Responding to listener feedback on episodes about journalism, Drachenlord, The Twitter Files, the Fediverse, free speech, artificial intelligence and beyond.

Here’s another episode of The Private Citizen where I respond to your feedback.

This is the penultimate episode of 2022. Live streams of the podcast will resume in the new year.

Producer Feedback

SteveB commented regarding something that was mentioned in the previous feedback episode:

Fab mentioned pipeline contamination and made a comparison to vehicle brakes that was quite good, but in the interested of hopefully helping some people if they ever run into this, here is a small correction: Vehicle brakes are very susceptible to air issues, but it does not damage the system, all the components will be just fine and you will not need to replace anything. The problem is that while oil is not compressible, hence how hydraulic systems work, air is very compressible. Having air in the system simple means that when you push your brake pedal, the air will compress, and the brakes will not apply. The process to remove the air is quite simple and only requires 2 people and a wrench. If however you put the wrong fluid in your brake system it could cause corrosion or the rubber components to swell, and then you are indeed looking at replacing components.

He also replied to my episode on the Drachenlord in August:

I think Fab nailed this one. With a 90+% of him going to jail, and a very low probability of him still having followers left on his existing accounts when he gets out, he is likely wrapping things up and planning for something new when he gets out.

It’s probably time for a quick update on what has been happening.

halcyontalon comments on episode 126:

A great episode as ever. I have just been re-listening to it on a long train journey, somewhat ironically.

The increasing prevalence of emotional and fear-based journalism definitely feels to me like a consequence of the scramble to increase the number of readers/viewers in a world where traditional journalism has less reach.

I tend to find that, by listening to the news on the radio, primarily the BBC World Service in my case, rather than reading it online, the chance of being drawn into reading more on a story is greatly reduced.

Also, by sticking to a couple of well known mainstream sources as a main source of news, over time I have come to understand how they will react to different situations, and can therefore make a better judgement on what is actually going on. I made a foray into reading alternative media sources a couple of years ago, but, while I am sure most of the writers are very well intentioned, I found it much harder to understand what was actually going on due to not fully knowing their pre-standing biases. That is partly why I enjoy The Private Citizen so much, because you always start off by stating your position, giving us the ability to properly interpret what you are saying rather than just shoving it down our throats as indisputable fact.

There’s a very good succession of posts on the forum about political and media issues in Canada that warrants its own episode of the podcast. I will try to get this done in the new year.

Evgeny Kuznetsov says in reply to episode 133:

Feel the need to share the recent Terence Eden’s piece predicting that Federalization might be happening, but it will be pseudo-federalization at best. Basically, same as email: kinda federalized, but everyone is on Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook anyway.

→ Terence Eden: How much decentralisation is too much?
→ My recent take on The Great Mastodon Migration: It’s the People, Not the Platform

On the recent episode 135, Evgeny comments:

Barely past the intro yet, but already feel the need to let you know that: 1) I highly appreciate you releasing despite being not quite recovered yet; I did miss the podcast, however selfish this may sound, 2) I’m glad you’re recovering; I’m hearing the flu is particularly evil this year*, to the point of people dying (some people just outside of my immediate circle have been victims these last weeks), and 3) as far as I’m concerned, you don’t need to feel guilty or otherwise bad for pausing the podcast for whichever period of time is called for; life comes first. I know you make a point of taking your podcast commitments seriously, though, and 4) that is always a source of my extra appreciation and respect. Welcome back!

* I myself did have some catarrhal issues last week, to the point of taking a sick leave. “Luckily”, the very day I called it and decided to take it easy for a couple of days, my almost-two-year-old stumbled while running and blowing into a tin whistle, hurting her palate and throat to a rather unsettling extent. The resulting kerfuffle left me no slack, so I didn’t even notice much of my own flu. Yep, having a kid is good for your health (sometimes).

Having listened through the episode now, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the series, as well as the importance-of-free-speech-and-stuff episodes you (tentatively) announced close to the ending.

I think you’re right when you blame the (lack of) education. Yet I can’t resist asking the next question: what is the reason of the sorry state of education in this regard? Is this something we can fix? How?

indiacharlie remarks:

Interesting episode, I’m listening to it now. But events seem to be accelerating, in the last few hours Elon now banning links to Mastodon, banning a guy who tracks Elons jet, and banning a number of Journalists for “reasons”. I don’t know what his long term plans for the platform are, but right now he seems to be weaponising it against people he personally doesn’t like. I don’t care for his behaviour.

Are Fab/TPC on Mastodon at all?

Petit-Michel replies:

On the reporters who named the twitter handle of the private jet tracker (whose account was gone by that point) latest news is they were reinstated. Still waiting for Kathy Griffin’s reinstatement. I’d be interested in Fab’s views on those examples, though I’d agree if he said they don’t rise to the same level of importance. No, I’m not going to disagree that what Twitter did was wrong. My feedback is to do with the Munk debate…

I didn’t think Michelle Goldberg was the worst on stage (a manifestation of my biases vs. Fab’s?). The ivermectin attack wasn’t great or interesting to me, she seemed to lose the plot in her closing arguments and she was embarrassingly confused by the applause cut off thing. But I thought she added to the debate, whereas both Gladwell and Murray came off as dick swinging blowhards. Taibbi clearly won, but what I thought she offered was the equivalent of what reporters (we are told) are supposed to get in an article (different rules for the muckraker style?), i.e. the statement from the entity being reported critically on. She sort of represented that for the NY Times. The way she conceded that the Times fucked up but offered this other explanation that they didn’t want to be accused of swaying the election from being burned in the past, I find that useful. It’s possible she’s carrying water for them, enjoying her recent success (online searches suggest she used to be relagated to the pages of the Nation), but that’s not obviously the case to me. Where Taiibi and Greenwald are weak, as I remember their reporting, is that we’re asked to jump from specifics that have evidence to general conclusions about the motivations of the people in the newsroom, the latter without so much evidence that I can remember (Taibbi did mention one NY Times editor quote that leaked – but then the NY Times, though doing lots of great reporting, seems totally fucked at times, particularly during wars, and that’s nothing new).

