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The Danger in Media Telling Only Half the Story on Political Violence

When mass media displays such a clear bias, then the people who are on the losing end of that bias are not going to be happy.
 

In the last few months, we've seen numerous acts of politically motivated or targeted violence. Some of these cases have been plastered all over the news for days or weeks. Some others have been met with deafening silence. And which is which hasn't exactly been random.

There is clear bias in the reporting of political violence and I believe this has had some serious consequences for people's ability to trust the media and bridge a divided culture.

To understand why, we need to look at what's actually happened recently, so while what follows is far from a complete list of all the politically-motivated violence, it encompasses many of the most recent and highest-profile examples:

What You've Probably Heard

  • October 2018Trump-supporting lunatic Cesar Sayoc, Jr. attempted (but completely failed to) to deliver (non-functional) bombs to over a dozen Democratic leaders including Obama, Clinton, Maxine Waters, and Eric Holder among others. As we learn more about this story, it becomes increasingly clear that Sayoc has a long history of threats and violence going back to at least the mid-90s.
  • October 2018: Anti-semite Robert Bowers shot and killed 11 people and injured 6 others at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and although he seems to have been anti-Trump, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has already blamed Trump for creating the environment that encouraged Bowers' actions.
  • October 2018: Another man with a substantial history of mental illness and violence, Gregory Bush, entered a Kroger grocery store in Jefferstown, Kentucky and essentially executed a 67-year old  man named Maurice Stallard with a handgun for no apparent reason, after which he exited the store and shot and killed another woman, Vickie Lee Jones (67) before he was challenged by another shopper who drew a legally concealed weapon and shot back at him. Bush apparently attempted to enter a church nearby before he went to the Kroger, presumably with the intent to kill. Although there is currently no motive known, many people assume Bush was motivated by racism because he is white while his two victims were black and one witness recounts hearing him say "Don't shoot me and I won't shoot you. Whites don't kill whites," to the man who confronted him. 
  • October 2018Envelopes testing positive for Ricin (an incredibly dangerous poison for which 22 micrograms/kilogram of body weight constitutes a lethal dosage) were sent to Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis.
  • April 2018Self-described "Incel" Alek Minassian drove a van into a crowd in Toronto and killed 10 people. Incels are considered "right-wing" although "Involuntary Celibacy" is mainly a reaction to feminism and has no inherent connection to right/left politics.

And of course, all this is in the context of the awful Charlottesville Riot from last year, where in...

  • August 2017: Neo-Nazi James Fields killed Heather Heyer and injured 19 others with his car at the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally after he drove through a crowd of protesters. What you probably don't know is that his trial is set for November, and he was recently assaulted in prison.

Also, while this isn't actually a known example of political violence, you'll certainly recall:

  • October 2017: Stephen Paddock opens fire on a crowd of country music fans in Las Vegas from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 58 people and causing injury to 851 others either directly or via the resulting panic. This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and yet no motive is known, little information has been released to the public, and the press coverage died out relatively quickly.

I'm including the Las Vegas shooting in this list because it sparked another national gun control debate, this time over whether or not it should be legal to own bump stocks.

You'll probably also have heard about a number of cases of street violence involving the "Proud Boys", and perhaps you might have recently learned that Facebook shut down that group's main page.

And you'll have probably heard of various racist/anti-Semitic threats and acts of vandalism against Jewish community centers, churches, and other political targets, which are often assumed to be a product of Trump's rhetoric.

What You Probably Haven't Heard

  • October 2018: Ricin envelopes were not just sent to James Mattis, but also to President Trump, along with Senator Ted Cruz and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. The FBI arrested a suspect in Utah, William Clyde Allen, believed to have sent all the packages in a coordinated effort. Allen confessed to sending all four letters, but we also learned that—similar to the inoperable bombs allegedly sent by Cesar Sayoc, Jr.—none seemed to contain actual Ricin, but rather castor seed from which Ricin is made.
  • October 2018: In Las Vegas, a Democratic activist working for American Bridge 21st Century named Wilfred Michael Stark assaulted Kristin Davidson, campaign manager for Nevada's Republican gubernatorial candidate, Adam Laxalt. Stark had previously been arrested for similar activity at a GOP rally in Virginia.
  • October 2018: In Minnesota, Republican state-representative Sarah Anderson was chased and punched by a man ripping up GOP campaign signs, and two days earlier, Republican candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after being punched in the back of the head while having dinner at a local restaurant.
  • October 2018: The Republican Party Headquarters in Manhattan, New York was vandalized with spray-paint, smashed windows, and a threatening notethat read: "Our attack is merely a beginning. We are not passive, we are not civil, and we will not apologize."
  • October 2018: Jackson Cosko, an intern working for Democratic Senator Sheila Jackson Lee was charged by the United States Capitol Police with "doxxing" Republican Senators Mike Lee, Orrin Hatch, and Lindsey Graham. While doxxing itself isn't violence, it has frequently led to serious harassment and violence as people have access to personal information such as the home addresses, phone numbers, and email address of the victims.
  • October 2018: Florida man, Jame Royal Patrick, Jr., was arrested for making death threats to people who supported Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.
  • October 2018Shots were fired at the Republican party campaign office in Daytona Florida, breaking the windows. Fortunately, no one was in the office.
  • October 2018: A hairdresser Jordan Hunt starts an argument with a female pro-life demonstrator in Ontario, and after a few minutes of conversation roundhouse-kicks her in the face on camera.
  • September 2018: GOP campaign offices in Laramie, Wyoming, were set on fire by arsonists. The same thing happened in Hillsborough, North Carolina, back in 2016, so this is nothing especially new.
  • September 2018: In San Francisco, a man named Farzad Fazeli attempted to stab Republican campaign worker Rudy Peters with a switchblade while he was working at an election booth at a Castro Valley town festival.
  • July 2018Martin Astrof was arrested for threatening to kill GOP campaign staffers and President Trump.
  • July 2018: Someone vandalized the Lincoln, Nebraska (my hometown) GOP headquarters by smashing its windows with a brick and spray-painting "ABOLISH ICE" on the sidewalk.
  • August 2017: Missouri lawmaker, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, said on social media that she hoped President Trump would be assassinated. She later was formally censured by the Missouri State Senate.

