A 2010 report that said most journalists used Twitter, Facebook or blogs as vital news sources didn’t receive much public attention, but it noted what has become a huge shift in how the mainstream media operates.

The survey – conducted by Cision, a public relations firm, and Don Bates of The George Washington University’s Master’s Degree Program in Strategic Public Relations – said journalists viewed social media as an essential tool for gathering news, but they were aware the information they found could be unreliable.

No kidding. Although social media hadn’t yet degenerated into the stinking dumpster fire it is today, reporters and editors eight years ago knew most of the tips they found online had to be independently verified before they could be reported. Based on the embarrassing number of “fake news” stories in the past year, that no longer seems the case.

I’ve always been particularly suspicious of Twitter as a news source. In days gone by, cranks and fanatics had to stand on a soapbox in a public park to spout their views. Thanks to the internet, these zealots don’t just have a megaphone but the equivalent of a cable TV network to spread their warped and often insane ideas around the globe.

Yes, online communities can be marvelous creations where like-minded folks can share concerns, offer each other support and pass on expertise to those who need it. But cyberspace also provides a place where lunatics and perverts, who would be powerless in the real world, can band together and become a force in pushing their agenda.

While their overall numbers may be small, crazies can make a splash when their tweet catches the eye of a reporter who decides to turn it into a news story. That’s especially likely to occur if the tweet wins support from others in the form of re-tweets and likes.

And that’s my problem with reporters using Twitter as a news source. In a country of more than 325 million people, is it truly newsworthy if several thousand fools like a tweet? And I’m being generous – I’ve seen tweets that drew the attention of only a few hundred people developed as news stories.

One of the websites I’ve found helpful in following Twitter’s influence on the media is twitchy.com, a conservative site founded by Michelle Malkin in 2012. Twitchy re-posts threads that develop after a leftist make a tweet that incites withering responses from right-wingers. It’s usually very amusing.

But Twitchy does more than that. It offers a path into Twitter itself that non-tweeters like me can use. I quickly discovered that tweets by celebrities and pundits often collect only a couple hundred combined re-tweets and likes. Even President Donald Trump, who has 45.6 million followers, sometimes gets fewer than 100,000 combined responses and re-tweets to his posts.

It bothers me when something that might interest so few people can result in news stories that get national or even international attention. It’s almost as if news coverage in the pre-internet age could be decided by what appeared in letters to the editor.

Indeed, Twitter, Facebook and other social media can generate real news, but journalists have to exercise discretion before they sit at their keyboards and tap out their stories. And while the internet has made the process much easier, nothing beats old-fashioned shoe-leather doggedness when it comes to accurately reporting the news.

***

Happy New Year! May you enjoy joy, prosperity and good health in 2018.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I’m not usually one for omens and so I’m hopeful that the fact that my furnace went out today, on New Year’s Day, is not a sign of things to come.  We knew it was getting tired and about to go out but we hoped to get through the season with it.

And now, in the beginning of what is predicted to be below-freezing temperatures all week, and frigid wind chill temperatures, I sit with no heat.

We made a dash to WalMart and bought some electric heaters and have a call into the furnace guy, but I don’t expect I will hear from him today.

I hope it’s not a sign of how my year will go.  Surely not.  Right?  Life is what you make it.  I shall be positive.

And cold.

In the middle of this drama I have not properly prepared a good post for you today so I do want to at least point you to a couple of noteworthy posts this afternoon:

First, at The Other McCain, be sure to read the terrible report of a SWATting incident that happened in Kansas.  Absolutely tragic.

Gateway Pundit has a post on the Iranian protests you should read.  Remember Neda?

Be sure to read Professor Jacobson’s post at Legal Insurrection about Ahed Tamimi; it is a bizarre story of an anti-Israli Palenstinian teenager manipulated by her parents to do violent acts.

And finally, Adrienne has a run-down of Trump’s accomplishments which might come in handy.

As for me, I’m going to pile on some clothing layers, make a hot toddy, find some blankets, and crank up those electric heaters until my furnace guy shows up.

Stay warm, my friends, and Happy New Year.

Pat Austin blogs at And so it Goes in Shreveport.

The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method…you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes’ genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were and unmask your whole stratagem.

C.S. Lewis Screwtape 13

In my post on New Years eve I talked about the MSM choosing to ally with the Iranian Mullahs by playing down the protests against the regime and playing up the staged counter protests to avoid any acknowledgement that this president was on the side of just and right by supporting those attempting to change the theocratic state of Iran. I suggested that the need to defeat Trump overrode all other considerations.

However that post, while correct, ignores the other, more powerful reason why the media has done its level best to ignore the protesters in Iran risking life and limb to bring down oppressors. It’s a very deep reason, rooted in a solid theological principle.

One of the things my Pastor constantly speaks about concerning confession, sin and God is the concept of looking at oneself in the light of truth. Seeing things as they actually are is one of the most difficult things that there is, particularly if the picture is not as pleasant as one might expect.  Theologically it is vital to do this while alive rather than waiting to be judged on those facts that we have thus avoided confronting.

And that something, seeing oneself in the light of truth, is enabled by these protests.

As any person who has paid attention knows, the left/media/deep state has gone all in with their opposition of President Trump.   There have been large well publicized protests.   They have predicted with great fear that his policies would cause havoc and death and have gone as far as to call themselves NOT the loyal opposition, which would perfectly acceptable for one opposing a president’s position but as the “Resistance” equating themselves to those who fought in the underground movement during World War 2 risking life and limb.

Now the idea of equating marching in DC wearing a hat shaped like a vagina or screaming obscenities and threatening people in a crowd in Boston who dared walk through the common wearing a Trump Banner and an Israeli flags to the brave defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto frankly always seemed obscene to me even as the media, entertainment and education industries they saw no difference between them.

But the Iranian protests change that equation completely.

Instead of privileged people lionized by elite risking nothing greater than Twitter critique (and in some cases able to get such critiques silenced) you have actual people who have been oppressed for two generation by a government willing to kill or imprison them if they dare speak against it or the totalitarian religion that it supports.

The media can NOT show those scenes of brave people standing up to riot police ready willing and able to open fire, to beat and to kill them without graphically illustrating how empty and how petty the cause of the so called “resistance” is in comparison. Moreover any member of said “resistance” who is in the least bit self aware seeing these people can not help but see themselves in the light of truth, and be ashamed.

For the sake of their own self respect, for the sake of their political cause but most fo all for the sake of the reality bubble that these folks live within, the Iranian protests and the protesters who are leading them, can not, and WILL not be showed, their cause SHALL not be acknowledged and the MSM/Entertainment/Deep State establishment will do all it can to make sure it is not.

The meme shall not be harmed, it MUST not be.

Closing thought, God help them if the protesters succeed, Iran is freed and those who led the fight take to the mics to thank those who stood by their side and President Trump is anywhere near the top of that list.

Update: This is how the Iranian resistance will be remembered in history.

This is how the anti-trump “resistance” shall be


If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism in 2018, please consider hitting DaTipJar here.



Consider subscribing. While you might have heard I’ve been unexpectedly rehired at my job. how long that will last is anyone’s guess (I have Jan 7th or 8th in the pool) but if we can get 92 more subscribers at $20 a month I can do this full time without worry.


Choose a Subscription level


Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift for the person of faith after all it’s still the 8th day of Christmas.