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Thread: The Terror of Fake News

  1. #1
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The Terror of Fake News

    Obama was correct we need some entity to vet the news...
    Opinion Fake news writers: 'Hillary Clinton, here are your deplorables'
    SOCIAL-MEDIA
    LibertyWritersNews founders Paris Wade, left, and Ben Goldman work at their apartment in Long Beach on Nov. 14. (Stuart Palley / For the Washington Post)
    Paul ThorntonPaul ThorntonContact Reporter

    One of the guilty pleasures of editing letters to the editor is occasionally reading novel, colorful insults included in submissions that do not make it into print. Almost all of the time, the rhetorical flourish in these letters cannot make up for the lack of a substantive argument, so they get left out.

    That’s not the case for the responses to an article Saturday on the two Los Angeles-area twentysomethings behind the Donald Trump-friendly fake news site LibertyWritersNews. The two letters published Thursday were the softest of the roughly two dozen submissions that expressed nothing but scorn. Sprinkled among the barbs were earnest points about maintaining an informed citizenry.

    Ernie Orfila of Spring Valley, Calif., puts the two “journalists” into Hillary Clinton’s basket of deplorables:
    I wonder who raised them; even if they were raised by wolves, the wolves should be ashamed. — Mike Greene, Tustin

    Kudos to the real-life journalist who turned over the brain-dead rock to shed light on Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the alt-right, fake news-dispensing site LibertyWritersNews. Like two poorly adjusted adolescents who get their kicks shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre, they have found the key to making money without regard to facts, ethics or morals.

    Hillary Clinton, here are your deplorables.

    Tustin resident Mike Greene encourages the two writers to find a different line of work:

    Words fail me. There is so much wrong, on so many levels, with the shamelessness personified by these two young guys. I wonder who raised them; even if they were raised by wolves, the wolves should be ashamed.

    That they have no problem with their faces being shown and their names and backgrounds being printed only amplifies just how big a problem this whole fake news thing is.

    The most ironic line of the story is buried right in the middle, when one of them utters, “You have to trick people into reading the news.” The stuff they’re putting out isn’t news, and to call it that is beyond ridiculous.

    Guys, get an honest job.

    Jeffrey Peter Bates of Toluca Lake parodies a fake-news headline:
    Submit a Letter to the Editor
    Submit a Letter to the Editor

    “FAKE NEWS TROLLS RIG ELECTION OUTCOME!” Hopefully The Times will not resort to headlines like this to increase its readership, leaving it instead to fake journalists Paris Wade and Ben Goldman, who are enthusiastically tapping into people’s fears, prejudices and ignorance.

    While I applaud their entrepreneurial guile, I abhor the glee with which they practice their “click bait” tactics. They have made it much more difficult for readers to distinguish between reliable and yellow journalism.

    And to answer their question about being complicit should one of their readers “take out” a fellow human being: The answer is yes.

    Allen F. Dziuk of Carlsbad wonders about LibertyWriters News’ audience:

    I worry less about Trump being our president than I do about the voters who put him in the White House.
    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/reade...203-story.html


    Reflections on Fake News
    12/03/2016 02:45 pm ET
    Bruce Fein Constitutional Lawyer and Author
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-..._13396578.html
    Fake news is an old story.

    It has featured in domestic politics and international affairs since the beginning of time.

    The British famously defined an ambassador as an "honest man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country."

    A prime mission of the Central Intelligence Agency is to spread false news to influence the outcome of foreign elections. The very first CIA covert action manipulated the 1948 Italian elections. By its own later admissions to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the agency forged documents and letters purported to come from the Communist Party of Italy (PCI) to besmirch its reputation and discredit its leaders; funded anonymous books and magazine articles vividly detailing alleged communist activities in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union; and, published pamphlets exposing PCI candidates' sex and personal lives and insinuating they harbored fascist or anti-church sympathies.

    The CIA intervened with multiple covert actions costing between $800,000 and $1 million in Chile's 1970 presidential election with the hope of derailing Marxist candidate Salvador Allende. The Senate Select Committee found: "Propaganda placements were achieved through subsidizing right-wing women's and 'civic action' groups."

