LessWrong, can you help me find an article I read a few months ago, I think here?

by Thecommexokid1 min read12th Oct 201213 comments


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I'm sorry in advance for a post that doesn't really offer the chance for any substantive discussion, but I am engaged in the most futile of all tasks — trying to find again something I read on the Internet six months ago — and I need all the help I can get. So onward to the point:

Within the last 6 months I read an article. In my memory of the event I read it on LessWrong, but perhaps it was on Ovcoming Bias, or linked to from a LW post, or something. The main thesis of the piece was that American politics is covered in the press as a spectator sport, and issues that have enormous impact for millions of Americans are treated as though their only importance lies in their political ramifications. E.g., newspaper headlines say things like "Victory for Obama as Congress passes healthcare bill," as if the only importance of the bill was that it constituted a political win, as if the American public ought to care more about the political victories and defeats of one guy in Washington than about the actual ramifications of the law on their own healthcare.

Does anyone recognize the sound of this article? I have searched LessWrong in vain, but is it nonetheless here somewhere? Is anyone so familiar with the site that they can confirm definitively that it is not from here, so I can at least cross it off the list? In short, help?

All my thanks.

13 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 11:07 PM
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Just a heads up, this sort of question is better suited to an open thread. :)

Thank you, I've been reading LW content for a while now, but I'm new to the discussion boards.

Should be this one. The top way to spot a B.S political story, according to it, is:

  1. The Headline Includes the Phrase "Blow To"

Basically, It's …

Neglecting to explain hugely important policy changes in favor of focusing on the drama, and how it affects the personal political careers of the politicians involved.

OK, you know about the huge fight over health care reform in America, right? Whether you think it's a good or a bad plan, you can't deny that it's freaking huge (to the tune of a trillion dollars over 10 years, and 31 million people getting health insurance). It will impact almost every single human being living in the United States, either through their personal ability to get coverage, or their taxes, or changing health care costs, or changing rules to their existing coverage -- there are dozens and dozens of new regulations that completely change the landscape of one of the largest sectors of the national economy.

So, when the Supreme Court recently threatened to completely overturn this gargantuan piece of legislation, how did it get reported?

"Supreme Court’s health-care ruling could deal dramatic blow to Obama presidency"

The ruling could deal a blow to the "Obama presidency"? Fuck you.

I don't give two shits about the "Obama presidency" except in terms of what legislation it gets passed and how it changes the country and my life. I'm not following this story because I think it's a freaking Barack Obama reality show and I'm really eager to see how his life turns out. I don't see no goddamned crab boat. I'm following it because I want to know what it means for my own goddamned life and for the lives of the people I care about.

It goes on, but you get the idea.

There was also this LW discussion link to a similar Cracked article a few weeks ago:


And this (on a less related topic):


I think you must be right: as Alejandro1 points out, the #1 item on the list is pretty much exactly what I described, even down to the healthcare headline example. I generally don't go on Cracked, since I find it maybe a quarter as bad as TVTropes in the sucks-you-in-forever department, but something I read must have linked to it. Thanks for finding it!

On a related note, am I the only person who struggles with the search system on Less Wrong? There have been a few times where it takes me unusually long to find the article I am looking for, even if I remember a direct quote or concept from that article and use that in my search.

Is there a way to only search for articles, or only search for comments, or only search for articles written by a specific person? This might help solve my problem.

Seeing as how the thing I was actually thinking of turned out to be from Cracked, let's just go ahead and say that this is what I was really going for, okay? But seriously, thanks for this link; it's a great source.

No, I was originally certain that I was recalling something from this sequence, but I ultimately reread the whole sequence and didn't find it...that's what led to me posting here.