What's driving the narrative? Is it fake news, PR stunts, real legal arguments?


#61

Just spend anytime looking at T’s tweets of late. Nothing new…but this script he is following - (and echoed by Fox News) are part and parcel of the only way he knows how to act. Call the other guy a ‘liar’ - call it ‘fake’ - in other words, DENY, DENY, DENY.

Woodward’s book - Fake

Woodward’s reporting methods have been highly praised and he has been seen as absolutely a dogged reporter. The notion that T can only call criticisms of himself as FAKE is now something that 36% of the country approves.

@realDonaldTrump

“It is mostly anonymous sources in here, why should anyone trust you? General Mattis, General Kelly said it’s not true.” @SavannahGuthrie @TODAYshow Bob Woodward is a liar who is like a Dem operative prior to the Midterms. He was caught cold, even by NBC.
5:36 AM - 10 Sep 2018

Overall, just 36% approve of the way the President is handling his job, down from 42% in August. Among independents, the drop has been sharper, from 47% approval last month to 31% now. That’s 4 points below his previous 2018 low of 35% approval among political independents in CNN polling, and 1 point below his previous all-time low among independents in CNN polling, reached in November 2017.


#62

George Conway tells it like it is… he is the husband of Kelly Anne

@gtconway3d
Needless to say, there’s a huge difference between an isolated slip of the tongue and ceaseless, shameless, and witless prevarication on virtually all topics, large and small. https://t.co/mvV8cgZLyp

Retweets this…

@realdonaldTrump
When President Obama said that he has been to “57 States,” very little mention in Fake News Media. Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year! @IngrahamAngle


#63

WaPo’s Glenn Kessler’s piece below describes the false or misleading statements. Kessler was interviewed on Reliable Sources (CNN) this am and describes this. T never corrects what he says…As of Jan, 2018 - he had 2000 misstatements, so he’s rapidly increasing and especially after Labor Day, post Woodward, and Op-Ed in NYT. And over 2 days, he made 200 false or misleading claims.

T is very situational…but the next day, he could contradict himself. At that moment, he firmly believes it…even if it changes the next day.

You can not determine whether these are intentional…but there are other things that are misleading, and meant to misinform. And why does he repeat things, (misinformation) over and over again…which can be considered propaganda?

When we first started this project for the president’s first 100 days, he averaged 4.9 claims a day. He passed the 2,000 mark on Jan. 10 — eight months ago.

Fittingly, the 5,000th claim was a tweet about the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III: “Russian ‘collusion’ was just an excuse by the Democrats for having lost the Election!”

On nearly 140 occasions, the president has falsely claimed that the Russia investigation was made up or a hoax. But the information on Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election was developed by the intelligence community and published in a declassified report, in which the agencies said they had “high confidence” it was correct.

The president’s 5,001st claim was another tweet: He claimed that the administration “did an unappreciated great job” dealing with Hurricane Maria when it struck Puerto Rico in 2017.

That’s just spin that ignores a raft of official reports. A study by George Washington University estimated the death toll at between 2,658 and 3,290. Puerto Rico adopted the midpoint number, 2,975, as its official death toll.
Interesting to learn that T’s lies have grown exponentially, and that he continues the lie narrative more so when he is under pressure, and doubles-down on them.

Almost one-third of Trump’s claims — 1,573 — in The Fact Checker’s database relate to economic issues, trade deals or jobs. He frequently takes credit for jobs created before he became president or company decisions with which he had no role. He cites his “incredible success” in terms of job growth, even though annual job growth under his presidency has been slower than the last five years of President Barack Obama’s tenure.


#64

It really does seem farcical to see these or WTF.

T spouting via FOX that the Russia investigation is a HOAX.
Reporter follows up and says - read the charging papers.

@KenDilanianNBC

Ken Dilanian Retweeted Donald J. Trump

Or you could read the U.S. intelligence assessment and the Mueller charging documents against Russians intelligence operatives and Trump aides.

@realDonaldTrump

Watch @MariaBartiromo at 6:00 P.M. on @FoxBusiness. Russian Hoax the big topic! Mainstream Media, often referred to as the Fake News Media, hates to discuss the real facts!
2:40 PM - 16 Sep 2018


#65

This. #FullCourtPress

Unprecedented that the WH, and more likely Bill Shine, WH Communications head, and formerly of Fox News, orchestrated this public relations stunt on Fox News interviewing Judge Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley on the Martha MacCallum show.

