I am the guy behind WTFJHT. Ask Me Anything


(Simon Clifford) #21

Hi Matt,
Thanks so much for scouring the news and keeping us even overseas in the picture with US presidential policy.
Here’s my question: what do you do to keep yourself on an even keel? Following tons of “outrage” and just plain depressingly barmy events on The Hill must be quite an effort, so I’d be interested to know how you keep yourself calm and sane every day? Perhaps we can all learn from you, here?
Thanks again for staying in there and keeping us all informed.
Simon


#22

I am in Houston, could you cover Trump’s plan to cut FEMA and the national flood program.

Also the lack of enforcement of the safety regulations of chemical plants, the environmental damage from this flood will be enormous because the plants that flooded were not up to spec?

There are tons of rumors flying around here on these issues and I 'd like some information that I can trust.

Thanks.


#23

How do you keep sane wading through the shit-show that is the current political landscape. I keep sane by reading my WTFJHT digest… but… :slight_smile:


(Anne ) #24

I’m not sure if it was Shakespeare or Christopher Moore (my favorite goofy author guy) who first used the term “Heinous Fuckery.” But that certainly nails our current situation.

We are assaulted on a daily basis with Trump’s insane rhetoric. I think that there isn’t a group of people in this country more pervasive, narrow minded, and dodgy than Trump’s base. My question is, is there a way for good folks to let go of our anger and somehow truly connect with his crazy-ass supporters and I don’t want to say to help them ‘see the light’ but really, to help them ‘see the light’? Elections are coming…


(Mesila Thraam) #25

What is your advice to the Resistance? All parts of it have value and it seems the worst thing we can do is argue and fiddlefuck among each other.

Thanks for all you do…been with you since day 1!
Mesila


#26

Hi Matt, thank you for all the awesome work you do every day to keep us informed! Two questions. First, I’m curious about the status of the Muller investigation. Have you seen anything on how many other facets this investigation has, or if he’s under any time constraints? Second, and this may be a tough one… while I know we can all come up with the bad things he’s done since taking office, in your opinion, is there anything he’s done right?


#27

Hi Matt. Thanks for your very valuable service. Have you ever considering providing a daily “window” into what the real fake news sources are feeding their audiences? Perhaps pick what leads your lineup for any given day with the usual summaries of main stream media and then contrast that reporting with just one “alternative” news outlet, such as Breitbart, Fox, NY Post, Limbaugh, etc. I’ll bet it would make for interesting discussion here. Cheers!


(PK) #28

Has anyone been effective in refuting and changing the mind of a 24/7 Fox News viewer? Would normally walk away but he’s my father in law and it’s intolerable when we visit.


#29

Matt, you’ve really struck a chord with WTFJHT and major kudos to you for keeping it reader funded! My only question is, have you spoken to a publisher yet?! This could become an awesome fucking book!


#30

It would, but I’m not sure it’s so great to give that stuff more stage time than it already has. Personally I think it’s best to keep this site confined to real news, we have enough going on with what’s actually happening; we don’t need to worry about made-up shit. If someone wants to see what kind of news white nationalists are reading, they know where to go.


#31

First of all, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the work you’ve been doing. It is my anchor. When I have to check out of the news world for the day and actually have a life, I am infinitely grateful that I can catch back up at the end of the day with your email. I also worry less that I’m missing critical issues.

I am impressed with your perseverance, commitment, writing style, humor, and leadership in stepping up and doing this important job. I would love to know what paths led you to this, and if you plan to stick with us for the long haul.


(Soraya E.) #32

Since you said we can ask anything… and I’m pretty sure I got the hang of WTFJHT, so, let’s get a little bit personal. I’m sure even you got asked this question when you were younger: ‘‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’’. Does your answer from the past match with what you are doing now or have been doing before you took up this job? And if your life has become something so much bigger than you expected, what is your next big goal, both personally as well as professionally?


(Martha C. Horbostel) #33

Along with many others I wish to profusely thank you for providing daily articles​:dart: :newspaper:informing your readers about the latest WTF and a member discussion section.
The comments already posted cover my basic questions or suggestions.
In response to the individual on how one deals with a close family member who defends the yellow haired trumpster, I received some very helpful guidance from one of your readers directly through my email but wonder if it this could be a focused and ongoing topic between members who share tactics and results.
Nothing more heart breaking and emotionally difficult to process when witnessing your family actually being torn apart :fearful::frowning::sob::angry::hear_no_evil::speak_no_evil::see_no_evil:— due to do and because of dt​:poop::poop::poop:.
Otherwise, :medal_sports::medal_sports::medal_sports:Matt my deepest respect :clap::handshake:and regard for all the work you do and the amazing additional contributions :mega::mega::mega:continually made available by dedicated members.
Oh, and want to purchase a women’s ♀small (x small depending on size n dimensions) V- necked tee shirt​:tshirt::womans_clothes:. Don’t know if these offered or you are:womans_clothes: waiting for another batch to arrive.


