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What is "real news" and "fake news"? Another fight for the control of the internet.

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  • What is "real news" and "fake news"? Another fight for the control of the internet.

    As many of you have probably seen in the news, many main stream media entities are trying to force groups like facebook and twitter to screen information for "fake news".

    In plain language - censure the internet on a broad scale by deleting "fake news" from their sites. Both facebook and twitter promote themselves to millions of users as a personal platform for careers, product selection, personal connections etc. They are broad based life style media vehicles.

    A list has been published of internet sites (we are not on the list) that are supposedly supporting Russia and pushing "fake news" upon the American public. This list is apparently published by a group of anonymous persons to help all of us stupid people distinguish what is real and what is fake.

    This is insulting and outrageous. And it smacks of McCarthyism redux.

    This group wants you to only view main stream media for your news. But what have we seen recently from main stream media? Obvious bias in reporting. A quick flip through the news channels reporting the same event will leave you wondering if you have "entered the twilight zone" because their reports are so diverse - and so selective (depending on their slant).

    Most main stream media are as biased as anything seen on the internet.

    The words "buyer beware" have never been more true.

    From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is part of our mission statement:
    "Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." link




    This anonymous group who has published the "fake" news list obviously does not have any psychologists or human rights advocates among them. Most people have never heard of any of the sites on "the list", but now, they will certainly check it out. If anything - traffic to those "outlaw" sites will probably increase.

    I am not providing a link to the list because I do not want to promote the new McCarthyism effort. While FT is not on "the list" and some of the sites that I recognize are not my personal favorites, no one should be policing the internet to tell anyone what to read.

    If this effort succeeds, what sites will be "outlawed" next?

    There is a fight for our minds and spirits. Be independent. Be critical.




    -----------------------------------------------------


    Disclosure: We do not receive any funds from Russia or their surrogates. In fact, they have a history of attacks against our server using ips from Russia and Ukraine.
    "May the long time sun
    Shine upon you,
    All love surround you,
    And the pure light within you
    Guide your way on."

    "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
    Aristotle

    “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
    Mohandas Gandhi

    Be the light that is within.

  • #2
    This one is a bit more complicated than some of the previous issues. To me, the distinction between "real" and "fake" news is intent; does the writer actually believe the story is true? If they do, even if they're mistaken, that's real news. When the Diario Despertar de Oaxaca reported several "SARS" cases in 2009, that was "real" news, even though they were wrong. (They had actually discovered the H1N1 pandemic.) "Fake" news is more than just false statements; it's knowingly false statements for political purposes. Calling a source "fake" is a much stronger statement than merely calling them wrong.

    By this admittedly weak standard, there's nothing wrong with calling out a source for spreading "fake" news, because that implies malicious intent. Just because a site might spread some questionable or even outright false statements doesn't make it "fake" news if they legitimately believe them to be true.

    ​The actual "fake" news from our recent election is actually outrageous enough that most people with decent critical thinking skills recognize something is wrong with it. There is a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. that is receiving threats because a piece of this "fake" news outrageously reported that a Presidential candidate was regularly using its backroom to sexually abuse children.

    ​Could a situation arise where it became difficult to tell fake news from simply wrong real news (or actually true stories that simply haven't been widely reported)? Probably. But none of the fake news to this point was even close to that level.

    The problem with this simple explanation, of course, is that news spreads. If I make up a story about some political figure (that I know that is false) and post it in an attempt to influence an election, that's clearly fake news and should be called out as such. If you see my story and re-post or re-tweet it believing incorrectly that it is true, that's less clear. My original post would clearly be fake news, but your re-post is merely wrong. If a non-fake source accidentally copies a "fake" story, it probably should delete it once the story is outed as clearly fake.

    ​If we post something here that turns out to be wrong, we usually post the correction in that same thread. I know of at least a couple stories during outbreaks where we removed an entire thread as outrageous once it became clear that the story was not merely wrong but likely "fake" by the above standard.

    ​I see nothing wrong with a coordinated attempt to stamp out fake news as long as we keep in mind the definition of what is really fake news, and also draw the distinction between satire (that is not intended to be taken as true) and fake news.

    Comment


    • #3
      I disagree. I think it is wrong for a coordinated effort to stamp out "fake" news in the US, Why are the people who have made the "outlaw" list anonymous? I think this makes them cowards. They have appointed themselves the judges of what people should read. Why should anyone pay any attention to them when we have no idea who they are and/or what bias they have?

