Media Bias/Fact Check–Biased?

I recently became aware of a service called Media Bias/Fact Check which calls itself “The Most Comprehensive Media Bias Resource.” That sounds great–unless the resource itself is biased.

So I did a rather informal check of my own. I chose 12 news/information services I knew pretty well, including what I believe are their biases. I then checked the fact check service to see if their claims of bias matched my own perception. Below are the results.

Disclaimer: I worked for years as a journalist for a news service MB/FC says “is well sourced and factual in reporting with a right-center editorial bias.”  I also wrote for another service they say is “left-centered biased” for editorial content but “high for factual reporting (original content).” For both of them, I reported news but did not write news editorials.

While I checked 12, I’ll go into details on 5:

  1. The Washington Times: OK, so some of these are pretty easy; the news service’s masthead includes “Reliable Reporting. The Right Opinion.”  MB/FC and I both agree they have a right-center bias, some stories balanced while others lean strongly toward the right, and that they aren’t always very proficient at checking facts–not always “reliable reporting.”
  2. CNN: Again agreement; CNN has a bias towards the left. But what particularly impressed me was that MB/FC, to me, accurately pinned down how that bias is done, and that CNN does well on straight news.  “Overall, we rate CNN left biased based on story selection that often favors the left. We rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to misinformation and failed fact checks from guests and pundits. However, CNN’s straight news reporting would earn a High rating for factual reporting.”
  3. NPR: I really like National Public Radio which is perhaps one of the most accurate sources around.  But, unfortunately, I have to agree on the bias, even if very slight: “Overall, we rate NPR (National Public Radio) Left-Center Biased based on story selection that leans slightly left and Very High for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and very accurate news reporting.”
  4. Christian Broadcasting Network: Yes, CBN is obviously biased to the right–except that they often present news that is pretty accurate and then “explain” that news in a highly biased fashion, and also freely mix up science and religion. Did MB/FC pick up on that? “Overall, we rate the Christian Broadcasting Network a right leaning promoter of conspiracy theories via Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. CBN News however, mostly reports accurate news that sometimes does not align with science.” Yes, they did.
  5. Christian Science Monitor: If any long-established news service (began in 1908) would have an obvious bias based on its name, this would be it. As Wikipedia describes it, Christian Science belongs to “the metaphysical family of new religious movements.” It took me literally years to, well, come to the same conclusion as did Media Bias/Fact Check: “Overall, we rate the Christian Science Monitor Least Biased based on balanced story selection and fair reporting coverage of both sides. Further, we rate them High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing of information and a clean fact check record.”

Media Bias/Fact Check is supported through Patreon. I’m going to support them right now.

The 12 I checked were The Washington Times, CNN, FOX News, NPR, BBC, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Christian Broadcasting Network, Yahoo News, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and Snopes. I substantially agree with Media Bias/Fact Check on all of them. While I assume full responsibility for this blog post, thanks to Michael Lee Viviano and Sondra London for getting me thinking in the line that led to me finding MB/FC.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

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Save The OA

Netflix said The OA is being cancelled! That’s after only two seasons and with a cliffhanger ending.

Wikipedia says: “The OA is an American mystery drama web television series with science fiction, supernatural and fantasy elements. The OA debuted on Netflix on December 16, 2016. Created and executive produced by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, the series is their third collaboration. The series consists of two seasons of eight episodes each, mostly directed by Batmanglij, and is produced by Plan B Entertainment and Anonymous Content. In the series, Marling stars as a young woman named Prairie Johnson who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. Prairie now calls herself “The OA” (the “Original Angel”) and can see, despite having been blind before her disappearance.”

Many of you know the series had SubGenius and Discordian connections. The orphan Prairie Johnson is a reference to “Juicy” Johnson, childhood friend of Church of the SubGenius co-founder Connie Dobbs, and a SubGenius prairie squid. The show even features Azrael, which references not only the angel of death, but also Cthulhu and a SubGenius prairie squid.

Sign the petition to save the series here.

An opinion of an individual member or associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

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The Mystery of Screaming Schoolgirls in Malaysia

A 17-year-old schoolgirl felt a sharp pain in her back, thought she saw a face of pure evil, and passed out. Or did she pass out before she saw the face?

Whatever it was, it spread, with dozens of girls screaming. Is it demons or mass hysteria?

See the article about what happened in Malaysia here. What do you think?

An opinion of a member of associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Posted in Discordian and Ek-sen-trik, Health and Medical, Media and News, Religion and Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

The Moon and the Future of Humanity

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon (Photo by Neil Armstrong).

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969

Today marks the 50th anniversary of something completely unprecedented in human history–a human being landing, and the next day setting foot, on another world.  Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walked on the lunar surface, while Michael Collins became the second person to orbit the moon alone.

But why should we care?

The desktops, laptops, tablets, and cell phones we use are partially based on developments made during the space program. Discoveries and technology have had a major affect on the development of a great number of fields including communication, transportation, and medicine. A number of people, maybe someone you know, maybe you, are alive because of that.  It even led to the development of seemingly unrelated inventions including the sports bra.

