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Opinion: News is opinion with a few extra facts.

Chacham (981) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal 14

Is there even such thing as news anymore? What is the difference between news and opinion? Which gets more fanfare?

The difference between news and opinion is: opinion is theory with some facts; news is facts with some opinion. Sound good? Well, it isn't. While opinion can ignore other facts, news cannot. Unfortunately, it does. And that makes news nothing more than an opinion piece with a few facts added for good measure.

Is there even such thing as news anymore? What is the difference between news and opinion? Which gets more fanfare?

The difference between news and opinion is: opinion is theory with some facts; news is facts with some opinion. Sound good? Well, it isn't. While opinion can ignore other facts, news cannot. Unfortunately, it does. And that makes news nothing more than an opinion piece with a few facts added for good measure.

Just read news about bombings in Israel. The first noticeable thing is the term "Israeli warplanes". It's mentioned three times in the story: in the title, the second word of the story, and later on. Why it calls jets "Israeli warplanes" is simply opinion. It's an opinion to intentionally give bad connotations. They should reports facts, and leave out the opinion. There is also mention of how many women and children Israel killed indirectly (Twenty-five people were wounded, including three women and five children.), but no mention of how many women and children the Arabs killed *intentionally* (Dozens of bystanders were maimed and wounded.). They also failed to mention that candies were distributed by Arabs after the bombings. Something that would have been reported if the Israelis were accused of it.

I wish some news source would just report the facts. Have everybody's full quotes, have exact numbers. If broken down, break it down for everyone. And have links to the history as reported by facts.

Then, if someone wants to opine, they could, and reference the facts. The Associated Press would be really nice for that, because then other news providers could offer their own opinions based on facts. Instead, it's either the AP's opinion, or opinions based on their opinions.

Anyway, i happened to see it there. I am certain that no stories about anything are fully factual. So, i take news as opinion. And once i do that, i might as well read opinions that coincide with mine. There's no point in being objective, there simply aren't facts that everyone will agree to.

Perhaps that's why opinion pieces come with such fanfare. Although non-factual, they (usually) do not hide their agenda, and as such, are the most factual things out there.

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"Objectivity" (1)

turg (19864) | more than 10 years ago | (#6921211)

The idea of "objectivity" in news reporting has gotten twisted around to mean the reporters deny their own biases rather than acknowledging them (which would encourage them to be more fair to other viewpoints).

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#6921574)

The idea of "objectivity" in news reporting has gotten twisted around to mean the reporters deny their own biases rather than acknowledging them (which would encourage them to be more fair to other viewpoints).

Yep; the BBC seem particularly bad at this. Funded by a c. $4bn/yr tax on TV ownership in the UK, and completely unaccountable to anyone except the government (and that only to a very limited extent), they seem to believe this makes them completely impartial - rather than completely unaccountable and increasingly detached from reality. I saw one program of theirs about Israel's nuclear program, in which they complained about some Israeli being in prison for leaking details about that classified program to a foreign newspaper. No mention of the fact Britain would also have locked the guy up for life, had he done this to them, the US would probably have executed him for espionage or treason, the Russians would have done the same, and the French would just have had him shot in secret: no, in their eyes leaking government secrets to foreign journalists is somehow a good thing.

Unfortunately, because journalists tend to be left-wing activists (a disturbing number of journalism students cite a desire to change the world as their reason for choosing that subject!) they consider that to be "balanced". Anything other than a left-wing viewpoint (anti death penalty, anti capitalist, anti business) seems wrong to them - in reality, it's a strong bias, but they'll never admit it...

At least there are some outlets which provide a more balanced view. Fox may not be "objective", but at least it doesn't exist solely to pander 24x7 to the left!

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6921733)

he US would probably have executed him for espionage or treason

When lives are in danger, yes. When not, the US gives relatively light sentences. Which is why the Jonathon Pollard [jonathanpollard.org] case is so out of hand. Check out the Comparative Sentences [jonathanpollard.org] sections.

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#6926295)

When lives are in danger, yes. When not, the US gives relatively light sentences. Which is why the Jonathon Pollard case is so out of hand. Check out the Comparative Sentences sections.

The first name to spring to mind for me was "Rosenberg", given the subject matter. In the Pollard case, I'm not convinced a life sentence was inappropriate - many of their "Comparative Sentences" entries aren't very comparative. (The sole "Great Britain" entry had nothing to do with the UK, for example: he leaked some military equipment photographs to Jane's, which happens to be based in London.)

