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Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the giant-earthquake-provides-thousands-with-early-access-to-afterlife dept.

The Media 109

theodp writes: After Brazil's dramatic World Cup defeat by Germany, writes NPR's Aarti Shahani, Google's experimental newsroom focused on search trends that didn't rub salt in Brazil's wounds, choosing to not publish a single trend on Brazilian search terms. Copywriter Tessa Hewson said they were just too negative. "We might try and wait until we can do a slightly more upbeat trend." It's a decision that puzzles Shahani, but producer Sam Clohesy explained, "a negative story about Brazil won't necessarily get a lot of traction in social." In old-school newsrooms, if it bleeds, it leads. But because this new newsroom is focused on getting content onto everyone's smartphone, marketing expert Rakesh Agrawal says, editors may have another bias: to comb through the big data in search of happy thoughts.

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sounds like North Korea news (5, Funny)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47430671)

we say bad stuff only when it makes us look good.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47430789)

Worse than that. It's like Brave New World news. The only things fit to publish are the things that keep us happy(and thus amendable to advertisements in this case). It's not trying to make on specific entity look good, it's trying to engage in actual mind control via selection bias.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 5 months ago | (#47431289)

So... Yeah, this is basically exactly the same issue as the FB "experiment" snafu a while back.

We might try and wait until we can do a slightly more upbeat trend.

I thought a tend is supposed to be some overall direction in what is actually happening in the real world. Not what we would like to be happening.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 5 months ago | (#47431467)

Hardly new. Slashdot frequently runs doom-is-nigh, overblown, click-baity summaries for the purposes of drawing in viewers (and thus, revenue). All those stupid social sites use vague headlines ending with "...you won't believe what happens next!" to try and intrigue viewers for the same reason. Calling it "mind control" is setting the bar pretty low.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47431517)

Oh, no, that's absolutely an attempt at large-scale mental manipulation as well.

Too soon? (1)

freezin fat guy (713417) | about 5 months ago | (#47431581)

I'm also surprised everyone still hates Germany this much and considers that match a defeat rather than a victory.

Too soon?

Friend Google knows best! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431931)

Happiness is mandatory, so take your happy news and like it, citizen!

Re:Friend Google knows best! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47432245)

Friend google has prescribed me 3 doses of happy happy to be taken at the nearest confession booth.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 5 months ago | (#47432463)

All advertising supported news runs the risk of turning into "content;" that is, of existing primarily as a circus attraction to get an audience into the advertisers' tent.

In the distant past, professional integrity enabled journalists to get actual news into newspapers. Perhaps that was because the people who chose to devote their lives to journalism, even the editors and publishers, were interested in contributing to society by acting as its eyes, its ears and, on occasion, its conscience. That's always been in conflict with people who view their work as a way to raise money for themselves, and don't give it any thought beyond that. Of course, few people exist at either extreme; most of us are somewhere along the spectrum.

There's a Darwinian process taking place in journalism as elsewhere. What survives will be what attracts people -- that is going to be something that brings in enough money without rendering itself so distasteful that people with disposable income universally reject it. The fitness landscape is being altered as we speak by the increasing income inequality of our society. Magazines selling Rolexes will do well, as will newspapers that cater to the lowest common denominator that can still buy anything.

If I were you, I would not be searching for truth in ad-supported media; what you get is either "content" or propaganda the owners liked investing in. Google just sounds a bit more clever and experimental in its thinking than the rest.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

ahaweb (762825) | about 5 months ago | (#47432477)

In reality, it's the advertisements that serve the role of promising to make us happy.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47433143)

a cite [tandfonline.com]

Now, while happiness does help us catch lies in advertising, we're also more likely to react positively to advertising in general when we're happy. Thus google's mission should be to make people happy at the expense of news quality, since they're in the advertising business.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 months ago | (#47430979)

Here is the problem:
Bad news is more interesting than good news. When people hear bad news it is a call to action that something needs to be done to stop it. Good news means you should just continue on and do what you have been doing.

Now we get flooded with Bad News and that makes news junkies become paranoid and thinking the world is about to end, and this over extradition of the problem will cause them to try to do drastic action to try to fix it. Tea Party, Occupy Movement, Radical groups.

