Author Topic: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX  (Read 23021 times)

Offline rpapo

How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« on: 07/01/2015 10:47 am »
Saturday morning (before the loss of CRS-7) I was doing my normal Google News scan for other people's takes on the SpaceX activity, and was appalled at a statement in the article posted on Quartz that morning: "While two previous SpaceX re-supply missions in 2015 had succeeded, the last re-supply mission of 2014 failed spectacularly."  We all know (on the NSF forums) that the spectacular failure was the Cygnus launch.  But your average person does not necessarily know that, and could interpret that statement to mean that that particular failure was of SpaceX.

I remarked to the air, "Why can't these guys proof-read what they write?"  At just that moment, my son came downstairs and overheard that.  His remark, "Now that was random."  So I explained what I meant.  His comment back was that he'd heard a lot about SpaceX failures lately.  What he'd heard about was certainly the landing attempt failures, so I clarified that to him.  He still sounded doubtful.  Of course, his opinion got reinforced the next day.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: Just how badly has public media, through misunderstanding the topic themselves, distorted the view that Joe Average has of SpaceX?  Joe Average probably doesn't care too much in general, but many of them vote, and that influences Congress to some extent.  More importantly, that same press coverage influences the perceptions of the members of Congress and their staff as well.

I would consider accusations of slanted coverage, or deliberate malice on the part of the press, to be off topic here and inappropriate for NSF.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline jtrame

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/2015 11:48 am »
I agree, it's ignorance not bias.  Monday morning HLN reported "this is the 3rd failure for SpaceX in 8 months."  NPR said "exploded on take-off."  Frustrating.

Offline WBY1984

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #2 on: 07/01/2015 12:01 pm »
From what I've seen, there are two camps.

A lot of things I read around the internet tend to be along the lines of 'well that's what happens when the US government farms out NASA's work to corner-cutting commercial interests'. They see human spaceflight as something that is winding up since the retirement of the Shuttle. Hard to disagree with that assessment, uninformed as it is.

On the other hand, there is also that really annoying tendency in social media and news to latch on to whatever is eye-catching so that it can make waves for 24 hours and then get buried by whatever else is new. It's superficial and favours things like some flashy new gadget product launch. This group don't know how to reconcile launch vehicle failure with the glossy image that had been sold to them by Team Elon.

« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 12:02 pm by WBY1984 »

Offline spacenut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/2015 01:40 pm »

Offline Lee Jay

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #4 on: 07/01/2015 01:48 pm »
Which brings me to the topic at hand: Just how badly has public media, through misunderstanding the topic themselves, distorted the view that Joe Average has of SpaceX?

Of SpaceX?  How about of *everything*?

I stopped watching the public media more than 10 years ago once I got disgusted with the state of journalism, which has journeyed from non-fiction to, at best, "based on a true story".  There are so many mass media errors of fact that they just aren't worth listening to anymore.

Primary sources (i.e. L2 information or Chris' article based on such), or bust.  Forget Fox, CNN, Reuters, AP, etc.  They've long since degraded beyond the minimum level needed to be of any real use.

Offline spacenut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #5 on: 07/01/2015 02:12 pm »
BBC news and the Jerusalem Post are fairly accurate. 

Offline rpapo

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #6 on: 07/01/2015 02:21 pm »
Of SpaceX?  How about of *everything*?
After I posted the OT, I thought about broadening it to news about space efforts in general, of whatever nation or company, since though I follow SpaceX rather closely, I know better than to take them entirely as they want to be seen.  That is, I don't quite like drinking Kool-Aid in the figurative sense.

You're right, but ranting at the state of mass media in general won't get you (or me) anywhere.  I was mainly concerned with whether your common guy on the street was seeing things the way my son was, keeping in mind that he is as connected to Facebook as any twenty-something nowadays.  That is, too tightly connected.  But that, too, is a digression.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 04:15 pm by rpapo »
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Offline rpapo

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #7 on: 07/01/2015 02:22 pm »
BBC news and the Jerusalem Post are fairly accurate.
Good to know.
An Apollo fanboy . . . fifty years ago.