      Yes, we have occasionally posted material here for consideration that has been later proven as incorrect. We are a discussion forum. The search for the truth is sometimes a messy affair. We are not telling people what to read on the internet. We are vetting various disease information based on our 10 years experience. People can read us - or not. Personally I make my best effort to find and publish information that I think may be pertinent. Much of what I post is mangled foreign translations. Who is to say what is "fake" or "real"?

      I have been on the internet for more than a decade. I remember the constant bashing, degradation, and overall criticism of those early efforts to utilize new media as a serious venue. After many years of social and technological evolution new media is a force. No one is laughing at us anymore. Millions, and probably billions, participate in some manner daily.

      It is very dangerous to let a group of anonymous (or known) people decide for us what is reality.

      "May the long time sun
      Shine upon you,
      All love surround you,
      And the pure light within you
      Guide your way on."

      "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
      Aristotle

      “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
      Mohandas Gandhi

      Be the light that is within.

      Comment


      • #4
        And then there is the problem of slant. I have been following the situation in Aleppo and Mosel, which are very much analogous, and yet the MSM in the west are reporting them quite differently. In Aleppo the population are ‘'fleeing from the advancing SAA' while in Mosel they are '‘fleeing from IS’'. The reality is that neither group of Jihadis has been permitting the civilians to leave as they provide cover and when they can get away they move to anywhere they think they may be safe. There is no objective truth now, if there ever was any, and all news is biased to some degree. The internet has just allowed people to pick the ‘truth’ they want. It allows for the comparison of foreign news media and domestic, from which some kind of picture can be built, but this takes time and the sad reality is most people won'’t bother but will pick a news source they are comfortable with and over time will align with that source's ‘reality’. The best hope is that we all develop a healthy scepticism and assume that most politicians and media are lying to us – at least to some extent.

        Comment


        • #5
          In the Last Year, the U.S. Government made an effort (much like the effort made during the last Bush Administration to limit by definition exactly what constituted a "Journalist" for legal purpose, so as to limit exactly who could claim protect/hide/keep private their Sources.

          This Stopping Fake News through Legislation, could be simply another path to that effect.

          As I remember, some large News Agency (maybe CNN) went to court and was judged to be allowed to publish News for effect that the new company knew to not be accurate,

          I suspect that any legislation passed will not affect any Major Media's ability to continue to do so.


          Comment


          • #6
            And this is the result of "fake" news. A man just brought and fired an assault rifle to the pizza parlor I mentioned in the second post of this thread looking to commit a violent act because of the fake news:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/us...elch.html?_r=1

            Comment


            • #7
              It is not a normal response to take an assault weapon to a restaurant that might be implicated in a child abuse ring - even if true. This person clearly has some kind of personal problem that screening all news will not help.

              One of the sites listed on the "fake news" list is threatening legal action against the Washington Post. I had never been to this site before but apparently it has won awards:

              “One of the most egregious examples is the group’s inclusion of Naked Capitalism, the widely respected left-wing site run by Wall Street critic Yves Smith. That site was named by Time magazine as one of the best 25 Best Financial Blogs in 2011 and by Wired magazine as a crucial site to follow for finance, and Smith has been featured as a guest on programs such as PBS’s Bill Moyers Show. Yet this cowardly group of anonymous smear artists, promoted by the Washington Post, has now placed them on a blacklist of Russian disinformation.”


              zhttp://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/we-demand-that-the-washington-post-retract-its-propaganda-story-defaming-naked-capitalism-and-other-sites-and-issue-an-apology.html


              I do not think giving up our rights to a free and open media is the answer to societies' problems. I do not want to let other people decide what I can read.

              Information is power.
              "May the long time sun
              Shine upon you,
              All love surround you,
              And the pure light within you
              Guide your way on."

              "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
              Aristotle

              “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
              Mohandas Gandhi

              Be the light that is within.

              Comment


              • #8
                When I was a college student I worked for Ronald Reagan. Yes, THE Ronald Reagan. I don't talk about it since it was a zillion years ago, but I worked in his office after he had finished 2 terms as the governor of California. He returned to Los Angeles and had a small office in Westwood where UCLA is located. I was his file clerk for a few years. I would walk down to the office when I had free time and file stacks of correspondence. It was a part time job. Sometimes I saw him and brought his lunch up from the diner on the 1st floor.

                I tell this story because in doing his filing I came across my first experience with "wackos". Along with the regular correspondence there were many, many letters from people who were obviously not emotionally/mentally well. Some were actually "freaky". When I first came across these stacked in a box I spent a lot of time reading them. I probably wasted some time but I had never seen anything like it. They claimed all sorts of things. They told their life stories. It was every type of conspiracy and imaginings narratives that you can think of.

