“Stratfor 2.0 Is the New Journalism 1.0”

[Stratfor] filters out the noise in the news and tells you what actually matters.

We were able to agree that it was an essential element of impartiality that when a matter was controversial the viewer or listener would be able to make a judgement based on a fair assessment of all the relevant arguments and information. Relevant information should not be excluded nor should the presentation clearly favour one view over another. We recognised that this requirement had to meet the familiar point that it was not necessary to be impartial between sense and nonsense.The Budd Commission on BBC Business Journalism.

Strong majorities in Brazil (80%), Mexico (76%), USA (74%), and Great Britain (71%) believe that the concentration of media ownership in fewer hands is a concern because owners’ political views emerge in reporting.

Or commercial interests.

This arrives in the open-source Bloomberg box this morning: Media Bias and Stratfor 2.0 | Stratfor.

File under

I enjoy reading Stratfor analyses. I sometimes disagree with them — not always for any good reason, mind you, but just for the joy of being contrary. This is a mild character defect of mine. Admitting it is the first step to overcoming it. But it has its uses.

Their products are a bit too expensive for my purposes (which in most cases are just idle curiosity about things that will never lead to paying gigs), but I am generally interested in what they have to say. You can learn stuff from these guys, or at the very least get pointed to a fresh perspective.

Aaric S. Eisenstein, VP Publishing for the intelligence newsletter, writes

Follow a thought experiment with me: Assume traditional news media have absolutely no political or partisan agenda. (Work with me here….) And in the interests of reportorial objectivity, each article, TV segment, etc., has a variety of inputs from people with diametrically opposed views yelling at or — at best — speaking past each other. For good or ill, market realities have forced traditional media to appeal to niche markets, polarizing them toward either the far left or far right.

I dispute the notion that market realities “force” publishers to do any such thing. This is a pernicious myth promoted by gabbling Moonies like Ali Kamel of Globo in Brazil.

I see this as a massive failure of marketers to realize that the customer they are marketing to values qualitity and impartiality. See, for example,

Brazilian News Media Garbles Survey Data on the Question, “Does Your News Media Report Honestly and Accurately?”

And the BBC’s (gabbling) press release on the survey in question:

Stratfor continues its pitch:

The vast bulk of news consumers seem to accept this. Or maybe they just don’t know they have a choice?

Life is short: More signal, less noise.

Stratfor is made for people who need considered analyses, not yelling matches. Stratfor serves people who want the straight facts. Our team picks through all the noise, eliminates the ideology and the partisan agenda, and tells you what really matters. Stratfor 2.0 has been designed especially to highlight our non-ideological, non-partisan presentation of factual information.

Dr. Friedman leverages YouTube.

Dr. Friedman has put together a short video on the difference between “news” and “intelligence.” Take a look, and you’ll understand how our intelligence team provides facts, not opinions.

None of those links actually lead to Dr. Friedman’s video, by the way. They lead to a subscription form instead. Which sort of ticks me off. It’s semantic bait and switch.

Still, only $200 a year. If my medium-range economic perspectives starts to perk up (and it might), I might have to think about falling for this pitch.

Good reading material is my principal extravagance, and I do try to support small pockets of concentrated commitment to the Reality Principle with my content-consumption dollar.

We’ve launched Stratfor 2.0, and I invite you to click here for a full annual Membership for $199. That’s $13.27/month billed annually. I know we’re all tired of listening to people shout at each other, and $13.27/month is a small price to pay to have an entire team sifting through the noise for you.

There is no link associated with “click here.” If you click on “click here,” nothing will happen. These people need a good copy editor with some Web savvy.

Still, it does my heart good to hear this no-brainer pitch being taken seriously.

In the first place, I just cannot understand how on earth newspaper marketing consultants managed to convince newspaper editors that readers could be convinced that toxic sludge is good for you.

My favorite example (I never get tired of repeating this): The Wall Street Journal rolls out a section called “The Buzz.”

buzz noun a confusion of activity and gossip

Main Entry: 2buzz
Function: noun
1 : a persistent vibratory sound
2 a : a confused murmur b : RUMOR, GOSSIP c : a flurry of activity d : FAD, CRAZE e : speculative or excited talk or attention relating especially to a new or forthcoming product or event <one of the few new shows that’s getting good buzzTV Guide>; also : an instance of such talk or attention <their first CD created a huge buzz>
3 : a signal conveyed by buzzer; specifically : a telephone call
4 : HIGH 4

Explain to me why “The Buzz” is not a form of brand suicide, given the paper’s reputation as the flagship publication for the reality-based community?

One of my top personal self-preservation rules, for example: Never get into a taxi whose driver who looks like he has a good buzz on.

On the other hand, the very fact that “we promise not to bullshit you” is featured as a competitive differentiator illustrates the truth of Bill Moyers’ famous saying: “the delusional is no longer marginal.” It means that a lot of information services no longer make that promise — the promise not to bullshit.

In one way or another, the notion has taken hold that sometimes it is necessary for us to bullshit you from time to time — for your own good.

In concrete terms, this implies polarization of the information services market, as I sometimes say, into (1) the $0.25/day New York Post for the hoi polloi and (2) the $500/quarter hedge fund newsletter for the Illuminati who can afford to pay someone not to bullshit them.

This is a sad state of affairs.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/Stuff/quads.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Brazilians rate the performance of their press low, in terms of “honest and accuracy,” according to the BBC-Synovate survey in question. They rate the relative priority of press freedom and social stability about the same, with a slight edge to the latter. Brazil is among those countries where respondents tended to find their news media lacking in accuracy and impartiality.

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