And of course, I'd hope you remember...

  • June 2017: In Alexandria, Virginia, James T. Hodgkinson (a Bernie Sanders fanatic angry with the results of the 2016) died with a list of Republican targets in his pocket in a shootout with police after he shot four people: lobbyist Matt Mika, legislative aid Zack Barth, Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, and Republican Congressman Steve Scalise who nearly died. The shooting took place at a baseball diamond where several Republican Senators and Congressmen were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

Another thing you might not realize is that many of the skirmishes involving the Proud Boys group were actually caused by Antifa and Democratic Socialists of America activists—though you'd hardly know it from the way most reporters frame these events—and Antifa social media pages have not been shut down.

Comparing media coverage between Antifa and conservative groups is, I believe, particularly instructive.

Almost a year ago, YouTube commentator Matt Christiansen called attention to the differences in a video he made about Dartmouth professor, Mark Bray (talk at UC Berkeley).

 

https://fee.org/articles/the-danger-in-media-telling-only-half-the-story-on-political-violence/


 
 

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On 11/8/2018 at 4:05 PM, deicer said:

Video Proves White House Falsely Accused CNN’s Acosta Of Touching Staffer (She Touched Him 4 Times)

He was trying to avoid the contact, and why was Donnie so afraid of answering the question about the 'invasion'???

'This Isn't The Jim F***ing Acosta Show': Journalists Unload On CNN's Acosta

Multiple reporters have privately complained about CNN's Jim Acosta in recent days as the reporter continues to wait on a federal judge's ruling as to whether he can at least temporarily restore the White House correspondent's press credentials.

"A few CNN reporters told me that they’re embarrassed by Acosta & CNN," Republican strategist Arthur Schwartz said. "A WH correspondent from a major network (not Fox) told me 'This isn’t the Jim F*ing Acosta Show. We all hate him. He's an a**hole and he actually is disrespectful to the president.'"

A member of the White House press corps told The Daily Wire this afternoon that "Acosta's one-man show is a lot less about asking the president tough questions than it is about aspiring to [get] his own show on CNN."

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer revealed on Tuesday during an appearance on Fox News' "The Story," with Martha MacCallum, that he has heard similar remarks made by other members of the press that work with Acosta.

Speaking about Acosta's antics that got his press pass taken away, Spicer said, "It was rude and unbecoming to his other fellow journalists more than anything else."

"There is clearly a group of journalists that are disgusted and find Mr. Acosta's behavior out of line," Spicer continued. "But, what happens is, and I wrote about this in my book, that there's a bunch of groupthink and fear about going against the groupthink that they all face in there. And so, right now they all feel compelled to come out and say. But privately, they'll tell you that they find his behavior unacceptable and doesn't bode well for their industry."

 

https://www.dailywire.com/news/38325/isnt-jim-fing-acosta-show-journalists-unload-cnns-ryan-saavedra

 

 

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IT STARTS...THIS TIME IN CANADA !! 😡

Union Representing Thousands Of Canadian Journalists Calls Themselves ‘Resistance’ Against Scheer

Jerry Dias – the head of the massive Unifor Union which represents over 10,000 Canadian journalists – is calling himself part of ‘the resistance’ to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

Here’s what Unifor tweeted:

“Unifor’s National Executive Board started planning for the federal election today @AndrewScheer #canlab #

 

We will #StopScheerStupidity ! @AndrewScheer”

As Candice Malcolm noted, it’s a big problem:

“This man heads a union that claims to represent 13,000 Canadian journalists. And he’s declared war against Conservatives in Canada. This is a threat to our democracy and a disgrace to the journalism profession.”

