Really? I shouldn’t even have to post this, but here we are in the Twilight Zone.
Fact check: What role do kids play in spreading the coronavirus?
Facts First: Cornyn’s statement is largely correct. Kids can certainly be infected by the virus but are less likely to develop severe symptoms than adults. What’s less clear however is the role children play in spreading the virus.
In an article for pediatric health care providers published in late May, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 2% of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US were among people 18 years old or younger.
“Relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized, and fewer children than adults experience fever, cough, or shortness of breath,” the CDC says, noting that “severe outcomes have been reported in children including COVID-19 associated deaths” and those hospitalized were most commonly infants and children with underlying conditions.
A study published on June 16 in the Nature Medicine journal estimated that people under the age of 20 were approximately half as susceptible to the coronavirus compared to those older than 20.
During a Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Wednesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield said that children who are infected by the virus are unlikely to face significant illness.
“Clearly the ability of this virus to cause significant illness in children is very very, very limited,” Redfield said.
“We know of the post-immune inflammatory disease … but it is very rare,” he said, adding that “in general, this virus does not cause significant illness in children.”
Redfield also noted that, unlike influenza, “we really don’t have evidence that children are driving the transmission cycle” of the coronavirus.
In the interview Cornyn, addressing whether schools in Texas should reopen, said “the most important thing is safety.”
“The schools can open, but if parents don’t feel comfortable sending their children back then they won’t go,” he said. “So, I think we’ve got a long way to go to regain their confidence.”
In congressional testimony on June 30, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed questions around children and the coronavirus. “We don’t really know, exactly, what the efficiency of spread is” among children. The NIH, Fauci mentioned, is currently studying 2,000 families to understand the rate of infection for children and “how often they infect their families.”
During the testimony, Redfield also mentioned that the CDC is currently studying households to understand what role children play in passing the virus on. “We don’t know the impact that children have yet on the transmission cycle,” Redfield said.
Some studies suggest that children could play a more significant role in spreading the virus than some think but remain inconclusive.
The CDC recommends that children socially distance at six feet apart from people they don’t live with and that children 2-years-old and above wear masks in public when socially distancing is difficult.
This reminds me of stories of children who survived the Flu Pandemic of 1918 but carried terrible guilt because they brought the virus home and it killed their families.
Fact check: No evidence linking Wayfair to human trafficking operation
False. There is no evidence linking Wayfair to a human trafficking operation.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
Just a thought , if you believe something without any evidence, you may want to turn inward towards your own critical thinking and examine why you allowed yourself to be so easily fooled. Perhaps it may be time to seek higher education where they teach you how to do research with cited sources. Or go ask a librarian, it’s literally, their job to help you research topics, even online. Read more broadly, especially newspapers.
Good points @Pet_Proletariat …check your assumptions.
There is a story behind it all…what was it that Daniel Patrick Moynihan said… “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion , but not to his own facts .”
Heard this one this am…
What is our capacity to think beyond our assumptions?
Fact check: Trump misleadingly suggests the White House has largely followed Fauci’s recommendations
Facts First: This is misleading. While Fauci made comments early on in the pandemic stating that masks were not necessary, he quickly changed course as more information became known about how the virus spreads, endorsing masks and social distancing. The President and his allies, however, have taken a different approach.
While the White House, through the coronavirus taskforce, publicly endorsed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines about masks and social distancing, neither the President, the vice president, nor many White House aides and allies adhered closely to those guidelines for much of the spring. As Fauci was cautioning states about reopening too soon, Trump was sending the opposite message, urging states to reopen and “liberate” themselves.
Additionally, the White House appeared to try to discredit Fauci earlier this month by providing members of the media opposition-style research on him, highlighting remarks he made in the first months of the pandemic.
The move was an extraordinary White House attack on a high-ranking health official in the midst of a pandemic; also, the list itself was misleading.
The White House removed critical context from Fauci’s remarks, making him seem rosier about the pandemic than he actually was. It also failed to mention that Trump himself made comments similar to Fauci’s, or far more optimistic than Fauci’s, long after Fauci’s words had become sharply less optimistic.
Afterward, the White House insisted it was not trying to discredit Fauci.
“There’s no opposition research being dumped to reporters,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on July 13. McEnany insisted later that Trump and Fauci have “always had a very good working relationship.”
A recent Trump ad featured not one but THREE heavily edited photos to spread lies about Biden.
