What counts as a credible news source in comments? November 8, 2017 7:21 PM   Subscribe

[CW: linked thread contains graphic descriptions of assault.] First let me say this isn't meant as a callout, this isn't personal in any way. How do people feel about comments linking to the National Enquirer as a primary news source? In the Kevin Spacey thread, this comment links to a National Enquirer article claiming Charlie Sheen was one of Corey Haim's assaulters. I think we should have higher standards for news sources. (Bat Boy is fine!) There is support for it in the thread and it's not really a big deal to the mods, but I'm curious what the community thinks. (I know they occasionally break a real news story, but why is this story so urgent that we can't wait until a credible source reports this?)
posted by Room 641-A to MetaFilter-Related at 7:21 PM (63 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

That article is awful for a billion reasons, but I wish people would not link to pieces that engage in breathless stigmatization of people living with HIV (or any communicable disease). Here is a piece that reports on the Enquirer's claim without doing that.
posted by lalex at 7:40 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


That the Enquirer link was in a comment, rather than anchoring a separate FPP, makes a difference. (See also -- all the comments-with-links in the Tom Petty memorial post, trying to figure out Petty's actual condition).
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:46 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I'm asking specifically about comments. I don't know every link from that Tom Petty post, but that's different than breaking news using the national Enquirer as a source. But, really, when they're not breaking an actual scoop, this is a tabloid with covers about the Clinton's plans to overthrow America and is a mouthpiece for Trump. I think any news can wait for the next credible outlet to report on it.

I don't want to make a rule about it, I just would like to hear what others think. It may just be me.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:56 PM on November 8


Personally I'm fine with any link to a news source no matter how reliable or garbage. Yes, including Breitbart or even outright lying propaganda. Metafilter is a place where we talk about stuff on the Internet, even the shitty stuff. However the links need to be responsibly labelled with appropriate cautions. National Enquirer is sort of its own self-label. "Beware, total garbage innuendo coming."

OTOH I'm still furious with rage about the HIV stigmatization of that article. It's pretty much directly hate speech. I assume good faith on the part of the poster but fuck that headline. For me it's just about as offensive as linking a Daily Stormer piece about duplicitous Jews or whatever. I don't know what I think about that. I don't need a content warning and I think the source belongs in the discussion. But it is odious.
posted by Nelson at 8:00 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


Is it slightly better English vernacular than just a direct google translate of native Russian? Fine with me.
posted by sammyo at 8:09 PM on November 8


Look, I linked to it because it was the original source, with the original details and the sourcing. I agree that the publication is terrible.

I also met Corey Haim and this struck me especially hard, and I think his story, which he and Feldman had been trying to make public forever, deserves to be heard. The Enquirer is awful for its framing, but not for its facts — it has a track record of breaking stories nobody else will touch.

And I understand being furious about the HIV framing. If any other source has broken the story, I would have picked that. But Haim died a while ago, completely silenced, and I didn’t want his story to continue to be shoved away, undiscussed.
posted by maxsparber at 8:13 PM on November 8 [14 favorites]


Sorry, I specifically mentioned the Petty post because comments there linked to similar tabloid-type outlets like TMZ, also in the "breaking news" vein.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:23 PM on November 8


I don't think the National Enquirer is a worse or less credible source than Gawker or Rolling Stone, which get linked to on Metafilter quite a bit. Gawker and RS, like the Enquirer, tend to use inflammatory language and have lost big libel suits, but, like the Enquirer, have done legitimate journalism.

