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Thread: The Terror of Fake News

  1. #361
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drhuy View Post
    wait, you did not expect cnn to publicly admitted that it created fake news, did you?
    Wait, you did not just make that up, did you?

  2. #362
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    Lies, true lies, and statistics

    Scott Sumner, Econlog.econlib.org, July 4, 2017

    We've all been hearing a lot about "fake news", although we may not agree as to which side of the ideological spectrum is peddling these lies. But there is another problem as well---news that is accurate, but extremely misleading. Indeed I'd say this sort of news is far more prevalent and far more of a problem than fake news.

    The news media is good at storytelling. That's no surprise, as people like to learn through stories, indeed this preference is probably hardwired into our brains. The news media can't survive without readers and viewers, and so naturally they focus on storytelling. And the most riveting stories involve war, terrorism, natural disasters, and other serious problems. While the individual stories are usually true, the overall effect is to present a very false image of the world. As a result, at least 90% of Americans literally have no idea as to what is actually going on in the world. Here's Nicholas Kristof:

    “Nine out of 10 Americans say in polls that global poverty has been staying the same or worsening. So let's correct the record.
    There has been a stunning decline in extreme poverty, defined as less than about $2 per person per day, adjusted for inflation. For most of history, probably more than 90 percent of the world population lived in extreme poverty, plunging to fewer than 10 percent today.
    Every day, another 250,000 people graduate from extreme poverty, according to World Bank figures. About 300,000 get electricity for the first time. Some 285,000 get their first access to clean drinking water. When I was a boy, a majority of adults had always been illiterate, but now more than 85 percent can read.
    Family planning leads parents to have fewer babies and invest more in each. The number of global war deaths is far below what it was in the 1950s through the 1990s, let alone the murderous 1930s and '40s.
    Aneri and I are reporting from a country whose name, Liberia, evokes Ebola, civil war and warlords like General Butt Naked. That's partly because we journalists have a bias toward bad news: We cover planes that crash, not planes that take off.”

    Unfortunately these true lies are hard to push back against. Statistics tells us that the world is getting better at a mind-boggling rate (Seriously, can your brain even imagine the improvement in human welfare associated with 250,000 people a day rising above extreme poverty? I can't.) But that's not the world people tend to see. As a result, they elect politicians who pander to their ignorance of the world.

    [I'm not sure how accurate that data is, but there is no question that global poverty is declining rapidly.]
    PS. Here's another example:

    “[W]e are defeating leprosy. Worldwide, cases have dropped 97 percent since 1985, and it is now easily treatable. A global plan set 2020 as a target for no more children to become deformed by leprosy.”

    As recently as the 1980s there were still over 5 million cases of leprosy. And now it's almost gone. Amazing.

  3. #363
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    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017...onference.html

    CNN's Acosta slammed for saying Trump held 'fake news conference'

    Cody Derespina
    By Cody Derespina Published July 06, 2017
    Fox News

    CNN reporter Jim Acosta took heat Thursday from conservatives on Twitter after the combative correspondent accused President Trump of holding a “fake news conference” -- and later spewed some "fake news" of his own when he claimed Trump misstated the number of intelligence agencies that concluded Russia meddled in the presidential election.

    During a joint news conference with President Andrzej Duda in Poland, Trump took questions from reporters from The Daily Mail and MSNBC. But that apparently wasn’t good enough for Acosta, who’s no stranger to sparring with Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

    “Trump finally held a news conference overseas. But he took a question from a friendly reporter and then attacked CNN as ‘fake news,’” Acosta tweeted, adding: “Isn’t it a ‘fake news conference’ to take a question from a reporter who is essentially an ally of the White House?”

    Acosta apparently was referring to The Daily Mail's U.S. political editor David Martosko, who was considered last month for a gig in Trump’s communications department but pulled out of consideration.

    But right-leaning social media watchers quickly blasted Acosta’s snarky messages, noting the Obama administration enjoyed no shortage of reporter-aide crossovers and suggesting former President Barack Obama and his team routinely called on friendly journalists.

    “So by that logic, was every news conference for the last 8 years #fakenews Jim?” Donald Trump Jr. wrote.

    Ex-Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer added: “Jim – care to guess how many questions I took from reporters who went on to join the Obama WH??”

    Conservative radio host Steve Deace picked up on the thread: “Jim, over two dozen ‘journalists’ went to work in the Obama WH, including the former WH spokesman.”

    An Atlantic article from 2013 noted Time managing editor Rick Stengel was “at least the 24th journalist to work for the Obama Administration.” Former Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also had worked for Time as its Washington Bureau Chief, which Deace alluded to. Others defected from outlets such as Politico, The Washington Post, National Journal and the Chicago Tribune to take roles under Obama.

    Aside from the Twitter battles, Acosta also ran into some trouble on air Thursday.

