Posted in books

Hate Inc. Review

Full Title: Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another

Author: Matt Taibbi

I’ve been reading Taibbi for a while now and this was a nice refreshing step back from his usual acerbic style. He covers the media industry’s complicity in creating a toxic political environment. Towards the end is where the book gets really interesting: as an inward-looking view into how the left-leaning media is as bad in creating filter bubbles as the usual suspects in the right.

Here are some snippets I saved from the book.

On Facebook’s curation of news

Chomsky: Take a look at the Facebook phenomenon. Where are they getting their news from? They don’t have reports.

They’re just getting it from the New York Times, so it’s the same sources of information. They’re just putting it out in trivialized form, so that people with a ten- year-old mentality can handle it. It’s a very dangerous thing. They’re not doing any of the things that the media do. They don’t frame things. They don’t select. They don’t send reporters out. They don’t investigate, you know, they just collect information and hand it over to kids to look at in ten minutes so you don’t believe the newspapers.

Red flags to look out for

Tricks used by the government to feed news via allied countries:

This is one reason to always have ears up when you start hearing bits and pieces of important intelligence cases happen to have been uncovered within the borders of America’s closest intelligence allies, particularly England, Australia, the other “Five Eyes” nations, and key NATO members.

Regarding unnamed Ferguson sources:

What is the purpose of the anonymity? Is it to protect someone’s job or freedom? Or to insulate the person against political consequence if the story goes sideways?

Who initiates the communication?

Incidentally: it’s a red flag if the call is coming from the official, as opposed to the reporter calling the officials. The average intelligence official wouldn’t stop to tell you if your child was on fire. When they start cold-calling agencies, and/or rotating scoops by doling them out to different outlets and papers each week, that’s a huge red flag.

Journalist histories:

When you see one of these stories, check to see if that reporter has a history of national security pieces. If he or she does not, if this transmission of classified scoops is taking place in the context of a new relationship, be extra wary.

U.S. Wars

In addition to actions in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, and Niger, we’d been aiding the Saudi bombing of Yemen for nearly 1,100 consecutive days on December 11, 2017, when the Pentagon submitted its latest “where the hell we’re currently at war” summary—also known as a section 1264 report, which has to be delivered to Congress every six months under the National Defense Authorization Act.