alt_facts   31

There are now 114 fact-checking initiatives in 47 countries
Facts may be passé, but fact-checking appears to be a growth industry.
The latest figures by the Duke Reporters’ Lab indicate there are 114 dedicated fact-checking teams in 47 countries. When the Lab first counted up fact-checkers in 2014, the same number was 44.
While some of this increase is a matter of identification rather than creation — Duke is recognizing existing fact-checkers it hadn’t previously counted — a good part of it is new initiatives.
The growth is all the more remarkable considering that the United States, by far the country with the largest group of dedicated projects, has transitioned out of an election year.
politics  fake_news  alt_facts  factcheck 
4 days ago by rgl7194
How to Spot Visualization Lies
It used to be that we’d see a poorly made graph or a data design goof, laugh it up a bit, and then carry on. At some point though — during this past year especially — it grew more difficult to distinguish a visualization snafu from bias and deliberate misinformation.
Of course, lying with statistics has been a thing for a long time, but charts tend to spread far and wide these days. There’s a lot of them. Some don’t tell the truth. Maybe you glance at it and that’s it, but a simple message sticks and builds. Before you know it, Leonardo DiCaprio spins a top on a table and no one cares if it falls or continues to rotate.
So it’s all the more important now to quickly decide if a graph is telling the truth. This a guide to help you spot the visualization lies.
truth  alt_facts  propaganda  visualization  data 
4 days ago by rgl7194
10 Investigative Reporting Outlets to Follow
Here are some new organizations, as well as a few established ones, that are working to uncover the truth.
We’ve just started a new series highlighting some of the best, in-depth investigative journalism that is uncovering real news, revealing wrongdoing and fomenting change. As a compendium, here are 10 investigative reporting outlets that are worth following if they’re not already on your radar.
news  truth  politics  gov2.0  alt_facts  fake_news 
11 days ago by rgl7194
A Major New Study Shows That Political Polarization Is Mainly A Right-Wing Phenomenon | WGBH News
A major new study of social-media sharing patterns shows that political polarization is more common among conservatives than liberals — and that the exaggerations and falsehoods emanating from right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart News have infected mainstream discourse.
Though the report, published by the Columbia Journalism Review, does an excellent job of laying out the challenge posed by Breitbart and its ilk, it is less than clear on how to counter it. Successfully standing up for truthful reporting in this environment “could usher in a new golden age for the Fourth Estate,” the authors write. But members of the public who care about such journalism are already flocking to news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and, locally, The Boston Globe, all of which have experienced a surge in paid subscriptions since the election of President Trump. That’s heartening, but there are no signs that it’s had any effect on the popularity or influence of the right-wing partisan media.
gov2.0  politics  psychology  fake_news  alt_facts  social_media  news 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Donald Trump Finally Pays a Price for His False and Reckless Words - The New Yorker
As a Presidential candidate, Donald Trump led a charmed existence. Whatever he said, no matter how outrageous, it didn’t seem to hurt him. He could insult his Republican opponents, make misogynistic comments about female journalists, call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, describe Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers, trot out blatant falsehoods by the dozen, encourage the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mail account—none of it proved damaging to his candidacy. As he famously remarked, it was as if he could go out and shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue “and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
Now things have changed. He might never admit it, but Trump has belatedly discovered a basic principle of politics: words matter. They matter so much, in fact, that they can make or break a Presidency. That’s why every one of his predecessors—during the modern era, at least—has chosen his words carefully. It took a few weeks for it to become clear that President Trump, as opposed to candidate Trump, would be subject to this principle. But, at this stage, there can be no doubt about it. Virtually every day brings a fresh example of his own loose words coming back to hurt him.
trump  politics  gov2.0  fake_news  alt_facts 
5 weeks ago by rgl7194
Three kinds of propaganda, and what to do about them / Boing Boing
Jonathan Stray summarizes three different strains of propaganda, analyzing why they work, and suggesting counter-tactics: in Russia, it's about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it's about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it's weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach.
Stray cites some of the same sources I've written about here: Tucker Max's analysis of Yiannopoulos's weaponized hate and The Harvard Institute for Quantitative Science team's first-of-its kind analysis of leaked messages directing the activities of the "50-cent army, which overwhelms online Chinese conversation with upbeat cheerleading (think of Animal Farm's sheep-bleating, or Nineteen Eighty-Four's quackspeak).
propaganda  russia  china  fake_news  alt_facts  politics  gov2.0  social_media 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
Defense Against the Dark Arts: Networked Propaganda and Counter-Propaganda | Jonathan Stray
In honor of MisinfoCon this weekend, it’s time for a brain dump on propaganda — that is, getting large numbers of people to believe something for political gain. Many of my journalist and technologist colleagues have started to think about propaganda in the wake of the US election, and related issues like “fake news” and organized trolling. My goal here is to connect this new wave of enthusiasm to history and research.
