I'll confess that I don't watch much television news, but I have run across Greta Van Susteren through the years, principally when she served as an analyst during the O.J. Simpson trial. Since then, it would appear Ms. Van Susteren has parlayed her expertise into a nightly primetime show on the Fox News Channel.
Where she pontificates on matters outside her expertise.
For instance, Ms. Van Susteren, who may be highly qualified to discuss the criminal law, also feels qualified to discuss computer surveillance, security, and international intelligence. But on these matters she has no more business giving opinions than do I. Less, in fact. I know this, because I am one of her sources of news.
Screenshots follow, to punish the guilty.
Now, it may well be that Ms. Van Susteren has been to North Korea three times, and she may well read a bit about the country, but if she is obtaining her news from "the North Korea state-owned news twitter feed," she is obtaining it from a dubious source indeed. The feed's actual author, me1, has never been to the Korean peninsula at all, and cannot read a word of the language. "The North Korean state run media" is a parody, derived in tone more from Soviet Russian newspapers (which I could read) than from Korean propaganda.
How could this have happened? Probably confirmation bias: the Tweet was too good to check. If Ms. Van Susteren had scrolled further down the feed, she'd have found such gems of news as:
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un announces epic production of socialist Godzilla film, to acclaim of theatre critics and aesthetic personages.
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) December 13, 2014
or the latest celebrity gossip from Pyongyang:
We're told, by the media, that we should trust their authority, that they have "layers of editors and fact-checkers" at their service. But sometimes they're no better than bloggers, particularly when they venture outside their areas of expertise, or they fail to consult actual experts.
This is not a slam against Ms. Van Susteren or Fox News in particular. The "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" has taken in many journalists through the years, at publications and websites more and less prestigious, on the right and left sides of the ideological center. It is to say, rather, that we as consumers of what the news media purvey, should be careful about what we're buying.
Trust but verify. Caveat emptor.
Despite multiple comments at her own site warning Ms. Van Susteren, THIS IS A PARODY, meaning, "Go back and look," Ms. Van Susteren (who has updated her post) merely concedes that "some say" the "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" is a parody. I myself, and others, have tweeted her multiple times to tell her: "Yes it is."
It's disappointing that, rather than conceding the obvious, Ms. Van Susteren went with the "some say" dodge. I've fallen victim to benevolent pranks and hoaxes myself: the best course is to offer congratulations: "You got me," laugh, and admit it. So I've offered Ms. Van Susteren time-stamped proof:
— Santa Hat (@Popehat) December 20, 2014
— Santa Hat (@Popehat) December 20, 2014
I'm sure Ms. Van Susteren gets many replies on Twitter, so perhaps she hasn't read of this. But she has been active on the service, since the world learned the truth about Joe Biden.
Sweet puppy pic.twitter.com/uKGtBhhBCF
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) December 20, 2014
It is a sweet puppy. Again, this isn't ideological criticism of Ms. Van Susteren, or of Fox, but an example of confirmation bias. When I want to get ideological, I do it with Juche. SECOND UPDATE: If Ms. Van Susteren replies or addresses this, we will update.
U.S. stooge newspaper Fox News withdraws slanders against Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un. May all such dogs cower in shame! — DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) December 20, 2014
Remember when I said this gentle bit of media criticism was non-ideological?
Again, a screenshot to punish the guilty:
To its credit, Slate has left the story (mostly) intact, and published a correction. A most grudging correction, which hardly acknowledges that author Lily Hay Newman was hacked by … her own gullibility, and again, confirmation bias.
It isn't a "misstatement," Ms. Newman. It's a failure to read. Again, if you'd only scrolled down the feed a bit, you'd have discovered this recap of the 2014 World Cup:
All-conquering victorious heroes of Korean People's Football Team defeat Japan, USA, advancing to World Cup final against Germany.
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) July 12, 2014
Or this important news about Ebola in the United States:
U.S. dwarfs cower as deadly Ebola plague spreads to city of Atlantis. — DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) August 2, 2014
FOURTH UPDATE: MUST CREDIT POPEHAT AND DPRK_NEWS!
Sweet Jesus! The Washington Post!
Layers of editors and fact-checkers.
Widespread errors of U.S. courts sentence thousands of innocents to prison each year, report finds.
— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) December 20, 2014
Another hour, another scalp claimed from people who should know better.
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) December 23, 2014
And finally… Welcome Instapundit readers! Many thanks to Professor Reynolds for the link to this post, which as acknowledged above, demonstrates something he's been saying about news consumption for years: Caveat emptor. SEVENTH UPDATE, AND AN EIGHTH THERE SHALL NOT BE! Newsweek can take a joke. They asked for an interview, and we gave it. And: Mediaite, a site devoted to analysis of the U.S. running dog lackey media, also asked for comment. We complied. EIGHTH UPDATE, FIFTEEN DAYS LATER. The most trusted name in news. "Braggartly." CNN has memory-holed that part of the story, but we keep screenshots. Archive here.
Dung-eating jackals of U.S. Cable News Network, confronted by revolutionary truth of Juche idea, agree to retract vile smears against DPRK. — DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) January 4, 2015
NINTH UPDATE: BRITISH TABLOID EDITION, EIGHTEEN DAYS LATER
The spit-licking hyenas of Britain's Daily Mail may embrace the DPRK, but that will not save them.
- My co-blogger Derrick also participates in the prank. ▲