It's going to be awfully rare the celebrity gossip content of the Enquirer will be worthwhile to this site anyway.
posted by riruro at 8:44 PM on November 8 [7 favorites]


I don't think this is something you can police. One person's trashy news source is another person's original citation, or something like that. Either way, nobody's going to curate a big list of what's considered acceptable (nor should anyone want to), so it's kind of pointless. I mean, I'm all for a call to try to link the less-icky thing where available, but I don't think the mods should police that so I'm not sure what we're doing here, really.
posted by axiom at 9:32 PM on November 8


this comment links to a National Enquirer article claiming Charlie Sheen was one of Corey Haim's assaulters. I think we should have higher standards for news sources.

agree most vehemently. Should this prove to be true, I'm confident it will be all over everywhere soon enough. Until then, we should steer clear. Or as I said to a friend who recently linked to something from the Daily Mail:

"I don't care how true this proves to be. Until you can find it on a site that is NOT banned by Wikipedia, I'm not going to waste my time with it."

Life goes on. I've got a dog that needs a walk.
posted by philip-random at 9:53 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


The National Enquirer is neverrrrr going to drop the gross "HIV Charlie Sheen" framing, because they were the first outlet to sleazily, and accurately, identify Sheen by name as HIV positive. So every Enquirer article about Sheen for the rest of time will include boasting about their slimy scoop.

This is more evidence on the pile that the National Enquirer is both usually sleazy and often accurate.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:11 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


If you're in Britain, and possibly anywhere outside the US, national enquirer links re-direct away from the actual linked story and to a generic national enquirer tumblr account that shows images of national enquirer covers and nothing else.
posted by dng at 2:10 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


Personally I'm fine with any link to a news source no matter how reliable or garbage. Yes, including Breitbart or even outright lying propaganda.

I am not fine with it. This site has standards that set it apart from most of the Web, and those standards are a huge part of its value. I would hate to see threads spending time arguing about the veracity of Breitbart bullshit.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:34 AM on November 9 [19 favorites]


Personally I'm fine with any link to a news source no matter how reliable or garbage. Yes, including Breitbart or even outright lying propaganda.
...
OTOH I'm still furious with rage about the HIV stigmatization of that article. It's pretty much directly hate speech.

DOES NOT COMPUTE
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:31 AM on November 9 [7 favorites]


I would like any linked content that uses the acronym 'HIV' in that fucked up of a way (I can't say anything else because I saw the headline, said "fuck no," and closed the tab) to have a really really good reason it needed to be linked to, and for fellow Mefites to identify such material as such when they see it. I expect to be disappointed by these desires after that fucked up decriminalization thread but there you go.

I could give a shit whether it's the National Enquirer or the National Review.
posted by PMdixon at 5:39 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


I trust people more or less to evaluate sources. However, I don't always trust an international readership to know the nuances of every source from outside its area of influence/knowledge. So we're still telling people in MeFi "The Daily Mail is garbage" which is known to people who know it, but may be news to people who don't.

I, personally, think it's worth avoiding linking to places that publish weird inflammatory stuff (even if, yes, it's the only currently "credible" source) because it pushes the window of that sort of thing being okay in general when I think it's not. Or, just issuing a very heavily qualified "Can't find a better source for this but the Enquirer has sources for its assertion that...."

I think there's a meta-issue here (not looking at you specifically Room 641-A, we see it in a lot of other places) which is the concept that the worst possible thing is to be incorrectly accused of rape, as opposed to, say, being a scary rapey person and having everyone be too afraid to come forward about it. So it's hard to figure out where the draw that line because there's also a pretty easy narrative which is that this is only in the Enquirer because they don't care and aren't scared and that whole mess of reputation vs, fear vs. truth is really hard to parse in terms of what the right thing to do is.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:44 AM on November 9 [14 favorites]


A problem with gossip weeklies is that they pay their sources and aggressively solicit them. They not only report news that may not be true; they have a hand in creating it. I have little doubt that at times, things have actually happened because they are paying people that are actively involved with those they are publishing gossip about. (Characters on reality TV come to mind. They accuse each other on the shows of selling information to the tabloids while they are still filming seasons and playing a role in the stories. Admittedly this is an especially gnarly situation.)
posted by BibiRose at 6:12 AM on November 9


