if the narrative is in the NYT's business interests).

solveit said 7 days ago:

Malice is completely unnecessary for the world to go to shit. Very few people are actually malicious in any meaningful sense of the term. Most bad things happen when generally good people cut corners.

mehrdadn said 7 days ago:

I think you can assume "acting maliciously" was intended to be a catch-all for something more general, like maybe "acting in a grossly disrespectable manner", regardless of whether the intentions were actually malice or not.

bluecalm said 7 days ago:

The old question is if it makes any difference if you're dumb on purpose or just inherintly ignorant. It makes little difference at the end of the day, it's still your fault to not take steps to correct your ignorance and it doesn't matter for the effects of your actions.

Consultant32452 said 7 days ago:

It's also important to remember that social media and tech firms like Google are a direct threat to their long term survival. YouTubers offering low budget news is eating them alive.

patrick5415 said 6 days ago:

So you’re degrading the charge from maliciousness to incompetence?

harry8 said 7 days ago:

>The front page of Hacker News is pretty much a Google hate hangoutfest -- so maybe cut some slack on this one...

HN is not a newspaper. HN is an opinion-fest. NYT purports to be the "Newspaper of Record." Requiring NYT to publish corrections to factual error is utterly reasonable and has nothing to do with HN or Google in any way.

Oh, and Google are evil. There are more tech-literate people around on HN to have noticed and understood this. Google have become utterly hideous.

The NYT should publish corrections for factually incorrect reporting because it is what separates them from fraudulent pretend news sources such as Fox and CNBC which are simply garbage to be treated as lies until proven otherwise by anyone sane of any political persuasion. The NYT wants to be better than that.

dickeytk said 7 days ago:

HN shouldn’t be held to the same standard as NYT for journalistic integrity

scotchio said 7 days ago:

Agree and wasn't really saying that

xxxpupugo said 7 days ago:

Unpopular opinion: Bashing google is the new cool and easy way to victimization.

ha99ja said 7 days ago:

The NYT is pretty known for propaganda. Assuming it is not acting malicious is not a good assumption.

noetic_techy said 7 days ago:

The New York Times is no longer the steady unbias pillar it once was. They hire fresh out SJW types to do their writing and it shows. Once I finally came to that realization, I stopped taking them seriously, but I feel others have not quite reached that epiphany yet. Keep in mind they almost went bankrupt if it were not for Carlos Slim bailing them out. Then you saw a bunch of praise pieces about Slim, and you realize much of the old guard is gone. That should have been the first red flag. The NYT lives off its names legacy reputations alone, but all the quality journalism is gone, with just refined legacy veneer wrapped around very questionable bias premises for most stories.

ergothus said 7 days ago:

> The New York Times is no longer the steady unbias pillar it once was

Okay, I'm open to hearing this - I've certainly noticed a decrease in quality (vs quantity - NYT still leads there) vs, say, the Washington Post.

> They hire fresh out SJW types

I'm not even sure what this means. I'm used to seeing "SJW" as an attack label that is absent actual meaning, similar to "snowflake" or "libtard", stemming from groups stauchly biased themselves. Are you using it here as an attack based on political belief, or do you have some more nuanced substantive meaning? The rest of your comment doesn't expand on this "epiphany" so I'm left uncertain as to your argument.

verteu said 7 days ago:

As the acronym implies, a "social justice warrior" is someone who fights for social justice.

Hiring journalists with a strong homogenous political agenda is a poor way to produce neutral, fact-based reporting.

pm90 said 7 days ago:

> Hiring journalists with a strong homogenous political agenda is a poor way to produce neutral, fact-based reporting.

Have you considered the possibility that these SJW's are actually representative of today's youth? If they are, shouldn't NYT be hiring even more of them?