Fact check: Trump ad edits out microphone and trees from Biden photo to make him seem alone in basement
A new ad from President Donald Trump’s campaign deceptively alters a photo of former Vice President Joe Biden campaigning outdoors in Iowa to make it seem as if Biden is “hiding” in his Delaware basement.
The ad also uses two other images in misleading ways: one of Biden at an Iowa house party and one of Biden praying at a Delaware church.
Biden has certainly campaigned cautiously amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading Trump in the polls even as he has limited his public appearances. Contrary to Trump’s repeated assertions, though, Biden has made numerous campaign trips outside his Delaware home.
The forehead photo
After the ad’s narrator claims Biden is “alone” and “hiding” in the basement, the ad shows a photo of Biden, in sunglasses, looking down and touching his forehead in what appears to be an empty room.
Facts First : This image was edited in two important ways. The real photo , taken by Mark Peterson, shows Biden holding a microphone at an outdoor town hall event at a nature preserve in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in September 2019, during the Democratic primary. The microphone is gone in the ad’s version of the photo. So are the trees in the background of the shot, which the ad replaces with an indoor setting more suggestive of a basement.
The floor photo
As the words “alone” and “hiding” flash on screen, the ad shows Biden sitting on a floor with an empty chair in the background.
Facts First : Biden was not alone or at his Delaware home. Rather, this photo is from a party Biden attended in December 2019 at the home of Coralville, Iowa, Mayor John Lundell to watch the Holiday Bowl college football game. There were a bunch of other people in the room – both party guests and journalists, including CNN reporter Sarah Mucha.
The church photo
The ad concludes with the narrator attacking Biden for his policy record and saying he “never will” have answers to tough questions. It shows Biden looking downward, wearing a face mask, with his hands clasped as if feeling defeated.
It’s common practice for attack ads to make use of downcast photos of political opponents, but it’s notable that the Trump campaign is trying to make Biden look bad with a photo of him in a solemn religious moment.
Facebook takes down QAnon and Epoch Times - two extreme right conspiracy theories entities purporting to be BlackPeopleVoteForTrump.
Facebook removed hundreds of accounts on Thursday from a foreign troll farm posing as African-Americans in support of Donald Trump and QAnon supporters. It also removed hundreds of fake accounts linked to conservative media outlet The Epoch Times that pushed pro-Trump conspiracy theories about coronavirus and protests in the U.S.
Facebook took down the accounts as part of its enforcement against coordinated inauthentic behavior, which is the use of fake accounts to inflate the reach of content or products on social media.
The foreign pro-Trump troll farm was based in Romania and pushed content on Instagram under names like “BlackPeopleVoteForTrump” and on Facebook under “We Love Our President.”
Troll farms — groups of people that work together to manipulate internet discourse with fake accounts — are often outsourced and purchased by foreign governments or businesses to push specific political talking points. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security policy, said the troll farm’s motivations were unclear, but they didn’t see “clear evidence of financial motivation” or “clear links to known commercial actors in this space.”
Facebook stressed that the takedowns were based on “behavior, not content,” like breaking rules against creating fake accounts to boost engagement on some pieces of content.
Researchers at the Atlantic Council found that many of the troll farm’s posts came from a persona called "David Adrian," which used a stolen profile photo and claimed to be living in both Romania and Montana. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have since removed multiple accounts for the David Adrian persona.
Fact Check: Is it legal for Trump to give his convention speech from the White House?
Not illegal but it’s a violation of the Hatch Act if WH Employees participate. So legally, all he can really do is stand on the lawn and shout.
Facts First: Trump is right, the President and vice president are exempt from violations under the Hatch Act, but it does apply to the presumably dozens of other executive branch staffers who would be involved in a convention event. The Hatch Act, which was passed in 1939, limits the political activities of federal employees while on duty or in the workplace. Essentially, it prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities, like campaigning, in a government building, like the White House.
When asked about the legality of Trump’s proposed plan, Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis who covers government ethics, told CNN, “While the President giving his RNC acceptance speech from the White House wouldn’t be a violation for the President as such, it could be a violation for federal employees who assist him in preparation for that event.”
Clark added, “The Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from using their government authority to influence an election and by definition if they’re involved in helping the President with his RNC acceptance speech, that is influencing the election.”
