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jcs

Media bias and Google/YouTube

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Today a model I am working with brought up the google employee who was fired recently. I had skimmed his article and also saw that mainstream media was outraged and that he was ultimately fired. I asked her if she had read what he wrote, and she replied she had not. So her support of the firing was based solely on reporting by mainstream media (MSM). It took a bit of googling to find his original document: the MSM sources I found had removed all external links and didn't post the original document. Here it is:

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-Ideological-Echo-Chamber.pdf

Here's a couple examples where the external links and all graphics have been removed: http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320 , http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/googles-ideological-echo-chamber/. I didn't check them closely for other deletions and omissions.

As an executive and manager of both small and large corporations, I was made well aware by legal departments what is acceptable and not acceptable practice in the workplace. I believe he put google at major lawsuit risk for writing the following:

The harm of Google’s biases I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

  • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race
  • A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
  • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
  • Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
  • Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination

Stretch, BOLD, CSSI, Engineering Practicum (to an extent), and several other Google funded internal and external programs are for people with a certain gender or race. 6 Instead set Googlegeist OKRs, potentially for certain demographics. We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I’ve seen it done). Increased representation OKRs can incentivize the latter and create zero-sum struggles between orgs.

These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology that can irreparably harm Google.

This post is related to other posts discussing women in the workplace and now I raise the issue of media bias in reporting, which relates to all of us who create filmed media and are trying to help heal our divided country and planet.

From a purely legal risk basis, I understand why google fired Mr. Damore. However, here's the problem for google: if what Mr. Damore wrote isn't true, they could defend themselves, showing that what he wrote isn't accurate. Given what he wrote, firing him might harm google even more. It appears this was an internal document, never meant for public view. The fact that it was released to the public has harmed google, and is now being used as a divisive tool and weapon by the MSM. If what Mr. Damore wrote is true, then some good can come from it to heal division, not just at google but anyone affected by these issues.

I realize that both the extreme Left and Right are just tools for division, and see them for what they truly are. I can see how some of what Mr. Damore wrote could be inflammatory for some individuals, however in his favor he did provide links to other sources which support his statements. Which is why it's very misleading when MSM removes these links (and graphics) from his original document.

Here is what appears to have triggered the Left and the people funding MSM (see his full document for the rest of suggestions and reference notes, there's a lot more):

Why we’re blind

We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change), the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ8 and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren’t on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social sciences lean left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap9. Google’s left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we’re using to justify highly politicized programs. In addition to the Left’s affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and agreeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and a whiner10. Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side”; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is being spent to water only one side of the lawn.

This same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness11, which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftist protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silent, psychologically unsafe environment.

Suggestions

I hope it’s clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism). My concrete suggestions are to:

  • De-moralize diversity. ○ As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”
  • Stop alienating conservatives. ○ Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
  • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves. ○ Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.
  • Confront Google’s biases. ○ I’ve mostly concentrated on how our biases cloud our thinking about diversity and inclusion, but our moral biases are farther reaching than that. ○ I would start by breaking down Googlegeist scores by political orientation and personality to give a fuller picture into how our biases are affecting our culture.
  • Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races. ○ These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.

What many of us are seeing is the Left is completely intolerant of any view other than their own, and have been resorting to violence. If one states they are neither Left or Right, the Left calls them Right, and the Right calls them Left. So while the Right might at first seem to be more tolerant, if one is not "on their side" they can be labeled "Left" simply because they are not Right. Fortunately, the well-armed Right hasn't been violent (we can get into "conspiracy theories" with Charlottesville, so perhaps best to agree that so far only the Left has used guns recently).

If we don't start creating counter-momentum of healing the dividing forces, we're headed toward major civil unrest, and we know the government has been preparing for this for a while, so it's best we don't go there.

What does all this mean for us filmmakers/vloggers and video hobbyists posting on YouTube? We can help heal the divisions, by creating content designed to bring people together, to better understand the issues, and to always take a position of understanding, love, and kindness. Metaphors and parables are more effective vs. lecturing (is this post lecturing :)?). Think about how to better communicate with those who think differently from yourself. If you are posting online, think twice if you are angry. Understand that anger comes from your own ego, not from external sources, and certainly not from a person who has angered or annoyed you: that's coming from within yourself. Debating online is an excellent place to practice kind debate. Because you can take a moment or a break to think more deeply before replying. And by all means don't drunk post or post when upset in general: that's not the real you.