I really don't care about what the backgrounds of Journalists are, as long as they adhere to the principles of journalism (honesty, a desire to question authority and find the truth at all costs etc.).

remarkEon said 7 days ago:

There’s an inherent conflict in “I am an activist with a specific cause (or causes) I advocate for” and “adher[ing] to the principles of journalism”. It will produce journalism that is not at all neutral (ignoring for a moment if such journalism is possible), but tainted, even unknowingly, but the views of the journalists themselves. It might not even manifest in the story itself, but in the stories they choose to cover.

txcwpalpha said 7 days ago:

I disagree strongly that there should be any link whatsoever between representation of a populace and journalism. If there was a community that is full of uneducated folks with a strong anti-science sentiment, I would still hope that any community journalism outlets would still report factually about scientific discoveries and strive to remain untainted by any specific bias, 'representation' be damned. Journalism should not be about being representative of a populace's ideals or agendas, but rather should be about reporting facts, unbiased as much as possible.

The NYT (and others) should in fact be striving to hire less employees with any kind of agenda (whether they be 'SJWs' or anyone else).

kortilla said 6 days ago:

Have you considered that if you are fighting for anything other than truth, you have a serious conflict of interest as a journalist?

ergothus said 6 days ago:

The problem being that most everyone thinks they're fighting for the truth.

Person A will complain that "SJW types" are being hired, the complaint being that they are biased against the truth.

Person B will complain that "SJW types" AREN'T being hired, the complaint being that people biased against the truth are being hired instead.

I don't know the answers, but I do think the "let's present both sides" of journalism has left journalism doing a terrible job of effectively presenting the truth. Finding a path that embraces objective reporting AND denies efforts to exploit the weaknesses of systems designed to promote objectivity is something we've not figured out yet.

noetic_techy said 7 days ago:

>> Have you considered the possibility that these SJW’s are actually representative of todays youth?

That could not be further from the truth. The phenomena is very localized and manifests from confluence of factors that HAS been studied scientifically:


It would be like going back in time and saying the youth of the Communist Revolution or the youth of the Iranian Revolution were just “representative of todays youth.” The answer would be: yes, some of them, and look how that turned out for the rest. We can’t conceive of that sort of backward progression in american freedom because we have never experienced it. You have to call out negative toxic ideologies both right AND left.

I agree with your second statement, but instead you of journalists you get activist masquerading as journalists.

raxxorrax said 6 days ago:

Originally the "warrior" part was the sarcastic reference that criticized the vehemence and tactics of some proponents fighting for more equality and fairness. Policies like quotas were criticized as prescribed justice for example. I do think many of these objections were quite apt.

That solidarity cannot be enforced was a lecture learned from the failures of communism. It was used as an oxymoron in a similar way. Social justice warriors did not convince anyone, they started crusades against dissidents.

But it went downhill form there as people started accusing everyone in favor of equality as social justice warrior. As a result others started to self-identify as such. It has been a train of reactionary conduct since then.

noetic_techy said 7 days ago:

I understand your concern about the SJW label and the charged political context its often used, but it is to me accurate, since this it what they would call themselves.

Take a look at this Joe Rogan + Johnathon Haidt podcast clip that talks about SJW cultural origins in northeastern and western elite liberal arts colleges:


NOTE: Jonathan David Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University's Stern School of Business (not a crackpot is my point).

You see downstream echo's of this hyper virtue signaling subculture now in the NYT since much of thier journalism is fresh outs with little real world experience outside their bubble.

I'm a centrist libertarian if you must qualify my argument with my position on the spectrum. In my opinion, I find that classic liberal have a very hard mental block acknowledging that even their own side of the coin can have a toxic extremist end. One that will NOT look and behave like the toxic extremes on the right, but the outcome is the largely negative in the same manor. As Jonathan Haidt in that clip says, they often write it off or are unaware of the problem.

remarkEon said 7 days ago:

It's fascinating to watch comments like this get downvoted.

Everything you noted is accurate, and is reflected in recent high-profile hires at NYT (Sarah Jeong the most recent). All organizations can go through preference cascades like this, where hiring for certain views becomes self reinforcing to the point where the organization doesn't even realize it has a bias toward them. It can be especially acute when the views are activist in nature, and signaling alignment with them is how to achieve in-group status. Frankly this is kind of a boring observation - it's basic organizational psychology, which Professor Haidt notes on several occasions.

Fox News in the run-up to the Iraq War is another great example of this. Every single talking-head they had on aligned with their internal bias toward invasion.

