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Monday, January 22, 2018

Recommended Reading

See The History of Fake News in the United States from The Daily Signal.

...[I]ntentionally misleading news has been around since before the invention of the printing press. In fact, our Founding Fathers grappled with this very issue when they created our system of government. They saw that while it was tempting to censor fake stories, ultimately, the truth was more likely to be abused by an all-powerful government arbiter than the filter of unimpeded popular debate. Attempts to weed out factually incorrect news reports can quickly morph into fact-checking and manipulating differences in opinion....
Read the rest HERE.

Does the Digital Age (or anything else) upend the precedents cited in the linked essay?


  1. The founding Fathers certainly did not envision the internet and Macedonian aggregators.
    I see so many false stories on the net that proclaim headlines ("Trump wrestles Schumer in after hour brawl!") that conservatives "share" without ever reading and recognizing the stupidity of the content.
    They often react to an intended humor article's headline as if it were intended as truth when a simple reading (or thought) would reveal otherwise.

  2. Ed,
    "share" without ever reading and recognizing the stupidity of the content

    I try not to succumb to that kind of stupidity -- although I've been tricked once or twice.

    I think that one problem is, as Mark Twain put it:

    “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today!”

    Another problem is that too many people cannot sort opinion from actual fact-based information articles.

    As for headlines, many of them are click bait.

  3. Is the 800,000 number of Dreamers fake news? According to Bunkerville's post today:

    There are close to 3 to 4 million dreamers research states.


    1. Bunker is right, but they are all shooting low. When DACA gets approved, the 800K will turn into 8 million, and I predict a huge surge in illegal crossings.

      Documents and "proof" can be forged. There is a thriving underground economy in it.

      Also, thanks to serial political malpractice by the Repubelicons, they will get blamed for the shutdown.

      I participate in on-line comment threads, and most people don't realize DACA, immigration and Trump's Wall are not part of this spending bill.

      Millions of ignorant people believe Trump is shutting down government because he is demanding his wall, or that the government has shut down due to GOP intransigence on DACA.

      I don't know how Republicans win in such a fake-news fueled nuthouse of insanity and ignorance.

  4. It is possible for two individuals to understand the same set of facts differently. It could be a matter that one of these individuals is more adept at analysis than the other; it could also be that one person is only able to view facts through an ideological prism, apply illogical conclusions, and then write about them accordingly. Is this fake news, or merely the result of individual biases? Opinion has so often been offered as undeniable fact that few today can even tell the difference (or wants to). Is this really "fake news" or is it weaponized media? By the end of President Washington's first term in office, ideologically opposed writers and publishers were attacking his domestic and foreign policy; they escalated into personal attacks questioning Mr. Washington's integrity, republican principles, and even his military reputation. These attacks backfired, of course, but what began was systemic weaponization of information (propaganda) that has only gotten worse over time. Today, the political left dominates news making. Notice, I didn't say news reporting. Today, the American public doesn't know how to discern fact from fiction and this is because today, the political left dominates education. I suspect that at some point in the future, most Americans will believe what their political masters tell them -in the same way that Islamists believe what the mullahs tell them. We can thank Howard Zinn for that ... the man who convinced us that there is no such thing as objective thought.

    1. Sam,
      Thank you for that erudite comment -- and for the history lesson. IMO, most Americans don't have a clue regarding that bit of history related to George Washington.

      The education system is a Trojan Horse and has, of course, partnered with the Enemedia.

    2. Sam,

      Good points. This is why the most effective political messaging is pithy, understandable and repeated ad-nauseam.

      President Trump and the Repubelicons should have been hammering their message for months:

      A DACA Deal in exchange for: the wall, end chain migration, merit-based immigration, worker verification, etc.

      That is a winning message, since most Americans want to allow DACA people to stay here if they are not criminals, and most Americans also want sensible border protection and immigration reform.

      Unfortunately, as usual, the GOOPers blew it on messaging.

  5. Not much of an article.

    The only example of fake news it presents is Duranty's infamous denial of the Holodorma (Malcolm Muggeridge, the leftist anti-communist was simultaneously printing the truth in The Guardian) ignores the likes of William Randolph Hearst's ginning up excuses for the Spanish American war or more recently, "Jailhouse" Judy Miller's (and others) printing lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
    The American suckers pretty much bought that fairy tale and now the incident is forgotten.

    The news today is pretty much dominated by whining liars on the right and the plethora of Breitbart like outlets. The right somehow knows the truth and everyone else is in the dark. What the right doesn't know or understands imperfectly is immense but they figure if they yell "enemedia" often and loud enough their ignorance will prevail.