 

Malcolm is correct. It’s dangerous, and it’s a disgrace.

And it raises the obvious question: How can Canadians trust the media after this?

We keep getting told by the elites that the media is ‘unbiased’ and that questioning the media is unacceptable.

But how can the media be unbiased if tens of thousands of them are represented by a union pledging to destroy the Conservatives?

It’s a total conflict of interest, and it’s why trust in the media is collapsing. People can see past the lies. People can see the bias. And people can see that Conservative Canadians never get a fair shake from the press.

The bias is endemic, and it’s only getting worse”

 

https://www.spencerfernando.com/2018/11/15/dias-bias-union-representing-thousands-of-canadian-journalists-calls-themselves-resistance-against-scheer/

 

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CBC slams its only Conservative voice!

Petition aims to have Rex Murphy uninvited from Yukon Geoscience Forum

Murphy wrote column last month questioning the credibility of Christine Blasey Ford

 

A concerned Yukoner has started a petition to have Rex Murphy uninvited from the Yukon Geoscience Forum. 

Rachel Grantham does not want Murphy giving a keynote address on Nov.17, in light of a recent column he wrote. 

 

The column, published in the Oct. 19 edition of the National Post, argues Brett Kavanaugh's U.S. Supreme Court nomination demonstrates how politicized the U.S. Supreme Court is. He also talks about the assumed credibility of Christine Blasey Ford's testimony and suggests there should be an equally scrupulous follow-up into her allegations.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/rex-murphy-mining-yukon-1.4900482

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Some common sense put back in place...

Judge orders White House to return Jim Acosta's press pass

(CNN)Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly sided with CNN on Friday, ordering the White House to reinstate chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass.

The ruling was an initial victory for CNN in its lawsuit against President Trump and several top aides.

The lawsuit alleges that CNN and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the suspension of Acosta's press pass.

Kelly did not rule on the underlying case on Friday. But he granted CNN's request for a temporary restraining order.

This result means that Acosta will have his access to the White House restored for at least a short period of time. The judge said while explaining his decision that he believes that CNN and Acosta are likely to prevail in the case overall.

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With the lack of critical thinking that is happening today, this just illustrates how easy it is to get the sheep to follow.  

‘Nothing on this page is real’: How lies become truth in online America

NORTH WATERBORO, Maine — The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed. He logged onto his website and began to invent his first news story of the day.

“BREAKING,” he wrote, pecking out each letter with his index fingers as he considered the possibilities. Maybe he would announce that Hillary Clinton had died during a secret overseas mission to smuggle more refugees into America. Maybe he would award President Trump the Nobel Peace Prize for his courage in denying climate change.

A new message popped onto Blair’s screen from a friend who helped with his website. “What viral insanity should we spread this morning?” the friend asked.

“The more extreme we become, the more people believe it,” Blair replied.

He had launched his new website on Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign as a practical joke among friends — a political satire site started by Blair and a few other liberal bloggers who wanted to make fun of what they considered to be extremist ideas spreading throughout the far right. In the last two years on his page, America’s Last Line of Defense, Blair had made up stories about California instituting sharia, former president Bill Clinton becoming a serial killer, undocumented immigrants defacing Mount Rushmore, and former president Barack Obama dodging the Vietnam draft when he was 9. “Share if you’re outraged!” his posts often read, and thousands of people on Facebook had clicked “like” and then “share,” most of whom did not recognize his posts as satire. Instead, Blair’s page had become one of the most popular on Facebook among Trump-supporting conservatives over 55.

“Nothing on this page is real,” read one of the 14 disclaimers on Blair’s site, and yet in the America of 2018 his stories had become real, reinforcing people’s biases, spreading onto Macedonian and Russian fake news sites, amassing an audience of as many 6 million visitors each month who thought his posts were factual. What Blair had first conceived of as an elaborate joke was beginning to reveal something darker. “No matter how racist, how bigoted, how offensive, how obviously fake we get, people keep coming back,” Blair once wrote, on his own personal Facebook page. “Where is the edge? Is there ever a point where people realize they’re being fed garbage and decide to return to reality?”

Blair’s own reality was out beyond the shuttered curtains of his office: a three-bedroom home in the forest of Maine where the paved road turned to gravel; not his house but a rental; not on the lake but near it. Over the past decade his family had moved around the country a half-dozen times as he looked for steady work, bouncing between construction and restaurant jobs while sometimes living on food stamps. During the economic crash of 2008, his wife had taken a job at Wendy’s to help pay down their credit-card debt, and Blair, a lifelong Democrat, had begun venting his political frustration online, arguing with strangers in an Internet forum called Brawl Hall. He sometimes masqueraded as a tea party conservative on Facebook so he could gain administrative access into their private groups and then flood their pages with liberal ideas before using his administrative status to shut their pages down.