                After reading the first 50, I realized that there is a certain percentage of the population that has a thin hold on reality. And these were the minor letters. I never saw the ones where violence was threatened. They were forwarded to the California highway patrol and other officials for further assessment upon opening. I did not open the mail. I just filed. Occasionally I answered the phone. After a while I recognized the routine authors from their script. Some wrote in colors. Some wrote all over the page - even sideways in the margins. Some sent things they made. I stopped reading.

                Unless we reform our mental health system - starting with the negative stigma, we will continue to have people who act out violently with very little, or no, provocation.

                We have failed 100% in the area of mental health. Most of our population does not have access, and others, because of the stigma, will not seek out help.

                I do not think penalizing the many for the sick acts of a few is justified.
                "May the long time sun
                Shine upon you,
                All love surround you,
                And the pure light within you
                Guide your way on."

                "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
                Aristotle

                “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
                Mohandas Gandhi

                Be the light that is within.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I spent some time this afternoon trying to track down the reporting on this so called "pizzagate" fake news report, and I'm horrified, and for multiple reasons. Yes, there's a strong mental health component to what happened this weekend, And yes, most of us don't commit acts of violent political extremism. But the sheer number of people who still believe some of these reports is horrific. A significant number of the reports I read, even published in the past day or so, still act as though the original report was true. This is more than a few "wackos" who promote this theory.

                  ​In addition to not doing a good enough job as a society on mental health, I'd like to add that we're not doing a good enough job teaching people how to evaluate sources and fact-check. Significant numbers of people (on all sides) are in political echo chambers where they believe everything "their" media tells them. This is incredibly dangerous. The blog you cite above perhaps might be a "biased" source but it's not "fake news". The Washington Post was probably in error when they labelled it as such.

                  ​As far as I know, the intent of the original report was to smear a politcal candidate. There's no good explanation for why this restaurant was chosen; some sources report that the sexual orientation of the owner might have been a motive. To me, there's not much difference than if the shooter had been radicalized by Islamic State propaganda he found online. In fact, to the extent that some of the fake news did come from the Russian government (although likely not the pizzagate story which appears to have domestic extremist origin), it is exactly the same as what IS puts out - foreign propaganda designed to incite violence in the United States.

                  ​I don't have a solution here, but I know we can't keep doing what we're doing. Political violence is not something that happens in normal society, and it's something we're running the risk of far too often. How do we protect our rights to multiple sources of information from multiple viewpoints without creating the violent extremists that cause political violence?

                  This is a much more complicated issue than it first appears.
                  Last edited by alert; December 5th, 2016, 07:12 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree that the issue is very complicated. But I think under no circumstances, should the solution be to lessen our rights. We have already lost rights. We live in a surveillance state. We have no privacy. This slow but consistent erosion of our human and constitutional rights could result into having a democracy in name only.

                    We have a violent culture and this is the problem. Drug dependency, lack of economic and educational opportunities, mental health illness exacerbate the situation. We need an effective multi-faceted program. I think drug dependent people should be treated as patients and not criminals. I think all children, starting at birth, should have places to attend for free healthy meals and educational stimulation. I think we need to re-orientate our high school curriculum to include real life applications so that people at graduation know a trade. I don't know all the answers but I think that there should be a collective value placed on compassion and kindness so that maybe our overall culture can have a chance to be less aggressive and violent.

                    I think the last thing we should do is give up any rights as a sound good and quick fix to very complicated issues.
                    "May the long time sun
                    Shine upon you,
                    All love surround you,
                    And the pure light within you
                    Guide your way on."

                    "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
                    Aristotle

                    “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
                    Mohandas Gandhi

                    Be the light that is within.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A few years ago Russia did hire an American PR firm to work the internet:

                      https://usrtk.org/russias-pr-firm-ru...salvo-on-gmos/

                      A blogger I know was contacted during that time by an IP address originating in Russia. They wanted her to email them. She didn't and they commented again, demanding she contact them with "Comply!" in Russian at the end of the comment. She pre-moderated all her comments so hoped they would think their comments had been lost. She figured they were looking for a patsy. They didn't bother her again.

                      But as the article above mentions, Russia and the PR firm parted ways back in 2015 when Russia began backing off importing GMO foods. (I think a full ban was put into place this past summer.) The PR firm went to work for the biotech lobby so considering the websites being blacklisted, this affair may have more to do with trade wars or anti-regulation lobbying than anything else. There is another article here with more on how this PR firm operates:

                      http://www.gmwatch.org/news/latest-n...and-vendetta-2

                      The Facebook group they mentioned was even making fun of the pizzagate restaurant because they use organic tomato sauce.

