WRIT 1340 FINAL PAPER

Good mornings, Cornellians. Final post for the writing seminar summer semester here. To Dr. Jason Luther, thank you.

“21-year-old Brandon Andrew Clark posted a series of graphic images on Sunday of the slain corpse of 17-year-old Bianca Devins to Instagram and Discord, users immediately began spreading the gory pictures online, often alongside brutal, misogynist commentary… The Instagram post of Devins’ body was left on a platform shared by 1 billion monthly active users, for what was reportedly most of Sunday.” (Merchant). This case of a murder that was kept on Instagram, a company under Facebook, is an instance that shows exactly the flaws of Facebook and Instagram’s moderation system. The social media Facebook has some of the highest user count out of any other platform. As such, it’s content moderation team features a staggering count of 15,000 (Newton). So then how was this post kept up for almost an entire day? Unfortunately posts kept up for a period of time is nothing new for the company and in addition with recent exposure of multiple news sources about its treatment of their content moderators, has ultimately put pressure on the company for a way to combat this criticism. Although it is generally agreed on by researchers and journalists that Facebook is trying to fix its content moderation system I suggest that Facebook is struggling to address the real issues with content moderation by focusing on and publicizing an inefficient and ineffective method of review, a system they call their ‘supreme court’.

Facebook is a public social platform, under the direction of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Under a high amount of content moderators, most content that is inappropriate to the platform is removed almost immediately. However, recently there has been skepticism on Facebook’s methods for moderation. Content moderators for the longest time seem to be unknown to the public. In an article by Casey Newton of the Verge, ”The Trauma Floor” Newton fully explores the life of content moderators at Facebook. She states first in the article a real life example of a content moderator in training at Facebook. This moderator, after finishing her last task in training, leaves the room in despair, “No one tries to comfort her. This is the job she was hired to do. And for the 1,000 people like Chloe moderating content for Facebook at the Phoenix site, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world, today is just another day at the office” (Newton). The moderator is just an example of the psychological toll the job entails. After Newton interviews more moderators at the workplace, “a workplace that is perpetually teetering on the brink of chaos… an environment where workers cope by telling dark jokes about committing suicide… a place where employees can be fired for making just a few errors a week” (Newton). This small branch interviewed in Phoenix represents the content moderation team of Facebook as a whole. These conditions are seen all around the world.  Recent studies have suggested that some moderators now deal with PTSD (Chen). Facebook, when the public presented their complaints about their system, responded with, “We know this work can be difficult and we work closely with our partners to support the people that review content for Facebook. Their well-being is incredibly important to us. We take any reports that suggest our high standards are not being met seriously and are working with Cognizant to understand and address concerns” (Sullivan). It seems as though a new system by Facebook will be implemented to combat these issues.

A new system Facebook has been talking about developing is a ‘supreme court’. A court which features 40 members who have the final decision on whether a post is deleted or not (Newton). It works as such as the United States Judicial System in the sense that the normal moderators appeal to this ‘supreme court’ to ratify a decision that is particularly tough to make by the moderator alone. However, this supreme court has faced a lot of criticism from multiple sources. In an article by Shira Ovide of Bloomberg, “Zuckerberg’s Facebook ‘Supreme Court’ Can’t Handle All the Disputes”, Ovide explores just exactly why the supreme court will not work. When addressing the idea of the supreme court she states, “It’s a worthy step but also a 1% solution for an unimaginably vast problem” (Ovide). Her major concern is the frequent concern among the public of just how a 40-person board can tackle the millions of posts Facebook offers.  Facebook themselves state, “the oversight board would be helpful for ‘dozens’ of cases every year in which there is debate within the company on the right approach for a post or video” (Ovide). In a chart provided by her by a Facebook Transparency Report for January through March 2019 uploaded by Facebook it shows the millions of posts that human moderators must moderate (Ovide). In particular the category ‘Violence/graphic content’ has more than 30 million posts, in just 3 months (Ovide). She states, “The Supreme Court cannot possibly scale to 2.7 billion people who use Facebook’s internet hangouts” (Ovide). Her statements are factual, and the biggest problem with the supreme court of Facebook. Although the court is designed for a dozen cases, it seems to be promoted in a way by the public much more than this. The team of 40 should be revised to include more to cover more posts. Facebook’s supreme court is still in testing and states that it is looking into the user feedback it has gathered since its initial news release back in 2018. Although the development of this supreme court does show that Facebook is trying to fix its moderation system, the common conception among reporters and journalists is that this ‘supreme court’ is inefficient and ineffective and by keeping their population they are providing a false sense of hope to the public. Overall, without addressing this issue of Facebook’s supreme court, it will largely be ineffective for curbing the larger issues that have been documented regarding content moderation