He had created more than a dozen online profiles over the last years, sometimes disguising himself in accompanying photographs as a beautiful Southern blond woman or as a bandana-wearing conservative named Flagg Eagleton, baiting people into making racist or sexist comments and then publicly eviscerating them for it. In his writing Blair was blunt, witty and prolific, and gradually he’d built a liberal following on the Internet and earned a full-time job as a political blogger. On the screen, like nowhere else, he could say exactly how he felt and become whomever he wanted.

Now he hunched over a desk wedged between an overturned treadmill and two turtle tanks, scanning through conservative forums on Facebook for something that might inspire his next post. He was 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds, and he typed several thousand words each day in all capital letters. He noticed a photo online of Trump standing at attention for the national anthem during a White House ceremony. Behind the president were several dozen dignitaries, including a white woman standing next to a black woman, and Blair copied the picture, circled the two women in red and wrote the first thing that came into his mind.

“President Trump extended an olive branch and invited Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton,” Blair wrote. “They thanked him by giving him ‘the finger’ during the national anthem. Lock them up for treason!”

Blair finished typing and looked again at the picture. The white woman was not in fact Chelsea Clinton but former White House strategist Hope Hicks. The black woman was not Michelle Obama but former Trump aide Omarosa Newman. Neither Obama nor Clinton had been invited to the ceremony. Nobody had flipped off the president. The entire premise was utterly ridiculous, which was exactly Blair’s point.

“We live in an Idiocracy,” read a small note on Blair’s desk, and he was taking full advantage. In a good month, the advertising revenue from his website earned him as much as $15,000, and it had also won him a loyal army of online fans. Hundreds of liberals now visited America’s Last Line of Defense to humiliate conservatives who shared Blair’s fake stories as fact. In Blair’s private Facebook messages with his liberal supporters, his conservative audience was made up of “sheep,” “hillbillies,” “maw-maw and paw-paw,” “TrumpTards,” “potatoes” and “taters.”

“How could any thinking person believe this nonsense?” he said. He hit the publish button and watched as his lie began to spread.

It was barely dawn in Pahrump, Nev., when Shirley Chapian, 76, logged onto Facebook for her morning computer game of Criminal Case. She believed in starting each day with a problem-solving challenge, a quick mental exercise to keep her brain sharp more than a decade into retirement. For a while it had been the daily crossword puzzle, but then the local newspaper stopped delivering and a friend introduced her to the viral Facebook game with 65 million players. She spent an hour as a 1930s detective, interrogating witnesses and trying to parse their lies from the truth until finally she solved case No. 48 and clicked over to her Facebook news feed.

“Good morning, Shirley! Thanks for being here,” read an automated note at the top of her page. She put her finger on the mouse and began scrolling down.

“Click LIKE if you believe we must stop Sharia Law from coming to America before it’s too late,” read the first item, and she clicked “like.”

“Share to help END the ongoing migrant invasion!” read another, and she clicked “share.”

The house was empty and quiet except for the clicking of her computer mouse. She lived alone, and on many days her only personal interaction occurred here, on Facebook. Mixed into her morning news feed were photos and updates from some of her 300 friends, but most items came directly from political groups Chapian had chosen to follow: “Free Speech Patriots,” “Taking Back America,” “Ban Islam,” “Trump 2020” and “Rebel Life.” Each political page published several posts each day directly into Chapian’s feed, many of which claimed to be “BREAKING NEWS.”

On her computer the attack against America was urgent and unrelenting. Liberals were restricting free speech. Immigrants were storming the border and casting illegal votes. Politicians were scheming to take away everyone’s guns. “The second you stop paying attention, there’s another travesty underway in this country,” Chapian once wrote, in her own Facebook post, so she had decided to always pay attention, sometimes scrolling and sharing for hours at a time.

“BREAKING: Democrat mega-donor accused of sexual assault!!!”

“Is Michelle Obama really dating Bruce Springsteen?”

“Iowa Farmer Claims Bill Clinton had Sex with Cow during ‘Cocaine Party.’ ”

On display above Chapian’s screen were needlepoints that had once occupied much of her free time, intricate pieces of artwork that took hundreds of hours to complete, but now she didn’t have the patience. Out her window was a dead-end road of identical beige-and-brown rock gardens surrounding double-wide trailers that looked similar to her own, many of them occupied by neighbors whom she’d never met. Beyond that was nothing but cactuses and heat waves for as far as she could see — a stretch of unincorporated land that continued from her backyard into the desert.

She’d spent almost a decade in Pahrump without really knowing why. The heat could be unbearable. She had no family in Nevada. She loved going to movies, and the town of 30,000 didn’t have a theater. It seemed to her like a place in the business of luring people — into the air-conditioned casinos downtown, into the legal brothels on the edge of the desert, into the new developments of cheap housing available for no money down — and in some ways she’d become stuck, too.