Peace brothers & sisters :) 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I started using bing since the day they fired the guy. Not that Microsoft is any better, but I don't want to use their services anymore. I wish a Chinese or Indian startup make a YouTube rival then I will be G-free. Thanks god Telegram rocks in my country so I rarely need to use email. 

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6 minutes ago, Eric Calabros said:

I started using bing since the day they fired the guy. Not that Microsoft is any better, but I don't want to use their services anymore. I wish a Chinese or Indian startup make a YouTube rival then I will be G-free. Thanks god Telegram rocks in my country so I rarely need to use email. 

As with all companies, there are kind people in google; we can encourage them to feel empowered and speak up, wishing google a kind turn-around as more people become aware of what's going on both inside google and out.

What about Vimeo as a YT rival? Patreon is thriving since the demonetization (censorship) program was started.

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Can we please get the American culture wars out of this forum? This is off-topic, vitriolic, divisive stuff with no relation to filmmaking, and no prospect of anything but ideological flamewars. Moderators, please moderate and close this topic. Thank you.

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7 hours ago, jcs said:

 

What about Vimeo as a YT rival? Patreon is thriving since the demonetization (censorship) program was started.

I use Vimeo, but its also in virtu signaling business, they even created a category for Resistance! 

3 hours ago, hmcindie said:

Agreed with cantsin. Who gives a peep about SJW's, Culture Wars or left vs right? It's a complete waste of time.

This war is already shaping the environment for content makers. You can't pretend nothing is happening. 

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It seems JCS is simply requesting that we as filmmakers make extra effort to make our films/videos have positive meaning. Left, right, up, or down, I think we can agree that's something to think about and is certainly applicable to a site full of filmmakers.

I have discussions all the time with people about the purpose of film and whether it's our responsibility to be positive, refrain from opinion, just deliver entertainment, etc... 

I think it's worthwhile discussion. 

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I hate this kind of thing as much as anyone right of center, but I find Google's tracking/advertising/manipulation practices to be more concerning especially considering their political clout and market share. The online advertising market is a straight up duopoly right now between them and Facebook.

But unfortunately, they're king when it comes to many things on the internet.

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YouTube has taken a turn for the insane over the last...4 months or so.  They changed something under the hood and it's all very different now.

Totally agree though, JCS.  Its all very simple when you break it down.  Everyone deserves a voice and respect.  The race, gender, and political attacks are superfluous to the underlying issue...division. Whenever I discuss politics with people face to face, I generally take the opposite side of them but employ reason, sensibility, and a calm tone.  Generally...without fail, we meet in the middle.  That's the only place where real discussion and progress can happen.

And yes, this might be the most important thing for filmmakers today.  Using your skill as art and to influence people is great but you had better know what "truth" is or you're just adding to the white noise.  Not left or right, not white or black, not an "agenda"...truth.  Unity.  Its the only way out of the ravine we find ourselves in!

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45 minutes ago, Neumann Films said:

And yes, this might be the most important thing for filmmakers today.  Using your skill as art and to influence people is great but you had better know what "truth" is or you're just adding to the white noise.  Not left or right, not white or black, not an "agenda"...truth.  Unity.  Its the only way out of the ravine we find ourselves in!

This is why I'm a fan of metaphor (and I know I'm far from mastering storytelling because I've got a lot to learn about it). You can explore the Truth without pushing any agenda.

Take for instance: Inception. On its face, it's about dreams, and to many, it's just a tense action thriller with great visuals. But for some, it sparked discussions of "what is reality?" Some went deeper than that and asked "are we in a dream right now? Can we ever really know?" Etc. But the great part about a movie like this is that it's a metaphorical exploration of reality and making art (looking at it from the perspective of the Inceptors being a movie crew and Robert Fisher being the movie audience) wrapped in a nice, entertaining candy-coating of action and adventure - so it reaches wide audiences. And I personally believe that, because it reaches some level of deeper Truth that applies to the human race, it has an effect on each and every one of us in a way that no politically charged or anger/hate/fear driven crusade could ever do, at least not in a way that allows each of us to come to our own conclusions.

PS I purposely picked a seemingly innocuous (but super popular) movie to show that we can still affect people without aggravation.

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I always thought Inception was Nolan's paranoid musings on people stealing his movie ideas :)

I am a fan of metaphor as well but I think sometimes filmmakers go too far down the rabbit hole and lose the audience along the way.  If your goal is to make a difference and to inform/persuade people, you can't layer too much parable on top of your message.  Some of my favorite movies skin the first layer off of the subtext (The Fountain, Tree of Life).  