I also think putting Israel under "allies" while Hanssen's entry for Russia counts as an "enemy" is a distortion - perhaps fair, since the USSR were certainly hostile, but by the time Hanssen was caught, Russia was no less an ally than Israel AFAICS. At the very least I think the Russian Federation has sunk fewer US ships...

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6926601)

Rosenberg was an extreme case of giving help to an enemy about something they are both going for.

As for the rest, it's subjective, so i'll just accewpt that you don't agree. I disagree with you, but i doubt talking about it will matter.

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#6927761)

Rosenberg was an extreme case of giving help to an enemy about something they are both going for.

I'd argue the Israeli guy who leaked Israeli nuclear secrets to the press did something similar; apart from anything else, when the information was published globally, only a very dim enemy could have missed it! Presumably the Israeli government felt the same way, from his current location (prison)...

As for the rest, it's subjective, so i'll just accewpt that you don't agree. I disagree with you, but i doubt talking about it will matter.

Which bit? On the severity of Pollard's actions, it's hard to be sure: neither of us knows what was in Weinberger's classified document, and that presumably is where the explanation lies. (He's my cousin's neighbour, now, but somehow I doubt asking him about the contents at a social event would get me very far.) Whatever the impact, I find Israel's apparent interest (bordering on desperation) to have him released quite suspicious - especially when they're holding Vanunu in solitary for leaking information to British organisations. If he's so minor, why do they regard him as being so important? (For that matter, why did they hand him over to the FBI in the first place?)

On the "ally" aspect - as far as I can see, Israel receives a great deal from the US - billions of dollars in aid, technology and information, as well as protection from the UN via the US Security Council veto. What does America get in return - ICQ and an astronaut? This doesn't seem like a very balanced arrangement to me.

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6929657)

What does America get in return - ICQ and an astronaut? This doesn't seem like a very balanced arrangement to me.

First of all, allies are based on agreements, not actions. Unless those actions go opposite either country.

Anyway, Israel does quite a bit. First there is the business aspect. There are many US companies in Israel. For example, the Intel fabrication plant that made the Pentium. There are agreements that remove tariffs and the like. Then there's Israel agreeing to the US vote in the General Assembly. Let's not forget that Israel cancels multi-million dollar deals with other countries when the US disagrees. (For example, such a thing is happeneing with India right now. India wants it, Israel would like to give it, but the US opposes it.) With Israel able to sell high technology to the world, the US uses its relationship to control it.

The there's this whole conflict thing. If not for the US, Israel would have killed Arafat long ago. And that's only the begining of it. Nearly daily, Israel witholds harsh response because of the US.

Then there's US goods sold in Israel, deportation agreements, and the like. The list goes on.

If anything, i'd wonder why the US considers Saudi Arabia an ally.

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#6932828)

If anything, i'd wonder why the US considers Saudi Arabia an ally.

Hardly a good ally in the way that the UK and Autralia are, but at least it provides useful support (basing rights). It also manages to avoid embarassing the US in the way Israel does multiple times a year, and has strong trade links (without demanding massive bribes in exchange).

There are many US companies in Israel. For example, the Intel fabrication plant that made the Pentium.

Ditto the PRC...

There are agreements that remove tariffs and the like.

As do most countries wanting to trade: the US doesn't usually need to rent their compliance with billions of dollars a year... (Israel also ranks below Taiwan and China in import value, and doesn't appear on the list of significant export destinations either.)

The there's this whole conflict thing. If not for the US, Israel would have killed Arafat long ago. And that's only the begining of it. Nearly daily, Israel witholds harsh response because of the US.

As for Arafat - he may still be alive, but it seems Israel's about to exile him. Big foot wound. (There's something very very wrong when one country goes kicking people out of what is supposed to be another country...) As blackmail goes, "give us lots of money or we'll make our terrorist problem much worse" doesn't seem very bright. On the other hand, nor does the fence's current route...

In summary, you consider Israel an "ally" of the US because - in exchange for massive bribes - they treat the US as well as the PRC does (without the bribes), and refrain from doing anything even more embarassing? With friends like that, who needs enemies? It isn't perfect, of course: Israel's still going ahead with the current route of the "fence", rather than trying to put it along a realistic border, over extremely strong US objections.

