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Media notes: weather satellites, Facebook fixes, and where Clinton and Trump voters got their info

Photo taken by NOAA's GOES-16 weather satellite
NOAA/NASA
The Caribbean islands and part of the southeastern United States are visible in this photo taken by NOAA's GOES-16 weather satellite.

While the Pew Research Center has never said anything about “millions of illegal voters,” it has looked at where American voters got their information during the recent presidential campaign and from the number of sources. You may not be surprised at what they found.

“According to a new Pew Research Center survey, Americans who say they voted for Trump in the general election relied heavily on Fox News as their main source of election news leading up to the 2016 election, whereas Clinton voters named an array of different sources, with no one source named by more than one-in-five of her supporters. … When voters were asked to write in their ‘main source’ for election news, four-in-ten Trump voters named Fox News. The next most-common main source among Trump voters, CNN, was named by only 8% of his voters.

“Clinton voters, however, did not coalesce around any one source. CNN was named more than any other, but at 18% had nowhere near the dominance that Fox News had among Trump voters. Instead, the choices of Clinton voters were more spread out. MSNBC, Facebook, local television news, NPR, ABC, The New York Times and CBS were all named by between 5% and 9% of her voters.

“What’s more, though Fox News tops the list of sources among Trump voters, only 3% of Clinton voters named it as their main source. And while MSNBC was named by 9% of Clinton voters, only 1% of Trump’s voters relied most on that network. The New York Times and NPR were also much more commonly named by Clinton voters than Trump voters.”

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File under FWIW: The tale of the NFL’s tough season, ratings-wise, got another stirring with a survey from a group claiming it checked with “35,000 adults age 18 and over over the past three years.” 

YouGovBrandIndex says: “The NFL’s consumer perception recently rebounded after a lackluster season where the league declined steadily to its lowest mark since August 2015. However, they face challenges from rival sports leagues encroaching on their public perception at a time when they should be rallying. While nothing dramatically shook up this NFL season like the Ray Rice spousal abuse crises or Deflategate, the perception slump mirrors Nielsen ratings sliding 15% from the year before. Theories for the plunge range from a contentious election to oversaturation. … Last year’s Super Bowl gave the NFL a respectable boost that persisted for two weeks after the game. We’ll know in just over a week how this year will compare, but they are up against the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in more than one hundred years, which is the likely driver behind the MLB garnering the best perception score of all four sports since the NFL around Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014. All four major professional sports leagues were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents ‘If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?'"

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Several weeks ago, I talked with KMSP-TV meteorologist Ian Leonard and MPR’s Paul Huttner about the launch of the latest generation of weather satellite, named GOES-16.

The two were quite excited at what amounts to an upgrade from analog to hi-def in video resolution. The “bird” went live this past week and no weather/space geek was disappointed. Check out the first pictures

***

Facebook, SnapChat and other social media platforms took their own election beating for enabling the widespread dissemination of “fake news” — which, to clarify our terms, is not a story where someone’s name is misspelled but something completely made up and without any basis in fact. Facebook in particular vowed to apply technical fixes. Those patches were unveiled this past week and the (very) liberal site Media Matters (operated by the once very conservative David Brock) was not impressed.

In a statement they said, “... today’s announced policy changes are at best a marginal improvement. While moving in the right direction, these half-measures will not stop the rampant lies spreading on the platform. We can’t forget that Facebook made the problem of fake news significantly worse when they acted on right-wing misinformation and fired all their human editors over the summer and let their algorithms get gamed. “Ultimately, Facebook’s timidity in addressing this problem will prove bad for business and stands in in stark contrast to Snapchat’s bold actions earlier this week that were aimed at stopping the spread of lies and false impressions. So, we’re encouraged by the small improvements, specifically the changes to transparency in the trending topics section, but we await Facebook prioritizing truth in the same way their competitors have demonstrated.” 

