Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Religion, Politics and World Events
Reload this Page >

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Old 08-04-20, 10:46 AM
  #1  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In the straps of boots
Posts: 23,824
Received 288 Likes on 209 Posts
The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I didn't think this felt appropriate in any specific existing thread, but if mods disagree, feel free to move it accordingly.

The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free
by Nathan J. Robinson
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/...lies-are-free/

Paywalls are justified, even though they are annoying. It costs money to produce good writing, to run a website, to license photographs. A lot of money, if you want quality. Asking people for a fee to access content is therefore very reasonable. You don’t expect to get a print subscription to the newspaper gratis, why would a website be different? I try not to grumble about having to pay for online content, because I run a magazine and I know how difficult it is to pay writers what they deserve.

But let us also notice something: the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Republic, New York, Harper’s, the New York Review of Books, the Financial Times, and the London Times all have paywalls. Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Wire, the Federalist, the Washington Examiner, InfoWars: free! You want “Portland Protesters Burn Bibles, American Flags In The Streets,” “The Moral Case Against Mask Mandates And Other COVID Restrictions,” or an article suggesting the National Institutes of Health has admitted 5G phones cause coronavirus—they’re yours. You want the detailed Times reports on neo-Nazis infiltrating German institutions, the reasons contact tracing is failing in U.S. states, or the Trump administration’s undercutting of the USPS’s effectiveness—well, if you’ve clicked around the website a bit you’ll run straight into the paywall. This doesn’t mean the paywall shouldn’t be there. But it does mean that it costs time and money to access a lot of true and important information, while a lot of bullshit is completely free.
He goes on...

Possibly even worse is the fact that so much academic writing is kept behind vastly more costly paywalls. A white supremacist on YouTube will tell you all about race and IQ but if you want to read a careful scholarly refutation, obtaining a legal PDF from the journal publisher would cost you $14.95, a price nobody in their right mind would pay for one article if they can’t get institutional access.

This is something I've noticed as well... it's very easy to come across all the blogs and faux-news type of sites spouting pure bullshit on contentious topics, typically poorly sourced or intentionally misrepresented, while the sites that do true deep-dives with factual information are locked behind a paywall. It's really frustrating, especially right now, but it's hard not to see how this dynamic is working to benefit the lies and liars over the real information.

The writer goes on to offer a solution; an open and democratic universal search, not driven by ad sales. But I'm not sure it's possible.
I wonder if, instead, sites that have paywalls on some content should 'flip' their policy; use the paywall for simpler pieces (Opinion, Sports, Entertainment, Culture, etc.) and use that to fund the ability to keep real journalistic news free and available to all who want to read it. That would probably backfire, though.

Anyway, I thought this was worth discussing, and I'll pose a question to the forum members who have bothered to click on this post: Putting aside streaming services, what sites (news or otherwise) do you actually pay for, and do you feel it has been worth it?
Old 08-04-20, 10:58 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 559
Received 19 Likes on 16 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

If this is true, then the story must be behind a paywall, right?
Old 08-04-20, 11:05 AM
  #3  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In the straps of boots
Posts: 23,824
Received 288 Likes on 209 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Hilarious!
Also, no.
Old 08-04-20, 11:14 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 559
Received 19 Likes on 16 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Hilarious!
Also, no.
I was only joking.
Old 08-04-20, 11:15 AM
  #5  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In the straps of boots
Posts: 23,824
Received 288 Likes on 209 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I know
Old 08-04-20, 11:21 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 6,616
Received 25 Likes on 19 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I've noticed this as well and it's definitely frustrating. Of course, I can't really complain as I'm not paying for any news at the moment.

It comes up every day, though. Every time my phone recommends an article I'd actually want to read it's behind a paywall and every time I only want to read it out of incredulity, it's free.
Old 08-04-20, 11:23 AM
  #7  
Moderator
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 33,656
Received 87 Likes on 60 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Yeah, it's a problem. I currently subscribe to The New York Times (print and digital), The Washington Post (digital only), print editions of The New Yorker and The New Republic, a digital subscription to The Atlantic, and it really adds up. I'd love to get The Economist as well, but that's another $200/year, which is a big ask. I will mention that I think The Guardian is still free and has excellent journalism, as does The Independent.
Old 08-04-20, 11:45 AM
  #8  
Moderator
 
TheBigDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Florida
Posts: 11,534
Received 189 Likes on 136 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Sometimes you can read the article using these sites:

https://outline.com/
https://www.printfriendly.com/
Old 08-04-20, 12:47 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Conducting miss-aisle drills and listening to their rock n roll
Posts: 19,928
Received 160 Likes on 120 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Would this hot trump interview being only on HBO an example of this phenomenon?
Old 08-04-20, 12:51 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 33,334
Received 406 Likes on 317 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Would this hot trump interview being only on HBO an example of this phenomenon?
Isn't this the full interview?