She had lived much of her life in cities throughout Europe and across the United States — places such as San Francisco, New York and Miami. She’d gone to college for a few years and become an insurance adjuster, working as one of the few women in the field in the 1980s and ’90s and joining the National Organization for Women to advocate for an equal wage before eventually moving to Rhode Island to work for a hospice and care for her aging parents. After her mother died, Chapian decided to retire and move to Las Vegas to live with a friend, and when Las Vegas become too expensive a real estate agent told her about Pahrump. She bought a three-bedroom trailer for less than $100,000 and painted it purple. She met a few friends at the local senior center and started eating at the Thai restaurant in town. A few years after arriving, she bought a new computer monitor and signed up for Facebook in 2009, choosing as her profile image a photo of her cat.

“Looking to connect with friends and other like-minded people,” she wrote then.

She had usually voted for Republicans, just like her parents, but it was only on Facebook that Chapian had become a committed conservative. She was wary of Obama in the months after his election, believing him to be both arrogant and inexperienced, and on Facebook she sought out a litany of information that seemed to confirm her worst fears, unaware that some of that information was false. It wasn’t just that Obama was liberal, she read; he was actually a socialist. It wasn’t just that his political qualifications were thin; it was that he had fabricated those qualifications, including parts of his college transcripts and maybe even his birth certificate.

For years she had watched network TV news, but increasingly Chapian wondered about the widening gap between what she read online and what she heard on the networks. “What else aren’t they telling us?” she wrote once, on Facebook, and if she believed the mainstream media was becoming insufficient or biased, it was her responsibility to seek out alternatives. She signed up for a dozen conservative newsletters and began to watch Alex Jones on Infowars. One far right Facebook group eventually led her to the next with targeted advertising, and soon Chapian was following more than 2,500 conservative pages, an ideological echo chamber that often trafficked in skepticism. Climate change was a hoax. The mainstream media was censored or scripted. Political Washington was under control of a “deep state.”

Chapian didn’t believe everything she read online, but she was also distrustful of mainstream fact-checkers and reported news. It sometimes felt to her like real facts had become indiscernible — that the truth was often somewhere in between. What she trusted most was her own ability to think critically and discern the truth, and increasingly her instincts aligned with the online community where she spent most of her time. It had been months since she’d gone to a movie. It had been almost a year since she’d made the hour-long trip to Las Vegas. Her number of likes and shares on Facebook increased each year until she was sometimes awakening to check her news feed in the middle of the night, liking and commenting on dozens of posts each day. She felt as if she was being let in on a series of dark revelations about the United States, and it was her responsibility to see and to share them.

“I’m not a conspiracy-theory-type person, but . . .” she wrote, before sharing a link to an unsourced story suggesting that Democratic donor George Soros had been a committed Nazi, or that a Parkland shooting survivor was actually a paid actor.

Now another post arrived in her news feed, from a page called America’s Last Line of Defense, which Chapian had been following for more than a year. It showed a picture of Trump standing at a White House ceremony. Circled in the background were two women, one black and one white.

“President Trump extended an olive branch and invited Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton,” the post read. “They thanked him by giving him ‘the finger’ during the national anthem.”

Chapian looked at the photo and nothing about it surprised her. Of course Trump had invited Clinton and Obama to the White House in a generous act of patriotism. Of course the Democrats — or “Demonrats,” as Chapian sometimes called them — had acted badly and disrespected America. It was the exact same narrative she saw playing out on her screen hundreds of times each day, and this time she decided to click ‘like’ and leave a comment.

“Well, they never did have any class,” she wrote.

Blair had invented thousands of stories in the past two years, always trafficking in the same stereotypes to fool the same people, but he never tired of watching a post take off: Eight shares in the first minute, 160 within 15 minutes, more than 1,000 by the end of the hour.

“Aaaaand, we’re viral,” he wrote, in a message to his liberal supporters on his private Facebook page. “It’s getting to the point where I can no longer control the absolute absurdity of the things I post. No matter how ridiculous, how obviously fake, or how many times you tell the same taters . . . they will still click that ‘like’ and hit that share button.”

By the standards of America’s Last Line of Defense, the item about Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton was only a moderate success. It included no advertisements, so it wouldn’t earn Blair any money. It wasn’t even the most popular of the 11 items he’d published that day. But, just an hour earlier, Blair had come up with an idea at his computer in Maine, and now hundreds or maybe thousands of people across the country believed Obama and Clinton had flipped off the president.

“Gross. Those women have no respect for themselves,” wrote a woman in Fort Washakie, Wyo.

“They deserve to be publicly shunned,” said a man in Gainesville, Fla.

“Not surprising behavior from such ill bred trash.”

“Jail them now!!!”

Blair had fooled them. Now came his favorite part, the gotcha, when he could let his victims in on the joke.

“OK, taters. Here’s your reality check,” he wrote on America’s Last Line of Defense, placing his comment prominently alongside the original post. “That is Omarosa and Hope Hicks, not Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton. They wouldn’t be caught dead posing for this pseudo-patriotic nationalistic garbage . . . Congratulations, stupid.”

