Ethan and Ryan are back and discussing matters of controversy, including, but not limited to: Video evidence reviewed by the San Diego DA appears to debunk "gang rape" accusation against punter Matt Araiza. Why no media mea culpa? Why so much anger at, say, a Substacker who pointed this out?
Note: The old Callin format was fun, but is no more. They were nice to work with but I elected to move things here.
In total agreement about the evils of trial by media, presumption of guilt, pile-ons in general. So I agreed with most of the first half hour of what you were talking about. Just want to say I really enjoy these open conversations regardless of the bones I pick with them - open debate is a good thing.
However, at one point Ethan states that the prosecutor concluded "the was no gang rape". That is simply not true, we don't know that. The prosecutor concluded: "the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges, and there is no path to a potential criminal conviction". In other words, if they took it to court they'd find it difficult to meet the beyond reasonable doubt standard. Absolutely NOT the same thing. We have not had access to what the prosecutor has, so we cannot know why the prosecutor decided not to proceed. The only way we could reasonably suspect there is evidence it did not happen is if the prosecutor decided to charge the alleged victim with making a false accusation, which I believe has not happened in this case. So that leaves us in the vast grey area of unknowing in-between.
Also got a bone to pick with the Twitter shadowbanning stuff near the end. Firstly, I'm not into shadowbanning, I'm all about transparency. But what I remember happening with Trump was that he repeatedly broadcast completely false and misleading information - which was eventually openly highlighted as such by social media companies after public pressure on them to do so - and he was finally banned when he wouldn't stop broadcasting more dangerous misinformation. This is the guy who told people to inject bleach and find a way to get UV light inside them, remember. I saw the press conference.
So, when we are publically debating matters of fact, and we have one "side" broadcasting the best available peer-reviewed science, but the other "side" broadcasting lies/propaganda/unfounded idiocy, we should support the false equivalence of both "sides" having an equal public voice? I know your answer is "let the public decide for themselves", but in complex and nuanced scientific matters this absolutely does not work because the vast majority of the population has no scientific training and instead relies on emotion and "common sense" to make decisions regarding said matter.
I spent 25 years combating this same issue around climate science. We had very little doubt by the late 1980s (IPCC AR1, a compilation of all the science to date on climate change, came out in 1990) that humans were changing the climate by changing the atmospheric balance of the carbon cycle. However, the fossil fuel industry pumped billions of dollars over decades into lies, obfuscation and propaganda to confuse this in the public mind*. The average punter had no idea who to believe because the media treated the "debate" with false equivalence as if there were "two sides", when actually over 98% of relevant scientists supported the conclusion - that is more than just about any other scientific consensus including smoking causing cancer, btw. And we know smoking causes cancer. This continued until well into the 2010s when the fossil fuel industry could no longer resist the science (by this point over 16,000 peer-reviewed papers deep) - and the impact on people's lives across the planet - and instead have shifted to "it's good for us", also a steaming load of bullshit.
My point is that banning people from social media platforms when they are spreading demonstrably false and dangerous misinformation and continue to do so after multiple warnings is sometimes necessary. But it should be done with FULL TRANSPARENCY.
*This is heavily documented fact - start with Naomi Oreskes' Merchants of Doubt to understand how asbestos, tobacco and fossil fuel lobbies used the same tactics, and even the same shills, to mislead the public since the 1950s.
PS Not a Democrat. Not a Biden supporter. I support listening to experts in peer-reviewed knowledge, it's the best information-creation engine we have.
Hilarious that a guy who works for The NY Post would accuse another organization of media bias. I find it interesting that Twitter is criticized for being biased when there are so many more obvious examples in the media. Granted, Twitter claims not be biased so maybe the criticism appears more justified, although I'd prefer there be at least a semblance of an attempt to be unbiased than no attempt at all, (e.g. NY Post, Fox News, MSNBC etc...). Also no mention of Musk's own biases in arbitrarily drawing the line of posts to censor and accounts to ban. Social media companies aren't compared to conventional news organizations in terms of bias typically since they're not considered publishers, although they should be since they simply edit by algorithm and occasional staff intervention instead having actual editors (always funny when you agree with Trump on something).
There is an interesting that Twitter is treated as if it's this timeless institution which will retain its' dominant place in the media landscape for years to come (and therefore has a unique responsibility to be unbiased) when it's only been dominant in the conversation for 10 years and could be replaced by another site at any time, although this doesn't seem likely in the near future. It's societal importance is overstated because it's so heavily used by media members, in fact the only demographic to get its news primarily from social media is the under 30 crowd, all other demographics use Google (or another search engine) or news websites more frequently than they do social media. That's obviously all social media, so Twitter would be a small fraction of that. In fact Americans get news three times as frequently from Facebook, twice as much from Youtube, yet Twitter is constantly talked about as if it is people's predominant news source (I'm sure Ethan and Ryan are aware of this, and didn't make this claim to be clear).
In any case I'm sure Twitter was somewhat biased in the way they implemented their rules, although I don't know of a media organization that has no biases so they're certainly not unique there. Not to say they shouldn't be criticized, but there's no perspective to the conversation, it's basically just you take a side depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall on (like everything else everywhere). Hopefully someone will ban companies from collecting personal data and social media companies will lose their competitive advantage over other advertisers on the web and it will be less of a cancer on society (very unlikely but one can dream).
I appreciate the media angles you guys bring and how you're able to seamlessly inject takes about the incentives of the ecosystem, the tension between league management, players unions, agents, etc. I do think it makes more sense for the league and the teams to defer to (or hide behind) the criminal justice system before considering how to dole out punishment. They already do this a lot, see Spurs and Popovich deftly evading any attention during the Josh Primo 2-day news cycle: "I'm not at liberty to say during an ongoing...." Deferring to the justice system buys time and allows the details of the case to emerge and the zeitgeist/grand narrative to settle out. I guess the problem is that the liberal activist base that they continually prioritize over everyone else demands action NOW. They also distrust (or at least signal their distrust of) the justice system.
One question I have for you, Ethan: Given the private encouragement you receive are you going to find yourself in a position where the public media figures are going to start providing you with their "here's what we all know/think but can't/won't say" takes in hopes that you'll transmit the message? It seems like right now you're firing off your takes based on what you know and others are validating. Could you see the dynamic shifting?
I really like going back to pods for these conversations. I disliked the Callin format as opposed to JF. The audio wasnt great, the app would crash for me
Often and i never care about random thoughts of the unwashed…
Great episode but miss the Callin format. I would have tried to disconnect the Grant Wahl discussion from the plight of the travailing ~salesman~ beat reporter. Grant was on the Hang Up and Listen podcast a couple weeks ago revelling how he didn’t have to travel for games this World Cup and getting to sleep in the same bed every night. Also noticed the consensus from left-leaning NBA Twitter was “fleeced” and jokes about the BG trade. Even the liberal NBA media seemed rather muted about the situation.
You clowns are so irreverent.
I love it.