Rumors and speculation as fpp September 23, 2005 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Rumors and speculation. The National Enquirer quotes anonymous sources saying that Bush is drinking again. Is this credible enough to be posted to MetaFilter? (That's a real question, not a rhetorical one.)
posted by russilwvong to Etiquette/Policy at 3:34 PM (49 comments total)

But hey there's a link to the always accurate Capitol Hill Blue to back it up! Wasn't Doug Thompson the guy who was taking "government insider quotes" for years from some guy who turned out to have been a pathological liar? Am I thinking of someone else?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 3:37 PM on September 23, 2005


The real question is: what kind of shitfit would some members throw if you posted it?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:37 PM on September 23, 2005


Oh god someone did post it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:38 PM on September 23, 2005


Totally.
posted by jonson at 3:43 PM on September 23, 2005


Is this credible enough to be posted to MetaFilter?

I'm starting to wonder if anyone even gives a fuck anymore.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:45 PM on September 23, 2005


uh...wasn't that why the CJR link was posted with it?
posted by horsemuth at 3:47 PM on September 23, 2005


If you have to ask ...
posted by geoff. at 4:01 PM on September 23, 2005


We've got standards for link credibility now? Somebody better tell the weatherwars.info guy.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:32 PM on September 23, 2005


And TimeCube! He's drinking too.
posted by Mid at 4:50 PM on September 23, 2005


I can't tell if there's sarcasm there are not, but the WeatherWars and TimeCube examples are patentedly different from the National Enquirer link and thus a bad analogy (more differences than similarities). The WeatherWars and TimeCube people are so out there they can easily be discerned as false. The NE link, however, includes a rumor about a person using alcohol who's been known to abuse alcohol in the past. Rumors from such a disreputable source serve no real purpose. We might as well post Britney Spears abortion rumors. If the same information was in the Washington Post, I'd say post it and open up a bottle of scotch.
posted by geoff. at 4:58 PM on September 23, 2005


Thanks for the feedback. I've flagged it as "noise." Guess it's up to mathowie to decide.
posted by russilwvong at 5:00 PM on September 23, 2005


What, are you too dumb to evaluate sources?
Look, if it's true, it's huge news. That's the blog-standard for journalism. You can decide for yourself that it's not credible. But I've seen intelligent design posted here, and that's about as credible...
posted by klangklangston at 5:03 PM on September 23, 2005


I can't tell if there's sarcasm there are not, but the WeatherWars and TimeCube examples are patentedly different from the National Enquirer link and thus a bad analogy (more differences than similarities). The WeatherWars and TimeCube people are so out there they can easily be discerned as false. The NE link, however, includes a rumor about a person using alcohol who's been known to abuse alcohol in the past. Rumors from such a disreputable source serve no real purpose.

So, if your source is completely founded on insane crap, then it's an OK post. But if it's only just "disreputable", then it doesn't pass muster? I'm confused.
posted by 27 at 5:06 PM on September 23, 2005


...and of course by "source", I mean "post". thanks.
posted by 27 at 5:07 PM on September 23, 2005


27 : "So, if your source is completely founded on insane crap, then it's an OK post. But if it's only just 'disreputable', then it doesn't pass muster? I'm confused."

I think I can help clarify that: If a post is made whose intent is to point out something clearly zany and untrue, with the additional intent that people who read the link also read it in the spirit of zany and untrue, then a site founded on insane crap passes muster. If a post is made whose intent is to point out something that the poster believes is/may be true, with the additional intent that people who read the link also read it as possibly true, then a site which is reputable passes muster. But if it's trying to point out something the poster believes is/may be true, with the additional intent that people who read the link also read it as possibly true, then a site which is disreputable does not pass muster.

So =
"Serious content requires serious sourcing"
"Flippant content does not require serious sourcing"
posted by Bugbread at 5:16 PM on September 23, 2005


Just an observation... the use of anonymous sources to plant unsubstantiated, politically damaging rumors is a staple of the Republican media operation, most notably by Karl Rove for the benefit of George Bush. Examples abound. Just an observation.

And to play a little devil's advocate...if the National Enquirer is so readily dismissed as prima facie "not credible", why should supposedly more serious publications of "credible journalism" such as NYT and WaPo not also be questioned as to their suitability for the blue? They both have acted as stenographers for anonymous Bush administration dirty tricks disguised as "news", and unlike the Enquirer have done so regarding crucial issues of national interest at the most crucial stages of public opinion formation. At times both have been guilty of "shouting the lies and whispering the retractions."

