Local TV news makes extensive use of PR fake news videos

Local TV stations make extensive use of “video news releases” which are pre-packaged public relations (PR) created fake news stories.

All of the sampled TV stations “actively disguised the sponsored content to make it appear to be their own reporting. In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients’ messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged V”NR in its entirety”.

Source: Microsoft Word – Fake TV News — Widespread and Undisclosed.doc – fake_tv_news_–__widespread_and_undisclosed.pdf

Facebook collects massive amount of information about all 2 billion users

Facebook has collected massive amounts of personal data through our online habits (including advertising networks that track the web sites we visit), our posts on Facebook, the posts we like and share, the sites we log in to using our FB log in ID for access, and possibly scanning even our text messages on smart phones (their Facebook app gets permission to do so), and the details of our travel (via the Facebook apps use of location data).

No one knows the algorithms that FB applies to discern patterns about us. No one knows how much data FB has collected on each of us. No one knows how this information is stored. No one knows who has access to this data.

All we know is that Facebook is the largest, friction-less platform for the dissemination of propaganda. One company has the ability to rule the world.

Public Relations Failure: British Airways and the silly high visibility vest

The CEO of British Airways, standing in their operations center, apologizes for their terrible service and lack of contingency/disaster planning:

As you may know, it is essential that one wears a high visibility safety vest when standing in a computer operations center! Or maybe not.

Seriously, the reason for this odd clothing choice is that his public relations staff said it would help him look like he was “hands on” in the midst of the crisis.

You might remember when President Bush showed up after Hurricane Katrina wearing a long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up – because staff thought having rolled up sleeves made it look like he was there and working on the problem.

Everything around us is stage managed fakery designed to influence our thinking process. At least a few people on social media noticed the absurdity of a high visibility vest in a computer operations center. His second video ditched the vest.

When PR staff think this nonsense is a priority in the midst of a systemic collapse of the company’s systems – you’ve gotta wonder about the clueless people working in PR.

 

 

Two heroes murdered in Portland defending teens against anti-Muslim hate speech

An individual harassed two teen women on Portland’s Trimet MAX rail system, verbally attacking Muslims and others. Three local heroes stepped up to stop the verbal assault and two were murdered by the attacker and one remains hospitalized. Additional heroes include those who provided immediate first aid and those who left the train to follow the attacker on the street.

Not surprisingly, social media, even some professional media, plus the comments to news stories, turned the story in to a political event, blaming “alt-right”, Trump and Trump supporters and Republicans. The Huffington Post writes a column blaming Trump and others.

The tiny problem with this thesis is that the alleged murderer was a Bernie Sanders supporter and voted for Bernie Sanders, or so he says on his FB page. The only way he could have voted for Sanders in Oregon is by being a registered Democrat. He also appeared to support Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. He attended an “alt-right” public event in Portland where he is said to have shouted down “left wing” protesters and was kicked out by the “right wing” event organizers. He was vociferously opposed to Hillary Clinton and said little about Trump other than publicly calling for the assassination of AG Jeff Sessions and Trump. He does not say who he voted for in November.  He advocated in favor of several left wing causes on his Facebook page.

One of the defenders of the Muslim teen, was a past Republican Party candidate for public office; he was murdered.

In spite of this, many in the social media crowd blamed Trump and conservatives for the behavior of the alleged murderer. The Portland Mayor is now calling for the cancellation of public event permits issued to a group holding a pro-Trump rally. (The ACLU says that would be unconstitutional and the Mayor eventually backed off. A separate, racist-themed  event a week later, was canceled by the organizer.)

As The Willamette Weekly notes, the only consistency in the alleged murderer’s rants is that he was extremely racist. Newsweek, a reliable source of fake news (see their coverage of Satoshi Sakamoto), uses the propaganda method of transference to link the alleged murderer to Trump. Some of the local Portland media immediately ran with the “alt-right” meme, launching the social media firestorm that was off the rails from the start. Yet the only conclusion that can be reached is the individual is severely messed up. (“Alt-right” is a term white supremacists and neo-Nazis adopted to describe themselves. They adopted the label to re-brand as something other than Nazis, with hopes the label would imply transference of a softer view of their hate ideology. The label does not refer to traditional conservative politics although in Portland, “alt-right” seems to describe any group that is not left wing or progressive.)