Judge Kavanaugh spoke of wanting this to be a ‘fair process,’ and denying any sexual assault charges (probably going with a legally definable version of ‘sexual assault.’)

Any thought of fair or unbiased reviews of what may be true went out the window when the R’s, T and Kavanaugh have denied categorically that there should be an FBI investigation.

We are living through a larger version of He Said She Said on an unprecedented scale.

If you thought this was unprecedented, you were right: “It is unheard of for a Supreme Court nominee to give interviews during the confirmation process.”

It is unheard of for a Supreme Court nominee to give interviews during the confirmation process. But Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, apparently believed the charges against him required an unprecedented defense, and he responded Monday with the interview and a fierce letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa)

.

Kavanaugh Letter to Sen Grassley defending himself


#66

Series of rumors were thrown out into the media (social and otherwise) claiming false or misleading information. For each rumor, thankfully, they get tossed out quickly.

A week after internet rumors started circulating about Christine Blasey Ford, misinformation is still spreading about her and two other women.

Last week, after Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, of sexual assault, a torrent of false and misleading allegations about Dr. Blasey surfaced online, many of them originating on social media.

We debunked five of those claims. Now, more women have come forward with public accusations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh, including Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate of Judge Kavanaugh’s, and Julie Swetnick, who said she had observed the nominee at parties in the 1980s where women were verbally abused and “gang raped.” And viral rumors, hoaxes and distortions about Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers are still swirling around social media.

Claim: Ms. Ramirez has ties to the liberal megadonor George Soros.

Verdict: False.

This week, two distinct — but equally false — rumors spread about links between Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers and George Soros, the liberal billionaire and Democratic megadonor. (Mr. Soros makes frequent appearances in internet conspiracy theories.)

Claim: Dr. Blasey was photographed with Mr. Soros at a public event.

Verdict: False.

(photo Soros with Lyudmyla Kozlovska)

The woman in the photograph with Mr. Soros is Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a Ukranian human rights activist, according to Snopes, the fact-checking website.

Within hours, the mislabeled photo had been shared thousands of times. On Facebook, a page called “Concerned Citizens of America” shared it along with the hashtag #WWG1WGA, a signature mark of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy. The post had received 35,000 shares as of Tuesday.

Claim: Dr. Blasey’s lawyer was photographed with Hillary Clinton at a 2016 fund-raiser.

Verdict: False.

On Wednesday, the gossip website TMZ posted a story claiming that Debra S. Katz, a lawyer for Dr. Blasey, was photographed with Hillary Clinton at a campaign event in August 2016.

Claim: The lawyer Michael Avenatti was duped by a 4chan hoax into falsely bringing sexual assault accusations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Verdict: Unfounded.

On Monday, Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who represents the adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, who is also known as Stormy Daniels, teased that he was preparing to bring new sexual assault accusations against Judge Kavanaugh on behalf of an unnamed client.

A day later, an anonymous post appeared on 4chan, the notorious internet message board. The post spun a tale about a prankster who had gotten Mr. Avenatti to pay $75,000 by offering him made-up claims of sexual assault, complete with lurid details meant to convince him that the allegations were real.

The rumors caught fire on Twitter, where prominent conservatives including Mr. Erickson and Mark Levin shared them with caveats.

Claim: Dr. Blasey works for a pharmaceutical company that makes “abortion pills,” and she is bringing accusations against Judge Kavanaugh to preserve abortion rights and protect her firm’s profits.

Verdict: Mostly false.

One of the more elaborate misinformation campaigns against Dr. Blasey involves claims that she worked for a pharmaceutical company that made abortifacient drugs. Because of these ties, the claims say, she was financially motivated to keep Judge Kavanaugh — who abortion-rights advocates worry would reverse Roe v. Wade and end legalized abortion in the United States — off the Supreme Court.

This theory unspooled on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on right-wing websites like Gateway Pundit and World News Daily. Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group, called Dr. Blasey an “abortion pimp.”


#67

Responses to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony is heated from the Right-Wing Media and others. Lots of take-downs…


#68

Mocking…T is mocking Dr. Ford.

He’s rallying his base, he’s spouting misogynist themes…and all armored as President of the United States

Disgusting.


#69

Regarding the term ‘mocking.’ and what it means with regard to what T’s demeanor tonight.

@AriFleischer

Ari Fleischer Retweeted NBC News

He didn’t mock Professor Ford. He pointed out many of the inconsistencies in her account - something the MSM won’t do, because they’re too invested in attacking Brett Kavanaugh. If the press were balanced, they would have raised the same issues Pres. Trump raised here.