To me it seemed like two different things were going on with that vein of discussion - one was the linking the The National Enquirer - blech. fuck them and their fucked up framing. But the other part - especially in the type of thread we were in - is the 'oh I've heard that before' nature of these accusations. The National Enquirer was the first to write them down during this current wave of news with more sourcing than we've had before, but they are far from the first or only to say it. So, does it kill any discussion of the long repeated rumor just because The National Enquirer are shitheads? I don't think it should. At times it seemed like the fighting against one tabloid became fighting against the very idea of discussing what they repeated.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:07 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Also, I fear we'll never get firm, "credible" details about what happened to Corey Haim - look at the Weinstein story, look at the lengths Spacey has gone to "protect his privacy." The respected news sources don't serve victims like the Coreys, they serve the abusers. If it were for gossip rags and blind items a lot of the stories we now know are true would have never seen the light of day.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:11 AM on November 9 [12 favorites]


I definitely don’t mean we should have credible proof that the crime occurred before it gets linked, just that we have a credible source that Corey Feldman is making the accusation.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:39 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Feldman has said that Haim was abused during the filming of Lucas. He's also said he's no fan of Sheen's. That was a repeated claim in the tabloid, not original reporting. Or do you mean Haim, the victim? Sadly whatever he he had to say went with him when he died.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:50 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Or do you mean Haim, the victim? Sadly whatever he he had to say went with him when he died.

That’s a shitty thing to say.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:04 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Corey Feldman is making the accusation.

Feldman is not making the accusation, or, at least, not yet. The accusation comes from Dominick Brascia. According to Brascia, Haim told him this was what happened.
posted by maxsparber at 9:05 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


I feel like in this thread and the last thread we've been talking past each other? I don't know why it's shitty to point out that the victim is dead. It seemed like you were confused at who we were talking about since, as maxsparber points out, Feldman isn't making these accusations - except for his prior statements which can be seen as supporting what Brascia told to National Enquirer.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 9:08 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


That’s a shitty thing to say.

What, precisely, is shitty about it? Seems to me it's a bare statement of fact: barring the discovery of some secret diary, nobody knows what Haim would testify to now if given the chance.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:09 AM on November 9 [11 favorites]


I think we're gonna be better off keeping the community discussion of how people feel about linking and framing tabloidy/sketchy/meh sources in MetaFilter comments, which seems like a pretty good use of MetaTalk and is something folks can comment generally on and work with in the future, separate from a specific argument about the details of the Haim/Feldman/Sheen etc stuff which is not really a MetaFilter, MetaTalk thing and I'd prefer folks didn't dive into in here in parallel with the original discussion on the blue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:09 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!, maxsparber, apologies, I think I misread the original comment. I apologize for the shitty comment remark, that was based on my misreading.

That said, I still question using the National Enquier as source. But the rest of the stuff was totally my mistake, sorry.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:10 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


The point I'm trying to make is that the National Enquirer is only the source here in as much as Brascia did an interview with them. Everything else is anon sources and repeating Feldman's statements, which is pretty much what has been out there for a long time. If the first time you ever heard it was in the National Enquirer I can see thinking they've just come up with this - but that's the thing about tabloids, they build on each others' work. It's not so much that they're the source as it's "the National Enquirer has pulled together all the rumors and have a new interview." The support you find in the thread, Room 641-A, is more support for discussing the longstanding rumors, not holding the National Enquirer up as credible news.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 9:20 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


Many of the gossip tabloids are owned by the same company, American Media, Inc. That would be:

The Star
OK Magazine
The National Enquirer
Us Weekly (purchased by AMI in March '17)
Soap Opera Digest
The National Examiner
The Globe
Radar

They're all known for salacious headlines that are written to draw you in and make an impulse purchase at the checkout counter at a supermarket or convenience store. This is by design. The magazines have fewer advertisers than most others. They're funded by consumers who choose to buy an issue based on whatever headlines show up on the cover. A good cover that includes an A-list celebrity and headlines that pull one's gaze leads to higher sales. (Think, "GEORGE CLOONEY HAS ONLY SIX MONTHS TO LIVE. HIS SHOCKING SECRET REVEALED!") The headlines (especially for the lower end gossip rags) usually only have a casual acquaintance with the truth.

