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In spite of the propaganda spin, it really does take 60 votes, not 51, to approve the Federal budget

In spite of the propaganda spin, it really does take 60 votes, not 51, to approve the Federal budget

Online, social media-based, for profit, fake news publisher Occupy Democrats sent out another false meme for viral distribution on social media. This item was shared into my Facebook news feed. The Republicans have a 52 seat majority in the Senate, with one absent for medical treatment, giving them a 51 seat majority. The problem with this propaganda is that due to Senate rules and how the political parties work in real life, it takes 60 votes, not 51. CSPAN understood…

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The least and most trusted news sources in the United States

The least and most trusted news sources in the United States

Which ones are the most widely shared on social media? (Story doesn’t answer that question) Something you can do for fun – visit any of these organizations’ Facebook pages and FB will tell you which of your friends “like” that page. Kinda scary to see which friends like pages that are among the least trusted sources of news. Source: These are the most — and the least — trusted news sources in the U.S. – MarketWatch The survey was conducted…

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Twitter launches tweet censorship program

Twitter launches tweet censorship program

Today, some tweets appearing on Twitter are accompanied by the following warning: I did a search on Twitter for #DrudgeReport and found several (but not all) tweets mentioning #DrudgeReport had this warning. Drudge Report is a right leaning news aggregator that specializes, typically, in using inflammatory headlines to hook readers. A search for #DrudgeReport using the “Latest” option presents this: That is weird – it appears Twitter is fully censoring searches for items related to Drudge Report. A search for…

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The first story is the one that is remembered, even if wrong

The first story is the one that is remembered, even if wrong

TL;DR Summary A media outlet ran a story with the headline “”Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point Scholarship“, based in part on muddled comments from Ben Carson that were not clear. The false version of the story was picked up by media and spread rapidly on social media. The story was eventually shown as incorrect and prominent media called the story a “lie”. But the damage was done. Propagandists know that the first message received by the target, even if…

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U.S. cities fall behind in wealth measure! :)

U.S. cities fall behind in wealth measure! :)

TL;DR Summary From a design standpoint, this poster is effective. Readers likely see it, quickly nod agreement, and then click Like and Share! It uses simple statements with an authority figure as the source of the quote. Some of the claims are false or misleading, but they all seem plausible. The poster works by making assertions (some of which are not true) and using an appeal to authority. The poster was designed to appeal to the preconceptions of its target…

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False: Trump Administration deleted “Climate change”, “LGBTQ” from WhiteHouse.gov

False: Trump Administration deleted “Climate change”, “LGBTQ” from WhiteHouse.gov

TL;DR Summary The Daily Beast reported the Trump administration deleted references to “climate change”, “LGBTQ”, “health care” and “civil rights” and other topics from the whitehouse.gov web site. Fake news and “real” news web sites promoted the theory that these topics were deleted as part of an upcoming period of darkness under the Trump administration. My Twitter feed was absolutely filled with links to these stories. Reality: As part of the change in administrations, the U.S. National Archives archived the Obama record…

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False: President Roosevelt on why the minimum wage must be a living wage

False: President Roosevelt on why the minimum wage must be a living wage

TL;DR Summary A true quote but taken out of context – the quote is  referring to something completely different than a modern day “minimum wage”. As a propaganda message, this has  been widely shared, which makes for successful propaganda, even though the message is untrue. Roosevelt did say this quote, but it was not about the minimum wage but about creating opportunities to become skilled, employable and have the ability to earn good wages. The speech was about the need…

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20%-40% of partisan FB “fake news” posts are false

20%-40% of partisan FB “fake news” posts are false

Our analysis of three hyperpartisan right-wing Facebook pages found that 38% of all posts were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false, compared to 19% of posts from three hyperpartisan left-wing pages that were either a mixture of true and false or mostly false. The right-wing pages are among the forces — perhaps as potent as the cable news shows that have gotten far more attention — that helped fuel the rise of Donald Trump. These pages,…

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Breitbart, Occupy Democrats among list of alleged fake, news sites 

Breitbart, Occupy Democrats among list of alleged fake, news sites 

[Professor] Zimdars puts the news sites into four categories. Category one deals with sites that rely on “outrage culture”, using distorted headlines or misleading information. Category two are sites that “circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information.” Category three is for more click-bait type websites that still deliver questionable information. And category four deals with satires news site like The Onion. The satires sites are included into the list because Zimdars thinks they sometimes contribute to the cycle of misinformation. The list includes…

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Strawman argument: False quote asserts candidate is an idiot

Strawman argument: False quote asserts candidate is an idiot

Goal: Dr. Ben Carson is an idiot Method: Assertion, Strawman Argument: Fabricate a statement about your opponent and then use that fabrication to argue your opponent is an idiot. Scorecard: Over 36,000 shares within a month of this propaganda item posted online. Snopes.com notes the headline is fiction; Dr. Carson never said what is claimed. Here is the original headline: A political report claimed Dr. Ben Carson said he had no idea how gravity works but asserted climate change is a hoax….

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Using social media to spread mass misinformation

Using social media to spread mass misinformation

Recent Wikileaks revelations have unleashed a torrent of absurdities on social media. A search of Twitter for #Wikileaks turns up numerous posts making claims that are not supported – yet are eagerly shared and “liked”. The posts cover the full spectrum from both left and right, and are all absurd. There are people asserting that a short quote from a Wikileaks document means “X” when the full context shows it does not. There are quotes that are not in the Wikileaks…

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The role of fake news sites in social media stupidity amplification

The role of fake news sites in social media stupidity amplification

Many of the fake stories conservatives are tricked into sharing have been deliberately planted by the left to make fools of us. Source: The Left is Busily Planting Fake Red-Meat Conservative News Sites | The Stream Similarly, many of the fake stories published by Occupy Democrats are used to trick liberals into sharing and making fools of themselves (see prior posts on this topic). We’ve written about this before and this also illustrates how the MSM does the same thing, as…

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#OccupyDemocrats is giving propaganda a bad name

#OccupyDemocrats is giving propaganda a bad name

TL;DR Summary Occupy Democrats makes an assertion that is easily proven wrong. The link between the bridge collapse and the real world events is a logical fallacy. This is the same format as last year’s false claim about an overpass collapse (Read that link – its unbelievable). What actually caused this collapse? A truck crashed in to the bridge, causing the collapse. “Officials say the collapse of the bridge was not a design or maintenance-related issue.” But, alluding to last year’s false poster…

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Do more people go to jail than to college?

Do more people go to jail than to college?

TL;DR Summary This type of quote is known as a “glittering generality”. The clearly implied assertion is that more people go to jail than to college but this is false. The quote makes for good propaganda but it is a lie. Comparing “instant in time” measures, there were 20.6M in college in the fall of 2012 to about 2.4 million in prison or jail or detention. 41% of those aged 18-24 are in college! Poster source: Occupy Democrats Even though the quote is…

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