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US Plunges To 46th In World Press Freedom Index

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the out-of-the-medals dept.

Privacy 357

schwit1 writes "Reporters Without Borders puts out their Press Freedom Index every year, and the 2014 ranking came out today. It was not a good showing for the U.S. Specifically, the U.S. registered one of the steepest falls of all nations, down 13 slots to the #46 position, just above Haiti and just below Romania."

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We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 10 months ago | (#46269137)

Free nation! Under God! Best thing since apple pie.

The US has really fallen from its optimistic condition so many decades ago. And that failure is not the worst thing about it. It's the fact that no one in the US seems to care.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269205)

The do care. They want the government to arrest the journalists that reported this.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 10 months ago | (#46269273)

46th!

Just WAIT 'til NEXT year!

Then you'll be sorry!

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (4, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46269349)

I'm sorry NOW!

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269443)

We don't need no free press! We got the 2nd Amendment! Whoo-hoo!

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#46269695)

The first rule of United States is that you don't report on United States!

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (4, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 10 months ago | (#46269391)

They do care but between trying to financially keep their heads above water and fighting off the urge to watch Duck Dynasty they have little time to enact change.

Well that was sarcasm but life is so busy that things like government tyranny fall by the wayside. Our lives are just comfortable and busy enough to allow us to ignore the greater issues at hand. Ask a person today what their concerns are and I bet its going to be things like job security, getting a better job to make more money or keeping their head above water. Government tyranny is just low enough to let us not care. Then throw in the incentive for social problems and you have the foundation for a pacifying system to keep people just above poverty and starving so they do revolt.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (5, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 10 months ago | (#46269465)

The US, land of the free! (*)

(*) applies iff you are the CEO of a MegaCorp.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#46269505)

A good number of Americans think we need to give up rights to fight cultists with box-cutters and pipe bombs, rights we didn't need to give up in the face of real national security threats. But I don't think that's the whole story here. The cold war was going on, our enemies ACTUALLY had real weapons worth considering, Nixon resigned.

I suspect one issue is the economy, and the other is a changing media. Democracies can't really function when too many people are too financially stressed, it fits that people wouldn't take threats to the freedom of the press as seriously if they're worried about losing the house. Most of the people with brains or who care have stopped watching cable news and newspapers are dying, so the audiences for the media are dumber and more easily controlled.

I'm not as convinced as many people are that the sky is falling, so I suspect the economy will eventually improve. I also suspect that when the change in media matures, perhaps when kids who now get their news online start being less apathetic, and when the fox news crowd dies, that we -might- demand better.

TLDR: I think it's more complicated than everyone collectively saying "Fuck it, I don't care about democracy, I'm going to go tweet something."

Borat (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 10 months ago | (#46269563)

Kazakhstan greatest country in the world all other countrys are run by little girls.
Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium!
Other countries have inferior potassium.

Kazakhstan is 161 on the list. Try harder next year Americans.

Re:Borat (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 10 months ago | (#46270009)

Hey. Don't I know your sister?

The number two whore in all of Kazakhstan

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269633)

The problem is that the people most likely to care are the same peole most likely to realize that coercive authority means "THEY tell ME what to do", not the other way around (as the fairy tale goes).

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 months ago | (#46269639)

We can't have Land of the Free OR Home of the brave.

Because we are afraid of everything, we have elected to give up our freedom in trade of safety.

After 9/11 there was little talk about this attacks being the price we may pay to live in a free society, and more talks about how to stop it again. Then we complained how these people were even allowed on the plane before, because of lack of proper intelligence.

After the Boston Marathon Bombing, citizens gladly sacrificed their freedom and locked themselves at home until the bomber was caught. Then we complained left and right how we could have let these minor hints get us by and let these people back into the us.