This post is about persuasion. I’m not going to spend much time on the ethics of these techniques, and even less on the question of who is actually right on any particular point. That’s for another conversation. Instead, I want to talk about what works. All of these methods are just tools, and some are more just than others. Think of this as Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Let’s start with the nation states. Modern intelligence services have been involved in propaganda for a very long time and they have many names for it: information warfare, political influence operations, disinformation, psyops. Whatever you want to call it, it pays to study the masters.
propaganda  russia  china  fake_news  alt_facts  politics  gov2.0  social_media 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
A Survey of Propaganda - Schneier on Security
This is an excellent survey article on modern propaganda techniques, how they work, and how we might defend ourselves against them.
Cory Doctorow summarizes the techniques on BoingBoing: Russia, it's about flooding the channel with a mix of lies and truth, crowding out other stories; in China, it's about suffocating arguments with happy-talk distractions, and for trolls like Milo Yiannopoulos, it's weaponizing hate, outraging people so they spread your message to the small, diffused minority of broken people who welcome your message and would otherwise be uneconomical to reach.
As to defense: "Debunking doesn't work: provide an alternative narrative."
propaganda  russia  china  fake_news  alt_facts  politics  gov2.0  social_media 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
The fake news phenomenon: How it spreads, and how to fight it
This past weekend, Northeastern University and Harvard University co-hosted a conference on fake news and how to combat it. Experts ranging from network scientists and psychologists to social media gurus, journalists, and political scientists convened at Harvard’s law school to bring their knowledge to bear and determine what can be done to stem the pernicious flow of misinformation.
“A well-functioning democracy requires a healthy ecosystem of truth-tellers,” said David Lazer, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science at Northeastern and co-director of the university’s NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks. “Citizens need to be informed, and we need institutions to communicate what’s happening in the world. In a democracy, we have to respect these enduring differences in a body politick, but the fact that there’s legitimate diversity doesn’t mean that all presentations of reality are legitimate.”
Along with Harvard professor Matthew Baum, Lazer co-organized the conference, which he said was aimed at catalyzing research and action on this issue. Here are some of the highlights from the conference, which featured several panel discussions.
fake_news  alt_facts  propaganda  social_media  politics  trump  russia 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
Fake news. It’s complicated
To understand the misinformation ecosystem, here’s a break down of the types of fake content, content creators motivations and how it’s being disseminated
By now we’ve all agreed the term “fake news” is unhelpful, but without an alternative, we’re left awkwardly using air quotes whenever we utter the phrase. The reason we’re struggling with a replacement is because this is about more than news, it’s about the entire information ecosystem. And the term fake doesn’t begin to describe the complexity of the different types of misinformation (the inadvertent sharing of false information) and disinformation (the deliberate creation and sharing of information known to be false).
To understand the current information ecosystem, we need to break down three elements:
The different types of content that are being created and shared
The motivations of those who create this content
The ways this content is being disseminated
fake_news  alt_facts  propaganda  russia  ukraine  politics  news  trump 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories -
Washington (CNN)The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.
But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate.
White House officials had sought the help of the bureau and other agencies investigating the Russia matter to say that the reports were wrong and that there had been no contacts, the officials said. The reports of the contacts were first published by The New York Times and CNN on February 14.
trump  gov2.0  politics  russia  FBI  alt_facts  news 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
The Cognitive Bias President Trump Understands Better Than You | WIRED
The human brain has a built-in tendency to conflate the aberrant with the norm. The news industry—and certain politicians—know this all too well.
pocket  psychology  instapaper  ifttt  trump  alt_facts  Archive  availability.heuristic  bias 
8 weeks ago by xer0x
The Origin of “Gaslight,” the Buzzword for Trump’s America
Since the election of Donald Trump — in this disorienting moment when American democracy and the nature of truth itself are both on shaky ground — it has been both a comfort and a shock to engage with art that feels eerily prophetic. 1984 is back on the best-seller list; copies of The Handmaid’s Tale are flying off the shelves. My book club is not the only one currently reading It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis’s satirical 1935 novel speculating what would have happened if an economic-nationalist-turned-totalitarian had beaten FDR for the presidency in ’36. In this retrogressive cultural climate, it makes a certain amount of sense that an early contender for the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year actually comes to us from Gaslight — a movie from 1944, based on a play from 1938, which takes place in the 1880s.
movies  40s  politics  trump  gov2.0  language  alt_facts 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
RIT's President, Bill Destler, sings about "Alternative Facts" - YouTube
Published on Feb 16, 2017
RIT's President Bill Destler sings about "Alternative Facts" at his concert to open RIT's Freeze Fest 2017.
music  alt_facts  humor  lyrics  politics  rochester  songs  trump  university  youtube 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Alternative Facts - YouTube
Published on Feb 20, 2017
“Alternative Facts”, words and music by Bill Destler, Copyright 2017, all rights reserved. Recorded live at RIT, February 2017.