PlasticTank said 6 days ago:

“It's fascinating to watch comments like this get downvoted.” Honestly not anymore, there is an overriding current of well SJWism on this site currently, of course they'll never admit it to themselves. If you ever find yourself downvoting a comment because you disagree with it on an emotional level, you might be the problem.

ianamartin said 7 days ago:

It certainly can be used as you described, but it doesn't have to be. I sort of loosely define an SJW as someone who 1) believes that the law should be wielded to enforce their version of morality, 2) that the correctness of their morality justifies pretty much any means of attaining it, and 3) that doing anything to further their goal is always preferable to doing nothing to further their goal, even if a specific thing is likely to have adverse consequences.

That's a pretty broad definition that almost includes religious people on the right wing of the spectrum, and that's pretty much what I would say is the only difference between a Social Justice Warrior and a Religious Justice Warrior--the source of where they validate their brand of morality. Other than that, they are approximately identical in both their methods and the extent to which they are damaging to liberal democracy.

I recognize that this is probably not a very common definition, and your point about SJW being a meaningless insult is likely the correct one.

noetic_techy said 7 days ago:

Nope, see my comment above. I added some meaning.

jimbob45 said 7 days ago:


Based on your comment, I, and I'm sure many others, would have quickly countered by pointing out that it shouldn't matter who you hire provided you have a competent and passionate ombudsman to rein in your inadequacies as a company. However, the link I've provided shows that they fired (without replacement) their ombudsman in 2017. This certainly supports your argument.

babyslothzoo said 7 days ago:

So disappointing but I have noticed the same thing.

NYT has dove so deep into identity politics, opinion, agenda, and editorial that it's very hard to imagine their actual legitimate journalistic/reporting division is not being negatively impacted and influenced.

roywiggins said 7 days ago:

What specifically about the NYT as opposed to any other newspaper?

Opinion and editorial are explicitly not part of the newsroom and are published in a different section under a different heading. You may have some problems with the people they hire as opinion commentators but hiring opinionated commentators is absolutely part of the job of a good newspaper. Lefty types regularly make fun of NYT's conservative and centrist commentators, so it's not like they're loved by the left either.

For instance, I detest many of the WSJ's editorial stances but freely admit that they do some very good journalism, which I admire.

The NYT is not unblemished - cough cough the Iraq War cough cough Judith Miller cough, ahem.

noetic_techy said 7 days ago:

>>Lefty types regularly make fun of NYT conservative and centrist commentators

Do you have some examples of this?

roywiggins said 6 days ago:

I had a quick trawl through Splinter, which is a reliable source for prickly takes on NYT commentators. I'm not going to argue whether they're good, reasoned, or accurate takes, but that absolutely it's a regular, normal, and extremely popular hobby on the left to make fun of NYT's worst commentators.

On Bret Stephens: https://splinternews.com/by-all-means-tell-me-more-milk-boy-...

On Bari Weiss: https://splinternews.com/the-new-york-times-is-shipping-bari...

On Thomas Friedman: https://splinternews.com/thomas-friedman-goes-full-fascist-a...

On Ross Douthat: https://splinternews.com/nyt-columnist-who-wanted-to-ban-por...

On Liz Mair: https://splinternews.com/new-york-times-allows-seattle-born-...

Everything tagged with "New York Times": https://splinternews.com/tag/new-york-times

shearskill said 6 days ago:

From more left to moderate: CurrentAffairs.org, any criticism of David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Bari Weiss, David Brooks, Maggie Haberman.

root_axis said 7 days ago:

What is the "SJW" position on Google?

said 7 days ago:
nailer said 7 days ago:

The NYT also deliberately blurs the lines between any kind of non-leftist thinking (traditional conservative views, non-left liberal thinking, criticism of Islam or illegal immigration) and 'alt right' - a term created by Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who wants to create a white ethnostate which (at least according to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alt-right) describes far right hate groups.