    While on CNN’s “New Day” after Trump’s joint press conference, Acosta repeated the “fake news” line – a phrase Trump often uses when he refers to CNN, including on Thursday – to describe an answer Trump gave to a question about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

    “The other thing that was ‘fake news’ coming from President Trump is when he said, ‘Well, I keep hearing it's 17 intelligence agencies that say Russia meddled in the election, I think it's only three or four,’” Acosta said. “Where does that number come from? Where does this ‘three or four’ number come from? My suspicion…is that if we go to the administration and ask them for this question, I'm not so sure we're going to get an answer.”

    However, there is an answer.

    The New York Times – and other outlets – had reported for months that “17 American intelligence agencies” agreed Russia orchestrated cyber-attacks before the election.

    But The Times on June 28 issued a correction, noting “the assessment was made by four intelligence agencies – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.” The Times bluntly concluded: “The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizers in the American intelligence community.”

  4. #364
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    There has been a stunning decline in extreme poverty...
    I have seen similar confirmation of this general rise from poverty (as has my Sister who works for the UN) which I think has to be a good thing. The question is who's policies are right to continue this development?

  5. #365
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I have seen similar confirmation of this general rise from poverty (as has my Sister who works for the UN) which I think has to be a good thing. The question is who's policies are right to continue this development?
    What's the right course of action for the future? Sorry, I gave up fortune telling some time ago.
    What worked best in the past? Opening up to the world economy, being a friend of the US, investing in education and keeping a lid on corruption.

  6. #366
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    Fake Polls Are A Real Problem

    Is Kid Rock leading the U.S. Senate race in Michigan? A story like that is essentially designed to go viral, and that’s exactly what happened when Delphi Analytica released a poll fielded from July 14 to July 18. Republican Kid Rock earned 30 percent to Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s 26 percent. A sitting U.S. senator was losing to a man who sang the lyric, “If I was president of the good ol’ USA, you know I’d turn our churches into strip clubs and watch the whole world pray.”

    The result was so amazing that the poll was quickly spread around the political sections of the internet. Websites like Daily Caller, Political Wire and Twitchy all wrote about it. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted it out. And finally, Kid Rock himself shared an article from Gateway Pundit about the poll.

    There was just one problem: Nobody knew if the poll was real. Delphi Analytica’s website came online July 6, mere weeks before the Kid Rock poll was supposedly conducted. The pollster had basically no fingerprint on the web.


    Indeed, Delphi Analytica isn’t a polling firm in any traditional sense, and it’s not entirely clear they even conducted the poll as advertised.

    The story of Delphi Analytica, its mysterious origins and its Kid Rock poll show that the line between legitimate and illegitimate pollsters is blurring. Much of the polling industry is moving online, where conducting a survey is far less expensive than making thousands of phone calls. But that lower price has also opened up polling to all sorts of new people: Some are seasoned professionals trying an old craft with a new tool or well-informed, well-meaning amateurs trying to break into the industry, but other characters have less noble goals — they’re pranksters seeking attention and scam artists trying to make a quick buck.

    If you’re a political observer interested in polls or a journalist who writes about them, you need to be more careful than ever.


    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...-real-problem/
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  7. #367
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  8. #368
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    Those involved did lose their job,( reference to cnn which shows their goal is get it right not to push a pov as the following site is dedicated to doing yet called news by many it is as much news as maddow) This is the type of fake news that troubles me by dropping the actual phrase spoken they change any kind of thoughtful response to the President's claim there were good people marching. Good people dont march with those chanting Jews will not replace us and for a site attacked for being too sympathetic white nationalists. A coincidence they change the chant being repeated to one that no longer reflects the racist anti Semitic nature of that Friday march...sorry for the necro thread. I thought it was an example of small purposeful changes morphing a news story into a propaganda piece. There was no retraction.....i am retired and will be popping in again mostly to lurk. I hope the last few years were as good to all of you as to me http://www.breitbart.com/news/torch-...tatue-removal/ i] the chant is easily identified in any of the videos and it wasn't we will not be replaced
    Last edited by Roosveltrepub; 06 Oct 17, at 16:25. Reason: unclear reference
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  9. #369
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    http://thehill.com/opinion/white-hou...p-fish-feeding

    Media shows why it’s so mistrusted after falsified Trump fish-feeding ‘story’
    It happened again — major media outlets and reporters getting caught red-handed misleading the public.

    And in this case, it was all over arguably the stupidest thing possible.


    You may have read by now that President Trump decided to dump a whole box of fish food into a koi pond while on his 13-day Asia trip. The implication, of course, is that a graceless brute like Trump has no idea about foreign customs and/or cares about the environment.


    Here's a few examples:

    Bloomberg's White House reporter:


    New York Magazine: Trump Under Fire for Improper Fish-Feeding Technique

    Jezebel:


    CNBC’s Christina Wilkie (in a now-deleted tweet): “Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe were scheduled to feed koi spoonfuls of food. Until Trump poured his entire box of fish food into the pond.”