All things Kavanaugh - updates and background
#70

Crafting messages which are impersonating the Iranian president - What is the new norm or threshold for false advertising?


#71

Trump%20Breitbart%20headline

Seeing headlines AND Photos like the one (top) from Breitbart’s Drudge Report, showing a really hostile population at each other’s throats over the political debate is alarming.

The article it is referencing from Axios (it’s photo has one person in Red and one in Blue) has to do with how much more explosive and radical (extreme right or left thinking) our nation has become from the split media fronts (MSM vs Fox), from social media, and from the amount of protesting going on.

The word RADICAL is indeed divisive…it is meant to be. We are learning that nothing has invigorated the Right more than with the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh. The left is holding ‘kegger confirmation’ parties in front of McConnell’s office, knocking on the Supreme Courts doors. Protest is not any more or less RADICAL, but it does show that people are very angry and are taking to the streets to demonstrate this.

I realize Breitbart’s DRUDGE report is one of the useful tools that the Right uses to ingnite’s their base’s anger. It means to stir people up, and it will. So will words like ‘socialized medicine,’ aka ACA-Obamacare, and ‘entitlement programs.’

But this is a country deeply divided…and stirring up crazy imagery and finding ways to be angry is not a solid solution to reaching any sort of sense of consensus.

I am using this as an example of plotting one side against the other…

At the bottom, I am also including Doris Kearns Goodwin’s (Historian/writer) take on other times in history where we have been deeply divided as a country. It is worth watching to understand how we have weathered other deeply despairing moments in our history.

It’s going to get worse. Virtually every major American institution is being radicalized — or being reshaped by the radicalization of our public lives.

You see this most vividly in politics, where the White House and Congress are often the cause and effect of the radicalization. You now see it in the courts and the Supreme Court, in particular, where a narrow, party-line vote made Brett Kavanaugh the next justice after a nasty, personal political brawl. Already, lawyer Michael Avenatti is calling for a new Democratic litmus test: increasing the size of the court to 11 from nine.

Thanks to the Kavanaugh fight and the Merrick Garland shenanigans before it, there are three new fair-game realities: 1) The parties feel free to delay nominations a year-plus if necessary. 2) High school actions are “fair game.” 3) Partisan-line votes for the Supreme Court are fine.
Watch for court fights to surpass congressional races in terms of partisanship.

You see this in the traditional media, where the cable news networks are racking up record ratings around the sideshow of politics. Reporters, who previously kept their personal views private, suddenly pick sides on Twitter.

Since the president’s election, reporters on both sides of the political aisle, and from markets big and small, have shown less restraint on social media when it comes to their personal political viewpoints.
Just this past week, a Minnesota journalist was fired from a local NBC station for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering Trump rally. A longtime Palm Springs anchor was forced to resign after defending Kavanaugh from sexual assault allegations. The New York Times conceded it made a mistake when the news story about a Kavanaugh bar fight at Yale was co-bylined by a writer who had tweeted her disapproval of the nomination.
Since Trump was elected, by our colleague Sara Fischer’s count, nearly a dozen reporters have either been fired or lost their jobs for incendiary social media posts, mostly all of them over politically-charged subjects.

You see this on social media, especially Facebook, where the algorithm pumps endless partisan, emotional garbage into our faces all day, every day. People then jump to Twitter to duke it out.

Sara has the data: A new study of hyper-partisan publishers, from social media analytics company NewsWhip, finds that the top Facebook Pages for mainstream political content were Fox News and Occupy Democrats, by a considerable distance. Both publishers have driven nearly 100 million engagements on their Facebook-native content for 2018 so far.
On Facebook, the N.Y. Times’ Kevin Roose points out, many of the most engaged with posts on Facebook around Kavanaugh come from fringe, alt-right websites.
On Twitter, a new study out last week found that more than 80% of accounts that were exposed as fake in 2016 are still active on the platform. (Twitter says the data the authors retrieved may not have reflected what the users actually see.)

Tragedy is quickly radicalized:

Traumatic school shootings reignite a red-hot gun control debate.
Deadly fires and storms stir emotion at first, then spark climate-change arguments.

Even normal, trivial, pass-the-popcorn stuff gets radicalized:

TV shows (“Roseanne”), sports (kneeling at NFL games), award shows (Robert De Niro’s “F—- Trump” intro at the Tony Awards), eating out (Republican officials heckled in D.C. restaurants).

