The Media’s COVID Failure: In dismissing the possibility that the virus leaked from a lab, journalists betrayed their mission to seek the truth.

This is a rich topic that raises lots of questions worth discussing in the knowledge and knower unit. I’m posting a few of the stories here but will put together lessons around this topic next school year.

But the goal of journalism shouldn’t be to craft the most culturally sensitive or partisan narrative. The goal of journalism is to seek the truth. The consequences of telling the truth should be secondary to getting the truth out there in the first place, even if it makes the Trump administration or Republican Senators look good or the Chinese government look bad.

https://www.persuasion.community/p/the-medias-covid-failure

Good journalism, like good science, should follow evidence, not narratives. It should pay as much heed to intelligent gadflies as it does to eminent authorities. And it should never treat honest disagreement as moral heresy.

The Media’s Lab Leak Debacle Shows Why Banning ‘Misinformation’ Is a Terrible Idea:
How a debate about COVID-19’s origins exposed a dangerous hubris

But Facebook’s concession that the lab leak story it once viewed as demonstrably false is actually possibly true should put to rest the idea that banning or regulating misinformation should be a chief public policy goal.

It’s one thing to discuss, debate, and correct wrong ideas, and both tech companies and media have roles to play in fostering healthy public dialogue. But Team Blue’s recent obsession with rendering unsayable anything that clashes with its preferred narrative is the height of hubris. The conversation should not be closed by the government and its yes-men in journalism, in tech, or even in public health.

The Media’s Lab Leak Debacle Shows Why Banning ‘Misinformation’ Is a Terrible Idea

Freakonomics Podcast: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything (Ep. 463)

We like to think that we make up our own minds. That we make our own choices — about how we spend our time and money; what we watch and wear; how we think about the issues of the day. But the truth is, we are influenced into these choices. In ways large and small — and often invisible. Some of this influence may be harmless, even fun; and some of it isn’t harmless at all.

The Good Fight Podcast: Why Do We Always Think We’re Right‪?‬

What transforms reasonable people into an angry mob? Why are we so eager to dismiss those who disagree with us as inherently evil? These are questions which Jonathan Haidt has spent his career trying to answer. One of the world’s most influential social psychologists and a member of Persuasion’s Board of Advisors, he argues that a lot of recent cultural shifts are encouraging emotional fragility rather than resilience. A professor of ethical leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business, Haidt seeks to employ moral psychology to promote dialogue rather than division.

In this week’s episode of The Good Fight, Yascha Mounk sits down with Jonathan Haidt to discuss psychological differences between the left and the right, the human tendency to discriminate in favor of the in-group, and how to build a less tribal culture and country.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/why-do-we-always-think-were-right/id1198765424?i=1000508883293

When Choosing What To Believe, People Often Choose Morality Over Hard Evidence

What happens when moral beliefs collide with documented evidence? For many people, it means doubling down on whichever compliments their worldview.

The authors offer two models for this system of rationalization. In the first model, moral concerns shift the correct criteria for making judgmentsfor instance, by lowering the amount of hard evidence deemed sufficient to justify a particular belief. “Morality changes how much evidence [people] consider to be required to hold [a particular] belief in an evidentially-sound way,” the authors write.

The “Smirk seen ’round the world” Updated 7/28/2020

sandmannUpdate: Most of what’s below was posted January 2019. Since then, the boy in the left of the image filed defamation lawsuits against several news agencies and a few of them have settled.  Here are a couple of articles about those lawsuits and their resolution. This topic also fits well with the new course concepts around knowledge and knower, knowledge and technology, and knowledge and politics.

CNN Settles Lawsuit Brought by Covington Catholic Student Nicholas Sandmann (1/7/2020)

Numerous national media outlets painted Sandmann and his classmates as menacing — and in some cases racist — after an edited video emerged of Sandmann smiling, inches away from the face of Nathan Phillips, an elderly Native American man, while attending the March for Life on the National Mall. A more complete video of the encounter, which emerged later, showed that Phillips had approached the Covington students and begun drumming in their faces, prompting them to respond with school chants.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/cnn-settles-lawsuit-brought-by-covington-catholic-student-nicholas-sandmann/

And another from 7/24/2020

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/508905-nicholas-sandmann-announces-settlement-with-washington-post-in-defamation

Interesting situation from a TOK perspective. Below is a collection of articles about the topic. They raise a lot of interesting questions about how we acquire knowledge and the relationships among the various ways of knowing. It also lends itself to ask about the primacy of some WOKs over others.

 

Download Lesson plan on “the smirk”

Download smirk articles handout

TOK Day 31 (daily student worksheet)

What’s also interesting is how impactful the image was. The image seemed to be a perfect representation of how many people view the current moment in the United States. It fit perfectly into prior assumptions about the world and spoke to a deeper truth. Interpreting and explaining this image!and fitting it into preexisting mental schema seemed pretty easy.

Once more and more videos started to emerge and the greater context became known, there were some interesting developments. Some people Continue reading “The “Smirk seen ’round the world” Updated 7/28/2020″

Twitter aims to limit people sharing articles they have not read

The problem of users sharing links without reading them is not new. A 2016 study from computer scientists at Columbia University and Microsoft found that 59% of links posted on Twitter are never clicked.

Twitter’s solution is not to ban such retweets, but to inject “friction” into the process, in order to try to nudge some users into rethinking their actions on the social network. It is an approach the company has been taking more frequently recently, in an attempt to improve “platform health” without facing accusations of censorship.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jun/11/twitter-aims-to-limit-people-sharing-articles-they-have-not-read

Making people aware of their implicit biases doesn’t usually change minds. But here’s what does work

Click here for other articles tagged, “Implicit Bias”

Do the diversity or implicit bias training programs used by companies and institutions like Starbucks and the Oakland Police Department help reduce bias?

I’m at the moment very skeptical about most of what’s offered under the label of implicit bias training, because the methods being used have not been tested scientifically to indicate that they are effective. And they’re using it without trying to assess whether the training they do is achieving the desired results.

I see most implicit bias training as window dressing that looks good both internally to an organization and externally, as if you’re concerned and trying to do something. But it can be deployed without actually achieving anything, which makes it in fact counterproductive. After 10 years of doing this stuff and nobody reporting data, I think the logical conclusion is that if it was working, we would have heard about it.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/making-people-aware-of-their-implicit-biases-doesnt-usually-change-minds-but-heres-what-does-work

Using computers to teach children with no teachers

The article summarizes what Mitra spoke about in his TED talk (linked below). This tells us a lot about the role technology can play in education along with the role of intrinsic motivation and self guided learning. Our recent foray into remote learning calls into question a lot of our assumptions about education.

One group in Rajasthan, he said, learnt how to record and play music on the computer within four hours of it arriving in their village.

“At the end of it we concluded that groups of children can learn to use computers on their own irrespective of who or where they are,” he said.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-10663353

 

Believe what you like: How we fit the facts around our prejudices

This idea of a gullible, pliable populace is, of course, nothing new. Voltaire said, “those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”. But no, says Mercier, Voltaire had it backwards: “It is wanting to commit atrocities that makes you believe absurdities”…

If someone says Obama is a Muslim, their primary reason may be to indicate that they are a member of the group of people who co-ordinate around that statement. When a social belief and a true belief are in conflict, Klintman says, people will opt for the belief that best signals their social identity – even if it means lying to themselves…

Such a “belief” – being largely performative – rarely translates into action. It remains what Mercier calls a reflective belief, with no consequences on one’s behaviour, as opposed to an intuitive belief, which guides decisions and actions.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/fit-facts-around-prejudices-review/