I think most of the Axios stuff they do, along with John Oliver, are pretty much free on youtube (or maybe there are ads?)

Also I think at least some newspapers kept the covid information outside of the walls, but I'm not sure if that's the case universally. It's tough because I'm sure a lot of money and research goes into gathering the info for this news and that costs money, while spouting your opinion about something on the internet or facebook doesn't.
Old 08-04-20, 12:51 PM
  #11  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In the straps of boots
Posts: 23,824
Received 288 Likes on 209 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Would this hot trump interview being only on HBO an example of this phenomenon?
^ not really.. you can watch the whole thing on YouTube on the official HBO account I guess. This is more about in-depth reporting, though... not interviews. There are journalistic sites that don't keep such things behind a paywall, but the content of the Current Affairs piece is about things reported on the most high profile sites; some that report news and the others that report lies.
Old 08-04-20, 01:01 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 33,334
Received 406 Likes on 317 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

The example of a white supremicist (I don't even know how to spell that) on Youtube is countered by dozens of other free Youtube videos, though.

If the issue is truly about knowledge, then the issue is not just about paywalls but about where people are going to find their news (Facebook?), what they trust, and how inclined they are to even seek out alternative viewpoints as opposed to people who are politically and morally aligned with them. Like if everything was free, is a racist (easier to spell) really going to read an in depth article about race relations?
Old 08-04-20, 01:14 PM
  #13  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In the straps of boots
Posts: 23,824
Received 288 Likes on 209 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
The example of a white supremicist (I don't even know how to spell that) on Youtube is countered by dozens of other free Youtube videos, though.
But I'm not sure that's the same thing. Yes, there are many YouTube videos that provide excellent retorts to that kind of stuff, but they're not, dare I say, trusted journalistic endeavors. That doesn't mean they're bad, but I think there's a mental barrier to accepting that one YouTuber's retort is of a higher journalistic standard than another YouTuber's misinformation. You do make a good point, though...

If the issue is truly about knowledge, then the issue is not just about paywalls but about where people are going to find their news (Facebook?), what they trust, and how inclined they are to even seek out alternative viewpoints as opposed to people who are politically and morally aligned with them. Like if everything was free, is a racist (easier to spell) really going to read an in depth article about race relations?
Maybe, but probably not. But I think it's about getting people whose minds are open to understanding the nuance of a complicated situation. Someone against the ACA may have their mind changed by a well-sourced piece from a trusted news outlet. Same goes for UBI, or tax cuts/increases, or as you put it, race relations. To your point, I think some folks are dead-set in their racism, but I also think there is a large portion of people who are simply uninformed or misinformed by what some racial statistics actually mean in the greater scheme of things. You can't talk about crime rates without talking about what leads to crime, for example, and what leads to crime isn't always selfishness/greed/anarchy* but poverty contrasted with generational wealth, among other things. I genuinely think people are open to reading about that stuff, but when so much of it is locked behind paywalls, it's harder to convincingly give the arguments more weight. But it's all about the reader/viewer, I think, and what they can accept or not accept as reasonable explanations for why things are the way they are.


*no, anarchy does not equal crime. But some folks seem to think all anarchists are criminals.
Old 08-04-20, 01:47 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 33,334
Received 406 Likes on 317 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by Dan View Post

Maybe, but probably not. But I think it's about getting people whose minds are open to understanding the nuance of a complicated situation. Someone against the ACA may have their mind changed by a well-sourced piece from a trusted news outlet. Same goes for UBI, or tax cuts/increases, or as you put it, race relations. To your point, I think some folks are dead-set in their racism, but I also think there is a large portion of people who are simply uninformed or misinformed by what some racial statistics actually mean in the greater scheme of things. You can't talk about crime rates without talking about what leads to crime, for example, and what leads to crime isn't always selfishness/greed/anarchy* but poverty contrasted with generational wealth, among other things. I genuinely think people are open to reading about that stuff, but when so much of it is locked behind paywalls, it's harder to convincingly give the arguments more weight. But it's all about the reader/viewer, I think, and what they can accept or not accept as reasonable explanations for why things are the way they are.