This story is a sad commentary on the ugliness that spawned such hate to occur, but also on the public’s desire to jump to a conclusion that matches their preconceived notions, without questioning. The social media commentary turned so ugly that The Oregonian disabled commenting on their news stories. Never let facts get in the way of an opportunity to promote one’s personal ideology on social media!

Social media, and in particular, Facebook’s implementation of social media (FB presents posts in your timeline that FB believes you want to see), serves to reinforce views, even if those views are contrary to facts and logic. Consequently, social media has become the number one platform for the dissemination of propaganda messaging. Confused messages, including those of the alleged murderer, are freely posted and shared on social media.

To see the evidence of the alleged murder’s political thoughts, click through …

(I live in the Portland area. I am neither Democrat nor Republican and I did not vote for Trump.)

Update: Late on May 30th, The Oregonian catches up with the background of the individual: “Who is Jeremy Christian? Facebook shows a man with nebulous political affiliations who hated circumcision and Hillary Clinton“. While the story confirms what I wrote above, The Oregonian botches the story with this quote: “The question of whether Christian was a Trump supporter or a Sanders supporter, doesn’t have an either/or answer, except: he definitely was not a Clinton supporter.” As you will see after the break, Christian promoted Sanders on his Facebook page and said he voted for Sanders. There is no ambiguity on that point. He does not say who he voted for in November, but said after the election that may be he should have voted for Trump.

Update: May 31, local Republican groups say they are receiving death threats in response to the events of the past few days.

Continue reading

Montana is a Democratic Party state, not Republican, contrary to news reporting

(Note – this post is about the media – not about the candidates or the political parties).

Actual headlines:

  • In blood red Montana, ObamaCare repeal to blame for close race”
  • “Montana house race is a gauge on Trump, test for Democrats”
  • “House elections to test whether Trump is hurting Republicans”
  • A populist test in Trump country
  • NY Times: “The Montana contest was the second special House election this year in a conservative district…” and further spins, near the end of the article, about Montana being hostile terrain for Democrats.

And so on. There are more headlines implying Montana is a Republican state. Except Montana has a long history of electing Democrats 3 to 1 over Republicans for Federal office:

The assertions made by the media are false.

The media has invented a fictional meme either to create controversy or heightened emotions or is trying to offer a crude explanation as to how a Republican could have won this race. This bad reporting looks like propaganda messaging.

The loser of this election was the media, for telling what is basically a lie. Except for NPR, whose reporting appears accurate and US News, which seems to have the issues sorted out. (FYI, I was in Bozeman days before this election.)

Not surprisingly, 2/3ds of Americans say they think the media publishes fake news. The first headline “In blood red Montana…” is a story written by a professor of political science, no less, which damages the reputation of academics as well. One would think there would be the slightest fact checking on such claims but the media leaves that up to bloggers.

“Twitter and Tear Gas”

How social media “adhocracies” are “more likely to be one-hit wonders” as they enlist social media propaganda to whip people into a frenzy – and how governments and politicians are fighting back using propaganda:

The author is also insightful on how governments and politicians are moving from censorship, no easy task on social media, to attention-grabbing and misinformation.

Source: Why networked protest struggles on the streets

About 2/3ds of voters think the media commonly publishes fake news

“Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the mainstream press is full of fake news, a sentiment that is held by a majority of voters across the ideological spectrum.

According to data from the latest Harvard-Harris poll, which was provided exclusively to The Hill, 65 percent of voters believe there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.”

Source: Poll: Majority says mainstream media publishes fake news | TheHill

2/3ds of voters think the media publishes many fake news reports. Sadly, many of those polled likely share those fake news reports on their social media pages!

Who knows? May be this news report based on the polling of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll is itself fake news! Now days, we have no way to know whether anything is true anymore!