News: They don’t care about accuracy

Clarke, club president of CARE, said his interest is transmitting using LP or “low power” apparatus. John Laybourne, vice president of the Rogue Valley Amateur Radio Club, used a high-power 10,000 watt setup needing a gas-powered generator for the off-the-grid event.

Source: In era of Wi-Fi and LTE, ham radio enthusiasts don’t mind a challenge | The Columbian

Depending on license class, band and geographic location, the limits are 5 watts, 50 watts, 200 watts or 1,500 watts peak-envelope-power, not 10,000 watts. See FCC Regulations 97.313.  I suspect the reporter confused the use of a 10 kw gasoline generator’s maximum output capability with a transmitter’s output and no one bothered to fact check the story.

What explains this sloppiness? They are causing tremendous harm to themselves. The best way to respond to accusations of “fake news” is to double down on accuracy and not  ramp up sloppy reporting.

The sole purpose of social media is mass manipulation

At a prior meeting, Turnbull told the reporters: “Our job is to really drop the bucket further down the well than anybody else to understand what are these really deep-seated fears, concerns. “It is no good fighting an election campaign on the facts, because actually it is all about emotion.”

Source: Cambridge Analytica Stage-Managed Kenyan President’s Campaigns: UK TV | Top News | US News

The most powerful tool in the propagandists tool kit is fear.

The sole purpose of social media is as a propaganda platform for the purpose of mind control and mass manipulation.

The Doomsday Clock is a propaganda tool

We’ve all seen news quotes like this one:

Scientists moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight on Thursday amid increasing worries over nuclear weapons and climate change.

Source: Doomsday Clock ticks closer to apocalypse and 1 person is to blame

The Doomsday Clock is a propaganda tool that allegedly represents how many minutes we are from Armageddon and the end of life on earth.

It works as propaganda through its ease of understanding, and its appeal to authority (it’s published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” – and its a non-profit so it must pure!)  The clock setting is not based on science.  But with its pedigree (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists), with a leadership, staff and governing board made up of scientists, it implies there is a scientific basis for the clock setting. Originally the setting was determined by a single individual; after he died, the setting was determined by a board of “scientists and other experts” (except when its still set by an individual).

The clock is perpetually a few minutes from midnight, using the method of fear to deliver its message. Each year it may move a minute or two one way or the other, with the implication that we are always just a few minutes away from Armageddon.

The clock has been around for 71 years – its effectiveness as propaganda has been excellent, but its effectiveness at predicting anything about the future has been non-existent. They even say the clock predicts nothing.

The goal, as explained in their FAQ is to get people to adopt the agenda of the Bulletin of the the Atomic Scientists, and to “share what you’ve learned with others” and to “tell your government representatives that you don’t want even more of your tax money spent”… that sounds rather political doesn’t it? In fact, their definitions – and their use of fear to encourage sharing – nearly fits the modern concept of fake news click-bait.

The Doomsday Clock group defines itself as propaganda messaging.

Every time they issue a new press release, the news media laps it up and spreads the propaganda.

Remember, journalists should be acting as firewalls against propaganda messaging but instead, they act as arm-in-arm partners in propaganda messaging.

The physics professor responsible for the most recent “closer to midnight” setting is now under investigation for sexual misconduct.

Double Double Double Cross propaganda

A UCLA student journalist reported a story using a photo of a sign in front of a student housing home that said “No Blacks Allowed”.

Russian trolls picked up the photo, extensively edited, and then posted it on a Russia run propaganda group called Blacktivist, to emotionally target members of the group. The FB group had 360,000 “Likes”, which was more than the Black Lives Matter group itself. But Blacktivist was a fake group designed by Russian trolls to racially divide America.

An African American neighbor was photographed by a security camera posting the sign, and according to police, admitted to having posted the sign. (Hence the title of this post “double double double cross”.)

This incident illustrates the dangerous impact of the friction-less propaganda platform known as social media. Social media has become dangerous and reckless in its impacts.

It’s not the message, its the medium.

Watch the full 6 minute long video at the link. And note the executives of Facebook claiming automation will solve this problem. It will not for the reasons I outline here plus an explanation of why Facebook is stuck on stupid.

Source: How Russia Turned a Student Journalist’s Web Post Into Fake News

CNN: “The Trump supporters used by Russia”

CNN speaks with people unwittingly used by the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency.

Source: The unwitting: The Trump supporters used by Russia – Feb. 20, 2018

CNN itself covered a rally sponsored by the Internet Research Agency and falsely reported that it was organized by a 20 year old.