    It would thus be stunning if the Russian or Chinese intelligence services refrained from seeking to influence elections in the United States to their advantage by imitating the C.I.A.'s modus operandi abroad of spreading false news. Intelligence services do not play by Queensbury Rules.

    In any event, prohibiting fake news would be problematic. Generally speaking, falsehoods and truths are both protected by the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court explained in United States v. Alvarez (2012) that false statements may not punished unless they cause some demonstrable concrete harm, for example, fraud, defamation, or a miscarriage of justice. The Court in Alvarez invalidated a federal prohibition on lying about receiving military decorations or medals. In reliance on that precedent, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus voided an Ohio statute prohibiting malicious falsehoods in political campaigns for the purpose of influencing the outcomes.

    Justice Louis Brandeis lectured in Whitney v. California (1927) that the customary remedy for bad speech or demagoguery is more speech or superior arguments, not enforced silence. He largely echoed John Milton's Areopagitica: "Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

    Brandeis and Milton were too rosy. Mark Twain was more right than wrong in quipping that, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."

    But prohibiting "fake" or "false" news would be a cure worse than the disease, i.e., censorship by other means. The government cannot be trusted with distinguishing fake from genuine news because it has ulterior motives. News the government dislikes would be conflated with fakery, and news the government approved would be conflated with truthfulness. Private businesses like Facebook cannot be trusted with distinguishing fake from genuine news because its overriding mission is to make money and to win popularity, not to spread truth. It would suppress news that risked injury to its reputation or profits but leave news that did the opposite undisturbed.

    The entire concept of fake news is troublesome. Candidates for public office routinely make statements divorced from truth. Was it "fake" news for 1968 presidential candidate Richard Nixon to maintain he had a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War when he had no such thing? Is it "fake" news when candidates make fanciful promises to create millions of new jobs, cut taxes, balance the budget, and slash government spending which carry the plausibility of King Canute's stopping the tides? The lion's share of campaign speeches typically dwell outside the domain of credibility. Are they all "fake" news? They seek to persuade the audience to believe in a future they know is impossible.

    Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes captured the optimal approach to fake news in his famous dissenting opinion in Abrams v. United States (1919):

    "[T]he best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market...That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution."

    The solution is not perfect. But it is better than all the alternatives.
    Last edited by troung; 03 Dec 16, at 23:41.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-d...ian-propaganda
    NEWS DESK
    THE PROPAGANDA ABOUT RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA
    By Adrian Chen , DECEMBER 1, 2016
    A report from a group called PropOrNot has accused hundreds of Web sites of spreading Russian propaganda. But its methodology is a mess.
    A report from a group called PropOrNot has accused hundreds of Web sites of spreading Russian propaganda. But its methodology is a mess.
    PHOTOGRAPH BY DENIS SINYAKOV / AFP / GETTY
    In late October, I received an e-mail from “The PropOrNot Team,” which described itself as a “newly-formed independent team of computer scientists, statisticians, national security professionals, journalists and political activists, dedicated to identifying propaganda—particularly Russian propaganda targeting a U.S. audience.” PropOrNot said that it had identified two hundred Web sites that “qualify as Russian propaganda outlets.” The sites’ reach was wide—they are read by at least fifteen million Americans. PropOrNot said that it had “drafted a preliminary report about this for the office of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and after reviewing our report they urged us to get in touch with you and see about making it a story.”

    Reporting on Internet phenomena, one learns to be wary of anonymous collectives freely offering the fruits of their research. I told PropOrNot that I was probably too busy to write a story, but I asked to see the report. In reply, PropOrNot asked me to put the group in touch with “folks at the NYTimes, WaPo, WSJ, and anyone else who you think would be interested.” Deep in the middle of another project, I never followed up.


    PropOrNot managed to connect with the Washington Post on its own. Last week, the Post published a story based in part on PropOrNot’s research. Headlined “Russian Propaganda Effort Helped Spread ‘Fake News’ During Election, Experts Say,” the report claimed that a number of researchers had uncovered a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign” that spread fake-news articles across the Internet with the aim of hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump. It prominently cited the PropOrNot research. The story topped the Post’s most-read list, and was shared widely by prominent journalists and politicians on Twitter. The former White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted, “Why isn’t this the biggest story in the world right now?”