Movies that look directly into the face of the audience and ask the question point blank get my respect much more than ones that passive aggressively beat around the bush, lose the audience, and fail to deliver their message.  At that point...just lose the message and entertain us.  I would prefer it to be one or the other.   

This is why I have been thinking more and more (lately) that Documentaries are the only answer.  The issue there is that you generally just preach to the choir.  Some form of entertainment is necessary just to get the eyeballs that need to see it, watching the piece.

 

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For me, it's a great shame the world seems to go from racial and religious division, through political division and onto cultural division so often, like a cycle, and it looks like we're going through one of those phases again, which leads to a world war.

The first thing to happen is the mob mentality, where dissenting voices in the crowd are dismissed even if they might be reasonable and logical.

Be it a far-left uprising or a far-right one, I hate all extremists.

Fighting Nazis is very noble but there are quite a lot who now consider all conservatives or anybody slightly right of centre on certain issues to be flat out evil people. I don't buy that and the Google thing shows that there's a huge, uncontrollable politically correct mob at corporations who can't have an honest debate about certain subjects because they're taboo.

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27 minutes ago, Neumann Films said:

This is why I have been thinking more and more (lately) that Documentaries are the only answer.  The issue there is that you generally just preach to the choir.  Some form of entertainment is necessary just to get the eyeballs that need to see it, watching the piece.

This is why I believe so much in metaphor with a candy coating. I'm not saying it's the only way, but when you take into account the world we live in, where to make movies you need funding and to get funding you need eyeballs and to get eyeballs you need "flash," I think that the most broad-reaching tool in the box to affect any change is an action/adventure, thriller/mystery, or even horror film that's layered with metaphor.

Having said that, don't discount documentaries too quickly. Many times they reach people outside of the "choir" and they do change hearts and minds. Do whatever you feel called to do!

38 minutes ago, Neumann Films said:

I always thought Inception was Nolan's paranoid musings on people stealing his movie ideas :)

Also, yes.

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4 hours ago, Neumann Films said:

YouTube has taken a turn for the insane over the last...4 months or so.  They changed something under the hood and it's all very different now.

In what way? Recommendations? search placements?

From my perspective clickbait has infested YouTube over the last year or more. Make an obnoxious reaction face thumbnail and pad your video with lots of blab so there's more space for ad placements. It's not about creating "content" (hate that word) it's more about creating the appearance of shock and substance when there really is very little there

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I really couldn't say, it just seems like what happened with Facebook a few years ago where your videos don't quite reach the audience you know is there.  It wasn't gradual, it happened within a week or so.

Yeah, maybe that's it.  They want to push longer videos now or something?  Who knows.

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With Google, YouTube and Facebook I've noticed a gradual change.

The Facebook situation is pretty bad, because it's become Google's main rival and is how a lot of people now surf the net. The newsfeed is basically a big profit train for Facebook, so we have to pay Facebook just to reach our own followers.

On YouTube, the clickbait infestation is getting worse because of increasing competition, clickbait has almost become the standard form of presentation - if your nearest rival is doing clickbait you have no choice but to present your content as clickbait as well... Otherwise it doesn't get seen. I don't know what YouTube have done to fix this - probably something, that then made it worse. I know they prefer long-form material, which has made the situation worse because the crap just gets drawn out longer and very concise and informative shorter stuff gets buried. Well done YouTube!

Google, they are doing NAAAAAthing for the little guy... Basically 4 or 5 review sites per topic OWN the first page, and they're all SHIT. Advertorial, clickbait and downright crap.

The situation needs kicking into touch otherwise people will start losing interest.

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7 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

I don't buy that and the Google thing shows that there's a huge, uncontrollable politically correct mob at corporations who can't have an honest debate about certain subjects because they're taboo.

I don't think that's it at all. Whether or not it was justified, there was a huge media furor as a result of his document. They fired him because of the huge global media pressure hurting their brand, not necessarily because they deemed his words unacceptable.

 

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3 minutes ago, quivering_member said:

I don't think that's it at all. Whether or not it was justified, there was a huge media furor as a result of his document. They fired him because of the huge global media pressure hurting their brand, not necessarily because they deemed his words unacceptable.

 

I think you just proved his point. 

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18 minutes ago, Jonesy Jones said:

I think you just proved his point. 

If his point is that the media does a bad job of diluting complicated messages into simple ones accurately probably because a nice outrageous simple message generates more clicks then yeah.

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