IFacebook, with one of the highest users reported on their platform, has a large content moderation team at around 15,000. Under recent exposure of their skewed content moderation team, announced their development of a supreme court which features 40 members that are given certain posts to ratify their final decision, and this is seen as a step towards fixing one small aspect of their moderation system: that of high profile cases that may affect their public image.. However, despite its efforts, a team of 40, designed to only ratify a few cases for out of the 30 million graphic/violent content is ineffective. Thus, the public should look beyond Facebook’s supreme court to give real pressure on the company to continue finding ways to fix its larger problem: its content moderation team.

WRIT 1340 Proposal

Topic of interest: Content moderation, Consequences of Content Moderation in Facebook and the need for a solution to the psychological stress among moderators. 

First step: Wikipedia

Article: Moderation system

Definition: “a moderation system is the method the webmaster chooses to sort contributions that are irrelevant, obscene, illegal, or insulting with regards to useful or informative contributions” 

  • Lots of online resources use such a system, citing many wiki’s as examples. Most cases of moderation include: trolling, spamming, or flaming
  • Social media sites especially enforce a moderation system.
  • Facebook example
    • Company increased content moderator count from 4500 to 7500 in 2017.
    • Germany removes hate speech within 24 hours of it being posted.

Second step: Google News Research ‘Facebook’

Potential Examples:

  • Consequences of Facebook content moderators
    • The psychological stress that comes with moderating long hours, filtering through lots of rubbish (highly offensive photos, disturbing photos, etc). 
    • Need for Facebook to revise their method of treating content moderators. Blurring images, stopping playback, etc. 
  • Company announced they will give more tools for moderation
    • Tool to potentially blur disturbing images or videos and mute video
    • Can view video or images in grayscale or stop auto-playing
      • Grayscale is important. Facebook says that by having grayscale it reduces the amount of work the limbic system, the system that controls emotions work. This increases the activity in the prefrontal cortex which makes better judgement calls. 
      • Facebook still hasn’t enacted such features but is in the process of doing so

https://www.theverge.com/interface/2019/6/28/18761357/facebook-independent-oversight-board-report-zuckerberg

  • Ways Facebook will combat its content moderation 
    • Supreme court of 40 people who review content in small groups
    • Cuts back content moderators and therefore takes a less psychological stress by cutting the population. 

https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/25/18229714/cognizant-facebook-content-moderator-interviews-trauma-working-conditions-arizona

  • Another example specifically speaking about the life of a content moderation and just exactly how she dealt with the horror for 3 weeks before finally collapsing
  • Chloe was 3 and a half weeks into training for dealing with hate speeches, violent attacks and graphic pornography. Despite this, she still left the room with her colleagues after seeing a murder posted on Facebook.
  • Content moderators a part of Cognizant, the third party source that works for Facebook, had to sign an agreement to keep secrecy. 

https://www.vox.com/2019/6/20/18692912/recode-daily-facebook-content-moderators

  • Better examples of exactly what a facebook content moderator does and act upon. What is it that makes them good at moderation and exactly what training they need to have beforehand. 
  • “The office, run by third-party contractor firm Cognizant, is described as a hellish environment of nonstop stress and inadequate support for employees”
  • “Day-to-day, workers described ‘a filthy workplace in which they regularly find pubic hair and other bodily waste at their work stations’ and said that management would ‘laugh off or ignore sexual harassment and threats of violence.’”

