Category Archives: Reporter Tools

Reporter Tools: “… The Art of Crap-Detection”

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”
Ernest Hemingway, May 1954

The summer hiatus is over and Atomic Reporters are back to work. The Iran nuclear negotiations are in overtime. The  International Atomic Energy Agency’s 58th General Conference is set to begin Sept. 22. A list of key documents, including the Director General’s report on Middle East safeguards, can be found here.

Elsewhere, open-source proponent Robert Steele, who runs the Phi Beta Iota Public Intelligence Blog, has an interesting post that resonates with Atomic Reporters. University of Las Vegas computer scientist Hal Berghel cites Neil Postman’s  1969 speech “Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection” in a new essay:

DEFENDING AGAINST BIG DADA: DEFENSIVE TACTICS FOR WEAPONS OF MASS DECEPTION

     “…Though worthy, the study of informal logic from one serious shortcoming: it assumes that truthful statements are the sine qua non of meaningful communication. Informal fallacies document the point at which serious reasoning foes awry. Even when embedded in a broader, over-arching “argumentation theory” or dialectic, informal logic assumes that traditional fallacies are departures from the conversational norm – but not the norm itself.
     “Violations of the rules of sound argument are red flags in any discussion worthy of serious attention. But propaganda, polemic, subterfuge, and trickery eschew sound argument. They seek to manipulate, maneuver, control the listener and obstruct paths from reflection to sound judgment. Rhetorical weaponry – like lying and deceit – assaults the sensibilities with false flags and distractions that informal logic just can’t handle. When it comes to criminals, politicians, and ideologues, we need to pull out the nuclear option…”