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posted by n1 on Monday January 05 2015, @07:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-trust-who-when? dept.

Glenn Greenwald reports at The Intercept that the identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown even as numerous security experts loudly note how sparse and unconvincing the available evidence is against North Korea. But that didn't stop President Obama, announcing in his December 19 press conference that: “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack," and vowing that "we will respond. . . . We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.” Yet according to Greenwald, none of the expert skepticism has made its way into countless media accounts of the Sony hack. "Time and again, many journalists mindlessly regurgitated the U.S. Government’s accusation against North Korea without a shred of doubt, blindly assuming it to be true, and then discussing, often demanding, strong retaliation. Coverage of the episode was largely driven by the long-standing, central tenet of the establishment U.S. media: government assertions are to be treated as Truth."

Greenwald says that this kind of reflexive embrace of government claims is journalistically inexcusable in all cases, for reasons that should be self-evident. But in this case, it’s truly dangerous. "At this point - eleven years after the run-up to the Iraq War and 50 years after the Gulf of Tonkin fraud - any minimally sentient American knows full well that their government lies frequently. Any journalist understands full well that assuming government claims to be true, with no evidence, is the primary means by which U.S. media outlets become tools of government propaganda," concludes Greenwald adding that many journalists benefit in all sorts of ways by dutifully performing this role. "At this point, journalists who mindlessly repeat government claims like this are guilty of many things; ignorance of what they are doing is definitely not one of them."

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday January 05 2015, @09:02AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 05 2015, @09:02AM (#131801) Journal

    Never the less, the media pretty much delight in catching government in a lie. They love it more if its a conservative government, but lately they've been willing to rake the liberals over the coals as well.

    The fact that the administration is resorting to claiming researchers don't have all the facts that the government has, (while still holding those facts secret) is telling.
    There are many "remote analysts" looking as some of the evidence who claim linguistic hints of Russians, and others insist it is insiders. But these guys don't seem any more believable than the government. That a Russian programmer might have touched the code somewhere along the way hardly seems conclusive evidence. After all, these attack engines have been passed back and forth for years.

    I personally don't know who to believe, but the events of the past year suggest to me that we can't believe the first thing out of the governments mouths and we will probably hear something more believable in 12 or 24 months.

    In any event, the sanctions are likely to be ineffective, and harmless.

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  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday January 05 2015, @08:20PM

    by HiThere (866) on Monday January 05 2015, @08:20PM (#131957) Journal

    You misunderstand the media. They have *always* been as delighted to catch the liberals as the conservatives, but it used to be considered gauche to publicize philandering.

    OTOH, you should NEVER take what the media say without a tablespoon of salt. And too much salt is bad for your health. The media in every single case that I've been able to personally check sensationalize what has happened, often so grotesquely that if it weren't for the date and location I wouldn't recognize it for the same incident. On careful re-examination it would often turn out that, yes, things did actually look that way from a carefully chosen angle that carefully narrowed to focus so you only saw one small piece of the picture. I've seen a fire on the media that appeared to burn down my house, when actually it was miles away. But on reexamination it turned out that if you look from the right angle from the right position and carefully narrow your focus it was actually the picture of something that really happened. It was just so misleading that the only proper word to use to describe it is "lie".

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05 2015, @10:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05 2015, @10:15PM (#131992)

      I work for a small TV station. A few years ago, I was involved in a laser incident, and my workplace misquoted and misrepresented me significantly.

      I won't talk to them again.

      If you ever do talk to media, they will take what you say, quote you, and provide a new context for it thus altering your original intent.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday January 06 2015, @01:40AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday January 06 2015, @01:40AM (#132058) Journal

        "Laser accident? .. huh you got the wrong address. It's *that* house *pointing finger*".... "Oh, here's the address 95478 W. 8th Pl. Nowhere, ZP 43048, just look for the road called Undriveable in the town Nowhere *Promise*".

        Or one doesn't say anything whatsoever.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @03:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 06 2015, @03:21AM (#132094)

    This website started out as some kind of news for nerds that are still nerdy after all these years, but it has morphed into some sort of anti-American propaganda site that will repeat any vapid anti-American nonsense, even just basic speculation and wild pejoratives like TFA.

    Newsflash: "intelligence" sources are not given out to the media. By any country. It has nothing to do with the US being [insert pejoratives here]; every country keeps this stuff secret. That doesn't mean anything.

    First, these people should go out and convince the world that government intelligence should be open, transparent, and public. THEN they can make these absurd claims about what the government does or doesn't know. Instead of this wishy-washy, "we can't believe anything... because... Gulf of Tonkin... therefore, believe us instead."

    There is no reason to believe the US Government here... and also no reason not to. There is no public information either way. What we do know is that the US Government has extensive electronic surveillance and probably does "really know" who did what. And it is likely the Chinese Government also "really knows" who did what. But unless or until something substantive is leaked, the public doesn't have anything to verify or refute. There is no there there. All disbelief establishes is that a person forms beliefs and disbeliefs without access to evidence.