Countries like China and North Korea, tries to give a bunch of good news, as a way to pacify the public. There is no interest in roping people in to watch the news every hour. So they do good news, to try to keep people passive and do what they already do. Ignoring real issues that are going on, causing the culture to stagnate.

We really need a happy middle. Where we know what important is going on, without it seeming like the End of the World.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (3, Insightful)

dcw3 (649211) | about 5 months ago | (#47431035)

How about instead of trying to spin it one way or the other, try publishing the facts. No real news entity should be spinning stories, but they obviously do in order to pull in a larger audience, or deliver their agenda (Fox, MSN).

I'm really tired of these crappy stories that I see on local news meant to scare folks, or pull at their heartstrings. They really misguide peoples perceptions of reality.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#47431165)

News stations use to be required by law to state just the facts and give both sides of the story if I remember right.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 5 months ago | (#47431353)

News stations use to be required by law to state just the facts and give both sides of the story if I remember right.

Uh-huh. And now (well, for some time already) we have courts agreeing with Fox et al that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.
link [dailykos.com]

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#47432703)

I never said the law actually worked.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0, Troll)

jebblue (1160883) | about 5 months ago | (#47432979)

Why do young people and liberal nuts dis Fox? Is it because they don't like what their parents like in the former and don't want to grow up in the latter? Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, the only difference is that Fox will at least on more occasions tell things as they are regardless whether college kiddies or liberal fanatics understand the content.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47434515)

Young people, liberals, those durn city slickers, and the rest of the known world. Fox viewers are less informed. It's a nearly-pure propagada mill, they have a specific viewer they target, they do not make any attempt at balanced coverage, they're more into pushing the Overton window far right and cheerleading for big business. It's not like you find intelligent news on any TV screen, but Fox is the bottom of the barrel. They also have no particular attachment to the truth. Couple quotes:

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." — Sinclair Lewis
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." — Samuel Johnson
"Fascism is the union of the Corporation with the State." — Benito Mussolini.

Now, it is not to say that the majority of the fourth estate has not abrogated its duty to the People, but Fox is above all a Republican mouthpiece, and the Republicans are above all the party of Big Business, especially Big Oil. They are at the front of climate change denialism, they were Bush's go-to propaganda machine when he lied the country into war, and they gave a dumb-as-bricks half-term governor a talk show. Mediamatters.org mostly exists to catelogue the lies told by Fox News; it's a wonder they can keep up. Compared to the rest of the world press, Fox is so right-wing it's more of a parody of news. What's wrong with Fox News? In a word, everything.

It takes a great deal of ignorance to watch Fox. It's very popular in the segment of the population that is least informed about the world, and also about science. Studies have shown that Fox News viewers are less educated, less informed, less likely to own passports, more polarized politically, and generally older by far than the rest of the population — about half being 68 or older. Fox is a very specific exercise in mass psychology, and a very effective one. I for one do not hold it against its employees — they all deserve a fair trial.

Citations for the above are pretty easy to find, although there are more surveys than research papers, and the statistical validity of these was not examined. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why Fox is increasingly unpopular, though, it just takes someone who is smarter than the average Fox News viewer.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

jmyers (208878) | about 5 months ago | (#47432655)

Who decides what are facts? Who decides what the 2 sides are? The government? If there ever was such a law it must have been enforced really badly at least during my lifetime (I am 54). I have always seen huge bias in news from any source. The difference that's happened over the last 20 years or so is that commentators have started to state their bias up front. I believe that is way more honest because you know what you are getting and can weight the information accordingly. The fact is that anything that comes from the mouth of a human is going to have a bias applied. The people who claim to not have bias are usually the worst culprits because they are unable to see their own bias.

Something like internet search trends is a great way to get an unbiased view of what people are interested or concerned about. This can be done completely by computer with no human interaction and bias applied. But of course the search providers will not provide the unfiltered facts. All they see is their own bias and dollar signs.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#47432713)

I never said that it actually did any good. Your points are ones that anyone should realize.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47434213)

News stations use to be required by law to state just the facts and give both sides of the story if I remember right.

No, there has never been such a law (that wasn't struck down by the Supreme Court).