    Vladimir Putin and the Russian state’s affinity for Trump has been well-reported. During the campaign, countless stories speculated on connections between Trump and Putin and alleged that Russia contributed to Trump’s election using propaganda and subterfuge. Clinton made it a major line of attack. But the Post’s story had the force of revelation, thanks in large part to the apparent scientific authority of PropOrNot’s work: the group released a thirty-two-page report detailing its methodology, and named names with its list of two hundred suspect news outlets. The organization’s anonymity, which a spokesperson maintained was due to fear of Russian hackers, added a cybersexy mystique.

    But a close look at the report showed that it was a mess. “To be honest, it looks like a pretty amateur attempt,” Eliot Higgins, a well-respected researcher who has investigated Russian fake-news stories on his Web site, Bellingcat, for years, told me. “I think it should have never been an article on any news site of any note.”

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    The most striking issue is the overly broad criteria used to identify which outlets spread propaganda. According to PropOrNot’s recounting of its methodology, the third step it uses is to check if a site has a history of “generally echoing the Russian propaganda ‘line’,” which includes praise for Putin, Trump, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, Iran, China, and “radical political parties in the US and Europe.” When not praising, Russian propaganda includes criticism of the United States, Barack Obama, Clinton, the European Union, Angela Merkel, nato, Ukraine, “Jewish people,” U.S. allies, the mainstream media, Democrats, and “the center-right or center-left, and moderates of all stripes.”

    These criteria, of course, could include not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself. Yet PropOrNot claims to be uninterested in differentiating between organizations that are explicit tools of the Russian state and so-called “useful idiots,” which echo Russian propaganda out of sincerely held beliefs. “We focus on behavior, not motivation,” they write.

    To PropOrNot, simply exhibiting a pattern of beliefs outside the political mainstream is enough to risk being labelled a Russian propagandist. Indeed, the list of “propaganda outlets” has included respected left-leaning publications like CounterPunch and Truthdig, as well as the right-wing behemoth Drudge Report. The list is so broad that it can reveal absolutely nothing about the structure or pervasiveness of Russian propaganda. “It’s so incredibly scattershot,” Higgins told me. “If you’ve ever posted a pro-Russian post on your site, ever, you’re Russian propaganda.” In a scathing takedown on The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald and Ben Norton wrote that PropOrNot “embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy, but without the courage to attach individual names to the blacklist.”

    By overplaying the influence of Russia’s disinformation campaign, the report also plays directly into the hands of the Russian propagandists that it hopes to combat. “Think about RT and Sputnik’s goals, how they report their success to Putin,” Vasily Gatov, a Russian media analyst and a visiting fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, told me. “Their success is that they have penetrated their agenda, that they have become an issue for the West. And this is exactly what happened.” (Kristine Coratti Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Post, said, “The Post reported on the work of four separate sets of researchers. PropOrNot was one. The Post reviewed its findings, and our questions about them were answered satisfactorily during the course of multiple interviews.”)


    In a phone interview, a spokesman for PropOrNot brushed off the criticism. “If there’s a pattern of activity over time, especially combined with underlying technical tells, then, yeah, we’re going to highlight it,” he said. He argued that Russian disinformation is an enormous problem that requires direct confrontation. “It’s been clear for a while that Russia is a little braver, more aggressive, more willing to push the boundaries of what was previously acceptable.” He said that, to avoid painting outlets with too broad a brush, the group employs a sophisticated analysis that relies on no single criterion in isolation.

    Yet, when pressed on the technical patterns that led PropOrNot to label the Drudge Report a Russian propaganda outlet, he could point only to a general perception of bias in its content. “They act as a repeater to a significant extent, in that they refer audiences to sort of Russian stuff,” he said. “There’s no a-priori reason, stepping back, that a conservative news site would rely on so many Russian news sources. What is up with that?” I asked to see the raw data PropOrNot used to determine that the Drudge Report was a Russian-propaganda outlet. The spokesman said that the group would release it to the public eventually, but could not share it at the moment: “That takes a lot of work, and we’re an all-volunteer crew.” Instead, he urged me to read the Drudge Report myself, suggesting that its nature would be apparent.