Re:"Objectivity" (1, Interesting)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6933595)

but at least it provides useful support (basing rights)...It also manages to avoid embarassing the US

Actually, it embarrasses the US quite a bit. You just don't hear about it too often. You only hear about it with Israel because Reuters and CNN have a blatantly anti-Israel bias and will report anything to embarrass her, and the AP isn't to helpful either. Do you have any idea how many children were kidnapped by a Saudi Arabian parent, and Saudi Arabia basically laughs at the US when asked to return them? If the news agencies would promote those stories, you'd see how awful Saudi Arabia is.

That Saudi Arabia lets the US use their base, is in exchange for money. It just is probably less money then it would cost to have the base at sea and in Israel. Which incurs costs because they are furhter away.

However, the US considers them an ally in order to smooth over other deals. That's why it calls anyone an ally. What is exchanged in between the countries comes second.

And, as for your thoughtas on the US/Israel relationship, regardless of your feelings on the matter, the fact is the US does get more than just "ICQ and an astronaut", and both sides would lose a lot if they were not allies.

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#6947631)

Actually, it embarrasses the US quite a bit. You just don't hear about it too often. You only hear about it with Israel because Reuters and CNN have a blatantly anti-Israel bias and will report anything to embarrass her, and the AP isn't to helpful either. Do you have any idea how many children were kidnapped by a Saudi Arabian parent, and Saudi Arabia basically laughs at the US when asked to return them? If the news agencies would promote those stories, you'd see how awful Saudi Arabia is.

Oh, Saudi's a lousy place in terms of equality - but politically, that really doesn't matter. There are complaints about it in Congress, but the US doesn't have to abuse its "Security" Council veto to protect Saudi from criticism.

That Saudi Arabia lets the US use their base, is in exchange for money. It just is probably less money then it would cost to have the base at sea and in Israel. Which incurs costs because they are furhter away.

There are bigger problems than that with using bases in Israel.

And, as for your thoughtas on the US/Israel relationship, regardless of your feelings on the matter, the fact is the US does get more than just "ICQ and an astronaut", and both sides would lose a lot if they were not allies.

None of which justifies the massive amounts of aid; indeed, given the balance of trade between the US and Israel (massively skewed in Israel's favor), Israel would be by far the bigger loser if that trade were threatened.

I have nothing against Israel at all, and I would very much like to see the neighbouring terrorist groups removed - I just see no possible justification for the US giving them $1,000 per person per year in "aid"!

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#6954963)

None of which justifies the massive amounts of aid;

Noone said it did. That was talking about allies. Aid is giving for completely different reasons.

indeed, given the balance of trade between the US and Israel (massively skewed in Israel's favor), Israel would be by far the bigger loser if that trade were threatened.

Probably, because she is so small. The US is able to diversify, so the few companies that would be hit hard by a non-agreement (intel, some pharmoseudicals (deal with Teva), and other industries)), would be dwarfed by the size of the US. Israel is much smaller and cannot diversify in quite the same way.

I just see no possible justification for the US giving them $1,000 per person per year in "aid"!

If the US didn't give aid, Israel's security would be severely diminished. Israel would have to raise taxes, some US companies would be hurt, and the US companies that receive the aid that Israel gets (they *must* spend a certain amount at US companies) would be hit, probably resulting in layoffs. The US would not be able to test technology there, or learn anti-terrorist know-how. And cleaning up after a bombing would be that much harder without Israel giving that unfortunate first-hand knowledge.

Israel, to raise money, would then sell technology to China and India (worth billions of dollars). The US does not want that, so must compensate somehow.

Overall, regardless of your feelings about the money, the ramifications of that money in the US are very great. The US would lose a great deal by not giving it. And, as many have put it. If Israel loses the war against the fanatics, the US is the next target. Israel is, in a sick way, something that the Arabs focus on, keeping them off of the US.

Re:"Objectivity" (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#6921605)

I don't know where you live but you may be able to find a news/talk radio station that has a bit more objectivity than we have come to expect. Now with news/talk radio you get a huge slant in most of the shows but I find that the top and bottom of the hour news reports are usually without too much slant. As for news on television, that's a wasteland - it's all opinion + news, no separation whatsoever.

good point (1)

subgeek (263292) | more than 10 years ago | (#6922576)

you're absolutely right about news not being factual.

the problem is that news agencies exist to make money. people (by this i mean the population at large) don't listen to facts. they listen to what other people think about the facts. interpretation of facts is what makes them important, but it also takes effort that most people don't want to put into it. so they listen to news full of opinions. so news agencies create more of what sells their product.

The Problem (2, Insightful)

True Freak (57805) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945722)

The problem is that you are not looking at the real issue...the real issue is the real problem...wich is that oppinion is just news with less facts...and more duplicate letters.
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