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#47432929)

How about instead of trying to spin it one way or the other, try publishing the facts.

There are an overwhelming number of facts generated every day, and no way to know what is the most important (indeed, what is important to one person is unimportant to another). A news organization thus has to choose which facts to publish, and that is where the bias comes in (inevitably!): the news corporation chooses which facts to show, over other ones. They might choose to show facts that make you want to go to war, hide the facts that show why it's a bad idea, and all they are doing is publishing the facts.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#47433075)

How about instead of trying to spin it one way or the other, try publishing the facts.

As another poster already said, there are billions of "facts" generated every day. A news organization has to choose to emphasize some or others -- there's certainly enough stuff going on in the world to generate an entirely "positive" newspaper every day or an entirely "negative" one.

No real news entity should be spinning stories, but they obviously do in order to pull in a larger audience, or deliver their agenda (Fox, MSN).

That is the ENTIRE point of most news organizations. Contrary to popular belief, there never was some sort of "golden age" where news sources ever just "reported the news." Newspapers and magazines have always mostly been trying to sell newspapers and magazines -- that means publishing attention-getting headlines. They might not "spin" it in a positive or negative fashion, but they certainly will try to spin it in a way that gets you to buy their product. And, like any product, they'll eventually develop an audience (intentionally or not), and that will lead them to slant things to entertain that audience.

News organizations are businesses, first and foremost. Their main goal is to generate revenue and always has been.

I'm really tired of these crappy stories that I see on local news meant to scare folks, or pull at their heartstrings. They really misguide peoples perceptions of reality.

Ah yes, the perpetual complaint that goes back centuries. You can find Ben Franklin complaining about all the sensationalist crap published at the time... and others from even further into the past.

And before newspapers, there were town gossips who spread rumors about why the town butcher closed his shop inexplicably for one day last week, or the weird lady who lives down the street and never talks to anyone and how she must be a witch, or the evil people who live beyond the mountains and eat babies.

Ever ready fairy tales -- not the sanitized versions generated by Disney, but the original ones? It was mostly horrific blood and gore and evil deeds... if people don't have enough sensational entertainment from the stuff happening around them, they make it up.

Believe me, I wish news sources were better too, but that's not their point, and it never has been dating back to the dawn of civilization. The closest we can get to a "neutral" news source would be to turn something into a non-profit and remove a business motive. But even then, if you look at something like NPR (which is better than most), you'll find it tends to run stories and choose reporting styles that slant toward its customer base, which tends to lean liberal (for U.S. politics).

Unfortunately, most people just want the sensationalist news. The stuff you want is NEVER going to be what your local news station will run, because that just is never going to generate much revenue.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (2)

StikyPad (445176) | about 5 months ago | (#47431233)

In that case:

Bad News! Google to stop showing bad news!

In a terrible decision that requires a call-to-arms, Google has decided to censor anything bad. Stop everything you are doing and take to the streets while coordinating through social media, and let your voices and/or rioting be heard! Only when Google mentions the protests in their news feed will can claim success!

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431739)

I make my living on the evening news,
Just give me something, something I can use.
People love it when you lose,
They love dirty laundry.
Well I could have been an actor but I wound up here,
I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear.
Come on whisper in my ear,
Gimme dirty laundry.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47432169)

We really need a happy middle.

One heartwarming kitten per murder, check.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 5 months ago | (#47433039)

One heartwarming kitten per murder, check.

"Heartwarming kitten found murdered -- Film at 11"

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431383)

Don't forget the Photoshopped images that look like they were made with paint on windows 3.1.

Re:sounds like North Korea news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47432633)

Really? Rakesh "Lobster" Agrawal? The same guy who recently had a very public meltdown on twitter is now somehow a credible source?

Won't Somebody Think of the Neurotics! (3, Insightful)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | about 5 months ago | (#47430679)

Without the usual diet of bad stuff happening what will they use to feed their various fears and neuroses?

Re:Won't Somebody Think of the Neurotics! (1)

TheOldFart (578597) | about 5 months ago | (#47430997)

Lots of cat pictures?

Re:Won't Somebody Think of the Neurotics! (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 5 months ago | (#47431061)

4chan does a pretty good job of that.