STEP 3: Google News ‘Content Moderation’

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-underworld-of-online-content-moderation

  • Gives a great explanation of exactly how content moderation came to be and how it is used/explored in other websites and social medias. 
  • 100k+ content moderators globally 
  • Reference of Sarah Roberts, a well known and respected professor of info sci at UCLA
  • “From her research, we learn about the emotional toll, low wages, and poor working conditions of most content moderation”
  • “The nature of the work demanded total psychic engagement and commitment in a way that was disturbing, because it was a flow that they could not predict, and they were always open to anything at any time”
  • Content moderation considered an entry level job, lots of young people doing it. 
  • Need better pay, more care for mental-health  

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/2/20679102/content-moderation-ai-social-media-behind-the-screen-sarah-t-roberts-vergecast

  • Good article to explain the drawbacks of content moderation as a whole, not just to Facebook
  • Usage of Sarah Roberts yet again, total AI usage is not possible
  • “There are some things that algorithms don’t do: they don’t form a union, they don’t agitate for better working conditions, they don’t leak stories to journalists and academics. So we have to be very critical about that notion”
  • Humans would have to develop bots to totally filter for them. This is not possible because of the immense human interaction it would take to keep updating the bots to do their job. Humans will always be needed regardless of if companies move towards AI.

WRIT 1340 Synthesis 2

            Americans, for the longest time, have always had the spotlight in many regards as it is often associated with being one of the biggest superpowers in the world. With spotlight, however, comes certain criticism. One criticism is that Americans are superstitious, or rather they are prone to believe in lots of things. In an article by Kurt Andersen of the Atlantic, “How America Lost Is Mind” this criticism is claimed and explored. By this claim, it can be connected to many other articles. As such an article, Kevin Rooses’ “The Making of a YouTube Radical” is a prime example as it shows just how far an American can believe.

         In “How America Lost Its Mind”, Andersen extensively explores the superstition revolving around Americans, even giving specific examples to back up his claim. He first states in the article, just exactly what his claim was, “The American experiment, the original embodiment of the great Enlightenment idea of intellectual freedom, whereby every individual is welcome to believe anything she wishes, has metastasized out of control” (Andersen). He states that, “From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams, sometimes epic fantasies—every American one of God’s chosen people building a custom-made utopia, all of us free to reinvent ourselves by imagination and will” (Andersen). This idea that Americans have always been this way, yet how the birth of the internet in recent years has made it even more prominent, “Among the web’s 1 billion sites, believers in anything and everything can find thousands of fellow fantasists, with collages of facts and ‘facts’ to support them” (Andersen). Andersen shows how with a faster and easier way of spreading information, it can lead Americans to a false perception of reality. With those claims, Andersen shows how easily controlled Americans can really become, “We Americans believe—really believe—in the supernatural and the miraculous”. This gullible nature of Americans can be later traced to Kevin Roose, particularly, through his explanation of just how an American boy was controlled by an internet phenomenon, YouTube. 

         YouTube, a video content platform that has been established since 2006, has been such a huge part of today’s generation. Kids are no longer playing with toys, instead they are surfing the internet for entertainment, most noticeably, YouTube. Toys R Us’ closures are a prime example of this. So, what are the problems with YouTube? In “The Making of a YouTube Radical” Roose explores just how controlling the platform really can be. He explains the algorithms YouTube incorporates in order to keep an active user base, “the new algorithm was capable of drawing users deeper into the platform by figuring out “adjacent relationships” between videos that a human would never identify” (Roose). He particularly explores the life of a college student whose life changed after being addicted to YouTube, “He told the story of how, as a liberal college dropout struggling to find his place in the world, he had gotten sucked into a vortex of far-right politics on YouTube” (Roose). The college student, Mr. Cain, being a gullible American along with the strategic algorithms YouTube showcases, fell into the hole of YouTube and believed in everything he saw. Just like how Andersen argued that Americans were more likely to believe in more than other countries, Mr. Cain satisfies such claim. Moreover, Mr. Cain’s motives for YouTube are talked about for an explanation as to how a college dropout can become an extreme conservative viewer, “’When I found this stuff, I felt like I was chasing uncomfortable truths,’ he told me. ‘I felt like it was giving me power and respect and authority.’” (Roose). This motive is important as it shows how easy it can be to keep going down the wrong path. It extends Andersen’s claim about Americans by showing that being superstitious and gullible can be devastating for the individual.