CNN does not mention that it too was unwittingly used by Internet Research Agency, publishing news stories sourced to Internet Research Agency social media propaganda.

Nor does CNN mention that its coverage of an elderly woman who attended one of the rallies is considered “doxing” and she is now being harassed online. Such behavior on the part of CNN acts to suppress others from attending political events (of any type). Their own news coverage conveniently omits CNN’s own direct involvement. CNN’s report comes across as a threat intended to suppress others from having public perspectives.

Doxing

“The term dox derives from the slang “dropping dox,” which, according to Wired writer Mat Honan, was “an old-school revenge tactic that emerged from hacker culture in 1990s.” Hackers operating outside the law in that era used the breach of an opponent’s anonymity as a means to expose opponents to harassment or legal repercussions.[10]”

This is CNN.

Photojournalism awards “glamorize pain and suffering” and warp our view of the world

A photographers notices that almost all photo journalism awards go to photographers who focus on pain and suffering, giving us a warped view of the world around us:

Media reinforces and shapes public perception whether intended or not. And the same photos and photographers tend to win multiple awards in a given year, thus generations of photojournalists are led to believe that contest-worthy images must conform to a certain look-and-feel. This isn’t just conjecture. A well-known documentary photography who eschews photo contests told me in response to the WPP images, “Disaster porn photojournalism is corrosive to that idea by constantly saturating our media world with the message that the world is hell and never gets any better. Therefore, the logic goes, things like foreign aid are a waste and trying to help places like Africa is doomed to unending failure.”Why do the final photos have to be of a man on fire or legs beneath a body bag? Why not the world’s largest lithium ion battery that solved an energy crisis in Australia? Why not a portrait of Tarana Burke? Are these images not salacious enough for a contest-sized appetite?

Source: Do Photojournalism Contests Glamorize Pain and Suffering? – PhotoShelter Blog

Because social justice is a popular topic, especially in the media, this may bias them to presenting a world in constant crisis, both to virtue signal their own concern, as well as to influence the public.

Highly successful propaganda operation concerning road and highway funding

“Hundreds of bridges in Oregon and Southwest Washington are structurally deficient, according to a new report released Tuesday.”

Source: Bridges in trouble: Report names hundreds of Ore., Wash. ‘structurally deficient’ bridges | KATU

The organization that issued this report is a lobbying organization:

“Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, news media and the general public.”

Congress is about to consider legislation that might fund infrastructure spending in the 1 to 1.5 trillion dollar range.

The organization’s report uses fear as its primary means of propaganda messaging based on two sets of words:

  • “Crumbling infrastructure”
  • “Structurally deficient”

Each year they issue reports which the news media dutifully reports as about America’s “crumbling infrastructure”. Their propaganda is so successful that one seldom see a news article about infrastructure without “crumbling” placed in front of “infrastructure”.

The group’s goal is to persuade the public to spend money on infrastructure improvements that translate into business for members of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

Terminology or careful selection of words plays a major role in propaganda messaging. In the past, bridges that needed to be repainted were labeled “structurally deficient” (appears to still be true, page 68). Similarly, standards have changed – a bridge that has an overhead clearance of less than 14 feet or lane widths less than contemporary standards are now considered structurally deficient (technically they are “functionally obsolete” but those are rolled up into the “structurally deficient” count). Bridges that have lead-based paint may be considered “structurally deficient”.

‘”Structurally deficient” does not imply that it is likely to collapse or that it is unsafe.”‘

A “deficient” bridge is one with some maintenance concerns that do not pose a safety risk. A “deficient” bridge typically requires maintenance and repair and eventual rehabilitation or replacement to address deficiencies.

This is similar to saying your car needs an oil and air filter change, therefore your car is structurally deficient.

Because the public’s concept of “structurally deficient” is different than the civil engineers’ view of “structurally deficient”, this choice of wording is effective in persuading the public to give more money to civil engineers.

Which is why this is a tremendously successful propaganda messaging operation.

Of course, there are bridges, roadways and tunnels that need work or replacement but it is difficult for the public to make informed decisions when those with a conflict of interest are running the public propaganda campaign.

Note – this post is NOT about whether or not transportation and other infrastructure facilities need to be repaired, rebuilt or expanded. This post is about the obvious propaganda messaging undertaken and, in particular, how the use of wording or language itself can be used to deliver a propaganda messaging. Public opinion polls will subsequently be run to show how much the public supports “fixing America’s crumbling infrastructure”. These polls results will then be used to influence spending priorities of elected representatives.

