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

(M A Croft) #81
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.

It’s called the Gish Gallop form of “argument”
and it seems to be the only form of argument he knows.


Interesting…and exactly right! @macro

Gish Gallop is basically baiting your opponent to refute your argument/deceit. It illustrates how the ideas have to spin back to the proponent of it…and never giving a chance to the opponent to start their own thread.


It’s called the “Gish Gallop” method. Named after biochemist-slash-creationist Duane Gish who mastered it during the evolution debates of the 1980s and 1990s, the Gish Gallop method involves putting your opponent in the awkward position of having to refute everything you say. Otherwise known among expert debaters as “spreading,” the Gallop tactic capitalizes on mankind’s imperfect reasoning abilities by dispersing several false claims, Quartz reports. The responsibility to disprove all of those falsehoods falls on the liar’s opponent, which takes momentum away from their own argument and places all of the focus on upholding facts. Failing to disprove just one of those lies renders the truth-seeker’s argument essentially worthless even if they’ve proven dozens of other claims to be false.

But at its most basic level, the Gish Gallop method comes down to time. For instance, it takes one sentence to claim Trump has no business conflicts, but how much research and thoughtful reporting does it take to prove that he does? By the time you’re done reading a story about his entanglements, Trump has likely already rattled off a dozen other lies that all need disproving. It’s easy to see how reporters and readers alike can get overwhelmed.


The media helps Trump tremendously with its coverage. He knows it and plays them like an instrument.


T’s constant tirades on the media and his ‘gross distortions,’ of the facts has in fact been effective for his base. By keeping on counter-punching, and creating a false narrative that journalists (the MSM Media) are responsible for the violent and political unease is T’s underlying strategy. It brings out the worst in his base.

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows — news not talking politics,” he wrote in a 10:19 a.m. post on Friday.

By referring to likely domestic terrorism as “this ‘Bomb’ stuff” and tying it to the coming midterm elections, Mr. Trump was making the not-so-veiled suggestion that the news media was exaggerating the story because of some political motivation. Even in a national crisis, he was sticking with his anti-media strategy.

The question is, Is it working?

The short answer is yes. Increasingly, the president’s almost daily attacks seem to be delivering the desired effect, despite the many examples of powerful reporting on his presidency. By one measure, a CBS News poll over the summer, 91 percent of “strong Trump supporters” trust him to provide accurate information; 11 percent said the same about the news media.

Mr. Trump was open about the tactic in a 2016 conversation with Lesley Stahl of CBS News, which she shared earlier this year: “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you,” she quoted him as saying.

And with the president settling on “fear and falsehoods” as an election strategy, as The Washington Post put it last week, the political information system is awash in more misleading or flatly wrong assertions than reporters can keep up with. It’s as if President Trump has hit the journalism industry with a denial-of-service attack.


Elena Khusyaynova, the alleged financier of a Russian disinformation effort, viav USA Really is yet another cog in this media gone mad scenario. Russian operatives posing as Americans who are setting up negative/false information to sway opinions. How do stop this…? Who polices this…?

But when Elena Khusyaynova, the alleged financier of a sprawling Russian disinformation effort, was indicted last week, one Russian media outlet rushed to associate itself with the St. Petersburg accountant. USA Really, a conspiratorial website run by a Russian media executive and Kremlin policy adviser, quickly boasted on its website that Khusyaynova was the company’s chief financial officer.

It’s not clear what USA Really hoped to gain through the admission. The site is quick to deny that Russia had any involvement in the 2016 election. But its gleeful association with Khusyaynova suggests that USA Really is not the independent, inquisitive news organization that it claims to be, but rather an adjunct of a deep-pocketed propaganda apparatus that federal prosecutors say amounts to a criminal conspiracy against the United States.

In an indictment handed down last week, prosecutors accused Khusyaynova of orchestrating the flows of millions of dollars to various arms of a Russian digital information operation designed to stoke political, cultural, and racial divisions in the United States and Europe. Dubbed Project Lahtka, its goal, prosecutors alleged, was “to undermine faith in our democratic institutions.


Yes I agree they work with his base. The best offensive with T is losing GOP seats in the Congress and state houses.


Jim Acosta (CNN) was rudely treated by T today, in the most abrasive ways - demeaned, bullied and told off essentially. His WH credentials were pulled tonight.