         So, the recap? How does Roose’s story about Mr. Cain and Andersen’s claim about Americans and the internet connect? With Andersen, claiming that Americans are more superstitious and prone to believe in even the most absurdist things, it connects to Roose with Mr. Cain and how he turned into a conservative viewer easily from a video platform. Andersen also showing how the internet has made Americans even more vulnerable adds onto this. Ultimately, Mr. Cain’s gullible nature lead to a new lifestyle and as such a new life filled with problems.

WRIT 1340 Synthesis Essay

In “How America Lost Its Mind,” Kurt Andersen speaks primarily about post-truth and how substantial of an idea it has become part of American society. He often states different facts and opinions on Americans as well, “Much more than the other billion or so people in the developed world, we Americans believe—really believe—in the supernatural and the miraculous, in Satan on Earth, in reports of recent trips to and from heaven, and in a story of life’s instantaneous creation several thousand years ago” (Andersen). This quote, given the context previously of a time span over a half a century, Andersen emphasizes how fast America has given to superstition – even giving a few examples, “We believe that the government and its co-conspirators are hiding all sorts of monstrous and shocking truths from us, concerning assassinations, extraterrestrials, the genesis of aids, the 9/11 attacks, the dangers of vaccines, and so much more” (Andersen). These ideas give an important look into post-truth, the idea that emotions control the truthness of an idea or act,  which is looked into Patricia Roberts-Miller’s Demagoguery and Democracy through her definition of demagoguery. Therefore, the two articles can be closely linked together through such case.

To understand Roberts-Miller and her work, one must understand the term ‘demagoguery’. So, what is demagoguery? Robert Miller gives a good explanation of the term on page 8, after speaking about famous US politicians’ and their disclosure of information to the public about 9/11 and Iraq, “Demagoguery is about identity. It says that complicated policy issues can be reduced to a binary of us (good) versus them (bad). It says that good people recognize there is a bad situation, and bad people don’t; therefore, to determine what policy agenda is the best, it says we should think entirely in terms of who is like us and who isn’t” (Miller 8). This definition of demagoguery goes to show how individuals, particularly in this case, the government, when talking about politics, tries to do its best to appeal to the desires of the ordinary. But by doing so, it can be misleading in certain ways. Miller goes on to speak about President Trump to show how famous politicians receive legitimacy from the people because of their position, “When their president issues a lot of executive orders, it’s a sign of impending fascism; when our president does it, it’s a sign of decisive leadership” (Miller 38). Regarding Andersen’s statement on how superstitious Americans are, it goes to show that even the fakest of news will be believed by many Americans and therefore politicians through Millers’ definition of demagoguery can input deception through lies or fake news. Although of course not every statement or action done by politicians, particularly Donald J. Trump as the two authors focus on, are lies or ‘fake news’ but it is important to analyze the cases that they are. Americans, under Andersen have been vulnerable and more susceptible to news they hear on the media over recent years. Because Americans believe trump, ‘fake news’ can spread, and with more and more demagoguery having a rise in politics, it only expedites the process..

So, what is the connection between Miller and Andersen? With Andersen comes the idea of the rise of vulnerability among Americans as the trend of believing in superstition and absurd ideas is on the rise and has been for many years, and with Miller comes the framework of demagoguery and how under U.S. politicians, particularly President Trump, can deceive the public into believing the government even on the most absurd ideas. With absurd ideas and facts, comes a false outlook on truthness in politics – the bridge between what is real and what is fake becomes larger by the day. 

The Cornell Week 3 Recap

Cornell Class of 2023 student David Velasquez picks up a chocolate milkshake from D.P. Dough in Collegetown, July 13th, 2019.

