Photojournalism awards “glamorize pain and suffering” and warp our view of the world

A photographers notices that almost all photo journalism awards go to photographers who focus on pain and suffering, giving us a warped view of the world around us:

Media reinforces and shapes public perception whether intended or not. And the same photos and photographers tend to win multiple awards in a given year, thus generations of photojournalists are led to believe that contest-worthy images must conform to a certain look-and-feel. This isn’t just conjecture. A well-known documentary photography who eschews photo contests told me in response to the WPP images, “Disaster porn photojournalism is corrosive to that idea by constantly saturating our media world with the message that the world is hell and never gets any better. Therefore, the logic goes, things like foreign aid are a waste and trying to help places like Africa is doomed to unending failure.”Why do the final photos have to be of a man on fire or legs beneath a body bag? Why not the world’s largest lithium ion battery that solved an energy crisis in Australia? Why not a portrait of Tarana Burke? Are these images not salacious enough for a contest-sized appetite?

Source: Do Photojournalism Contests Glamorize Pain and Suffering? – PhotoShelter Blog

Because social justice is a popular topic, especially in the media, this may bias them to presenting a world in constant crisis, both to virtue signal their own concern, as well as to influence the public.

The story behind the fake DPRK News Service Twitter account

The DPRK News Service is one of the funniest Twitter accounts in existence as it hilariously makes fun of North Korea and a host of world leaders and events.

It’s run by 2 guys in the U.S. who launched it to share jokes between friends.

Not long after launching it, the U.S. media repeatedly cites them as an official North Korean news service.

“It feels like all online media outlets have prioritized being First rather than Right, like it’s some sort of Scoop Race. As mentioned before, a cursory Google search will reveal us instantly, or even a cursory look at other tweets should reveal some level of incredulity. I imagine when some poor journalist is banging out some listicle or whatever on the 10 Ways North Korea is a Horrific Nightmare of Human Rights Abuses, they’re not going to really question things if some twitter account with a sizeable follower count blurts out something that fits within the context of the article.”

Source: The Men Behind the Infamous Fake North Korean Twitter Account

Yesterday, reporter Michelle Kosinski, who has a history of making up news stories, re-tweeted a DPRK News Service tweet.

She is famous for her live report from a dangerous flood, while sitting in a canoe – in what embarrassingly turns out to be about six inches of water. A clear example of fake news reporting.

Watch this short news clip to see a professional journalist honestly reporting the news and protecting Democracy itself… not. When you see this, keep in mind how much “news” is just story telling – and wrap your mind around the role propagandists play in shaping the stories presented as “news”. Journalists should serve as propaganda firewalls protecting viewers and readers from the onslaught but many play along and act as propagandists themselves, promoting their own agendas.

After reading DPRK News Service hilarious parodies, try to read the news headlines without laughing! It’s hard!

Newsweek fires all top staff

 

Newsweek on Monday fired all of its top staff amid turmoil that has upended the newsroom .In a company meeting, several editors announced that the outlet had fired Editor in Chief Bob Roe, Executive Editor Ken Li and reporters Celeste Katz, Josh Saul, and International Business Times editor Josh Keefe.

Source: Newsweek Guts Its Top Edit Staff Amid Legal Turmoil

Newsweek has a reputation as fake news publisher.

We use the definition of fake news as the use of exaggerated, emotionally laden, often false, click-bait reports as means of generating Likes and Shares for selling eyeballs to advertisers.

Newsweek is discovering that pretending to be a legitimate news service is not the best way to run a news business.

Last time Newsweek went up for sale, it sold for one dollar. What do you think its market value is today?

Millions of fake Twitter followers, often based on stolen Twitter account identities

Not surprisingly, everything about social media is mostly fake.

“Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers, a New York Times investigation found.

The accounts that most resemble real people, like Ms. Rychly, reveal a kind of large-scale social identity theft. At least 55,000 of the accounts use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors, according to a Times data analysis.”

Of course, the NY Times hints at their own conflict of interest – people with many followers, real or fake, get endorsement deals. That means ad dollars flowing to people and groups other than the NY Times.

“High follower counts are also critical for so-called influencers, a budding market of amateur tastemakers and YouTube stars where advertisers now lavish billions of dollars a year on sponsorship deals. The more people influencers reach, the more money they make. According to data collected by Captiv8, a company that connects influencers to brands, an influencer with 100,000 followers might earn an average of $2,000 for a promotional tweet, while an influencer with a million followers might earn $20,000.”