    New York Daily News: Photo of Donald Trump dumping fish food into koi pond during Japan visit draws Obama comparisons

    The Guardian: “White House reporters, keen perhaps to pick up on a Trump gaffe, captured the moment when he upended his box on their smartphones and tweeted evidence of his questionable grasp of fish keeping. Some speculated that a poor palace employee would be dispatched to the scene to clean up the mess as soon as the two leaders disappeared inside.”

    CNN: Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond


    The CNN example includes edited video that zooms in on Trump to only show his face and prevents the viewer from seeing what Japanese Prime Minister Abe was doing at a key point of the short event.

    Why was Abe edited out? Perhaps because he took his entire box of fish food and dumped it into the pond. Trump followed Abe's lead and did the same seconds later.


    In other words — nothing to see here.

    But with the zoom edit cutting Abe out, the viewer or reader — with an assist from the caption — is led to believe only Trump dumped his box.


    So with this latest gaffe from numerous outlets in today's effort to make the president look like a dolt, it's another black eye for an industry that resembles Apollo Creed's face during his fatal fight against Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

    So the obvious question is this: Why pick a fight with Trump — who is mostly polling in the 30s and has no major legislative victories despite having majorities in the House and Senate — over something so ridiculous as fish-feeding? By doing so, it only perfectly makes the argument for Trump that the media is not only overwhelmingly negative in covering him, as study after study shows, but it's at times also hostile, adversarial and — most importantly in this case — fake.

    How bad is the damage on the fake front? Check out this poll provided exclusively to The Hill from Harvard University and Harris, which shows 65 percent of Americans think there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.

    The sentiment is carried by a majority across party lines, with 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats stating such. Even more telling, 84 percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

    Bob Woodward probably gave the best advice during his speech at this year's White House Correspondents Dinner.

    "Whatever the climate, whether the media’s revered or reviled, we should and must persist, and, I believe, we will," the Watergate legend said.

    "We also need to face the reality that polling numbers show that most Americans disapprove of and distrust the media. This is no time for self-satisfaction or smugness,"

    Our media can't afford any more of this kind of reporting marinated in the kind of smugness Woodward has keenly noticed.

    It needs to be almost perfect. And when mistakes are made, it needs to own up to them.

    Another day, another example of media bias.

    Oftentimes that bias is subtle.

    But in this feeding frenzy, it was not only blatantly overt, but intentional in its deception.

    Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.

  10. #370
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wooglin View Post
    http://thehill.com/opinion/white-hou...p-fish-feeding

    Media shows why it’s so mistrusted after falsified Trump fish-feeding ‘story’
    With this specific story, it started on the internet and Twitter, and was picked up by CNN and a few other careless majors, but on the whole, majors like CBS, PBC, WaPo, NYT and others caught the fake aspect of it and reported on it. Snopes, Politifact and other fact checkers were also quick to debunk the story.

    Yet, the overall premise that fake news in more prevalent these days than in the past, particularly as it pertains to Trump, is probably correct. It is, however, not a new phenomenon in this country, where periodically the media goes off the rails, not that it has ever been totally sober and accurate. Two things we need to remember: The media is not monolithic; it's made up of thousands of news organizations, not all of which agree with each other, and it's a for-profit industry dependent on advertising revenue which itself is measured in readers/listeners. Without teasing headlines and slippery innuendoes, news organizations lose eyeballs and therefore ad revenue. Witness the handful of honest, well researched publications. They have small numbers of subscribers and barely stay afloat.

    All in all, the frenzy over fake news is overblown. Carried too far it could lead to muzzling of the press. While it's good to expose fake stories, it's not good to attack the media in general. There are too many moving parts within it for all to be painted with the same brush
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  11. #371
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    This is why i stick to PBS & NPR or just listen to what the man has to say, preferably unedited

    REAL NEWS

    Can post anything from PBS here and i bet not one of you will have a problem with it : )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    This is why i stick to PBS & NPR or just listen to what the man has to say, preferably unedited

    REAL NEWS

    Can post anything from PBS here and i bet not one of you will have a problem with it : )
    Here is one that some here might like:

    Ronan Farrow On 'Harvey Weinstein's Army Of Spies' : NPR

    https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp...y_of_spies.mp3
    .
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
    Here is one that some here might like:

    Ronan Farrow On 'Harvey Weinstein's Army Of Spies' : NPR

    https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-mp...y_of_spies.mp3
    Below is the article that was the subject of the interview at the above link.

    Is the information real or fake?

    Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies

    The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.

    By Ronan Farrow
    06 November 2017
    The New Yorker

    In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to its literature.

    Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

    The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker. Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies “target,” or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

    In some cases, the investigative effort was run through Weinstein’s lawyers, including David Boies, a celebrated attorney who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential-election dispute and argued for marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court. Boies personally signed the contract directing Black Cube to attempt to uncover information that would stop the publication of a Times story about Weinstein’s abuses, while his firm was also representing the Times, including in a libel case.