    On its Twitter account, PropOrNot, in support of its research, cites an article I wrote for the Times Magazine, in 2015, about an online propaganda operation in Russia. But my investigation was focussed on a concrete organization that directly distributed disinformation. I was able to follow links from Twitter accounts and Web sites to a building in St. Petersburg where hundreds of young Russians worked to churn out propaganda. Despite the impressive-looking diagrams and figures in its report, PropOrNot’s findings rest largely on innuendo and conspiracy thinking.

    Another major issue with PropOrNot is that its members insist on anonymity. If one aims to cut through a disinformation campaign, transparency is paramount. Otherwise you just stoke further paranoia.The Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev, who debunks Kremlin propaganda on his site, Noodleremover, floated the possibility that PropOrNot was Ukrainians waging a disinformation campaign against Russia. The PropOrNot spokesman would speak to me only on the condition of anonymity and revealed only bare biographical details on background. “Are you familiar with the assassination of Jo Cox?” he asked, when I asked why his group remained in the shadows, referring to the British M.P. murdered by a right-wing extremist. “Well, that is a big thing for us. Basically, Russia uses crazy people to kill its enemies.”

    I can report that the spokesman was an American man, probably in his thirties or forties, who was well versed in Internet culture and swore enthusiastically. He said that the group numbered about forty people. “I can say we have people who work for major tech companies and people who have worked for the government in different regards, but we’re all acting in a private capacity,” he said. “One thing we’re all in agreement about is that Russia should not be able to fuck with the American people. That is not cool.” The spokesman said that the group began with fewer than a dozen members, who came together while following Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine. The crisis was accompanied by a flood of disinformation designed to confuse Ukraine and its allies. “That was a big wake-up call to us. It’s like, wait a minute, Russia is creating this very effective fake-news propaganda in conjunction with their military operation on the ground,” the spokesman said. “My God, if they can do that there, why can’t they do it here?” PropOrNot has said that the group includes Ukrainian-Americans, though the spokesman laughed at the suggestion that they were Ukrainian agents. PropOrNot has claimed total financial and editorial independence.

    Given PropOrNot’s shadowy nature and the shoddiness of its work, I was puzzled by the group’s claim to have worked with Senator Ron Wyden’s office. In an e-mail, Keith Chu, a spokesman for Wyden, told me that the PropOrNot team reached out to the office in late October. Two of the group’s members, an ex-State Department employee and an I.T. researcher, described their research. “It sounded interesting, and tracked with reporting on Russian propaganda efforts,” Chu wrote. After a few phone calls with the members, it became clear that Wyden’s office could not validate the group’s findings. Chu advised the group on press strategy and suggested some reporters that it might reach out to. “I told them that if they had findings, some kind of document that they could share with reporters, that would be helpful,” he told me. Chu said that Wyden’s office played no role in creating the report and didn’t endorse the findings. Nonetheless, he added, “There has been bipartisan interest in these kind of Russian efforts, including interference in elections, for some time now, including from Senator Wyden.” This week, Wyden and six other senators sent a letter to the White House asking it to declassify information “concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election.”


    The story of PropOrNot should serve as a cautionary tale to those who fixate on malignant digital influences as a primary explanation for Trump’s stunning election. The story combines two of the most popular technological villains of post-election analysis—fake news and Russian subterfuge—into a single tantalizing package. Like the most effective Russian propaganda, the report weaved together truth and misinformation.

    Bogus news stories, which overwhelmingly favored Trump, did flood social media throughout the campaign, and the hack of the Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s e-mail seems likely to have been the work of Russian intelligence services. But, as harmful as these phenomena might be, the prospect of legitimate dissenting voices being labelled fake news or Russian propaganda by mysterious groups of ex-government employees, with the help of a national newspaper, is even scarier. Vasily Gatov told me, “To blame internal social effects on external perpetrators is very Putinistic
    .....
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/05/medi...ate/index.html

    Love the last paragraph about a Flynn.