George Soros says social media companies should be regulated like utilities

“They claim they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near- monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access,” he said.

….

“There could be an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies that would bring together nascent systems of corporate surveillance with an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance,” he said. “This may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined.”

Source: George Soros Just Launched A Scathing Attack On Google And Facebook

Social media appears to be losing its “safe harbor” protection against liability for speech on their sites

Social media companies have argued they are immune from liability (say for libel) as they are carriers of the speech of others, and do not have editorial control over the content on their web sites. They are like a phone company that is not liable for the speech conducted over their phone lines.

However, with an awareness now that social media, such as Twitter, throttles tweet exposure, edits trending tag lists, and shadow bans some content, that defense becomes untenable. Social media platforms increasingly apply editorial control over their content and look more like a newspaper, magazine or television/radio broadcaster that is liable for their content. European government leaders are pointing this out:

“The status quo is increasingly unsustainable as it becomes clear these platforms are no longer just passive hosts. But applying the existing standards of liability for publishers is not straightforward so we need to consider what is most appropriate for the modern economy.”

Source: Telegram and social media giants spanked in UK PM’s Davos speech | TechCrunch

Does social media play a role in “wealth culture”?

This problem pre-dates social media but it is likely that social media has amplified some of its effects:

We’ve gone from a culture that prized hard work, frugality and discretion as the central tenets of the American Dream to a culture that prized celebrity, bling and narcissism.

Source: Sundance film documents ‘wealth culture’ addiction spiralling out of control – MarketWatch

Television has played a big role in promoting celebrities.  Social media, especially Instagram but also Facebook, creates an environment for self promotion – making oneself the center of attention. Back in the old days, self esteem came from real accomplishment whereas now, it seems to come from having the most likes on Instagram where the focus is on the cute, rather than the clever.

As the filmmaker says, we used to associate with and view ourselves in comparison to our immediate neighbors. Today, we associate with (or fantasize that we associate with) the richest and the cutest on television and social media, and compare ourselves to them. This might be driving people to unrealistic aspirations for wealth just for the sake of wealth with many becoming obsessed with “lavish lifestyles”.

Social media undoubtedly plays a role in creating this obsession.

 

Facebook and Google announce they are launching their own anti-propaganda content

Anti-propaganda is just propaganda in front of a mirror.

Facebook, Google and Twitter say they’re creating more anti-terror propaganda to combat violent messages at their source.

Source: Facebook, Google tell Congress how they’re fighting extremist content

Google’s Youtube analyzes your past searches and viewing patterns and “determines” if the viewer “may be headed toward extremism”. If so, Youtube presents ads to “subtly contradict” others’ propaganda messages.

Youtube is removing comments from videos that contain hateful content, as determined by Youtube’s “machine learning” algorithms, automatically. Not mentioned here, but Youtube has also gone to “de-monetization” of videos containing video content that Youtube does not like. What Youtube does not like is hard to determine – I watched a video by a photographer showing that Youtube is “de-monetizing” his photography “how to” videos, for no apparent reason.

A related Youtube change effective immediately, is that Youtube channels are prohibited from running advertising if they have less than 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of content viewed during the preceding year.

Facebook is supporting “counterspeech efforts” using automated image and language analysis to identify content. Facebook and Google both say they are using propaganda methods to counter program those they think are receiving propaganda from “hateful” or “violent” persons or groups.

Twitter is using “Tweet throttling”, a form of shadow banning, and down marking trending topics that Twitter decides should not be trending.

Facebook to alter its news feed sharing algorithms

Facebook is said to be rolling out changes to how content is selected for each of us to see in our news feed. FB will show us content that their algorithms believe is user generated (versus that from publishers), and which has been shared, liked or commented upon. Other posts will apparently see lower priority and less visibility, meaning, they sort of disappear.

Facebook says this should result in seeing more personal posts from actual FB friends. FB is trying to discourage “passive” reading of posts and wants to push people to interact more. I suspect they are pushing towards interaction because passive reading provides them no data on your interests. By leading you to click Like, Share or Comment, they can detect your interests which they use to refine their dossier on each of us, to improve the marketing of products and services to us.

Source: ‘We’re losing hope’: Facebook tells publishers big change is coming to News Feed – Digiday