Online wes_wilson

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #8 on: 07/01/2015 03:09 pm »
Lol then there's this thread...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37749.260

Where technews discusses how S1 made it to the station and Tesla & Nasa are investigating the explosion =)
@SpaceX "When can I buy my ticket to Mars?"

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #9 on: 07/01/2015 03:20 pm »
Quote
how badly the mainstream media understands spacex
Ha, this tickled me.

It's not a question of spacex. Its a question of the fact that the mainstream media is entirely and totally scientifically and engineering illiterate.

These people are emotional spin doctors bought and paid for by the highest bidder. Real journalism these days can only be found online, and even then it is rare (this site being an example). Modern big media "journalists", who really shouldn't call themselves journalists, a pretty much the cancer of the western world at this point. They do whatever they are paid the most to do and say, they make crap up, pretty much every single time something happens, and when it doesn't they invent something out of a non-issue, they lie cheat steal and lack any sort of ethics, and they have absolutely no idea how anything mechanical works at all, EVEN WHEN IT'S EXPLAINED TO THEM by the people who work there. They don't understand power-plants, or oil refineries outside of "oh god global warming!" They don't understand physics or nuclear engineering outside of  "oh god contamination, super science, a bomb!" They don't understand spaceflight outside of "Oh look rocket EXPLODED, HEY GUYYYYS LOOK LOOK IT EXPLODDDEEED OMG" and so forth.

The thing that irks me the most from the past few days is every major paper, news service, and more all reported this with bright big headlines "Spacex rocket EXPLODED!!! HUGE SETBACK CONGRESS CUTTING MONEIES", yet when huge milestone missions occur, or money is cut for mars, OR during the CXP debacle in 2011, not a god damn peep. Not one word. Nothing.

Because you see idiocy and misinformation, disinformation, this is what sells in 2015, not the truth, not facts, not reality. A fantasy crafted by infantile minds, for infantile minds, of infantile minds. And/or a fantasy designed to prey on un-educated people, of which there are many particularly in the U.S. right now where apparently "gender studies" and things like that are more popular than basic mechanical engineering.


And that in a nutshell, is why I hate the media, especially in the U.S. If they all went off the air and stopped printing papers tomorrow we would be better off. God only knows.


So the moral here is ignore them, boycott them, and don't read their crap, because it is just that: crap.

They have no idea what they are talking about, they never do, they never will. That is all there is to it.

It is not a question of "bad pr" or "bad press" it is a question of the press itself being a giant steaming pile. There is no such thing as good pr anymore. SpaceX will be fine as you can see, their satellite partners are not leaving them, nor is NASA cutting their contracts. I wouldn't worry. Worry instead about Congress who to often seems to be at the whim of media astro-turfing and ends up cutting funding to things as a result. Because federal subsidies for gender studies undergrads is more important than you know, colonizing other planets. Oops did I say that? Oh well.


/end rant
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"Live Long and Prosper"

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #10 on: 07/01/2015 03:27 pm »
Oh. One more thing because this might be the biggest single thing I hate if I had to pick something, about the U.S. right now.

Quote
My son heard it and said he only hears of failures

THAT is why all of this is a bad thing. THAT is why allowing this idiocy to continue as it does, and not challenging these people at every turn on factual accuracy is a bad thing. Because they are quite literally filling people's heads with crap. And which people are the most vulnerable to this? Kids and young adults who don't know any better yet and are impressionable.

They are being taught that when there is a fire, the proper response is to run around with your hair on fire until the media tells you otherwise, or some other authority figures puts the fire out for you, and then retreat to your happy place as normal. Not how to fix things, not how the world really works, not what the scientific challenges facing humanity this century are. No instead its, "why you should question your race" or who you were born as, ect, and anytime something happens: "OH GOD PANIC PLEASE CALL THE GOVERNMENT HEEEELP ROCKET EXPLODES OH WOE IS ME". Every time.