I found her convincing enough and doubted Taibbi’s portrayal (correct me if there was no such portrayal, it’s been awhile since I listened) of “mainstream media” burying the Hunter Biden laptop story enough that I sought and found the article below from Robert McMillan and Jeff Horwitz of the WSJ, captured by shortly after the NY Post story. It even briefly mentioned the online censorship problem by way of quoting a journalism professor in the last paragraph. In fact, it has everything I would have wanted on this story if I’d been able to take it seriously at the time. I voted for Hawkins/Walker and live in a state that’s never close in the presidential vote, so no impact either way, but I will admit that when I heard it making the rounds I probably thought little more than, “nice try Giuliani you walking sausage wrapper of excrement.” Is any paper in the U.S. more mainstream and respected than the news side of the WSJ? Even Noam Chomsky has said he reads them, saying that people investing money aren’t fond of news fables. Although if you look back you can find a reasonable article by the Washington Post too. Did the “suppression” of the story happen later?

The Wallstreet Journal via (1 November 2020): Facebook, Twitter Limit Sharing of New York Post Articles That Biden Disputes

Mojes wrote in an email:

I’m writing for the first time but listen for long time.

I was thinking about this green deal for a long time. I think that making assumption that governing people are dumb is wrong. It is highly competitive environment they work in. So they have to be smart as least in some way. And when you take this into consideration you make wonder not why they do green deals but what for?

And money (as in power of money not fiat) seem to be an answer as usual. My thinking is that today crude oil is as strong as dollar ( in a way that oil can change dollar value and vice versa). So I think that green deal is to make dollar less coupled with oil to be independent of OPEC and similar groups. It is probably similar with gas. I wonder about your thoughts on that. Thanks for your podcast.

Bennett emailed in response to episode 134, which was based on a previous email of his:

I was very surprised to see a full episode about my email. Thank you for the honor!

You are right, I may have overestimated your math abilities slightly. Sorry about that! But I admit that most of those pages weren’t well written, I might have had trouble with them myself without prior knowledge.

In some of the cases your intuitive understanding was very good, in others less so, but I’m glad you got something out of it! I will spare you the follow-up unless you ask for one, but next time I would grab graphics from lecture notes so you have an easier time. :D

Thanks for the show, the newsletter and the sanity. And keep running! 10k with weights is impressive. I was sick so often this fall that I’m way out of shape now.

Bennett (yes, Piater - I thought you would get that from the domain ;) )

Thank you for all the feedback and support throughout this year! I wish all listeners a Merry Christmas (or whatever you tend to celebrate) and hope I will continue to receive as much high quality feedback next year!

If you have any thoughts on the things discussed in this or previous episodes, please join our forum and compare notes with other producers. You can also contact me in several other, more private ways.

If you are writing in from Russia, you might want to use my whistleblower contact form.

Toss a Coin to Your Podcaster

I am a freelance journalist and writer, volunteering my free time because I love digging into stories and because I love podcasting. If you want to help keep The Private Citizen on the air, consider becoming one of my Patreon supporters.

You can also support the show by sending money to via PayPal, if you prefer.

This is entirely optional. This show operates under the value-for-value model, meaning I want you to give back only what you feel this show is worth to you. If that comes down to nothing, that’s OK with me. But if you help out, it’s more likely that I’ll be able to keep doing this indefinitely.

Thanks and Credits

I’d like to credit everyone who’s helped with any aspect of this production and thus became a part of the show. I am thankful to the following people, who have supported this episode through Patreon and PayPal and thus keep this show on the air:

Sir Galteran, Rhodane the Insane, Steve Hoos, Butterbeans, Michael Small, 1i11g, Jaroslav Lichtblau, Jonathan M. Hethey, Michael Mullan-Jensen, Dave, Sandman616, Jackie Plage, ikn, Bennett Piater, Rizele, IndieGameiacs, avis, Vlad, Joe Poser, Dirk Dede, Kai Siers, David Potter, Cam, Mika, MrAmish, Robert Forster, krunkle, Captain Egghead, RJ Tracey, Rick Bragg, RikyM, astralc, Barry Williams, Jonathan, Superuser, D, Florian Pigorsch and Juhan Sonin.

Many thanks to my Twitch subscribers: Mike_TheDane, jonathane4747, mtesauro, Galteran, l_terrestris_jim, pkeymer, m0dese7en_is_unavailable, redeemerf and Stoopidenduser.

I am also thankful to Bytemark, who are providing the hosting for this episode’s audio file.

Podcast Music

The show’s theme song is Acoustic Routes by Raúl Cabezalí. It is licensed via Jamendo Music. Other music and some sound effects are licensed via Epidemic Sound. This episode’s ending song is The Time of the Year by Niklas Gabrielsson with Martin Landström & his orchestra.