AMI's CEO is a man named David Pecker. He's known for bragging that he uses his media empire to help his friends by publishing favorable stories about them and attacking their enemies. One of his closest friends is Donald Trump. (It's no coincidence that Trump threatened Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski with a tell-all National Enquirer story during his feud with them earlier this year. Nor was it a coincidence that the Enquirer and the Globe and the Examiner ran non-stop smear campaigns against Hillary Clinton throughout 2015 and 2016.)

That predatory bias is worth being aware of, I think.
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on November 9 [25 favorites]


I guess my sense is still that this is a story nobody would touch for years, as it is considered distasteful and implicates a multimillionaire. I also get the sense that people stopped giving a shit about Haim a long time ago, between his personal problems (many of which seem linked to the abuse he suffered) and the fact that he died a while ago.

I understand asking that we wait for a more tasteful source, but this story went unreported for so long, I'm not sure that it will be followed up by a more tasteful source, because it's about a dead guy that everybody seemed a little embarrassed about and he's not here to testify.

Beyond questions of taste, there seems to be some question as to whether the Enquirer is a credible source or not. I mean, it's a gossip mag, and often falls beneath the standards of serious journalism, but it's also one with a track record of breaking stories that nobody else would touch.

There are sources listed on the story, one named, including performers who were part of Lucas, who went on record saying that Sheen had been sexually aggressive, even with underage cast members.

Usually I would not link to Enquirer. But there is literally 31 years of this story not being covered, and no real reason to think, barring additional discoveries, that less tawdry publications are going to suddenly develop an interest in doing anything other than re-reporting the Enquirer story.
posted by maxsparber at 9:26 AM on November 9 [19 favorites]


Yeah, I thought the linked comment said that Corey Feldman named his assaulter, which would have been the kind of news I was talking about. But i realize now it’s not. And with I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!’s further explanation I can only say that once again, yes, it’s just me.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:27 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


FWIW I don't think it's just you. I think the things zarq points out are important to keep in mind when choosing sources - but for reasons that maxsparber points out, the National Enquirer might be the only ones who print this or care about this beyond rumor. I think this is an edge case for a lot of reasons.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 9:31 AM on November 9 [7 favorites]


Count me in with those who are super uncomfortable treating the National Enquirer and the ilk as credible news sources. Just because it's been right once or twice doesn't make the rest of the shit it publishes go away. That shit is incredibly damaging and, in my mind, has led us to the era of not questioning where we're getting our news.

Do I believe the Corey Haim story? I'm not sure, because it was orchestrated by and published in the National Enquirer. Could the sources be telling the truth? Absolutely. But I just don't know.
posted by cooker girl at 9:50 AM on November 9 [5 favorites]


Yeah, zarq's comment really pushed me over into the "don't want to see that here" camp.
posted by lalex at 10:10 AM on November 9


It can only be said to be orchestrated by the National Enquirer if you ignore decades of gossip, some of which can be verified by restricting searching to last year or before for "Haim rape Lucas." Charlie Sheen has been thrown around as the most likely name for a long time and not only by properties associated with the National Enquirer (although, it looks like they did use Radar as a balloon in September of last year).
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:11 AM on November 9


People should avoid citing to the National Enquirer if possible, but it's important to note that avoiding gossip sites and publications can end up protecting abusers. Anne Helen Peterson, as always, has smart things to say about this. In this case, the rumors about Haim and Sheen have been out there for years and the Enquirer is citing sources. It's very much like Weinstein in that it says out loud what people have been saying quietly. It's not like Weinstein in that it's not in a reputable publication and includes gross HIV stigma. Ultimately, I was glad to see the accusations published for the reasons maxsparber gave.
posted by Mavri at 10:13 AM on November 9 [9 favorites]


The sites Anne Helen Peterson names (Lainey in particular, RIP defamer) are really well-sourced and while they may not have a tone we associate with "serious news", they're not known for completely making stuff up.

