Browsed by
Month: November 2019

Journalism: Newsweek reporter admits making up story, but keeps her job

Journalism: Newsweek reporter admits making up story, but keeps her job

Newsweek reporter caught having manufactured a fictional news report, then calls it an “honest mistake” and keeps her job. Newsweek has a history of publishing fiction stories masquerading as actual news. This is not how to inspire confidence in the news media. (Update: Newsweek confirmed the report about what Trump did on Thanksgiving was written during the week prior to Thanksgiving. The reporter has been fired and the editor has been demoted.)

Climate communications: Branding expert recommends ever more frightening and scary propaganda terminology on climate

Climate communications: Branding expert recommends ever more frightening and scary propaganda terminology on climate

A branding expert says climate communications must adopt even scarier sounding propaganda terminology, not based on the actual science, in order to frighten people in to taking action. He proposes terminology such as Global Meltdown or Scorched Earth, neither of which is accurate. He’s advocating the use of lies to persuade targets to adopt an agenda. This approach, however, is likely to backfire and turn people away from even listening to climate communications.

Journalism: “Fears of economic recession could derail the holiday shopping season – MarketWatch”

Journalism: “Fears of economic recession could derail the holiday shopping season – MarketWatch”

The headline comes from a survey finding consumers are concerned about a future recession. Public opinion polls, particularly when asking people to express an opinion on subjects of which they have neither expert nor first hand knowledge, are primarily measuring the effectiveness of prior propaganda messaging. In this example, 2019 has been filled with a stream of news reports predicting a recession. In fact, these predictions have been underway for years. And they have been wrong – particularly since no one has demonstrated any skill in accurately forecasting future recessions. But they are effective at shaping public opinion, which could result in consumers changing their behavior in ways that reduce economic activity.


The headline story is itself followed by a sequence of upbeat economic news. In fact, 2019 holiday sales are running 15% above the prior year, to date.

Busted: “11 teens die a day from texting and driving”

Busted: “11 teens die a day from texting and driving”

An Internet meme says “11 teens die each day from texting while driving”. This claim, however, is false. In 2017, an average of 6 teens died each day from all vehicle accident causes. Cell phone usage falls within the distracted driving category. According to the government, distracted driving accounts for 9% of all crashes – therefore, cellphone usage is even less than this.

Journalism: Activist launching propaganda news service to deliver fake local news, share-able on social media

Journalism: Activist launching propaganda news service to deliver fake local news, share-able on social media

A Democratic party activist is launching a well funded fake local news operation, modeled to a degree, on the Russian Internet Research Agency, to deliver biased or news stories to targeted individuals on Facebook and other social media. The operation will collect data directly from Facebook on who is reading their fake news, and will data mine that to target more people. Do you feel like you are being manipulated yet?

Journalism: How to turn Thanksgiving into an opportunity for political discussions

Journalism: How to turn Thanksgiving into an opportunity for political discussions

I never knew – according to journalists we are expected to argue about inequality and victimization at the Thanksgiving holiday. Journalists have even prepared a handy guide detailing how to support the journalists’ own agenda! Who knew (besides journalists) that we are supposed to turn Thanksgiving into an opportunity for propaganda messaging?

Updated: Apparently this entire genre is a coordinated pseudo-news event intended to be shared on social media and get around Facebook’s algorithms that try to limit some news article distribution. It’s based on the pseudo-news event approach of creating a fake “us versus them” narrative. It is, in fact, 21st century click-bait and nothing more.