*no, anarchy does not equal crime. But some folks seem to think all anarchists are criminals.
But if you're someone inclined to believe any source, I'm not sure that a source with more journalistic integrity or carefully researched and cited documentation is going to sway you all that much. Basically, if you're getting your news solely from Facebook and believe everything on there, are you really going to read a long article or report on something that goes against your beliefs? Maybe if you're in school and you're forced to or something. Otherwise there are probably (maybe not, I haven't counted them) just as many well reasoned sources of information on, say, race relations that are free as there are that argue against it that are free. Even for scientific research, you'll have free and well reasoned analysis of studies that you might not necessarily have access to (and even if you did it would be very difficult to understand).

This is before you even get into the whole "fake media" stuff which makes people doubt what media can be trusted, sourced or not.

I guess my question is, how do you get people to seek out new avenues of information, stuff that may open their mind to things they have never thought about, whether or not it's free?
Old 08-04-20, 01:51 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 1,352
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

The thing is that it doesn't cost too much t produce anything shitty. And because people iin conspiracy circles flock towards one place, sites like Fox and Breitbart can maintain their sites without a paywall. Oh, and perhaps their visitors are generally more susceptible to clcik on ads.

I only have a paid subscription to the Washington Post's site.
Old 08-04-20, 02:03 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Conducting miss-aisle drills and listening to their rock n roll
Posts: 19,928
Received 160 Likes on 120 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Isn't this the full interview?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaaTZkqsaxY

I think most of the Axios stuff they do, along with John Oliver, are pretty much free on youtube (or maybe there are ads?)

Also I think at least some newspapers kept the covid information outside of the walls, but I'm not sure if that's the case universally. It's tough because I'm sure a lot of money and research goes into gathering the info for this news and that costs money, while spouting your opinion about something on the internet or facebook doesn't.
I didn’t realize. Thanks. When I hear HBO I think it’s for $$$
Old 08-04-20, 04:02 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
GreenMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,509
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Good topic.

I scraped around for someone to pay for solid news given COVID in February, and scraped around for a deal, ended up going with NYT for $8/mo. I've literally never paid for a newspaper. We might have had our local paper in the early 2000s for coupons and classifieds or something, but that's probably it.

I get a lot of Washington Post paywall also; they are referenced a lot, but I'm not really interested in paying for 3 or 4 different news sites. Even paying for one seems hard to justify, since if I use some careful google-fu I can generally get the content reposted somewhere else. I know that is part of the problem, but before COVID and WFH, I got most of my news listening to NPR on my hour-long commute.



Old 08-04-20, 04:07 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Legend
 
joeblow69's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Palm Springs
Posts: 10,620
Received 78 Likes on 39 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by GreenMonkey View Post
I get a lot of Washington Post paywall also
I've been having relatively good luck reading WaPost articles by opening them up in a private tab in firefox.
Old 08-04-20, 05:43 PM
  #19  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: In the straps of boots
Posts: 23,824
Received 288 Likes on 209 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
But if you're someone inclined to believe any source, I'm not sure that a source with more journalistic integrity or carefully researched and cited documentation is going to sway you all that much. Basically, if you're getting your news solely from Facebook and believe everything on there, are you really going to read a long article or report on something that goes against your beliefs?
Yeah, I get exactly what you mean, and I agree that those types would not be inclined to read something they expect to disagree with from the outset.

Maybe if you're in school and you're forced to or something. Otherwise there are probably (maybe not, I haven't counted them) just as many well reasoned sources of information on, say, race relations that are free as there are that argue against it that are free. Even for scientific research, you'll have free and well reasoned analysis of studies that you might not necessarily have access to (and even if you did it would be very difficult to understand).
I don't disagree, per se, but I believe the point of the Current Affairs piece is not necessarily that paid content is better than free content, but that the most well-known and popular news organizations are all putting some of their best content behind the paywall. Put another way, let's say an identical story about health care appears on SuperScienceBroBlog.com and nytimes.com. Same author, same text. If someone is looking for recent stories on health care, and they see both links, they're far more likely to hit up the NYT link, right? If they hit a paywall, they'll backtrack and see what else is available. They might check that SSBB site, but they may be more likely to just go with a different site; at least one with a name they recognize. Maybe that ends up being well-sourced too, or maybe it's total trash. But over time, individual people can become conditioned to avoid sites that have paywalls on some content, and if they're not the most discerning readers, they may end up regularly going to the sites full of misinformation.
I don't think it's about how many sites have pieces arguing for one position or the other in a reasonable way, but what kind of traction a piece in NYT can inherently get over the SuperScienceBroBlog, even if identical, and whether the SuperScienceBroBlog can gain readers when a known entity like National Review has a story on the topic too.
I mean, there are trash sites that kind of prey on this aspect. Washington Times is a good example; it sounds like a respectable name for a paper, don't you think? But it's full of a ton of nonsense. If I look up recent health care stories, and my top four hits are New York Times, Washington Post, SuperScienceBroBlog, and Washington Times, but NYT & WaPo are behind a paywall, and I don't know what the fuck this Science Bro Blog is all about, I'd be inclined to click on the Washington Times link if I didn't know any better. I think that's kind of what's at the heart of the Current Affairs piece.