*** 

The Poynter Institute in Florida gave a thumbs up to The New York Times’ thorough self-evaluation, an assessment of its current editorial goals and plans for adapting to, shall we say, a whole new landscape White House-wise.

The 2020 report, which clocks in at 37 pages, describes a newsroom that has made major strides to fill the gaps outlined three years ago: The Times' digital audience is growing rather than shrinking; the newsroom has embraced data and analytics; there's a clearly defined digital strategy. Yet some nagging remnants of the Times' print heritage still remain. The newsroom is still organized around old newspaper sections. They're still publishing ‘dutiful, incremental pieces’, the kind designed to fill a daily print edition. And too often, the news report ‘remains dominated by long strings of text.’ 

… Most of the report is devoted to laying out a series of goals for areas including visual journalism, reader engagement, newsroom training and diversity. But the recommendations were prefaced by a memo from Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn that contained several important pieces of news:

“The New York Times will dedicate $5 million to coverage of the Trump administration's effect on the world. They'll use the money to bankroll additional investigative and subject-area expert reporters. The coverage will go beyond the White House, extending to encompass, “the stability of the global order that prevailed since World War II and America’s place in that world.
It is about what happens when a group of business moguls who built empires bring their free market philosophy to bear on everything from education to healthcare and national defense, and how that philosophical change will affect people’s lives. It is also a story about power in New York, as one of the biggest names in one of our largest industries actually takes over the country, often running it from from a penthouse heavily guarded 5th Avenue.

Were that everyone was so committed to reporting that story.

***

Finally, HBO’s “The Young Pope,” with Jude Law as a 40-something elevated to lead a billion Roman Catholics and Diane Keaton as the nun who raised him and now serves as his consigliere has no chance … zero … of becoming a pop hit. But, if you have the patience for auteur filmmaking or are a fan (guilty) of Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (Oscar-winner for “The Great Beauty” and director of the rich and rewarding, “Youth”), the series is a treat in terms of both narrative and visual impact.

Something of a fabulist out of the Fellini school, Sorrentino has a gift for color, composition and skepticism toward the trade in hoary wisdoms. As much as HBO is making its fortune with stuff like “Game of Thrones” and now “Westworld,” its willingness to grant creative license to someone like Sorrentino for something like “The Young Pope,” has to undergird its reputation with other filmmakers restless with the mandated conventions of Hollywood.

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Comments (2)

We've all been preached to

We've all been preached to about living in respective "bubbles" of biased information--that those on the left or right of the electoral scene get our news only from left-leaning or right-leaning sources. Brians first item here, on the Pew research, goes directly against that social science mantra that we're all "bubbled": the Clinton voters used a variety of news sources, many of them print and with long reputations for truth and accuracy, while Trump voters got their news mainly from Fox TV.

I am forced to watch Fox news on a large tv set in my gym, and I saw for fifteen months how Fox skewed the news: in choice of what to cover in broadcasts (as in Bengazi-all-the-time if it wasn't the empty "email scandal" or live coverage of all Trump's rallies), the angle from which it was covered (Clinton demonized and Trump lionized), the language used, and the format of talking heads on panels where no one really was an expert at anything but talking and offered nothing but opinions. In too many cases, the hosts were bullies and screamers (O'Reilly, Hannity, et al.).

The New York Times, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, NPR, local papers, the LA Times, public television's "The News Hour" and other respectable sources provided more truth, less rumor-mongering. Generally, those really seeking to inform themselves on what all the candidates were offering were Clinton supporters .

These are the majority of 2016 voters who still insist on truth, not lies or threats (as in Bannon's "shut up!" to the media): the majority who voted for Clinton.

Media Bubbles

I agree ! Journalism as an institution is vital for a democracy. FOX news does not represent the best of what journalism has to offer. They should be challenged on their reporting of "alternative facts" and their support for lies and threats--fear mongering and hypocrisy should be exposed for what it is.
They dress up uninformed opinion as the truth, fake news started with FOX -- the irony of it all!!!