Beyond the money he earned, this was what Blair had conceived of as the purpose for his website: to engage directly with people who spread false or extremist stories and prove those stories were wrong. Maybe, after people had been publicly embarrassed, they would think more critically about what they shared online. Maybe they would begin to question the root of some of their ideas.

Blair didn’t have time to personally confront each of the several hundred thousand conservatives who followed his Facebook page, so he’d built a community of more than 100 liberals to police the page with him. Together they patrolled the comments, venting their own political anger, shaming conservatives who had been fooled, taunting them, baiting them into making racist comments that could then be reported to Facebook. Blair said he and his followers had gotten hundreds of people banned from Facebook and several others fired or demoted in their jobs for offensive behavior online. He had also forced Facebook to shut down 22 fake news sites for plagiarizing his content, many of which were Macedonian sites that reran his stories without labeling them as satire.

What Blair wasn’t sure he had ever done was change a single person’s mind. The people he fooled often came back to the page, and he continued to feed them the kind of viral content that boosted his readership and his bank account: invented stories about Colin Kaepernick, kneeling NFL players, imams, Black Lives Matter protesters, immigrants, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, Michelle and Malia Obama. He had begun to include more obvious disclaimers at the top of every post and to intentionally misspell several words in order to highlight the idiocy of his work, but still traffic continued to climb. Sometimes he wondered: Rather than of awakening people to reality, was he pushing them further from it?

“Well, they never did have any class,” commented Shirley Chapian, from Pahrump, Nev., and Blair watched his liberal followers respond.

“That’s kind of an ironic comment coming from pure trailer trash, don’t you think?”

“You’re a gullible moron who just fell for a fake story on a Liberal satire page.”

“You my dear . . . are as smart as a potato.”

“What a waste of flesh and time.”

“Welcome to the internet. Critical thinking required.”

Chapian saw the comments after her post and wondered as she often did when she was attacked: Who were these people? And what were they talking about? Of course Michelle Obama and Chelsea Clinton had flipped off the president. It was true to what she knew of their character. That was what mattered.

Instead of responding directly to strangers on America’s Last Line of Defense, Chapian wrote on her own Facebook page. “Nasty liberals,” she said, and then she went back to her news feed, each day blending into the next.

A Muslim woman with her burqa on fire: like. A policeman using a baton to beat a masked antifa protester: like. Hillary Clinton looking gaunt and pale: like. A military helicopter armed with machine guns and headed toward the caravan of immigrants: like.

She had spent a few hours scrolling one afternoon when she heard a noise outside her window, and she turned away from the screen to look outside. A neighbor was sweeping his sidewalk, pushing tiny white rocks back into his rock garden. The sky was an uninterrupted blue. A mailman worked his way up the empty street. There were no signs of “Sharia Law.” The migrant caravan was still hundreds of miles away in Mexico. Antifa protesters had yet to descend on Pahrump. Chapian squinted against the sun, closed the shades and went back to her screen.

A picture of undocumented immigrants laughing inside a voting booth: like.

“Deep State Alive and Well”: like.

She scrolled upon another post from America’s Last Line of Defense, reading fast, oblivious to the satire labels and not noticing Blair’s trademark awkward phrasings and misspellings. It showed a group of children kneeling on prayer mats in a classroom. “California School children forced to Sharia in Class,” it read. “All of them have stopped eating bacon. Two began speaking in Allah. Stop making children pray to imaginary Gods!!”

Chapian recoiled from the screen. “Please!” she said. “If I had a kid in a school system like that, I’d yank them out so fast.”

She had seen hundreds of stories on Facebook about the threat of sharia, and this confirmed much of what she already believed. It was probably true, she thought. It was true enough.

“Do people understand that things like this are happening in this country?” she said. She clicked the post and the traffic registered back to a computer in Maine, where Blair watched another story go viral and wondered when his audience would get his joke.

 

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The Whitehouse continues to put their foot in their mouth.  The are still on about the Acosta pass, now saying they will still pull it.  Yet their explanation is based on 'unwritten practices'.

I don't think they really know what they are doing, and because of that, they are only reinforcing the need for a strong independent free press to push for answers in the face of an increasingly autocratic Whitehouse.

White House still plans to revoke press pass of CNN’s Jim Acosta

The White House notified CNN correspondent Jim Acosta on Friday night that it still planned to revoke his press pass, despite a district court’s ruling earlier that day to temporarily restore the pass pending full review of the case.

The White House gave Acosta until Sunday afternoon to reply with his own arguments. Acosta’s lawyers wrote back saying it would violate his constitutional rights and fly in the face of Friday’s ruling decision. His lawyers asked the White House to issue a final decision by 3pm on Monday.

The correspondence was released Monday morning.

Key Takeaways

The White House move came just hours after Acosta got his press pass back and returned to the press room, and President Donald Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he would impose new rules on how they behave, telling them that “you have to act with respect. You’re in the White House.”

Friday’s ruling was limited, focusing on the due process aspect of the White House’s earlier decision to revoke his press pass after a volatile press conference following the midterm elections. The judge said that the decision was “shrouded in mystery” so it wasn’t clear why exactly it had been revoked. Trump has a long history of disagreements with Acosta.