    Boies confirmed that his firm contracted with and paid two of the agencies and that investigators from one of them sent him reports, which were then passed on to Weinstein. He said that he did not select the firms or direct the investigators’ work. He also denied that the work regarding the Times story represented a conflict of interest. Boies said that his firm’s involvement with the investigators was a mistake. “We should not have been contracting with and paying investigators that we did not select and direct,” he told me. “At the time, it seemed a reasonable accommodation for a client, but it was not thought through, and that was my mistake. It was a mistake at the time.”

    Techniques like the ones used by the agencies on Weinstein’s behalf are almost always kept secret, and, because such relationships are often run through law firms, the investigations are theoretically protected by attorney-client privilege, which could prevent them from being disclosed in court. The documents and sources reveal the tools and tactics available to powerful individuals to suppress negative stories and, in some cases, forestall criminal investigations.

    In a statement, Weinstein’s spokesperson, Sallie Hofmeister, said, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”

    In May, 2017, McGowan received an e-mail from a literary agency introducing her to a woman who identified herself as Diana Filip, the deputy head of sustainable and responsible investments at Reuben Capital Partners, a London-based wealth-management firm. Filip told McGowan that she was launching an initiative to combat discrimination against women in the workplace, and asked McGowan, a vocal women’s-rights advocate, to speak at a gala kickoff event later that year. Filip offered McGowan a fee of sixty thousand dollars. “I understand that we have a lot in common,” Filip wrote to McGowan before their first meeting, in May, at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Filip had a U.K. cell-phone number, and she spoke with what McGowan took to be a German accent. Over the following months, the two women met at least three more times at hotel bars in Los Angeles and New York and other locations. “I took her to the Venice boardwalk and we had ice cream while we strolled,” McGowan told me, adding that Filip was “very kind.” The two talked at length about issues relating to women’s empowerment. Filip also repeatedly told McGowan that she wanted to make a significant investment in McGowan’s production company.

    Filip was persistent. In one e-mail, she suggested meeting in Los Angeles and then, when McGowan said she would be in New York, Filip said she could meet there just as easily. She also began pressing McGowan for information. In a conversation in July, McGowan revealed to Filip that she had spoken to me as part of my reporting on Weinstein. A week later, I received an e-mail from Filip asking for a meeting and suggesting that I join her campaign to end professional discrimination against women. “I am very impressed with your work as a male advocate for gender equality, and believe that you would make an invaluable addition to our activities,” she wrote, using her wealth-management firm’s e-mail address. Unsure of who she was, I did not respond.

    Filip continued to meet with McGowan. In one meeting in September, Filip was joined by another Black Cube operative, who used the name Paul and claimed to be a colleague at Reuben Capital Partners. The goal, according to two sources with knowledge of the effort, was to pass McGowan to another operative to extract more information. On October 10th, the day The New Yorker published my story about Weinstein, Filip reached out to McGowan in an e-mail. “Hi Love,” she wrote. “How are you feeling? . . . Just wanted to tell you how brave I think you are.” She signed off with an “xx.” Filip e-mailed McGowan as recently as October 23rd.

    In fact, “Diana Filip” was an alias for a former officer in the Israeli Defense Forces who originally hailed from Eastern Europe and was working for Black Cube, according to three individuals with knowledge of the situation. When I sent McGowan photos of the Black Cube agent, she recognized her instantly. “Oh my God,” she wrote back. “Reuben Capital. Diana Filip. No fucking way.”

    Ben Wallace, a reporter at New York who was pursuing a story on Weinstein, said that the same woman met with him twice last fall. She identified herself only as Anna and suggested that she had an allegation against Weinstein. When I presented Wallace with the same photographs of Black Cube’s undercover operative, Wallace recalled her vividly. “That’s her,” he said. Like McGowan, Wallace said that the woman had what he assumed to be a German accent, as well as a U.K. cell-phone number. Wallace told me that Anna first contacted him on October 28, 2016, when he had been working on the Weinstein story for about a month and a half. Anna declined to disclose who had given her Wallace’s information. Over the course of the two meetings, Wallace grew increasingly suspicious of her motives. Anna seemed to be pushing him for information, he recalled, “about the status and scope of my inquiry, and about who I might be talking to, without giving me any meaningful help or information.” During their second meeting, Anna requested that they sit close together, leading Wallace to suspect that she might be recording the exchange. When she recounted her experiences with Weinstein, Wallace said, “it seemed like soap-opera acting.” Wallace wasn’t the only journalist the woman contacted. In addition to her e-mails to me, Filip also e-mailed Jodi Kantor, of the Times, according to sources involved in the effort.

    The U.K. cell-phone numbers that Filip provided to Wallace and McGowan have been disconnected. Calls to Reuben Capital Partners’ number in London went unanswered. As recently as Friday, the firm had a bare-bones Web site, with stock photos and generic text passages about asset management and an initiative called Women in Focus. The site, which has now been taken down, listed an address near Piccadilly Circus, operated by a company specializing in shared office space. That company said that it had never heard of Reuben Capital Partners. Two sources with knowledge of Weinstein’s work with Black Cube said that the firm creates fictional companies to provide cover for its operatives, and that Filip’s firm was one of them.