Be smart … All the incentives on social media and in politics favor the radical: If you want clicks, viewers, donors, followers, retweets or votes, there’s no market for moderation or the middle.

Radical rules.
You might not have started the fire, but you’re surely living in it.

#72

Incendiary messaging in order to Radicalize the right.

@realddonaldtrump

You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern. Republicans believe in the rule of law - not the rule of the mob. VOTE REPUBLICAN!

And Rep Adam Schiff’s response

@RepAdamSchiff

You attack prosecutors at DOJ.

Fire your FBI Director and threaten your own Attorney General.

Call an investigation that has led to the conviction of five of your associates a “witch hunt.” Repeatedly.

And now you claim to believe in the rule of law.

Nobody buys it. https://t.co/x7c5dxapNZ


News Feed FYI: Helping Ensure News on Facebook Is From Trusted Sources
#73

From Axios - Check out where you can go for more trusted areas of journalism, checks on facts on Social Media etc… I have included some direct links to the top ones mentioned, but there are links to them within the article listed below.

Dozens of new initiatives have launched over the past few years to address fake news and the erosion of faith in the media, creating a measurement problem of its own.

Why it matters: So many new efforts are launching simultaneously to solve the same problem that it’s become difficult to track which ones do what and which ones are partnering with each other.

To name a few:

The Trust Project, which is made up of dozens of global news companies, announced this morning that the number of journalism organizations using the global network’s “Trust Indicators” now totals 200, making it one of the larger global initiatives to combat fake news. Some of these groups (like NewsGuard) work with Trust Project and are a part of it.

https://thetrustproject.org/

News Integrity Initiative (Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Ford Foundation, Democracy Fund, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Tow Foundation, AppNexus, Mozilla and Betaworks)

NewsGuard (Longtime journalists and media entrepreneurs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz)

https://www.newsguardtech.com/

The Journalism Trust Initiative (Reporters Without Borders, and Agence France Presse, the European Broadcasting Union and the Global Editors Network)

**Internews** (Longtime international non-profit)

Accountability Journalism Program (American Press Institute)

https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/training-tools/summits/api-summit-accountability-journalism-top-reporters-talk-impact-engagement/

Trusting News (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

Media Manipulation Initiative (Data & Society)

Deepnews.ai (Frédéric Filloux)

Trust & News Initiative (Knight Foundation, Facebook and Craig Newmark in. affiliation with Duke University)

Our.News (Independently run)

WikiTribune (Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales)

There are also dozens of fact-checking efforts being championed by different third-parties, as well as efforts being built around blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Between the lines: Most of these efforts include some sort of mechanism for allowing readers to physically discern real journalism from fake news via some sort of badge or watermark, but that presents problems as well.

Attempts to flag or call out news as being real and valid have in the past been rejected even further by those who wish to discredit vetted media.

For example, Facebook said in December that it will no longer use “Disputed Flags” — red flags next to fake news articles — to identify fake news for users, because it found that “putting a strong image, like a red flag, next to an article may actually entrench deeply held beliefs – the opposite effect to what we intended.”

The big picture: Data from Gallup shows that confidence in media as an institution is at an all-time low, and both the media and the current political climate are probably to blame.

Some reporters have become less objective at their jobs. By my count, nearly a dozen journalists have lost their jobs over bad social media posts, most politically charged.

On the other hand, undermining the credibility of the media has been a long-term political strategy for President Trump and the far right.
From Axios

The erosion in trust in the media mimics the erosion of trust in most other American institutions — like the Catholic Church, Supreme Court and public schools.

The bottom line: These efforts are valiant, and are most certainly helping to hold the ecosystem accountable for transparent journalism. But the field is so crowded right now it’s hard to see who is making progress.


#74

Comments coming from the press about how the President’s rallies haven’t been carried live by the press of late, but when Kayne comes in, a lot of live coverage.

Wow…lots of ranting.


#75

At a rally on Wednesday night, President Trump accused Hillary Clinton of conspiring with Russia to try to swing the 2016 election. “There was collusion between Hillary, the Democrats, and Russia,” Trump said, adding that there was “a lot” of such “collusion.” As always, the crowd chanted: “Lock her up!”