However, Clark said even then the risk is low because she believes this administration has turned a blind eye to past potential violations of the act. Kellyanne Conway, for example, has remained an adviser to the President despite the Office of the Special Counsel recommending her removal for violating the Hatch Act on several occasions by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, the Office of Personnel Management can flag potential violations and the OSC can investigate them but ultimately it’s up to the individual’s employing agency to decide whether to remove them based on the OSC recommendation.
“This administration acts as though they don’t care about the Hatch Act,” Clark said. “The context of multiple violations and a refusal to hold violators accountable is relevant as we anticipate what Trump is going to do with regards to his RNC speech.”
Misinformation campaigns are much more prevalent in the political landscape as we saw in 2016 with an especially lethal amount of diversionary and stinging lies about candidates. Of course, tv ads had been the vehicle used for many decades which were indeed divisive, and meant to go negative on the opponent, and stretching the truth.
The problem today is that Facebook, Twitter and google do not have any external guidelines (regulations) to keep them in check, so they are prone to allow for misinformation. Twitter has shown some muscle by deleting specific misinformation and calling it that, and to some extent so has FB, but very little so far.
In terms of pressures on these social media giants, looks like old fashioned ‘working the refs’ is a tactic now being utilized. Worth noting too that ongoing Russian campaigns are targeting social media with misinformation or so we’ve been warned from recent intel reports.
Just keeping tabs alone on what could be misinformation relates to this notion that FB, twitter gets a lot of eyeballs and traffic when it comes to the current politics. Be ever watchful who is promoting what.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, wearing a dark suit and the forced solemnity of an undertaker, promised the congressman he’d look into the issue.
Mr. Pichai could have said something else: that Google doesn’t showcase links to Gateway Pundit because the site is notorious for regularly crossing the line from wild hyperpartisan spin into outright falsehoods, from a phony sexual assault allegation against Robert Mueller to a recent report amplifying false claims that Anthony Fauci is “due to make millions” on a coronavirus vaccine. Mr. Pichai could have said that he wouldn’t let nitwits lobby him to pollute Google with lies.
But while it was a quintessentially 2020 exchange, the gripe voiced by Representative Greg Steube was also a classic example of a politician “working the refs” — that is, complaining vocally about a referee’s decision in the hopes of getting a better call next time. It’s a tactic the Trump movement has revived and deftly employed against the powerful, befuddled new referees of public debate, Google, Facebook and Twitter.
And liberals noticed the conservatives’ success and eventually imitated it, most successfully with the 2004 founding of Media Matters for America, which devoted much of its early energies to providing a new, leftward pull on the establishment media.
(The old establishment referees are now barely important enough to target, but they’re still embroiled in an internal debate over whether to try to hold onto a vanishing nonpartisan center. Some of those questions are playing out right now at NBC, where progressive prime-time hosts drive ratings on cable, but where the executive suite favors Nicolle Wallace, a former communications director for President George W. Bush and a Never Trump Republican. Two people familiar with the conversations told me that the NBCUniversal chief executive, Jeff Shell, had floated the notion of elevating Ms. Wallace to take over the prestige Sunday morning show “Meet the Press.” An NBC executive said the current host, Chuck Todd, “has led the Sunday news-making and ratings battles for five years at the helm of ‘Meet the Press’ and will continue to do so.”)
But the referees who really matter nowadays are no longer the big media companies. The new referees are the Silicon Valley giants that control what we see when we search, browse or post online. But some in the news media learned lessons from back then, ones that Silicon Valley chief executives would be wise to reflect on this election season.
Kamala Harris is eligible to serve as president
CLAIM: If Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his running mate she will not be eligible to serve as president because her mother is from India and her father is from Jamaica. That means, if Biden is unable to serve a full term as president, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would be next in line to become president.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat who represents California, is a natural-born U.S. citizen who is eligible to serve as president.
THE FACTS: Facebook users are spreading a false claim that Harris is not able to serve as president.
The posts suggest that if Biden were unable to serve a full-term, if elected to be president this fall, Harris would have to be skipped over to serve as his successor. Instead, the inaccurate claims say, Pelosi would be next in line to become president.
The posts are emerging as Biden is narrowing down his list for a running mate, with Harris still in consideration.
Harris, 55, is eligible to serve as president. She was born on Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, making her a natural-born U.S. citizen. Her father, an economist from Jamaica, and her mother, a cancer researcher from India, met at the University of California, Berkeley as graduate students.