Good evening, Cornellians. It’s hard to think but, more than 3 weeks have gone by since we first came here in June. Time to reflect in this week 3 recap.

What have I learned over the past week? A few things, first, Ithaca. Ithaca is ridiculously boring. Even downtown and the commons, there is NOTHING to do. Weekends are extremely boring because of this. I am sick of going to Collegetown, or what I like to call it, Deadtown, every night just to eat.

Another thing, the atmosphere/environment here. Some of y’all need to RELAX. School is important, but come on. I see people studying/doing hw ALL day even on Friday/Saturday nights. This type of environment leads to an unhealthy atmosphere, as not only is your stress contagious, but it also leads to people like me to stay inside all day as no one wants to go out or do anything. Every weekend I am reminded of just how boring this school is and just want the school week to return. This is not healthy.

Anyway, besides that, I hope you all have a great 4th week. Just 3 more weeks to go.

WRIT 1340 Fact Check #4: Does Mobile Usage Really Cause Horns?

At the end of June 2019, a study about horns was widely reported in the media. One news outlet that picked this up was Fox4Now. The news source claimed that cell phone usage causes humans to grow horns. Although the news source included an online article, a broadcast was also included.The broadcast, being just over a minute long, provided information on the ‘bone spurs’ by showing x-ray’s and then cut to a nurse who explained the study at the end. Viewers can see that in the x-ray bone spurs seem to be sticking out of a person’s spine. The study they reference to make their claim was  by the “National Research Study” that found a higher frequency of bone spurs in 18-30 year olds — a case they attribute to a higher cell phone usage in this age group. 

With initial skepticism, it is important to start a fact check to see if mobile usage really does cause bone spurs, starting with looking at previous work. Using duckduckgo, a website that allows users to search by specific sites which makes it useful for fact checking, I instantly found a fact check from Snopes.com, another reputable website known for its accurate fact-checking. 

Taking a look at the fact check from Snopes.com, we see that the study Fox4Now used was not by the National Research Study, but rather from the journal Scientific Reports. Considering they got the name of the study wrong, it raises concern regarding its credibility. Also, they failed to link to the study in their original article. Snopes goes on to say that the study’s credibility was questionable as the article includes a graph but totally misreads it in their study. Also, Snopes stated the study featured other problems such as lacking a control group, and using data from groups that already featured back pain. Overall, with the combination of poor data and graphs, along with a misleading claim, Snopes showed that the study was at least somewhat discreditable.

While Snopes did a thorough job at fact-checking this study, reading laterally by researching the author and the journal, Scientific Reports, could reveal more discredibility. I started with the first author written, as the first author is usually the largest contributor or main expert of the study. One search on Google Scholar pulled up very few articles with his name. He is a clinical biomechanics researcher at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He has been cited 12 times. With this data, I would conclude that he is rather unknown and therefore I was skeptical to trust this study to the fullest. While he could be an expert in his field, credibility is low with low cites and lack of personal information. The source also only featured the so called ‘bone spurs on mobile usage’ a few times in the article and was not the main claim in the study.

Last step in our process of fact-checking would be reading laterally about Fox4Now and the study. Let’s start with Fox4Now. One Google search led me to no reports from other sources about the news source. This was also the case on Wikipedia. Therefore I concluded that the information from Fox4Now should be taken with serious precaution. While it could be a ‘hoax’ website, it could also be a local news outlet that only shares big headlines from other sources. However, without much credibility, I still had to conclude that Fox4Now had low credibility.

Another news story from PBS, a reputable news article, also devalued the bone spurs claim. In the article, PBS stated that the main cause was due to lack of research to support the claim. Considering the reputable Snopes.com article, and now PBS, and the lack of credibility in both the study and Fox4Now, I would conclude that mobile usage does not cause bone spurs.

Overview of Life at Cornell

Cornell 2023 student David Velasquez shortly after his acceptance, April 8th, 2019.

Good evenings, Cornellians. This post is going to be slightly different from the normal posts I make here.

First, I want to address some concerns and thoughts floating here in my mind while being at Cornell.