So yea, I really hate this fact, that is the fact that it gets to the kids first and makes it that much harder for us to raise them and correct this crap.

/end rant 2
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Online guckyfan

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #11 on: 07/01/2015 04:04 pm »
I have to disagree. True that reporting is often not as good as it should be. But if you read the whole article they usually are not that alarmist and get most of the facts correct. The problem is as much on the receiving end as on the producers of news. They read the headline and don't try to get the full picture as provided in the body of the article.

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #12 on: 07/01/2015 04:09 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision. It needs to be done in 3 different streams for main stream media:

1) corrections to the authors and editorial staff of articles, this must be diplomatic but firm, and it must be as full of fact as possible and carefully constructed to be readable and understandable based on the level of writing of the original article;

2) to the management of the particular media outlet, less priority on detail and diplomacy, high level of writing skills, high level of urgency on the accuracy needed;

3) wherever a media outlet allows comments careful presentation of accurate data in the comments, here diplomacy with respect to the original articles author, and diplomatic but firm responses to the others commenting, exceptional language skills and simple but technically accurate corrections that are neither overly verbose or terse.

There are a few reasons this should be a co-ordinated effort, besides keeping from wasting effort we could in fact work on sharing writing resources however the major reason is to achieve an even coverage of the media outlets instead of overwhelming some (which might even work against our purposes making them think their misinformation was more popular than accurate information) and skipping others.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline david1971

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #13 on: 07/01/2015 04:33 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Post of the year.

Offline AndrewM

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #14 on: 07/01/2015 08:08 pm »
Following the CRS-7 incident, I posted a very lengthy message on Facebook as the majority of my friends and family that are on it are not that informed about missions but they know I keep up to date and am a good source. I am hoping the majority of people who read it realize that this was the 1st complete failure for SpaceX and that the ISS is still in good shape.

Offline Jim

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #15 on: 07/01/2015 08:33 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Or favoritism.  There are many organizations and companies involved in spaceflight.   Just like pop music tends to over shadows other good and relevant musicians, there is no need to focus on current "pop" company exclusively.*


*I have a had a distain for pop radio/music,  going back to my teens.  AOR was my choice.  I bought LP and cassettes and not 45's and 8 tracks.  I got my first CD player in 83.  My current choice is ripping concert DVD/Blurays.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 08:33 pm by Jim »

Offline spacenut

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #16 on: 07/01/2015 08:53 pm »
Average Joe really doesn't keep up with spaceflight.  On another note, the business news do not like Elon Musk.  They tell people not to invest in Tesla for instance.  Musk throws all the profits back into the business, but most investors are not in the market for the long run, only the short run.  They like it when SpaceX can't land on their ship.  They know eventually SpaceX will go public and offer stock.  They think it will be just like Tesla, and not turn a profit.  So, that leaves companies like Google investing in SpaceX but not the large financials. 

SpaceX will work out this problem.  Just like any other company such as Orbital, ULA, Boeing, or Lockheed.  They need the revenue from satellite launches and NASA supply missions if they are to achieve their goal of the BFR and MCT. 

I'm surprised ULA never tried to retrieve the old Atlas II booster engines that drop off.  Now because of SpaceX they are going to try with Vulcan.  Hope they succeed in spite of congress.  Hope both SpaceX and ULA succeed because we need lower cost space flight to increase human presence in space. 

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #17 on: 07/01/2015 10:02 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision.

Or favoritism.  There are many organizations and companies involved in spaceflight.   Just like pop music tends to over shadows other good and relevant musicians, there is no need to focus on current "pop" company exclusively.*


*I have a had a distain for pop radio/music,  going back to my teens.  AOR was my choice.  I bought LP and cassettes and not 45's and 8 tracks.  I got my first CD player in 83.  My current choice is ripping concert DVD/Blurays.