I’ve just been denied entrance to the WH. Secret Service just informed me I cannot enter the WH grounds for my 8pm hit

4:46 PM - 7 Nov 2018


There looks to be a legal precedent which will (should) protect Jim Acosta from losing his press credentials, detailed in this Atlantic Magazine article. A journalist from the 1970’s was denied press credentials in LBJ’s WH briefings. He had written some scathing criticism about LBJ. The case (Sherrill decision) was finally decided 11 years later, protecting his First Amendment rights.

The D.C. circuit court ruled in Sherrill’s favor in 1977. While the court did not demand that the Secret Service issue him a press credential, it did set forth a series of new, transparent steps to ensure that no reporter’s First Amendment rights were violated.

Once the government creates the kind of forum that it has created, like the White House briefing room, it can’t selectively include or exclude people on the basis of ideology or viewpoint,” said Ben Wizner, the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.


This NYT story about how Facebook went about revealing to it’s own board what it already knew about the Russian influencers on it’s site is making a lot of waves.

Here’s a recap

Facebook knew about Russian interference

In fall 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, was publicly declaring it a “crazy idea” that his company had played a role in deciding the election. But security experts at the company already knew otherwise.

They found signs as early as spring 2016 that Russian hackers were poking around the Facebook accounts of people linked to American presidential campaigns. Months later, they saw Russian-controlled accounts sharing information from hacked Democratic emails with reporters. Facebook accumulated evidence of Russian activity for over a year before executives opted to share what they knew with the public — and even their own board of directors.

The company feared Trump supporters

In 2015, when the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump called for a ban of Muslim immigrants, Facebook employees and outside critics called on the company to punish Mr. Trump. Mr. Zuckerberg considered it — asking subordinates whether Mr. Trump had violated the company’s rules and whether his account should be suspended or the post removed.

But while Mr. Zuckerberg was personally offended, he deferred to subordinates who warned that penalizing Mr. Trump would set off a damaging backlash among Republicans.

Mr. Trump’s post remained up.

Facebook launched a multipronged attack and lobbying campaign

As criticism grew over Facebook’s belated admissions of Russian influence, the company launched a lobbying campaign — overseen by Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer — to combat critics and shift anger toward rival tech firms.

Facebook hired Senator Mark Warner’s former chief of staff to lobby him; Ms. Sandberg personally called Senator Amy Klobuchar to complain about her criticism. The company also deployed a public relations firm to push negative stories about its political critics and cast blame on companies like Google.

Those efforts included depicting the billionaire liberal donor George Soros as the force behind a broad anti-Facebook movement, and publishing stories praising Facebook and criticizing Google and Apple on a conservative news site.

Cambridge Analytica raised the stakes

Facebook faced worldwide outrage in March after The Times, The Observer of London and The Guardian published a joint investigation into how user data had been appropriated by Cambridge Analytica to profile American voters. But inside Facebook, executives thought they could contain the damage. The company installed a new chief of American lobbying to help quell the bipartisan anger in Congress, and it quietly shelved an internal communications campaign, called “We Get It,” meant to assure employees that the company was committed to getting back on track in 2018.

Some criticisms hurt more than others

Sensing Facebook’s vulnerability, some rival tech firms in Silicon Valley sought to use the outcry to promote their own brands. After Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, quipped in an interview that his company did not traffic in personal data, Mr. Zuckerberg ordered his management team to use only Android phones. After all, he reasoned, the operating system had far more users than Apple’s.

Facebook still has friends

Washington’s senior Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, raised more money from Facebook employees than any other member of Congress during the 2016 election cycle — and he was there when the company needed him.

This past summer, as Facebook’s troubles mounted, Mr. Schumer confronted Mr. Warner, who by then had emerged as Facebook’s most insistent inquisitor in Congress. Back off, Mr. Schumer told Mr. Warner, and look for ways to work with Facebook, not vilify it. Lobbyists for Facebook — which also employs Mr. Schumer’s daughter — were kept abreast of Mr. Schumer’s efforts.

Nicholas Confessore is a New York-based political and investigative reporter at The Times and a writer-at-large at The Times Magazine, covering the intersection of wealth, power and influence in Washington and beyond. He joined The Times in 2004.

Here’s the main article…title best sums it up.