    Black Cube declined to comment on the specifics of any work it did for Weinstein. The agency said in a statement, “It is Black Cube’s policy to never discuss its clients with any third party, and to never confirm or deny any speculation made with regard to the company’s work. Black Cube supports the work of many leading law firms around the world, especially in the US, gathering evidence for complex legal processes, involving commercial disputes, among them uncovering negative campaigns. . . . It should be highlighted that Black Cube applies high moral standards to its work, and operates in full compliance with the law of any jurisdiction in which it operates—strictly following the guidance and legal opinions provided by leading law firms from around the world.” The contract with the firm also specified that all of its work would be obtained “by legal means and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

    Last fall, Weinstein began mentioning Black Cube by name in conversations with his associates and attorneys. The agency had made a name for itself digging up information for companies in Israel, Europe, and the U.S. that led to successful legal judgments against business rivals. But the firm has also faced legal questions about its employees’ use of fake identities and other tactics. Last year, two of its investigators were arrested in Romania on hacking charges. In the end, the company reached an agreement with the Romanian authorities, under which the operatives admitted to hacking and were released. Two sources familiar with the agency defended its decision to work for Weinstein, saying that they originally believed that the assignment focussed on his business rivals. But even the earliest lists of names that Weinstein provided to Black Cube included actresses and journalists.

    On October 28, 2016, Boies’s law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, wired to Black Cube the first hundred thousand dollars, toward what would ultimately be a six-hundred-thousand-dollar invoice. (The documents do not make clear how much of the invoice was paid.) The law firm and Black Cube signed a contract that month and several others later. One, dated July 11, 2017, and bearing Boies’s signature, states that the project’s “primary objectives” are to “provide intelligence which will help the Client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY newspaper” and to “obtain additional content of a book which currently being written and includes harmful negative information on and about the Client,” who is identified as Weinstein in multiple documents. (In one e-mail, a Black Cube executive asks lawyers retained by the agency to refer to Weinstein as “the end client” or “Mr. X,” noting that referring to him by name “will make him extremely angry.”) The article mentioned in the contract was, according to three sources, the story that ultimately ran in the Times on October 5th. The book was “Brave,” a memoir by McGowan, scheduled for publication by HarperCollins in January. The documents show that, in the end, the agency delivered to Weinstein more than a hundred pages of transcripts and descriptions of the book, based on tens of hours of recorded conversations between McGowan and the female private investigator.

    The contract between a private security firm and one of Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers.

    Weinstein’s spokesperson, Hofmeister, called “the assertion that Mr. Weinstein secured any portion of a book ... false and among the many inaccuracies and wild conspiracy theories promoted in this article.”

    The July agreement included several “success fees” if Black Cube met its goals. The firm would receive an additional three hundred thousand dollars if the agency “provides intelligence which will directly contribute to the efforts to completely stop the Article from being published at all in any shape or form.” Black Cube would also be paid fifty thousand dollars if it secured “the other half” of McGowan’s book “in readable book and legally admissible format.”

    The contracts also show some of the techniques that Black Cube employs. The agency promised “a dedicated team of expert intelligence officers that will operate in the USA and any other necessary country,” including a project manager, intelligence analysts, linguists, and “Avatar Operators” specifically hired to create fake identities on social media, as well as “operations experts with extensive experience in social engineering.” The agency also said that it would provide “a full time agent by the name of ‘Anna’ (hereinafter ‘the Agent’), who will be based in New York and Los Angeles as per the Client’s instructions and who will be available full time to assist the Client and his attorneys for the next four months.” Four sources with knowledge of Weinstein’s work with Black Cube confirmed that this was the same woman who met with McGowan and Wallace.

    Black Cube also agreed to hire “an investigative journalist, as per the Client request,” who would be required to conduct ten interviews a month for four months and be paid forty thousand dollars. Black Cube agreed to “promptly report to the Client the results of such interviews by the Journalist.”

    In January, 2017, a freelance journalist called McGowan and had a lengthy conversation with her that he recorded without telling her; he subsequently communicated with Black Cube about the interviews, though he denied he was reporting back to them in a formal capacity. He contacted at least two other women with allegations against Weinstein, including the actress Annabella Sciorra, who later went public in The New Yorker with a rape allegation against Weinstein. Sciorra, whom he called in August, said that she found the conversation suspicious and got off the phone as quickly as possible. “It struck me as B.S.,” she told me. “And it scared me that Harvey was testing to see if I would talk.” The freelancer also placed calls to Wallace, the New York reporter, and to me.

    Two sources close to the effort and several documents show that the same freelancer received contact information for actresses, journalists, and business rivals of Weinstein from Black Cube, and that the agency ultimately passed summaries of those interviews to Weinstein’s lawyers. When contacted about his role, the freelancer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he had been working on his own story about Weinstein, using contact information fed to him by Black Cube. The freelancer said that he reached out to other reporters, one of whom used material from his interviews, in the hopes of helping to expose Weinstein. He denied that he was paid by Black Cube or Weinstein.