    Oh, and the person in question is 28, a millennial. Hmm...

    Millions of people have read about a crazy conspiracy theory called "Pizzagate." An untold number of them actually believe it. One person apparently took matters into his own hands and showed up to the pizza place that the conspiracy theorists say is at the center of the web with guns.

    No one was injured at Comet Ping Pong, the Washington restaurant, on Sunday afternoon, but the armed confrontation showed the offline, real-life consequences of online lies.

    While conspiracy theories are nothing new, Internet echo chambers are making the deceptions more powerful and more pernicious. The world wide web provides easy access to the truth -- but makes it equally easy to wall off the facts and soak up fictions instead.

    Case in point: While detectives were still scouring the scene of the crime on Sunday afternoon, "Pizzagate" believers were already saying that the incident was a "false flag" operation and a "fake news" story.

    Yes, these commenters were asserting that the real-life crime was all just part of the cover-up.

    If you're saying to yourself, "How could anyone possibly believe this stuff?," think back to the overheated days before the presidential election.

    "Pizzagate" spun up on 4chan, Reddit, Twitter and other web sites in the final days before the election. It was a made-up story incorporating fake leaks from "police sources" and misinterpreted Wikileaks emails.

    Believers imagined a pedophilia ring supposedly being run out of the pizza shop that somehow involved Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman John Podesta, among other Democrats.

    It was an anti-Clinton narrative -- just one of many -- spread by online commenters who described themselves as Donald Trump supporters. "Pizzagate" continued to evolve after election day.

    The conspiracy theory apparently motivated the suspect, Edgar Maddison Welch, to drive from his home in North Carolina to Washington.

    He allegedly walked inside Comet, pointed one of his weapons, and caused a panic. He apparently fired at least one shot before being apprehended.

    "During a post-arrest interview," D.C. police said, "the suspect revealed that he came to the establishment to self-investigate 'Pizza Gate' (a fictitious online conspiracy theory)."

    James Alefantis, the owner of Comet, said in a statement on Sunday night: "Let me state unequivocally: these stories are completely and entirely false, and there is no basis in fact to any of them. What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences. I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today, and stop promoting these falsehoods right away."

    Not all of the obviously untrue anti-Clinton stories that have floated around the Internet were peddled by conspiracy theorists. Some of them, written by spammers with the intent of fooling unsuspecting web users and getting ad revenue from those users' clicks, have become known as "fake news" stories. Facebook and Twitter helped fake headlines go viral during the campaign.

    But the term "fake news" -- usually signaling a specific article -- doesn't fully capture an insidious narrative like "Pizzagate." This became a full-fledged conspiracy theory, with multiple spin-off theories.

    "These things are preposterous fabrications," CNN media analyst Bill Carter said on "New Day" Monday morning, and "they're not being repudiated by the right people."

    Trump's pick for national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, shared a related anti-Clinton theory on Twitter before election day, and his son Michael G. Flynn -- who has an official government transition email address -- has repeatedly defended "Pizzagate," including in one tweet sent after Sunday's incident.
    Last edited by tbm3fan; 05 Dec 16, at 19:23.

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    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    There's also that crazy story about Podesta spiritual dinner with Abramovic, a respected performance artist, where they are accused of performing Satanic self-mutilation and blood drinking. Um... OK.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
    -Talmud Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16.

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    What about the National Inquirer and all its imitators. They've been around forever and pretty much everyone knew the news stories in them were mostly fake. I think people eventually figure out what sources of news they can trust and what sources they can't, and they will this time.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    JAD,

    What about the National Inquirer and all its imitators. They've been around forever and pretty much everyone knew the news stories in them were mostly fake. I think people eventually figure out what sources of news they can trust and what sources they can't, and they will this time.
    i have my doubts that this will happen organically. party polarization and the isolating effects of the Internet means that people will continue absorbing news that leans with their overall worldview. there's no Big Three television now that people just watch-- they can get "tailored" news, so to speak.