How does it feel to be an Ivy Leaguer, especially an Engineering student in the top Ivy known for that?

I can tell you one thing, it is a confusing feeling. Part of me is so proud and happy of myself to get into this school. You see, I spent my first 5 years of my life in Honduras, I then came here to the United States not knowing a single word of English. Having two non-speaking English parents, I had to teach myself English as a 5-year-old just so that I could “fit in”. In my first few years being a student in the U.S. I was called stupid, dumb, and a waste of U.S. Education. For me to get into one of the top schools of the nation surprised many, and it is something I will be eternally proud and grateful for. However, The other part of me is the part of me I struggle to move on from. The side that is made up solely from what others think of me. I want to be able to wear my Cornell shirts, post about Cornell, and tweet about Cornell without any judgement or criticism from my area. Yes, I am the only student at Cornell from my area, yes I am the only Ivy League student from my high school. I just wish those circumstances did not have this pressure on me that whenever I do anything Cornell related I am just trying to “flex”.

Why am I saying all of this? Ever since I got into Cornell I’ve received tons and tons of negative feedback. Tons of “You’re pretentious”, “stop flexing,” “we get it, you go to Cornell”. For a long time in my life I have always let what others say about me dictate who I am. I often find myself afraid to speak up or stand up for myself just so that I don’t seem too “pretentious” or “hurtful”.

Recently, I tweeted a tweet stating, “I’d rather transfer to my local community college than take 8 ams”. Immediately I received a DM from a former good friend of mine stating that I was too pretentious for this and to stop “bashing” local schools. She went on to state that it was so pretentious it made it into her group chat and that I “changed” ever since getting into Cornell. Ever since this I have been mentally conflicted. Is she right? Am I really “flexing” too much? Has being at an Ivy League institution changed who I was before leaving? How is life going to be once I return? Will I still have friends who want to hang with me and converse? Since then, I have deleted the tweet and did not respond back.

Oftentimes I found myself wanting to transfer to my state school just so I could “fit in” with the rest of my friends/acquaintances in school. Just so I did not have to deal with this constant “flexing” trait that has ruined my reputation. Just so that I could wear my stuff and talk about what I want freely. Just so that people saw more to me than just an Ivy League student.

The Cornell Week 2 Recap

Cornell Class of 2023 Student, David Velasquez’s Custom Cornell Backpack

Good afternoon, Cornellians. Once again, a double post. Lots of things to say. First, congrats on making it through week 2! I know many of you are all tired and stressed from being a Cornellian, whether that be through Chem, Econ, or Math. I want you all to take a deep breath and tell yourself you will be okay, because at the end of the day, life will go on.

So, we have officially been here for longer than 2 weeks. 2 weeks may seem like a short amount of time, but once again there was much that was learned over the 2 weeks. So my experiences? I don’t know. I am at a weird state of mind where I kind of hate Cornell because of the stress, but at the same time I also love Cornell. I love that I am a Cornell Engineering student. I am grateful to be one, as I am aware of the great amount of people who would love to be in my shoes. People think of the top schools as ‘paradise’. I sure as heck thought so too. I thought that when I arrived at Cornell life would be perfect.

Let me reiterate for those of you who have this mindset of all Ivy Leaguers as “in paradise”. Cornell is NOT paradise. Not even close. I can confidently say that for any other top school, whether that be MIT or Princeton. Each student faces challenges, some in which they struggle to overcome.

For me, this week, I faced the inevitable challenge of homesickness and overall, loneliness. Let me tell you guys about me. I was the only one from my school to get into an Ivy, let alone Cornell. I was 1 of 2 in my county to go to Cornell. I had no friends coming in here. All of my friends were going to in state schools and so not only am I far away from home, I am also far away from friends.

This mindset often led to a depressed state of mind, which resulted in me being bedridden. I know it is a normal mindset to have here, and I will update later on how to get over this.

Despite my struggles and your guys’ struggles, I want to remind you all that it will get better, give it time. I hope you all have a great and productive weekend that will propel us towards Week 3.