The public, of course, generally knows nothing about the details of highways and bridges but instead forms their opinion from the propaganda messaging that has been delivered to them. They have been told repeatedly about “America’s crumbling infrastructure” and its scary sounding “structurally deficient” bridges.

Public opinion polls do not really measure public opinion – they measure the success of propaganda operations!

 

Polar bears, social media, and how our emotional response may have helped a PR stunt

(This item – featuring a polar bear – emotionally hooked many people – and for some, any discussion is controversial. However, this post is not about polar bears or climate change but about successful propaganda messaging.)

Update: In August 2018, National Geographic retracted their starving bear caused by climate change claim and admitted they were seeking a photo for propaganda purposes:

…we were looking for a picture that foretold the future and that we didn’t know what had happened to this particular polar bear.

It is doubtful that the estimated 2.5 billion people who viewed these photographs and video will learn of this retraction.

 

Here is the original dying polar bear photo and post from photographer Paul Nicklen. Read carefully. He – and his associate – never say this polar bear is dying due to climate change but he does link climate change to polar bear habitat and asks readers to join Sea Legacy (of which he is the founder). His co-photographer Cristina Mittermeier acknowledged they had no way to know the cause of this bear’s starvation. At time of this blog post, her photo had received over 1 million likes just on Instagram. Nicklen has nearly 4 million followers of his own on Instagram.

The photos – and video – use the method of emotional engagement to capture the viewer’s quick acting System 1 thinking style. There is no question that this polar bear is starving and its life is endangered.

Again, per Mittermeier, they acknowledge they had no way of knowing the cause of this bear’s starvation.

National Geographic (for whom Nicklen has worked as a photographer), without evidence, links this bear and this photo to climate change.

The video posted on the National Geographic web site was viewed by an estimated 2.5 billion people (source National Geographic).

Many media outlets picked up the story – emotional stories engage readers and viewers and tacked on the claim that the bear was dying due to climate change.

The photographers said, In the end, I did the only thing I could: I used my camera to make sure we would be able to share this tragedy with the world.”

The photo and videos were taken in August and published on December 5th, days before a global climate change conference in France.

Literally millions, if not tens of millions of people, saw this photo in media reports and shared posts on social media.

In the week that followed, we learned more:

Ultimately we learned that all of us were led, through a likely propaganda campaign, heavily reinforced on social media, to believe something that was not supported by evidence.

As the Toronto Sun notes, this photographer used similar photos in the past as PR for his group Sea Legacy. In this case, the photo was released months after it was taken, but days before a 50 nation climate summit in France.

Sea Legacy responded to some of the criticisms suggesting that the Inuit want to profit from polar bear hunting.

Higdon responded (and also noted that Inuit earn little from this activity):

The irony is that Sea Legacy is itself using this as a fundraiser while saying the Inuits’ interest is just money. Sea Legacy encouraged readers to join Sea Legacy and also provides licensing information for use of the video.

From a PR standpoint, this was an overwhelmingly success propaganda campaign. This story consumed social media Likes and Shares for days.

This campaign successfully delivered the message that polar bears are starving to death because of climate change – and you could make a difference by contributing to the Sea Legacy organization.

How it Worked

The photo tugs at our emotions and quickly puts our brain into an emotional response, rather than a rational response. Pre-propaganda campaigns have already established  images of polar bears as the sign of climate change; before climate change, we called it “global warming”, hence, a connection to Arctic ice.

The photographers added commentary, saying we found a starving bear, experts say climate change will cause melting ice and will lead to food shortages for bears … leaving the conclusion to the viewer –> this bear’s death is due to climate change. Much of the professional media took the bait – and immediately drew that conclusion in their reporting. This method of using a sequence of true statements to direct the target to a false conclusion is common in propaganda. See The most spectacular example of social media propaganda – so far! for another example of this method.

The message was distorted at best and possibly wrong at worst as no supporting evidence was provided as to the cause of starvation. Some suggested that Sea Legacy had a duty (because the polar bear is a protected species) to notify the Canadian government who likely would have euthanized the bear and performed a necropsy to learn more.

Bottom Line

As always, in propaganda messaging, the first message is the one that sticks, even when subsequently shown as false. We can be sure that millions of people got the messages: polar bears are already dying due to starvation caused by climate change. Young children in schools are likely brought to tears by these images and this message will stick with them perhaps for life.