I follow the old maxim "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see", so hopefully my equal opportunity skepticism won't be mistaken for bias.
posted by edverb at 5:31 PM on September 23, 2005


well said!
posted by shmegegge at 5:33 PM on September 23, 2005



posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on September 23, 2005


earlier comment was directed to bugbread.
posted by shmegegge at 5:34 PM on September 23, 2005


See, it's only when discussing the very real difference between "perception" and "reality" that one must put every-damn-thing in "quotations"...I'm imagining having to inflect "words" while making "quote marks" in the "air" with my "fingers", to the point of even annoying myself. Humble apologies to all for that, just trying to make a "point."
posted by edverb at 5:35 PM on September 23, 2005


Metafilter: What, are you too dumb to evaluate sources?

Yeah what he said. This should absolutely be posted and left alone. It doesn't need to act as a credible piece of investigative journalist to be a good read, and an entertaining post. It has more than one link too.

Would read again. A+++
posted by fire&wings at 5:41 PM on September 23, 2005


I can't tell if there's sarcasm there are not, but the WeatherWars and TimeCube examples are patentedly different from the National Enquirer link and thus a bad analogy (more differences than similarities).

I dunno, the weatherwars guy used to be on TV every day. He communicated subconsciously with the public via scalar waves he beamed out of his third eye...

Anyway, who cares - it's National Enquirer. Everyone knows they're the Batboy people.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:53 PM on September 23, 2005


SweetJesus writes "Anyway, who cares - it's National Enquirer. Everyone knows they're the Batboy people."

The batboy people, of course are Weekly World News, not the National Enquirer, as was cleared up fairly early in the thread...
posted by clevershark at 5:56 PM on September 23, 2005


"...who cares - it's National Enquirer. Everyone knows they're the Batboy people"

From the Wikipedia link in the original thread: "Subsequent celebrity stories broken in the Enquirer have generally been proven true; for example, it was the Enquirer that uncovered in 2001 that the Rev. Jesse Jackson had an illegitimate child. Details of the Monica Lewinsky affair would normally have been untouched by the mainstream press, had the details not been already made public knowledge by the Enquirer."

Don't be so quick to dismiss the Enquirer, especially when FOX "News" has a 24-hour cable channel.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:06 PM on September 23, 2005


We wouldn't even be having this discussion if Batboy had been elected President. Oh, wait a minute...
posted by y2karl at 6:14 PM on September 23, 2005


Whether you consider the story source credible has no bearing on whether the link introduces a valid topic of conversation. That the FPP admits the source and raises questions about it would indicate that the conversation it inspires is as much about the sourcing of the story as the allegation, as opposed to a FPP that would simply link to the original story with the comment 'bush is drinking again.'
posted by troybob at 6:16 PM on September 23, 2005


the use of anonymous sources to plant unsubstantiated, politically damaging rumors is a staple of the Republican media operation, most notably by Karl Rove for the benefit of George Bush.

And that's the kind of standard I'd like to live my life by. Unfortunately, my mother would have none of it.
posted by yerfatma at 6:20 PM on September 23, 2005


ok. so I checked out the other links in the post, and I've gotta say: There are a lot of people saying that, while sensationalistic, the Nat Enq (we're close like that. I call it Natty, sometimes, and it calls me shmeggums.) is honest. It apparently has incredible fact-checking staff and has done whatever possible to make itself libel-proof.

kind of... disturbing, really.

Now I don't know what to think of the post.
posted by shmegegge at 6:25 PM on September 23, 2005




I thought it was well put together, and worthy of being on the FP. The source is a little dodgy, but the poster took pains to point it out. He/she even linked to articles pointing out that it may not be as dodgy as we think.

The ensuing thread was only so-so. Partly my fault, with my misplaced snark about WWN headlines. (Sorry!) Overall, I don't think it was a waste of time, but it could have been handled better.

The fact that MeFi has so much trouble with remotely controversial topics says more, I think, about the user community than about the posts.

Definitely not a deletion candidate. Nobody's going to be fooled about the sources, and there are comments worth reading.
posted by Malor at 6:53 PM on September 23, 2005


Crikey. The MeFier-than-thou naggin' nannyism seems to have become so deeply engrained in the blue that I usually try to avoid "this post is Teh SuX0rs" debates like the plague, but in this case I feel like slogger needs some defending.

