The Second Version

20/12/07

On The Reliability Of LGF

I just can't help going back to that. But the last time I slipped was quite a while ago.

Dennis keeps righteosuly hammering away at stupidity wherever it pops up, and while digging at Gates of Vienna - a website where hyperbole, to be charitable, abounds - unhearted the following statement:
I no longer consider Little Green Footballs to be a reliable source of information.
The point is, LGF has never been much of a source of information, but rather a relay or aggregator of stories. Charles and his peers have produced only a small amount of original information (the infamous Fake TANG Memo being the most relevant); most of the time what Charles does is to excerpt, reproduce and link stories produced by other sources.
So the issues of reliability and accuracy should be taken to the primary sources rather than LGF - which cannot be considered responsible for content by other authors.

What can legitimately be discussed is Charles's vetting process for the stories to be published. And in this he's severely lacking; he and his readers suffer from a severe case of confirmation bias:
Numerous studies have demonstrated that people generally give an excessive amount of value to confirmatory information, that is, to positive or supportive data. The "most likely reason for the excessive influence of confirmatory information is that it is easier to deal with cognitively" (Gilovich 1993).
Which causes them to accept uncritically any story that reflects badly on Islam, Europeans (yes, the very people), the Left, atheists and any other target. The in-depth (or should I say obsessive) parsing that is reserved to stories that reflect badly on America and a few other "good guys" simply does not exist in other cases. Prejudices? Very likely.
Then there are the "throwing bloody meat to the sharks" stories, which have little or no relevance to politics or the grand struggle of ideas, but appear only intended to reinforce prejudices and initiate orgies of lame jokes and the like.

Another issue is Charles' sneaky editorializing, such as dropping terms like "appeasement" and derivatives in the introductions to linked stories. CJ is definitely entitled to his own opinion and even to express it in sneaky ways, but it'd be far more constructive if sometimes he articulated in some more detail his positions and his proposals about the situation.
A recent case is this: CJ accuses the Philippine government of appeasing the Muslims separatists of in Mindanao. And the accusation may very well have grounds, but what is conspicuosly missing, both from the posts and comments, is what are the realistic alternatives. And with realistic I don't mean the "kill'em all" feverish dreams, but at least a half-competent discussion of the intentions and capabilities of all the parties involved.

Knowing all this, you can still extract some valuable information from LGF.

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