But there’s an aspect of the moon landing that’s often ignored, and that’s the fundamental human drive to explore. Whether we take the biblical Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden story literally or not, it portrays the first two human beings leaving their home and exploring elsewhere. Throughout history, exploration and development have gone hand in hand.

Medieval China sent ships far away and had a thriving culture; when the exploration stopped, the culture started to stagnate. We live in a time where virtually the entire Earth (with the partial exception of the ocean), has been explored. There’s one, final frontier left: space.

EDIT: The names of Aldrin and Collins had been mistakenly switched.  It is now corrected.

For author/astronomer David Lee Summer’s take on this, see here.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

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Woodstock on the Moon Landing

Woodstock on the Moon was go!

The Gathering at the Grove III was held in celebration of two of the biggest events of 50 years ago: An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music AKA Woodstock, and the Apollo 11 moon landing.  Woodstock on the Moon had less people that Woodstock, but more than landed on the moon.  Between 50 and 60 Discordians, SubGenii, Pastafarians, Pagans, and Nudists came for the three-day outdoor Texas camp out from Friday, June 14, to Sunday, June 16, 2017.

People had a lot of fun singing, dancing, playing musical instructions, playing the Cloved Lemon Kissing Game, and Squirrel Spotting.  For the first time, there was a place to swim in the great outdoors.  The event also featured the world premiere performance of the “Battle Hymn of the SubGenius.”

But most important of all, we had a marriage proposal that was accepted. Congratulations to Enchantric and Artariel!

ADDITION: See more here.

Poster and photo are copyright by Alden Loveshade.




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Woodstock on the Moon

Woodstock on the Moon is coming soon to a planet near you!

Frankly, we hesitated posting this because it’s invitation only.  Even the real date was hidden until very recently (and then, by an urgent request, was quickly hidden again–ignore the dates on the poster). It’s something like, “Hey everybody, we’re having this great outdoor Pagan/Discordian/Naturist event and due to privacy reasons we can’t tell you when or where it is!”

But just as a reminder, here’s the reminder. If you know when and where The Gathering at the Grove is held, this is it. If you want an invitation, ask, but keep in mind all these have to be approved.

If you want to attend Woodstock on the Moon without an invitation, go here.

Original poster design is by Alden Loveshade (except the image of the moon is adapted from one from NASA).

EDIT: Post edited to insure inaccuracy.

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The Tower in the Mist: Review

This is a review of The Tower in the Mist (Minstrels of Skaythe Book 1) by Deby Fredericks.

On one level, this is an exciting fantasy adventure story. But I found it significantly more than that.

Keilos, a mage and minstrel, understands that to survive he must “know the enemy.” In spite of being insulted and punched and injured by the group of female guards who capture him, and in spite of facing a very likely death, he doesn’t fight them. Instead, the song mage practices non-violent resistance–and finds it very, very difficult. But as a result, the seemingly “nameless thug guards” begin to reveal themselves as what they really are, people.

Author Deby Fredericks avoids the stereotype of the “all noble” hero, and shows instead a frightened man struggling both against his circumstances and himself. But his goal, and that of the members of his minstrel troupe which had separated for their mutual protection, is not just for them to escape the oppression of an overwhelming, hope-destroying society. It is for the people of the society themselves to escape–one person and one small group at a time.

This tale follows one small group, Keilos and his seven captors Zathi and her squad of Jaxynne, Razzeet, Keerin, Giniver, Sethamis, and Thersa. The book moves through eerie foreshadowing, a grippingly-detailed battle scene between the squad and a deadly towering and overpowering creature, a chance at escape, the dragon that’s not a dragon, the impending and awakening threat of death, the chilling discoveries in the tower itself and more. All these make for a gripping read. I had intended to glance at the first page or two, then go back and read it later. But I didn’t want to put it down, so read it all the way through in one sitting.

But there’s something deeper here. Too many people have a tendency in fiction and, tragically, in real life, of characterizing the people of a particular group as “bad guys.” It could be a nation, a political party, a religious group, an ethnicity, a sexual orientation. But in real life, the group that’s seen by its enemies as evil may include a loving parent, a kind animal caregiver, and a very good neighbor. And that’s even if members of that group do indeed abuse and torture and even deliver innocent people to their deaths. This story faces that head on. In real life, wars and battles have been fought–and lost–because people did not understand this principle: seeing people as monsters too often leads to failure and unnecessary tragedy. It is a critical principle that the prisoner Keilos well understands, as obviously does the author of this tale.

So for all the initial impression of the “nameless bad guy” guards, after a short while we begin to learn about and understand and feel for Zathi and Jaxynne, Razzeet, Keerin, Giniver, Sethamis, and Thersa. We learn that Keilos and his fellow minstrels and listeners are not the only victims; the oppressors are themselves oppressed.

The title The Tower in the Mist is both accurate and misleading; it is no ordinary tower and no ordinary mist. While this is an adventure story, like a well-written mystery, Fredericks foreshadows the story’s events and climax with a number of clues that both guide and misdirect the reader. (One small hint: look for the circles.)