(In contrast, I just did a google image search for National Enquirer covers and the first one that came up, a 2015 issue, told me that Hillary would be dead in six months and Amal Clooney is dumping George.)

I don't know, I'm not under the impression that what MetaFilter links to is really going to affect the world, but I don't like the idea of lending legitimacy to an outlet that is mostly wrong and, as zarq mentions, pursuing an aggressive political agenda. Even in service of a good cause.
posted by lalex at 10:34 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]


By "orchestrated by" I meant that the NE went after and paid its sources for this specific story. Again, I'm not saying that that means the story is automatically false. But the publication itself makes me leery of believing it. AND AGAIN, it's probably true! I understand the rumors have been out there for years. And I 100% guarantee if another publication like, say, pretty much any mainstream magazine or newspaper had printed this? I'd believe it. And I don't NOT believe it! But it's the NE!

See how confusing this can be to some people? Good on you if you can totally trust the NE. I can't.
posted by cooker girl at 10:40 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


We are, ourselves, almost universally too far from this situation to be either protecting abusers nor exacting any kind of justice from them, and I think that matters, at this level. Among places that promote hatred against people with HIV, LGBT people, disabled people, people with drug addictions and eating disorders, etc, I consider the National Enquirer to be right up there with a place like Stormfront--not as in hyperbole, but literally. (Their eating disorder coverage ALONE would get them there, for me, and then it only gets worse from there.) There's more harm to be done by linking to places like that than there is potential good to come from information that might be available there but not yet available elsewhere.

None of the individuals in this story are on Metafilter, so far as I'm aware, nor is anybody who interacts with them regularly who is going to base their decisions on discussions we have here. On the other hand, there are plenty of users in classes that the National Enquirer and related publications have historically been happy to treat in absolutely disgusting ways, and plenty of users who are not in those classes whose views could be influenced by reading those pages. I don't think it belongs here, not on the front page, and not in comments. A story in the National Enquirer doesn't make it false, but it doesn't make it true--it makes it something we shouldn't be lending any legitimacy to. A single hit to their website is one more than I'm okay with.
posted by Sequence at 11:05 AM on November 9 [3 favorites]


I DON'T trust the National Enquirer and I feel like I've made that clear? I'm saying they didn't create this story and we shouldn't ignore the rumors about Sheen and Haim just because the National Enquirer decided to repeat a lot of things that were already reported with a lot of anon sources and 1 new interview. I am saying that interview is likely one that happened because the person interviewed hasn't said it's a fabrication. Now, if you believe Brascia that's another conversation but is totally unrelated to the reputation of this tabloid. The tabloid's reputation matters none at all for this story. I'm fine with not linking to them mostly because they're trash. This one specific instance they actually pull together a lot of previously reported/rumored stuff and decided to put their lawyers up against Sheen's. I'm fine with that.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:14 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


I'm saying they didn't create this story and we shouldn't ignore the rumors about Sheen and Haim just because the National Enquirer decided to repeat a lot of things that were already reported with a lot of anon sources and 1 new interview.

OK but can we try to link to/look for those other sources instead of sources that think "HIV Charlie Sheen" is an acceptable epithet - shit, even that laundering of the NE story lalex posted in the first comment would be better.

I'm definitely not saying we should discount the story and I don't think anyone else is - but it's not like NE is the only place to find it.
posted by PMdixon at 11:29 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


I'm totally cool with that, but as of yesterday all of those stories will link to the National Enquirer because they're the biggest publication yet to print the rumors.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:34 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Honestly my beef is entirely around the HIV stigmatisation so as long as they're not copying that hed and whatever vileness followed into their writeup I don't care.
posted by PMdixon at 11:44 AM on November 9


... I hadn't been paying attention to that thread as actively as I originally was the last couple of days and now that I see the actual conflict is in fact about whether we can talk about the allegations at all I'm going to say I've made my point and step back.