Re:Won't Somebody Think of the Neurotics! (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 5 months ago | (#47431349)

Without the usual diet of bad stuff happening what will they use to feed their various fears and neuroses?

Well there seems to be no dearth of global warming fearmongering, so there's that. Oh, and TERRORISM!!!>>

FUCK fake-ass corporate non-news. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430691)

You and your Kardashians can burn in bullshit TV hell.

Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Hea (1)

davethomask (3685523) | about 5 months ago | (#47430703)

.. from Russia!

and in other happy news... (5, Funny)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 5 months ago | (#47430709)

.. israel has asked 30,000 of it's citizens to prepare for a community outreach program in the gaza strip, where they intend to engage locals in what's expected to be highly impactful face to face cultural exchanges
.. is the arctic the next greatest beach resort haven? it just might be!
... and finally, we re-introduce Blinky-san - the superfish everyone has known and loved.. leading the way in sushi dinners that leave you glowing with excitement!

Re:and in other happy news... (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 5 months ago | (#47430719)

p.s. please support our sponsors! back after this message from them...

Re:and in other happy news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431225)

BRAWNDO! It's got electrolytes!

It's what plants crave!

and now, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47433713)

stay tuned for "hypno-toad!"

Because Nothing Bad Ever Happens (5, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 5 months ago | (#47430735)

Thank you Google for protecting me from reality no one should have to know about bad things that happen, in fact, why should we know anything at all except for Google approved happy thoughts. Every year Google seems to do something that makes me hate them more and more. So fuck you Google - you're a bunch of authoritarian asshats who think you should control the information we have access to while trying to turn everyone into your personal little database to mine and sell info from. Just go fuck yourselves.

Re:Because Nothing Bad Ever Happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431205)

If it weren't for Google News, I'd never know which counties decided to legalize gay marriage today, which red carpet Miley Cyrus stuck her tongue out on today, or what the idiots at Slate, Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and NY Daily News think about abortion and why it's important for poor women to kill their children to show their power over rich, white men.

Re:Because Nothing Bad Ever Happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431325)

While I would have a problem with this if Google were the only news source around, I think that this is actually a positive (....ugh...) change because it offers another potential perspective that is previously not around. I cannot think of a single news source that is focused on reporting on positive news. I have any number of sources that I can consume the latest BS scandal or divisive issue from, and zero that I can use to feel good about the human race in general. In this day and age of instant communication and the ability to be influenced by news from thousands of miles away when it has zero relevance to my daily life, why not have a source of news that isn't hell-bent on making me hate the whole of humanity and trying to drive as big a wedge as possible between different social groups?

If this was anyone other than Google, would you still be angry?

Re:Because Nothing Bad Ever Happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47434999)

turn everyone into your personal little database to mine and sell info from

Google doesn't sell user info.

Hmmm ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47430747)

I don't want upbeat headlines. I want the news.

That will include good and bad headlines.

This sounds like a stupid idea, only tell people the upbeat things and let them live in blissful ignorance of what's actually happening in the world. The world doesn't work like that.

What next, not telling us when governments misbehave, or when some atrocity happens so we don't all get sad?

Re:Hmmm ... (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#47430829)

Okay, hold on, I'll get you a link to Pornhub where you can see Brazil getting fucked by Germany.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47430899)

LOL ... not the kind of headlines I was looking for.

News for Nerds. Porn that Matters.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 5 months ago | (#47431045)

No, no no. They got waxed.

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431177)

Compared with the normal news sites of one particular political leaning, they only produce bad headlines that are negative to the current administration. Yet they don't get called out as stupid for some reason.

There might be problems in the world, but the balance is much more likely to be 95% positive and 5% negative in most people's lives...

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431247)

Or the more numerous sites of the other particular political leaning, where they ignore bad headlines that are negative to the current administration.

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431357)

What do you mean 'next'?

Re:Hmmm ... (4, Insightful)

Megol (3135005) | about 5 months ago | (#47431443)

So you want the news? Then this may be a more correct delivery than other news media.

Traditional media tend to skip happy news (or do some short notices) while promoting violence, crimes etc. as the top news.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47431465)

I don't want them to pick only the negative stuff. I don't want them to bias towards the happy stuff.