We Cannot live in a free society when we are afraid of the bad man getting us. To live in a free society we need to stand up and face these problems even if it means our death.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 10 months ago | (#46269715)

I don't think gladness was ever the message behind the lock-downs. Nearly everything portrayed was viewed as a hostile over-reaction by the government. But then again, that's my own lens I am viewing this through. But I can't recall hearing anyone saying "Thank god the police came and locked everything down and started busting in our doors trying to find this guy!"

And we don't even need to talk about the giant holes in the whole narrative either.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46270177)

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave only ever applied to the Native American Indians.
The US has butchered its history the same way it butchered the native people.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (1, Insightful)

bjdevil66 (583941) | about 10 months ago | (#46269779)

The ones that care are called:

a) Racist bigots (for affiliating with "Tea Party Extremists" when they only want a balanced budget and reasonable cuts to defense and wasteful spending).

b) Gun zealots when they stand up for their right to bear arms (especially when someone invokes dead children as their weapon of degradation against gun rights). And no - aside from reasonable bans on fully automatic weapons and other heavy military hardware, there's not really a good middleground by half measures like magazine size caps or unenforceable registration laws.

Selfish jerks for wanting wasteful social spending cuts on the poor that seems to be fine with using SNAP funds for booze, etc. (Yes, they're a minority, but a substantial one.)

Intolerant bigots for wanting to worship who or what they may - and want laws reflecting their beliefs (as long as they don't conflict with basic civil rights - and I don't mean the ever expansion of civil rights to include every minority created by individuals for their own benefit.)

Ignorant racists for questioning this administration.

Ignorant terrorist supporters for questioning the last administration.

The groups described above are generally either directly assaulted by (or blatantly marketed to) elements in the press because they think for themselves - and whether they're right or wrong, they're - well - dangerous...

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 10 months ago | (#46269879)

you act like racism and bigotry don't exist, and it's just a ploy to smear people

that's some convoluted psychological denial going on there

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46270037)

you act like racism and bigotry don't exist, and it's just a ploy to smear people
 
Sure, it exists, but it exists on the left too and being a conservative doesn't mean that you're a racist. I'm sure there are plenty who won't go with Obama because of his race but that's become the default answer from the left for why people aren't worshiping The Messiah. What about those of us who hated the same policies under Clinton? What about those of us who hated the same policies under Bush?
 
Disclaimer: I'm not the OP/GP/whatever-P.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (-1, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 10 months ago | (#46270073)

Mostly racism comes from the left.

You can not do it without help.

You need government protections to succeed.

There is no way for you to succeed even though those other guys did.

Vote for me to get free stuff from other people because you can not earn it on your own.

They have no idea what condescending asses they are being. They care little for the long term damage it does. Freedom is important. In order to be truly free to succeed you must be free to fail. Insulating you from your failures restricts you from ever achieving real success.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 10 months ago | (#46270081)

you act like racism and bigotry don't exist, and it's just a ploy to smear people

I didn't see him say anything like that, I saw him complain about racism used to avoid substantive debates on policy. Sort of a transparent attempt at a straw man on your part, isn't it?

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | about 10 months ago | (#46270043)

What does ANY of those issues have to do with Freedom of Press? You seem to fit into the category of people who just change the subject to rant about your own pet peeves.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (3, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 10 months ago | (#46269843)

The list is bogus.I would love to see what happens to a journalist that says politically incorrect stuff, like racist or anti-gay rants, in the top countries of this list. He would "only" be foired and sued if he was lucky, and arrested in the worse case scenario.

Freedom to say only what people consider nice and acceptable is no freedom at all. Any country that has "hate speech" laws has no grounds to criticize US lack of free speech.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269943)

We DO care!!! The problem is that everyone with common sense is being overrun by liberal progressives...

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (3, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 10 months ago | (#46270015)

The headline should have been "US 'Plunges' to Where It Was Two Years Ago", since that's all that's happened here [washingtonpost.com] . The author of that article even calls himself out for falling prey to the temptation of link-baiting, since he wrote about the loss of freedoms back in 2012 when the numbers were the exact same as they are now. This time around, he questioned how the numbers could be the same as two years ago, so he looked at where the numbers were coming from and poked all sorts of holes in them instead.