Sorry for being sloppy.
posted by PMdixon at 11:46 AM on November 9


It just seems like here and in the main thread a lot of people are arguing that we shouldn't speak of it at all unless someone like the New York Times prints it, as if that's how the sausage gets made.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 11:47 AM on November 9 [10 favorites]


If Leah Remini straight up murdered someone and Freedom Magazine was the first to break the story, that would be okay? No, we'd wait for a reputable organ to publish. It's not about gate keeping, it's about not rewarding the kind of garbage press that feasted on Haim when he was alive.

The first source doesn't matter. If it's the only source, maybe, but the claim in thread was that this is not a new story. So why give The Enquirer any juice?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:03 PM on November 9 [4 favorites]


The other sources a year or more old and are things like the Daily Mail, Hollywood Reporter, Radar Online, Page Six, SheKnows, Digital Spy, Daily Dot, ONTD, etc. Which of those wouldn't spawn this MeTa?
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 12:08 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


we shouldn't speak of it at all unless someone like the New York Times prints it

I think it's quite the opposite, actually. It's not the NYTimes or nothing, it's pretty much any other publication besides the Enquirer and its ilk. I don't always agree with the editorial decisions of TMZ, Page Six, Lainey, PopBitch, etc., but they don't have a reputation for just making shit up.
posted by lalex at 12:08 PM on November 9 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think if the Enquirer had a record of being gross but right, it would be newsworthy, but I am just not seeing that and it’s really bizarre to see them as a credible source? Didn’t we see them last claiming Rafael Cruz assassinated JFK?
posted by corb at 12:11 PM on November 9 [4 favorites]


They spent an entire election season harping on Hillary Clinton's deadly sickness, which I know because when my mom started murmuring about "Hillary's secret illness" to me last summer, she cited the National "but they were right about John Edwards!" Enquirer as one of her sources. Also she's sleeping with Huma Abedin and plotted to have Monica Lewinsky killed.
posted by lalex at 12:19 PM on November 9


Yeah, I think if the Enquirer had a record of being gross but right, it would be newsworthy

I'd say that if they had a record of being gossipy but right, that'd be one thing. The degree of gross they are, I don't even honestly care about their history of factual accuracy. This is a company that makes money off of traffic, and the way it drives traffic is intentional misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, and a host of other stuff that rises at this level beyond gross to actual promotion of hate. I feel like we wouldn't have even gotten this far in this discussion if that hate was on a different axis--like we're pretty good at realizing that if a site is covered in racial slurs that we shouldn't link it here, but a lot of what the National Enquirer does as routine business is just as horrible as that. If there was a site that specialized in breaking news of crimes by black and Hispanic people using racial slurs and stereotypes as their bread and butter, I don't think it'd be appropriate to link them, either, even if everything they reported actually happened. It's just twice as bad, here, because it has all the hate speech but doesn't even pretend to be trying to be accurate.
posted by Sequence at 1:05 PM on November 9 [5 favorites]


I would have linked the info in another way were it me, but still, the only "reporting" they did was a single interview and paying anon sources for anon quotes (which had been put other places for years). There is nothing to believe or disbelieve. Lets not link the National Enquirer, fine, yes, I agree. But they didn't "break" any "news" to "believe" or not in this specific instance. No one is putting them forward as a "credible" source any more than Fark or Reddit (other places these rumors have surfaced).
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:35 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


I somehow missed that Corey Haim had died, so I googled and read (Wikipedia). And now I'm just so sad for the Coreys.
posted by Dashy at 7:18 PM on November 9 [4 favorites]


jessamyn: However, I don't always trust an international readership to know the nuances of every source from outside its area of influence/knowledge. So we're still telling people in MeFi "The Daily Mail is garbage" which is known to people who know it, but may be news to people who don't.

This is a good point, because I honestly can't be bothered to keep up with which foreign publications are trustworthy and which aren't. There's just too many of them.
I don't expect you people to know which Dutch newspapers lean which way, and which ones are rubbish, either.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:19 AM on November 10


dng: "If you're in Britain, and possibly anywhere outside the US, national enquirer links re-direct away from the actual linked story and to a generic national enquirer tumblr account that shows images of national enquirer covers and nothing else."