I want to know what is actually happening, not what some editor thinks I want to know is happening, or stories which will increase ad revenue.

I will evaluate good and bad on my own.

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431667)

I want to know what is actually happening, not what some editor thinks I want to know is happening, or stories which will increase ad revenue.

No, you really don't. You want to think that, but the actual amount of stuff that is happening would overwhelm immediately. What you actually want is to look at the news as filtered by someone who has a similar but slightly wider opinion of what is newsworthy compared to yourself.

This also brings into question what you think qualifies as news vs. everyone else. Plenty of people think that some Cardassian's random outbursts are newsworthy, but have no interest in advances in medicine until they are diagnosed with complete liver failure and 4 flavors of cancer. Some people think the minor life details of politicians are newsworthy, but have a simmering disgust at the Hollywood-obsessed crowds. Some think that the only news worth caring about is personal, and get the only news that matters to them by chatting with friends and family (in person or tweets). Slashdot is biased toward Raspberry Pi, hot grits, BitCoin, and cryptography among a few other fields.
The closest you can get to your alleged ideal of "let me decide how important things are" is to have enough different news filters out there that you can pick the ones you tend to agree with. To that end, having "optimist news" as one of your RSS feeds alongside three "scaremonger news" sources and five "semi-techy news" sites is probably the closest you will get to an objective, unbiased source of news.

Same as Facebook (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 5 months ago | (#47430751)

I included the word "doom" in a post and it did not go to the newsfeed. Changed the word and then it goes. Nazis would be thrilled to see this.

Re:Same as Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430887)

Next time, try d00m or dewm or dume.

Doubleplus good Newspeak for the computer enforcement era.

Re:Same as Facebook (1)

joshuao3 (776721) | about 5 months ago | (#47431059)

I was thinking the same thing... this is what Facebook did as a social experiment in a way. Personally, I'm supportive of Facebook's experiment as it added to the scientific body of work about social manipulation. In my opinion there's no expectation of equal "news" coverage on a social site, website, blog, TV station, or anywhere. As long as there are other options available, I say that "news" services can run their service without editorial oversight by the Government.

Re:Same as Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431737)

Are you talking about the inability to search for Brazilian Nazi news? I imagine they would be happy regarding this new development. Happy Nazis.

Re:Same as Facebook (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 5 months ago | (#47432807)

I included the word "doom" in a post and it did not go to the newsfeed. Changed the word and then it goes. Nazis would be thrilled to see this.

If you are so keen on raging, try to talk about quakes.

What good is filtered news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430757)

One must ask, what good is news that filters? News is news, be it bad, sad, happy or violent. To ignore it, does not mean it did not happen. I just read about how ABC news had to apologize for mistaking a Palestinian family for a Israeli family? If you cannot tell which is which? How can you report the news? I remember a time when the news was reported and read. Nothing more nothing less. How people accepted the news was left up to the viewer, reader, or listener. Now we have flavored news, distorted news, politically correct news. The news, has become nothing more then a opinion column, or podium.

Re:What good is filtered news? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#47430835)

One must ask, what good is news that filters?

And to understand the answer, one must consider the vantage point from which those who filter the news are viewing the world.

It's up there.

Less-than-poetic version:

Dude, think about who is doing the filtering - people with power. Once you realize that, it's easy to see what "good" they feel will come from the practice - keeping the proles fat, blind, and complacent.

Re:What good is filtered news? (0)

LordLucless (582312) | about 5 months ago | (#47430953)

One must ask, what good is news that filters?

All news is filtered. You wouldn't have time to digest every single piece of information generated every day. The question is, what is your news filtered by? I don't see how "upbeat" is any worse than "political", "tech", "sport", or "local".

someone chose, wrote the story. What changed was (3, Interesting)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#47431143)

> I remember a time when the news was reported and read. Nothing more nothing less. How people accepted the news was left up to the viewer, reader, or listener. Now we have flavored news,

In those happy times, an editor decided which stories he wanted to assign reporters to. Before "the news was read", someone wrote it, and the author had their biases. If you look at the news stories from many years ago covering two different politicians doing the same thing, you'll find the stories read quite differently depending on which party the politician was associated with.