    Weinstein also enlisted other journalists to uncover information that he could use to undermine women with allegations. A December, 2016, e-mail exchange between Weinstein and Dylan Howard, the chief content officer of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, shows that Howard shared with Weinstein material obtained by one of his reporters, as part of an effort to help Weinstein disprove McGowan’s allegation of rape. In one e-mail, Howard sent Weinstein a list of contacts. “Let’s discuss next steps on each,” he wrote. After Weinstein thanked him, Howard described a call that one of his reporters made to Elizabeth Avellan, the ex-wife of the director Robert Rodriguez, whom Rodriguez left to have a relationship with McGowan.

    Avellan told me that she remembered the interview. Howard’s reporter “kept calling and calling and calling,” she said, and also contacted others close to her. Avellan finally called back, because “I was afraid people might start calling my kids.” In a long phone call, the reporter pressed her for unflattering statements about McGowan. She insisted that the call be off the record, and the reporter agreed. The reporter recorded the call, and subsequently passed the audio to Howard.

    In subsequent e-mails to Weinstein, Howard said, “I have something AMAZING . . . eventually she laid into Rose pretty hard.” Weinstein replied, “This is the killer. Especially if my fingerprints r not on this.” Howard then reassured Weinstein, “They are not. And the conversation . . . is RECORDED.” The next day, Howard added, in another e-mail, “Audio file to follow.” (Howard denied sending the audio to Weinstein.) Avellan told me that she would not have agreed to coöperate in efforts to discredit McGowan. “I don’t want to shame people,” she said. “I wasn’t interested. Women should stand together.”

    In a statement, Howard said that, in addition to his role as the chief content officer at American Media Inc., the National Enquirer’s publisher, he oversaw a television-production agreement with Weinstein, which has since been terminated. He said that, at the time of the e-mails, “absent a corporate decision to terminate the agreement with The Weinstein Company, I had an obligation to protect AMI’s interests by seeking out—but not publishing—truthful information about people who Mr. Weinstein insisted were making false claims against him. To the extent I provided ‘off the record’ information to Mr. Weinstein about one of his accusers—at a time when Mr. Weinstein was denying any harassment of any woman—it was information which I would never have allowed AMI to publish on the internet or in its magazines.” Although at least one of Howard’s reporters made calls related to Weinstein’s investigations, Howard insisted that he strictly divided his work with Weinstein from his work as a journalist. “I always separated those two roles carefully and completely—and resisted Mr. Weinstein’s repeated efforts to have AMI titles publish favorable stories about him or negative articles about his accusers,” Howard said. An A.M.I. representative noted that, at the time, Weinstein insisted that the encounter was consensual, and that the allegations were untrue.

    Hofmeister, Weinstein’s spokesperson, added, “In regard to Mr. Howard, he has served as the point person for American Media’s long-standing business relationship with The Weinstein Company. Earlier this year, Mr. Weinstein gave Mr. Howard a news tip that Mr. Howard agreed might make a good story. Mr. Howard pursued the tip and followed up with Mr. Weinstein as a courtesy, but declined to publish any story.”

    einstein’s relationship with Kroll, one of the other agencies he contracted with, dates back years. After Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, an Italian model, accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her, in 2015, she reached a settlement with Weinstein that required her to surrender all her personal devices to Kroll, so that they could be wiped of evidence of a conversation in which Weinstein admitted to groping her. A recording of that exchange, captured during a police sting operation, was released by The New Yorker last month.

    During the more recent effort to shut down emerging stories, Kroll again played a central role. E-mails show that Dan Karson, the chairman of Kroll Americas’ Investigations and Disputes practice, contacted Weinstein at his personal e-mail address with information about women with allegations. In one October, 2016, e-mail, Karson sent Weinstein eleven photographs of McGowan and Weinstein together at different events in the years after he allegedly assaulted her. Three hours later, Weinstein forwarded Karson’s e-mail to Boies and Weinstein’s criminal-defense attorney, Blair Berk, and told them to “scroll thru the extra ones.” The next morning, Berk replied that one photo, which showed McGowan warmly talking with Weinstein, “is the money shot.”

    Berk defended her actions. “Any criminal-defense lawyer worth her salt would investigate unproven allegations to determine if they are credible,” she said. “And it would be dereliction of duty not to conduct a public-records search for photographs of the accuser embracing the accused taken after the time of the alleged assault.”