Re:We're the best country in the world!!! Woo!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46270161)

Free nation! Under God! Best thing since apple pie.

The US has really fallen from its optimistic condition so many decades ago. And that failure is not the worst thing about it. It's the fact that no one in the US seems to care.

That's an optimistic perspective. The US didn't fall at all; other countries have improved their record.

Alternative media are the solution! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269147)

When all the news source belong to big corporations, how can one be surprised that press freedom is disappearing ?

One solution [altslashdot.org]

Re:Alternative media are the solution! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269191)

When all the news source belong to big corporations, how can one be surprised that press freedom is disappearing ?

One solution [altslashdot.org]

Two [soylentnews.org] more [pipedot.org]

Re:Alternative media are the solution! (1)

buswolley (591500) | about 10 months ago | (#46269397)

nice

Re:Alternative media are the solution! (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 10 months ago | (#46270111)

When all the news source belong to big corporations, how can one be surprised that press freedom is disappearing ?

One solution [altslashdot.org]

Looks like altslashdot.org and SoylentNews have joined forces, since they resolve to the same site.

Two [soylentnews.org] more [pipedot.org]

Re:Alternative media are the solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269195)

You're just bitter because some of the media passes messages you don't agree with or in your proto-totalitarian view they should not be allowed to. A very partisan view.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269489)

You're just bitter because some of the media passes messages you don't agree with or in your proto-totalitarian view they should not be allowed to. A very partisan view.

What?

Do you know how stories are chosen?

Whatever gets viewers to watch in between advertisements.

What gets people to watch?

FEAR! and more fear!!

Fear that the "other side" is going to ram their values down your throat. Fear that terrorists are going to blow you up! Fear that global warming is going to somehow take away your "way of life" - whatever that means.

Fear fear fear fear fear fear ... ALL BULLSHIT.

You know why Jon Stewart and Colbert are so popular? Because they point out the stupidity of our leaders and of our media.

The media (especially cable news and AM radio) make BILLIONS of dollars bullshitting all of us and making us fight among ourselves.

Pick a topic. AGW. Why do conservatives hate it so much? Why do they insist on listening to deniers who have no expertise in the field who denounce it and why do they insist on bringing up Al Gore as the "expert" and not the real experts who are making it their life's work to study it? Why? Distraction.

It would be like me criticizing Christianity by using Bill Maher as my "expert". Really?

Let's take a conservative cause that I believe in: government spending - or too much of it. The facts are Medicare (medical for old people) and the military are the BIGGEST draws on our government's finances but yet, the media focuses on dipshit little things or vague references to "entitlement programs" that everyone seems to think means "welfare queens in there pink Cadillacs."

Why is that?

Maybe the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower (R) warned us about doesn't want us to know the truth.

And how is that when one mentions that fact, he is immediately labeled a "liberal" (which has become a derogatory term) ?

Just ask yourself who told you to believe that.

Big media are ALL liars. No exceptions.

Re:Alternative media are the solution! (3, Interesting)

StripedCow (776465) | about 10 months ago | (#46269697)

We need to turn our fake democracy into a real one, where our voice is actually being listened to.
And I believe us "nerds" can actually make this happen.

What we need is a moderated forum (perhaps like Slashdot) integrated into congress, and MCs being required to spend at least X hours per day on this forum answering questions. The moderation system has to be designed by academics, such that the system prevents abuse and unjustified censoring by design.

Also, we need a better voting system (since uneducated people ruin democracy, e.g., by being susceptible to populist sentiment).
Perhaps something along the lines of PageRank, where each voter selects N random people he/she trusts, and from the gigantic graph that results we can derive mathematically the outcome of the election. Of course, here also academics are needed to design the system and prevent abuse.