On a blog, Fredericks wrote that she had reversed the genders of what she originally planned for her main characters; the prisoner became a man instead of a woman, and the guards became women instead of men. She said the story became much richer because of it.

This richly-written fantasy tale is worth reading as an adventure alone. But deeper than that, it can help open the mind to see the “bad guys” in real life as what they really are: people.

By Deby Fredericks (Author), Tithi Luadthong (Illustrator)

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

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Loveshade Sockpuppet Purge

We are very sorry and want to apologize to all those targeted in The Loveshade Sockpuppet Purge on Fandom/Wikia and other websites. We don’t know how many people have been blocked from editing two versions of Uncyclopedia and other websites. We don’t know how many are now being targeted for a system-wide ban from Fandom/Wikia and other hosts (as of right now the number keeps increasing), but we sincerely apologize to all of you. We never intended anyone else to get targeted because of us.

We are going to be very frank about how this likely got going.

1) We write controversial stuff. We openly challenge social norms that we believe mistakenly assert that late 2oth century and early 21st century American and closely-related social standards are the only acceptable standards for human beings. We reject the notion that the majority of societies throughout human history were “evil” because they didn’t fit the way “we all know” things should be done. We frequently recall this observation of Lazarus Long (allegedly Robert Heinlein): “If ‘everybody knows’ such-and-such, then it ain’t so, by at least ten thousand to one.”

2) We admit we were investigated by local, state, and federal authorities shortly after 11 September 2001. There were a number of searches and seizures in various parts of the United States and possibly other countries. It involved at least a dozen agencies including the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reportedly the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and possibly Homeland Security (we haven’t verified the latter). Several people were questioned, and at least three people were arrested. After a period of years, according to a signed statement from the FBI, all seized material in their possession was returned. No one was convicted, except for one person who was convicted on a possession of marijuana charge which was apparently incidental to the main investigation (the marijuana, which was seized by a local agency and not given to the FBI, was not returned).

3) Some of us were involved in an admittedly unwise trolling/infiltration/sockpuppet exercise that successfully infiltrated and, for a short while at least, fooled members of a group known for trolling/computer hacking/harassment. That was years ago, but they’ve been going after us ever since. Advice: don’t try to out-master the masters.

4) An associate of The Loveshade Family started editing a wiki at Fandom, then called Wikia, and a friend applied to adopt it. An administrator who had made very few edits and who hadn’t edited that site in a long time came back. They made repeated demands that violated Fandom policy. Fandom approved the adoption, and the administrative status of the troublesome editor was removed. In addition, Fandom, by their standard policy, removed the admin status of the site’s inactive founder who hadn’t edited in years.  That got mistakenly blamed on the adopter, which got the site targeted by over a dozen people who vandalized and threatened people both there and on other websites, and got people associated with the Fandom wiki blocked from other sites and groups. After years, members of that group are still going after The Loveshade Family and its associates.

5) We have filed cease and desist orders, DMCA take down orders, and even a couple of restraining orders because of various violations and threats against us including death threats.

We accept full responsibility for our own actions. Again, we are very sorry to the innocent people who have been hurt by all of this.

We also understand that, while some people behind this almost certainly know what they’re doing, others may be sincere but misinformed.

To all these people, we ask, no we plead, that those who are spreading rumors and reports and slander and libel and blocking actions against a number of people they claim are us to stop and think if maybe, just maybe, somebody they’re hurting may be an innocent, and even underage, victim.  Some of them we don’t know about at all, but some of them are.

Wikipedia has a bit of what happened here. We have more of it here. The image that appears at top is listed on Uncyclopedia as being in the public domain.

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Orange Sun, Grey Sky

Orange Sun, Grey Sky

I just learned a short story I submitted for an anthology was accepted.

The collection will include science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror all under a theme. My story, “Orange Sun, Grey Sky,” follows a young woman named Ostra starting a new school year at a college campus on a genderless world where she’s the only female….

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

The photo was identified by its source as being in the public domain.

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No Executions in California

Governor Gavin Newsom

This is from the ACLU:

Governor Gavin Newsom just made history: this morning, he announced that California will not carry out executions on his watch. This announcement marks a watershed moment in the fight for racial equity and equal justice for all.

For far too long, California has propped up a costly, flawed death penalty system that is racially biased and puts the lives of innocent people at risk.

Just last April, Vicente Benavides of Kern County was freed after spending 25 years on death row in California for a crime he did not commit. His conviction was based on false medical testimony by doctors who recanted many years later. We don’t know how many more innocent people are still on death row.

We do know that race plays a dangerous and inappropriate role in decisions about who is sentenced to death in California. A Santa Clara University study, for example, found that people were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death in cases where the victim was white than in cases where the victim was Black.

Write a thank you message to the governor for his leadership.

California’s death penalty is racially biased and broken beyond repair. Today’s announcement is a historic step to ensure that our state’s justice system is fair, racially equitable, and truly just!


Hector Villagra
Executive Director, ACLU of Southern California

No threat to copyright is intended by this posting of this email sent to many; this is intended to spread the word.

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