    Another firm, the Los Angeles-based PSOPS, and its lead private investigator, Jack Palladino, as well as another one of its investigators, Sara Ness, produced detailed profiles of various individuals in the saga, sometimes of a personal nature, which included information that could be used to undermine their credibility. One report on McGowan that Ness sent to Weinstein last December ran for more than a hundred pages and featured McGowan’s address and other personal information, along with sections labelled “Lies/Exaggerations/Contradictions,” “Hypocrisy,” and “Potential Negative Character Wits,” an apparent abbreviation of “witnesses.” One subhead read “Past Lovers.” The section included details of acrimonious breakups, mentioning Avellan, and discussed Facebook posts expressing negative sentiments about McGowan. (Palladino and Ness did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

    Other firms were also involved in assembling such profiles, including ones that focussed on factors that, in theory, might make women likely to speak out against sexual abuse. One of the other firm’s profiles was of Rosanna Arquette, an actress who later, in The New Yorker, accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. The file mentions Arquette’s friendship with McGowan, social-media posts about sexual abuse, and the fact that a family member had gone public with an allegation that she had been molested as a child.

    ll of the security firms that Weinstein hired were also involved in trying to ferret out reporters’ sources and probe their backgrounds. Wallace, the reporter for New York, said that he was suspicious when he received the call from the Black Cube operative using the pseudonym Anna, because Weinstein had already requested a meeting with Wallace; Adam Moss, the editor-in-chief of New York; David Boies; and a representative from Kroll. The intention, Wallace assumed, was to “come in with dossiers slagging various women and me.” Moss declined the meeting.

    In a series of e-mails sent in the weeks before Wallace received the call from Anna, Dan Karson, of Kroll, sent Weinstein preliminary background information on Wallace and Moss. “No adverse information about Adam Moss so far (no libel/defamation cases, no court records or judgments/liens/UCC, etc.),” Karson wrote in one e-mail. Two months later, Palladino, the PSOPS investigator, sent Weinstein a detailed profile of Moss. It stated, “Our research did not yield any promising avenues for the personal impeachment of Moss.”

    Similar e-mail exchanges occurred regarding Wallace. Kroll sent Weinstein a list of public criticisms of Wallace’s previous reporting and a detailed description of a U.K. libel suit filed in response to a book he wrote, in 2008, about the rare-wine market. PSOPS also profiled Wallace’s ex-wife, noting that she “might prove relevant to considerations of our response strategy when Wallace’s article on our client is finally published.”

    In January, 2017, Wallace, Moss, and other editors at New York decided to shelve the story. Wallace had assembled a detailed list of women with allegations, but he lacked on-the-record statements from any victims. Wallace said that the decision not to run a story was made for legitimate journalistic reasons. Nevertheless, he said, “There was much more static and distraction than I’ve encountered on any other story.”

    Other reporters were investigated as well. In April, 2017, Ness, of PSOPS, sent Weinstein an assessment of my own interactions with “persons of interest”—a list largely consisting of women with allegations, or those connected to them. Later, PSOPS submitted a detailed report focussing jointly on me and Jodi Kantor, of the Times. Some of the observations in the report are mundane. “Kantor is NOT following Ronan Farrow,” it notes, referring to relationships on Twitter. At other times, the report reflects a detailed effort to uncover sources. One individual I interviewed, and another whom Kantor spoke to in her separate endeavor, were listed as having reported the details of the conversations back to Weinstein.

    For years, Weinstein had used private security agencies to investigate reporters. In the early aughts, as the journalist David Carr, who died in 2015, worked on a report on Weinstein for New York, Weinstein assigned Kroll to dig up unflattering information about him, according to a source close to the matter. Carr’s widow, Jill Rooney Carr, told me that her husband believed that he was being surveilled, though he didn’t know by whom. “He thought he was being followed,” she recalled. In one document, Weinstein’s investigators wrote that Carr had learned of McGowan’s allegation in the course of his reporting. Carr “wrote a number of critical/unflattering articles about HW over the years,” the document says, “none of which touched on the topic of women (due to fear of HW’s retaliation, according to HW).”

    einstein’s relationships with the private investigators were often routed through law firms that represented him. This is designed to place investigative materials under the aegis of attorney-client privilege, which can prevent the disclosure of communications, even in court.

    David Boies, who was involved in the relationships with Black Cube and PSOPS, was initially reluctant to speak with The New Yorker, out of concern that he might be “misinterpreted either as trying to deny or minimize mistakes that were made, or as agreeing with criticisms that I don’t agree are valid.”

    But Boies did feel the need to respond to what he considered “fair and important” questions about his hiring of investigators. He said that he did not consider the contractual provisions directing Black Cube to stop the publication of the Times story to be a conflict of interest, because his firm was also representing the newspaper in a libel suit. From the beginning, he said, he advised Weinstein “that the story could not be stopped by threats or influence and that the only way the story could be stopped was by convincing the Times that there was no rape.” Boies told me he never pressured any news outlet. “If evidence could be uncovered to convince the Times the charges should not be published, I did not believe, and do not believe, that that would be averse to the Times’ interest.”

    He conceded, however, that any efforts to profile and undermine reporters, at the Times and elsewhere, were problematic. “In general, I don’t think it’s appropriate to try to pressure reporters,” he said. “If that did happen here, it would not have been appropriate.”