How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (0)

magarity (164372) | about 10 months ago | (#46269177)

Wait a minute, they're complaining that press freedom has dropped because of Manning and Snowden? Who exactly doesn't know about that because as far as I can tell the press ran wild with it. Seems press freedom worked rather well to uncover quite a lot.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269215)

What is inferred is also the taking to task of journalists and their sources, which previously, have been sacred and off limits -- akin to a Catholic confessional. These days, journalists are being forced to reveal their sources, which precludes good journalism. The Fourth Estate needs to be protected.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (1)

magarity (164372) | about 10 months ago | (#46269733)

This is a common misconception; reporters are free to report anything, but must face consequences if they choose to report state secrets and that includes who gave the reporter state secrets. Lately the whole question of what makes up a legit state secret comes into play and that's become a rather serious issue. But the reporters and their sources are not like Catholic confessional.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 10 months ago | (#46270165)

This is a common misconception; reporters are free to report anything, but must face consequences if they choose to report state secrets...

By the same reasoning, you are free to commit murder (or any other crime), but must face the consequences. That word "free"... I don't think it means what you think it means.

The concept of "state secrets" which cannot be reported to the public without legal consequences is fundamentally incompatible with freedom of speech, or of the press.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (2)

OFnow (1098151) | about 10 months ago | (#46269221)

Senators and Congressmen have threatened to assassinate the people doing the reporting (such as J. Assange). We know about it, but that is not exactly what one thinks of as 'press freedom' when the leaders of a country say they will kill the reporter.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269367)

Senators and Congressmen have threatened to assassinate the people doing the reporting
(such as J. Assange). We know about it, but that is not exactly what
one thinks of as 'press freedom' when the leaders of a country say
they will kill the reporter.

Empty threats by people with no power to do so are not anti "freedom of the press" either.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 10 months ago | (#46270153)

Senators and Congressmen have no power? Are you saying all that money I spent bribing them was wasted?

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 10 months ago | (#46269291)

The last true great work of independent journalistic investigationn was the Watergate affair. Since then, so-called journalists have been repeating the government's party line verbatim, or reporting on trivial shit that doesn't matter.

If anything, the Snowden documents, which should have been a bomb for the government, have never been exploited, and show that the 4th power is the lapdog of the 3 first, and has been for a very long time.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (2)

bberens (965711) | about 10 months ago | (#46269831)

I think the difference is that when Watergate was going on there was an opposition party who benefited from making a stink about it. Therefore the reporting led to a significant call to action, which led to action. This is very different from the Snowden documents. In this case both sides are guilty and have entrenched interests so there is no call to action, therefore there will be no action beyond what little bit of a dog and pony show the administration has offered us so far.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 10 months ago | (#46269295)

Those leaks were reported through The Guardian, a UK newspaper.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#46269369)

They were FIRST reported though the Guardian, but that hasn't stopped any US paper or other news outlet from covering the hell out of the story.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (3, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | about 10 months ago | (#46269317)

Because those making the leaks need to flee the country and take asylum elsewhere, or end up imprisoned for years.

It's not about the presence of the leaks, it's about the way that the government has persecuted the leakers, and the members of the press they went to.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269389)

Because those making the leaks are looking for fame and not staying anonymous.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 10 months ago | (#46270193)

And if they remained anonymous, you'd call them cowards?

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (1, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46269429)

Because those making the leaks need to flee the country and take asylum elsewhere, or end up imprisoned for years.

It's not about the presence of the leaks, it's about the way that the government has persecuted the leakers, and the members of the press they went to.

First of all... IF Snowden is a LEAKER then, by definition and by virtue of the paperwork he signed the government has the right (if not the obligation) to haul his butt into criminal court and store his living carcass in jail for long periods of time. If convicted of treason, the government can convert his living carcass into a dead one to be stored below ground until the here after arrives.

