News, Fake News and Not News

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Recently we were thinking about the news. What makes news? Then there is the discussion about fake news. At Wikipedia we found a page that is about Fake news websites: “Fake news websites (also referred to as hoax news, deliberately publish hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real news — often using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect.Unlike news satire, fake news websites seek to mislead, rather than entertain, readers for financial, political, or other gain”.

But what about news that is “left out“, as we formulated in one of our blog posts?

“One can safely assume that any information you are presented with has some relevant information “Left Out”. The originator’s perspective, the logic bubble in which he perceives the world and how the information is applied are some possible reasons for the missing information”.

We can also safely assume that editors of media do “leave-out” news, in good faith. However, there could be some doubt about, as Naomi Chomsky pointed out in “Manufacturing Consent“:

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“The mass communication media of the U.S. are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalised assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion”

That raises the question if there exists a keyword “Not News” in Google. Could we find “left-out”news in Google? We got only one hit:

Project Censored – The News That Didn’t Make The News and Why is a well researched website featuring the Top Censored Stories of 2015–2016: Covering up police violence by manipulation Wikipedia pages, violations of the Freedom of Information Act, compensations for vaccine injured families, big pharma lobbying, internet surveillance, FBI spying on rebellion at high schools, and lots of other disturbing news not mentioned in the mainstream media.

Admittedly, it’s all in America, but would it be different elsewhere? We earlier described the mechanisms that explain why disturbing news is not published by the mean stream media (See Press Patterns).

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By the way, in addition to “Manufacturing Consent”, we came across an interesting essay about “Manufacturing Normality”. Nowadays political dissent is stigmatised as aberrant or “abnormal” behaviour, as opposed to a position meriting discussion. Political distinctions like “left” and “right” are disappearing, and are being replaced by imponderable distinctions like “normal” and “abnormal,” “true” and “false,” and “real” and “fake.”.

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What if it was Great? Under-Celebrated Heroes!

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Have you noticed that in this blog the title of people who we refer to is not used? This is a conscious decision to make the reader evaluate the ideas rather than the person who is suggesting something.

Of course, this is a bit tricky since if you refer to a well-known person, everyone already knows all about the person. But the underlying idea is that readers should focus on the ideas rather than the person and what he or she has achieved so far in life.

A skilled thinker has developed the habit to always looking for positive, negative as well as interesting aspects with an idea. And a skilled thinker also knows that ideas are seldom perfect but can be used as a stepping stone to develop a better idea. Driven by curiosity there is a continuous search for interesting aspects.

In theory, ideas should be so powerful that regardless of the messenger or medium an idea can stand on its own and change the world. But in real life, great ideas are ignored and not evaluated. A famous person can suggest something mundane and still get lots of attention, while less famous people’s ideas are ignored. At a workplace, an idea suggested by a manager or team leader is regarded as great, but if an employee says the same thing it is ignored or regarded as moaning, non-constructive etc.

TED Talks have decided to create a platform of under-celebrated heroes. The talks are given anonymously. This is an opportunity for people who have the knowledge and the ideas but not the celebrity status to put forward their ideas. By not knowing who is suggesting something, you have to focus on the ideas and the message. Of course, this is something that we should do all the time.

Great ideas may also never reach a larger audience since a person may not like the spotlight or they may fear to lose their job or friends and loved ones. The chance to anonymously put forward your ideas and see if they can fly by themselves may encourage more people to give anonymous TED Talks.

The idea to let ideas speak for themselves is not new. The document Common Sense is a wonderful example. It was published anonymously during the American Revolution in 1776, written by Thomas Paine, it urged America colonists to declare independence from Great Britain.

What ideas would you like to share with the world – anonymously? What do you suggest to make life on Earth better?

And how do you practice on exploring the message and the idea rather than the person who suggested the idea?

P.S. What if we let the ideas in this blog stand for themselves and take away the name and the “About” page. How will you find our blog posts?

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Photo: IBM Poughkeepsie site, with the word “THINK”.

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The Thinking Habits of Steve Jobs

In Walter Isaacson´s biography Steve Jobs  emerges as a nasty, selfish, and ruthless man. Fortunately, he applied his talents to making computers and did not engage in criminal activities.

Although, Steve Jobs  thoroughly studied Buddhism and meditated, there is little evidence of an inner peace of mind or compassion with other humans. He is the epitome of a genius who, because he thinks much faster and better than his employees, fell into the trap of arrogance and power play.

Fanatic, extremist, narcissistic and obsessive, not a man to have in your enterprise, let alone in your football team.

It has been the merit of Apple’s shareholders that they have managed to make a distinction between the man’s behaviour and his ideas about how computers might look like. They assigned a kind of reversed body-guard to prevent employees from being attacked too harshly.

Jobs did not settle for less than more than best. He simply ignored practical objections. That drove his designers to extraordinary, hitherto considered impossible performance. Moreover, the ability to ignore generally accepted impossibilities was a main criterion to select employees. Jobs was convinced that working with B-team players would end up with having lots of C-level players. A-Team players loved to be challenged by other A-team players.

Another  habit of Jobs was to visualise his ideas on a whiteboard. He encouraged critical thinking, but required at the same time joint efforts to overcome negative points in a design.

A key concept in the thinking about the design of computers has been Simplicity.  Jobs believed that the design of hardware, software and form should be designed integrally.  Not simply  produced to certain specifications, but as a piece of art that deliver several values. In order to do that Jobs focused to one issue at the time, determining what would be the key quality of the function delivered, removing without hesitation any unnecessary feature or complexity.

Jobs trusted his intuition on what a good design would be, and never let marketing surveys decide what to do. In all his decision he was led by the desire to deliver an excellent product that would change the world. Profits,costs or time were never of guidance when making decisions.

Ignoring general accepted impossibilities, A-team playing, Visualising ideas, overcoming negative points, designing for Simplicity, delivering Values, Focus and using Intuition are all subjects we will cover in our forthcoming book.

For a different view on Steve Jobs see the video below.