    Although the agencies paid by his firm focussed on many women with allegations, Boies said that he had only been aware of their work related to McGowan, whose allegations Weinstein denied. “Given what was known at the time, I thought it was entirely appropriate to investigate precisely what he was accused of doing, and to investigate whether there were facts that would rebut those accusations,” he said.

    Of his representation of Weinstein in general, he said, “I don’t believe former lawyers should criticize former clients.” But he expressed regrets. “Although he vigorously denies using physical force, Mr. Weinstein has himself recognized that his contact with women was indefensible and incredibly hurtful,” Boies told me. “In retrospect, I knew enough in 2015 that I believe I should have been on notice of a problem, and done something about it. I don’t know what, if anything, happened after 2015, but to the extent it did, I think I have some responsibility. I also think that if people had taken action earlier it would have been better for Mr. Weinstein.”

    einstein also drafted individuals around him into his efforts—willingly and not. In December, 2016, Weinstein asked the actress Asia Argento, who ultimately went public in The New Yorker with her allegation of rape against Weinstein, to meet in Italy with his private investigators to give testimony on his behalf. Argento, who felt pressure to say yes, declined after her partner, the chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain, advised her to avoid the meeting. Another actress, who declined to be named in this story, said that Weinstein asked her to meet with reporters to extract information about other sources.

    Weinstein also enlisted two former employees, Denise Doyle Chambers and Pamela Lubell, in what turned out to be an effort to identify and call people who might speak to the press about their own, or others’, allegations. Weinstein secretly shared the lists they compiled with Black Cube.

    Hofmeister, speaking on Weinstein’s behalf, said, “Any ‘lists’ that were prepared included names of former employees and others who were relevant to the research and preparation of a book about Miramax. Former employees conducting interviews for the book reported receiving unwanted contacts from the media.”

    Doyle Chambers declined an interview request. But Lubell, a producer who worked for Weinstein at Miramax decades ago, told me that she was manipulated into participating. In July, 2017, Lubell visited Weinstein’s offices to pitch him on an app that she was developing. In the middle of the meeting, Weinstein asked Lubell if they could have a private conversation in his office. Lubell told me that a lawyer working with Weinstein was already there, along with Doyle Chambers. Weinstein asked if Lubell and Doyle Chambers could write a “fun book on the old times, the heyday, of Miramax.” “Pam,” she recalled him saying, “write down all the employees that you know, and can you get in touch with them?”

    A few weeks later, in August, after they had made the list, Weinstein “called us back into the office,” Lubell recalled. “And he said, ‘You know what, we’re going to put a hold on the book.’ ” He asked Doyle Chambers and Lubell to “call some of your friends from the list and see if they got calls from the press.” In early September, Weinstein summoned Lubell and Doyle Chambers to his office and asked them to start making calls to people connected to several actresses. “It got kind of intense,” Lubell recalled. “We didn’t know these people, and all of a sudden this was something very different from what we signed up for.” Several of the targeted women said that they felt the calls they received from Lubell and Doyle Chambers, and from Weinstein himself, were frightening.

    Lubell told me that hours before the first Times story broke, on October 5th, Weinstein summoned her, Doyle Chambers, and others on his team, including the attorney Lisa Bloom, who has since resigned, to his office. “He was in a panic,” Lubell recalled. “He starts screaming, ‘Get so-and-so on the phone.’ ” After the story was published, the team scrambled to respond to it. Bloom and others pored over pictures that, like the ones featured in the Kroll e-mails, showed ongoing contact between Weinstein and women who made allegations. “He was screaming at us, ‘Send these to the board members,’ ” Lubell recalled. She e-mailed the photographs to the board ahead of the crisis meeting at which Weinstein’s position at his company began unravelling.

    Since the allegations against Weinstein became public, Lubell hasn’t slept well. She told me that, although she knew that Weinstein “was a bully and a cheater,” she “never thought he was a predator.” Lubell has wondered if she should have known more, sooner.

    After a year of concerted effort, Weinstein’s campaign to track and silence his accusers crumbled. Several of the women targeted, however, said that Weinstein’s use of private security agencies deepened the challenge of speaking out. “It scared me,” Sciorra said, “because I knew what it meant to be threatened by Harvey. I was in fear of him finding me.” McGowan said that the agencies and law firms enabled Weinstein’s behavior. As she was targeted, she felt a growing sense of paranoia. “It was like the movie ‘Gaslight,’ ” she told me. “Everyone lied to me all the time.” For the past year, she said, “I’ve lived inside a mirrored fun house.”

    Ronan Farrow, a television and print reporter, is the author of the upcoming book “War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence.”

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    Last edited by JRT; 07 Nov 17, at 17:49.
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  14. #374
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    so, what happens when good ol' Project Veritas tries to inject its own fake news into Fake News WaPo? Fake Fake News?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/inves...c3a_story.html
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  15. #375
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    Some ABC @fake news, tanking the markets.
    http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/12...e-stock-market
    Last edited by surfgun; 02 Dec 17, at 15:24.

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