This claim is based on an absurd and convoluted theory about the genesis of the Russia investigation that has been flatly debunked as a massive lie. But here is how NBC News’s Twitter feed treated it:

tweet

Incredibly, even though Trump has made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements as president, major news organizations’ social media feeds continue to inject his unadulterated lies into the political bloodstream without clearly informing readers that they are just that — lies.

Yes, NBC’s story on this new lie did say it’s “evidence free.” But the fact that the social media feeds themselves are regularly awash in Trumpian falsehoods represents a serious institutional failing. As Brian Beutler notes, this “should be the easiest problem in the world to solve,” but instead, we’re getting “abject professional failure after abject professional failure.”


#76

Disturbing trend here in our very polarized and gullible country.

NYTimes: Made and Distributed in the U.S.A.: Online Disinformation

SAN FRANCISCO — When Christine Blasey Ford testified before Congress last month about Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assault, a website called Right Wing News sprang into action on Facebook.

The conservative site, run by the blogger John Hawkins, had created a series of Facebook pages and accounts over the last year under many names, according to Facebook.

After Dr. Blasey testified, Right Wing News posted several false stories about her — including the suggestion that her lawyers were being bribed by Democrats — and then used the network of Facebook pages and accounts to share the pieces so that they proliferated online quickly, social media researchers said.

The result was a real-time spreading of disinformation started by Americans, for Americans.

https://nyti.ms/2CcbknF


#77

Making projections via polls who may or may not be leading in the various Senate/House and Gubernatorial races from a NYT’s poll.

You of course have to consider if trolls are involved in any of these numbers…but perhaps these numbers do reflect some trends.

Check out the charts…see if these ring true.

Who’s Winning the Social Media Midterms?

By KEVIN ROOSE and KEITH COLLINS OCT. 18, 2018

After President Trump’s popularity on social media helped propel him to an upset victory in 2016, Democrats vowed to catch up.

Two years later, their efforts appear to be paying off.

A New York Times analysis of data from the Facebook and Instagram accounts of hundreds of candidates in next month’s midterm elections reveals that Democrats — and especially Democrats running for House seats — enjoy a sizable national lead in engagement on the two influential platforms.

But the analysis of the engagement data, which includes all non-advertising content, also shows that Republicans in many closely contested races for Senate and governor are faring better on Facebook than their Democratic challengers.

The data, collected from more than 53,000 posts by more than 1,100 accounts, reflects a month’s worth of social media activity by nearly all of the Republican and Democratic candidates running for House, Senate or governor this year. The data, which covers 30 days ending Oct. 15, was gathered using a Facebook-owned tool called CrowdTangle. The tool counts the number of times users comment on, react to or share a user’s posts, a measure of popularity known as “total interactions.”

The National Story: A Democratic Boom

At the national level, Democrats on Facebook and Instagram appear to be winning the battle for social media supremacy in a landslide.

The Democrats’ Superstar Problem

Democrats’ national success on social media may not translate to the “blue wave” many liberals are hoping for in November.

That’s because much of the left’s firepower is concentrated among a few of its high-profile candidates — namely, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and the Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke, who has more than 600,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter and more than 250,000 on Instagram.

** In Close Races, Some Republicans**
Are Surging on Facebook

Of course, not all midterm races matter equally.

The social media activity in races rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, an independent election analyst, mirrors many recent polls, which show a slight edge for Republicans in the Senate and an edge for Democrats in the House.

In five of the nine toss-up Senate races, Republicans received more interactions on Facebook than Democrats.

What’s a “Like” Worth?

Political strategists disagree about the importance of social media popularity. Some think it amounts to a kind of real-time voter sentiment index, while others play it down as, at most, one piece of a successful campaign.

“Retweets don’t vote,” Mr. Strauss of Swing Left said. “All of this social engagement is really just a proxy for the results that matter, which is what happens at the polls on Nov. 6.”

For Republicans who are worried about a wave of progressive enthusiasm sweeping Democrats to victory, though, the data from swing district social media accounts may be comforting.

“The Democrats are constantly saying, ‘Oh, there’s this huge sea of angry Democratic voters and they’re ready to erupt,’” said Rory McShane, a Republican digital strategist. “There’s just as much, if not more, enthusiasm on the Republican side, and that’s seen by how much these people are doing online.”


#78

From CNN’s Brian Stelter’s “Reliable Media” newsletter

Thanks, Rush!

