We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

The only thing I believe in print these days is the date.

- Sienna Miller

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • MarkJ

    Hell, can we trust the date anymore? The folks at the NYT would most hange it if they thought, even for a moment, that it “might help Bush.”

  • Peg C.

    I literally read nothing in “print” anymore other than store catalogs and books. There is more fiction in periodicals and newspapers than in the novels I read.

    I just don’t believe anything of “news” that hasn’t been filtered through bloggers I trust.

  • Jim C.

    Orwell, “Homage to Catalonia”:

    The fat Russian agent was cornering all the foreign refugees in turn and explaining plausibly that this whole affair was an Anarchist plot. I watched him with some interest, for it was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies – unless one counts journalists.

    Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell (June 11, 1807):

    Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.

    That’s 20 years after he wrote this oft-quoted line:

    …were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

    (Letter to Colonel Edward Carrington (January 16, 1787) Lipscomb & Bergh ed. 6:57)

  • Mwalimu Daudi

    Should it happen in my lifetime, the collapse of the MSM will be as significant an event as the fall of the Berlin Wall – and for many of the same reasons.

  • jay

    I’m not a big sports fan, and used to never even look at the sports section. But now it’s about the only part of the paper I read. The only reason we still subscribe is that the wife likes the coupons and advertisements.

    I’m sure the sports people are derided as the “toy department” by the “real reporters”, but they have two things the news people completely lack: subject matter knowledge and objectivity.

  • jebbbz

    I think Mark Twain said that if you didn’t read newspapers you would be uninformed — but if you did you would be misinformed.

  • The Establishment Press has believed it’s own lies for so long that they do not know the truth. They have protected and hidden their own members who have made up stories from whole cloth, who have lied to skew the report in support of political allies, paid fabulists to gin up some fantasies that fit the stereotype… They close ranks and deny-deny-deny when caught. They accuse the challengers of political motives, pay, and professional jealousy. Their eyeballs, subscriber, and click-through numbers decline and still they claim a special right and privilege in protecting democracy from its betrayers.

    The internet has made us -all- Journalists. We are doing the work of protecting democracy from its traitors…

    AP, Reuters, TV2, BBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and the list goes on with respected names from ancient history who have sold their honor for cold gruel at the table of a politician…

    Their reports have become the starting point in a search for truth, perspective and understanding. They cannot be counted upon to do more than announce “something is happening”… Even then it is often too late, too little, wrong and incomplete…

  • Michael

    Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Norvell (June 11, 1807):

    Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.

    Poor Tom Jefferson, it should be noted that when he was vice president under John Adams, he was personally paying a reporter to write false and malicious stories that put the President in a bad light.

  • J

    I just don’t believe anything of “news” that hasn’t been filtered through bloggers I trust.

    I’m intrigued to know on what grounds you deem a blogger trustworthy, and why the same metrics can’t be applied to a journalist, or even a newspaper in general.

    I consider most bloggers to be no more or less trustworthy than most journalists. My own two spheres of knowledge – computing and medicine – show equally large amounts of crap on both blogs and the MSM. It’s true that in these areas the MSM is further hindered by the need to ‘dumb down’ these technical subjects, which most bloggers don’t have to do. But in terms of ‘people basically talking crap’ I find just as much in blogs as I do in newspapers.

    The main difference now, is that when a newspaper starts talking complete crap it has at least a fair chance of getting pulled up on it. Whereas blogs that talk complete crap continue happily in their own altered reality, while their loyal readers thank them in the comments for telling them the truth, that crystal therapy really _does_ work.

    Another difference, I suppose, is that newspapers apply very different rules to different areas. A lifestyle article in the magazine might be full of pseudo scientific crap that the same paper would never allow in a news section story or an op-ed section.

  • J, bloggers make their point of view clear. As Adriana often says: “bias + transparency = credibility”. Thus you know what you are getting from a blogger and moreover the blogger is his own editor.

    Whereas blogs that talk complete crap continue happily in their own altered reality,

    However they get a new one ripped by other bloggers, so that is really not true. They may delude themselves no one has called them but that does not make it so. The blogosphere does not hesitate to devour its own.

  • J

    However they get a new one ripped by other bloggers, so that is really not true. They may delude themselves no one has called them but that does not make it so. The blogosphere does not hesitate to devour its own.

    The problem is I don’t really think that’s true – or at least that it makes a difference. I’m not a blogger, but do those who write blogs really care if they get slagged off on other blogs, blogs that are probably written by people they have no respect for anyway? I don’t think in 3-4 years of reading samizdata, that I’ve ever seen it ever referred to anywhere else on the net beyond perhaps once or twice. Are Samizdata’s recent criticism’s of, say, Monbiot, really like to make any difference to him or his followers? It’s seems unlikely.