I know people who work at the NYT. They're absolutely smart enough to know the difference.

dang said 7 days ago:

Please don't take HN threads into ideological flamewar. It's boring, nasty, and just what we don't need here.


nailer said 6 days ago:

I understand the ideological flame war rule, as I've been here since it's introduction, but we're discussing the Times being misleading, and I'm not attacking or promoting any particular ideology in this post.

dang said 5 days ago:

That may be true and yet you can still be taking the thread further into flamewar. At the dog park, when dogs get into a fight, I notice that there are sometimes other dogs who get in the middle of it, barking and racing around. They're not fighting at all, but they sure make the thing more intense.

nailer said 4 days ago:

Point taken. I'll be more careful in future.

moorhosj said 7 days ago:

What’s the basis for this claim? Where do Ross Douthat and David Brooks fit in your model?

nailer said 7 days ago:

This article: https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1137539862293372928

Read the follow up tweets for some more context.

I'm a liberal, and happen to watch Ben Shapiro (an Othodox Jewish lawyer who records a conservative podcast) and follow Lauren Southern (the filmmaker who looks at people smuggling and illegal immigration, who directed the film 'Borderless') - both are mentioned in the 'online radicalisation' piece above.

Other fairly boring, obviously non-alt-right sources mentioned in the piece are Milton Friedman (who won a Nobel Prize for Economics) and Jordan Peterson.

Those are all very obviously non-alt-right, but included in what would seem to be a rather shady attempt to smear non-leftist sources.

I haven't heard of the people you mention.

ummonk said 7 days ago:

Milton Friedman and Jordan Peterson are not, but Lauren Southern and Ben Shapiro are both alt-right.

jlawson said 7 days ago:

Ben Shapiro... The Orthodox Jewish Nazi?

This didn't pass the laugh test.

moorhosj said 6 days ago:

Are you suggesting that alt-right is analogous to Nazi or that a Jewish person couldn't be a Nazi? Either way, what does it have to do with Ben Shapiro's actual beliefs?

moorhosj said 7 days ago:

One article, written by one NYT writer is the basis for your belief that:

"The NYT also deliberately blurs the lines between any kind of non-leftist thinking and 'alt right' - a term created by Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who wants to create a white ethnostate which describes far right hate groups."

It seems like a bit of a stretch. In the bar chart, they explicitly call out that the guy started watching a bunch of left-wing channels on YouTube. It's so odd that the same people who mock "leftists" for being "snowflakes" about labels and such are the first ones to whine about being labeled. Seems like an overreaction to a bad article.

fwip said 7 days ago:

If you think Ben Shapiro, Lauren Southern and Jordan Peterson represent responsible and respectable conservative thinking, I don't really know where to start.

Whether or not they like being identified as part of the alt-right or if they prefer to pretend to be intellectual free thinkers doesn't really matter.

If you walk like a misogynist, talk like a white supremacist, and get specifically praised by the alt-right for radicalizing people to their cause - you just might be a bad person.

messick said 7 days ago:

>I'm a liberal, and happen to watch Ben Shapiro (an Othodox Jewish man who does a conservative podcast)

Yeah, this is what we call an "oxymoron".

nailer said 7 days ago:

I shouldn't take the bait, but in case you're being serious: part of being liberal means that I disagree with left-leaning violence and terrorism as much as I do right-leaning violence and terrorism.

Having a lawyer give commentary on particularly legal news (the Mueller Report, state vs federal law, the role of the legislative and executive branches, etc) is a refreshing change from journalists and politicians who don't have legal knowledge. I disagree with Shapiro on many things including abortion law, and do not believe in the supernatural, but it's also good having my beliefs be challenged. I recommend you try it yourself sometime. You might learn something.

xnyan said 7 days ago:

That's funny, I see the NYT as a mid-conservative publisher that regularly equates modern leftist thought with communism in defense of their rich conservative owners. NYT regularly normalizes far-right fascists and runs over moderately liberal thinkers.

I also know people who work at the NYT who share this view. Maybe it's our priors having more influence on our thought than we think, but NYT owners are the among the most wealthy so I tend to believe basic psychological principles/people acting in their own interest is what is closest to truth.

dbt00 said 7 days ago:

NYT straddles a line between being institutionally conservative while having a majority liberal staff and subscriber base. It creates pattern matching hits for both sides. MSNBC has similar issues.

said 7 days ago:
buboard said 7 days ago:

Google spreads way more misniformation than nyt, they aren't worth defending.

weberc2 said 7 days ago:

It's not a dichotomy, we can and must hold both accountable. This race-to-the-bottom thinking is ruinous.