So watch your choice of words... It's "Whistle Blower!" not "leaker" or the argument is lost before you start.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#46269659)

Because those making the leaks need to flee the country and take asylum elsewhere, or end up imprisoned for years.

It's not about the presence of the leaks, it's about the way that the government has persecuted the leakers, and the members of the press they went to.

First of all... IF Snowden is a LEAKER then, by definition and by virtue of the paperwork he signed the government has the right (if not the obligation) to haul his butt into criminal court and store his living carcass in jail for long periods of time. If convicted...

The government does NOT have a "right" to incarcerate a person indefinitely, without convicting them of a crime.

Conversely, Edward Snowden does have a right to a fair and free trial, to face his accusers and the evidence they present against him, and to be judged by a jury of his peers.

None of which will happen under the current government.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269927)

The government does NOT have a "right" to incarcerate a person indefinitely, without convicting them of a crime.

Conversely, Edward Snowden does have a right to a fair and free trial, to face his accusers and the evidence they present against him, and to be judged by a jury of his peers.

None of which will happen under the current government.

If snowden signed the normal paperwork for a top secret SCI clearance he waved his right to an open jury trial of his peers when he accepted employment. This has been standard for nearly 3 decades and I don't see why it would have any affect on the US ranking this year.

I'm trying to think of any developed nation that doesn't have laws against releasing state secretes. Most, like the UK and France, are far harsher than the United States.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (3, Informative)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46269935)

None of which will happen under the current government.

How on earth can you KNOW that he would be unfairly treated? All they've done so far is to issue a warrant for his arrest and invalidated his passport, which is totally legal and within the bounds of the law.

I hate to break this to you, but Snowden *would* be fairly tried if he turned himself in to the USA or if they had managed to arrest him. There is ZERO evidence otherwise. He's lucky that it's the USA that's after him, because other countries would have killed him a long time ago. (And don't fool yourself, if the USA wanted him dead sans a trial, he'd be room temperature.)

So stop with this "He's being unfairly treated" nonsense. Nothing is further from the truth.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#46269997)

None of which will happen under the current government.

How on earth can you KNOW that he would be unfairly treated?

You mean, aside from the existence of Gitmo, the repeated threats of death from various US officials, and the treatment Bradley/Chelsea Manning received when he/she was suspected of whistle-blowing?

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46270071)

I hate to break this to you, but Snowden *would* be fairly tried if he turned himself in to the USA or if they had managed to arrest him. There is ZERO evidence otherwise.

*cough* guantanamo *cough* manning *cough*

I think there are STRONG evidence that this wouldn't be a fair trial.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#46269699)

" IF Snowden is a LEAKER then, by definition and by virtue of the paperwork he signed the government has the right (if not the obligation) to haul his butt into criminal court and store his living carcass in jail for long periods of time.

Warning: Code unreachable error in line 1

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (5, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 10 months ago | (#46269361)

Press freedom's drop was noticed because of Manning and Snowdon: now American-born reporters are afraid to come home. They've been threatened with both criminal charges and extrajudicial punishment for publishing the leaks. Net result? They get published in the UK.

Re:How does press freedom drop because of leaks? (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 10 months ago | (#46269409)

Wait a minute, they're complaining that press freedom has dropped because of Manning and Snowden? Who exactly doesn't know about that because as far as I can tell the press ran wild with it. Seems press freedom worked rather well to uncover quite a lot.

If you'll recall, when Snowden's leaks first came out, the US press was making a concerted effort to assassinate his character in lock-step with the US Congress, White House, and other government agencies.

It was only when that failed that he started getting any US press support at all.

That Palin Thing says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269199)

"How's that 'hopey-changey' stuff workin' out for ya?"

:: winks ::

:: snaps gum ::

Re:That Palin Thing says: (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#46269725)

Oh. It is working out horrilbly! Which makes me shudder to think: How much more totally fucked up would things be if she was VP?. Seriously. I don't want to think about it.