    and there's significant power behind that; look at Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus' recent responses to Trump's assertion from fake news that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for millions of illegal immigrants voting.
    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

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The death of the "big three" is a good thing. Opening up the market place for ideas is great. The crusade against fake news is an attempt by one party and some.legacy news agencies to attempt.to muzzle opposing voices.
    http://nypost.com/2016/12/04/the-war...ing-real-news/
    FacebookTwitterGoogleWhatsAppEmailCopy
    The war on ‘fake news’ is all about censoring real news
    By Karol Markowicz December 4, 2016 | 7:07pm | Updated
    The war on ‘fake news’ is all about censoring real news
    Barack Obama Photo: Reuters
    Scrambling for an explanation for Donald Trump’s victory, many in the media and on the left have settled on the idea that his supporters were consumers of “fake news” — gullible rubes living in an alternate reality made Trump president.

    To be sure, there is such a thing as actual fake news: made-up stories built to get Facebook traction before they can be debunked. But that’s not what’s really going on here.

    What the left is trying to do is designate anything outside its ideological bubble as suspect on its face.

    In October, President Obama complained that we need a “curating function” to deal with the “wild-wild-west-of-information flow.” Who would be doing this “curating” is unclear — but we can guess: “Obviously,” Noah Feldman writes at Bloomberg View, “it would be better if the market would fix the problem on its own . . . But if they can’t reliably do it — and that seems possible, since algorithms aren’t (yet) fact-checkers — there might be a need for the state to step in.”

    In other words, censorship. And whom might the government look to target in this crackdown? In an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone last week, Obama said again that “The biggest challenge that I think we have right now in terms of this divide is that the country receives information from completely different sources.” Uh-oh.

    –– ADVERTISEMENT ––



    Seemingly with a straight face, Obama then told Wenner: “Good journalism continues to this day. There’s great work done in Rolling Stone.” Rolling Stone, of course, ran a sensational, and false, story last year about a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity that was thoroughly discredited. The magazine was forced to pay a university administrator it defamed $3 million in damages, and there may be more lawsuits in store. “Good journalism” and Rolling Stone do not go hand in hand.

    And then Obama removed all doubt. He blamed Trump’s win in part on “Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.”

    But of course, the fake-news problem goes both ways — and illustrates what’s really on the left’s mind.

    Last week, the Guardian ran a column ostensibly written by a liberal man who had fallen down the online rabbit hole of the alt-right and, just like that, found himself becoming a racist.

    “I just passively consumed it, because, deep down, I knew I was ashamed of what I was doing,” the author writes. “I’d started to roll my eyes when my friends talked about liberal, progressive things. What was wrong with them? Did they not understand what being a real liberal was? All my friends were just SJWs. They didn’t know that free speech was under threat and that politically correct culture and censorship were the true problem.”

    It was the subject, naturally, of praise across the online left. It confirmed their deepest suspicions. It was almost too good to be true.

    And it probably was. Godfrey Elwick, a Twitter personality whose bio describes him as a “Genderqueer Muslim atheist who prefers to be called ‘Xir, Xirs Xirself,’” has claimed credit for the hoax. He has been posting what he says is evidence that he wrote it, including time-stamped drafts.

    Whether the piece is real or not, it exposes a bigger problem. The point of the column is that if you consume information with which you disagree, you will become brainwashed and eventually someone you don’t recognize. Better not to take that chance! We joke about safe spaces, but the Guardian took seriously the idea that we need to create a safe space for ourselves where no alternative opinions can enter, lest we find that we are unable to digest unapproved thoughts without becoming a monster.

    And that’s what the push against “fake news” is really all about. It’s a way to marginalize all nonliberal voices and blur the lines between viral sites pushing questionable content and reliable outlets with which we may just disagree. Obama wants you to think the one major cable network consistently critical of him is brainwashing the population by beaming its talking points into bargoers’ pints.

    An echo chamber like the one pushed in the anonymous Guardian piece is much more of a problem in news consumption than inaccurate information. The more “curated” the media becomes, the less likely we are to hear opposing viewpoints and to have ours
    Last edited by troung; 06 Dec 16, at 04:47.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    JAD,



    i have my doubts that this will happen organically. party polarization and the isolating effects of the Internet means that people will continue absorbing news that leans with their overall worldview. there's no Big Three television now that people just watch-- they can get "tailored" news, so to speak.

    and there's significant power behind that; look at Paul Ryan and Reince Preibus' recent responses to Trump's assertion from fake news that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for millions of illegal immigrants voting.
    Asty:

    Agree it won't happen quickly, and it will never be complete. But most people will catch on. The Comet pizza place incident will help. Gen Flynn's son had something to do with pushing that story and now he says it still hasn't been proven untrue. Even his dad helped before the election. Will Trump show them the door? He ought to, but he probably won't. The vote thing is more like bad political posturing than fake news.

    Harks back to the 1800 campaign when Jefferson'a campaign said about Adams, "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

    Adams' campaign retaliated by calling Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

    And these were among the milder statements. Each side had newspapers putting out exaggerated and often outright false stories about the candidates. But you know all this.

    The medium has changed, but the tactics haven't.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    I miss Walter...sigh

  10. #10
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    I miss Walter...sigh
    And Brinkley...he was the king of subtle disdain.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Big Like on the two above....

    And Michael G. Flynn molests collies. Hey, it hasn't been proven wrong yet so it must be true, right?
    “We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.”
    ― T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

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    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
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    Well, surprise, surprise. Trump did boot Gen Flynn's son from the transition team, ostensibly for his part in propagating fake news. I read that he tried to resign before the axe fell. Donald apparently was not amused.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    The IntersectAnalysis
    How the war against fake news backfired
    By Abby Ohlheiser December 7 at 3:19 PM

    Comet Ping Pong is set to reopen after a North Carolina man discharged an assault-style rifle at the Chevy Chase neighborhood restaurant claiming he was there to investigate a fake news story on the Internet about a child sex ring, police say. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
    Fake news has become a problem that the media and the tech industries are urgently searching for ways to solve. But in the post-election push to fix the problem, those who most want to find the solution have managed to lose control over what, exactly, the definition of “fake news” is.

    Fake news can refer to deliberately fabricated stories, often with the purpose of making money for the creators. (Think of those Macedonian teenagers looking to strike it rich on the gullibility of American audiences reading about politics.) It can also refer to comedy or satirical news, faked for the purposes of entertainment. Both of these types of stories are often shared across social media — and are taken as true by some readers. (The problem of what responsibility platforms such as Facebook have in creating algorithms that promote phony stories predates this election-induced panic, but it is central to the current discussion.)

    [Facebook fake-news writer: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me’]


    Fake news can now also refer to the phenomenon of a news source publishing something that is inaccurate but is still believed and shared by readers. This includes sites such as Gateway Pundit, which, in the weeks before the election, regularly published outright false stories that became talking points on the conservative Internet. And as the boundaries between “fake” and “unreliable” have become more permeable, conservatives have begun saying that the mainstream outlets they already don’t trust should be called “fake,” too.


    The idea that the mainstream media is to blame for fake news stories gets a lot of promotion in the Donald Trump-supporting Internet. As concerns escalated among the mainstream media and Silicon Valley about the impact of fabricated stories on the election results, some Trump supporters saw the coming crackdown as a gambit to silence conservative voices. So, they borrowed from the old rubber-and-glue children’s rhyme and started relabeling the mainstream media as the real “fake news.”

    [This is how Facebook’s fake-news writers make money]

    Andrew Torba, the founder of a new social network called Gab, has posted about turning down interview requests from phony news outlets — by which he means CNN and other mainstream news sources. Gab, which was founded as a “free speech” social network, is popular with conservatives and white nationalists who deeply distrust platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and much of the mainstream media. (Pizzagate, the outlandish conspiracy theory about child trafficking in a D.C. pizza restaurant, is a regular trending topic among Gab’s users.)

    Infowars’ Alex Jones, a notorious conspiracy theorist who has questioned whether the December 2012 massacre of children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School really happened, now says that the entire worry about “fake news” is really just a strategy to force Americans to accept only the “establishment’s” viewpoint.



    Now the urgent campaign to stop the spread of fake news and the response to it have almost rendered the term itself meaningless. For certain conservatives, “fake news” now means “liberal bias,” even as the other side uses it to describe an exaggerated or completely untrue statement from the president-elect.

    [Pope Francis may also be worried about fake news]

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    This should not be as surprising as it is to those who are just now seeing the term “fake news” applied to themselves. The New York Times’s John Herrman warned us about this a couple of weeks ago. What he describes below has, more or less, now happened.

    “Fake news” as shorthand will almost surely be returned upon the media tenfold. The fake news narrative, as widely understood and deployed, has already begun to encompass not just falsified, fabricated stories, but a wider swath of traditional media on Facebook and elsewhere. Fox News? Fake news. Mr. Trump’s misleading claims about Ford keeping jobs in America? Fake news. The entirety of hyperpartisan Facebook? Fake news. This wide formulation of “fake news” will be applied back to the traditional news media, which does not yet understand how threatened its ability is to declare things true, even when they are.

    That mistrust of the mainstream media’s veracity extends beyond the Trump-supporting Internet. It’s rooted in suspicions of liberal bias in the media. If you don’t trust the media to tell the truth about the world as you see it, why would you trust it to determine what we call “fake” and what we call “real” news?

    [Pizzagate: From rumor, to hashtag, to gunfire in D.C.]


    Dustin Siggins, a conservative journalist who has written about his skepticism on the current panic about fake news, told me that for many conservatives, “the mainstream press has lost credibility even when it deserves it.” One reason for that, he said, is that conservatives believe “the mainstream and liberal press goes after us in ways that we find unfair and disingenuous.” The sudden concern about “fake news” in the days after a divisive election in which the successful candidate made an art out of mocking and attacking the mainstream press reads as suspect from this perspective.

    Fake news is a real issue, but its turn in the spotlight comes just as the institutions that might be in a position to do something about it are vulnerable. The ability of the mainstream media to stop misinformation is limited by how little many trust it. Pizzagate has been the most extreme example so far of what happens when news can mean anything you want it to.

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    A man showed up at a Washington pizza place on Sunday with an assault-style rifle and fired shots. A suspect, 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch of North Carolina, was arrested. Police said Welch told them that he went to the Comet Ping Pong restaurant to “self-investigate” the absurd Pizzagate conspiracy that he read about on the Internet. Pizzagaters claim that Comet Ping Pong is the headquarters of a secret pedophilia ring involving Democrats, specifically the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    For many, the gunfire was a cautionary tale of the real-life consequences when fake news is distributed and believed. The Pizzagaters would probably agree that this incident shows the danger of “fake news.” But by “fake news” they mean The Washington Post and similar mainstream outlets, which they believe should be condemned for not covering this conspiracy theory as if it were true.



    Fake news has, in a period of weeks, gone from a concern about how we share news online today to a meme — one that allows nearly any source of information to be “fake.” It seems inevitable that the Internet will continue to twist the term “fake news” into new definitions. As those meanings multiply, the usefulness of trying to solve the real problem of deliberately fabricated misinformation online — in other words, actual “fake news” — becomes much harder.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  14. #14
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Fake news has, in a period of weeks, gone from a concern about how we share news online today to a meme — one that allows nearly any source of information to be “fake.” It seems inevitable that the Internet will continue to twist the term “fake news” into new definitions. As those meanings multiply, the usefulness of trying to solve the real problem of deliberately fabricated misinformation online — in other words, actual “fake news” — becomes much harder.
    Yup. Various names such as trolls, @right etc have been applied but effectively we're seeing legacy media being bludgeoned to death as it lays on it's sickbed by the new. No respect these youngsters, literally no respect at all.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility

    Gottfried Leibniz

  15. #15
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    All this concern about fake news vindicates those of us who do our own analysis, and as far as possible, from primary sources. So, the next time I post something based on hard, reliable and very widely accepted data, it would be really nice not to hear "the inflation rate is waaaay higher than that," or, "those are just part-time jobs," or, "you didn't include people who stopped looking for work and dropped out of the labor force!"

    Thanks.

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