The newspapers and television stations of yesteryear were just as interested in selling ads as today's are. I think the biggest difference is the level of honesty. Sean Hannity will TELL you that he's a conservative. Peter Jennings and Dan Rather pretended to be objective.

Re:someone chose, wrote the story. What changed wa (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#47433491)

The newspapers and television stations of yesteryear were just as interested in selling ads as today's are.

This is the most important point. Everyone on Slashdot always chimes in and says things like "You're not really Facebook's customer -- the companies who want your information and want to run ads are," but people seem to forget that this has been true for a lot of things for a LONG time.

The "news" has rarely been about conveying unbiased facts -- it's about selling a product. And before ad revenue was so important, most newspapers were even more sensationalist, since they depended solely on news boys pitching crazy stories that would attract an audience.

The primary goal of most news sources is to make things as sensationalist as possible without alienating their sponsors or their audience... and that's always been the goal, even centuries ago. People turn their heads to watch car wrecks and freaks -- the vast majority of people don't want "unbiased coverage," and even those who say they do don't generally want to hear things that disagree with their worldview.

I think the biggest difference is the level of honesty. Sean Hannity will TELL you that he's a conservative. Peter Jennings and Dan Rather pretended to be objective.

This is true, but I wouldn't quite say that nothing has changed in terms of the tone of news. We did go through a somewhat less sensationalist era for televised news in the early decades of television, but that was an aberration in the history of journalism. But of course you're right: there still were biases, even if they were less overt.

Re:What good is filtered news? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 5 months ago | (#47431657)

One must ask, what good is news that filters?

It is impossible for there to be any other kind. The sum total of what happens on the earth is far beyond the ability of anyone or anything to track or follow. Most of it is not relevant to you, of course. Any news you read is, and of necessity, must be, filtered. The only question is how it is filtered.

News is news, be it bad, sad, happy or violent.

Your view that occurances can be easily and definitively defined as "news" or "not news" is incredibly naive.

I remember a time when the news was reported and read.

No, you remember a time when the biases in selecting what would be news and what would not be were better hidden.

Deja Vu? (2)

Rixel (131146) | about 5 months ago | (#47430819)

I seem to recall reading about a similar trend back in the 40's. Took quite a few "wins" over various countries until the aggressors were called on it. Wasn't quite sports related, mind you.

Just put on a happy face (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430825)

Well, at least until the other party is in control of the White House...

they think they know better (2)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 5 months ago | (#47430837)

These are the experts. They have their journalism degrees. They are news professionals. They know what we should be reading.

We don't understand this because we are too stupid. We are hicks. We don't have the same respect they do for polishing and smoke being blown in our faces. We don't understand how the 4th estate should be running the world.

Re:they think they know better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431075)

And yet, the vast majority of people with journalism degrees got there because they couldn't cut the mustard in other fields.

Censorship Alive and Well.... (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 5 months ago | (#47430849)

God bless Google for protecting fans of Brazil's soccer team. I suppose if the humiliating defeat wasn't enough to send them over the edge, the endless parade of articles pointing out the humungous ASS KICKING they received, would. FYI there was rioting after the match but I guess Google figured it could have escalated to a global catastrophe...

Re:Censorship Alive and Well.... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 5 months ago | (#47432769)

I suspect that you are very close to the truth. Football here has always been a way to keep the masses under control, making them worry about football and forget the problems of the country. And if you take away the will of the people to watch football with such humiliation, what would happen? The controllers of the world are probably worried.

Re:Censorship Alive and Well.... (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 5 months ago | (#47433161)

Indeed [abstrusegoose.com] .

How is this even soley a negative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430867)

In Germany, it was pretty positive news. In many other countries it was something closer to neutral.

These people (1)

Twelfth Harmonic (3464759) | about 5 months ago | (#47430897)

need a real journalist to lead their marketing efforts.
For one, you don't edit the news. You relay the facts as is.
If you want to have your audience read about your opinions, you clearly mark that an "Editorial" and then go crazy on your side of things.
Future newsreaders don't need a platform that's gonna censor the news they receive. Google would take a big PR hit from this. think it through.
Sergey Brin said his vision was to "make information come to the people" That's kinda what you're trying to do. The slippery slope is the point where you decide who lives and who dies.