Screw W (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269201)

I can't wait until Bush is no longer president and we don't have things like this happen.

Whats that? A Democrat has been in the White house for 5 years? Never mind, this must be a fictional story.

Re:Screw W (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269491)

I can't wait until Bush is no longer president and we don't have things like this happen.

Whats that? A Democrat has been in the White house for 5 years? Never mind, this must be a fictional story.

Shesh AC, Where have YOU been for the last 5 years. Did you think that light skinned black man was just Bush's press secretary doing a really bad job?

And you have the year count wrong... It's really been about 21 years with a Democrat as POTUS, even if Clinton *did* sign welfare reform..

Hope and Change (1)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#46269209)

How's that working out for ya'll?

Re:Hope and Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269415)

There's been changes and there's more hope now. If everything was going good, there would be nothing to hope for. The worse things get, the more hope we can have.

More hope and more change. Exactly as promised, but not how you assumed.

Re:Hope and Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269665)

Just as good if not better than the other leading options.

Damn I wish Gary Johnson won.

Re:Hope and Change (2, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 10 months ago | (#46269743)

Horribly. It is only working out about 100 times better than if the other idiots got into office. It is still a miserable failure, but your implication that it would have been better with McCain/Palin is laughably idiotic.

Perpetuating a bad story. (4, Informative)

Albert Schueller (143949) | about 10 months ago | (#46269227)

It's too bad that the /. editor that posted this didn't dig into this shoddy piece of journalism before posting. You can read more about how arbitrary this "ranking" is at On The Media [onthemedia.org] and then move along, there's nothing to see here.

Re:Perpetuating a bad story. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269623)

No! US Press still free, comrades! As proof of this, I link to US Government-funded journalism!

You do realize you linked to a story produced with funding from the US government, right? Of course they're going to say everything is fine. They're paid to.

Thank you - BUT Bush - Ahahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269839)

I followed the links to Max Fisher's graph and we were at our worst during the Bush Years

BUSH was a totalitarian ass! My day is made!!

Obama isn't as bad a BUSH! but much worse than many of our former Presidents - but GIVE ME THIS!!!

AHAhahahahahah Obama is BETTER than BUSH!!

Airbrush much? (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 10 months ago | (#46269921)

So, press freedom in the US isn't really so bad, because the US has sometimes ranked higher? Even though it has never ranked above rank 20 or so? Is place 20 something to be pround of for the "land of the free"?

Read the report. It's not only about government abuse, which is bad enough, but also includes other factors. "Self-censorship" is a big one, for example, because of factors like "political correctness" (can't criticize minorities, don't dare offend the Christian right, etc.) and fear of lawsuits. However, the government abuses are already bad enough: metadata gathering, collecting specific phone records without warrants, etc.

Re:Perpetuating a bad story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46270055)

How true. It's actually interesting how much better Reddit commentary was on this article as opposed to slashdot. Some of the top Reddit commentators posted several reasons why this study was garbage but slashdot just drank it up as-is for the most part.

UK above US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269239)

The Guardian was ordered to destroy their copies of the Snowden leaks as the GCHQ watched; how is the UK _above_ the US in reporting matters?

Re:UK above US? (1)

maxandre (871505) | about 10 months ago | (#46269781)

Well, in the US they just charge the journalists as co-conspirators in stead...

Re:UK above US? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 10 months ago | (#46269791)

As far as we know, there is no ongoing prosecution in the UK against the Guardian or journalists linked to the Snowden whistleblowing. There were some threats, there were some preliminary investigations, there was even the embarrassing attempt to pressure Mr. Miranda into giving in, but since then, all open actions have stopped, and the threats from goverment members, police or members of parliament have ceased.

No... their stats suck (4, Informative)

Yohahn (8680) | about 10 months ago | (#46269253)

Think for yourself, but have a look here [onthemedia.org] .