    In short, I think the blogosphere does hestitate to devour its own. Most blogs seem to ignore those of opposing viewpoints. lgfwatch appears to be an exception, and I can’t imagine the guy who runs lgf caring too much about what lgfwatch says about him. Or maybe he does…. I dunno. From where I’m sitting, much of the blogosphere looks like a vast choir preaching exercise.

    Of course the MSM isn’t entirely different. Read the Daily Mail all your life and you’ll be untroubled by too many new and different viewpoints to consider, but if you rely on blogs, you can expand this effect to every detailed aspect of your life.

    Blogs work well keeping the MSM in check, and of course they can do things the MSM has never and will never have an interest in. But I don’t think they go very far at all to replacing it.

  • p

    Oh!………….Read Richard North (EUreferendum) on Iain Dale recently

  • I don’t think in 3-4 years of reading samizdata, that I’ve ever seen it ever referred to anywhere else on the net beyond perhaps once or twice.

    You have got to be kidding. Our technorati ‘authority’ is 600 and something, which means we get linked to by friend and foe very frequently indeed. Hardly a day goes by when we are not linked somewhere. If we screw up, we get spanked.

  • “In short, I think the blogosphere does hestitate to devour its own. Most blogs seem to ignore those of opposing viewpoints.”

    I’d like to see an example of a major statist blogger that hasn’t been dug at by libertarian bloggers.

  • In short, I think the blogosphere does hestitate to devour its own.

    Well you are simply wrong, however…

    Most blogs seem to ignore those of opposing viewpoints.

    Sure. I could not care less what an opposing blog or newspaper says about my viewpoints. However if another blog or newspaper (statist collectivist or otherwise) shows that my facts are incorrect and therefore what I am saying is simply untrue, I care very much.

    Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one. But if a blogger or journalist misrepresents facts (and that is what Sienna Miller was talking about, facts), the blogosphere is far better at peer review than the MSM.

  • Pa Annoyed

    J,
    The problem with MSM is that people suffer from the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. It can happen reading blogs too, but the point is that blogs that allow open comments can be checked by a whole range of experts, who can provide immediate feedback visible to everyone. If there criticism is valid, everyone can check it for themselves and see that too. Interactivity combined with immediate access to search engines are what really keep blogs honest, and make them to some degree superior to MSM.

    Of course, there are many low-credibility blogs out there filled with rubbish, and many bloggers uninterested in honesty. But there are other bloggers who have worked hard to build reputations and audiences, and who will take any factual criticisms or credible accusations seriously. Credibility is a hard-won currency in the blogosphere, and quickly lost if corrections are not made promptly and honestly. It takes a little work to find them and check them out, but I would say the best of the blogosphere is indeed a serious rival to MSM, certainly far better in terms of the range of viewpoints represented. I’ve found the main people who seem to disagree are those working in MSM themselves, and people who want authorities they don’t have to question. I’m not saying that applies to you, but the illusion that there are is persistent, even among scientists and engineers.

  • Paul Marks

    All the attacks on newspapers put me in mind of the unoffical motto of the New York Times.

    “All the news that fits”.

    The “liberal” left do dominate newspapers in the United States (and the “school of journalism” view of the world is even creeping into Britain) and one of their most boring features is their conviction that their view of the world is “objective, scientific” journalism. They have been playing this game since the Progressive movement a century ago – and it has worn thin.

    Oddly enough perhaps the best American city for newspapers is New York.

    At the popular end of the market the New York Evening News and the New York Post fight it out. And at the serious end there is not just New York Times (circulation down yet another five per cent on week days and down over seven per cent on Sundays – over the last six months), but also the Wall Street Journal – and the New York Sun (a very different paper from the British “Sun”).

    Perhaps it is just that the New York City area has more people than anywhere else in the United States – but I do not believe that is the only reason that it is one of the only areas where there is real competition between newspapers.

    As for Britain – my postion is almost the opposite of J.s

    For example, I like reading Christopher Booker – but I am not going to buy the vast “Sunday Telegraph” just to read half a page.

    It is not even that the rest of the newspaper is not of much value to me – it is also that some of the writers produce offensive crap. The opinions are vile, and the “facts” are simply wrong.

    I do not regard crap as a worthwhile “challenge” – otherwise I would go to blogs like moveon.org and the DailyKos.

    The problem with newspapers in this country is that good stuff is mixed with bad, in a package.

    And if you get spring water and mix it with urine, what have you got?

  • What is a sienna miller?

    Is he someone who mills earth pigments into usable powder for artists to paint with?

  • Julian Taylor

    Since a movie is technically a ‘print’ should we also trust Miss Miller?