White House Depute Chief of Communications Bill Shine and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders then sent Acosta a five paragraph letter laying out reasons why the press pass should be revoked, saying he had violated an unwritten code of conduct by refusing to yield the floor to another journalist during that press conference. The letter seemed to be in response to the judge’s criticism of the lack of due process earlier.

Acosta’s lawyers seized on that, writing: “Nevertheless, despite the admitted absence of such rules, you now seek to punish Mr. Acosta based on a retroactive application of unwritten ‘practices’ among journalists covering the White House. This ex post facto application of vague, unarticulated standards to a journalist’s access to the White House is not only different from your original explanations, but it is the same sort of due process violation that led the district court to issue a temporary restraining order against you on Friday.”

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19 hours ago, deicer said:

With the lack of critical thinking that is happening today, this just illustrates how easy it is to get the sheep to follow.  

 

I've never previously heard of access to high security zones being tied to “a constitutional right” and it raises questions that exceed the childish nature of this particular circumstance. As is often the case, reactions to frivolous nonsense can actually have unintended consequences.

Does the constitutional notion of freedom of the press apply to the “institution itself” or does it apply to individual reporters having access to high security zones solely by virtue of their employment? In other words, CNN wasn’t banned, just the fool that works for them.

Should the conduct of those with access (of any kind) no longer be the determining factor (or one of them) in granting or denying access? Should the courts be allowed to make security decisions on behalf of the WH, the military, CDC etc?  When taken to its logical conclusion, I feel a pending "what did you think was going to happen" event on the security horizon. So yes, I agree, critical thinking is a bit suspect today as it usually fails to consider the law of unintended consequences. Jimmy is not the real issue here IMO. In fact, Jimmy stands as unworthy of much consideration at all...

Edited by Wolfhunter

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CNN in all its glory. We will determine if it’s news or not, what you hear and what you won’t!

 

 Media Should Edit President Trump's Press Conferences Before Airing

Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein doesn't think the media have enough control over President Trump, so he's offering a radical idea: Don't broadcast his press conferences live.

That way, Bernstein says, the media can decide "what is news," and edit everything else out.

"We need to start thinking of a different way to cover his press conferences and briefings," Bernstein said on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday.

 

https://www.dailywire.com/news/38503/bernstein-media-should-edit-president-trumps-press-joseph-curl

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Wolfhunter said:

I've never previously heard of access to high security zones being tied to “a constitutional right” and it raises questions that exceed the childish nature of this particular circumstance. As is often the case, reactions to frivolous nonsense can actually have unintended consequences.

Does the constitutional notion of freedom of the press apply to the “institution itself” or does it apply to individual reporters having access to high security zones solely by virtue of their employment? In other words, CNN wasn’t banned, just the fool that works for them.

Should the conduct of those with access (of any kind) no longer be the determining factor (or one of them) in granting or denying access? Should the courts be allowed to make security decisions on behalf of the WH, the military, CDC etc?  When taken to its logical conclusion, I feel a pending "what did you think was going to happen" event on the security horizon. So yes, I agree, critical thinking is a bit suspect today as it usually fails to consider the law of unintended consequences. Jimmy is not the real issue here IMO. In fact, Jimmy stands as unworthy of much consideration at all...

What you are failing to address is that the press corps is the way the American people keep track of their elected leader.

Unlike the Canadian parliamentary system where the government has a daily question period open to the public which the press attends and reports on, the Americans have no access to their President other than through the daily press briefings or through presidential briefings.  How do you question your leadership if there is no avenue or agent to represent you to pose those questions?

That is the role of the press corps in the U.S..

Like it was described in the article I posted yesterday, it is one of the first things that autocratic leaders do when then get in power.  They put measures in place to control the press.  This is seen in this Whitehouse by the declaring the press the 'enemy of the people' and only granting interviews to outlets friendly to the message that the president wants to put out.

The longer this behaviour is allowed to continue, the worse it will get. It will only lead to more damage to the democracy of the United States.

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55 minutes ago, deicer said:

How do you question your leadership if there is no avenue or agent to represent you to pose those questions?

 

The longer this behaviour is allowed to continue, the worse it will get. It will only lead to more damage to the democracy of the United States.

The WH is NOT banning the press, not banning CNN, they are banning ONE Reporter...ACOSTA has done more harm to the reputation of the Press than 100 Trumps could ever do.

Edited by Jaydee

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22 minutes ago, deicer said:

it is one of the first things that autocratic leaders do when then get in power.

That seems a bit overly dramatic. The suspension of Jimmy is not the suspension of the press corps.

The suspension of Jimmy is not the suspension of CNN.

Had an entire network or group of networks been suspended then your point would have merit. The larger context of WH security being over ruled by the courts is of some concern (in principal) here .Simply replacing one reporter known for bad behaviour and creating disturbances is not tantamount to gaging the press corps, his conduct would likely get him escorted out of drinking establishments as well. Sometimes idiots get shown the door. CNN has lots of replacements....