Since she was born in the U.S., she is regarded a natural born citizen under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution
“I can’t believe people are making this idiotic comment,” Laurence Tribe, a Harvard University professor of constitutional law, told The Associated Press in 2019, when similar false claims emerged about Harris during her presidential run. Harris ended her presidential bid in December.
“She is a natural born citizen and there is no question about her eligibility to run,” Tribe said.
Newsweek has doubled down on Dr. John Eastman’s racist treatise, one that would disenfranchise literally millions of children of first-wave immigrants.
And here is a thread about this topic and that article:
CNN fact-checker debunks Pence’s ‘bonkers’ lie about Obama and job creation
We knew what T was aiming for when the US Post Office was to get a T donor as head of it…it was going to get slowed down to the point of disfunctional. Slowed down for sure. Now what?
In late June, Joe Biden claimed President Donald Trump “wants to cut off money for the post office so they cannot deliver mail-in ballots.” At the time, we wrote that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had no evidence of Trump’s ulterior motive — but now he does.
In an Aug. 13 interview, Trump admitted that he opposes a coronavirus pandemic relief bill crafted by the House Democrats because it includes funding the U.S. Postal Service and state election officials — funding that Trump said is needed to allow the Postal Service to handle an expected surge in mail-in voting.
The bill, which passed the Democratic-controlled House in May with only one Republican vote, includes $3.6 billion for states to pay for “contingency planning, preparation, and resilience of elections for Federal office,” according to a summary of the act. It also contains $25 billion for USPS to replace revenues “forgone due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Hours after his interview with Bartiromo, Trump said he wouldn’t veto the bill if it includes money for the Postal Service and state election planning — but he repeated his statement about the agency being unable to handle mail-in ballots without it.
“But if the bill isn’t going to get done, that would mean the Post Office isn’t going to get funded, and that would also mean that the three and a half billion dollars isn’t going to be taken care of,” he said at an Aug. 14 press briefing. “So I don’t know how you can possibly use these ballots, these mail-in ballots.”
The perpetually cash-strapped Postal Service has been hurt by COVID-19. Earlier this year, the Postal Service had asked Congress for, among other things, $25 billion in emergency appropriations and $25 billion in loans from the Treasury Department.
MAGAs are spreading this article as an example of “a police state using COVID-19 as an excuse to kill people.”
But they weren’t killed by police. They were killed in a stampede fleeing from an illegal gathering, making it their own fault.
Deep dive into what the Russians are doing on social media, and some steps that FB has taken. Looks like FBI has tipped them off…and this is probably just the tip of the iceberg. I would remain skeptical about what is being done to curtail them though. Full article.
It is clear Russians are "really aggressively trying to find a path in to have an impact and they are failing,"
People associated with the infamous St. Petersburg troll group that was part of Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election are trying to target Americans again, Facebook (FB) announced Tuesday after receiving a tip from the FBI.
The disrupted operation used fake personas including realistic-looking computer-generated photos of people, a network of Facebook accounts and pages that had only a small amount of engagement and influence at the time it was taken down, and a website that was set up to look and operate like a left-wing news outlet.
This is the first publicly available evidence that people connected to the Russian troll group, which is known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), are using unwitting Americans in an attempt to meddle with the 2020 election and stir discord.
The operation seems to have been shut down before it could get much traction on Facebook or the rest of the internet. That mirrors what happened around the 2018 midterm elections, when – as far as is publicly known – the Russian trolls’ online efforts were halting and small. The trolls had far more luck gaining followers and engagement in 2016, though it is not known how much of an impact, if any, their work had on the election.
Facebook said it relied on technical indicators to make the link between this operation and the IRA. The company does not typically share those indicators publicly, as it has said in the past doing so could tip off bad actors to how it finds them, but they could include unique information tied to specific accounts or devices. Facebook said it shared information with the FBI.
"This looks like an early-stage attempt to target left-wing audiences on a range of issues," Ben Nimmo, head of investigations at Graphika, a social media analytics company commissioned by Facebook to study the influence operation, told CNN Business Tuesday.
“The [US] election wasn’t the only focus," he said, noting that the content had gained little traction online, "but it looks like the operation wanted to divide Democratic voters, the same way the IRA tried in 2016.”
Part of Tuesday’s expose included “Peace Data,” a website that purports to be an independent leftwing news outlet and features articles about U.S foreign policy, President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden, and the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Only a small portion of Peace Data articles explicitly reference 2020 US election candidates, but headlines include “The Biden-Harris Ticket Encapsulates How the Western Left Will Give in to Right-Wing Populism” and “The Trump administration is continuing its relentless war on nature.”
Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity policy at Facebook, told CNN Business that this particular set of sites and accounts was in its infancy and had little traction on Facebook. But, he said, it was clear that people associated with past activity tied to the IRA were “actively, aggressively, and creatively trying to target the United States in the run up to the  election.”
In an attempt to appear legitimate, Peace Data featured fake personas for people who were supposedly its editors, according to Graphika. These personas were used to recruit unwitting, real writers to contribute articles – including, it seems, some writers in the United States, according to Graphika.
Pictures for some of the fake personas were created using artificial intelligence technology, Facebook and Graphika said, the same kind of technology that is used to create deepfake video.
Graphika pointed to a person identified online as “Alex Lacusta.” A Twitter (TWTR) bio for “Lacusta” listed him as an associate and online editor at Peace Data. The profile picture on the account was created using deepfake technology, Graphika said.
Facebook said it had shared its findings with Twitter. Twitter has suspended an account supposedly belonging to “Lacusta.” There is no indication the fake “Lacusta” account is connected to any actual Alex Lacusta.
In a series of tweets sent after this article was originally published, Twitter said, “We suspended five Twitter accounts for platform manipulation that we can reliably attribute to Russian state actors.” It specified the accounts were linked to Peace Data and added, “The Tweets from the Russian-linked accounts were low quality and spammy, and most Tweets from these accounts received few, if any, Likes or Retweets.” Twitter also said that links to Peace Data would be blocked from its platform going forward.
CNN Business found a job posting for Peace Data on a website advertising work for freelancers. The posting described Peace Data as “a young international news organization focused on raising awareness about corruption, environmental crisis, abuse of power, armed conflicts, activism, and human rights.”
“If you are interested in covering stories that are usually untold or kept hidden from the general public, we will be glad to work together,” it added.
The posting promised a rate of $75, but didn’t specify if that was per article submitted.
Graphika noted that IRA-linked operations’ practice of hiring unwitting authors to create content online is consistent with the findings of a months-long CNN investigation published in March which identified an IRA off-shoot in Ghana.
Between February and August 2020, Peace Data published more than 500 stories in English and 200 stories in Arabic, Graphika’s analysis found.
CNN Business has reached out to the FBI for comment.
The U.S. intelligence community and Silicon Valley were caught off-guard in 2016, when Russian trolls used social media to promote divisive messages to millions of Americans, running – among other things – Facebook pages with hundreds of thousands of followers.
With companies like Facebook and federal agencies like the FBI now aware of the tactics trolls like these use and monitoring for them, Gleicher said, it is more difficult for covert social media operations to gain huge followings. It is clear Russians are “really aggressively trying to find a path in to have an impact and they are failing,” he said.
Gleicher said the FBI tipped Facebook off to the Peace Data site in July. Facebook then independently determined through technical indicators that people linked to the IRA were involved with the website.
Gleicher said Facebook shared its findings with the FBI and with other technology companies.
Intelligence officials told Congress earlier this summer that Russia was spreading false information about Biden.
Some of the covert online tactics the people behind the Peace Data are using are similar to what the Russian trolls did in 2016, including setting up websites purporting to be independent news outlets, using fake social media personas to share divisive and controversial material, and offering to pay unwitting westerners to make their effort appear more legitimate.
But some of the tactics being used have evolved. Previously one obvious tell of a fake account was if it was using a profile picture that was stolen from a real person’s account.
One of the most successful Russian troll accounts in 2016, “Jenna Abrams,” amassed more than 70,000 followers, including some prominent Republicans. CNN later revealed that the profile picture used on the account was that of a then 26-year-old Russian woman who said she had not been aware her picture was used.
Now, technology widely available online allows for the creation of fake faces of people that do not exist. The technology is not only being used to generate faces to front online influence operations, but also for accounts used in online harassment campaigns, as CNN Business reported in February.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Trump’s ever-expanding claims of Biden’s destructive potential
It started with vows Joe Biden would ruin “jobs,” “the Second Amendment,” “God” and “middle class. On Tuesday, Trump also said Biden would destroy the environment.
The Myth: Members of ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter is setting fires in Oregon.
The Facts: BLM stands for the Bureau of Land Management, and members of this group have been seen and mistaken for Black Lives Matter.