WRIT 1340 Fact Check #3: The Credibility Behind BBC News

BBC news is a British broadcasting channel, in service since the early 1920’s. BBC is the world’s largest broadcast news organization and is known on AllSides, a website known to accurately assess and place other news or broadcasting channels’ in their respective political affiliation, as “center” in the political spectrum.

What is considered ‘neutral’, you may ask? Well, according to AllSides and contradictory to popular belief, being in the center does not mean unbiased or neutral. While it is true that those in the center are often found to be much less biased than those that lean left or right, it still features bias. There is no article or report that can be completely ‘unbiased’. Some key characteristics of being ‘center’ from the AllSides website: features statements from both the left and right but they are equal in weight and balance each other out, and some controversial topics are often left out, such as gay marriage back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. 

For BBC, it is often criticized for having reports and articles that learn left, towards the liberal side. My first step in going laterally with BBC was a simple Wikipedia search in which I found a whole new subsection within the wiki on BBC’s criticism they have faced over the span of their service. In an article they linked, from the DailyMail they state that BBC openly claimed that they are biased. BBC features many liberals in support of multiculturalism and against christianity, according to the DailyMail. The article states that at a meeting in London in 2006, BBC executives stated the company was dominated by liberals and that they were so deep into their ‘mess’ that they could not fix it. Andrew Murr, a reputable editor of BBC, stated ‘The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias’. If an employee of BBC stated this, especially an editor who is directly involved in articles and reports, stated this then it is safe to assume that it is at least somewhat true. After this, I looked at more sources linked from Wikipedia.

In another source, the CPS, The Center for Policy Studies, stated a specific interview that happened in the British Cabinet in the 2000’s. Politicians featuring both the left and right side were interviewed by BBC. According to CPS, they stated that the left side politicians were given a significantly more amount of time, 50 minutes compared to 33 minutes given to the conservatives. The liberals were also never questioned on their statements on topics such as migration, asylum, policing while the conservatives were cross examined and questioned on each topic. Another example is when a conservative politician went 112 words without interruption while a liberal politician was given 342 words without interruption.

Despite both of these sources being from Wikipedia, we still need to look into more credible and reputable sources, starting with the fact-checking site Snopes.com. I struggled to find an accurate fact check article of BBC news, but Snopes did have an article stating BBC’s struggle to keep ‘balanced’ in a controversial topic of climate change. They stated that the BBC, for a long time, allowed climate deniers a larger platform and did not have any effort to deny their false claims. However, an interesting fact regarding BBC is that whenever they are caught leaning towards each side, they address a formal apology, stating that they will try to do better next time. This case was no different. They formally apologized in 2011, and stated that they will recognize their shift in perspective on the topic at hand. What does this tell us about the BBC? That many articles have questioned their ‘central’ side claim. Even a reputable source, being Snopes. 

So, how do I feel about BBC? Despite the community agreement on AllSides being ‘9663/9358 somewhat agree’, I would still categorize BBC news as ‘lean left’ rather than ‘central’, considering all the evidence and logistics presented.

The Cornell Fourth of July

Cornell Class of 2023 students, Josue Garcia, Zuhair Imaduddin, Ave Kludze, Horacio Montes, Jeremy Gutierrez, Isabella Xavier, Hunter Kane, Brisa Lee, Shamima Neha, Anzila Haris, Anna Draper, and Serena Newman at their first Fourth of July, 2019.

Good morning, Cornellians. It is Friday, July 5th. Welcome to the end of the week, we made it!

Yesterday was July 4th, as you all know. I hope you all enjoyed your day off and celebrated independence with all your friends. I have noticed over the past few days that some of you guys are getting so close with others and it is a wonderful sight to see.

How was the 4th for me? Eh, an average day, really. That block party at 1 was NOT it. Quite boring, and quite a disappointment, yet again. However, I guess it was a good backdrop for pictures. The best moments would probably be the pictures my suitemates and I took while we all wore our usa bandanas (my idea!)

I hope you all have a great weekend, 2 weeks down, 4 more to go!