This. National Enquirer links seem to be useless in Australia too; here, for me right now, they all redirect to RadarOnline. I'm pretty sure on other occasions I've also seen it redirect to other American Media Inc. properties e.g. OK! magazine.

What's even worse is that the usual tricks to get around that geolocation bullshit don't seem to work, so as far as I can see there's no practical way (short of using a US proxy or VPN) for non-North American Mefites to read any National Enquirer links…
posted by Pinback at 3:34 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Personally I'm fine with any link to a news source no matter how reliable or garbage. Yes, including Breitbart or even outright lying propaganda.

MetaFilter has to filter or it isn't worth a shit. There are already way too many "Look at the kittens!" posts here, but at least they aren't stories about trained rats dressed in the skins pulled off live kittens. If people start treating Breitbart and National Enquirer stories like NY Times and WaPo stories, you might as well let the live kitten skinning begin.

At the least, people should be discouraged at posting time from linking to generally untrusted sources unless they can come up with corroborating links to trusted sources. Is there a fairly reliable rating system for news sources that we could agree on? If so, could we link to it from the New Post page?
posted by pracowity at 4:11 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Need moar kittens: WITH fur.
posted by sammyo at 4:49 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Not even Baby Sphynxter?
posted by pracowity at 5:02 AM on November 10


You left out the other part of my paragraph, pracowity,

the links need to be responsibly labelled with appropriate cautions

I'm not saying I'm OK with Metafilter just linking bullshit from National Enquirer or Breitbart. I'm saying it's OK if we talk about things those sites are doing and link to those sites if there's a larger context that makes it reasonable and responsible. I'd love a long detailed post about how Breitbart has reported on the Mueller investigation, for instance. Not because I believe the Breitbart lies, but because their lies are important to be aware of.

Back on topic I'm sympathetic to maxsparber's statement that this specific National Enquirer article looked good to him, and confirmed reporting he's seen elsewhere, and wanted to get the story out. It'd be better to have said all that up front, maybe with some supporting links, but that takes time and effort. I understand. It's a shame that Corey Haim's story isn't just being honestly told somewhere without all this confusion. The ongoing feud between Haim's mother and Feldman sure doesn't help anything.

(PS: I'm guessing the reason you can't see the National Enquirer in the UK or Australia is because of press liability laws. They barely manage to survive in the US with the number of falsehoods they publish; other countries hold media to a higher standard of truth than we do.)
posted by Nelson at 9:01 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


I'm more in favor of people using their critical reading and thinking skills than attempting to enforce any standard on MetaFilter - especially in comments.
posted by Miko at 10:06 AM on November 10 [6 favorites]

I'm guessing the reason you can't see the National Enquirer in the UK or Australia is because of press liability laws.
Oh yeah, it's pretty easy to guess why, but knowing the reason doesn't change the fact that NE links are completely useless to a substantial % of the MeFi userbase for reasons unrelated to the quality of content.
posted by Pinback at 5:00 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


I don't always trust an international readership to know the nuances of every source from outside its area of influence/knowledge. So we're still telling people in MeFi "The Daily Mail is garbage" which is known to people who know it, but may be news to people who don't.

Oh yeah, I wanted to add that I'm sympathetic to this notion, but I also think it's a burden readers can easily take on if confused about the slant of a source. It's easy to Google "Washington Times bias" or "Jacobin bias" and get useful results. This has helped me on many occasions. Even Wikipedia will often give a short categorization.
posted by Miko at 8:31 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Miko, for the links to Media Bias/Fact Check It looks like a useful resource; I like that it rates sources according to the reliability of their reporting as well as their political leanings.
posted by virago at 9:33 AM on November 13 [4 favorites]


« Older Most Popular Song 15 Years Ago: "HOW YOU REMIND...   |   MetaHappy Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments