Last Friday night, the Valparaiso Family YMCA in Indiana abruptly stopped airing CNN on its televisions in the facility’s wellness and exercise area. According the the Chicago Tribune, the decision was made by the Y’s CEO, Robert Wanek, after dozens of complaints were lodged from guests regarding CNN’s obvious “political bias” and constant reporting of “fake news.”
White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, scolded TIME magazine White House pool reporter Zeke Miller on Friday for falsely reporting that the Martin Luther King Jr. bust had been removed from the Oval Office after President Donald Trump moved in.
Name a single person or organisation you trust to control your speech. Whom would you trust to control what you can read, or make decisions on what is true and what is false for you? Whom do you trust to police what you think?
The German government thinks it knows exactly who should be the arbiter of truth and what articles you should be allowed to post. Itself!
After a bill was proposed by German lawmakers, which threatened fines of up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for publishing “fake news,” Facebook decided to use an organisation called Correctiv, described as a German fact-checking non-profit organisation, to decide whether reported stories are “real” or “fake.
The furor over “fake news” on Facebook supposedly tipping the election for Donald Trump was only going to end one way. I just didn’t expect it to get there so quickly.
The “fake news” hysteria came, after all, from the same people who previously brought us “fake but accurate.” If you don’t remember that phrase, here’s a refresher. In the 2004 election, CBS’s Dan Rather tried to pass off forged Texas Air National Guard memos in an attempt to impugn the military record of George W. Bush. It was fake news, and it was specifically designed to tilt the results of a presidential election.
The Fake News crusade began with BuzzFeed, more than any other member of the media, and it deservedly ends there. It began with BuzzFeed faking news to kick off a crusade against Fake News.
The fake news that BuzzFeed faked was about the threat of Fake News. The numbers were wrong. But that didn’t stop BuzzFeed from warning that what it called Fake News was beating real news. And that’s probably true. BuzzFeed’s discredited Trump dossier story outperformed the NBC story discrediting it.
New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan appeared to be unaware during a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that a Washington Post story about Russian hacking into the Vermont power grid has been completely debunked and retracted.
“Two weeks ago The Washington Post reported that a hacking group connected with the Russian government managed to infiltrate the Burlington Electric power company in Vermont,” Hassan said to retired Marine Gen. John Kelley during his confirmation hearing to head the Department of Homeland Security. More.
Reality check: No one corrected her, which is a good thing. We can always wait to see whether she co-sponsors a “war on fake news” that targets everyone except her party’s fast friends in media. Fake news? The Post did not do ordinary fact checking on that story, any more than Dan Rather did in Rathergate. No changes are needed except possibly in research methods or people we listen to.
It’s a tad ironic since Rather plunged his former network in a scandal regarding the authenticity of memos written by Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, former President George W. Bush’s squad commander in the Texas Air National Guard. The contents of these documents reportedly put the president’s service in a negative light, though experts disregarded them as fakes. This segment questioning Bush’s National Guard service aired during the 2004 election. CBS subsequently apologized for using them. Hot Air’s Allahpundit was part of the group of writers that initially questioned the veracity Killian documents.
The fallout was a disaster for CBS, who fired producer Mary Mapes and led to Rather’s retirement and departure from the network entirely soon afterwards. More.
Reality check: It makes perfect sense if we keep in mind that the progressive view of truth is unrelated to evidence or accuracy. It is about narrative and spin. Rather is a hero to many in Hollywood who long for the day his approach will dominate without fear. His students are preparing themselves for that world, either as its friends or its foes.
And progressive site Mashable is pleased. From Yi Shu Ng at Mashable:
The country’s president, Joko Widodo, has ordered the immediate establishment of a National Cyber Agency.
The directive comes as the country grapples with false reports circulating on social media. Last month for instance, reports of China intentionally contaminating chili seeds went viral, as well as others that claimed millions of Chinese workers had entered Indonesia to replace locals.
The principal reason that stupid rumours go viral is the lack of open communications. Most people don’t want to look like idiots for believing something they could easily find out isn’t true. But in unfree environments, they can’t. So they take no chances.
The Islamic establishment is backing the crackdown:
The country’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, launched an anti-fake news campaign online called #TurnBackTheHoax, and the country’s religious leaders have also labelled the spreading of fake news “a sin.”More.
Reality check: Indonesia has low world freedom ranking:
Treason and blasphemy laws are routinely used to limit freedom of expression by minority groups, separatists, and those criticizing the government and security apparatus. Journalists often practice self-censorship to avoid running afoul of civil and criminal defamation laws. In several cases during 2015, public officials or their alleged proxies brought defamation cases against journalists or one another as part of broader internecine disputes, including those involving the KPK and national police. Reporters sometimes face violence and intimidation, which frequently goes unpunished. A December report by the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) found 47 incidents of violence against journalists in 2015, of which 17 were perpetrated by the police.
It’s revealing that progressive sites can live with such regime’s negative attitude to gay rights, so long as the regime wholeheartedly endorses censorship in principle.
It’s hard not to suspect: For today, it can be anyone’s boot in everyone’s face, just to cement the principle; eventually it will be their boots, they hope, and for good.
You may not know this, but the people you see on cable news shows who are listed as “contributors” or “talk show hosts” or “strategists” have no more knowledge on the topic they’re discussing in authoritative tones than your dog does most of the time. It’s a problem because when average people watch these shows, they expect to get legitimate news. What they get is nothing of the sort.
Here’s how it works: The people you see on TV who aren’t newsmakers or members of Congress sometimes are booked well in advance, sometimes as much as a week. This is especially true in “debate” segments, when they have someone from the right and left discussing a topic. They don’t actually find out the topic they are “debating” until the morning of their scheduled appearance, and it can change until the moment they’re on the air if something happens in the world.
Here’s another bit of information you won’t get from watching these shows: When someone who appears regularly on a network is listed as a “columnist” or “contributor” for a news site, unless they write for them on a regular basis, they are likely paid by that outlet for the specific purpose of having that organization’s name promoted on the network. It’s product placement, same as a car or prominently featured bag of chips in a movie. You can tell by the way they’re booked to talk on TV because they write, never about anything they’ve written. They’re a warm body who can string a sentence together. More.
Reality check: All that the internet really changed is this: The entry costs for a job just about any fluent person can do are now minimal. We can see much more easily than before what the Bigs were doing when they produced fake news. No wonder these traditional high-end vendors are upset.
See also: Part I: What isfake news? Do we believe it?
The firm behind the dossier on President-elect Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, which Trump dismissed as “fake news” and a “complete fabrication,” also defended Planned Parenthood in 2015 against sting videos demonstrating the abortion giant’s attempt to profit from the sale of baby parts.
So the website BuzzFeed decided to publish a series of memos that have been floating around for months alleging all kinds of terrible things about Donald Trump.
Readers of this newspaper know well not to include me among Trump’s supporters. But the scurrilousness of what BuzzFeed has done here is so beyond the bounds of what is even remotely acceptable it should compel even those most outraged by Trump’s political excesses to come to his defense and to the defense of a few other people mentioned in these papers whose names are also dragged through the mud.
That’s from John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine, this guy hates Trump as much as anyone can.
The air has been thick with statistics on both sides, with conservatives and the far right usually fingered as the culprits. Actually, fake news was purveyed on both sides. Ben Carson did not, for example, say that the ghosts of aborted babies haunt hospitals. Mainstream media sometimes publish fake news too. The Burlington Electric Company’s grid was not hacked by Russia, as the Washington Post recently claimed. Apparently, the Post staffers had not followed the conventional rule of phoning the facility to check before running the story. But did it make much difference anyway?
As it happens, claims for social media’s awesome power aren’t new to the 2016 election. Similarly dramatic claims were made after the 2008 election. Back then the outcome was welcomed by the proponents of the social media power, so we were unlikely to hear much about the perils of fake news.
Indeed, as “astroturf” investigator Sharyl Atkisson observes, before mid-September 2016, fake news was hardly mentioned. Concern arose among Clinton allies thereafter via progressive site Media Matters and caught on widely from there in traditional media.
Either something happened rather suddenly to social media or there are more conventional explanations for Clinton’s loss. Let’s look at some of the latter:
It wasn’t fake news that made the difference; it was missed news. More.
Reality check: Remember, however, that when the progressives get back into power in the United States, they will have long lists of people to punish. We had better enjoy freedom of information from there while we can.
Note: Germany is worried about fake news: A classic. The underlying assumption is that the people are not restless on account of things they know about personally.
See also: Part I: What is fake news? Do we believe it?
On Tuesday, CNN reported that President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama had been briefed by the intelligence community on memos alleging there was communication between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
CNN suggested the existence of highly-compromising material targeting Trump which was compiled by a former British intelligence officer.
Because when a foreign power has blackmail worthy material they always advertise the fact… rather than use it to you know, actually blackmail someone.
Honestly… 4Chan Claims To Have Fabricated Anti-Trump Report As A Hoax
In everyday life, most adults assess the credibility of media with which we are familiar pretty accurately, provided we care to do so. I can’t remember the last time I received one of those email rumours about computer viruses. No one any longer wants the sheer embarrassment of passing them on. …
Analyst Brent Bozell draws our attention to the fact that major media commonly indulge themselves in the equivalent of fake news in the form of speculation and predictions, especially in the New Year period or prior to a political turnover: More.
Reality check: Progressives win by just hanging in there, plotting year after year, while others go on with more meaningful lives.
U.S. 2016, seen in that light, is only a temporary setback for progressives, in terms of getting control of “the narrative” again in an age of failing mainstream media. Control now means that they must not only dominate the story – as before – but prevent anyone else from even telling it.
Be prepared to change channels and providers as often as needed, to stay current.
Systematic effort on the part of a lot of people does work. I don’t hear the term alt right nearly so much anymore, as shorthand for any American who might have voted for Trump. The identification made no sense but that does not matter as long as the concept gels in most people’s minds. If this is indeed a crack, a sign that terminology control is failing progressives, we can be prepared for a good deal of pushback in the years to come.
See also: The alt right, Donald Trump, and – oddly enough – Darwin. Anyone not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be ‘alt right’.