    It is intensely sad.

    1. "The news today is pretty much dominated by whining liars on the right and the plethora of Breitbart like outlets. "
      RU Sirius?

    2. Give it up Ed. CNN?
      You mean Eagles fan Jake Tapper who called New England cheaters when the Eagles gained an invite to the finals of the Patriot Open?

    3. Screw Nick Foles. As a mercenary he tanked the Rams to facilitate the move to LA from St. Louis. Guy set the 2nd worst 3rd down conversion percentage in NFL history, on purpose.

      That does not mean I'll cheer for the Patriots, because F the AFC.

  6. Now Ed, don't be so hard on Nostradumbass. What do you do with someone that thinks "A People's History of the United States", was anything other than a Manichean fable.(Or seems to think that your statement had something to do with football.)

    1. Your sense of humor is challenged once again, Warren.

      I don't understand why you feel free to surmise my opinion of Zinn (whatever that has to do with the subject at hand).
      He is indeed too pessimistic and too tightly attached to a party line.
      Though there is much of value in his work.

      My preference is Fernand Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism which came out about the same time

    2. World Systems Theory ought to scare the hell out of anyone with more than a half-ounce of brains.

    3. I'm more concerned with Braudel's understanding of capitalism as a monopolistic system with less emphasis on the market.

      It's immediate contemporary application to health insurance and the chimera of "free market" solutions. Anyone with a half ounce of brains has figured out that's a no go.

    4. I'm still wondering about the football retort.

  7. "(whatever that has to do with the subject at hand)"
    Remove the plank from your own eye.

    i.e. Jake Tapper, Eagles, Patriot Open. (really?)

    1. It's a joke, Warren.

      Maybe it's a bad joke but Ed does have a sense of humor.

    2. What I said was a joke too.

      Since you're the subject of the joke I don't imagine you found it very funny.

  8. Tocqueville on the Enemedia:

    Tocqueville wrote, in a centralized media environment such as France, “[t]he influence upon a skeptical nation of a public press thus constituted must be almost unbounded. It is an enemy with whom a government may sign an occasional truce, but which it is difficult to resist for any length of time.”

    1. The "centralization" of American media through AP/UPI and stock buyouts by media conglomerates probably resembles today that of Tocqueville's Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century France.

    2. PC'ness and acts of preference falsification enable totalitarianism to exist.

  9. I only had time to scan the article, AOW, but was looking for Abraham Lincoln's quote on throwing fake news writers in prison! Yes, they had it then, too, and he did NOT like it!
    Seems so utterly against the WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE and WHY? taught in journalism...or what USED to be taught.
    I fear that what is taught now is JUST GIVE IT THE LEFT WING SLANT...done.
    Everyone getting bylines was the start of our modern problems; who cares what everybody think? I want THE NEWS, not opinions on the front page...yet that's what we get, the leftwing mischaracterization of the rightwing...and vice versa, except the percentages of left v right are laughable.

    Please check out my post today, AOW.....you'll be amazed...has to do with FB.

    1. Have you ever stopped to think that what you call a "leftist" slant is centrist and really reflects a widespread opinion?

      "Fake news" is largely anything in opposition to the far right narrative.
      Even moderate conservatives have been shouted down.

    2. Actually, fake news is presenting political opinion as fact, omitting key factual elements of the story in order to support an erroneous conclusion, or fabricating actual events to make the event fit a biased narrative. Your refusal to acknowledge this tells us that you're an ideologue, and not a very honest one at that. But at least you're consistent.

    3. Z,
      Please check out my post today, AOW.....you'll be amazed...has to do with FB.

      I did a short while ago and left a comment at your blog post. I didn't recognize a single one of those followers.

    4. Z, that facebook thing is a hoax: the instructions have you perform a search for profiles with phrases similar to "following me". See http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/09/the-following-me-list-on-facebook-is-a-hoax.html for instructions to see who really is following you.

    5. Jez,
      Thank you for that information! I had a boatload of strange names following me on FB. I didn't bother blocking them. Required too much time to do so.

  10. Fake news?

    Shock poll: Americans want massive cuts to legal immigration

    Cutting chain migration even more popular than legalizing Dreamers

    The poll is a Harvard-Harris poll taken in the run-up to the shutdown. Furthermore:

    The poll found that most Americans want annual legal immigration capped at 500,000 a year or less — far lower than the current annual rate of 1.3 million.

  11. I'd like to return to the debate that makes sense: means-testing immigration.


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