On Wednesday’s “Rush Limbaugh Show,” Rush re-aired part of my Sunday monologue about Trump being “the country’s biggest promoter of misinformation.” I said that access to POTUS is valuable, but “with Trump, the downside of that access is that he’s saying so much stuff that’s untrue that it sows confusion and division.” Rush proceeded to call me “little Brian,” but hey, hopefully I got through to some of his listeners…

The point remains the same: By saturating the airwaves and filling up reporters’ notebooks, Trump is spreading a whole lot of B.S. "He has polluted our information ecosystem," David Zurawik said on Sunday’s show. "Trump can go on TV and say something incredibly stupid, something that’s horrible in terms of foreign relations, and it almost does not matter, because he is on to the next thing talking about it, and we are always chasing him."

FLASHBACK: Gary Kasparov tweeted in December 2016: "The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth."

https://mailchi.mp/cnn/rs-oct-17-2018?e=f4e082627b


#79

Q & A with Jill Abramson, former editor/NYT and Jane Mayer, writer New Yorker answer a wide range of questions covering the press, Kavanaugh hearings, dark money, impact of social media filters…interesting read.

GAZETTE: At the same time, you say it’s a golden age for investigative journalism. Jill, what are you telling your students about where the press is at right now?

abramson: I explain to them the whole concept of filter bubbles and how Facebook has become such a dominant source of news for people and the algorithm has intensified polarization, so you no longer have a common base of accepted information. You have a big, right-wing architecture of media on one side and the unfortunate thing is, because the legitimate, fact-based, truth-based news media hasn’t stood up for itself forcefully enough, we’ve been caricatured as the left-wing opposite, which we are not.

GAZETTE: You’ve both written extensively about money in politics. Jane’s 2016 book, “Dark Money,” was a deep look at the Koch brothers and how they’ve used their fortune to build a network of right-wing influence that touches every aspect of conservative politics. The reporting on the Mueller investigation, especially the prosecutions of Paul Manafort and deputy Rick Gates, has revealed how many others follow the Koch template. Has it gotten worse since you started reporting on this or is the public just starting to learn how common this practice is?

mayer: I think it’s gotten much worse and much more pervasive. There’s just been an absolute explosion of dark money and phony philanthropies that are really political operations masquerading as philanthropy. There’s so many ways now to hide money and so many tricks and so little enforcement, either from the FEC [Federal Election Commission] or the IRS. It’s a plague in politics right now.

abramson: It’s grown and it’s grown dramatically since the Citizens United decision. So the public is now denied knowing who’s giving the really big money, and there are more of these highly partisan interest groups working now than ever before. Some of the Kavanaugh supporters complained about anti-Kavanaugh ads, but what I mostly saw were ads galore from a group called the Judicial Crisis Network, and we don’t know whose money is behind that. That’s unhealthy for democracy.

GAZETTE: Is it more prevalent on the right or the left?

mayer: It’s hard to know because it’s hard to get enough hard data about where dark money is because it’s basically designed not to be able to be followed. But political corruption and dark money is a bipartisan problem. It exists on both sides, for sure. One difference is the Democratic party, at least, has tried to clamp down on it and tried to pass legislation that would make campaign spending more transparent and tried to limit the amount of money in politics, and the Republican Party has taken the opposite position.

abramson: What cable TV and TV news are feasting off of, in terms of getting advertising and big ratings, is partisan political argument and fighting. That’s unfortunately what seems to be addicting viewers. And the Kavanaugh storyline fit into that beautifully. [The Times story] got some of the attention, but the fact that none of the Sunday shows focused on it is disappointing. It was fabulous work.


#80

More from Brian Stelter, “Reliable Media” CNN - a newsletter with all sorts of reporting on the challenges of finding truth in all media.

Is Silicon Valley becoming more transparent with reporters?

Donie O’Sullivan emails with a hopeful note: A CNN investigation found a network of fake Facebook pages targeting Women’s March activists. CNN story link The pages were run from Bangladesh.

Often when reporters bring evidence of abuse on social media platforms to the companies’ attention, the company removes the accounts and won’t tell us why.

But this time Facebook kept us up to date on their internal investigation – which had some Facebook staffers work long hours over the weekend

Twitter releases an archive of troll tweets

More from Donie: Twitter just released 300 gigabytes of tweets Twitter link page sent by the Russian government-linked trolls that caused chaos online in the run-up to the 2016 election.

But let’s not get too excited – independent researchers and the press gathered most of these tweets long before Twitter decided to be transparent…

https://mailchi.mp/cnn/rs-oct-17-2018?e=f4e082627b