Why tell people what they need to hear? (1)

Warbothong (905464) | about 5 months ago | (#47430901)

Why can’t we tell them what they want to hear?

Anchorman 3: The Legend Goes Webscale

#psyops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430957)

#psyops

The Important Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47430961)

The important point here is that Google does filter the news according to what they want us to read. Keep that in mind when you're using Google News.

Re:The Important Point (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#47432437)

True, but the same advice applies everywhere. No news outlet or aggregator is without bias.

Orwellian (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 5 months ago | (#47430967)

Frankly, I have to say that this is even more Orwellian and pernicious than government-backed spying.

The idea that an ostensibly-objective source in the private sector - simply by the good fortune of it's overwhelming market power - can ensure that we all have happythink by subtly 'managing' the news feeds... is terrifying.

Re:Orwellian (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47431237)

Meet the new media control overlords. It used to be we had filters like News Editors, TV Anchors etc. who had a set of principles and presented the news based on those principles. Of course individuals like William Randolph Hurst realized how powerful this was and fashioned and tailored the news to their own agendas. This gave their already immense power even more capabilities to shape the dialog and issues of the day. Google, Huffington Post et al. are all in the same business and both actually don't generate actual news content but merely serve as spin doctors pushing the issues to their suited direction. We shouldn't be surprised that Google is trying to influence our opinions, it's been done for hundreds of years and although the media distribution may have changed controlling public opinion is an old game.

Best Source Of Real News I've Found So far (3, Informative)

Scottingham (2036128) | about 5 months ago | (#47431005)

A few months ago I was trying to look up the latest figures on the Ebola outbreak. All I could find through most news cites were BS articles that wasted 3/4 of their space on the background of what Ebola is and where Sierra Leone is. In my searching I stumbled across a Daily Map Archive from the EU commission.

Each day they bring a new map with news from around the world. Succinct news, showing where it is geographically, with actual figures and no other bullshit. Granted, it's nearly all bad news...but I've learned so much about events around the world that the major news outlets don't cover (too much time covering important things like Brazil Exploitation Theatre or the latest breaking news out of Hollywood).

Thine linken: http://ercportal.jrc.ec.europa... [europa.eu]

Coincidentally, their map today is of that very same Ebola outbreak. Things are not looking good.

Re:Best Source Of Real News I've Found So far (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47432001)

You probably missed the news that the number of people killed by ebola is tiny compared to much bigger killers in your own "back yard".

Double standards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431027)

When Facebook does this, there's an uproar.
When Google does this, it's ok?

Stupid and misguided AT BEST (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 5 months ago | (#47431085)

"Hey, let's blatantly spin the news by using out-and-out censorship!". Fuck you Google, what the hell do you think you're doing? The news is the news, good, bad, or indifferent. It is the duty of a news agency to report the news, not filter it. What you're doing is no different than some government propaganda engine.

Do No Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431115)

...apparently applies to the news as well.

The coercive manipulation of what is reported on by Google only substantiates the rightwing nutball case for MSM censorship.

Orwell is rolling in his grave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431127)

Filter bubble (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 5 months ago | (#47431133)

The filter bubble is bringing 1984 to realization in ways that no one ever imagined.

Newsroom? (1)

psnyder (1326089) | about 5 months ago | (#47431141)

They seem to be talking about Google Trends [google.com] , where they are currently making cutesy graphs of what people are searching for about the World Cup.

Calling this a "newsroom" seems to be a bit of a stretch. This is NOT "Google News" where I see "humiliation", "shame" and "misery" in the top stories when searching for "Brazil World Cup" [google.com] .

This had me really confused (and it seems like many of the readers here as well), but the article and summary are misleading.

Who decides what is happy (1)

jmyers (208878) | about 5 months ago | (#47431181)

So it might make me happy to know some bad news, like my Bank just got hacked.This is nothing but trying to put a happy face on censorship. I hate "search trends" reports and articles. I wish they would factually publish that actual trends with no filtering. that would be truly interesting. I am sure this has never been done. If the trends have been real in the past then it really proves how stupid most people are. It normally appears to be as pop fluff and the same stuff the MSM is pushing as issues of the day.