Their statistics suck, even if their principles are sound.

Re:No... their stats suck (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about 10 months ago | (#46269365)

The Washington Post is "suspicious" of a report slamming the Obama Administration's thuggish treatment of the press? Color me shocked. Let's see if the New York Times follows suit . . . after all, Holder went after one of their own [yahoo.com] .

Re:No... their stats suck (4, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 10 months ago | (#46269617)

Go look at the actual 3D data map on the site, you'll find that the US is nearly indistinguishable from basically every other 1st world Western Eurpoean-Centric nation. When you see the difference between the "top plateau" and "everyone else" it becomes pretty clear that there really is nothing to see here.

Re:No... their stats suck (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#46269371)

Their point with the US was that journalists are not directly targetted, unlike most other countries, including nominal democracies like Russia and Brazil, where they are flat-out murdered, but their sources are targetted, including things like spying on the AP's phone call list and ultra-long jail sentences for whistleblowers.

Re:No... their stats suck (5, Informative)

Chan Jav (67520) | about 10 months ago | (#46269425)

Think for yourself, but have a look here [onthemedia.org] .

Their statistics suck, even if their principles are sound.

Let us look at the last few years worth of rankings
2002 17th
2003 31st
2004 22nd
2005 44th
2006 53rd
2007 48th
2008 36th
2009 20th
2010 20th
2011-12 47th
2013 32nd
2014 46th

Seems like a yo-yo, maybe this index is more about creating headlines than true measure. Please do reference the On The Media story linked above.

freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269275)

well, you know, freedom isn't free, and our's is especially expensive because, uhh, big corporations! no, capitalism! yes, if the government ran the press, we'd be first for sure!!

Without judgement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269305)

Without passing judgement on the ratings, why doesn't a country like Afghanistan or Iraq strive to beat the US in ratings like these? God knows they could easily do it.

Not to defend America or anything, (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 10 months ago | (#46269383)

but this is just a rank based on a number calculated according to an arbitrary weighting of factors. It is possible that the rank drop of the US might have been less had the factors used in calculating the score been weighted differently, or the cases used to arrive at the score been characterized somewhat differently.

For example, the score weights "Pluralism" twice as much as "self-censorship" and four times as much as "transparency". Why? Can such things be weighted precisely at all?

The scores for these factors are likewise arbitrarily scaled numbers in the range 0-100. The ranking of each country is a linear combination of non-parametric factors; as such the rank on such a score is so arbitrary as to be practically meaningless, or at best very imprecise.

I think such a score might have some value in comparing a country's performance to its prior performance, or even to compare progress made in one country vs. another -- provided it is taken with a large grain of salt. But the nature of the score is such that very little can be inferred about country A vs. country B based on their relative ranks.

As a liberal geek I'm all up for harsh criticism of America as a nascent plutocracy, but this particular story is just manufactured controversy.

Re:Not to defend America or anything, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269793)

My problem with these rankings is that they omit so much. The self-imposed censorship of stories that fail to flatter the liberal narrative is rampant and a big liability for the US. Last week we once again observe the blackout of reporting on ever growing mob violence [wnd.com] in our cities. Tomorrow we'll watch as our MSM spins [bloomberg.com] the popular backlash against socialist revolution in Venezuela.

Whinging about injustices on war-on-terror whistle blowers while ignoring these other, obvious problems with our media is selective hand-wringing and not credible.

Re:Not to defend America or anything, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269837)

Additionally, everyone should remember that *rankings* can be lowered by the entity in question (USA) doing worse, or just as easily by everyone else doing better. Is it possibly that countries are just being brought up to (+/-) the level that the USA has been at for a while?

Re:Not to defend America or anything, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269945)

>As a liberal geek I'm all up for suppressing politically incorrect speech I disagree with

FTFY

Re:Not to defend America or anything, (1)

hey! (33014) | about 10 months ago | (#46270141)

Ah, so I've victimized you, have I? Poor you.