He links to at least two solid, reputable sources - one historical, one relatively current - in anticipation of the main link's trustworthiness becoming the focal point of the thread. But instead of addressing the notion (an interesting one) contained therein that the Enquirer is at least as careful with its facts as mainstream sources like USA Today and the NY Times, and that therefore its willingness to print this story, anonymous source or no, would seem to suggest there's some legitimacy to it - instead of discussing that, we're stuck with This post is Teh SuX0rs and MeTa callouts and suggestions that this is yet more evidence of how American liberalism has lost its way.

On preview: What Malor said as well, and what shmegegge reluctantly half-admitted.
posted by gompa at 7:00 PM on September 23, 2005


Definitely not a deletion candidate.

Except that it was a newsfiltery piece of shit, of course.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:11 PM on September 23, 2005


stavrosthewonderchickenfilter: a newsfiltery piece of shit, of course
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:21 PM on September 23, 2005


gompa: i wouldn't say it was a reluctant half-admittal so much as a confounded statement of shock and surprise.
posted by shmegegge at 8:23 PM on September 23, 2005


stavros, well... very few of us read the Inquirer. Takes too much effort to suppress the gag reflex.

ObscureNewsFilter is pretty ok with me, FWIW. :-)

(and yes, for this crowd, I think the National Enquirer with its umpty-zillion circulation IS obscure.)
posted by Malor at 9:25 PM on September 23, 2005


You would be drinking too if Japanese gangsters had unleashed, not one, but two hurricanes during your presidency and caused you to miss two days of vacation.
posted by caddis at 9:26 PM on September 23, 2005


MeFi.
posted by davy at 11:21 PM on September 23, 2005


The drug use habits of some random American politician, no matter how famous he is, really don't count for much. What's published in the National Enquirer may well be perfectly true, but so far I've seen nothing to disprove the theory, which I adopted many years ago when the Enquirer was one of a few magazines strewn about the break room at the dark satanic mill where I was once enslaved, that the veracity of all of it makes absolutely no practical difference to people who are not close relatives of the subjects discussed.

On the other hand, it could be a really good topic for some meta-discussion.
posted by sfenders at 8:20 AM on September 24, 2005


I've flagged it as "noise."

And I've flagged it as "fantastic/post comment"—not because it is, but to balance this out.
posted by grouse at 8:34 AM on September 24, 2005


stavrosthewonderchickenfilter

Sez the guy who posted this sterling contribution.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2005


Ouch, I am pierced by your rapier wit.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:32 AM on September 24, 2005


It was good enough for Bill Maher...
posted by mischief at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2005


Batboy in 2008!
posted by spinifex23 at 9:54 AM on September 24, 2005


Except that it was a newsfiltery piece of shit, of course.

No, the links devoted to the basic credibility of the National Enquirer made it an interesting topical post as well. Judging from the knee-jerk comments in this thread and the original one, I'm not the only one who had the NE completely conflated with the Weekly World News. So, yeah, a defensible and worthwhile post, even if only by accident.
posted by dgaicun at 12:27 PM on September 24, 2005


Ouch, I am pierced by your rapier wit.

Well, yours hasn't been so much in evidence lately, there, crashy, and somebody's got to take up the slack!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:07 PM on September 24, 2005


Zing! I guess you told me again!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2005


Arghhhhh....

Yes, the original post included some links suggesting the National Enquirer ought to be taken seriously. But it's still the National Enquirer, for crying out loud! Does this mean we ought to be paying attention to the stories it runs on Hillary Clinton lesbian rumors, too? I sure as hell hope not.

This reminds me of the role the Drudge Report played in the Monica Lewinsky scandal--because Drudge was covering the scandal, the major media couldn't ignore it. I suspect the same thing may happen here.
posted by russilwvong at 4:23 PM on September 24, 2005


Zing! I guess you told me again!

Consider yourself schooled. And don't do it again!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:26 PM on September 24, 2005


I didn't like the post either. It was newsfilter and it was about Bush. Too much of those around here. And to say that the post was also about the Enquirer's credibility is not untrue but a bit of a stretch.
posted by Catfry at 10:43 AM on September 25, 2005


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