Bullshit (0)

Jawnn (445279) | about 5 months ago | (#47431203)

News is news. Selectively publishing only certain stories is always an editorial chore, but using viewers/readers "feelings" crosses the line into something more akin to entertainment. Welcome to the club, Google. You're just like Fox News now.

Re:Bullshit (1)

mi (197448) | about 5 months ago | (#47431311)

You're just like Fox News now.

Sure. Because the honest and straight-shooting New York Times and MSNBC would publish — indeed, revel in — every piece of bad news...

As long a Republican can be blamed for it — justly or otherwise — of course...

Iraq, for example, was a "quagmire" in 2003 [nytimes.com] — when the enemy was defeated and on the run. And so it was in 2006 [nytimes.com] , when only minor insurrections remained. But it is not a quagmire today — with the enemy having recaptured vast swaths of the country — the same sophisticated publication is advising us on how to avoid the disaster [nytimes.com] , not admitting, is has already happened — with the Nobel Peace Prize winner at the helm and a direct result of his decisions and orders [washingtonpost.com] .

The ball is small and it's got this: "$" on it ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 5 months ago | (#47431251)

Google's prime directive is to make money.

There's the answer to today's question.

Those who don't understand and embrace that first sentence may well start babbling about free speech, 4th estate, bias, or any number of equally irrelevant issues having nothing to do with Google's business model.

Google does not owe anyone the "news," any more than does the news entertainment venues like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and the likes.

If you're interested in news in the traditional sense, good luck and please remember where you parked.

Money-making ventures report to the shareholders -- not the news desk.

Thought Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431457)

Do no evil?

Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431567)

Welcome my friends, to the new ways of Propaganda and Social Media Control. Opt out while you can...

Slaves is what you all are. Do not conform, think independently.

Could YOU resist? (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 5 months ago | (#47431577)

For centuries researchers have lamented the difficulty in studying society and accurately running social experiments. Now for the first time in human history companies such as Google and Facebook have a real window into how ideas and emotion spread. They can see the relationships between philosophy, religion, gender and culture in how they define our dealings with each other.

I disagree with what they're doing and how they're doing it. Yet I pause and think to myself... In the same position, could I resist the temptation to pry and to tinker? Power corrupts, those who deny their power deny their abuse of it. It's frightening what they hold in their hands, the power to shape society and attempt to bend it to their will. The law of unintended consequences is going to bite down on them HARD.

Not a lot of traction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431681)

Sam Clohesy explained, "a negative story about Brazil won't necessarily get a lot of traction in social."

Can somebody explain what that sentence means, please? Because if it means what I took it for, then that Clohesy person must have been smoking glue or something. Brazil has a population of 200 million. In what planet from a long time ago in a galaxy far away was 200 million "not a lot of traction???"

Happy Thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47431745)

This is double-plus good

Lobster Feed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47432683)

Rakesh Lobster wants only positive spin in the news? I wonder why....

Because saying the truth is being a "negativist" (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 5 months ago | (#47433031)

What is this, life -- or 2nd grade?

It seems outright condescending to try to make it all happy news. People die. Things break. Teams lose. Wars happen. DEAL WITH IT! Don't hide it!

Personalization - another enemy of democracy. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 5 months ago | (#47433241)

Life is 2nd grade. Or perhaps "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten"?

Adults are merely conditioned and learn to ACT "mature," under the masks and habits we are all children... Psychology focuses so much on childhood for good reason.

Humans will avoid negative stimulation; it's natural behavior. If you have too much freedom and always have positive options you will avoid negative things ALL THE TIME. This will result in a lack of contrast which is necessary for your mind to function since just about everything you think is relative interpretation. What you end up with is a "wimp" who experiences just as much pain and suffering from a pin prick as a physically abused person does when being hospitalized.

People so fragile they commit suicide because of anonymous insults posted against them online... People so fragile they can be controlled by minor fears and name calling--- and most threatening, people being made incompetent citizens by being unable to face the bad news necessary for them to participate in their democracy.

www.allthingsnow.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47434401)

www.allthingsnow.com would never do this

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