Re:Not to defend America or anything, (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46270001)

but this is just a rank based on a number calculated according to an arbitrary weighting of factors..

Isn't that how "Stack Ranking" of employees would be defined?

rankings will always be suspect (1)

somepunk (720296) | about 10 months ago | (#46269457)

haven't you ever spent time going over product reviews loaded with benchmark charts? small variations mean very little, but when there are closely spaced items, it can really mix up the rankings. Learn some math, people!

Eritrea versus North Korea (2)

abies (607076) | about 10 months ago | (#46269535)

I was quite puzzled to see a country with lower Freedom index that North Korea. The gap is quite large (82 versus 85 points of 'non-freedom'). Even if they have described the method used (and misnamed it 'methodology', but thats separate story), they don't give detailed per-country factors, so it is not possible to understand _why_ given country is lower or higher in the ranking.

Actually, after reading further, it is based on _questionaire_. It might just mean that Eritrean citizens are allowed to complain about their country more than NK ones... or that NK data is based on imagination of journalists as opposed to interviews with ones which escaped from Eritrea.

Re:Eritrea versus North Korea (2)

Carewolf (581105) | about 10 months ago | (#46270075)

Eritrea is really fucked up though. You just don't hear much about them in the western press.

Don't worry. When Obama's elected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269543)

...he'll turn that right around.

Re:Don't worry. When Obama's elected... (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46270025)

Obama who? Berry won his *last* election in 2012, what's he going to run for now? Dog Catcher?

You won't be talking about Mechelle? Heaven help us if you are..

Possibly Exaggerated? (4, Informative)

hendrips (2722525) | about 10 months ago | (#46269565)

According to this article [washingtonpost.com] , there are plenty of reasons to doubt these rankings, even if press freedom in the U.S. is worrying. And ranking changes like these are not new. Here are the U.S.' rankings over the last 10 years (there's a typo in their own press release, the U.S. actually fell 14 slots):

2004: 22
2005: 44
2006: 53
2007: 48
2008: 36
2009: 20
2010: 20
2011: 47
2012: 27
2013: 32
2014: 46

That seems...a bit inconsistent. Again, that's not to say there isn't plenty to worry about in the U.S., but I'd still take these rankings with a grain of salt.

#1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269645)

At least the US will be #1 in % of population in prison for the foreseeable future.

Like astrology vs. astronomy (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 10 months ago | (#46269669)

Questionnaire respondents are probably confusing Freedom of the Press with whatever headline is hot the week of the survey.

God Bless Obama, Defender of Freedom !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269755)

Thank God we God rid of that evil Bush and now we have a President who respects the Constitution !!!

Re:God Bless Obama, Defender of Freedom !!! (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46270035)

Thank God we God rid of that evil Bush and now we have a President who respects the Constitution !!!

What difference does it make now?

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269797)

Goddamn it, I was hoping to see it at 42.

Foreswear from Sustained Retention of Inhilation (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 10 months ago | (#46269823)

Don't hold your breath waiting to hear any of this on your Evening Corporate News.

Do not mind the specific outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46269857)

Do not mind the weights or the metrics or source data used. Do not mind the actual list as in "who stands where". You can argue with all that.

But do note, no matter if that detail is questionable or this method is bad in your opinion or even plain wrong, that there *is* an actual problem.

They changed their methodology (4, Insightful)

wcrowe (94389) | about 10 months ago | (#46269889)

Not that I'm totally happy with the situation, but I wonder if this story is a bit exaggerated. Reporters Without Borders says that they made changes to their methodology. Suddenly the U.S. drops in rank. I think those two facts are related.

Re:They changed their methodology (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#46270067)

Reporters Without Borders says that they made changes to their methodology. Suddenly the U.S. drops in rank. I think those two facts are related.

What's that old saying... "Figures never lie, but lairs figure" or is it, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics!"

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