Do you think the world is round, do you think that down is down?
Do you believe that certain things are true?
Do you think that red is red, that Mr. Flintstone’s name is Fred?
Well if you do then I have news for you
If I say it quite enough, I can claim the strangest stuff
And in the end some will buy my point of view
Even though it isn’t so, even though it’s just an act
I can make it true as alternative fact
Are you sure what’s said is said, are you sure Elvis is dead?
Are you convinced that yesterday it rained?
Do you think that ice is cold, do you think that truth be told?
Well if you do then you can be re-trained
Night is day and day is night, rhinos really do take flight
Just keep on saying it and it can be made true
If one plus one is really two, and even though that is exact
We can make it three as alternative fact
I am over six feet tall, I tore down the Berlin Wall
I am fluent in Spanish, French, and Dutch
I can run a sub-four mile, singing opera all the while
I always hit a home run in the clutch
Making up stuff is such fun, for office I should really run
Then everything I say will be gospel truth and more
Now that I really know that truth should truly get the axe
From now on it’s alternative facts.
music  politics  humor  trump  alt_facts  university  rochester  songs  youtube  lyrics 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Kellyanne Conway and the Problems With Donald Trump’s Playbook
The White House counselor is blaming her retweet of a white nationalist on a hacker, just one more symptom of how the administration operates
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says she does not know who can log on to her Twitter account. “I don’t know who had access to my account,” Conway told BuzzFeed on Tuesday when the outlet asked why she had retweeted and replied “love you back” to a Twitter user with the hashtags “#WhiteIdentity” and “#Nationalist” in its bio. Conway said she denounced “whoever it is,” implying that her account may have been breached by an unknown, white-nationalism-loving intruder. “It will be immediately deleted. Everybody makes mistakes,” she continued.
politics  gov2.0  trump  twitter  truth  alt_facts  racism  alt-right 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Robert Reich: Trump’s Tyranny Attacks on Three Fronts
With Republicans in the majority in Congress and unwilling to cross President Donald Trump, the job of containing Trump’s incipient tyranny falls to three groups: the nation’s judges, its independent press and a few state governments.
Which is why Trump is escalating attacks on all three.
trump  politics  fake_news  alt_facts  gov2.0  legal  news 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Bill Nye is back to save the world in trailer for his new Netflix show — watch | Consequence of Sound
The Science Guy tackles alternative medicine, sex, global warming, and more with a slew of guests
It’s the year 2017, and science is being threatened like never before. Climate change is denied by the highest political authorities. Sexual education and health is questioned on religious grounds. Provable data is ignored and labeled “alternative facts.” It’s scientific chaos, and there’s only one man who can bring order and reason back to the world: Bill freakin’ Nye.
tv  celebrity  science  netflix  alt_facts  climate_change 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
Andrew Sullivan: The Madness of King Donald
I guess I should start by saying this is not a blog. Nor is it what one might call a column. It’s an experiment of sorts to see if there’s something in between those two. Most Fridays, from now on, I’ll be writing in this space about, among other things, the end of Western civilization, the collapse of the republic, and, yes, my beagles. If you’re a veteran reader of my former site, the Dish, you may find yourselves at times in an uncanny valley. So may I. The model I’m trying to follow is more like the British magazine tradition of a weekly diary — on the news, but a little distant from it, personal as well as political, conversational more than formal.
politics  trump  gov2.0  fake_news  alt_facts 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194
18 WTF Moments From Trump's Unhinged Press Conference - Rolling Stone
"Russia is fake news," said the president of the United States, before musing about nuclear holocaust
Donald Trump took questions from the media on Thursday afternoon. The hastily called press conference came as a surprise to reporters, who would typically have had a briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer during that time. (According to reports, Trump walked into the Oval Office earlier that morning and said, "Let's do a press conference today.")
The event was ostensibly meant to roll out his new labor secretary nominee, Alexander Acosta. (Previous pick Andy Puzder bowed out Wednesday after it became clear to Republican Senate leaders they did not have enough votes to confirm him.) But the event had little to do with Acosta, and quickly devolved into one of the most remarkably incoherent spectacles in recent memory.
trump  speech  news  politics  gov2.0  fake_news  alt_facts  WTF 
9 weeks ago by rgl7194

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