I couldn't agree more Jim, and I specifically want to point out that attitudes like this:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37902.msg1398452#msg1398452


are not what is needed in this effort

However just because one is a fan doesn't mean that you are going to riot against the other team (soccer, rugby, hockey) or have armed and violent clashes with groups who have different tastes in music and vehicles (mods and rockers). I do think the group of people who would want to participate in an activity to correct and clarify misreporting of SpaceX in the media would be far larger than the one volunteering for ULA. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do either.

I was a very hopeful fan of DC-X, not so much Rotary Rocket.

As a biographical aside I was a fan of pop as a pre-teen but then as I gradually matured my tastes in music flowed backward from the popular music of the times because I was a fan of certain musicians with pop hits and as I learned more about those musicians I learned more about what influenced them musically and came to appreciate that, jazz particularly. Now much later in life I like some music because of the dances one can do with it and grew to appreciate a whole different path to much the same Jazz (via latin music that was a mix of Big band pop, Jazz, blues and the folk/traditional music of latin America).
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline nadreck

Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #18 on: 07/01/2015 10:09 pm »
Average Joe really doesn't keep up with spaceflight.  On another note, the business news do not like Elon Musk.  They tell people not to invest in Tesla for instance.  Musk throws all the profits back into the business, but most investors are not in the market for the long run, only the short run.  They like it when SpaceX can't land on their ship.  They know eventually SpaceX will go public and offer stock.  They think it will be just like Tesla, and not turn a profit.  So, that leaves companies like Google investing in SpaceX but not the large financials. 

SpaceX will work out this problem.  Just like any other company such as Orbital, ULA, Boeing, or Lockheed.  They need the revenue from satellite launches and NASA supply missions if they are to achieve their goal of the BFR and MCT. 

I'm surprised ULA never tried to retrieve the old Atlas II booster engines that drop off.  Now because of SpaceX they are going to try with Vulcan.  Hope they succeed in spite of congress.  Hope both SpaceX and ULA succeed because we need lower cost space flight to increase human presence in space.

Mainstream media including most business oriented specialty news media is just as illiterate and innumerate on the topic of business, economics and finance as mainstream media is on space, climate change, cloning etc.

And like the coverage railed against here, the headlines are the worst. A daily, flagrant example is headlines that read something like: "A strong jobs report rallied the market today".  In actual fact the markets rallied and the jobs report was strong and the only connection is in the wording of headlines. There have been several great and popular books about the lack of connection there (Fooled by Randomness, A random walk down wall street, etc.) yet media continues to invent connections in just about every business headline.
It is all well and good to quote those things that made it past your confirmation bias that other people wrote, but this is a discussion board damnit! Let us know what you think! And why!

Offline Nomadd

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Re: How Joe Average Perceives SpaceX
« Reply #19 on: 07/01/2015 10:24 pm »
Ok we can rail against technical illiteracy and innumeracy media, the government, the public, but it is within our power to do something about it too. As was done with the crowd sourced video repair, we could, as a group use NSF to co-ordinate a campaign to provide mainstream media with a more accurate picture of what is going on. This would have to be done without rancour or derision. It needs to be done in 3 different streams for main stream media:

NSF is pretty much already doing that. Any person or any media outlet with the slightest interest in the truth has all the resources they need. The problem is, you can't supply them with the desire for knowledge or pride in their job. Ignorance isn't the problem. Lack of desire to be any other way is.
 You can't counter Bravo Sierra with more Bravo Sierra. You counter it with the truth, and the truth is there for anybody who wants it. Media isn't inaccurate because they don't have access to accurate information. Articles are stupid because the people writing them simply don't give a damn if the articles have anything to do with reality.

 *This auto-censor is starting to annoy me. Some things just can't be described using Mary Poppins terminology.*
« Last Edit: 07/01/2015 10:26 pm by Nomadd »
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

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