                      It's concerning, but I don't think this will lead to actual government censorship of the internet. It seems more along the lines of black propaganda or bullying.
                      “‘i love myself.’ the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever.” ---- nayyirah waheed

                      Avatar: Franz Marc, Liegender Hund im Schnee 1911 (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I do not doubt that many entities are trying to manipulate the internet including Russia, China, US, many companies, etc. etc. I think their efforts do not know any limits. Hiring PR firms is among the least offensive. Many entities also mole, hack and DDOS attack.

                        It is our response to the many and various efforts that is important. If Alphabet (Google), facebook, twitter and other large social media companies chose to screen news based on "fake" vs. "real" - well, that is their decision.. And it is the first step.

                        Next, is the making of "lists" and the degradation of anyone or anything that is deemed non-compliant to the group think.

                        It is the slow but consistent drip, drip of messaging that concerns me. I want people to always question. Always be critical. Do not accept the easy explanation for anything. In my opinion we have lost the main street media for objective and unbiased investigative and news reporting.

                        Never before has it been so necessary that we individually weigh all of the competing information.
                        "May the long time sun
                        Shine upon you,
                        All love surround you,
                        And the pure light within you
                        Guide your way on."

                        "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
                        Aristotle

                        “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
                        Mohandas Gandhi

                        Be the light that is within.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          "I think it's dangerous," Kelly says. "People ... need good, strong, skeptical journalists to be covering whoever it is — whether it's Barack Obama or President Donald Trump

                          and we're in a dangerous phase right now, where too many millions of Americans aren't listening at all to what the press tells them."


                          http://www.npr.org/2016/12/07/504622...content=202807



                          Why is it a dangerous phase that too many millions of Americans aren't listening at all to what the press tells us? Just want to know. Maybe we don't want to be manipulated anymore. By the press or anyone else.
                          "May the long time sun
                          Shine upon you,
                          All love surround you,
                          And the pure light within you
                          Guide your way on."

                          "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
                          Aristotle

                          “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
                          Mohandas Gandhi

                          Be the light that is within.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sharon sanders View Post
                            I agree that the issue is very complicated. But I think under no circumstances, should the solution be to lessen our rights. We have already lost rights. We live in a surveillance state. We have no privacy. This slow but consistent erosion of our human and constitutional rights could result into having a democracy in name only....
                            Many times we invite the surveillance into our homes via internet and cell connected devices such as cameras and other entertainment tools:

                            MARCH 9, 2017 | BY JAMIE WILLIAMS



                            EFF Applauds Amazon For Pushing Back on Request for Echo Data




                            The number of Internet-enabled sensors in homes across the country is steadily increasing. These sensors are collecting personal information about what’s going on inside the home, and they are doing so in a volume and detail never before possible. The law, of course, has not kept up. There are no rules specifically designed for law enforcement access to data collected from in-home personal assistants or other devices that record what’s going on inside the home, even though the home is considered the heart of Fourth Amendment protection. That’s why it’s critical that companies push back on requests via currently existing rules for data collected via these new in-home devices.[1] EFF applauds Amazon for doing just that—pushing back on a law enforcement request for in-home recordings from its Echo device.

                            more...

                            https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/0...uest-echo-data



                            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                            Comey: 'There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America'

                            By Mary Kay Mallonee and Eugene Scott, CNN

                            Updated 2:26 AM ET, Thu March 9, 2017

                            http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/08/politics/james-comey-privacy-cybersecurity


                            "May the long time sun
                            Shine upon you,
                            All love surround you,
                            And the pure light within you
                            Guide your way on."

                            "Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling."
                            Aristotle

                            “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
                            Mohandas Gandhi

                            Be the light that is within.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The ability to define real and fake news, much like the ability to give specific values (by algorithms) to any internet search and to redefine Facts lends to the re-writing of history.

                              Knowledge is Power, automated data collection is a Genie that will not likely ever be put back into the bottle, browser history, email, texts, phone voice and photo/video control turned over by specific permission or you do not receive updates, Where your phone has been, Where your newer cars have been, the ability for your Smart household appliances to listen, video, record and store, to self upload to whom so ever gets access to that particular permission.
                              (Trusted installer on my computer is the Administrator that most disturbs me)

                              So, if the powers at be either Governmental or Corporate manage to control exactly what information is available to us (internet searches and News)along with automatic data records of everything we say and do within the ability to be recorded by our own gear, then managing us, "We the People" is easier to arrange.

                              Comment

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