Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Media: Liberal, Conservative, or Just Plain Stupid?

Via Eliezer Yudkowsky at Overcoming Bias, I discovered the hilarious and disturbing notion of the Friedman Unit:

One Friedman Unit, also known as "one Friedman" or "one F.U.", equals six months in the future.[1]

The term is a tongue-in-cheek neologism coined by blogger Atrios (Duncan Black) on May 21, 2006,[2] in reference to the discovery by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) of journalist Thomas Friedman's repeated use[3][4] of "the next six months" as the time period in which, according to Friedman, "we're going to find out...whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. As documented by FAIR, Friedman had been making these six-month predictions since November 2003.

More broadly, many political observers measure any date-specific statement by a public figure regarding the future of Iraq or the Iraq War in Friedman Units, thus suggesting that the speaker's predictions of a near-term resolution of the Iraq War amount to that speaker's de facto defense of the status quo. Examples may involve troop withdrawals, the formation of government in parliament, the pacification of Baghdad, or merely an upcoming "critical time" in Iraq.


foilwoman said...

Well, we'll know within the next six months whether FUs become a widely accepted prognosticating measurement (by all except the prognosticators). It is disturbing, but I do love it.

asher said...

I guess we can put this in with:
zero population growth
global freezing
heterosexual AIDS plague
the bird flu pandemic
evangelical control of the US
welfare reform disaster
the DDT ban
JFK being controlled by the Pope

and other things that just didn't pan out cause no one knew all the variables when they made the predictions.

Would you agree the war in Iraq is not, in fact, a war, but a state of sabotage and roadside bombing (sort of the situation the citizens of Israel encounter on a daily basis). A war generally has opposing armies, battles, and some way of determining who will surrender. Why not discuss this?

Jewish Atheist said...

Dear Asher, King of the Non-sequitor,

I think the "war" in Iraq now is a bunch of different things. I think there's a civil war going on in addition to the "state of sabotage and roadside bombings." It's of course not a traditional war because it isn't one country against another in conventional warfare any more.

beepbeepitsme said...

The media is as "liberal" as the conservative business corporations that own the majority of it.