Saturday, July 13, 2019

NPR

Microphone, Talk, Speak, Record, Radio, Vintage, Old
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If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't, yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.


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"People who listen to NPR are forever thanking the hosts for 'sharing,' or 'initiating a dialogue,' or 'taking the time to explain this very important issue.'"                                                                                            -Tucker Carlson


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I was listening to a local public radio station when I was out and about in the world in search of food. While I hate grocery shopping, most forms of shopping for that matter, I much prefer it to hunting and gathering.

As I've learned from my recovered/recovering friends/acquaintances/family members and some dude I was standing in line with at Five Guys Burgers and Fries: maintaining an attitude of gratitude takes the edge off of all sorts of things and it doesn't come with the inevitable side effects of substance abuse.

The practitioners of stoicism (the philosophy, not the Hollywood generated Leroy Jethro Gibbs types played by actors who often, not always, but often, seem to have feet of world-class clay version) figured this out a couple of thousand years ago.

Personally, I...

[Excuse me, special agent Mehlmauer, is this going anywhere?]

Sorry, Dana, point taken. I turned to/on the radio in Messy Momma's spiffy new SUV in a vain attempt to pacify my ruffled psyche.

Big Mistake
I was listening to a public radio show called On Point ("On Point is that now exceedingly rare public space where you hear nuanced explorations of complex topics live and in real-time."). 

They were doing a story about deepfakes: "Those doctored videos of Nancy Pelosi and Mark Zuckerberg highlight the growing threat of deepfake technology."

The bottom line was that the technology for altering video content for fun, propaganda, or fake news is making it harder and harder to tell real video from altered video and this is a RBFD (really big, um, freakin' deal).

Huh. 



As things stand at the moment, as far as I can tell, deepfake video is not much of a problem on established, mainstream cable/internet news/broadcast outlets --or anywhere else. In fact, just the opposite. More on that in just a sec'. I'm talking about any national/international news outlet with an audience sufficiently large enough to likely to be included with basic cable anywhere in the USA and/or with a major presence on the web.  

[By the way, Fox News and MSNBC are mainstream, no matter how hard they try to paint themselves otherwise. Pretending that they're not is purple journalism.]   

They talked about the YouTube video of Nancy Pelosi (costar of the hit reality broadcast, The Dancey & Shuckie show) that was deliberately altered to make it look like she was loaded.

Heaven forfend! The sheeple are going to be more susceptible to malignant manipulation than ever! We must get the word out because, of course, everyone assumes that video clips, particularly YouTube video clips, are as reliable a source of accurate information as, say, National Public Radio.


Why I don't see a problem is, well, this version of the disreputable video in question says it all.

It's a video clip, from YouTube, of coverage by NBC news of the crisis in question. Bottom line, they report that the video is a fake. In point of fact, if you go to YouTube and search for the invidious version of the vicious video, hit after hit turns up videos of various sundry debunkings of the original video.

I know it might be hard to believe, but it appears that the purple-tinted Infotainment Industry flogged this particular horse to an early grave.

You'll recall that I mentioned above that not only is deepfake video not much of a problem, "In fact, just the opposite," said I.

How so?

The crowded, highly competitive Infotainment Industry has to work hard to find enough stories to fill the 24x7x365 news cycle. While there's no shortage of news stories in a world that keeps getting smaller, stories that also keep people clicking/tuning in/even buying the dying dead trees formats, ain't easy. 

Our purple-tinted media must be ever vigilant and not neglect the entertainment aspect of their product. The Pelosi video is a double whammy. A deepfake video, fake news by definition, about a highly visible, highly partisan politician. Fake news and politics are both blood in the water. Fire up the Outragimatron!  

Deepfake videos are guaranteed to be scrutinized by the Infotainment Industry and this will help to neutralize the effect of all those internet videos that influence so many citizens of our naive and trusting republic. 

Also, we're blessed to be served by a highly principled, nonprofit organization like NPR, which oddly enough, is located in the Swamp.  

From the Washington Post via the Toledo Blade: "NPR’s gleaming new headquarters building in the shadow of the Capitol in Washington has soaring ceilings, a 24-hour 'wellness' center, an employee gym, and a gourmet cafe staffed by a resident chef." 

Keep those taxes and pledges coming, America. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day. 
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©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to supply my name and URL (Creative Commons license at the top and bottom of my website) you may republish this anywhere that you please. Light editing that doesn't alter the content is acceptable. You don't have to include any of the folderol before the greeting or after the closing except for the title. 
         


 
  






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