In the end, this is not a story about polar bears or climate change – but a story about propaganda methods. The evidence that this was a PR stunt is greater than the evidence provided that this bear’s death is due to climate change.

This is possibly one of the most successful propaganda messaging campaigns of the modern era. Although as more people learn they were taken for a ride on this PR stunt express, this could cause long term harm to other environmental organizations attempting to legitimately raise awareness of serious issues, as we all tune out “yet another PR stunt”.

Note – This post is not about polar bears or climate change but about how a successful social media meme appears to have been launched in the media and social media days before a major international climate conference. Clearly, the pictured polar bear is starving. I have linked to respected and relevant sources (BBC, CBC, Polar Bear International’s Chief Scientist, National Post, Slate Magazine, Dr. Higdon, Andy Revkin and others) that question the accuracy of the messaging. This story, as noted by many (see links) has the appearance of a successful propaganda messaging campaign. This post makes no assertion as to the health of polar bear populations, the certainty or uncertainty of climate change or the future – and should not be interpreted as supporting or not supporting any position on those topics.)

Crime is worse than ever – except not really! #crime #media

Most of us believe crime is getting worse. How often do we see yet another news report about car prowling, a break in, or especially, a violent crime? Probably every single day. Many TV news casts lead with murders and mayhem, followed by fires and auto crashes.

What effect do you think this has on how you view the world?

Pew Research took a look at the data and found that “public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data”. In fact, they wrote:

  • “Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century.

  • Property crime has declined significantly over the long term”

Source: 5 facts about crime in the U.S. | Pew Research Center

Surprised?

Take a look at the Pew charts:

Media’s interest is in selling eye balls to advertisers. Headlines about a young single mom assaulted outside her home grab our attention.

The media frequently cherry picks stories (by frequently we mean perhaps most of the time) based on their emotional hooks and novelty. Their goal is to sell advertising. Their “propaganda” is to push stories that persuade you to watch or read their story in order to expose yourself to their advertising customers.

Novelty, emotion and fear are powerful hooks. Crime stories are scary!

A side effect is we get a very skewed perspective on the world around us – and incorrectly think that crime is worse than ever.

Social media outrage can lead to jail #Facebook #Socialmedia

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed a conviction to stand, where the individual was convicted of making violent threats on Facebook.

Source: Supreme Court upholds PA man’s conviction over Facebook post – Las Vegas Sun Newspaper

Our nation is consumed by a culture of perpetual outrage. Many go out of their way to be extremely rude. Many go out of their way to be offended. Comments are twisted by the alleged victim to insist the perpetrator meant something they did not say. Regardless of what is said, someone will find a way to be outraged!

Everyone is in a constant state of outrage over something.

Rather than seek a way to reduce tension, everyone seeks to exacerbate tension. Social media amplifies the faux outrage of the media talking heads who fill air time and column inches with their own outrage, and amplifies absurd statements by prominent politicians.

The result is protesters ransacking communities but who can’t coherently explain what they are protesting against or what they seek.

The point is not to seek positive change – the point is to be outraged.

We have achieved a culture of perpetual outrage.

See also:

Update:

Nice to see media has their priorities straight in regards to the Las Vegas shooting/terror attack. Screen capture taken from DuckDuckGo on 10/2/2017 after searching for “Las Vegas News”. 4 of the first six items were celebrity gossip and two were news about the massacre.

Second Update

Many protesters do not even know what it is they are outraged about. The whole point now is to be outraged!

Here in the Portland, Oregon area, protests are a way of life. The joke here is “What are they protesting?” with the standard answer “Whatever, no one really knows.”

I saw this item in the Oregonian – the University of Oregon president was set to announce a $50 million dollar gift to the university but protestors shut him down and he never took the podium. As is typical in Oregon, “The loud group of a few dozen students did not have a cohesive message

The entire point is to be outraged – you no longer need be outraged about anything specific! The point is to be outraged!

I also saw a new item about a report of a noose found in a college dormitory (not at U of O), leading an official response from the university president and a formal police investigation about racism on campus. Ultimately it was determined that the “noose” was a shoelace, in its original store packaging. A student had inadvertently dropped and lost his just purchased shoelace in the dorm. Some else hung the package on a door knob opening to a public stairwell, in hopes that the visibility would enable the lost item to be found. Another student interpreted the standard way this brand of shoelace is placed inside the packaging as a “noose” and called campus police. Today, everything and anything is seen as an excuse for outrage.

We are in peak outrage culture land now.