I guess my question is, how do you get people to seek out new avenues of information, stuff that may open their mind to things they have never thought about, whether or not it's free?
Man, if any of us had the answer to this, we'd be rich! But seriously, it's a tough one. When I look up topics that I don't know much about, or if I'm looking to have my own view on a topic challenged, I'm very careful about finding a good source, precisely because it can be so easy to fall into the trap of... not just "disagreement" but outright misinformation and lies. But I know most folks do not do this. Recently, I saw someone say, "This is a good article!" and it was just a rambling facebook post. Which is... pretty much what you're talking about. So many people are unable/unwilling/unaware enough to see that kind of stuff for what it is, and I don't know how you break that bubble.
One, I think true information needs to be far more easily accessible. That means signal-boosting reliable authors who provide free analysis, but also a de-emphasis on paywalls on the more popular mainstream sites when it comes to factual journalistic reporting, somehow.
Two, content that, for lack of a better description, speaks to their sensibilities. I get a lot of.. bad... ads on YouTube, and I find them fascinating because I can tell that the target audience would eat that shit up, while ads for stuff for which I am the target audience are painfully cringe. But Ads bring people to the content, so if there's a way to use that to bring them to reading/watching more factual stuff, that could break that barrier.
Old 08-04-20, 06:10 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: San Diego
Posts: 1,196
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I typically read and receive alerts from Reuters.com. Also, PBS.org/newshour is usually solid reporting. Both do not have a paywall and provide quality journalism.

If I hear something on cnn/foxnews/msnbc I definitely would check it against reuters at the very least.

Old 08-04-20, 06:20 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Vibiana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Posts: 15,306
Received 196 Likes on 110 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I subscribe to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Kansas City Star. It drives me up the wall to see people whining about paywalls. In the late 1980s and early 1990s I wrote for a living. The pay sucks. Talent is worthy of recompense. The problem with news funded entirely by ads is that it can be biased by what those advertisers want their product or service being associated with.

The AP website and Reuters offer a no paywall option and little to no bias.
Old 08-04-20, 10:43 PM
  #22  
Moderator
 
story's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hope.
Posts: 9,956
Received 246 Likes on 152 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I agree with all of that. There may not be a paywall but there's obviously other "costs" involved with these "free" sites.

I started subscribing to the daily print and digital edition of our local paper on November 9, 2016. They run a lot of AP, NYT, and Washington Post stories so I get a lot of that. I'm paying close to a dollar a day, though the rates started at like a dollar a week so I certainly don't feel ripped off. Knowing what is happening in the world is definitely a key piece of my work, so my subscription is paid put of my professional expense budget through work.

We got a digital subscription in April to the Washington Post for $29 for the first year and $100 after that, cancel anytime. It's been very worth it. Even $100/year is worth it. $8.33 per month, or 27.4 cents per day for something I use every day? That's amazing. And right now I'm paying less than 8 cents a day. Paywall?! I see it as about priorities.

Last edited by story; 08-04-20 at 10:56 PM.
Old 08-04-20, 10:49 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
tommyp007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 5,928
Received 8 Likes on 7 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

I subscribed to the Washington Post (digital) thru Amazon a couple years back for $3.99 a month. Best $4 I spend each month.
Old 08-04-20, 11:12 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 33,334
Received 406 Likes on 317 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by tommyp007 View Post
I subscribed to the Washington Post (digital) thru Amazon a couple years back for $3.99 a month. Best $4 I spend each month.
Hmm... how is the sub through amazon? Does it just give you a login or do you have to jump through some amazon hoops? They have a free trial and 59 bucks for a year, maybe I'll try it out.

Oh, going through them directly is only 29 for a year, or 39 for a deluxe sub (but it goes up to 100 or 150 after year one)
Old 08-05-20, 12:01 AM
  #25  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
tommyp007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Kingsport, TN
Posts: 5,928
Received 8 Likes on 7 Posts
Re: The Truth Is Paywalled But The Lies Are Free | Current Affairs piece worth reading

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Hmm... how is the sub through amazon? Does it just give you a login or do you have to jump through some amazon hoops? They have a free trial and 59 bucks for a year, maybe I'll try it out.

Oh, going through them directly is only 29 for a year, or 39 for a deluxe sub (but it goes up to 100 or 150 after year one)
I have a username and password for the WaPo website, it’s just charged to my Amazon card each month.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.