Edited by Wolfhunter
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1 hour ago, Wolfhunter said:

That seems a bit overly dramatic. The suspension of Jimmy is not the suspension of the press corps.

The suspension of Jimmy is not the suspension of CNN.

Had an entire network or group of networks been suspended then your point would have merit. The larger context of WH security being over ruled by the courts is of some concern (in principal) here .Simply replacing one reporter known for bad behaviour and creating disturbances is not tantamount to gaging the press corps, his conduct would likely get him escorted out of drinking establishments as well. Sometimes idiots get shown the door. CNN has lots of replacements....

Exactly right.  Acosta's a disturbance - CNN can replace him  - no harm to the press overall.  Anyway, latest news says the White won't challenge his court ordered reinstatement.

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1 hour ago, Wolfhunter said:

That seems a bit overly dramatic. The suspension of Jimmy is not the suspension of the press corps.

The suspension of Jimmy is not the suspension of CNN.

Had an entire network or group of networks been suspended then your point would have merit. The larger context of WH security being over ruled by the courts is of some concern (in principal) here .Simply replacing one reporter known for bad behaviour and creating disturbances is not tantamount to gaging the press corps, his conduct would likely get him escorted out of drinking establishments as well. Sometimes idiots get shown the door. CNN has lots of replacements....

While it was only Acosta who was ejected, Donnie did threaten other reporters with the same treatment at that press conference, so the threat is there.  As well, they were willing to use a doctored video to back up the made us story of why they were doing it.  They then changed the reason several times until the judge gave the order to reinstate his pass.  Now the Whitehouse is giving him his pass back, but coming out with 'rules' for all reporters.

If that isn't trying to control the press, what is?

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/19/media/cnn-acosta-emergency-hearing/index.html

 

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14 hours ago, deicer said:

If that isn't trying to control the press, what is?

If you believe that evicting people for bad conduct is worse than the bad conduct itself I have nothing more to offer other than full disagreement and the notion that I could introduce you to a few folks that might sorely test that belief.

The need to develop a series of rules to prevent further displays of rudeness and bad conduct is also sad since we are supposedly dealing with adults and professionals… but so be it. Most rules and codes of conduct trace their origins to such things… it’s hard to avoid it in the current climate.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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Bad conduct, but on who's part?

If you go back and watch that press conference, in hindsight, Donnie came in itching for a fight.

You can see it in his demeanor when he calls on Acosta.

It's all part of the plan.

Now he's got the reason to put rules in place restricting the press.

Mission accomplished. 

And as a follow up, in all the years of Whitehouse press conferences, is this the only confrontational one that has ever happened?  

Why is it this set of circumstances is only happening with Trump?

Edited by deicer

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1 hour ago, deicer said:

Bad conduct, but on who's part?

If you go back and watch that press conference, in hindsight, Donnie came in itching for a fight.

You can see it in his demeanor when he calls on Acosta.

It's all part of the plan.

Now he's got the reason to put rules in place restricting the press.

Mission accomplished. 

 

So Trump came to the PC with a bad attitude and a plan to entice Acosta into causing a disturbance so that he could revoke his credentials, have a judge override that decision and then incorporate new restrictions on the press as a whole?  

Do you even read the stuff you write before hitting the "submit" button?

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No Sir, you have it wrong.

Trump was baiting Acosta to causing a disturbance so he could revoke his credentials, however, like most things Donnie has done, he didn't think it through and the courts told him he stepped out of bounds.

Having done that, as we saw Monday, they then said they would pull his pass after 14 days, then backtracked on that when the calmer heads prevailed and as we saw at 3pm they gave him his pass back for good....

With the new rules that apply to the whole press corps.

 

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What Constitutional Right guarantees CNN a seat in the Press Room?

With limited space available, isn't attendance a privilege?

Maybe Alex Jones 'Info Wars' deserves a chance; his productions probably have higher viewership numbers than CNN?

 

 

 

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On 11/20/2018 at 8:26 AM, deicer said:

it's all part of the plan.

Doesn't that suggest that Jimmy's rudeness and bad conduct is predictable then?

Since this is clearly a partisan issue and of little consequence, I will leave you to it. On the plus side, here is the first actual piece of news I have seen from CNN in a long time. Have you ever wondered how many people could pass a basic current affairs test by watching CNN?

https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/22/asia/afghan-child-sales-intl/index.html

 

Edited by Wolfhunter

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How is this acceptable?  One of the bedrocks of being a journalist is that you report the facts without bias.  Now, I know that journalists often do have a bias but the general public wants to believe that the bias isn't too much or that individual reporters and news organizations will limit themselves to a little bit of spin without too much effect on the story.  Here we see the union representing all journalists stating that they are in a war against "conservatives."  Nothing that they report can be trusted - nothing!  

Edited by seeker
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