Hindered by bias

I am in a few cases hindered by bias. I will admit this, there is no denying it. To throw diplomacy on the side, it is my personal opinion that the average crack dealer on a schoolyard tends to have more credibility than the average journalist. The media world has become that bad. Not all mind you, but the larger group has lost credibility.

To show you an example, I will take you now to Reuters, one source that is actually good (for the most), but the story they give you (at https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/amazon-privacy-lobbying/) gives a few items that I have a problem with and it might merely be me. I will let you decide.

The article ‘Amazon wages secret war on Americans’ privacy, documents show’ shows a few sides I have a problem with and even as Reuters tends to be a good source, the article shows parts that do not fill me with confidence, you might feel different.

It starts with “This story is based on a Reuters review of hundreds of internal Amazon documents and interviews with more than 70 lobbyists, advocates, policymakers and their staffers involved in legislation Amazon targeted, along with 10 former Amazon public-policy and legal employees” In the first, how did Reuters get a hold of these documents? The word ‘documents’ is shows 14 times, not one of them gives a stage HOW the documents were acquired, and how these documents, these internal documents add up. We see one mention of that word with “The premise of this story is flawed and includes reporting that relies on early, incomplete drafts of documents to draw incorrect conclusions” in the second, we see the mention of 70 lobbyists. Which lobbyists? We see the names Anthony William, Meade Spotts, yet there is mention of 70 interviews, if only 2 were set in some light that comes over as optionally as debatable, it becomes a simple equation of statistics. And to be more precise, there is no mention that these lobbyists did anything illegal. It implies an optional debatable situation with 2.8% of the interviewed lobbyists, that is when you consider that the article gives us that in 2020 Amazon had registered at least 180 lobbyists in 44 U.S. states, the percentage is a joke. We are most likely to get more criminal behaviour from Catholic priests. 

Then we go to “Consumer advocates considered the resulting law essentially worthless, said Shankar Narayan, a lawyer at the time for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state. “It’s riddled with so many holes; it’s like a Swiss cheese,” Narayan said. “It falls in the category of bills that try to make you feel better about biometrics without providing meaningful protection.”” Here there is one direct issue. Lobbyists do not draft laws, Amazon does not draft laws. Lawmakers do that, and which lawmakers were investigated in that bill? Then there is the small setting of “Amazon dominates U.S. smart speaker sales. An estimated 69% of smart-speaker users, about 64 million people, use devices from Amazon, according to research firm Insider Intelligence” Here we have a few issues, one is debatable, but I am a stickler for the small stuff. So what exactly is a smart-speaker? There are 4 mentions, yet none give us a definition. And where does the 69% come from, how was 64 million people assessed? Consider that there is Google, Amazon, Sonitrek, Harmon Kardon. You see, one source gives us “Global Smart Speaker market shipments hit 154 million in 2020” that number does not come with any drill down in brands and 64M from 154M is not 69%, more importantly the 154M number was 2020 only, so when we go back to 2018-2021, how many were sold? That gives a light towards the shoddy practice in the article as I personally see it. If it was all on the up and up (not relying on creating emotions) the 64 million would be specified in a few ways. 

And then we get to “only after lobbyists for Amazon and other firms had chiseled away at its privacy protections by convincing lawmakers to insert alternative language, often verbatim, according to emails between lawmakers and Amazon lobbyists obtained by Reuters through public-records requests”. Other firms? What other firms? And if lawmakers were convinced to change the language, what was done by Amazon lobbyists and what was done by ‘other’ firms? Google perhaps? Google has a decent share of this market, so why is that part not chiseled out with some precision? And when we see “often verbatim, according to emails between lawmakers and Amazon lobbyists obtained by Reuters through public-records requests”, why does the article not give us examples? No names of lobbyists and lawmakers? There is (as I personally see it) an issue here. At this point I get to “Amazon representatives never took a public position on the bill, relying instead on trade groups the company funded to oppose it at hearings, according to Amazon documents and public records of the debate”, so as it stands, who were these trade groups? And what evidence is there that these trade groups were funded by Amazon? The lines become blurry in several ways and I am willing to bet that Amazon never broke any laws, they never did anything illegal, but Reuters gives us “Amazon wages secret war on Americans’ privacy”, they never give us “Amazon uses legal methods to undermine privacy” (with specific evidence presented), ass such I wonder where this article will ever be taken and who will they take into the limelight? 

Finally we need to consider “The reporter’s data request revealed that Amazon had collected more than 90,000 Alexa recordings since 2017 – averaging about 70 a day”, so over a period of 4 years, there are 90,000 recordings. All whilst in 2020 alone 154 million smart speakers were sold? And the earlier quote “An estimated 69% of smart-speaker users, about 64 million people, use devices from Amazon”, 90,000 recordings over 64,000,000 people is a mere tenth of 1%, did anyone do that math, so what is this article? A mere slap Amazon around article? Perhaps I can help Reuters out here. You see, I discovered how Jeff Bezos got to be so very rich. I saw that Harrods sells shampoo at $240 per bottle, Jeff Bezos does not need to spend that on shampoo. Actually I have lived in apartments with a lower monthly rent, so that is how he allegedly got to be this rich. So there! 

Am I biased? I personally feel that I am, but this article shows too many shady sides, too many shoddy approaches to slap the rich, this is all the premise towards another joust for ‘taxing the rich’. I have nothing against that as long as it is done fairly and that requires an overhaul of tax laws. And in regards to ‘the secret war’? If it gets to be in Reuters, it cannot have been that secret, can it? And in all this Google has similar goals, so where is Google in all this? You see lobbyists tend to have an open hand to the masters that pay them, are any of these lobbyists paid by Google? Was that checked, or investigated? 

All questions that beckons an investigation on what the holy bloody hell Reuters has been up to, and with the lack of actual and factual information, the article becomes a mess, with an aftertaste that represents a bad joke, but that is my personal view on the matter. So what gives?

What do you think this was really about? Creating flames or handing over information?


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Filed under Media, Politics, Science

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