#34

I love this question. <3


(Matt Kiser) #35

Before WTFJHT, I was working for a small artificial intelligence startup in Seattle called Algorithmia. But before that I lived and worked at a bunch of publishers in New York (Business Insider, Forbes, SPIN) as a product manager for almost 10 years.

I grew up on punk rock and hardcore, so my politics tend to be rooted more in anti-authority, anti-establishment, and a general rejection of mainstream mass culture. I was straight edge for what seems like forever. I was a vegetarian or vegan for six or seven years. And, spent the better part of my teens and 20s being painfully politically active to the annoyance of all my friends and family. I guess that’s why none of my friends are surprised I started a blog/newsletter with an f-bomb in its name…

Like most, I tuned a lot of things out, chalking it up to “good enough.” It wasn’t. And now we’re here.


(Matt Kiser) #36

I have no idea. This thing was suppose to be just a side-project and personal challenge to finish something I’ve started. We’ve long blown past that (awesome!), but it means there’s no clear vision or plan for what this becomes.

I do know I want to involve the community more in WTFJHT’s future and direction, which is why I launched this forum. I also want empower individuals with different responsibilities and areas of ownership so that we eliminate the single point of failure being just me.

Ultimately, this really comes down to something super simple: WTFJHT should exist as long as necessary.

Specifically, that means I’ll keep doing this as long as the community keeps supporting me. If WTFJHT is valuable to you, then support it. If it stops being valuable and there’s no reason to continue supporting it, then I’ll know it’s time to pack it up. All good!


(Matt Kiser) #37

Go to sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, CNN, Bloomberg, WSJ, AP, Reuters. Followed by the networks: NBC, CBS, ABC. Then a bunch of blogs and more. (Side-note: I’m thinking of making my entire reading list and process available.)

re: trusted. There’s a few things:

  1. Everyday I survey the media ecosystem. There’s usually a predictable pattern: one outlet breaks some news. A bunch of other outlets rewrite the story. Some of these stories will confirm various details that were first reported. Through this meta view of you can corroborate the truthiness of a story. You can also identify the prominent stories by pattern matching.
  2. Multi-source citations. Along with the point above, I cite multiple sources that are confirming a story to signal that this story is being reported by multiple outlets and likely to be more factually correct.
  3. I’m extremely transparent with my reporting. Every post is stored as a git repository on GitHub, which provides a complete change history for everything – you can see every change to every post (under the Daily Posts on the site there is a “see revision history” button – click that to see the post’s revision history).
  4. I also accept requests to edit/correct my reporting. By being transparent in this way, I hope to show that I’m not pushing an agenda or trying to deceive people. If I fuck something up and fix it, there’s history showing that. I think this is where the community comes in: If you see something that’s wrong or not true, you’re able to fix it.

I can’t think of a single media company that is radically transparent, willing to admit mistakes, and ask for help in fixing/correct the story.

re: unbiased. I don’t really know if there’s such a thing as being unbiased. I don’t believe you can have this perfectly neutral point of view on the world. And, frankly, that sounds pretty fucking boring. What I try to do, however, is to peel away the positioning and framing of a story and relay just the facts of what happened and who reported it. That approach is, weirdly, a novel concept in a world of hyper partisan media and clickbait headlines. To go along with the trusted aspect, I think it’s okay to be biased as long as you’re transparent about it. When you say you’re “fair and balanced” but you’re not, that’s where shit flies off the rails.

I think of my job primarily as a guy making decisions about what the news value of what happened today in and around the White House.


(Matt Kiser) #38

Oh no! Have you been making pull requests? Have you seen them accepted/approved? Sometimes I fuck it up and mistakenly overwrite a copyedit. Feel free to email me to work through it.


(Matt Kiser) #39

Progress doesn’t move in a straight line. It looks like this:


(Matt Kiser) #40

I’ve always loved the Howard Zinn quote: “you can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

I agree with that perspective. Similar to this answer, my goal isn’t to be an unbiased robot. My goal is to strip away the opinions and the framing and simply report what happened, who reported, and get out of the way.

The fact that I’m a human making decisions about the value of something is inherently non-neutral. But I do try to justify my reporting with the news value of the facts.